Tag Archives: Tad DeLay

Good to Not-So-Great

This post  Too Big To Fail by Mike Metzger is packed with so many great truths that have plagued both religion and business in the same manner.  Too often we view our life in a 2-Chapter gospel, “Fall” and “Redemption”; when perhaps instead we should view life the way God originally intended life to be and add two more chapters, “Creation” and Restoration” to book-end “Fall” and Redemption”.  This would give us a worldview of  “Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration”.  When we view our lives through this lense it helps us lose the “us vs them” mentality and see all of life as holy.  Even those four-letter words that seem to plague and confuse us seem much more intentional – work, play, and the arts.  ALL of life is God-breathed and worthy of redemption.  All is sacred; NOTHING is secular (let’s get rid of the word secular).

Work is sacred.

Play is sacred.

The arts are sacred.

Remember Paul’s words, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (colossians 3:17)  I believe this verse pretty much encapsulates all of life; while we’re at work, while we’re playing and while we’re viewing the arts (literature, paintings, tv, movies, etc).  I don’t think Paul gives an “out” in this verse.

…shifting gears back to the premise of Mike’s post…

One paragraph in particular from Mike’s post stood out:

“Deception leads to disaster, writes McDonald. Believing they are “too big to fail,” churches and denominations are then unable to weigh whether their time is up. “Regardless of what a branch of the universal church accomplishes or how close or far it is from Christ’s purpose, it is easy to think that God Himself will assure its continuity forever,” warns McDonald. “This is a catastrophic presumption.”

This paragraph illustrates (among other things) how we continue to make God into our image even when his word seems obviously contrary to the truths we want to believe. Sometimes we take too much liberty with Matthew 18:18 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Maybe it’s similar to when we’re taking or editing pictures, we put the focus on what we want people to see as the main focus.

In this picture the focal point that you can make out are the blades of grass and the light in the background shining through the trees.  But there is much more in the picture that is obscured by the way the picture was taken. You can’t make out the particular types of trees, you can’t see how tall the trees are and you can’t see what else is going on.  Maybe there’s a highway just to the left of the picture and an ocean to the right of the picture. This picture is giving a very narrow view of what is actually in the environment because of the way the picture is focused.  Truth be told I took this picture while backpacking a few years back and the rest of the environment is amazingly beautiful – more trees, a babbling brook that provided my water, a clearing for my campsite – an amazing small encapsulation of God’s majestic creation.



So maybe when we shorten our worldview to a 2-chapter gospel we are limiting our view of the whole picture of what God has given us. 

Thy will be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven.

I’m currently reading a book called, The Evolution of God by Robert Wright and I’m very intrigued to get into the meat of the book.  Tad DeLay an intelligent theologian and a good friend of mine, recommended this book because in 567 small-font pages it thoroughly describes this premise.  There will be more of my own posts about “The Evolution of God” as I progress through the book, but for now enjoy Mike’s post.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in culture, theology


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Social Media-Distortion – Where are my real friends?…coming soon…

During the chaos of  Christmas vacation when I’m enjoying my cold, white Christmas in Kansas I’ll be blogging about how social media is divisive, evil, and just plain naughty…ok, I won’t go that far, but I am going to tread on the thoughts of how social media can be divisive and hurt relationships parallel to the thought of social media being communal and inclusive.  The main vein will follow, “how much room do we have in our lives for all of our friends (biological and technological)?”  If you have thoughts that are related to this feel free to chime in and I’ll include them in the post (named or anonymous; your call).

I was also called out by a dear friend who shall remain nameless (Tad DeLay 😉 that I have not blogged in quite a while.  That will change soon.  I guess it’s mainly a matter of putting fingers to keyboard to hammer some thoughts out.

Enjoy today!

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in culture


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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


Posted by on January 31, 2010 in culture, theology


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email conversation with Tad

Recently I gave Tad DeLay the book,  Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn; this book continually has had a profound impact on my life in the way it has shaped my life overall and also with influencing culture via Midrash. (sidenote – my #1 favorite book is “Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, translated by Elio Zappulla)

As a bit of context for what I’m about to post, in his book Kuhn relays how people and/or institututions naturally resist paradigm changes and also what happens when people and/or institutions start to change their paradigms. Paradigms aren’t small changes people make in their lives – it’s not changing from  Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal to Cinnamon & Spice Oatmeal.  Paradigm changes are major changes of believing the earth is round vs. flat, or that the Sun is the center of the universe, or as moving from an atheist to a follower of Christ. These changes have a profound impact on the way an institution behaves and the way a person lives their life.  So taking that brief context into consideration below is a brief email conversation Tad and I had (his email first and then my reply) about a section he read in Kuhn’s book and some keen thoughts he sent my way. Maybe it makes sense, maybe it doesn’t, but I thought it was worth posting.




I had a thought on theology today while reading Kuhn. In a scientific paradigm shift, kuhn explains how a shift is initiated when an anomaly is found that is unexpected by current paradigm. So it happens as a result of the scientific method, but actually becomes philosophical because you have to move beyond normal science to explain what you are seeing.

So how about this as a correlate in theology: though theological discovery comes as a result of study of scripture ( like sci method), I can’t think of a single theology in history that did not require the theologian to move outside of scripture into pure philosophy in order to produce a new thought. So maybe theological discovery ‘requires’ that we move beyond the bible to get started ?? Sounds a bit foolhardy, but I can’t think of a single example in theological innovation ( good or bad) in which this was not the case

Sent from my iPhone




I think there’s some good truth in that.  In my opinion it’s not that we discard scripture (and you obviously weren’t saying that), but the way we interpret scripture moves us to, “if X, then Y” while still balancing it with scripture, our experiences, other books, mentors, etc.  So I think they all go hand in hand – it’s like you said going beyond scripture to start things.  God tells us to use our heart soul  and mind. He didn’t say everything you need is completely found in the Bible.


Posted by on December 24, 2009 in culture, midrash, theology


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The Four “R’s”.

Re-sponsible, Re-mold, Re-create, Re-deem.

My blog is therapeutic for me in many instances. It helps me process different theological thoughts that are bouncing around in my head.  In a way it’s recreation for me. Recreation in its origins means to re-create. To make something a-new that has changed.

Many things on our earth, which were either created directly by God or created by God’s creation – man, have changed from their original intent .  Institutions, organizations, politics, art, education, medicine, healthcare, the planet and so many other things have gone adrift from people “in charge” who felt no obligation to be held responsible (able to respond) to a higher truth than their own selfish pursuits. (Tragedy of the Commons)  We’re co-creators with God and with each of our own kingdoms we need to be able to: be re-sponsable, re-mold, re-create, and re-deem what was meant to bring glory to God.

Last night I had a great evening out with Tad talking about life and theology over nachos, fine malt beverages, and a very tasty Rocky Patel cigar (it was their decade series, box press, and I highly recommend it!).  My life right now is consumed with work, travel, and soccer; and last night was re-creation for me during a time of crazy busy-ness.  So all this to say that as these thoughts keep bouncing around in my head I will be more regular at posting some of these thoughts. I just sometimes need a good strong cup of mental coffee to keep me regular.

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Posted by on November 12, 2009 in theology


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blogroll…officially gone…durnit

In changing themes it seems I have lost my blogroll option; I’d love to be able to pimp your blog but I guess I can’t.  Hopefully I’ll find a way to get them back on my blog but for now my apologies go to:




Eikon Church

Brian McLaren

Cigar Blog

Cigar Aficionado

Clapham Institute

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Posted by on November 1, 2009 in politics, 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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book review by Tad

I thought Tad wrote a great, brief synopsis on the book, “Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)” so I’ve linked to it.   Tad also touches on mis-conceptions/misunderstandings that happen when non-emergent people critiquing emergent theology and emergent people.  Labels is as labels does when it comes to emergent, but we’re confined to the system others have created with semantics.  Check it out.

Tad\’s Blog

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Posted by on September 18, 2009 in theology


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Sunday night (8/30) at The House in Hillcrest – 6:00-8:00pm

This is the church that Midrash Little Rock will be connected with. If you’re a fan of Midrash Little Rock you should come on out and grab some food, a tasty beverage of your choice, and hang out with us.

I swiped this from Ryan Byrd and eikon’s website:


i’m excited to announce our upcoming spectacle/shindig/gathering (it’s your choice of the 3 words…we’re all about free will at eikon…) for august. on sunday, august 30, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hanging out at the house—the great new addition to hillcrest—engaging in a conversation that we’re calling EIKON | WHY: a conversation about yesterday.

why is it a conversation about yesterday?

  1. 1. we like to use really intriguing-yet-bordering-on-pretentious titles for our gatherings.
  2. 2. we want to encourage the spontaneous singing of the beatles’ yesterday, being that we currently lack a solid british element at eikon. (we also encourage the boyz 2 men cover version of yesterday, being that it includes exponentially more “oohs” and “uhhs” and probably includes a spoken word part by an otherwise under-utilized bass singer…)
  3. 3. (seriously), we’re all experts on yesterday. we just lived it and need to process it. knowing the what of our past speaks to the why of our present/future.
  4. 4. we think your yesterday story is probably much closer to others’ stories than you think and thus, closer to the story of why we’re starting this thing called eikon.

ok, well, we are now equally confused and intrigued. how about yourself?

in the event that you find yourself confused and/or intrigued, you should definitely come hang out with us on sunday, august 30 at the house. our conversation about why we’re starting eikon will be a great entry point if you couldn’t make it to our gathering at vino’s last month and likewise, a great conversational entry point for those who have already been hanging out with us.

here’s the quick minutiae of the gathering. try to be there fairly close to 6 p.m.. we’re working with the chef to create a special menu for us that will give you a choice of 5 entrees and your choice of any of their beverages (beer, wine, coffees, soft drinks). just to be clear, eikon isn’t picking up the tab, but we think you’ll find the menu reasonably priced (and well worth it). instead of the usual ordering downstairs, go ahead and come upstairs, grab a seat and they’ll do service at the tables. we’ll spend the first hour just eating/drinking and hanging out. we’ve reserved a small room to the right upstairs, but during the first hour of dinner, feel free to sit anywhere upstairs. around 7 or so, we’ll transition into our conversation into the smaller room (where people might have to squeeze in, stand, lean, squat or engage in other means of fitting a large mass into a small space).

my (ryan) goal is to talk a little and listen a lot (though I can often be more successful in the reverse scenario…). i’ll intro the conversation and serve as a guide, but my hope is that the conversation will revolve around the group rather than myself.

NOTE TO THE INTROVERTS WHO ARE CRINGING AND DRY HEAVING RIGHT NOW (which actually includes myself, in terms of the introvert personality type): because I can certainly empathize, you don’t need to worry about being called on, called out or singled out. it’s your choice about how much or how little you contribute to the conversation. while we encourage active participation, we want to honor the fact that everyone engages in different ways. some do it by talking, while some do it by listening. so, please discontinue your dry heaving…no need to panic…you’re in good hands with eikon. 🙂

alright, that’s the story. come hang out with us. if you’ve hung out with us before, be sure to come again and if you haven’t been able to come or have been hesitant to come, this is a great entry point. (we’re a friendly bunch, despite our generally hairy, frightening exteriors…)

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Posted by on August 29, 2009 in theology


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suicide – the final goodbye or a temporary separation

Recently a friend of mine asked me what I thought about suicide and the role it plays in determining our eternal destination.  She mentioned recently that the husband of a friend of hers took his own life.  They attended the funeral and since then my friend and her husband have been talking about this subject a little bit.  My friend and I are no strangers to this subject because during high school (she somehow completed high school in 4 years, it took me 7 jk  😉  but we had three of our friends commit suicide – and as always they were three people you would never expect.  Also, I’m in no way shape or form an expert on this topic – I have a brain, knowledge of religion, and an internet connection which in cyberspace grants me liberty to post my thoughts.  But I hope my thoughts my provide some information for people to chew on and ponder.

Please be aware that when I reference Christus Victor and substitutionary atonement I do so in very wide swipes, and in some cases generalizations, because otherwise my response to my friend would have been about 1,000 pages to unwrap all the history of the atonement theories along with all the cause and effect possibilities.  Here’s my response.

I’m curious if the Reverend giving the funeral hinted to one way or another at the funeral?  That could be very touchy.

Ok, here are my thoughts. Like I mentioned this is a very tough question and I am in no way an authority on the issue, but I don’t know if anybody is an authority on it other than God. From the way I see it there are 3 basic responses and it pretty much depends on 1) how you view Christ’s crucifixion as atonement for sin and 2) a belief that there is a hell. I’ll run through the different atonement views very quickly and how they would approach suicide and then I’ll also tell you which one I side with.

1) Substitutionary atonement – this view accounts for two of the options (options ‘a’ and ‘b’) – Christ’s death on the cross is a substitution for our sin. Equal retribution for our sin on earth.
a. Suicide is ultimately damning to hell. He’s in hell. The thought is that the person is saying, “God, my problems are so big that not even you can help me.” So they’ve given up all hope even that God can help them.
b. Suicide is sin and equal to all other sins. He’s in heaven. He murdered himself and murder is sin, but every sin carries the same weight (except for blaspheming the holy spirit which I don’t think applies here). Christ died to pay for our sins. Personally, I’m very conscious of when I sin and when I sin I’m in essence saying, “God I know I’m about to sin, but even you can’t help me for what I’m about to do and I’m going to do it anyway.” This is the same situation as above but somewhere along the line as Protestants we started to weigh certain sins as heavier than others – murder, rape, suicide, etc.) (it’s kind of been unspoken, all the while still saying that sin is sin and no sin is greater than any other sin) The reality in this view is that sin is sin and they all carry the same weight in God’s eye. Christ’s death paid the price for our sins no matter what they are.
2) Christus Victor atonement – this view accounts that ‘every knee shall bow every tongue confess that Christ is Lord’ and that everybody will be in heaven; it makes no difference what a person’s sins are. And depending on your view of Christus Victor it also sometimes makes no difference who you believe is God. Christ’s death has conquered sin completely and he reigns over everything so almost everybody will be in heaven.

Not to get on a soapbox but I personally fall somewhere between substitutionary atonement and Christus Victor (it would take too long to explain why, but over the past 10 years my theology has changed a bit). Regarding suicide I used to hold the first view that suicide is saying, “God you can’t help me.” Personally I believe that God is a loving God (more than I ever realized), who loves his creation. So, I would hold to the ‘b’ option and your friend’s husband is in heaven. But it is definitely a tough, grey area and I’m glad that God’s in control of what’s going on for our eternal destinations and not me.

I talked to a couple buddies of mine about the subject and I’ve included one of the guys’ thoughts on the topic. My other buddy basically said, “ditto” to my first buddy’s thoughts. 🙂

my buddy’s thoughts…
“Suicide as a damning act is a novelty of Roman Catholic doctrine so far as I know. I could be wrong, but i’m not aware of that belief in Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, or Judaic streams. The premise that someone goes to hell (which requires a belief in a literal hell to begin with, of course), is premised on the last act of a person’s life being self-murder, with no chance to confess or offer penance. Judaism never had much of a firm afterlife theology and Protestantism rejects the notion of itemized repentance, so it’s easy to see why that idea did not crystalize there.
I’ve had a couple of friends commit suicide, and while i think it shows a profound level of unhealth and degradation to get to that point, I don’t get why that is suppose to send you to hell.”

It’s me again, 🙂
So I hope in some way shape or form this might help; and I’m sure that your friend who is dealing with her husband’s suicide is in pure anguish – I can’t imagine having to cope with that situation. Love on her like crazy.
Let me know what you think; and what your pastor says too. I love hearing different views.

cigar recommendation – Rocky Patel, Olde World Reserve – I enjoyed this cigar last night and it’s a quality cigar.  It has hints of being just like the name implies, Olde World.  It has earthy elements and has a rather strong, full flavor.  It was every minute of a 2 hour smoke and definitely worth the $12 (I live in AR where cigar taxes are ridiculously high). I don’t think you can go wrong with any cigar from Rocky Patel.


Posted by on July 9, 2009 in theology


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