Thursday, May 29, 2008

Doug Pagitt on ACWB, Video 2

This is the second promo video for A Christianity Worth Believing by Doug Pagitt. Please consider reading the book. This promo raises the question that becomes one of the main points in the book: Is God "up and out" or "down and in"?

These videos are so well made. I love the music setting the mood. Thoughts?

Monday, May 26, 2008

On Peace and War

As it is Memorial day, I thought it might be good to do some thinking about peace and war.

I first heard this message from Brian McLaren a few months ago, and was deeply move at the thought put into it as well as the attitude of grace for all involved. It is basically Brians's attempt to write a letter/sermon to President Bush shortly before the war in Iraq broke out. Here are some quotes:

Jesus also said, though, that in our serpentine cleverness, we must remain as guileless as a dove, pure in heart as peacemakers, because the God who is real is a God of peace. Whatever clever tactics we must use to seek to prevent war, however we must bare our teeth and expose our claws to dissuade our attackers, we must reverence the harmless dove (God’s Spirit) who flies among us, within us. I have been asking myself what it means to be a true Christian in a time like this, facing war yet loving and seeking peace, wise as a serpent, yet innocent as a dove.

Whenever we talk of war, and if we must go to war, we must do so with sadness for all concerned. Jesus said we are to love our enemies, and if we love people, to see beloved enemies as the targets of bullets and bombs is a tragic thing.

In this war, Mr. President, if war must happen, I wonder if you would make history by being the first president to share the death toll of our enemy, not as a score of victory, but as another tragic cost of war? I wonder if you could teach the American people to mourn the death of Iraqi mothers’ sons along with our own? I wonder if you could, in this way, deepen our dread and hatred of war, so that if this war happens, it will bring us one war closer to the end of the nightmare, and the beginning of God’s dream for us?

And third, Mr. President, if I were the one being attacked, I would wish that my enemies would spend at least two dollars to repair whatever damage each dollar of weaponry caused. Jesus talked about walking the second mile, and perhaps today he would talk about paying the second dollar. If this means raising taxes, Mr. President, I for one will pay twice the taxes to have the chance to do right to the Iraqi people after the war – if we must go to war.
This would, I realize, triple the cost of war for us. But that would not be a bad thing at all. I think you’ll agree: war should be costly, too costly. A cheap, convenient, easy war could make it easy for us to become barbarians, abusing the power and wealth which we have been given, and for which we will be held accountable as stewards. When we add the high cost of postwar rebuilding to the high cost of war to begin with, we will be more likely to seek creative alternatives to war. We may realize that it would be a bargain to be more generous, to use our money to make friends through wise generosity and humanitarian development rather than using it to make enemies through foreign war.

The full text is here.

The mp3 audio with introduction and Q&A is here. You really should listen to it, as McLaren's heart comes across better in audio than on paper.

Enjoy. All honor and peace to our veterans today, and the precious memories are with us of those who have given their lives for causes.

Doug Pagitt on ACWB

This is a great video where Doug Pagitt gives an introduction to his new book A Christianity Worth Believing. I previously reviewed the book here. You should definitely read it.

So, what do you think?

There should be more to follow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Address

Alright everyone, update your bookmarks. I have purchased the domain and have attached it to this blog. It is much cleaner and more professional that having the tacky "blogspot" name in the address. Everything else should remain the same.

Thanks to everyone who takes a moment to read what I write.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emergent/Reformed Conversation

There are two groups of young Christ followers that are getting some pub currently. One is a group with whom I identify, Emergent, that is seeking to communicate the message of Jesus and seek to follow after him in a pluralistic, postmodern world. The other is a group who belong to the Reformed tradition. For those who may not know, Reformed basically refers to a movement that teaches and believes in Calvinism (i.e. TULIP, predestination etc.). Where Emergents identify with Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, and Doug Pagitt, the Reformed crowd identifies with John Piper and Mark Driscoll.

A conversation too place recently between people in these two camps that was very respectful and very interesting. Each, Tony Jones and Colin Hansen, have written a book in their respective movement recently. It is in three parts, and there may be more coming. Enjoy.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Our Changing World

This is a very interesting video (HT:VC) about changes that are taking place in our world. If it is to be trusted (and it seems to be trustworthy), it provides some very interesting thoughts about our future and our children's future.

Thoughts? Any educators out there who want to weigh in?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Brian McLaren on Justice and Power

Here is another of the insightful videos filled with thoughtful wisdom from Brian McLaren.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Brian McLaren on the Kingdom of God

Here is another great video of Brian McLaren offering a different perspective on the faith.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Overused Terms Used Wrongly

Here are a pair of terms that I hear used wrongly all the time, particularly in the context of the Church. This has been bugging me for awhile, so I have to get it off my chest.


People use this term incorrectly all the time. The choices in literature or verbal communication are figurative, that is you don't mean exactly what you are saying, you are using comparisons, analogies etc. to make your point, or literal, meaning you mean exactly what you are saying.

Example. On Sunday my pastor was talking about being on the fence, obviously referring to a place of non-commitment, caution etc. At one point he made the statement, "Some of you are still on the fence, literally...". Since we were all sitting in chairs, it is pretty obvious that none of us were literally sitting on a fence! This is one of hundreds of examples I hear of this being misused. A couple others are "I was literally rolling on the floor laughing...". This actually could be true, but it very seldom is. Another: "I'm literally starving." No, you're not, and all of the children of Africa who are literally starving resent that remark.


Here is another one that is misused in the church all the time: exponential, when referring to growth or number comparisons etc. Perhaps I should be less hard on this one, because I suppose it could be exaggeration, but it just doesn't seem they mean to exaggerate when I hear people use it. In addition, some actually combine a use of "exponential" with the term "literally"!

Let me explain. If you have even a sixth grade education in math, you know how exponents work. 2 raised to the 2nd power means 2X2, which equals 4. 2 to the 3rd is 2X2X2 which is 8, and on and on. To be fair, there are fraction exponents that are less than 2 but higher than one, but, to keep it simple, we are assuming they are talking about exponents of 2 and higher. So, for a church of 100 people to add 25 people, even 100 people in a weekend is not exponential growth. Exponential growth by a church of 100 would be a minimum of 100X100, or 10,000 new people. See, so it a ridiculous exaggeration to describe growth in terms of exponential. One true example of exponential grown is the early church, where 11 disciples and a few women became the seed to a movement that added thousands every day. That is exponential growth. Doubling a small group is not.

Sorry for being cantankerous. Thanks for your grace.