Monday, November 28, 2005

BodyPrayer Review

BodyPrayer is an interesting little book. It is not a deep study on prayer (though it does include well written and "deep" introductory material. It is what it claims to be...a guide. It is an experience in prayer. For those from traditions like mine, it will be uncomfortable at first. However, I highly reccomend it exactly for people like us. It has simply renewed my prayer life. I hope it does the same for you. A word of warning though: this book will not "reason" you into deeper prayer. You must experience it...actually do the things it suggests to discover what it is saying.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

YS Update 2 (Campolo quotes)

Campolo Quotes From YS
  • (Regarding Apologetics) "The conflict is not between Christianity and science... Science is no longer on the throne"
  • "If we are conditioned by our past, we are more influenced by what we anticipate in the future"
Paraphrases of Campolo statements (because I didn't write them down exactly and don't want to misquote him)
  • Don't presume that just because your ministry is producing pious kids who don't use 4-letter words that they are "Christian". Christians pursue justice for the poor and oppressed.
  • In a city in England, there was a rule passed that you could no longer refer to the decorative seasonal lights as "Christmas Lights". They must now be called "holiday lights" so as not to offend Muslims and Jews. The Rabbis and Imans were the first to protest, because 'if the Christians can no longer express themselves in the public arena, how much longer will we be able to?'
  • If I was forced to choose between individualitic salvation and social justice, I would have to go with individualistic salvation. However, you do not have to choose. We must pursue both.
I also got to hear Tony do a couple of his famous riffs, i.e.
  • "It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming"
  • "...[a large number of] children die every day of starvation and you people don't give a [expletive]. What's worse is that more of you care that I said [expletive] than about the starving children."
Good stuff.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

YS Update 1

YS has been great so far. Tons of great lessons and times of worship. I'm really enjoying spending some time with Ryan Ice. I ran into myfriend David Fraze, which was really cool because I wasn't expecting to see him. I also got a chance to meet Doug Pagitt, which was cool. My good friend Phil came and sat in with us in a seminar on Christians and Politics by Tony Campolo. I miss my girls and the youth group, but I'm also really glad I'm here. I needed this.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Sermon and a Conference

Click Here for an mp3 of the sermon that Joe Spivy and I did together on Sunday.

Also, I will be at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention this weekend. I plan on blogging every day of the conference, so start checking on Friday.

P.S. Many thanks to my friend Phil Wilson for configuring the drop down menus in my bookstore to the left.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Faith or a Way?

I have recently been reading "The New Testament and the People of God" by N.T. Wright. Throughout a major section of the book, Wright provided a detailed description of Judaism, particularly in the first century. He does this to give a context for the work/teaching/lives of Jesus and Paul and also for the first century church. In the chapter on "The Beliefs of Israel", Wright says:

"To call Judaism 'a faith' is actually, in one sense, a piece of Christian cultural imperialism, imagining that because Christianity thinks of itself as 'a faith' other peoples do the same. Judaism chatacteristically thinks of itself as a way, a halakah, a life-path, a way of being-in-the-world"

This statement went off like a bomb in my thoughts. This is not to say that beliefs aren't important or even essential (as Wright goes on to point out later). They are simply neither "the point" or an end unto themselves. Belief is the means by which we become what we are called to be. Beliefs are meant to be catalytic to mission. The goal/ mission of the church is not simply to get others to mentally agree with the same ideas as we do. The church is not simply an "intellectual and moral society". The church is a catalyst for the Kingdom of God. Our "beliefs" should lead to a shared worldview in which we see ourselves inside the story of God, as the people of God, on a mission from God, for the world.
P.S. I received an advance copy of "BodyPrayer" by Doug Pagitt in the mail a couple of days ago. I plan to post a review in the very near future.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I have come to a rather stunning realization. A few days ago, I realized that most of the spiritual disciplines I had woven into my life, (or aspired to), were now noticeable absent. As I have spent time thinking about this, I have found it hard to discern exactly when I stopped practicing them. This has really been quite unnerving for me. However, it was more unnerving when I realized the reason (or at least the main reason). I am upset with God. I'd rather not go into the specifics of the situation, but the fact is that I am upset with him over something and I haven't dealt with it. There was this (relatively) long term situation in my life where I thought God was going to "come through", and he didn't (or at least, he hasn't). To be honest, I'm not even directly affected by that situation any more, but it is still messed up and I get angry just thinking about it. I admit that I am finite while God is infinite. I confess that I have a limited perspective and a 3 lb. brain which is unable to comprehend God or his purposes. But even so, I am left wondering why obvious good didn't overcome obvious evil in this particular situation (I know it is annoying for me to keep referring to "this situation" but I'd rather not identify it because of the harm it might do to some good people who are still involved). I think this may be where faith comes in. It has been really good for me to become familiar with John Mark Hicks, who is now one of my professors in my graduate program at Lipscomb. Dr. Hicks has been gone through situations and suffered loss that I can't bear to imagine for very long (I won't be so presumtuous as to attempt to tell his story here. You can and should pick up his book "Yet Will I Trust Him" to find out more) . He is an example to me of faith. He says that while he stands in protest sometimes, he still trusts God. This obvious echo of Job has been ringing in my head and my heart lately. I can't see where good overcame evil in that situation, but I believe God is good, so I'm going to keep trusting him. I stand in protest of the (current) outcome of that situation. However, I believe that God knows what he's doing, so I'm going to keep trusting him. I'm trying to deal with my anger and disappointment. I'm trying to reincorporate those disciplines I have dropped (Dana is helping me). I'm learning to talk to God about these things honestly, as great people of faith have and still do. I'm not advocating a blind adherence to facts in the face of evidence to the contrary. I'm advocating a relationship of love and trust. I live inside the story of a God who loves what he created and is good. I don't always understand him, but I'm going to trust him.