Posts Tagged 'Faith'

Faith. Hope. And Love. (A Syncroblog)

Syncroblogathon:

Jeff Goins – Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century: A Manifesto?

John Sylvest – I’ve Already Got Truth, Beauty, & Goodness! Why Bother with Faith, Hope & Love?

Matt Snyder – Faith, Hope, and Love: Expressed in Simplicity

Jesse Medina – Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century

Kiel Spelts – Faith, Hope and Live in the 21st Century

Taylor Philips – These Three Remain

– What do you have to say about faith, hope, & love? Syncroblog it, doggone it!

Brian & Spencer’s Excellent Adventure

I started reading Brian McLaren about eight years ago. I was drawn in by his probing, unconventional, and sometimes-controversial questions about Christian faith and practice – his, ours, everyone’s. Reading Brian morphed into friendship with Brian, and today I’d say he’s one of the top half-dozen living people who’ve had the greatest impact on my faith and life. I wasn’t alone in finding his work compelling: Many people worldwide were asking similar questions; the conversations and action that followed have created conversations and (arguably) movements. From The Church On The Other Side and his New Kind of Christian novel trilogy, to A Generous Orthodoxy and Everything Must Change, Brian has been on a journey to re-envision what it means to faithfully follow Jesus in the 21st century. For many of us in emerging, missional, and ‘progressive’ faith circles, Brian needs no introduction – and in some ways, that’s a problem, isn’t it? Presumed familiarity can sometimes breed narrative contempt, especially in our world of high-profile authors who basically rewrite the same book over and over again. But I can honestly say that, in light of Brian’s back-catalog, this book breaks some new ground and is written with fresh candor and synthesis. That’s why I’m so happy with this ten-minute video of Brian and Spencer Burke, driving around Santa Monica and discussing where they’re at with faith and life these days.  I hear a wiser, more no-nonsense McLaren who’s grown more comfortable in his own skin, more comfortable as a voice and statesman for a new generation of Christianity coming of age in the 21st century. What hear ye?

Brian isn’t finished questing and questioning. Whether you love his work or it makes you nervous, whether you’ve read his every book or have lost track with him these past few years, his latest offering is his most important and striking to date: A New Kind of Christianity. In it, Brian asks ten questions that attempt to integrate our inner lives with our outward actions, to align our beliefs with how we live in increasingly interconnected global community. Questions like

  • The Narrative Question: What Is the Overarching Storyline of the Bible?
  • The Authority Question: How Should the Bible Be Understood?
  • The God Question: Is God Violent?
  • The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and Why is He Important?
  • The Gospel Question: What Is the Gospel?
  • The Church Question: What Do We Do About the Church?
  • The Sex Question: Can We Find a Way to Address Sexuality Without Fighting About It?
  • The Future Question: Can We Find a Better Way of View the Future?
  • The Pluralism Question: How Should Followers of Jesus Relate to People of Other Religions?
  • The What Do We Do Now Question: How Can We Translate Our Quest into Action?

We at TheOOZE are teaming up with Brian to bring these questions into your churches, coffee shops, pubs and living rooms. In addition to the Think:FWD episode here (go here for show notes BTW), we’re going to be launching an entire Brian McLaren channel devoted to exploring these questions starting in February. Stay tuned!

Want more links?

Sunday Morning Devotional: The Meaning of Christianity with Leonard Cohen

Seth: You have such vivid Christian imagery in many of your songs, and much of it is contrasted with the selfishness of the “modern” individual. I was wondering what’s your take on the state of Christianity today?

Leonard Cohen: Dear Seth, I don’t really have a ‘take on the state of Christianity.’ But when I read your question, this answer came to mind: As I understand it, into the heart of every Christian, Christ comes, and Christ goes. When, by his Grace, the landscape of the heart becomes vast and deep and limitless, then Christ makes His abode in that graceful heart, and His Will prevails. The experience is recognized as Peace. In the absence of this experience much activity arises, divisions of every sort. Outside of the organizational enterprise, which some applaud and some mistrust, stands the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament, summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by dissolving itself in a radical confession of hospitality.

– from Canoe (HT: David Dark)

And now, a Cohen psalm…

Pirates, Heretics, and The Fidelity of Fidelity

TricksterClaiming the crown for the most interesting theological blogologue this month (and showing that British folks can generally disagree much more agreeably than we Americans*) is a fascinating conversation on tricksters, consumerism, tradition, spiritual piracy, revolution, orthodoxy, heresy, and much, much more. Here’s a roundup lifted from chief provocateur Kester Brewin:

Well first actually, read Kester’s original series. Then…

Richard Sudworth’s original repost

Pete Rollins’ counter to Richard

Richard’s counter to Pete

Pete’s return

Jonny Baker’s middle-way reflection

Maggi Dawn’s thoughts [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

Mark Berry’s thoughts

Simon Cross’ thoughts

Jason Clark’s contribution

Mike Radcliffe’s thoughts

Bill Kinnon’s (rather cantankerous) thoughts on Jonny and Richard’s thoughts

Tractor Girl’s thoughts

Backburner’s thoughts on piracy and the economics of information

Ben Edson’s thoughts

Whew! Seriously, folks, this is some good readin’. I still don’t know where I come out in all of this, but I couldn’t imagine a more engaging group of people to (dis/)agree with.

Lemme know if I’m missing any weigh-ins. Perhaps I’ll post my own, once I’m caught up on my studies

*Note: I’m talking about in relationship to general US political/spiritual internet chatter, not the American (and Canadian) folks who weighed in on this particular discussion!

So God Offers You this Gift…

– from my pal Brittian Bullock:

https://i1.wp.com/redondowriter.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/scowlnames.jpgImagine that God speaks to you—we’re not talking about general revelation here, this is specific divine interruption.  He lets you know that he desires to give you a Gift, but because of “free will” it will need to be one of your own choosing.  Having said that you’re given two options:

1.) You can spend the rest of your life being absolutely certain about God, there will be no questions of faith or doubt. There will be an abiding sense of God’s presence and smile in all your ways…but everyone you meet will instantly begin to doubt the certainty of their own faith. They may or may not ever recover from that crisis.

– OR –

2). through you many of the wrongs in the world will be righted, justice and mercy and grace will be exhibited, the blind will see, the deaf will hear and the lame will walk…but you will cease to believe in God at all. You will even forget this conservation between yourself and the Most High…it will have been all in your imagination.

Which do you choose and why?

Comments here are closed. Go ahead and comment over at Sensual Jesus

Further Thoughts on “The Homeless”: Systemic Social Change through God’s Beneficent Reign

Interestingly, my blog stats reveal over 20 people coming to the blog today via the search term ‘homeless’–this is fascinating because the post in question is nearly three months old.

But a recent comment by my friend Chris (plus this flurry of interest) brings me to some fresh thinking: How do we as friends and followers of Jesus see social change as happening? Do we even desire it?

Chris writes,

“Unless we can deal with the heart of the problem the most we can offer is love in simple ways (like you described above). I commend people for their acts of kindness, it is good and proper religion. For me, if I really want to do something about the problem I need to work on the solution which is the kingdom of God on earth, the only environment whereby the nations can be healed and provide homes for all of God’s creation. Alone I can do very little but a people together under Christ the head can make visible the environment our Father always intended for mankind to live in. Without community we are all homeless in some form or another.”

But what is “the heart of the problem”? I respond,

Hi Chris, I agree with you…I think. In general, I think American evangelicalism has been pretty entrenched in individualism, which has serious repercussions for both church life and our most pressing social needs. As a Deep Shift newsletter I received this morning states,“If all of our songs say, ‘Jesus, hold me; Jesus, forgive me; Jesus, bless me,’ that does a great job of deepening our personal connection to Jesus on one level, but it can make us pretty self-centered. In the words of a friend of mine, we find ourselves congratulating God on what a great job God is doing at meeting our personal needs.”

Which is a great moment to plug Songs For A Revolution of Hope, which is the best worship album I’ve heard in years and years.

So anyway…my ambivalence toward your statement largely stems from my not being sure how to unpack it. If by “the Kingdom of God on earth” you mean God’s beloved community spreading like yeast through the dough of every level of existence, from ideas to business to public policy to our spending habits and choices, than I whole-heartedly agree. But if you mean a form of “we need to save individual souls (or help individuals recognize God’s love for them, union with them, etc…) I’m afraid I have to say that this is only part of the good news I’m (re)discovering in Jesus. Certainly, my relationship with God in Christ is personal and in the context of the church; but (to paraphrase Jim Wallis) it’s never private. My own conceptions of what ‘church’ is and can mean have, admittedly, been expanding exponentially.


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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
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