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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.

passion

profession

job

pickles

underwear

formula

kleenex

xerox

worship

church

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.

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Posted by on March 8, 2009 in theology

 

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Legalistically Content

“If Stanley Hauerwas is correct to assert that most Christians in America today are ‘functional atheists;’ that is, most Christians live in such a way that it makes no difference that God raised Jesus from the dead, then surely even more Christians today are inadvertent heretics, trodding paths of belief the ancient Church long ago labeled dangerous detours.” – Tamed Cynic

Grace. Such a boring, overused, misunderstood, and cliched word. But also a powerful, meaningful and “awefully” refreshing reassurance of how we can have contentment in our lives. Grace can counteract the subversive power of legalism. Normally, when I see a blog-post on “grace”, or “mercy”, or “hope” or any other christian-ese terms I won’t read the post, but hear me out on this one.

Unfortunately legalism is rampant across the evangelical church’s landscape but I see it quite a bit more now that I live in the south and it’s something that needs to be corrected before a person tips too far to the side of a Pelagianistic theology.

Maybe legalism in some way stems from the Enlightenment era that taught us knowledge (or at least the attempt at the accrual of knowledge which to the church meant bible studies, time alone with god, Sunday school, read the Bible in __ days plans etc) is power. Or maybe legalism stems from the Protestant work ethic which has been taken hostage and also misconstrued as an individualistic, American work ethic to pull yourself up by your boot-straps; but no matter where it originated from the legalistic mindset can sink in so perversely within a person that it can trick a person into relying on themselves for rescuing them from a life of sin (“salvation“) instead of recognizing what Christ has already done for them on the cross. Grace. We need to embrace and rest in this word.

Admittedly, I’m a results driven person, I like results; plus I’m in sales and it’s my job to produce results.

RT @BestSalesTips: By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. #selling #sales

The results-oriented mindset obviously works great for my job (my managers smile upon good results) but when the results-oriented mindset carries over into my theology sometimes my spiritual activity (busyness) can be misconstrued by myself as “spiritual results” that I personally have accomplished. This is not a good thing. About ten years ago I came out of the heavily-bunkered-in legalistic camp (mindset) that I was entrenched in for most of my Christian life prior to that point. I was trying to do so many things in my life to please God that I left no room for grace. I used to believe that if I can control my activities then I can drive results and again, results (in my mind) were good so therefore I was reinforcing this behavior on my own by simply being involved in an activity. Do this, do that, pray now, pray like this, serve now, serve here, put your right hand in, put your right hand out, put your right hand in, and shake it all about etc, etc, etc. Well, the evangelical church, to drive involvement into their own Christian ghetto (churches place high emphasis on driving numbers – results) they constructed church programs and activities which unfortunately helped propagate this system in my life which pushed me towards thinking that spiritual activity pleases God and therefore if God is pleased he will “save” me. If you extrapolate that line of thinking out logically, in essence my activities would help me in attaining my own “salvation” so it is up to me to save myself. The “works/legalistic” mindset pushed me further away from the understanding and realization of grace – what Christ had already done for me on the cross.

Not long after trying to be involved in as many church-related activities and individual activities as possible my mind and life had a blowout by ultimately not being able to control everything in my life and I swung the pendulum the other way into a laissez fair, anything goes lifestyle. Bad move too. What happened in that time period is a post for another time.

RT @darrinpatrick: Anyone who tries to control everything in his world ends up with a very, very small world. via @RickWarren

In summation, legalism is man’s attempt at attaining something that the grace of God has already provided. I’ve rambled on a bit but I feel Darrin Patrick (pastor at The Journey Church in St. Louis) has hit the nail on the head with his teaching on legalism and grace. I can wholly identify with what Darrin is talking about in this teaching. If you have 35 minutes to spare (in actuality we all do) you can listen to Darrin’s teaching here, or watch it here.

Like I said before…grace. We need to drop the need for “doing/knowledge” and instead embrace and rest in the contentment and wholeness of this word – grace. Robin Williams epitomizes and illustrates what happens when instead of spitting out what we know, we are able to step back and breathe it all in. (Good Will Hunting)

Contentment via grace because of what Christ did for us.

 

Cheers! Vaya con Dios.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in theology

 

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The straight and narrow could stand to be a bit deeper.

“Before Roberta Green and her family joined Redeemer Presbyterian Church, she had one final question. … “Is Redeemer ecumenical or sectarian?” she asked. “Because I grew up deep in the fundamentalist world where every kind of church or believer who was not in our denomination was a heretic and needed to be shunned and I don’t want to be part of a church like that again.” – story from Jim Belcher in Deep Church

sign outside of Searcy, AR

Searcy, AR

…and my personal favorite (please note intended sarcasm)

Benton, AR

I have a strong desire for a better church in my city. Will it happen? I sure hope so. But in the churches I have attended in Little Rock I have found with my theology and my beliefs it’s like I’m stuck somewhere in the middle on the traditional/emergent pendulum. My theology is too liberal for some and too conservative for others. I don’t fall in line with the “traditional evangelical” church (please forgive that label, it is awfully generic) but I also don’t line up with the “emergent” church (also very generic label). I’m somewhere in between. I’m in limbo. I live in a state of dissonance, and as such I’m without a church that strikes that final note to make it a harmonic chord with my beliefs. I’m not looking for a perfect fit, or perfect church, because as long as churches are organized and attended by men and women it will always have a little bit of discord and dissonance. And I think a little bit of dissonance can be a healthy tuning instrument. At the same time I believe there are others here in Little Rock who might feel the same way I do – they find themselves falling somewhere in between and with no church to call home.

Now, I know by saying I desire a better church, it might seem arrogant, and I can understand why it may seem that way. Why should I think my vision for what a church should look like is THE way for a church? It comes across as arrogant, but I promise that is not my intention. I believe there are good churches in Little Rock who have done alot for their attenders and for this city, but I also believe there is always room for improvement. If you believe your church is perfect, well, as I’ve learned in the south when you want to call someone a moron but use different words you say “bless your heart”, so…bless your heart. 😉

I am a voracious reader and most of the time I am reading anywhere from 6-8 books at a time. I’ve read books from both sides of the traditional/ermergent aisle – so to speak – and I can appreciate the different leanings and interpretations from both, but what I don’t get is why there’s the constant bickering and denigrating of the other’s perspectives and beliefs between the two camps. If you’re on twitter you probably know what I’m talking about. There are shots across the bow almost every day from people about different figureheads of both sides. Are we not worshipping the same God?! Some would say no, I say yes! (more on that in the next post)

But for now, I’ve started to read a book by Jim Belcher called Deep Church.

It details a conversation between John Piper and Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt and well, it just didn’t end well. Basically both sides told each other they were unfit to be a pastor.

~~~~ can we get a group hug~~~~

After almost a decade the two sides now are at loggerheads, and it seems the rift will not be healed anytime soon. – Deep Church

Yet the two sides can’t get along. They are hostile to each other, using their writings and conferences to denounce the other side. – Deep Church

…hmmm, maybe not.

So if we can’t get a group hug between the two sides…I want to find a way for myself to live more peaceably and more graciously within my traditional church (for the time being…more on that later) while I’m stuck dangling in the middle between the two.

I’m about 50 pages into the book and so far it’s been a great read. It outlines the traditional church and the emergent church and talks about why they seem diametrically opposed in matters of faith and completely unable to work together or even hold a civil conversation.

Again…are we not worshipping the same God?! Good grief people!

Over the next couple of posts I’m going to outline some of the concerns I have with the traditional church and emergent church and also offer suggestions that can make our theology more in line with how we live our lives meaningfully on earth…which is our future heaven. Wait a second…you don’t think God is going to destroy the earth we’re on now? Nope sure don’t. We need to be aware that our theology and how we interact with our culture and what we think about heaven and earth impacts how we live our lives today.

If you’re like me and find yourself stuck in the middle between the traditional and emergent churches and you’re wondering what to do about it I highly recommend checking out Deep Church by Jim Belcher. It (so far) is giving a fresh perspective of finding a balance and a deeper meaning to my faith than what is currently presented in the church I attend.

Maybe it’s time for a new church in Little Rock…a, shall we say, Deep Church. (a bit of foreshadowing perhaps? 😉

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in culture, theology

 

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“N.T. Wright on Genesis 1…Literally”

This isn’t one of the two posts I had planned on today – those are still coming, later today. But I just viewed this  video and it was too good not to link to.

I’m a stickler for using words in their most accurate intended form and in this video post N.T. Wright (an author I greatly admire and I highly recommend his book Surprised By Hope) he briefly examines the use of the word “literal” and gives his opinion on whether or not we should take Genesis 1 “literally”. If you have four and a half minutes to spare check it out.

“Ur Video: N.T. Wright on Genesis 1…Literally”

And as always, please share your thoughts…that’s why it’s Dialogo de Derek (Derek’s Dialogue), and not a monologue. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

pics may be worth a thousand words but words are the starting point for understanding

This is a great post from a friend of mine, Tad. I love his desire to clear up confusion by posting what he means when he uses certain terms. I might have a different definition/understanding of some of his terms and that’s the point of it all; to understand Tad’s message I need to understand his starting point for a term he is using.

Words are extremely valuable and I’m a huge proponent of us (collective us) being more intentional about the words we use. ( awfully delayed…about that word awful… ) There is alot of truth in the cliche saying, “Say what you mean, mean what you say.”  And if you don’t understand what someone is trying to communicate just ask so you don’t misunderstand what is being communicated.

Read Tad’s post and his blog.

Tad\’s post


 
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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in theology

 

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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