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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.

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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

 
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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.

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Tad:

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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

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Me:

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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.

 
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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:

Ryan

Tad

John

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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