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A New Civil War…Minus the Civility

It is less important to ask a Christian what he or she believes about the Bible

than it is to inquire what he or she does with it. – Lesslie Newbigin

What the hell is going on in the Christian community?!

I have friends, in real-life, (which these days seems so passé and out of touch)…so I’m going to start over and try again…how about…

I have friends I “follow on twitter and facebook” who are conservatives, liberals, moderates, progressives (not a fan of this word), fundamentalists, emergents, emergings, atheists, creationists, evolutionists, and many other political and religious categories from the whole spectrum of people-groups. It seems that recently I see so much bitching and bickering at each other within the christian community over theological differences. I’m not talking about normal disagreements – that happens when you are deciding what pizza to order. I’m talking about disparaging, nasty attacks on theologies that people hold so dear.  It seems as if when we hear somebody has a different viewpoint we go to our phones, laptops and social media outlets to say how wrong and how stupid they are, and sometimes if they’re really different and wear dark-rimmed glasses we’ll break out the heretic label and sit back and feel comfy in our piety. We seem so focused on proving how “my theology is right and your theology is wrong”.  I just don’t get it. I mean I understand (but don’t agree necessarily) about the machismo aspect in not wanting to back down from our own beliefs; and that if I said I believe it then I have to defend myself so as not to look weak, but why do we do so at the expense of embarrassing our christian brother?

 

 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’m referencing some of the relatively, recent comments from John Piper to Rob Bell, from creationists towards evolutionists (and vice versa), and from the litany of emergent thinkers who spit vile towards Mark Driscoll on a number of topics.

So everybody……….stop……….take a breath……….and freaking relax.  Cue Frankie.

 

 

I am very much aware that I am as guilty of these attacks, or at the very least a similar attitude, as anyone…although I try to be an equal opportunity offender and maybe someday I can get to a point where I’m much more gracious and less offensive…although that’s also a two-way street.

Maybe in time we all can learn to relax and engage in quality, respectful conversations with each other and not passive aggressively attack each other via twitter, facebook, or other electronic outlets. In other words, can we try to go out of our way not to piss each other off?

2 Timothy 1:12 – I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.”

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“Secondly, the phrase “until that day” reminds us that this is not a claim to possess final truth but to be on the way that leads to the fullness of truth. I do not possess the truth, so that I do not need to be open to new truth; rather, I am confident that the one in whom I have placed my trust, the one to whom I am committed, is able to bring me to the full grasp of what I now only partly understand.” Lesslie Newbigin, “Proper Confidence”

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Ecclesiastes 7:16 – Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?

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“In our interpersonal relations, we would never make such a claim for our knowledge of another person. How absurd to make such a claim with respect to God!” Leslie Newbigin, “Proper Confidence”

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Isaiah 55:8, 9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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“Sometimes it (certainty) leads toe a refusal to reconsider long-held beliefs in the light of fresh reflection on the witness of Scripture.” Lesslie Newbigin “Proper Confidence”

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Galatians 4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?

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“But we are now entering a postmodern period, a time in which the seemingly assured assumptions we have inherited from the Enlightenment are being deconstructed.” Lesslie Newbigin, “Proper Confidence”

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Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

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“Hold to Christ, and for the rest be totally uncommitted.” Lesslie Newbigin “Proper Confidence”

Now, here’s the deal, over the next couple of months (I actually have no idea what the timeframe is) but I am re-dedicating myself to posting blogs on a more regular basis. I have about 10 posts that are in a final draft phase and just need a little touching up before I hit publish, and then I have about another 50 that are in the works so hopefully they’ll be up in a more consistent time-frame.

Disclaimer – I am probably going to post something that crosses the conservative or liberal limits of your theology and honestly, I quite possibly could cross both edges within the same blog-post as I often oscillate between diametrically-opposed camps on different topics. I will have some posts that will be humorous, insightful, dumb, profound, and maybe completely meaningless…to you.  I will have some posts that are in story form. Some of my posts will be solely about our culture (which is not divorced from being theological as some fundamentalists might think).  Some posts might be political. Some might be about sports. Some might just be about a new cigar I smoked, but what I ask is no matter if the topic is theological, political, cigar-ical or whatever, that you do not automatically discount what I say just because you think you disagree with me. Maybe somewhere in the post is a nugget that can help us progress forward to quality conversations, respectful discourse, and redeeming our Earth just as God has called us to do.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven. – Jesus

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in cigars, culture, politics, sports, theology

 

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alt#View post for eikon blog

When Ryan told me I could write an uncensored blog my first thought was to preach why everybody should seek to repeal the tobacco tax, or why the Kansas Jayhawks are awesome, or why Arkansas needs much colder weather, but most of you have heard those discourses from me many times over.  Instead I decided to write a parable on the relationship of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and our limited tolerance of theological diversity. Hopefully it will make sense.

I work as a sales representative for a nebulizer company and I call on pediatricians in clinics and hospitals.  My role is to convince doctors why they need to use my company as their supplier of nebulizers.  First of all, a Nebulizer is a device used to deliver medication in the form of a mist which is inhaled into the lungs in order to improve breathing.  The bottom line for a nebulizer is to get the patient breathing better so they can live a healthier life.

In the medical industry there are many companies who manufacture nebulizers, so how do we know which one is “right”?  Well, essentially all nebulizers are the same, but there is one major non-negotiable in regards to nebulizers. The patient probably will not fully understand the pharmacological efficacy of the device so the non-negotiable aspect is the patient needs to appreciate that the treatment itself is going to make their life better; not perfect, but better. Our society sometimes places too high a value on trying to figure everything out, but there are some aspects of the nebulizer and the treatment that are beyond most people’s comprehension.  The beauty of the matter is not in knowing how the treatment works but the fact that the treatment does work.

Essentially, all nebulizers are the same and have the same desired outcome: breathing better because of the treatment.  But there are some minor differences. Some have a better treatment time, some a higher respirable fraction, and some are more portable, but in choosing a nebulizer sometimes the deciding factor needs to be what allows the treatment to have a deeper deposition with the patient.

In finishing, a sales representative with my company told me about a conversation she had with a doctor about how our company started.  She told the doctor how several years ago our owners broke off from the original company to start their own nebulizer company because of differing interpretations of the business contract. The original company sued our owners and then our owners countersued; all the while both companies are still to this day trying to gain market-share over each other. The doctor’s comment, “That’s a lot of drama over nebulizers.”

I agree with the doctor.  I want him to use my nebulizers but I realize I am biased about what nebulizer delivers a better treatment.  But all the doctors and companies agree that the main thing needed for making breathing and living better…is the treatment.

Legend:

nebulizer = denomination/religion

doctor = pastor

treatment = God’s redemptive work in a person’s life

patient = a person

breathing better = following Christ

healthier life = bringing God’s kingdom to earth

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2009 in culture, theology

 

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an evening with Brian McLaren

L to R: Tad, Brian, John, and MeI’m going to do what my buddy John did and give a link to Tad’s page which is a good summation of the evening we had with Brian McLaren a couple weeks ago.  The evening included a ‘talk’ by McLaren and then McLaren invited us over to a guy’s house for further, more intimate discussion.  It was a provocative, compelling, great evening with plenty to chew on.

http://taddelay.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/thoughts-on-meeting-brian-mclaren/

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2009 in theology

 

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Lesslie Newbigin

These are some of my favorite quotes from “Proper Confidence”, written by Lesslie Newbigin – one of my favorite authors.  The quotes are referring to paradigm changes from modernity to postmodernity and how Christ and evangelism permeate both paradigms. What we think we know, and hold so dear to, is not necessarily always what should be known.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all and especially those who might be struggling with a fundamentalist mindset of, “I do therefore I am accepted.” versus a more appropriate, “I am accepted therefore I do.”  My own four half-pennies.

“But we are now entering a postmodern period, a time in which the seemingly assured assumptions we have inherited from the Enlightenment are being deconstructed.”

“Secondly, the phrase “until that day” reminds us that this is not a claim to possess final truth but to be on the way that leads us to the fullness of truth.”

“It will mean that my understanding of the truth must be constantly open to revision and correction, but — and this is the crucial point — only and always within the irreversible commitment to Jesus Christ.

“Hold to Christ, and for the rest be totally uncommitted.”

“If we are to make contact with reality, we must have the courage to make statements that can be doubted.  There can be no knowing of reality without the courage to affirm what can be doubted and to act on that affirmation.”

“”Your kingdom come,” What are we, as Christians, asking for when we so pray?”

“I am referring to a kind of fundamentalism which seeks to affirm the factual, objective truth of every statement in the Bible and which thinks that if any single factual error were to be admitted, biblical authority would collapse.”

“It is less important to ask a Christian what he or she believes about the Bible than it is to inquire what he or she does with it.”

“The church has defined the boundaries of Scripture as canonical and thus as having a position of decisive authority within the entire ongoing tradition, but that does not mean that the conditions governing all human knowing of God do not apply within the biblical canon.”

“If we allow the Bible to be that which we attend to above all else, we will be saved from two dangers: The first is the danger of the closed mind. The Bible leaves an enormous space open for exploration. …The second is the danger of the mind open at both ends, the mind which is prepared to entertain anything but has a firm hold of nothing.”

“The reasonableness of Christianity will be demonstrated (insofar as it can be) not by adjusting its claims to the requirements of a preexisting structure of thought but by showing how it can provide an alternative foundation for a different structure.”

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2009 in theology

 

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