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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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My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB. Fire it up.

Since last September when my dog Baron died…


…I’ve tempered my FB posts a bit in realization that FB is just nonsense and utter bullshit when it comes to politics. I love you all but it truthfully is. It devolves down to who can shout the loudest?! 

So back then, I turned over a new leaf on FB and have tried, to the best of my ability, to keep my Facebook posts free of my own personal politics (except for “liking” other peoples’ political posts). Political FB posts are often times just way too divisive. Posts on a screen don’t have the ability to change culture, or advance anything meaningful or tangible, really. It’s just an attempt of who can shout the loudest while reinforcing our own cognitive biases. We simply “like” ideas we agree with, while we dismiss (demean) ideas or people groups we don’t agree with. Facebook has become a different form of the “Christian ghetto”. Facebook requires nothing of the user other than the click of a thumbs up, or sharing things we really, really, really agree with; and we just know that if people will read what I shared they’ll change their minds and agree with my cognitive bias posts. (heavy sarcasm implied)

My blog on the other hand is fair game for any and all topics!…and it’s also where I would like to invite you all to engage me for RESPECTFUL discourse. Topics will include: theology (sin of certainty, books I’m reading, how we read the Bible, turning the other cheek vs why Jesus doesn’t champion christian warriors/soldiers, evolution), racism, politics (Dems and Repubs are both wrong, legislating morality is wrong-er), business (sales primarily), sports (KU, Royals, Sporting KC and muckfizzou), my new love of gravel grinding, BBQ (reviews and my own smoking), cigars (reviews and FDA bullshit regulation updates), etc, etc, etc. 

But everything that has happened from the president recently is absolutely unbelievable, and astonishing. And yet, at the same time, not surprising of him at all. That fact is regrettably the sad, hopeless feeling of pulling the curtain back on Trump’s true character. 

So with all this nonsensical, despicable bullshit going on from the president and the Church’s silence in response to him I might have to start firing the blog up again and I apologize in advance. 😉😎 but seriously, I want to encourage you to engage me – I’m nice…for the most part. So if you don’t understand why I believe something I wrote about, just ask me. My blog is called “Dialogo de Derek” for a reason – it’s an invitation into a conversation. It’s not meant to just be a monologue, or my own diatribe.

Honestly though, writing for me is more cathartic than anything else; it allows me to hammer something out, take a deep breath, exhale and continue on without loosing my noodle. I’ve written several posts recently and just haven’t hit “publish”. If/when I start writing again I will link to the posts on FB, but still keep my FB feed free of my direct thoughts, you’ll have to click the link to see the inner workings of my randomness. We’ll see what jumps from my brain to my blog in the coming days. You’ve been warned. 😉😜 I love you all…or at least most of you. 🤣

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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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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Legalistically Content

“If Stanley Hauerwas is correct to assert that most Christians in America today are ‘functional atheists;’ that is, most Christians live in such a way that it makes no difference that God raised Jesus from the dead, then surely even more Christians today are inadvertent heretics, trodding paths of belief the ancient Church long ago labeled dangerous detours.” – Tamed Cynic

Grace. Such a boring, overused, misunderstood, and cliched word. But also a powerful, meaningful and “awefully” refreshing reassurance of how we can have contentment in our lives. Grace can counteract the subversive power of legalism. Normally, when I see a blog-post on “grace”, or “mercy”, or “hope” or any other christian-ese terms I won’t read the post, but hear me out on this one.

Unfortunately legalism is rampant across the evangelical church’s landscape but I see it quite a bit more now that I live in the south and it’s something that needs to be corrected before a person tips too far to the side of a Pelagianistic theology.

Maybe legalism in some way stems from the Enlightenment era that taught us knowledge (or at least the attempt at the accrual of knowledge which to the church meant bible studies, time alone with god, Sunday school, read the Bible in __ days plans etc) is power. Or maybe legalism stems from the Protestant work ethic which has been taken hostage and also misconstrued as an individualistic, American work ethic to pull yourself up by your boot-straps; but no matter where it originated from the legalistic mindset can sink in so perversely within a person that it can trick a person into relying on themselves for rescuing them from a life of sin (“salvation“) instead of recognizing what Christ has already done for them on the cross. Grace. We need to embrace and rest in this word.

Admittedly, I’m a results driven person, I like results; plus I’m in sales and it’s my job to produce results.

RT @BestSalesTips: By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. #selling #sales

The results-oriented mindset obviously works great for my job (my managers smile upon good results) but when the results-oriented mindset carries over into my theology sometimes my spiritual activity (busyness) can be misconstrued by myself as “spiritual results” that I personally have accomplished. This is not a good thing. About ten years ago I came out of the heavily-bunkered-in legalistic camp (mindset) that I was entrenched in for most of my Christian life prior to that point. I was trying to do so many things in my life to please God that I left no room for grace. I used to believe that if I can control my activities then I can drive results and again, results (in my mind) were good so therefore I was reinforcing this behavior on my own by simply being involved in an activity. Do this, do that, pray now, pray like this, serve now, serve here, put your right hand in, put your right hand out, put your right hand in, and shake it all about etc, etc, etc. Well, the evangelical church, to drive involvement into their own Christian ghetto (churches place high emphasis on driving numbers – results) they constructed church programs and activities which unfortunately helped propagate this system in my life which pushed me towards thinking that spiritual activity pleases God and therefore if God is pleased he will “save” me. If you extrapolate that line of thinking out logically, in essence my activities would help me in attaining my own “salvation” so it is up to me to save myself. The “works/legalistic” mindset pushed me further away from the understanding and realization of grace – what Christ had already done for me on the cross.

Not long after trying to be involved in as many church-related activities and individual activities as possible my mind and life had a blowout by ultimately not being able to control everything in my life and I swung the pendulum the other way into a laissez fair, anything goes lifestyle. Bad move too. What happened in that time period is a post for another time.

RT @darrinpatrick: Anyone who tries to control everything in his world ends up with a very, very small world. via @RickWarren

In summation, legalism is man’s attempt at attaining something that the grace of God has already provided. I’ve rambled on a bit but I feel Darrin Patrick (pastor at The Journey Church in St. Louis) has hit the nail on the head with his teaching on legalism and grace. I can wholly identify with what Darrin is talking about in this teaching. If you have 35 minutes to spare (in actuality we all do) you can listen to Darrin’s teaching here, or watch it here.

Like I said before…grace. We need to drop the need for “doing/knowledge” and instead embrace and rest in the contentment and wholeness of this word – grace. Robin Williams epitomizes and illustrates what happens when instead of spitting out what we know, we are able to step back and breathe it all in. (Good Will Hunting)

Contentment via grace because of what Christ did for us.

 

Cheers! Vaya con Dios.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in theology

 

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Explanation/Excommunication Part II – The Excommunication

The Excommunication 

Why is there a (very much delayed) second (and third) part to this post? Well, this is a follow-up to my first post and is what actually happened to me (and my wife), and in the next part I’ll examine “why” it happened. I will bring up some ideas/thoughts of why what happened in our community group actually happened. Make sense? In essence, I am going to look at the reason behind the reason.

What happened 

Earlier this year…well actually, earlier last year (2012), my wife and I were asked to leave our community group. Over 2 1/2 years ago my wife and I had joined this community group through the church we used to attend, and we had been part of this community group since the beginning of our marriage. The reason two of the guys were asking us to leave was that in their opinion, and in their words, I was bitter, and divisive with my opinions of their church, and also that I was posting negative thoughts (on social media) about their church that made them feel defensive. They told me I could remain in the community group if I stopped posting the things I had been posting, and that I had 48 hours to decide if I would comply with their demands…I mean their desires. 😉

Rush to Judgment

First of all, their accusations were completely off-base. Unless there is something completely egregious done by a specific church I don’t post about any one specific church. I post about the “church at large”. I did have one blog post about a year ago from a sermon I heard at our former church that really irked me, but in all other examples I posted in generalities about “the church at large”. I guess somehow they had a bit of narcissism built into the things I post where they thought everything I talked about was about their church. On their last complaint it almost brought me to the point of laughter, is that one of them went so far as to say that he felt uncomfortable with what I post because he believed people would associate what I would post as representing his thoughts and views. WTF?!?! Wow. That comment totally blew me away. That type of attitude is full-fledged narcissism. But now the whole “excommunication” has had time to blow over; in a way can still be a bit irksome (not sure if that is really a word) but in actuality it’s just simply comical and laughable. What happened in that community group is no way representative of true community. My wife and I now just laugh at the whole situation. While she doesn’t always condone what I post…and truth be told she sometimes cringes when I proudly proclaim, “I blogged!”, she overall respects and supports my beliefs and supports the avenues in which I express them. I love my wife!

Me and Wifey

Me and the Wifey

Now I will admit, none of this would have happened if I knew how to keep my fat, pie-hole shut about things that the church (at large) does that upsets me. (if you need a reminder of why I post what I post see my last post: The Explanation) But please understand what I am saying: the things that I posted & tweeted, that the guys were upset about, (which were not anything over the top or crazy!) are the the things where I feel the church has missed the mark on and missed the reason the church is in existence. In fact, I’m more discouraged with them as Christians in their beliefs and most of all their handling of the situation that they tried to squash what I had to say. And I honestly feel so strong about how much the church has bastardized its mission and how neglectful the church is being towards those who need assistance that I can’t keep my feelings to myself. Spending millions of dollars on audio/video equipment (which many churches do) while people in our streets go hungry is merely one example. When I post/talk about these issues I don’t bring them up in a spiteful manner; I speak from the heart for why it upsets me. I can handle less than perfect acoustics in a church if it means others can have food to eat, or healthcare for their illness. A while back my wife and I visited a church that was a beautiful church building with concrete floors, grandiose vaulted ceilings, and a sound system that by the looks of it might have cost $10,000. Were the acoustics the best? Not by any means, but I can honestly say I had a more worshipful experience that Sunday than at any other church here in Little Rock. (We also got a pretty good aerobic workout because it was an anglican church which meant we were doing a lot of up, down, kneel, up, down, kneel, up, down, kneel. I digress…)

Thou has committed a grave sin! “Say What?!”

The manner in which these two guys “confronted” me about their issues with me, and also in the weeks leading up to it (they never responded to emails and texts that I had sent to both of them with honest questions and concerns), and also the way they kept me in the dark with their feelings towards what I posted and never voiced any disapproval until they gave me their ultimatum of “stop posting or get out”, and the fact that they gave me such a ridiculous ultimatum, it was very clear to me and my wife that we would not remain in that community group. And I ended up letting them know our decision just right before their 48 hour deadline expired (I wanted to create a little soap-opera-esque drama 😉  The way they handled the entire situation honestly almost felt like I had committed some huge sin and they were enacting “church discipline” on me. In no way whatsoever was what went down in this situation a reflection of good, true, meaningful community. Again, it was just absolutely 100% absurd.

Why are we so quick to eliminate and/or paint people as miscreants when they hold a different point of view than what we hold? It seems like Christians have no tolerance whatsoever.

I Must Break You…But In Case I Can’t Please Just Go Away.

 

Of all religions, the Christian is without doubt 

the one which should inspire tolerance most, 

although up to now the Christians 

have been the most intolerant of all men.

– Voltaire

The longer you are removed, chronologically, 

from your conversion the more likely it is 

that you’re going to struggle with self-righteousness.

– Darrin Patrick

Spiritual security comes when we stop being anxious about others and begin to watch after ourselves. 

– Teresa of Avila

Faith afraid to think is unbelief masked in piety. 

Unbelief afraid to think is pseudo-faith 

with Enlightenment trimmings. 

– G. Ebeling tweeted by @trippfuller

Do the hard work of questioning your doubts, 

not just the easy work of raising them. 

– @Jonathan_Dodson

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! 

– Lamentations 3:40

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy,

as cause for withdrawing from a friend. – Thomas Jefferson 

“Humility is born when we acknowledge our biases and the limitations of our perspectives. … An important part of life is learning to see things from different perspectives rather than simply judging those who don’t agree. I am a person of faith. I believe we are supposed to cooperate with each other instead of comparing ourselves to one another. I believe that each person on this planet is unique and different – a Masterpiece. The hues of melanin add beauty and the myriad of philosophies and perspectives make me consider and evaluate what I most deeply believe. Faith is supposed to encourage me to courageously explore all of life, not to fear the unknown. Faith is supposed to teach me to trust that God is with me wherever I go, not to rely on sight alone. This means that there are times when the perspectives and schemas I’ve developed to process life must be completely torn down and rebuilt when new and challenging viewpoints are presented.” 

– Ethan D. Bryan, “Run Home & Take a Bow, Stories of Life, Faith And a Season With The Kansas City Royals”

Building off of Ethan’s great quote (from his book which I highly recommend!!)…as Yoda would say…

“You must unlearn what you have learned”, pretty wise teaching from Jedi master Yoda. We must be willing to not rush in so quickly to judge people, but instead see what we can learn from others…but I’ll delve more into that in part 3.

So after going through all of this ridiculousness over the past 6 months it got me thinking about how some Christians treat other people (and yes, even how some Christians treat other Christians), and how some people deal with others who who hold different views. It’s honestly a bit discouraging when you think about it.

Eliminate?

Acclimate?

Tolerate?

What is the right way to handle those who have different belief-systems? It seems simple when you think about, but what we believe we should do and what we actually do are sometimes two entirely different things. The ole “ought/is” debate. It’s always fun. 🙂

1) Why we treat some people the way we do, 2) a glimpse of what should’ve happened in my community group, and 3) what can be learned from the whole crazy situation, are topics I’ll dive into in part III. (I promise it won’t be as long of a time-frame to post part III. 😉

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in community, culture, spiritual, theology

 

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The Explanation and The Excommunication

(part 1 of 2)

The Explanation

I wanted to wait awhile before I posted this series of posts because I was pretty ticked about something that happened recently (more on what actually happened later) and wanted to make sure I wasn’t writing this from a knee-jerk reaction of being ticked – however, this specific post was inspired by what actually happened. And after waiting, processing what happened, and reflecting back I think I’ve reached a good point of levity to spell things out honestly and objectively while intertwining my own take of what went on – as weird and off-base as it was…but most of that is in the second part of this post that I will post in a couple days.

This post is an explanation of why I write and post about what I write and post.

Some thing compels me, therefore I write. 

Provoking a reaction isn’t the same thing as saying something significant.

– Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes

Let me dispel any myths, or incorrect assumptions, about why I write, tweet, and post, right off the bat: I’m not a bitch-and-moan type of person and I’m not bitter towards the church or towards Christians. I’m not. Bitter and negative people actually annoy me…alot. Plus, that type of an attitude or mindset gets you nowhere other than being cynical and focusing on the negative things in life. If you surf the internet or flip on the TV you will be flooded with all kinds of information about what’s wrong with this world. Bad things happen where we work and there are things that happen in our families that we can’t control, and I choose not to waste my time focusing on those things because that would just beat me down. I don’t ignore the negative things that happen – it needs to be fixed or corrected if possible, but I choose not to focus on it being bad and instead choose to see what is possible – how things could be better. Another way to look at is, if I was apathetic to an issue I wouldn’t be voicing any concern, because it wouldn’t matter to me – but I actually care about what I write about. You won’t see me writing about the WNBA or NASCAR or gardening tips because mainly I don’t care about those things. You won’t see me giving fashion tips, or hair-styling ideas (honestly, have you seen my hair?…or lack thereof). Again, because I don’t care about those things.

I just don’t care.

I mean, I care to some extent in the fact that NASCAR is a sport and I like sports, and in regards to fashion I don’t want to dress like a slob; but that’s the extent of those examples. They don’t interest me enough to delve into. So I write about things that truly matter to me.

I deeply care about Christianity. I care about how we as Christians have withdrawn from culture and taken an “individualism is king”/evacuation theology approach to our faith. Also, I think it’s rather important that we as the church examine how churches are appropriating our money (that is another post I’m writing that is coming in the near future and I’m pretty sure it’ll piss off some people; but if some people get pissed off I’m not that concerned about it considering there are people dying in the streets while churches spend umpteen millions of dollars on buildings, lights, and audio/video equipment – that wastefulness and ignoring of what Jesus told us to do really brings out Grumpy Derek; and Jesus was just kidding about that whole “Feed my sheep” idea, wasn’t he?). All that stuff matters to me so I write about it. But I’m not bitter. I don’t bitch and moan. I don’t say things to solely provoke a reaction and piss people off. I would like to think I provoke people to action. Or if nothing else, if that action is to solely think about what we as Christians are doing or what we could be doing then that’s a-ok with me. That’s a step.

“He who begins by loving Christianity more than Truth,will proceed by loving his sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I’m not a SAD person.

A couple weeks ago I went to North Central Arkansas for work and on my drive back home to Little Rock I was talking to a friend on the phone. I wasn’t paying attention to how fast I was going but to my chagrin the police officer coming from the other direction was paying attention to my speed. He turned around and pulled me over and thankfully this fine officer of the law only gave me a warning (and a racing heartbeat), when he definitely could’ve given me a healthy sized ticket (I might have possibly been going 67mph in a 55mph speed limit). But the funny part was before he handed me the warning he needed to write down my license plate information and his comment to me was, “Ha, that’s funny! I haven’t seen a license plate that spells “SAD”. I told him that I was very disappointed when I went to get my license plate and just by dumb-luck my license plate actually spelled “SAD”. I told him I was an optimist. He laughed. I laughed. I drove home with my eyes glued to my speedometer.

So…like I mentioned, some people have misunderstood things I’ve written or moreso the manner and reason behind why I write about topics on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, in regards to the Church-at-large and because of that I’m writing this post to explain some things. Let me also remind you, you can ALWAYS ask me for clarification. Don’t just assume I mean something if you’re not exactly clear what I mean. Again, this is what happened recently and it honestly ticked me off (it brought out Grumpy Derek) because these people who I had been in a community group with for more than two years conferred with each other, not with me, and formed their own wrong conclusions about my intentions, made a decision, and gave me an ultimatum, instead of asking me what I actually meant. Going to the source for clarification..what a novel idea. Grab a beer and hang out with me and you’ll get to know me and what I’m like…but if you want to draw your own assumptions I can’t help that. Unfortunately, that’s what happened, and I thought these guys knew me. Nope. (I hope all this foreshadowing will compel you to read part 2 and continue to read my blog in the future. 😉

Seriously, I’m actually a pretty cheery kind of guy.

…ok, but not over the top like Jim Carrey in “The Truman Show”.

“Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.”/The Explanation.

So…due to this recent confusion (read crazy-ass assumptions), I have felt the need to clarify topics that I write about, and more importantly the manner/attitude in which I write them. I write, post on facebook, and tweet about alot of different topics: theology, politics, books, culture, the Church, trends in Christianity, world-views, KU sports, cigars, beer, and more. But when I post, tweet, or write things about the Church 97% of the time (I have no idea of the actual percentage, but I would imagine 97% is pretty dog-gone close) I write about the “church-at-large” – Church with a capital “C”; not about individual, specific churches. The only time I will single out a specific church is if I know they’re doing something so egregiously bad it’s reprehensible…or if they are doing something amazingly good.

Let me share my background briefly. I moved to Little Rock in 2008 and from day one I have had a hell-ish church experience for many reasons I won’t go into right now; I have attended 4 churches in Little Rock and am currently church-less. Going back a bit further: since I graduated college in 1999 I have lived in 5 metropolitan areas and have seen the Church trends I talk about happen all over the country.  But the one thing I hold onto that gives me hope is I attended 2 churches (one in Kansas City, Beggars Table, and one in St. Louis, The Journey) who  have given me hope of what church here in Little Rock can look like and I guess I’m just crazy enough to believe I can help to be a part of the change that needs to happen. But again, I bring up my background in all of the cities to say that I’ve seen the trends that I write about happen all across the country. I’m not picking on any one church in Little Rock. Like I mentioned before, unless there is a specific issue happening at a specific church (egregiously good or egregiously bad) I try not to single out any one church by name – most of the time it’s not beneficial and just not necessary. If I did that it would be akin to when a cop sees a group of 10 cars speeding on the highway and pulls over just one person and only gives them a ticket while the other 9 cars continue speeding down the highway without getting in any trouble. Even though the person who got the ticket is guilty of speeding it sucks that they were singled out and given the ticket, while all the other speeders were not pulled over. Many churches in the area are all guilty of the same thing so why pick on one individually? Bring up the issue and take action to make things better. Don’t just bitch and moan about things that go wrong. Do something about it. My hope is to help start a new church in Little Rock similar to Beggars Table and the Journey and some good things are starting to happen.

Wrapping up

I write because I enjoy writing.

I write about things I care about.

I write out of deep conviction.

I write because it is cathartic.

I write because I believe things can be better than how they currently are.

I write because I believe some things we as Christians currently do/believe, in Christianity, are not how Jesus intended them to be.

I write because I see how things can be different and better within Christianity.

I write because I hope to make a difference.

I’m writing this post to hopefully dispel any assumptions.

I write because I am hopeful.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in spiritual, theology

 

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Moses the Power Broker

I’ll be posting the next part of ‘Ship Christians Only Can Say? soon, but I read this short post from Mike Metzger and had to post it.

Why institutions matter. Everything that follows is from Mike Metzger. Enjoy!

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It’s stunning that while Christians understand marriage as an institution established by God, most evangelical Christians are anti-institutional. They imagine institutions as cold, calculating corporations. This explains why evangelical Christianity is often so powerless to affect real change in the world. It has become, as Theodore Roszak, a Professor of History at California State University memorably put it, “socially irrelevant, even if privately engaging.” The proper exercise of power requires a proper understanding of institutions.

Power is translating authority into action. Having authority is having dominion. Jesus said all authority has been given to him. He has delegated authority to Christians (what is known as the Great Commission). We don’t have authority over all creation, but do have it over spheres of creation, such as a local business or school. Power is the capacity to translate wherever we have authority into action. Without this power, our faith is socially irrelevant, even if privately engaging. This power comes internally from the Spirit of God and instrumentally from institutions.

The best book on this – other than the Bible – is Robert A Caro’s masterful tome on Robert Moses, called “The Power Broker.” In studying the life and impact of Moses, Caro learned about the power of institutions. It began with an “epiphany about power” in the early ’60s. Moses got approval for a bridge from Rye, N.Y., across Long Island Sound to Oyster Bay – a bridge so atrociously big that it would disrupt tides. Caro never imagined Moses getting approval. He had been incredibly naïve. “I got in the car and drove home to Long Island, and I kept thinking to myself: ‘Everything you’ve been doing is baloney. You’ve been writing under the belief that power in a democracy comes from the ballot box. But here’s a guy who has never been elected to anything, who has enough power to turn the entire state around, and you don’t have the slightest idea how he got it.’ ”

Moses got his power by heading, or sitting on the boards of, most of the most influential institutions in the city. I’ll be telling you more about this in an upcoming column. But this does raise a few questions.

Questions to ask:

  • Does your church know which are the most influential institutions in your city?
  • Does your church have a plan to head, or sit on the boards of, most of the most influential institutions in your city?
 
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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in culture, theology

 

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