I was listening to Saturday’s with Mark and Tony and Tony Campolo mentioned the quote, which you’ve maybe heard before:
“God created us in his image, and we decided to return the favor.” -George Bernard Shaw
He was acknowledging that we tend to have churches divided by race, socio-economic status, political views, etc. because we each make God in our image. This made me think about another thing someone once said to me when we were talking about politics and I was saying that the best way to vote is to vote find out how the poor vote and he said:
“Well, the poor are selfish too.”
He was acknowledging that, just like everyone else, the poor wouldn’t do what was in the best interest of everybody, but rather what was in their own best interest. So, the poor have created a god who cares about the poor, the rich have a god who cares about the rich, the liberals have a god who cares about liberals, and so on. But this is what struck me, while God does care about all humankind, if you look at Scripture, God does seem to care about a certain group quite a bit. So, as flawed humans, that create god’s that selfishly serve our own interest, I think the god that most accurately (though still flawed) aligns with the God I encounter in Scripture is the god of the poor. God cares about the poor and oppressed. I think we usually give a knowing nod to the mention that there are literally thousands of verses in the Bible that talk about the poor, but then somehow we spend maybe a few hours a year actually reflecting on those verses or discussing their implications for our lives. This is a long way of saying that I think I’m going to focus (as I probably already have) my Sunday post to be devotional thoughts, specifically though, reflecting on the wealth of verses in the Bible that talk about the poor.
I don’t think it makes sense to boycott a company to make it change its policy instead it makes sense to decide for yourself if you want to be a sponsor of that company and encourage what it does. Maybe other actions need to be taken against a company but you cannot separate your action of buying from a company from what they do. –Keane
My short blogging break has left me with a lot more links, info and material then I have energy or space to blog about. So, I’ll leave you with some links that I encourage you to follow. I’ll probably start doing this once a week or so just to pass on some worthwhile material for you to check out if your bored on a weekend.
- I know I’ve mentioned De-motorize your soul, but here are some folks who are actually doing it. Drew, Josh, Odom’s, Jessica, and Jeff.
- Nick pointed out this great comic strip.
- Baby Einstein isn’t so smart now is he?
- Mark pointed out this engaging advice column.
- If you care about politics at all check out Sunlight.
- Keane sent me this article on Home-Ownership.
That’s all for now. Enjoy your Saturday.
Dear Greg (or Gary, sorry I can’t remember) and others,
I met you briefly at Peavey Park in South Minneapolis last Wednesday. I was hanging out with some punk-rocker anarchist folk, eating dinner with homeless and having an all-around good time. You came by and politely offered us flyers to an event for youth you were having in October. You were kind and cordial and I appreciated listening to the conversation between some church-goers and anarchist, two groups I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with that tend to have some nearly polar opposite values.
The flyer you handed out was impressive. Glossy on both sides and well designed, it advertised a big event for middle school kids and their parents. If the gloss wasn’t enough, the flyer was even more enticing by offering free hoodie sweatshirts for every kid that came and $6 for every parent that brought their kid. Free money and clothes, my initial thought was it’s brilliant marketing. Credit card companies offer free stuff all the time to get people signed up, and you were giving the exact types of things the people your targeting actually want. I was impressed because you had said you surveyed people in the neighborhood and the largest response you had was that people wanted something safe and fun for their children. Your are meeting a need of the community. Meeting the communities needs with brilliant marketing and large events, I have to say I was impressed. But, then I started getting uncomfortable.
I wasn’t quite sure what this discomfort was, until you left and the folks I was hanging with started talking. They were on to your scheme, they were skeptical of your ‘evangelism’ and ‘preaching’ tactics, and they hadn’t even been to your event, just had seen many others like them. That’s when it occurred to me, you weren’t sharing the ‘gospel,’ rather you were treating Jesus like a commodity, you were in a business venture.
Someone once said, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” The means (your party) are inextricably tied up in the ends (believing in Jesus) that you hope to accomplish. Your desire to have this event and ‘win people to Jesus’ will more then likely win them to a Jesus other then the Jesus I see plainly in the bible. If someone chooses to sign-up at your event, they are more then likely going to be choosing to follow the ‘jesus’ you’ve displayed to them. They’ll choose to follow the Jesus of free hoodies and free money. Jesus, from what I can tell, never enticed people to follow him. It wasn’t ‘come follow me, and I’ll give you a free pair of sandals.’
I worry that those you entice to following ‘Jesus’ at your event, will start off with such a skewed picture of what this ‘Jesus’ character is about that they will never really be able to see clearly the real Jesus we meet in the gospels. I worry that when the free money and clothes stops coming, they’ll get tired of following this ‘Jesus.’ They’ll stop following your Jesus, which I don’t think is the same as the real Jesus we encounter in Scripture; and my fear is that if they stop following that Jesus, like so many, they’ll stop looking for or considering Jesus all together.
Please consider your event, your marketing, and your Bible, I think you’ll find there is some tension there that needs to be reconciled. I think you all are doing a great thing, listening to the community, trying to meet the needs of the community, pointing to Jesus as a source of hope and truth; I think your hearts are in the right place, which is why I felt it was worth the time to encourage you to think hard about how your are bringing people to the faith. May God be with you and may your efforts be blessed.
While talking about the computer software, there are two types, application and system software. Different software tools are being used in development of application software. Now days, large number of companies is working to develop mobile phone software and anti virus software, as demand for these software are very high in market. A large variety of software data is available on different sites as well.
I don’t usually delve too deeply into my personal life on this blog, though most of what I post is a reflection of personal experience and thoughts, but I wanted to take a minute to sort of reflect on where I (and my family) are at this moment.
I have been married for 4 years, 3 months, 5 days and about 12 hours (isn’t that cute?). I’ve been a father for just about 3 months now. We’ve recently moved to a new big city where we don’t know many people (though we have family fairly close) and we are looking to purchase a home and plant ourselves in the community. We are about to start a stage in our lives where school (and the debt that comes with it) is a thing of the past and ‘real world’ careers and life are on the horizon.
The scary thing about this moment, this new phase of life and journey, is that this is about the time that people expect us to ‘grow up’ and leave our ‘idealistic’ visions of the world. It’s a dangerous time, maybe one of the most dangerous times in our lives. It’s almost like we are at this crossroads with two very clear and distinct paths ahead of us.
The well worn path is that of the ‘American’ dream. It’s been walked down by the majority of people we know and interact with, supported and valued by nearly everyone we meet, including in the church. It’s comfortable, it leads to fulfillment of desires for things I want (at least I feel I want them each time I see that commercial), and it will lead to approval in the eyes of those around me if I am successful. No one will look at me cross, and few will rebuke me for tossing aside my previous convictions, they’ll call it ‘growing up.’
The other path is small and over grown, it’s been traveled by few and my attempt at discerning the direction of the sign is even questionable. I see few in the society around me, and fewer in the ‘church’ walking down this path. It’s questionable, it makes me second guess my choices, it carries with in no prestige, and there seems to be little support. People, friends, family will question our choices, rebuke us for our ‘mistakes’ and look at us cross for years to come. Yet, I can’t help but reading the Bible, trying to follow Jesus, and see it as clear as day pointing and directing me down this path.
In a couple weeks Mindy and I are going to the CCDA Conference in St. Louis. It will be a rare opportunity for us to meet and listen to others who have traveled that narrow path. My prayer is that it will be an opportunity for us to build a shared vision that is strong and unwavering for this next stage of our journey. I am so grateful that I have a strong and wise spouse to take this journey with me.
p.s. Know anyone in St. Louis with a spare bedroom?
In our recent search for a neighborhood and place to make home, the term “Safe” has been thrown around quite a bit by others. Those who say it are usually very genuine and well-intending: “Now that you have a baby, you’ll want to make sure you find a safe area of the city,” or “I’m sure you’ll be able to find a nice, safe neighborhood to purchase a home in.” I find it extremely difficult to respond to statements like these because of the layers and layers of underlying assumptions behind them. Let me try and break this down a little bit.
What do they mean by ‘safe?’ I think the most obvious is that they don’t want us living where the feature crime stories on the evening news are located. Physical safety is their obvious concern and there is certainly some validity to that. Unfortunately, our major indicator of ‘safety’ is the evening news, which tends to categorize it’s media in interesting ways, and it continually reinforces our stereotypes. First, the news covers mostly negative stories, ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’ Second, the news, and people, tend to categorize in ways we understand; so a large geographic area, falls into one categorization (just like a large people group or income level). What you end up with is that ‘safe’ means living anywhere other then the area of town where the poor, and many minorities, have been isolated to.
I guess I would like to start by asking different questions, and having different concerns then ‘safety.’ Shane Claiborne touches on it well:
“People sometimes ask if we are scared of the inner city. I say that I am more scared of the suburbs. Our Jesus warns that we can fear those things which can hurt our bodies or we can fear those things which can destroy our souls, and we should be far more fearful of the latter. Those are the subtle demons of suburbia.
As my mother once told me, “Perhaps there is no more dangerous place for a Christian to be than in safety and comfort, detached from the suffering of others.” I’m scared of apathy and complacency, of detaching myself from the suffering. It’s hard to see until our 20/20 hindsight hits us—but every time we lock someone out, we lock ourselves further in.” [via]
As I am trying to follow, I think the first question in deciding where to live is to ask, “What does Christ call me to?” I think a quick reading of Scripture would make it quite clear we are not first called to physical safety. Christ himself spends time with the poor and the oppressed, the ‘desperate and dangerous’ people of his day. He lives amongst the unsafe and ‘unclean’ and he speaks out to his followers to do the same, addressing injustices along the way.
Finally, as it relates to children, there is a strong lead in the Bible to teach your children to follow the faith. The goal is not to keep your child ‘safe’ above all else, but rather to lead your child to truth. Having children does not mean you forsake your values in an effort to preserve their physical longevity, it means you hold that much more strongly to the truths and convictions that you know to be true, that you might properly serve to point them toward the truth.
If you want to know what Following Jesus looks like.