Tag Archives: semantics

Agreed? Yep, we disagree.

First of all, please understand I’m random. I’m not ADHD, I can focus just fine when I want to, but sometimes the thoughts that pop in my head are just plain random. I can’t explain where the random thoughts come from other than I was the kid who incessantly asked my Dad and Mom, “Why?”. Plus, in my job I have lots of time while I’m driving or while I’m sitting in doctors’ offices to allow the randomness to pepper my brain which is why if you follow me on twitter you’ll see lots of my randomness spill onto twitter moreso than on Facebook.

All that to say, the next couple blog-posts of mine are, well…random, but they are also well intentioned to hopefully increase respectful conversations on difficult topics. I would hope they might be able to help us move beyond the stalemate of “we must agree to disagree” and move to “good men can disagree”. In the first instance there’s no room for considering another view, where in the second instance it allows for discussion. When conversations spill over into beliefs (be it political or religious) they are messy and yet also fun as long as they are combined with a heaping serving of respect.

I’ve been developing some blog posts to get back in the swing of things and hopefully post more often. Over the past couple days I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite books, some of my own writing, and also reading other people’s blogs to help spur me on. But the interesting things is that the recent stream of thought has circled around an idea of how we tend to be an “all or nothing” society. I’ll explain more fully what I mean by that when I hit the ol’ “Publish” button in wordpress of my next blog-post, but suffice it to say, for now, that what I mean is we tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater when we hear beliefs that differ from our own beliefs and not see what good can come in the grey areas of life. I love exploring the grey areas of life and I would hope we could all move to dance in the grey area a little more.

I recently came across a quote in a book I read a couple years ago that I think can help us be more respectful in our conversations – I also think that it segues nicely into my next blog-post about our “all or nothing” society.

(this quote is from a “christian” perspective in regards to living life with “non-christians” but it’s applicable to living life with people of no particular “classification”)

“A Christian’s dialogue with another implies neither a denial in the uniqueness of Christ, nor any loss of his own commitment to Christ, but rather that a genuinely Christian approach to others must be human, personal, relevant and humble. In dialogue we share our common humanity, its dignity and fallenness, and express our common concern for that humanity’ (Report II, para. 6). If we do nothing but proclaim the gospel to people from a distance, our personal authenticity is bound to be suspect. Who are we? …But when we sit down alongside them like Philip in the Ethiopian’s chariot, or encounter them face to face, a personal relationship is established. Our defences come down. We begin to be seen and known for what we are. It is recognized that we too are human beings, equally sinful, equally needy, equally dependent on the grace of which we speak. …We still want to share the good news with him, for we care about it deeply, but we also care now about him with whom we want to share it. As the Mexico report put it, ‘true dialogue with a man of another faith, requires a concern both for the Gospel and for the other man. Without the first, dialogue becomes a pleasant conversation. Without the second, it becomes irrelevant, unconvincing and arrogant” (Witness in Six Continents, 1964, p. 146)

(please note there are several different talking points in this quote that could be unpacked, which I will leave for another post; instead focus on the central idea of the quote)

So before we jump into my next post I think it’d do us all some good to enjoy a song from a band who also enjoyed dabbling in the grey areas of life. Let’s relax and enjoy life together.

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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in culture, theology


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Go ahead be “bored”, you’ll be better off.

while boredom might seem like this…

I now realize it might launch me into this…

…contemplative bliss.

For those who have ever said, “I’m bored”, you’re actually doing yourself a favor, but it might not be how, or why, you might think it to be true. Here’s another great post by Mike Metzger, The Benefits of Boredom. Mike shows us how boredom in its original meaning (and action) can allow us to embrace the paradoxes of our faith. (And yes, there are paradoxes within our faith – we can’t just dismiss things that seem to be counterintuitive to what other parts of the Bible says – but that’s for another post at another time.)

This post also tags along with my desire for us as a culture to be more intentional (specific) with the words we use everyday – example: You’re not eating a pickle, what we lazily call a pickle in actuality is a pickled cucumber. Another example: while what you’re wearing around your nether regions is called “underwear” in actuality so is the t-shirt you’re wearing under your dress-shirt and also your sweater that you’re wearing under your coat – considering today is supposed to be mid-70s in Arkansas if you’re wearing a sweater you probably have bigger concerns than what to call what you’re wearing.  I digress…enjoy the post.

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in culture, theology


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upcoming blogposts from yours truly…

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the movie “planet 51”, our all or nothing society, a conversation between a friend and I on if the Bible is absolutely everything we need, and some more on word intentionality and of course some good cigar and beer recommendations.  I just need to find some time!

First recommendation: Rocky Patel Renaissance cigar.  I had this over thanksgiving with my brother in law (he enjoyed his first ever Rocky Patel the Edge) and I must say this cigar actually can give the Edge a run for it’s money; although it is a little more expensive $12.50 vs. $8.50. It was a very smooth draw, has a little bit of spice and is just as tasty as the Edge; you could consider the difference between these two cigars as Vino’s Pale Ale to Diamond Bear’s Pale Ale – if you never have had either of those you don’t know what I’m talking about. sorry. 😉  The Renasissance has an Ecuadorian Sumata wrapper and a blend of Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan filler.  I also employed the use of my bullet cutter for the first time and I think I’m now a convert to the bullet cutter.

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Posted by on December 3, 2009 in culture, midrash, theology


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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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rescued from being saved

Below is my email response (edited and polished up a bit) to a friend of mine regarding a conversation we had about the word ‘saved’.  This snippet of the conversation pretty much stands on it’s own without much context but to give a little bit of context to the conversation, we were talking about how the term ‘saved’ is used in the Christian vernacular today.  I personally believe it would benefit Christians to drop the term altogether because when the word is used in the manner many Christians use it it sets a trajectory for attitudes that are not beneficial to how we live our lives and how we invest in our communities.  There is a much bigger background on this discussion which is a much longer conversation, but I wanted to share some of my brief opinions on this word ‘saved’.  If you want to hear the whole story you can buy me a beer.  I truly value quality conversations.  🙂

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A couple thoughts – my thoughts are not explicitly coming from the ‘emergent church’ – they’re the same thoughts that many of my ‘conservative’ friends share and at the same time they’re thoughts that some emerging friends hold, so I think it’s difficult to lump it into one camp or another.  But I also would push back a bit on your thought that one certain camp is straying from the Word of God.  I see quite the opposite – last week I spent almost an entire day with Brian McLaren; I heard his heart and saw how all of his ideas were explicitly tied to the Bible.  Every thought he posited was backed up by the Bible.  I am still chewing on his thoughts and don’t completely agree but also don’t necessarily disagree with everything he posited but it was most definitely tied to the Bible.

My thought is around how most people interpret and define the word ‘saved’.  The words/terms ‘being saved’, ‘personal savior’, ‘accept Christ as your personal savior” are not found in the Bible (nor is there a ‘sinner’s prayer’).  In the old testament we mis-translate the original Hebrew word into ‘salvation’ when it actually means ‘rescue’, which I would interpret as being able to continue on with your life after being ‘rescued’.  The way many Christians have used ‘saved’ connotes that after saying a magical prayer that you’ve reached a finish line and that you’re done – you’ve achieved what you set out to do and there’s nothing left to do except to wait to get into heaven, pass the popcorn.  When ‘rescue’ is used in the Old Testament it is talking about being rescued against the Egyptians, against King Saul, and against a multitude of other oppressors.  But when modern translations replaced ‘rescue’ with ‘salvation’ it took on a whole new meaning and morphed into being saved from hell (which then can spiral down into the ‘gospel of sin management’ as described by Willard).  Re-read Exodus 15:2, and 2 Samuel 22:3 (and a host of other verses) and replace ‘salvation’ with ‘rescue’, and ‘rescuer’ and see how it gives it a subtle but refreshing twist.

I don’t want to downplay a specific moment when someone might’ve been ‘saved/rescued’ (although paradigm shifts are seldom that easy of a transition to reduce to a specific second in someone’s life – we all know this from personal experience but you can also reference Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for a great description of how we process paradigm shifts) but as sticky as semantics is and how words can take on a whole life of it’s own (such as this one has when it was blended in with the modern concept of formulaic thought patterns) I think we might be better served in replacing the term ‘saved’ with ‘a decision to follow Christ and being rescued from things that detract us from God’ – which is quite a mouthful  haha 😉  but maybe that will set a more accurate trajectory for us in our present life.

One of the things I appreciate about what you wrote was how you referenced them as YOUR thoughts and beliefs.  That’s the beauty of worldviews and theologies – we’re free to develop our own theologies and bounce them off each other and most importantly the Bible.

And at the same time we’ll always realize that no matter which words we choose it will always be a matter of the heart and intent.

And the true fruit shall follow on the flower.

–Paradiso, XXVII.148

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Posted by on May 25, 2009 in theology


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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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