A new favorite podcast: Addicted to Race

The women of New Demographic and bloggers of Mixed Media Watch, have a podcast that I find extremely interesting: Addicted to Race.
Jen and Carmen co-host the show which discusses our obsession with race and provides thoughtful commentary on many race-related issues in our society. They discuss big news events as well as personal stories and I appreciate their balance in it all as well.

It bothers me to no end when folks try to ignore racism or try to belittle the effects of race. “Race” is only a social construct one might argue, but regardless it has a profound affect on the way people view one another and they way they are treated in our world.

I don’t necessarily agree with Jen and Carmen’s perspective all the time on the show, but who am I to argue with them. It’s good to learn and try to understand a different perspective.

I’m going to need to chime in and ask them a few questions sometime. I was pretty shocked at the lack of discussion of race at the event I went to last weekend, so I’ll be discussing that later.

For now, take a moment and listen to the latest episode of Addicted To Race.

Threads: Relevance

RELEVANCE: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

-incarnational living as opposed to attractional
-relevant to Jesus
-method changes, message remains without compromise
-communicating in the language of the culture
-others focused

Paul’s famous line: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

The idea of being relevant to culture and people is a wonderful idea. In some circles this is called, “contextualization,” the idea that we are taking the gospel and putting it into a context that the receiver will understand. I wrote an essay to get my major approved in college on that very topic.
To often though I think we use this idea of being “Relevant” as justification for fulfilling our own desires. We justify as being “Relevant” our country club membership, boat, drinking, smoking, watching certain movies, going out to eat, and many more things. I think we need to be more skeptical of “relevance” when i is beneficial or pleasurable for ourselves.

Contextualizing is considering that regardless of how direct a translation “washed white as snow” is, it is going to make no sense to someone who has never seen or heard of snow.
Relevance and Contextualization also seeks to recognize that talking to someone about your views on abortion or homosexuality is going to take something other then a “love the sinner, hate the sin,” approach. A person who never had a loving father in their life has no direct context with which to understand God as a “loving father.”

I really like the line above that says: “incarnational living as opposed to attractional,” because that acknowledges that we need to be careful not to cloak our self-gratification in a false effort to be “relevant.”

I love the idea of relevance because it really gets to the nitty gritty. It’s practical, it’s specific, it’s something we can sit and talk about and really take some action on. And I really think we need to spend more time in the church doing that. It seems we spend most of our time talking about abstract, philsophically or touchy-feely things, and then we walk out the door with no real challenge on our lives what so ever. Let’s get dirty and talk about how we can be more relevant to our culture.

A review of Pocket Guide to the Bible

This book was dropped in the mail to me a little while back. It’s another of Relevant Publishings productions in their typical small paperback style (truly pocketable for someone with pockets like mine).
Pocket Guide to the Bible: A Little Book About the Big BookJason Boyett is becoming a master of the pocket guide, having introduced us to the Apocalypse and Adulthood in pocket form, he now takes on the Big Book.

The book is split into Biblicabulary, Know Your Characters, The Bible at Breaknext Speed, Versions and Perversions, and The Brief History of Holy Writ. Each section is done in a humorous and informative way.

I’m not sure there is a really good way to review this book, the explanation above is probably all you need to get a pretty good idea of what it’s all about. Boyett is funny and caters to our short attention spans.
The definition of Apostle clarifies that it’s “Not to Be Confused With: Aeropostale, A mall-based retailer of casual apparel for teenagers. One sells hoodies. The other wears robes and sandals. It’s not hard.”
He covers most of the main characters from the Bible in fairly short paragraphs. The short summary of the Bible is a great reference for refreshing what stories are in what books, covering books like Genesis in just over a page.

All in all, Pocket Guide to the Bible is not a must read, but I won’t argue that it will more then likely serve as a frequent reference for any Bible research.

If only we all gave away this percentage…

One of the richest dudes in the world is giving away 85% of his wealth, if only we could all follow his example.

True I’m usually one to rant about our gross superfluous wealth in this country (and if you do the calculations, 15% of Buffet’s net worth is still a heck of a lot of money), but I figure I should try and take a more positive look at the moment.

Jesus gave the example of the women who put her two coins in and how commendable that was because it was all she had. That story can easily be trivialized because two coins really isn’t that much and (in our minds) she could probably find that much on the ground or begging for a few minutes. Regardless, Jesus uses that story to challenge us, and I think there is an opportunity to be challenged by this story as well.

Warren Buffett, and Bill & Melinda Gates for that matter, have been shining examples of stepping out against the values of our society, which argue that acquiring wealth and amassing your own fortune is the ultimate goal. They are making a statement that says something quite different, a hat tip to the pleasure and satisfaction one receives by giving to the needs of others. An acknowledgment that we were created to live in community and were created to serve the needs of one another. Maybe these big time philanthropist will spur others on to some more radical giving (and by radical I mean 99% of their fortune or something like that).

Initial thoughts on the PAPA Festival

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about my time at the PAPA Festival all day, but I kept procrastinating on it, mainly because I’m not sure I have that much to say. This wasn’t an academic or informational gathering per say. There where learning sessions, but the majority that I went to were more discussions then they were information which I could share with you.

I will point out that there where white folks with dreadlocks there then I’ve ever seen in one place. Makes you wonder. Lot’s of very ‘alternative’ folks out there looking very much like the normal crowd because they made of the majority at this gathering.

I enjoyed myself for a good number of reasons. I ran into a ton of random people with all sorts of unique connections which was a pretty cool thing. I think I’ll post on the random people I met next.

Mainly, I think the thing I enjoyed most was just being around a whole bunch of “Christians” that actually shared my value system. Too often I feel outcast or alienated as being too “radical” or liberal or something similar. The folks I seem to share values with are ones whose motivation is not following Jesus at all, but something completely different usually. So it was good to be ‘worshiping’ and fellowshipping with others who share my values and my beliefs and motivation.

You don’t read, you won’t write

I’m worried I’m not going to have much material to write about this week. Unless I can buckle down and do some reading (which I have been seriously slacking on) it looks to be an uneventful week in the way of writing.

I love to write, but I don’t feel like I have much intelligent and creative thought all on my own. It needs to be sparked by something. I wish more often it was sparked by deep and serious conversation with friends, but usually it’s the latest book I’m reading or movie I’m viewing. I’m supposed to write an article about a documentary this dude sent me, so I’ll probably give some initial thoughts on that soon.

Hope you don’t mind the little introspective post here.

Abba Ephrem gives his thoughts on Righteousness and Stuff

Abba Ephrem also said,

“God sells righteousness at a very low price to those who wish to buy it: a little piece of bread, a cloak of no value, a cup of water, a mite.”

Woe to me. How much bigger the plank in my eye then the speck in my brothers. I realize often how far short of the righteous, selfless calling of God that I see in the Bible. I spend the morning writing a post about how surrendering means giving up things, and I feel puffed up pointing out others faults and list none of my own.
I like to eat. Far too often I eat more then I need for my own good and I indulge on the things that I will enjoy. I hide my desire for pleasure in a cloak of fair trade and financial stewardship.
I excuse laziness as faithful stewardship and sacrificial living.

How dare I spend my mornings passing judgement on those around me when I two stand so far from God’s standard and calling for following Christ.