Wednesday, August 27, 2003

New Topic

Well, I think Andy finished up the round of discussions centered on the nature of the church/our current experiences in the church. I think it's a good idea that we start a new conversation so I'll throw this one out there. Without turning this into a cynical bash-fest on the cliches of Christianity, why don't we try to unpack a few basic spirituality issues. I'll start by asking what it means and how we go about "finding God's will." I'm not looking for a John Ortberg book title or for even a John Piper sermon on the subject, I'm looking for what that means for us, how we've experienced this, and whether it's even a legit thing. Describe what it means for God to have a will and how you discern that, etc. Or ignore and bring up something else to talk about.

Monday, August 18, 2003

The Hope of The World.

Let me tell you a story. Recently I had become pretty cynical, possibly even jaded. I let my frustration of what I thought were the faults of The Church (big c means the Body of Christ) take me into a place that I should not spend time. One of frustration, pride, and even anger. I let these feelings drive me into a new direction for my life, but they also messed with my heart a little. In so doing, I thought about how the grass was probably greener outside the church (little c means local bodies). During this time I asked God to confirm some things to my heart, and He did.

Recently I heard a certain mega-church pastor exclaim that "The Church is the Hope of The World". There is no where else on earth that Truth and Hope reside but in the Gospel, that should be brought out from the Church, because we're living proof that the Gospel is real. Even with all it's flaws and miscalculations I believe that the Church is the Hope of the World. I believe it, and I will not give up on it.

In his book An Unstopable Force Erwin McManus writes...
"Proverbs tells us, "Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox" (proverbs 14:4, NASB). In other words, the church would be the perfect place if there were no people. Wherever there are lots of people, you will also find a big mess. Lives are messy; sin is messy; ministry is messy. When the ox messes up the manger, it accomplishes the purpose for which it was created. We are not called to have clean mangers. The same people who make the church messy also make the church meaningful. After all, peple are what God is about."

I believe that it's perfectly fine to question activities and be frustrated with what is taking place, but only when we are living out what we say is "the better way." There is often times a great deal of talk about "the better way," but instead of living it out, we just sit back and complain about how no one else is living it out. That's what I was talking about in my last post when i said the church becomes what it is meant to be when it is doing what it's made to do! You know how the Church will start doing those things? When we who say there is a "better way" put ourselves smack dab in the middle of a local church and start living out the truth of the Gospel. It does no good to sit on the sidelines and point fingers, and it does very little good to live it out on our own. WE are The Church, and so are all those people who we are sure "don't get it."

The Church can be seen in many different places throughout the week here in America. It can be seen in house churches, communes, rescue missions, Christian Schools (even colleges), traditional churches with steeples, mega-churches, and even middle schools. I believe that all these have a place in the living out of the Gospel, and all of these places ARE used by God to draw people unto Him.

I will not leave the Church or the church. I am here to encourage other believers to seek out the lost. I am here to Love my brothers and sisters, encourage them, spur them on to love and good deeds. I am here to worship together, break bread, share with those who are in need. I am a member of the Church of Jesus that has stood the test of time for 2000 years, has loved, labored, struggled, and reformed. How could it have survived this long with all the problems? What keeps it breathing today? Christ has built this Church, the likes of which the gates of hell shall not prevail. I am a part of this Church, and so are you. Let's stop hate'n and start working together as the Church (yes all 99 of us) to take the truth to the World. After all the Church is the hope of the World.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

AMEN

Andy, after reading most of your sermon and your post, I agree. That is what I am saying. Preaching a whole message on hell is not what this generation needs to hear. Most people already "understand" that about Christianity, they need it put in a context they can understand, such as a relational one...Which you sum up nicely in your first paragraph below. Notice you only even mention hell once, and it is redefining it as a "relational" separation.

As for the labeling thing, I have no problem being a Christian, as a label or whatever, but I learned in High School that there are good ways to do it and bad ways. Bad- The Billboard Christian, which I was. Nobody had a chance to think anything differently, because I threw the Gospel down there throat from fifty feet down the hall!! Take it back to the context. Christian Music. This guy wanted to be labeled a Christian, which implied to me that people (musicians) who don't are missing something...But being that bold often cuts off conversations before they start. Think about times when you are in situations when you try to avoid saying you are a youth pastor, because you know where the conversation goes as soon as you say it. I don't think that is all bad to just let someone get to know us under the pretext of just being another person who can relate to whatever they are telling us. At the least we can put it in a context and give them our perspective, which does not have to be watered down, it just needs to be genuine.

I think a lot of this current discussion is semantics. I know your heart and know that you have the right passion and goal in mind, it is pretty similar to my own. Not to be too Hokey, but it should not matter what shirts we wear, or music we listen, what we consume, or whatever else, because at the heart of the matter is that the reformation of Christ in our lives compels us to love in a way that is radically different from the world. If we just do good to other Christians, as is sometimes typical in the "Christian ghetto", we are not allowing that love to impact the world. We need to be in relationships with non-Christians to express the love of Christ and join in the work of reconciliation. I guess it is time for us to seek opportunity to leave the 99 and seek that 1...

Peace

Hell Doesn't Matter!

So, Christ died to reconcile us to God. If he didn't die we would have no chance for reconciliation, and without that chance everyone would still be seperated from God. Hell, by definition is ETERNAL seperation from God. A life that is not reconciled to God is a life that will suffer from ENDLESS emptiness. I believe that this is something worth talking about. I don't know that it's something that we should use as a "scare tactic" but rather a promise of a VOID being filled FOREVER!! We can phrase it however we want, but the Gospel at it's core is about a life being reconciled to God for ETERNITY!

Christian. I am a Christian. Oh, no wait. That phrase has too many negative implications. Now I'm a CHRIST FOLLOWER, why because I want to follow Christ in His Mission of reconciliation. Now let's see what happens to the term Christ Follower. While it's a clear description of what I want to be, it's very obvious that this will only defame the name of Christ in the near future, when people begin to understand that Christ Followers are the same as Christians. You know my contention is that we're too worried about how "we" look as a group. I'm pretty sure that the Church is going to be flawed until the return of Christ, but the one place that we can make a difference is in our own lives. We can live a life of purpose, one that is true to the Gospel, and one that values people. We as Christ Followers waste a lot of our time on crap that doesn't matter, from movies to music to "ministry", and way too little time focusing on reconciling others to Christ. If we were seriously concerned about the hear and now, or even Eternity, we would be pouring more of our lives into reconciling others to Christ. I'm afraid that while we are able to point out what is wrong with the "Christian Country Club" that is the CHurch, and yet all we want is a cleaner version of that Club. The church becomes what it is meant to be when it is doing what it's made to do! Are you ready for a REVOLUTION? If you are, get involved in the ministry of reconciliation, if not try and figure out how to fix what's wrong with the church, that should take you through the rest of your life.

Sorry if that was to hard. It wasn't really directed at anyone on this site, but rather what I'd like to say to the whole stinking world. I understand that it's hard to get the mp3 of the sermon online so I've linked to it over at my under utilized Worth Talking About . I'd love to discuss what's in it. Keep it real!

Saturday, August 16, 2003

"Well, all I know is I want to be labled a Christian"

So, Ty, you were there!! I understand the point of the sermon, so I don't know if I was thinking of it as an excuse to swear. I think it is an obvious "shock-value" thing, much like the Campolos and Yaconellis of the world exercise quite a bit. However, I think you are hitting at what I am getting at. Our generation does not want the legalism and the "Heaven on the Horizen" kind of mindset. We want to live the here and now. I know I do. Is "on Earth as it is in Heaven" just prayer filler Jesus used, or did it mean something? I think that we are to be seeking to live the faith with diligence, by loving people to a remarkable degree, which does not happen in the Christian Ghetto.

Recently I was hanging out with a group of College/early career age people from the church I grew up in. I love many of these people, and the church is one I would love to be apart of, but the mindset is still very "narrow", at least from my perspective. While going through my CDs, a couple guys kept asking "are they Christian?", which makes me feel like I have to defend every CD in my collection. Then later another topic was raised of Christian musicians that don't want to be labled Christian to play in Club venues and what not. I learned to keep my opinions to myself, but obviously was intrigued to hear how this played out. One guy said, "Well, all I know is I want to be labled a Christian". I seriously wanted to leave. I could not believe the level of pompousness in that statement. It sounds as if Christian bands that don't smash Jesus down your throat with second rate music are going straight to hell. Or that due to his name being on the guest list of the Christian social club, he was better than those that are not. I probably read to much into it, that's a given, and nothing new really, but this feels like the attitude far too often at churches, and even at Christian colleges.

Here's the other thing that struck me. After ripping on Christian artists that are actually living out the Gospel, but not labled so, we threw in Dumb and Dumber, laughed it up and thought nothing about it...Does that strike you as odd? Probably not, because it is typical, but that night it struck me differently. Movies portray a certain worldview, as does music, and all forms of art and entertainment. In Dumb and Dumber there are multiple examples of bad values, if the movie is to be taken in as a whole. Revenge, Sex, empty living, alcohol as a "necessity", laziness are all elements of this movie that is not Christian, but music can be cast off just because it is not sold in a Christian bookstore. What the heck is that about. So many secular artists have created art that has given me opportunity to worship God that most Christians would not listen to because he uses some swear words (Bright Eyes), yet movies that carry values that are even more obvious and counter to the Gospel are accepted...seems fishy.

My Contention is that all is enjoyable, but through a discerning heart and mind...

Oh, and Andy, can you link a readable version of your sermon? My computer sucks with MP3s...or it could be the user.

Peace

um...it was more like...

i was there, i think. it was a lame swear excuse. i felt like it was that short stint where hulk hogan was throwing ass into every sentence. sometimes even in the middle of words. back to the sermon. he did it twice and the second was an obvious excuse to swear. no point. I think hell sermons are lame. but i also think most heaven sermons are pretty lame to. i guess i think that somewhere out there, there may have been a good hell/heaven sermon, i feel like there are at least three other things you could do a sermon on.
sorry for sounding like a hippie(insense rules or something) but here they are:
1.jesus
2.love- like real stuff not fake stuff
3.anything else that might be in some way encouraging.

i feel like i sound like a jerk.
oh well.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The Difference

hey guys, I think we have possibly talked about this some, but not on here yet, so here goes for a new direction...

What difference does it make to believe that the most significant reason Jesus came was for us to live this life. Many believe and live that their salvation was so they could go to Heaven. A pastor I heard about recently (big shock, I wasn't there) while preaching on hell that if Hell didn't exist, Why the Hell did Jesus come to Earth? While I applaud the use of swear words in sermons, this one just strikes me as weak. Perhaps it is just a sales strategy, but I think that this generation is going to be more likely to buy in to a remarkably different lifestyle in the here and now then the fear of hell. I believe in Hell, perhaps, not as physical as others, but I don't particularly believe that it is entirely an important point for the Christian walk.

Do you guys see the difference, do I need to elaborate more? Sure both are positives, but what is primary? I think for more Jesus coming to give me life to the full as the primary reason speaks to me more, because it is real daily. The primary being salvation from Hell encourages the Christian consumer mindset, or "Vending machine God" thoughts...let me know what you guys think.

Peace

Monday, August 11, 2003

Living With The New

Hey everyone. This is a link to the sermon that I preached on August 3rd at my church. I know that Brian was interested in hearing this, and I thought I would throw it out there for anyone to hear. Plus I'd love to see if this sparks some conversation. Living With The New

Friday, August 08, 2003

Self-Centered

Hey, I know I'm self centered but I've been rereading a lot of the posts on here, which I must admit I really love, and I realize that my best stuff comes about in my second to last paragraph. All of the stuff I hope sparks discussion is there, so here you go, I'm reposting my last two second to last paragraphs and we'll see what happens.

"Now that all this has been said, let me tell you what I think on a personal level. I don't care what happens. It's no skin off my back. The more I realize what the Gospel's really all about, the more I realize that the American church has less and less to do with the Gospel and more to do with legalism, fundamentalism, liberalism, and selfishness. Therefore, I realize that how I live my life, if I'm going to live according to the Gospel, is not only going to be counter to the World, but it will probably be counter to the pop-Christian world as well."

"Dusty's dream for the church is right on with scripture (see Acts 2, James 5.16), so what's holding us back? Maybe the fact that we're so afraid to let the world see what Christ has saved us from. Maybe it's that we're too proud to even admit that we were once anything, but clean."

Ok, maybe it's not that good, but I thought it was.

Grace and Attitude

No, I don't think genuine Christians are in a lifestyle of sin. I think they continue to sin, but Grace and attitude separate us from the lifestyle of sin. I think the obvious example is where all this started. A minister of the Gospel who is living a life that is incongruent with the life of Christ purposefully. I have had a minister that was one of the most power hungry men I have ever met. I would have to say that he too is in a lifestyle of sin, because he is unwilling to give up his quest for power, dominating, and controlling people.

So, I don't think this is "Sin grading". I think this is understanding the human condition, we all struggle and will screw up quite a bit. In many ways the only we are different is that we have received grace and we are attempting to be honest to what our relationship with Christ compels us to do, as it is in line with his Word. 1 Timothy 3:9 has been a great verse I have been thinking about lately. It is in the qualifications for a Deacon and it says (in the NIV) "They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience." In the NASB it says "hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience." I think that is a pretty hard to define verse, but I think it relates to this topic, especially in regard to the selection of a Bishop. I could see this verse being used to justify a great many things when not taken in context with the whole of scripture...

Well, I have a meeting to get to, so I am out...

Peace

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Sin as Sin

"A sin is a sin, granted, but is there a difference between a lifestyle of sin and committing a sin?"

What's that mean? Really is it truth or just something we've inherited through out time? Sure it's easy to define those sins that are "lifestyle" sins, for instance check out this list in 1 Corinthians 6:9&10

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

These verses seem pretty clear about who will not enter the kingdom of God, but beyond that it seems that we all live a "lifestyle of sin". Honestly, if I take a deep hard look at who I am, I realize that I am the second worst sinner that ever lived, and in saying that I only put the Apostle Paul ahead of me b/c he says that's so in the Word of God. So, while I maybe pursuing holiness, I'm still living a life of sin (and if you think you're not, check again, you maybe missed that pride). Now check out 1 Cor 6:11
"And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Now my question is what about those who are "washed, sanctified & justified". Can they still live as these things, or does Jesus come in and transform a life so much so that they're not involved in this stuff? If he doesn't, what hope is there for someone drenched in sin? Finally, if they aren't changed, then are they really Christians, or just decieved? Maybe Paul doesnt' mean everyone who participates in these activities, but rather the ones who do so with an arrogant self righteous spirit.

Dusty's dream for the church is right on with scripture (see Acts 2, James 5.16), so what's holding us back? Maybe the fact that we're so afraid to let the world see what Christ has saved us from. Maybe it's that we're too proud to even admit that we were once anything, but clean.

What's all this mean? I'm just trying to express the fact that I think we all live that lifestyle of sin, and for us to distinguish the difference may be the same as qualifying which sins are the worst. Isn't a lifestyle of sin nothing but a bunch of sins added together throughout one's life? You see the Gospel isn't about me being who I am today, it's about me being who I was and who I will become because I have been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Fine Distinctions

A sin is a sin, granted, but is there a difference between a lifestyle of sin and committing a sin?

A woman who has an abortion committed a sin, and she may be in a lifestyle that is continual sin, but not necessarily. Whereas a person who is in a homosexual lifestyle is practicing a lifestyle that is sin. I agree with Andy that many homosexuals, or people who struggle with homosexual temptations and tendencies, live without entering the lifestyle. A great quote I heard from a colleague at another college is "the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but holiness." I think a lot of Christians' theological basis butt heads with the concept that homosexual is a trait that people are born with. For me that is not the point. Humans are born with desires that are of the flesh and all of us are called to lives of holiness regardless. So if you do not struggle with a desire for people of the same sex, you likely struggle to maintain the thoughts of purity within the context of heterosexual relationships. Or some are born with temperaments that lead to lives of greed, pride or other types of sin.

I feel very strongly that all sins are of equal status. Some may have more negative consequence that we see, such as things that are also against the law, or open your body up to disease, but in God's eyes, I never see a distinction between the level of sin. I do think there is a fine distinction between a person who sins and a person living in habitual sin, which would be the POSSIBLE difference between someone who gets a divorce, or an abotion, and someone openly lives within a homosexual relationship or lifestyle. The church I would love to be a part of is the one in which all people believed this way and expressed it openly. What would the church look like if all who sin could openly confess their sins, be forgiven, and join the ministry of Christ of redemption of His creation? That church would have beaten any hold-over power satan holds with fear, intimidation, and pride that keeps the church from reaching its potential...

Peace

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

Andy's back, call your friends.... and I'm off.

I would like to chime in on the whole issue of homosexual bishops in the Episcopalian church. While I would agree with a little bit of what everyone said, I think that I will just lay out my own personal statements as a rebutal of sorts. First I would have to say that I believe there have been many bedrock issues that the church has learned to accept. For instance the issue of divorce (did someone say sanctity of marriage?). I'm pretty sure that Jesus really never addressed the issue of homosexuality during his time on earth (at least it's not spoken of in the Gospels) I do remember Jesus being pretty hardcore about divorce. It has been reported recently, probably by Barna, that Christian marriages are almost as likely to end in divorce as non-christian marriages and all we can do is sigh and say, that's too bad. Why? The thought process that "Jesus would want me to be happy, so of course He'd understand" permeates the church. So, we enlist divorcees to teach and minister within the church (which the new bishop also is). Do I think they shouldn't be allowed to be a part of living out the Gospel? Of course not, although I believeSo, rolling back into the issue of homosexuality, why are we surprised that the church will begin to overlook what scripture has to say for our relativistic impressions of what Jesus would want, because of course he's really just about making our lives hunky-dory. So, I believe the real issue at the core is how accuratly we as administers of the Gospel represent Jesus and what he wants for our lives, which it seems we have failed to do.
Now comes the issue of this poor chap who is about to become a bishop. I believe that he honestly believes that what he's doing is right, however as a Minister of the Gospel the dude is 100% W-R-O-N-G. Now hold the phone though, I don't believe he's 100% wrong because of his sexual preference, I believe he's wrong because it's very aparent that his identity is found in his sexual preference, and not in who he is in Christ. You may ask yourself, how do I know that, I believe I know that b/c it's out in the open and an issue. If this man had homosexual tendencies, and still felt called to ministry, I belive that he could do both, while denying his fleshly desires. Why would he do that? Because he knows deep down what the Bible says about homosexuality and beyond that what it says about people in leadership. Do I believe that someone can be of homosexual preference and be a Christian, absolutely. I just think that sometimes we get very confused about who we are, and who we think we are takes over.
Now that all this has been said, let me tell you what I think on a personal level. I don't care what happens. It's no skin off my back. The more I realize what the Gospel's really all about, the more I realize that the American church has less and less to do with the Gospel and more to do with legalism, fundamentalism, liberalism, and selfishness. Therefore, I realize that how I live my life, if I'm going to live according to the Gospel, is not only going to be counter to the World, but it will probably be counter to the pop-Christian world as well.
I know that we'll see things get worse and worse, but you know, in places where morality has fallen and darkness reigns are places where Christ's light shines through in BRILLIANT ways, therefore no matter what happens within the pseudo governments that we call denominations, the Son of Man will draw people unto Him.

Easy E

Well, all it takes is a little Christian homosexuality to get everybody all wound up around here! I thought I'd take a few minutes to share a few thoughts before I got out of town.

I'd like to break down a few issues here. First, I think there's an assumed answer to this question, at least on this message board, but I will ask it anyway. Is homosexuality a threat to the sanctity of marriage? I will go with the consensus and answer yes but I would like to broaden that list. homosexuality is only one amongst many threats to the concept of marriage including: materialism, workaholism, jealousy, self-centeredness, hedonism, American culture, etc. It's important that we understand this in a much broader scope. It often seems as if the church thinks that to "fix" marriage we need to first eliminate homosexuality.

Second, media/evangelical responce. To Ty's disapointment, the Episcopal church is not conservative, sorry buddy. The role of the media in this, I believe, is somewhere closer to what Dusty was getting at. I'm not sure that this is a "wait until they screw it up thing" as it is a public expression of the question of Christian identity in American culture. The media is simply asking the church the same question everyone else is; what is the church in relation to homosexuality? (substitute whatever you want for the last word.) The question posed to us non-episcopalean is how do we respond as the body of Christ? A news update, the whole thing is on hold because there has been some reports of inapropriate behavior. My guess is that these reports, true or false, surfaced because some conservatives were hoping to slow down the initiation. But the question is, how do we respond? Do we bust out hate mail? Do we get really mad? Do we boycott episcopaleans?

Finally, there are two theological issues at stake here. Brian brought the first one up- Christian sexuality. Dusty brought the second one up- the nature of the church. To the first, I believe there is a heavy temptation to act dogmatic (x is right, y is wrong.) I'm not saying there aren't right and wrong in the area of sexuality, I believe there is. But how do we arrive at our knowledge of these things? Are we simply inheriting it from the bigotted mindsets of previous generations within the church or are we learning how these issues are presented in scripture? Indeed, homosexuality is treated as sin in scripture. But we must remember Jesus' dealings with the sexually immoral, specifically the woman caught in adultery. Indeed, the road to recovery for her included a following of Jesus. Let us not be the first to cast a stone, for these issues should be understood in the broader theology of sin. Brian made an interesting comment about a person living in sin and being an administer of the Gospel. I think that's an interesting point to think about. Brian, how have you done with remaining pure in mind and heart since you became an administer of the Gospel? How are we doing as Christian leaders at remaining pure from the sins of lust for power, self interest, and pride? While I'm well aware of there being a distinction between sin that is called sin and sin that is not, let this be a chance for us to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.

This brings me to my final point, toward a broader understanding of the nature of the church as a whole. What are we as the church? I suggest we are the body of Christ. What does this mean? It means that we are one in the death of Jesus Christ. This is a death that strips away all of our attempts to cover ourselves of our impurities. When we stand together, confronted with the death of Jesus we are forced to face the truth of who we are. We are forced to face our own personal shortcomings as well as our failures as a community. We are forced to be honest with ourselves and face the fact that we are indeed worthless beings. But we are also faced with the truth that because Jesus was these things for us, we have meaning and value. Because us as the body of Christ is a sign of Christ bearing our inequities and our moral failures, we can stand confident of the hope of forgiveness. As the body of Christ we should be interested in love, not hate. We should have faith that the Holy Spirit convicts the heart's of those who follow him, not necessarily doing this ourselves. A model of the church that is centered around the body of Christ is quick to point out the fact that we are all equal in sin, suffering, and death. If this were a model for the church, the sins of the homosexual would not be degraded as the lowest form of human existence, similar to the way women who had abortions were previously treated. Instead, standing side by side is the homosexual to the greedy pastor and we all say that yes, indeed, we are sinners who are saved by God's grace and allowed the opportunity to adminster the Gospel. Together our sinfulness as the very administers of the Gospel stands as a sign for all; if God is willing to use even him or even her then surely God loves me!

Monday, August 04, 2003

yes, gay jesus jokes are right around the corner

4 parter
1)i agree with brians comments. I think it's lame. I think that its especially a blow with it being an episcopal pastor. that might not be fair. i always thought they were supposed to be conservitave. this makes me really think about the need to have a faith based on the bible. it's funny that many times ive thought that nothing really mattered as long as you knew that jc was into you and you were into him. but things like this definately remind me how important it is to know what god really looks like, and what his character is like. that was long and didn't say much.
2)on our previous topic of media. what impact do you think that this new "the passion" movie with mel gibson will have.
3)lately ive been hearing a lot about how its important to live each day for christ rather than having this general view of trying to live a life for christ. i realized that i suck at this. any suggestions. if you want you can email me instead of posting but whatever is cool. whatever. whatever? whatever!
4)my last name is spelled wrong.

oh, and pfieffer got me a bootleg copy of the outhud show we went to(awesome show), if anyone wants a copy of it let me know.

Setting it down and walking to see it from a different perspective

I agree, Brian, that the sanctity of marriage needs to be protected and that the act of homosexuality is a sin. I have no desire to try to argue anything to the contrary, where I may challenge is on the media's coverage and how that impacts the church, which I believe is vital.

I don't think the media is looking for us to "screw this up". I think they would see it differently. Because to buy into this makes the church "p.c.", which is how the media would love us to be. A church that is attempting to win political prestige and influence more than living Godly lives has put itself in a lose-lose situation. We have been playing the National "rich young ruler" when we have been called to be the global "good samaritan". We have been attempting to create systems at a national level that is the platform that makes us Godly, instead of getting out there and doing it. In the process, the church has become irrelevant in the only way we can ever be relevant. I, obviously don't mean this at a local level, but rather at the level of the court of public opinion. We have gotten caught up in a moral and political battle of power, where I am not sure we were ever expected to be. Jesus could have set up a Christian government while he was here if that were His intention. Our relevance is to be the changed life that Jesus intended Not Christians that have Christian idols, but instead don not have idols, not Christians who Christians who materialistic, but only for Christian materials. No- Christ wants us to not chase riches. When we have set up a system that is political in nature, the Church screwed up. Right and wrong is not open to the decision of the majority of the masses, but we have set up a system that tells the media that it is. Doesn't that seem wrong. It makes the church look like just another big social club...Like the Master's tournament that would not let the women in, you know what I mean...Maybe I am just babbling, but it makes sense to me.

However, don't ask me for the better system. I think one is possible, but we are just at the beginning of post modernism, it will take time to figure it all out.

So how heretical did I just go? Let me know.

Peace and love

"In the past we've drawn too many lines in the sand, and now we've hit bedrock." -Episcopal pastor

This whole story about the Episcopal pastor/priest is really got my blood boiling.
Just a few weeks ago MSNBC did an article on gays in america and how they would be viewed in the upcoming election and in years to come. I saw it coming a mile down the road when G-dub Bush made an awesome stand for the sanctity of marriage and against homosexual relationships. I then told Leah, the new Christian struggle would no longr the battle for abortion rights (and not to say we need to chuck it by the wayside) but our new moral-ethical struggle as Christians is now saving the sanctity of marriage and dealing with the "homosexual" issue. And now, quicker than i expected, the church itself is in the thick of it...with so-called 'minister of the Gospel'.

"In the past we've drawn too many lines in the sand, and now we've hit bedrock" is what one Episcopal pastor said today. I think he hit the nail on the head. The church, our theology, our moral standstandards, we've compromised at some small level time and time again. Now...we've hit something that is very clear and is a sore social issue. where did we all go wrong?

It's a decently big news story online and in TV, but for myself (and i think the body of Christ in general) this should be HUGE! We're seeing the Episcopal denomination struggle and fight over whether a person living in sin is cool to be a bishop. and also...the media is all over like white on rice....that must tell us something. Is the world waiting for us to screw up? you bet. Is this gonna get bigger? You bet. Is this something we need to care about and be passionate about. yup.
i don't know. i'm kinda mad. maybe i'll collect my thoughts and report later. Peace.

! viva la EMO!

hey guys. check out these cool videos from tons of emo...er...INDIE ROCK bands. (the rocket summer, Mae, NFG, Brand New, thursdsay...and for dusty...Taking Back Sunday!) its cool.

Friday, August 01, 2003

The Christian Ghetto

I guess the cheap definition is not really a place, but a mindset or lifestyle that continually wraps you into only a "Christian" way of thinking. I think it is a fairly narrow understanding of Christianity, legalism as to what a Christian looks like, whether it is supported by scripture or not (drinking is largely taboo, if not blatantly sinful in and of itself in many denominations, however gluttony is conveniently overlooked...) It also involves developing a subculture, (note it is really not a counter culture). The Christian subculture copies the world and edits it of any offensive content, unfortunately, most creativity is lost in the process as well. As I have mentioned movies are not counter culture, they are just cleaned up versions of the same crap. Music, uhh, gross. I now have a friend that has been hanging out in Nashville and has learned a lot of the Christian music industry, let's just say that people would likely be appalled. But the ghetto mindset clings to Christian literature, music, and movies instead of actually becoming discerning and engaging of the popular culture that exists.

Jake, I think your insights on the scripture are very interesting. I love your passion for people to truly understand what the scriptures say on different issues, so I appreciate your posts on here.

Brian I hope that answers your question. I agree with your ideas about the Christian college. I will post more later about how I think Christ has truly called us to be different. I am not sure it involves not drinking, smoking or swearing necessarily, I think those things all have the ability to be "false advertisements" (thanks conner o'berst) of a follower of Christ.