Tag Archives: christianity

A documentary, what do you think of it?

So, it looks like a very well made and well supported documentary is coming out. It’s something I’m not sure I feel comfortable with it being in the limelight.

I’m really curious what everyone’s thoughts are on this video. It seems there are a lot of issues “Christians” need to deal with in house and amongst one another, instead of waiting until a video like this comes out that cast the whole bunch in a negative light.

I’m saying all this cause I know of people that already feel like Christians (i.e. ALL Christians) and a documentary like this will just confirm that.

Community begins with small steps

I’m not quite sure how to begin this series of posts. We, my wife and I, and our friends Bryan and Dawn, are about to embark on a year long journey into community. This isn’t your traditional churchy idea of community, this is your raw, live with, share with, laugh with, cry with, hold each other accountable and challenge one another type of community.
What this is going to end up looking like as we take the journey I’m really not sure. The exciting thing for all of us is that we really believe this is a place we are supposed to be. I would venture to say this is the type of living more people should be considering.
We are going to do our best to document this journey, complete with weekly audio updates, a compilition of writings by the four of us (and sometimes the three year old), and plenty of photographs. Who knows maybe we’ll get a book deal or movie contract out of the deal. Seriously though, I’m excited about documenting this because I feel it is a journey many more people can and should take and our ability to trace our journey will give others the interest and courage to embark on it on their own.

I also promise not to glamorize in anyway our experience. There are some harsh realities and difficulties we will face, there is plenty of truth to that. Already we face the tensions and frustrations of giving up our own expectations for the well being of the community. This will not be a reality show, what it will be is the journey of four folks, trying to live out their convictions, and the trials and tribulations they face in that endevor.

Look the book publishing begin

So I got bored and decided it was time to start publishing books. I found some great resources for self-publishing and I think with blogs and the vastness of the internet, we can probably see some success without trying to connect with a major publisher.

The book project I’ve been gathering interested folks together for recently has been concerning Social Justice. Then just for fun I thought I’d try to do another one collecting challenging sermon-like essays that might not be what you hear most Sunday mornings.

It’s all starting at Fine Print Publishing. I’m looking for folks to submit essays (I’m not writing this on my own) and I’m looking for folks to help me edit. The goal is to have the finished product by August 21st. Think we can do it? I think so.

Check it out and spread the word.

Future writing topics

Through recent conversations, readings and other things I’ve been listening to, I’ve begun a list of things I’d like to write about. The problem with this list is it is a list of things that is going to require me to do a little research, refrencing things and so forth. It won’t be writing off the cuff like I usually do. I think I’m capable of doing this, it’s just going to take a little more effort on my part. I am a poor motivator of myself though. Rather, I do well with interaction and dialogue. That being said here are some short summaries of things I would like to write about soon.

Who am I Trying to Follow?- I’ve been meaning to do this one for a long time. The title of my blog means a lot to me and I’ve realized it probably needs some interpretation. I’d like to write a series of post about who it is I’m trying to follow and more importantly, why. I have hesitated in writing this before because a direct response to this question can often result in misinterpretation. Sometimes, I think it would be better for someone to read my writings and determine from that the answer to the question. This series will come, it just might take me a while to be satisfied enough to post it.

Christianity and Anarchism- I’ve been listening to the audio CD from a recent conference on this topic put on by Jesus Radicals. It’s sparked a renewed interest in me and a desire to articulate my beliefs as it relates to this. Just to get you slightly interested, I think I would say I’m in many ways an anarchist in my beliefs. I would even say, I think Christianity is far more Anarchist then it is capitalist. More to come later.

Universalistic thinking- I don’t know if I just made up that word or not, but this topic is going to be way touchy. This conversation has popped up a number of times in a couple circles I’ve been a part of and I feel the need to articulate some of my thoughts on the issue. If you don’t really know what I’m getting at you might just have to stay tuned for the post. Basically I want to discuss the idea of faith and it’s exclusiveness or lack thereof.

That’s it for now. I’m afraid if I make my list any longer I won’t end up writing on any of them. Hopefully I can post something about one of these topics in the next week, while it is still fresh in my mind. Stay tuned.

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.

Threads: Surrender

SURRENDER: Matthew 20:26-28- “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

-fluid & organic with continual movement
-there are no sacred cows
-there’s no length we won’t go to in order to connect people with Jesus
-ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low
-adapting & empowering not controlling
-we’ll put God first no matter what, anything is going to submit to that
-leave the 99 to get the one
-humble, humility, humble submission
-doesn’t mean there isn’t any structure but God is the structure
-show us the best structure that will unleash the full potential of your spirit
-both structure and spirit are always present together; one is never absent of the other

I’ll be honest this sounds more like a list of catch phrases then any deep practical thoughts on Surrender. The word “surrender” is often seen in a negative light, as it is commonly considered as “giving up” or “quitting.” In our day of constant wars the thought of idea that our troops would “surrender” seems weak and cowardly.
Interesting too that the Bible verse referenced above does not even use the word “surrender” instead it’s talking about serving. My personal thought is this idea of surrender makes no sense, unless seen in light of Love. Christ surrendered his power as God and became a human. Husbands surrender their wants and desires to their wives. Like a little child who wants their way, we must surrender our ambitions to a parent who knows what is best for us. Maybe surrender is an out dated word though?
I’ll be honest Surrender does not sound like a easy thing, and it certainly does not seem like an enjoyable thing. It really is a giving up of something.

I guess I see it as odd that a main tenent of our belief system can be this idea of “surrender” and yet we still look so similar in all that we do to our unbelieving neighbor who has no desire to surrender anything?
I know there’s that song “I surrender All” but when besides the song can one declare something like that? Can you make that statement while eating out with your church friends? Can you say you surrendered when your buying that new gadget, when your living in your comfy house, while driving in your luxury car? Can you say you’d surrendered all when enjoying the latest concert, taking a vacation cruise, or watching the game?

It’s a good song and all, but do you know anyone who is really “Surrendering All?”

Initial thoughts on the Da Vinci Code (the book)

The Da Vinci CodeI figured I could sneak in after all the hype and talk and get my hands on the Da Vinci Code to see what it was all about. I put it on hold at the library and it came surprisingly faster then expected. I’ve started in and I’m only a few chapters through, but I am already struck now by one of the major premises of the book. It seems the deep dark secret that is being kept has a lot to do with the elevation of the feminine and the fact that the church forced a patriarchal rule over society that was not originally there.
There are a lot of “facts” mentioned in the book that might or might not be true, but they are interesting nonetheless. I think, true or not, this book should at least challenge folks to think a little about the church and women.
If anything, I would hope the book and movie, and all the talks going on in churches and elsewhere are acknowledging that women have been oppressed and mistreated and put down in a way that is not Christian at all.

I say all that having only read a few chapters and I really have very little idea what turns the book will be taking later.

What a church should look like…

A while ago I asked a number of people for topics to write about. One of them asked me what I thought “the church should look like…” I have been procrastinating on posting about this for a long time. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion and ideas. I think, rather, it’s that I’m not quite sure how to begin articulating those ideas.
I’ve been thinking recently that it would be neat for me to try (this is Zach’s idea) to write a fiction story about a church that embodies the values and lifestyle’s that I think are so central to the teachings of Christ.
Needless to say I’m still not quite sure how I should go about this. But I guess I just need to start.

My first thought about what any given church should look like is that it should be representative of the community it is in. Far too many people commute to their church and thus the church, the community, and the homes of the members are all complete spread out and seperate entities.

If you want to know what I think your church should look like then go to this link. Type in the address of your church and look at the statistics that come up for the surrounding community.

When you look at the statistics you see, do you feel they are accurately represented in your church body? Why or why not?

No Easter outrage?

It’s over a week since the Easter holiday, so I feel safe venturing some critiques about it. My friend Bryan pointed out that there hasn’t been much outrage around Easter about the bunny and eggs.
During Christmas there was so much outrage at the idea of calling the evergreens people where buying “Holiday Trees.” When my mom was growing up they had a Hanukkah Bush. My family had decorations for Christmas and Hanukkah (as well as a strange assortment of other family ornaments). Mindy and I have not had a tree in our living room since we’ve been married, and yet I don’t think we missed out on anything essential concerning the birth of Jesus. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is a good thing, but his birth is not what is central or pinnacle to the Christian faith; it’s his resurrection.
I wonder then, where is the outrage at Jesus’ resurrection being taken over by a giant bunny that hands kids pastel eggs full of candy? If you ask me, that’s what people should be upset about. I think it’s probably because nobody’s trying to trump the word “Easter.” Maybe they’d be bothered if someone decleared it the Buddha Bunny? Or what about just “The Bunny” leaving “Easter” out all together?

My point in saying all that is not to incite outrage over the Easter bunny or to start a boycott of pastel eggs. I think I’m just bothered by the lack of consistency and focus on such unimportant things. Let other’s call the evergreens what they want, maybe you should be ditching the Easter bunny altogether. Probably we should be spending a little more time trying to explain why some old guy dying and then rising from the dead is so important to our children. Believe me, you’ll have your work cut out for you.