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Vampire christians suck – less but more. And how this partly relates to why I don’t pray anymore.

Willard’s quote below is an additional reason I struggle with prayer and hardly pray much at all anymore (there are many reasons). Primarily, I haven’t found a proper way to pray that sits well w/my theology. I don’t want my prayers to resemble “vampire christianity”.

I also don’t want to teach my sons to treat god like a genie in a bottle who doles out our wishes. Also, b/c I saw one of my greatest prayers for my Mom never happen, and that fucking pisses me off. Like a friend of mine commented when he lost his son, “it feels like I was tricked”.

I want to avoid vampire Christianity in my life and if/whenever I feel comfortable to pray again.

This ‘heresy’ has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a ‘vampire Christian.’ One in effect says to Jesus, ‘I’d like a little of your blood, please. But I don’t care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won’t you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.’ But can we really imagine that this is an approach that Jesus finds acceptable? – Dallas Willard

Almost surprisingly my faith is strong, and I have hope that someday I’ll pray again and that I’ll also be able to teach my sons how to pray properly. But until that day I’ll sit quietly while you all pray.

Amaharo.

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in theology

 

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I Will Not Pray For You, I Will Be Here For You. aka: No Parent Should Ever Have To Bury Their Child. 

I Will Not Pray For You, I Will Be Here For You. aka: No Parent Should Ever Have To Bury Their Child. 

(This post was inspired by the tragedy that occurred at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City Sunday, August, 7th. And dedicated to all my friends who have lost their child.)

A parent should never have to bury their child.

That is not the natural order or progression of life. It makes no sense. And such is life: nonsensical at times. 

I am overwhelmed and feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut when I read of a child dying in a senseless accident  (that is not placing blame for yesterday’s accident)  such as being forgotten or locked in a car that overheats. No matter the instance, no matter the accident, illness, or malicious intent of someone, a parent burying their own child is an absolute tragedy. 

I’m only one person and know of too many friends who have had to bury their own child. Think of what I just said: 

Bury. Their. Own. Child.

If you don’t have children I’m not discounting your ability to understand this scenario but the rush of love that fills your life when you have a child is astronomical. Words can’t explain the amount of love that coarses through your life. I didn’t (couldn’t) understand this before I had my two sons. 

But then, to have the focus of your love taken from you – feeling helpless and impotent and frozen. With NOTHING able to fill that void. 

Good god. 

Horrific. 

As friends we think of the parents the day the tragedy happens and maybe periodically afterwards (not a guilt trip, just reality) but the parents have to live with the heartache every single hour of every single day. 

To all my friends who have had this tragedy happen, I am so sorry. I love you. I can not fathom or empathize what it is like to be in your shoes – to experience a heart-wrenching loss. My heart breaks when I hear of your tragedies. But please know I am here for you. 

To everyone else, please keep your children safe. 

Walk alongside your friends who have experienced this tragedy. If you’re a flesh and blood friend don’t tritely offer to pray. If they are religious they might be questioning a whole helluva lot of faith’s worth and don’t want to hear a hollow offer. I know I wouldn’t. 

Here’s a song by the band Needtobreathe singing of the importance of friends and community and how we should be there for each other during times in our life that can rock our foundation, crush our spirits, tear our souls to shreds. 

At the same time, their faith could be their only shred of hope they have to cling on to as they feel the walls of the natural order crumbling around them. Everyone reacts different. 
They need continual, tangible help; a shoulder, an ear, or a body to just sit with them. Be there and be available for them as they need you. 

Lord be with us all. 

I am here for you. 

Thy kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

https://youtu.be/R3-wie9NOZE

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2016 in creation, culture, spiritual, theology

 

Hopeless Shit vs Hope…For Now…Until That Day

Hopeless Shit vs Hope…For Now…Until That Day

The Preface of Being Pissed Off

Yesterday I was driving home from Omaha and reflecting on all the good meetings I had the past couple days at the hospitals I call on. What I didn’t expect was later that evening to be sitting in my living room, holding a glass of bourbon (well that’s always expected 😉) and typing out a post while crying my eyes out over a song. I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness from something I believe has been stolen from my sons. 

I was feeling heartbroken and pissed off like I’ve never felt before at the hollow bill of theological goods churches sell about God.* Thankfully from all the shit that happened at churches I attended in Little Rock I’m not sold out to allowing a church feed beliefs into me. Over the past 5 years I’ve had a paradigm shift in a lot of my religious beliefs and my view on the Bible. Don’t worry I’m not jaded with God, just the Church. {Thankfully we’ve found a great church here in Olathe that helps me grounded.}

The Song

This song, “When Your Kingdom Comes” by The Silver Pages (link below) is continually punching me in the gut. It’s hard to listen to and not just cry. I’m talking a serious ugly cry like lay night. I’m not kidding I was making noises I’ve never heard from me. It was like a duck being stepped on slowly. 😜

When I heard the song on the drive home from Omaha last night it immediately made me tear up.

The Hopeless Shit

With all the horrible, gut wrenching, hopeless shit that goes on in this world…for me personally it’s dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s on my Mom, knowing my mom isn’t able to enjoy and love on my amazing sons like she would if Alzheimer’s hadn’t taken her beautiful mind and spirit away…for those who are dealing with their children suffering in some manner, cancer, losing loved ones, having to bury your own child, divorce, abuse, some assholes valuing a gorilla more than a child’s life (I honestly don’t give a fuck if you’re offended by me saying that…did you miss the part about my Mom has Alzheimer’s? That she doesn’t recognize me, her son. Do you think I care if you’re offended about what I said about a gorilla, or that I said “shit”, “assholes”, and “fuck”? I don’t care. My. Mom. Doesn’t. Know. Who. I. Am. I don’t care if you’re offended by a statement or a word or my beliefs. If you are offended just click away and stop reading my posts.), feeling the church has tricked you by teaching an empty and faulty theology that life is peachy by saying a prayer and that God will fix and cure everything…

…but this song points to hope. Sometimes all we have is hope. 

The Hope…For Now…Until That Day

Hope is not a tangible replacement, honestly in a way it’s  just a mind-game and for some, maybe for me, a coping mechanism. It won’t bring my Mom’s mind and spirit back anytime soon. But what hope will allow is for me to imagine and dream of one day when heaven kisses earth and all things are redeemed/renewed, my boys will run up to their Mimi and give her the biggest hugs and she will have the biggest smile on her renewed mind and body as she hugs them back as she had always craved. Her spirit (and patience in raising me 😉 ) is one of never ending grace and loving kindness. 

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Hope.

Sometimes hope is all we have to cling to…and hope can be beautiful…for now…until that day.

Anyway, have a listen to the song and cling to hope…for now…until that day.

Please Lord, remember me when you walk in paradise. Please Lord, remember me, let me walk there by your side.

*I’ll have a post expounding a bit more on some of these topics in a couple days…maybe the post will just be cathartic for me but that’s ok with me. That’s mostly all of my writing anyways. There are so many things I don’t post but maybe I should for the sake of letting others know maybe what they’re feeling isn’t isolated to only themselves.

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in theology, Uncategorized

 

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“Jackie Robinson” Is Not Our Final Example of Racism. Brutally Honest Opinions

“Jackie Robinson” Is Not Our Final Example of Racism. Brutally Honest Opinions


I am really looking forward to the Jackie Robinson documentary on PBS tonight and tomorrow. I am a big fan of Ken Burns’ documentaries and can’t wait to see this one. 

Unfortunately some will watch this documentary and think, “I’m glad our society isn’t like that today”. Sad. Today, our laws may be different and our sports are integrated but the truth is our hearts tell a much different story. Our hearts still resemble the actions of what Jackie Robinson had to fight against. 

Racism Today

Racism baffles me. 

Yes, I unfortunately understand (and abhor) how people are racist a-holes and try to subordinate people who intimidate them (i.e. slavery – no, subordination is not why slavery started but I do think it might have been a contributing factor for what helped perpetuate slavery), and how the legal system allowed racism to legally linger well into the 1960s. 

But, how racism still exists in today’s society is completely beyond comprehension. Yes, a society will always have outspoken degenerates (today that seems to be the Republican party…sorry, but prove me otherwise), but I have heard racist comments from all walks of life, not just degenerates. 

Brutally Honest 

{Disclaimer – what follows does not fully encapsulate my opinion of Arkansas because I had a lot of great experiences, for example: I have some good friends who live(d) in Arkansas, 

L to R: Tad, Brian, John, and Me
I met and married my wife in Arkansas, p1010009and both of my precious sons were born in Arkansas.  But my horrible church experiences, and the racism I saw do not reflect favorably on Arkansas, to put it mildly. But unfortunately despite this disclaimer some will completely disregard what I have stated and think I hate Arkansas. This is not true at all.}  

a sign in Harrison, AR

 
Before I moved to Arkansas I had NO IDEA how alive racism is in Arkansas. They have Robert E. Lee day on the same day as MLK Jr day and are realizing how ridiculous and insulting that is and finally might get that changed. 
When I lived in Arkansas  (2008-2015) I heard racist comments on a regular basis: in doctors’ offices, on the golf course, playing soccer, playing softball, parties, out to dinner, everywhere. People in Arkansas were not bashful at espousing their disgusting racist opinions. 

Now that we (my family) have moved from Arkansas to Kansas (my home state), being able to get away from the rampant racism in Arkansas is one reason I’m glad we don’t live there anymore. I don’t want my sons being infected by others’ disgusting racist ways and am glad they won’t be inundated with those views. I hope my sons are so oblivious about the way some people are treated dependent upon the color of their skin that I have to teach my sons about racism and how wrong it is.  Despite Kansas being steeped in historical landmark decisions and actions of racial equality (being a free state, Brown vs Board of Education ruling, John Brown, Bleeding Kansas, and more) sadly more recently Kansas is not perfect when it comes to fighting for marriage equality (again, see the Republican party). 

And please understand not every Arkansan is racist, but when it comes to race Kansas is much better than southern states. (Considering the present state of the South and race that last sentence isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.)

Racist Christians

The church founded by Jesus should be known for what he was known for: radically embracing those that others refused to touch. – Jonathan McIntosh

Short sidenote that I won’t belabor – if you’re a “Christian” and hold racist views i.e. you’re a racist…I honestly don’t know what to say… What part of Christ’s message embodies racism? Unbelievable. 

Diversity and the Gospel – Christ City Church

This is a link to a great podcast of Matt Washburn guest speaking at Chrisy City Church who speaks about this issue more tenderly and eloquently than I do. I am more blunt and straightforward; for better or worse. 🙃

Rant over for now…I do have a blog post I’m still working on regarding racism, but for now, enjoy the Jackie Robinson documentary and think about how you can help eradicate racism. 

Cheers! 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in culture, theology

 

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Rapture Teaser

Rapture Teaser


 The picture (thanks to @nakedpastor) is tongue in “cheek” (ha!) regarding Tim LaHaye’s brilliant “get rich quick by selling books to paranoid afterlife Christians about the rapture” bestselling series entitled…”Left Behind”. 

I have a much longer post about why I don’t believe in the rapture and how it is bad theology that I’ve been working on for awhile – it’s almost done. This post is just a little teaser to whet your appetite. 

I’ve pasted a link to the article below – and this post won’t make sense unless you read the article. It’s super short – 4-5 paragraphs; read it first then read my post. 

Most people who read the article would just say, “well they’re just crazy parents”. But if we think about it a little more how many of us are basically living our lives in the same manner? “Just passing through”, “This isn’t my real home”. All those thoughts convey the same ideal – you don’t care about the earth. 

As asinine, irresponsible, and deplorable  as these parents were to hold their children out of school, you know what, at least they practiced what they preached. That’s more than what I do sometimes. I talk one helluva good “game”. 

Moral of the story, God cares for his creation, people, animals, trees, mountains…everything. Sure we surmise (guess) what heaven might be like but with how little we actually know about heaven I think it’s important to make our life on Earth matter – I think God wants that from everybody! Help make things better: adopt a child or animal, be a foster parent, plant a tree (or 100 trees), be on the PTA, be there for your kids. Or if all that is too much just get out and talk with your neighbors – make your neighborhood better. 

Don’t just pass through life.  

…on EARTH as it is in heaven. 

The Right to be Raptured

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in culture, theology

 

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“I’m Sorry.”

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. As a nation we have had so many things to process and work through. Mark Driscoll gets booted (rightfully so) from Mars Hill and Acts 29. Robin Williams commits suicide. And finally, after a couple days of ignoring it, the media started paying attention to what was going on in Ferguson, MO after Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer. And then on top of that all hell broke loose on social media – twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., about what was going on in Ferguson.

A very tough couple of weeks.

Throughout this past week’s racial tension that we all saw unfold in Ferguson, and then with the horrible fallout on social media, we were exposed to people and media outlets showing their true (racist) colors. On social media I saw “friends” post blatantly racist comments and also post veiled racist comments that were truly disheartening.

And disgusting.

Here in Little Rock, my wife, son, and I attend a multi-cultural church – Mosaic Church. Our church is made up of Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Eastern Europeans, and other ethnicities. It’s a beautiful thing to witness so many ethnicities worshipping our multi-racial god during what is the most segregated hour (11am-12pm) in America. Regrettably, racism is an issue that is unlikely to be solved in our ethnically segregated churches. If we don’t worship together how can we expect to work together on an issue that plagues our society?…and plagues the South moreso than anywhere else in our country.

When we went to church this past Sunday I was wondering what the atmosphere would be like. Would there be the elephant in the room (Ferguson) that we would not talk about? Would it be tense. Would it be normal? How could it be normal?

I don’t know why, but I arrived at church with an attitude of, “I’m sorry” towards my African-American brothers and sisters. I’m sorry for the way our nation has reacted to the situation in Ferguson, MO. I’m sorry for what happened in Ferguson. I’m sorry for the things that were/are being said in the media. I’m sorry for the hateful, vile things that were/are being said and spread on social media. I’m sorry that we (via the media) clamor to hear about the white couple who has gone missing, but turn a blind eye towards the minorities who die or are murdered every day in our cities’ core. I’m sorry.

But this past Sunday, I also saw hope. I saw understanding. I saw solidarity. I saw this issue addressed in the setting and clarifying manner it should be addressed – with multiple ethnicities being able to converse about the issue.

Every Sunday at Mosaic we close our worship service in prayer and each row of people holds hands with the people next to them stretching across the width of the worship area.

We do this every week and normally it doesn’t mean much more to me than a nice gesture, but this week it seemed like a strong gesture of solidarity after Mark DeYmaz addressed the white elephant in the room.

In the clip below watch what Mark DeYmaz had to say and the 5 questions he asked about the Ferguson situation. (click the play button)

I will have a longer, more in-depth post about racism in the near future – it’s been in the works for quite awhile.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in culture, spiritual, theology

 

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I’m Under Pressure…But God Is My Release Valve. (this title is tongue in cheek)

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There are a couple things that will get me fired up pretty quickly – racism and bad theology. This post is about bad theology…but don’t worry I have a post about racism in the works too…and it’s a doozy.

But first let’s focus on bad theology…

Too often we mis-interpret and then also re-interpret thoughts and passages in the Bible into a way that makes them more palatable to digest. We also like them to specifically apply to our own lives and to our own specific situations. When this happens we end up passing down a lot of God’s teachings as mis-truths. So then the bible turns into a collection of urban legends and we miss out on his beautiful truths that are present right in front of us.

Like today for example, I was reading an article about how people were trying to find Biblical truths regarding if being gluten-free was acceptable to God. So they were dissecting how Jesus said he is the bread of life, all the stories about unleavened bread, etc, etc.  So while they’re looking for evidence to vilify or verify their question they will completely overlook MUCH BIGGER truths contained in those passages. They are taking square peg truths and trying to make them fit into round peg individual experience holes. C’mon people – we have more important things to focus on.

I digress…

The meat of this post is focused on this next thought. Consider this…

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. Yeah…it’s not in the Bible.

This is a complete bastardization of 1 Corinthians 10:13.

This thought is taken so far out of context as to what the scripture is actually talking about.

This verse is talking about temptation, not suffering (enduring more than we can handle). HUGE difference. We can control what we give into with temptations. We can not choose we suffer from. People use misuse this snippet of the passage and choose to proliferate christian life as all puppy dogs and unicorns, and that we can shrug off the hard times in our lives because God will wave his magic wand and make the “more than we can handle” disappear. It’s a pacifier, pat on the back for Christians. I will say that most of the time this phrase is said unintentional and innocently enough…and most of the time it’s meant to help people make feel better. But it’s wrong. It’s become one of those sayings that is said so often that people now automatically assume that is what is said and meant in the Bible. This is why we need to be careful about our theology.

For a MUCH better explanation of what I’m trying to say, go here – it’s an article on Relevant (the magazine) that talks about this issue specifically. They do a much more eloquent job of explaining the situation.

Now..a final quick, side-note indirectly related to the topic of this post. It’s just something to keep in mind since I love talking about the interplay of theology and living our lives…

This is from Zack Hunt’s post, Do Heretics Really Go To Hell?

In other words, Jesus doesn’t really seem to care much about our theological orthodoxy.

He seems to care a lot more about our orthopraxy, that is to say whether or not we actually lived our lives like he did.

Again, that’s not to say that ideas aren’t important. They are. But I don’t see anywhere in any of Jesus’ descriptions of the final judgement where he says or even implies that our salvation rests on agreeing to all the right doctrines.

Look, I love theology and I think good theology can lead to good living, just like bad theology can lead to bad living. But I’m convinced it’s the fruit of our theology – the way we live our lives and how we treat others – that determines the goodness of our theology, not whether or not our ideas adhere to a particular theological system.

 

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in culture, theology

 

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