Monthly Archives: March 2009

harmoniously dissident orthodoxy

Just one quick thought I’m wrestling with until I post more.

People stand on different sides of the aisle with multiple theological issues.  One thought, of many that bounce around in my crazy head, is that it puzzles me how in the Christian Community we can be so divided on some sticky issues and believe that there is no merit or plausibility contained on the opposite side of a particular belief.  Sometimes we are divided so much as to disqualify people with differing opinions from leadership positions – which at times can be justified if an institution desires their leaders to all be of the same mindset without dissonance.  This has recently occurred at the church I’m going to, but I’m also speaking about this in big picture terms of other incidents in the church at large.  I spoke with a good friend about this on Thursday and what follows is basically what I shared with him.

To give a topical example:  currently I’m considering the merits of exclusivism and inclusivism.  I know of compelling ‘arguments’ on both sides for and against exclusivism and inclusivism.  What strikes me as confoundingly intriguing is how stalwarts of the faith are found on both sides of this aisle but mainstream denominations (‘denominations’ is a topic for another day, or maybe ‘denominations’ isn’t even worth belaboring) have decided that to belong to their denomination or church you can not hold an opposing view without repercussions.  C.S. Lewis denotes his support of inclusivism in, “The Last Battle” (Chronicles of Narnia) when Tash, a servant of a false God, stood before Aslan (Christ) and was shown mercy and thus given salvation.  I have belonged to churches where Lewis would not be allowed to teach or preach because of his endorsement of inclusivism.  Again, C.S. Lewis, a stalwart of the protestant faith, who has brought infinite, well, probably finite, but at least not easily calculated, glory to God, would not be allowed to teach.   That’s hard to understand.  While I might understand a church’s reason in that it’s reasoning is according to certain bylaws and such I still cringe at the thought of disqualifying someone’s eligibility because of such standards; especially someone such as C.S. Lewis!

To me, it seems as if some in the opposing camps are saying that their ideology is right and the other ideology is wrong (and vice versa) and that the two ideologies can never be harmonious (logically such stream of thought could be consistent).  It also seems that some people are saying that if you hold the opposing ideology as part of your theology we might not see you in Heaven partaking in some quality Schlafly pale ale alongside us.   Taking a holistic view of mine, theologically, such a hardline thought does not jive with me.  If I were to hold to such a thought it grieves me to think C.S. Lewis will not be in Heaven with me partaking in a pint or two; or if I’m in the other camp it grieves me as well to think that Ronald Nash will not be in Heaven.

I’m not sure if all that make sense in writing, but it makes sense to me.  If it doesn’t make sense feel free to comment and we can discuss this.  Or we can discuss this over a pint or two – which is my preferred method.

So as I sit here and wrestle with this thought I will leave you with a couple quotes which help me in my search to find a harmoniously dissident orthodoxy.

“I am the man who with utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before…I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age…Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth.  And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it…When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom…I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered it was orthodoxy.”

– G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”

“Sometimes, honestly, I’ve felt like giving up and walking away in search of fresher healthier air.  But there’s something here that I love and can’t stop loving, and that something is actually Someone.”

– Brian McLaren, “A Generous Orthodoxy”.

Last night I enjoyed a Davidoff ‘bullet’ cigar. I forget the specific name of it, but it was a nice smooth 30 minute smoke.  Perfect for having while grilling without having to dedicate 1 hour of smoke time.


Posted by on March 28, 2009 in Uncategorized


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continuing a previous post

I’ll continue my previous post  “awfully delayed…about that word awful…”  this weekend…hopefully.  I’ve had good response (via personal interaction) regarding the words we use and the manner in which we use them.

Until later…don’t be ‘passionate’ about your ‘job’, but instead be intentional about your profession/vocation.

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


Midrash – it’s not a disease

This is an essay I wrote about Midrash for Shane’s email update for the River (our church).  The article appeared a little different in the email because of some revisions.  Personally, I prefer it without the revisions because I’m very particular in the words I choose.  This short essay details what Midrash is and why it is a natural outpouring of my personality – I love engaging people in compelling conversations.  Enjoy.

quick cigar recommendation – La Flor Dominicana – good smooth smoke. Available in mild and maduro selections.

For many centuries the church was a skillful potter shaping culture in regards to politics, the arts, education, and public commentary. Only recently has the church withdrawn from that craft and now views our culture with an “Us versus Them” mentality believing there is no hope for our culture. At the River Community Church we believe that line of thought runs contrary to God’s will and we do not believe it is “Us versus Them”. Instead, we believe we need to be integrated into our culture and redeem our culture for God’s glory. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – Matthew 6: 10. The main crux of the issue is as Christians we need to find ways to engage our culture in a compelling manner that makes sense and meets people where they are spiritually and socially.

Midrash. Such a quirky sounding word that most people think means some sort of contracted disease requiring a prescription for an antibiotic. Thank goodness that is not what it means. It is actually a Hebrew word that roughly means “commentary”. Our desire within Midrash is to engage various aspects of our culture in regards to the arts, media, politics, education etc and Midrash is the organization for different events that we hold under the umbrella of The River Community Church. Some of our events include: Theology on the Rocks, film nights, coffee shop discussions, art gallery viewings, and large panel forums. For example; at Theology on the Rocks we take what we believe to be compelling topics such as, violence in America, the pursuit of happiness, animal rights, and racism in Little Rock and host them in different restaurants and bars in Little Rock. It is held in a separate dining room to accommodate a group discussion and this allows people to share their thoughts and opinions on the topic. People want to talk about these topics but just have not had the opportunity. We provide the opportunity.

None of our events take place in a church building; primarily because Midrash exists for people who would never step foot in a church. We approach this in a manner similar to when Paul was in Athens (Acts 17: 16-34). When Paul was with the people he spoke to them in a context they understood and they appreciated which helped him build credibility. To the men in the synagogue and marketplace he held respectful, intelligent conversations and reasoned with them. To the idol worshippers in the Areopagus he spoke to them about who and why they worship what they worship. In Midrash, we realize the Bible is not an authority for people who do not believe in God and as such we want to be credible and speak to people about who and why they worship what they worship. To show them how their truth relates to God’s truth.

Basically, Midrash is at the heart of The River Community Church because we want to reach people where something inside them is stirring but they are not making a connection as to what is stirring (2 Corinthians 3: 16-18). Midrash recognizes that God’s people and creation are beautiful and at the same time fallen and we are called by God to redeem his creation for his glory (Genesis 1: 26-28). Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


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a superficial feeling of loss

Today I experienced a feeling that I haven’t experienced in almost two years.  A KU tournament loss.  No, this is not something of great importance in the grand scheme of things.   But it reminded me of the feeling I had experienced year after year after year after year…it’s the feeling of KU losing in the NCAA tournament which ends their season and then having to watch the loss replayed over and over again on espn’s sportscenter the next morning.  Last year I didn’t have to experience the dreadful feeling because we won both the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA tournament (national champs baby) .  I was in a state of euphoria last year!  I woke up to espn’s images of Mario Chalmers draining ‘Mario’s Miracle’ which pushed the game to overtime and us taking control of overtime and winning the national championship!

So the loss today in the Big 12 conference tournament against Baylor allowed me to appreciate not having to experience that dreary feeling last year…but I will regretfully have to experience it tomorrow morning when I wake up and face the music on espn.  But it also made me a little greedy in hoping we win the national championship again this year…do it for my healthy well-being KU!!

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


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awfully delayed…about that word awful..

Ok, so I’ve been prodded by enough people via email, blog, facebook and the old-fashioned way of face to face interaction to start blogging more regularly so I shall only so as to lessen the chance of getting a brick through my window with a note attached from Guido saying, ‘blog more or else.’

To tease you a bit about the next blog I’ll have up (of when I make no promises so as not to be held accountable)…consider the following words and their current meanings versus their original intended meanings.  The reason behind this post (and the upcoming post) is that as we move away from the original intent of words oftentimes we lazily substitute and obfuscate the words we choose and use and eventually the words lose their weight.

You might say, “what’s the big deal?  It’s only semantics.”  Maybe it is, but maybe it is something bigger that is quite telling about our culture.  Maybe there is something to what Dante said, “And the true fruit shall follow on the flower.”   But you know what?  You can disagree with me and that’s ok.  Instead of “we’ll have to agree to disagree” which stops the conversation let’s move to “good men can disagree” which keeps the conversation going. (“good men can disagree” credit goes to Mike Metzger who is a brilliant theologian and an all around great guy)

I’ll get you started on the first word and see if you can track with my line of thought and then you can consider the other words and their current meaning versus their original intent.  If you have a business background you’ll probably be familiar with some of these.

awful –

current meaning – extremely disagreeable, objectionable

original intent – full of awe, inspiring

Example – A couple years ago I was talking to my cousin about this word and asked her how she would feel if I said she was awful.  She predictable said she would slap me, but as to avoid the slap I quickly told her the original intent of the word and she said she much preferred the original intent.











Cigar suggestion – Avo Uvezian – the tobacco is from the Dominican Republic and the wrapper is from Connecticut. Specifically the Avo Maduro Robusto is a great cigar; very smooth; has some spice.  From this maker I lean more towards the Avo Maduro Robusto and the Avo Natural (very mild, smooth cigar) versus the Avo Maduro Belicoso which is still a quality cigar but a little strong from the outset.  I enjoy a quality robusto and maduro but the Maduro Belicoso was a bit strong for my taste.  If you choose the Natural or the Maduro Robusto you will have an enjoyable cigar in your hand.


Posted by on March 8, 2009 in theology


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