Wednesday, December 29, 2004

My Wife is a prophetic genius

I'm going to be at a youth rally type thing for the rest of the week, but I wanted to take a moment to point out something.

My wife is a prophetic genius. Dana absolutely cringes whenever she hears words like "postmodern", but even so, almost every "revelation" I come to by reading all the stuff I read, she has thought for years and has been trying to tell me. She says I should just skip the middle man and listen to her up front. Maybe she's right. She just seems to instinctively know this stuff by common sense (or maybe the Holy Spirit). Thank you God for giving me the marvelous gift of the woman who is my wife and the mother of our child. I apologize to both you and her for the times when I take for granted (or ignore all together) her wisdom, her kindness, her embodiment of love, and her strong desire to help make me the person You have called me to be.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mars Hill Christianity

Christmas always makes me think of Paul on Mars Hill. You may find that odd, but it goes back to my Dad. Dad was (and is) a preacher for a fairly traditional Church of Christ. Many of these churches frown on celebrating the birth of Christ on Dec. 25 b/c it probably wasn't the actual date (if you don't understand this "logic", just thank God and move on). Dad would always preach on the birth of Christ anyway, and when questioned about it would explain it by saying he was following the pattern of Paul on Mars Hill. Paul used a pagan idol and pagan poets and philosophers to teach the Greeks about the true God, or stated differently he used what they knew to tell them about what they didn't know. Dad would always talk about how silly it would be at a time when almost everyone turned their attention to Jesus for us to talk about something else. I thought it was brilliant then and I still do today.

Recently, I've been reading a book by Leslie Newbigin called "Foolishness to the Greeks". The title alone really got me thinking. The majority of scripture is written by people with a hebrew mindset to people with a hebrew mindset. However, the vast majority of western culture operates under a decidedly greek mindset, and there is a major difference/disconnect. Perhaps "Mars Hill" operates as a living metaphor for the Gospel in western culture. Perhaps Christians should be doing the hard work of studying and understanding culture(instead of hiding and sheltering ourselves from it, or "knocking it off" and making our own cheap imitations of it) as Paul apparantly did in order to redeem it for the sake of the Gospel. Maybe we need to recognize that all creation is saturated with God...that all truth is God's truth and therefore we can claim it wherever we find it and use it for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Isolation and Community

I've recently had a rather startling realization about myself. I am (in some ways) an isolationist who believes in community. On every personality test I've ver taken, the results have revealed me to be an exact tie between "introvert" and "extrovert". Though you'd never know it if you saw me "on stage", I think I've probably shifted more into the introvert column. I don't think I'm that good at having alot of relationships (although I think I'm pretty good at the few close relationships I have). Even so, I believe with all my heart in community. Let me put it this way: God, at His essesnce is a community (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), so any reflection of Him on Earth MUST be born out in true community. I suppose that makes me somewhat of an enigma(my comfort zone is in a constant argument with my convictions).
On the other hand, the church (or at least any form of it I've ever seen) seems to have the exact opposite problem. They are communities that believe in isolation. We talk about our personal Lord and Savior, our personal "quiet time", our incessant focus on the individual rather than the community, etc. This language seems somewhat foriegn to scripture to me. I don't find it contradictory, per se...just sort of backwards. We seem to see our church communities as the extension of the individuals. In contrast, scripture seems to suggest that individual Christians are extensions of their communities of faith (and those communities are extension of their mission, but that's another subject for another post). Put another way we seem to think of it this way: We individually have similar beliefs, so we come together to "worship" in a manner reflective of those beliefs. Now that we are in a group, we really should do something productive with our resources, right?
Is it possible that the Bible reveals a model of faith communites that turns the way we tend to think of it upside down (or right side up)? What if we are supposed to think of it this way: We have joined a community that is on a mission from God. Our individual lives are an extension of both that mission and that community. "What difference would that make?" one might ask. All the difference in the world.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jesus: Life and Death

Dallas Willard says:
"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."

I think he's onto something. It seems to me that we act (and believe) that Jesus' death (and ressurection) were the only things that were really important (and could have happened at any time and any place without making a difference). Consequently we act as if His life was relatively unimportant (except for the fact that He never sinned) and it's just sort of a side bonus that He did a little teaching while he was biding His time until they killed Him.
Is it possible that we are propegating this fundemental misunderstanding by the way we "share the gospel" and evangelize? Is it possible that the way we "make more christians" produces people who are actually MORE self centered and cloak their supposed moral superiority by vainly attaching Jesus' name?

I was recently listening to Rob Bell at a critical concerns course from the YS Conference. Someone asked him how and when his church did an "alter call". First he said "Actually we got rid of our alter. We haven't done sacrifices for quite some time now." Then He said, "Actually, at our church we focus more on making disciples. We figure if we make alot of disciples, we're sure to get some converts along the way. On the other hand, many churches seem to have lots of conversions but produce virtually no disciples at all." Amen
P.S. Just in case you are curious, in addition to being an Enneagram 5, I just discovered I actually am Batman.

Which member of the JLA are you?


Losing his parents to a tragic mugging, Bruce Wayne took a vow to wage a one man war on crime. Using the image of the bat to strike fear into criminals, he dons the guise of the Dark Knight after the sun sets. A genius detective and scientist he is a valuable member to the League even without powers

Personality Test Results

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Crazy Week

Hey guys and girls,
It's been sort of a crazy week this week. My parents have been vacationing in Destin, so we've been back and forth visiting with them. In additon to that we painted our living room and hall AND changed all the light fixtures in that room. On top of all that, I've been out of town for about two weeks and have been playing catch up at the office. I appreciate all of my friends who asked with sincere concern today if everything was ok due to the fact that I have been absent from the internet this week. Wow, am I really on that much? No theology this week. Check back next week same bat-time same bat-channel.