Tag Archives: god

YouTubesday: Haiti, God, and Foxhole Manifesto

(If You are reading this post via email the videos will not show up. If any of the titles are interesting to you please visit the site and view them here, just click on the link above)


This is a brief video about my friends organization, The Haiti Water Project. They are trying to rally 4000 supporters to their cause on facebook. Join them.


Here’s a cool music video/song about God, White Man by Michael Gungor


A Great spoken word piece about God, "Foxhole Manifesto" as performed by Jeffrey McDaniel

Gender and the Attributes of God

(This is part of my December Experiment series)

After a week and a half, one of the realities that has set in is that I simply don’t refer to God often enough to even warrant frequent use of pronouns. One area that most church going folks do reference God is in our singing. So, on our drive home after Thanksgiving, Mindy and I sang a few songs, racking our brains for ones that use pronouns. It’s amazing how much difference a single letter can make. Read, or sing, the words to this rather popular praise song:

Our God
Is an awesome God
She reigns
From Heaven above
With wisdom,
Power and love
Our God
Is an awesome God

We sang a bunch of other songs, but this one sticks out and is a good case study in the impact of this experiment. I’ll just run through some of my thoughts as we sang and thought about God.

The Attributes of God
It’s quite obvious from a song like this, the impact a “gendered” God has both on our perception of God and our perception of genders. We commonly attribute these attributes “awesome” (as in powerful, but probably also in our 90’s slang use as well), “reigns”, “wisdom”, “Power” as being masculine characteristics. In turn, we further see God as being more “masculine” (for clarification, I’m not suggesting this is a proper definition of “masculine”), and a terrible cycle of gender roles and gendered god is built.
Sing that “She reigns” completely transformed the song for me. I did not have some clear female vision of God, but thinking of God in Her wisdom, Her power, Her love, Her awesomeness brought to life those attributes in a way I hadn’t thought of God before.

Neither Male Nor Female, yet Both
Here’s the odd thing about God not being Male nor Female: I think She’s thus best described as both. The vary nature of God is that She is Super-natural, beyond nature and thus unexplainable in natural, human terms. God is Spirit, and thus gendered terms limit our understanding of God. However, I’m not sure the answer is to remove gender when referring to God (I’m open to other opinions). You see, singing of and acknowledging God’s “feminine” attributes helps provide us with an even more full picture of who God is. For example, take God’s power. We often think of these, often subconsciously, in terms of male power, as to be expected since we refer to God as “He” so often. Regardless of how liberal or conservative your gender stereotypes are, your view or perception of God’s power is limited. When I sing “She reigns, with wisdom, power and love,” my eyes are opened to another perspective on the power of God that I hadn’t seen before. (I hope that’s making sense)

A Thought Experiment
Write down the ten most powerful people that you know of. It’s no secret that our perceptions are based on our experiences. The list of people you wrote, undoubtedly influences your perception of God’s Power. Now, on looking at your list, how many are male and how many are female? If your list is unbalanced (more male then female, or vis versa), then balance it out, so that you have an equal number of men and women on your list.
My feeling is that when you draw your perception of “Power” from this new list, your perception of God’s Power will be made more full and complete. (don’t forget to post your list below!)

One Final Thought
I plan on devoting a full post to this later, but I wanted to note that I think our ideas and perceptions of gender roles have had a terrible impact on us as a society (particularly in the church) and our relationship and connection to God. I fear our societal pressures have had a most oppressive impact on women, and also children. For a great post on the topic, read Erin’s recent blog post or for a more concise thought, read this poster we have hanging in our living room.

[photo credit] and [ht. to Aunt B for posting thoughts on her blog]

Female Pronouned God Experiment: Week 1 Review

For the past week, I’ve been referring to God as “She” or “Her” when the need to use a pronoun arises. I mentioned this experiment on the blog last week and it brought with it a string of conversation I found very interesting. It’s also shaped some of my thoughts through out the week. You really should go read the comment section on the post, there are a lot of great thoughts. I felt a clarification or two might be in order.

This Is An Experiment

I think experimenting is important (don’t take that the wrong way). Christians especially are notorious for our sort of black and white stances on so many things. Sometimes I think it’s justified, but many times I think it’s not. When I decided to spend the month referring to God as “She” I did not make a fundemental switch in my doctrine or theology. I’m not making a definitive statement of the gender of God or even of my social or political leanings. If I decide to go back to referring to God as “He” come January, I don’t think any irreversable damage will be done. I think we need to be open to trying new things, hearing other opinions, walking a mile in another persons shoes. This is just an attempt to do that in a small way.

Men and Women have experienced life Differently

Regardless of what you think about gender, gender roles, sexual orientation, societies stereotypes, and more, there is the undeniable reality that we have been shaped by our experience; and men and women’s life experience is fundamentally different. I’m not attempting to make any statement about biology or innate traits of men and women, I’m simply acknowledging that the way we are treated as “boys” and “girls” affect the types of adults that we become. One way I believe we’ve been shaped differently is in our understanding and connection with “God”. The reality that we have almost all grown up with God being a “He” has an impact on us, particularly differently if we ourselves are “he” or “she”.  That being the case, this experiment is also an opportunity to see this small aspect of my life differently then I have for the past 26 years.

I’ll try and share more of my thoughts thus far on the actual practice of calling God “She” later this week if I can. For now, I hope these two points open your mind a bit to what this is about.

[photo credit]

Sorry I’ve been neglecting you…

I feel bad about not posting more on here. For one there are a million things running through my head, which is usually a good reason for me to post umpteen times. And with my limit on internet time (only 30 minutes a day), you’d think I’d have more time to write off-line and then post things for you. Sorry, that’s not happening.

I guess my mind is just in a whirlwind waiting to settle down with this community and housing thing. I’ll let you know the outcome when I know but I got to stop any play by play which might mean very little posting in the next couple days.

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.

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?”

Augustine: his most famous quote

According to John Piper this is the most powerful and impacting quote of anything Augustine had written:

“Who am I? What kind of man am I? What evil have I not done? Or if there is evil that I have not done, what evil is there that I have not spoken? If there is any that I have not spoken, what evil is there that I have not willed to do? But you, O Lord, are good. You are merciful. You saw how deep I was sunk in death, and it was your power that drained dry the well of corruption in the depths of my heart. And all that you asked of me was to deny my own will and accept yours. But, during all those years, where was my free will? What was the hidden, secret place from which it was summoned in a moment, so that I might bend my neck to your easy yoke and take your light burden on my shoulders, Christ Jesus, my Helper and my Redeemer? How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honour though not in the eyes of men who see all honour in themselves. O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”

More Augustine to come in future months.

Tackling Bible Translation

Ariah and Zach discuss Bible translations and whether Ariah should be reading through The Message as his Bible reading this year.

or Download the Podcast Here.

Some of the Show Notes:

  • Zach explains the types of translations
  • Why The Message is not really The Bible
  • How do we decide what is “Scripture?”
  • Thoughts on the TNIV
  • Should we be reading the Bible ONLY in Greek and Hebrew
  • Should God be referred to as a “He.” or a “She?”
  • The danger of putting “interpretation” into the translation.
  • Why did God use the language that was used in the original text?

This is a pretty controversial podcast, please post your thoughts and comments below, or email, or even call with and leave a message: 615-349-1210