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Monthly Archives: January 2010

Slapping God in the Face

Here’s a great find from my friend Tad (the link is after my short diatribe on evacuation theology).

The link is a parable that speaks of evacuation theology – or for those who prefer words with lots of syllables it speaks on the “eschatology of abandonment” (term from McLaren).  Evacuation theology focuses on forsaking the earth and focusing on getting in to heaven and what heaven will be like when we are all there.  “Forsake” is such a christian term, so what do I mean by saying they “forsake the earth”?  I mean that believers in evacuation theology (most often they are fundamentalists, although you may hold some of these values and not even realize it) do not focus on being change agents on and in God’s creation – the earth and our culture – as God calls us to do.  They see the gospel as a fire insurance plan to get them in to heaven while they bide their time knitting and darning new socks on earth.  Churches and pastors may not intentionally teach evacuation theology to their communities (although some may) but through their church they will put programs in place that draw people away from their physical community (neighborhoods and circles of influence – the Catholic model of parishes is actually a very good model for building community) and into a Christian ghetto withdrawn from the world at large.  They will feature “christian music”, “christian books”, “christian paintings”, and anything else that uses the adjective “christian”.  In their sermons they will speak of storing up treasures in heaven; they will sing songs that speak of the afterlife; songs that include: “I’ll Fly Away”, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” (there are two key lines in this song that most people gloss over), “When the Saints Go Marching In”, and other songs that focus on the afterlife instead of the here and now.  Their language/mottos might include, “just passing through on my way to heaven”, “see you in heaven”, “looking forward to communing with the saints” or other similar statements.

Some view my blogs as being crass and too critical of the church but when churches put our focus on theological tragedies such as these I believe it’s a slap in the face to God’s bigger goal…his kingdom coming to Earth.  And if we’re all focused on leaving the earth and playing our harps in heaven with saints from days of yore then who will usher in his kingdom right now on this bright, sunny, partially snowy day today and in the days to come?

If you are a believer in evacuation theology then while you are reading this parable you honestly might view it as heretical* but personally I believe there are parts of evacuation theology that are heretical* and essentially are slapping God in the face.  So let’s all be happy heretics* together.  Now, please understand that I am not saying that we should not focus on how awesome and great it will be some day to be in God’s presence in “heaven” but I can almost assure you that I do not want to be in your heaven…hmmm…that sounds like a future blog-post to me.  😉  But let’s see if we can weave together a beautiful theological tapestry of marveling about the day we’ll be in God’s presence while also redeeming his creation and our culture here on earth.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth…

Tad on Peter on Evacuation Theology

* You might also be wondering why I used the word “heretic” so much.  For those who grew up in the modern-era or have parents who taught us in the ways of the modern-era we might be conditioned to automatically dismiss something that challenges our paradigms as “wrong”.  When we believe something is “wrong” in regards to religion we label them a heretic or a cult – it is much easier to make a denigrating comment rather than to examine the truth which might be contained within.  I do not revel in being called a heretic or make notches on my wall when I upset people, but I do appreciate stretching my mind and the theological paradigms we are conditioned to.  This is why I am involved in Midrash here in Little Rock.

“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” – Henri Poincaré

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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in culture, theology

 

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Theology on the Rock, Jan 20, 7pm

*spoiler alert, there are many, many hyperlinks contained within this email – your mouse and browser will get a workout.

So here it comes…the second coming of Theology on the Rock!  Since Midrash made its long-awaited return last Fall we’ve had: a coffee-shop discussion, and a film night.  Sensing the ground swell of interest about to peak we bring back Theology on the Rock.  I’ll simply point you to some blogs that you can read if you want to be brought up to speed about our new connection with Eikon church.

Midrash-The Second Coming

Announcing Midrash-Eikon Blog

So…now that you’re caught up to speed, here are the details of Theology on the Rock.

Who: you and your friends

What: Theology on the Rock* (formerly known as Theology on the Rocks – see below for explanation of name change)

When: Wednesday, January 20, 7:00pm-9:00ish-pm – we’ll discuss for about 1.5 hours and then people are free to stick around and discuss more with their friends

Where: Oyster Bar – new location we’re very excited about!  There is a full bar and full menu available that evening during the discussion.

Why: Because the topics we discuss are topics people enjoy discussing!  For those who shudder because of introverted tendencies, it is equally as fun to just come and listen too – you do not have to share your opinion…but we’d like you to do so.

Topic: “Church in America – R.I.P?” Theology on the Rock is about to become the best forum in Little Rock for discussing the thorniest issues of our day. January’s topic is, “Church in America R.I.P.?” What role does church play in American culture? What role should it play or not play? Is church relevant or just a relic; a help or a hindrance to a better life, city and country? Come grab a brew, give your religious or irreligious views, and lend an ear to others’. Free and open to absolutely everyone.

* Theology on the Rock – as a note; our event formerly known as “Theology on the Rocks” has changed it’s name to “Theology on the Rock” – see here for a quick run-down for why:  pomomusings blog So basically the twist with our new name is that we’re playing off the nick-name of Little Rock as “the Rock”.  If after this name change somebody decides to pursue something against us, then so be it.

Feel free to pass this email along to all your friends and we’ll see you next Wednesday, January 20th at 7pm!

– Midrash…commentary on culture

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in culture, midrash, theology

 

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“Headwinds”

Another great post about engaging culture by Mike Metzger…

Headwinds

I’ll start producing my own posts soon…lots on my plate right now. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in culture

 

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“Grading on the Wrong Curve”

Here’s another post by Mike Metzger Grading on the Wrong Curve. It speaks of entitlements, paradigms, worldviews, and the need for influencing culture with a Christianity that is compelling…come to think of it that’s most of Mike’s posts, but they’re always excellent.

As Christians we need to take an active role in shaping culture instead of evacuating culture only to prairie-dog* and to point our finger at what is “bad”. We need to be compelling and make a difference in the wider world instead of being disregarded or ignored by the wider world. For instance art is major player in shaping culture but much of  “Christian art” has been disregarded – in my opinion, more often than not, rightfully so because it paints a picture -figuratively – that does not capture the imagination of the wider world – it only speaks to a select few of a specified audience.  (note I do not use the term(s) “sacred/secular” world. There should not be a separation of sacred/secular)

*”prairie dog” is a fun term to use when working in a cubicle world (thankfully I do not work in a cube environment, but did in the past.)  If your office has cubicles and there is some sort of commotion you will see your co-workers act much like a prairie-dog and stick their head up to see what’s going on and then duck back down.

Enjoy the post!

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in culture, theology

 

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midrash; mark your calendars and information

Well, here we are on the day when resolutions are made; but personally, I am not big on resolutions.  My thought is, with my past track record on resolutions, along with my very scientific polling of the masses, the amount of people who actually follow through with their resolutions is not astounding so why set myself up for failure?  I reside myself to making no aspirations – it sets the bar at a very pedestrian level and thus attainable.  😉

A friend of mine recently said, “don’t make resolutions but instead be resolute in your beliefs” – even though being resolute is a mild slap in the face of midrash it’s also indicative of all the different world-views we hold and it’s a great lead-in if I’ve ever heard one to announce our next event with midrash!  In midrash we all love having a starting point of resolute-ness and then progressing to ambiguity and then vacillating back and forth.  So let’s do this:

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 we’ll be jump-starting our big midrash year with Theology on the Rock*.  This is an event where we take a current, compelling topic, sprinkle in 40 or so of our friends, guide discussion with a moderator, and open up a free-range discussion where people offer their thoughts and opinions on the topic of the evening.  This month’s topic is still TBD.  Watch your email for more information on topic and location; but mark down 7 pm, Wednesday, January 20 for our first midrash event, of many, during the year.

Now some of you may be asking, “what is midrash?”, and what is the new affiliation with Eikon Church well, here are a couple of blogs giving you info about midrash:

http://bit.ly/6nSHlH

http://bit.ly/ZUJ3N

Or if you prefer the quick and dirty…if you’ve wondered, “just what is Midrash, anyway?” you’re not alone, it’s a common question.  “Midrash” is a Hebrew word that roughly means “commentary”, and we in Midrash, the organization, host events (such as Theology on the Rock, coffeeshop discussions, and art and film nights) that make room for you and others to discuss with, talk to and listen to others with a wide variety of opinions about stuff that matters.  You usually get to know new people and new things about interesting topics.  That’s it.  That’s us.

So again, pay attention to your email/facebook/twitter/ my blog to find out the location and topic for our upcoming Theology on the Rock!

– Derek

midrash…commentary on culture

* Theology on the Rock – as a note; our event formerly known as “Theology on the Rocks” has changed it’s name to “Theology on the Rock” – see here for a quick run-down for why: http://bit.ly/PuPq3 So basically our twist with our new name is that we’re playing off the nick-name of Little Rock as “the Rock”.  If after this name change they decide to pursue something against us, then so be it.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2010 in Uncategorized