Sunday, June 22, 2008

Existential Thinking: i love it!

"Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
-Steve Jobs

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dying for the Cause

“For this cause I am prepared to die, but for no cause am I prepared to kill”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

City of God

Jesus presents us with a dream (embodied in the group image “kingdom of God”) that is irreducibly communal, familial, and social. It is not just a dream of more and better individual Christians standing like isolated statues in a museum. It is a dream of a community vibrant with life, pulsating with forgiveness, loud with celebration, fruitful in mission. The vision of the future it inspires is not one of individual weightless angels floating on individual clouds playing individual harps for their own meditative pleasure. The kingdom vision is a substantial city whose streets bustle with life, whose buildings echo with praise, a city aglow with the glory of community.

by Brian McLaren, Church on the Other Side

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Managing the problem vs. Eliminating the Problem

Doing things to help others is great, but when a problem is chronic, or could be solved by a change in the system, we must consider changing the whole system not just giving temporary relief.

Here's an excerpt from the book Irresistible Revolution:

People are poor not just because of their sins; they are poor because of our sins (and people are rich because of our sins). On the wall of [our addictions recovery center] is a sign that reads, 'We cannot fully recover until we help the society that made us sick recover.'

Dr. Martin Luther King put it like this: "We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside...but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved."

This could apply to poverty, disease, oppression, violence, exploitation, racism, and most of the world's chronic, but solvable problems.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Take up your cross [optional] and follow me...

Well, the saga of the flag continues. Yesterday i talked to someone else who had been upset that i removed the American flag from the front of the chapel. i told him my reasons for doing so, which were very different than he was thinking.

Of course, the supposed politics of the situation still came up and i realized again that those who were upset with me were upset concerning what they consider my lack of nationalism and not my theology or faith.

i can't relate the whole conversation, but here is what surprised me, and continues to surprise me because it is a prevalent thought among Christians. i asked how shooting someone with an M-16 could be reconciled with teachings such as "Love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do not repay evil with evil; turn the other cheek..." The gentleman said, "We can't really follow all the teachings of Jesus because it just wouldn't work".


...and they call me a liberal?

As i've always said, i'm a radical conservative, and i believe it is the conservatives who tend to be liberal. i believe that God indeed intended professed followers of Jesus to live by his teachings, though surely we won't live them perfectly. Yet not living them perfectly is very different from, oh say, ...disregarding them.

He's right though, the teachings of Jesus are idealistic. i'm glad he noticed. Now he has to make the decision whether to live by them, or to live according to some other way.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Take Action Opportunity!


PEPFAR, America's main vehicle for helping end the suffering caused by global AIDS is in trouble. The two most powerful senators, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, need to hear from us that we appreciate their past support and need their leadership now on this critical bill.

I just took action with the ONE Campaign and you can too, here:

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Message of the Flags

Everyone has a flag. Every team, sport, religion, state, & nation. They are used as a means of identification. They are a symbol of a select group of people, who associate a certain pride with their group.

Everyone wants their flag raised a little higher than the others. They want their group to be seen as elite above the rest. They want their flag to be standing in the end, and give little concern to the flags of others.

i picked up Mein Kampf in the library the other day and read a bit in a chapter concerning the nature of things, and how it is obvious that some are by nature superior to others. The philosophy will turn your stomach. Yet, don't we say the same with every flag we raise? Aren't we saying that this or that group is more important, meaningful, and perhaps even superior to the other? That we give greater allegiance to a certain group of people, even at the expense of another? Aren't we in essence saying that our way and our people are superior (at least to us)?

Kill the red skin, enslave the black man, imprison or deport the "illegal" (starving) immigrant, bomb the Muslim or Christian or Judaic country, rule the 3rd world nation...establish our standard and raise our flag!

While clean, fun, team competition can be healthy and acceptable, the elitism which leads to theft, oppression, & genocide is anything but acceptable or moral.

..."Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian,
slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. " Col 3:11-14

Explosive Regrets

The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking ... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker. (1945)

-Albert Einstein

Click here to learn more about Einstein's role in the role of the atomic bomb.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Caesar is Lord!" vs "Jesus is Lord"

In the time of Christ there was a popular saying among the Romans which went like this, "Caesar is Lord". The early Christians, rejecting the Lordship of Caesar, came up with their own slogan, "Jesus is Lord". Perhaps this helps you better understand why the government killed so many Christians. Christianity proclaimed another kingdom which was greater and more authoritative than the Roman Empire. They refused to profess Caesar as Lord.

In Greg Boyd's The Myth of a Christian Nation, Boyd contrasts Caesar's kingdom with Jesus' Kingdom (the Kingdom of God/heaven). Caesar's kingdom is based on the 'power over' model, which uses force, coercion, and social pressure to ensure conformity. Jesus' Kingdom by contrast uses 'power under', which is based on the example of love, service, and self-sacrifice.

Therefore, Jesus says "Whosoever will, let them come..." He does not demand, overpower, coerce, threaten, or manipulate. He simply displays love and the way, and then invites us to join him.

In what ways do Christians today attemp to use political power (power over/Caesar power) to control and Christianize others?