Posts Tagged 'spirituality'

Brian McLaren: Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century, or: How do Christians relate to those of other faiths?

Can the question of how people of different faiths relate to each other take forms other than Us vs. Them hostility or “Whatever, man” relativism? Is it possible to have Christian specificity without exclusivity? What about John 14:6 – you know, where Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – no one comes to the Father except through me”?

Spencer Burke and Brian McLaren discuss all of this (and its coverage in Brian’s A New Kind of Christianity) in the video below. Get the episode notes and see the entire ten-part interview as it unfolds here.

Also relevant to this conversation:

A Reading of John 14:6 (PDF essay) by Brian

A New Kind of Bible Reading (a free bonus chapter of A New Kind of Christianity)

See also Samir Salmanovic‘s book It’s Really All About God and his work with Faith House Manhattan

If you identify as a Christian, what do YOU think about your privileges and responsibilities in relating to those of neighboring faiths, and sharing your own? If you practice some other faith (or none at all), how do you feel that Christians on the whole have treated you? Do any defy the stereotypes?

Thank God for Evolution?

Spencer Burke interviews my friend Michael Dowd on his ground-breaking (and controversial!) book Thank God for Evolution. The science/faith debate has been raging since at least the Scopes Monkey Trial & is unlikely to go away anytime soon. With that said, Dowd offers us some fresh new perspectives. Check it out in HD & get the show notes here!

Here’s a video excerpt from one of Michael’s typical ‘evolutionary evangelism’ services…

Elevating the Conversation Between the Church and the Gay Community

This two-part Think:FWD interview between Spencer Burke & Andy Marin (author of Love is An Orientation) is a must-see.

Part 1 –  Loving Your Gay Neighbor

Part 2 – Elevating the Conversation Between the Church and the Gay Community

Urban Justice & Youth Ministry: Alexie Torres Fleming

Get the HD quality video & show notes here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

Diana Butler Bass: Looking Into Christianity from a People’s Perspective

In case you missed this –Diana Butler Bass discusses her significant new release A People’s History of Christianity with Spencer Burke!

Get the HD quality video & show notes here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

DJ Hapa – Preaching Remixed

Get the HD quality video & show notes here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

The Mystery of Music – Don Chaffer

Have you heard the new Waterdeep album yet? It’s a-mazing.

Get the full-length HD quality video & show notes here.

PS: Do you Twitter? Let’s follow each other! I’m @zoecarnate

The Future of This Blog: Where ‘Confessions’ Are Going

VulnerabilityHappy Monday! Thus begins my more intensive season of blogging on the fourfold themes of True Confessions, Whole-Health Journey, Book Revue & Freebies, and The Future. Today I want to preview a little bit of where Confessions will be going.

Childhood.

Yep, I plan to begin at the beginning, from my days as a precocious homeschooled geek; my formative years of Baptist and Pentecostal spiritual upbringing and my wonderful-yet-madcap family life. And the beginning of my love affair with comic books.

Teen Years

My transition from being homeschooled to public high school, and my transition from the Assemblies of God to PCA Presbyterianism was a time of identity-searching, metamorphosis, insecurity, childhood bad habits blossoming, my love of polemics, church power plays, and the beginnings of my self-identified sense of being a compiler, peace-maker, and spiritual synthesizer. Oh yes – and the first time my being ‘in love’ isn’t unrequited.

College Years

My immersion into small-town private liberal arts college with all its peculiarities; the discovery, in the same year, of both ‘house church’ and the Internet’s vast potential; the first rays of individuation; college romance (or the lack thereof); and the full genesis of my pathologies.

Early Adulthood

Bookstore retail! Epistemological doubt! Panic attacks! Marriage and madness! And the continuing development of my own, personal Jesus.

Approaching 30

Married with child, quixotic businessman, beautiful and failed attempts at community life, and my continuing descent into insanity. (Sense a theme here..?)

So in general, I plan to sketch my life – at times overviewing, at other times detailing (with Actual Written Artifacts from these different eras), my days – looking at some broad themes of humor, spiritual exuberance, and love; as well as the shadow-side of specific (and at first relatively minor) phobias mutating into full-blown anxiety issues, along with how I’ve dealt with them (or not). Laying myself out there like this – and how my spirituality, theology, and community praxis have transmorgified throughout this process – who no doubt open me up to a lot of criticism from drive-by third-party observers, heresy-hunters, and armchair psychologists. I am prepared for this. On the other hand, I am even more prepared for (and wide open to) the experiences and ideas of the vast majority of my readers, who have proven to be nothing less than kind, generous and surprisingly insightful over the years.

The journey will begin tomorrow, with a very contemporary conversation among three very different friends.

Skill Sets for Futurists?

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I want to blog a bit about Transmillennial 2008, but until then I want to share something I’ve been working on concerning the skills that those engaged in Strategic Foresight should tend and cultivate.

Breadth

A Futurist needs a broad-base of interests, including science & technology, history, anthropology, art & literature, pop culture, faith & religion, sociology, ecology, and more…the sky’s the limit! Without the seedbed of breadth, many things will pass us by in our data-collection phase.

Creativity

Though much of Futurist work is, indeed, quantitative research, creativity must be exercised in interpreting the results and indeed in what to even include in our environmental scanning. An eye for the odd and intuition can pay significant dividends.

Flexibility

Futurists in forecasting need to be flexible, in order to try out many scenarios and be willing to admit to mistakes in methodology. We’re all wrong, and the sooner we can bend to this, the sooner we can spring back again.

Integral/Systems Thinking

The ability to consider the Whole when examining any facet is crucial for Futures work. Non-linear, integral thinking is key. One of the chief insights that Futurists can practice in everything from scanning to forecasting to personal life is that reality is rarely simple cause-and-effect; we each contain systems, are systems, and are parts of systems—or, to put it another way, everything is comprised of holons. Making connections beyond the obvious is crucial for holistic scenarios development; we must transcend personal and/or external blame-games.

A Love for People

Futures work is not done in isolation. Working with teams, conducting original research, and relaying findings and suggestions to clients and/or the public is necessary for successful Futures work. While some of each of these processes are carried out alone (and indeed, not all forms or genres of Foresight work involves human beings), the human component is a lynchpin.

Strong Work Ethic

Futures work is interdisciplinary work, and at the heart of this is discipline. Because we’re always on the Bleeding Edge of the Possible (sorry to capitalize like a German, it just seemed Important), a strong work ethic is needed to help hold everything together. Practically speaking, this involves having good time management and research skills, as well as proficiency with various software programs. These fluencies provide the ‘invisible architecture’ of our work as Futurists.

Spiritual Center

Working with the dazzling and terrifying possibilities of the future is nerve-wracking work; a spiritual center is crucial. It is important to balance hindsight and foresight with the insights that we “are hidden with Christ in God” (Paul), “the Center does not move” (Buddha), and “take no heed for tomorrow” (Jesus). These are paradoxical realities for future-oriented professionals, but I believe they are needed for our balance and sanity. Of course, potential ontological realities need to be grounded, experienced and enjoyed in consistent spiritual practice or they are of little practical benefit.

Read ‘Holy Fools’!

I’m going to start doing more book reviews on this here blog. My first one is Holy Fools from NYC pastor Matthew Woodley.

Like many recent Christian releases, this book is memoir-ish; a trend I (generally, cautiously) welcome. After all, if you’re writing prescriptive ‘how to’ spiritual nonfiction, I want to see how it’s worked in your life and that of others. If it’s well-crafted, this is a bonus. Holy Fools does not disappoint.

Most friends and followers of Jesus yearn to live from God’s tantalizing grace. We want our lives to experience the blazing newness of being “in Christ.” Sadly, however, we often find our heart-senses dulled with a bland approach to spirituality and Christian community. From time to time, we all need a pneumatic wake up call.

This tome is written to provoke such an awakening; countering complacency and enlivening us to the path of the trickster, the holy fool – it looks at a consortium of wide-eyed, counter-cultural, God-passionate, and Spirit-drunk ne’er-do-wells pursuing a new lens for a new reality.

As Woodley puts it:

Nearly ten years ago, although my life was marked by all the trappings of “Christian” success and respectability, my faith had become bland, safe, and completely flat. God orchestrated the needed jolt and awakening to my spiritual life through some unlikely mentors: a band of ragged, adventurous, and “foolish” people—the Holy Fools.

As I encountered more and more ancient and contemporary holy fools, I realized that I had stumbled onto a wild and wide stream of Christian spirituality. This stream of “holy folly” offered me a taste of God’s unsettling and enticing grace. As I’ve walked with these holy fools over the past ten years, God has given me a new passion to love and serve Him.

“Holy folly” is Woodley’s ancient-fresh approach to spiritual life in Christ that he describes as combining “humor, irony, spiritual discipline, surprise, radical compassion, and passionate faith.” Holy fools challenge us with an unconventional and unsettling approach to journey and play in Holy Spirit. It’s about the unlikely heroes God uses to reawaken the church to follow Jesus and bring his love to the margins of society.Woodley shows us tangible things we can do to become more “foolish”, including contemplative prayer, plotting secret goodness and practicing everyday asceticism so we can discover what a people sold out for Jesus can really do.

The book is published by Salt River, Tyndale House’s more leading-edge imprint. The author is one of maybe three people in New York without a blog or personal website but his official bio is online here.

Holy Fools has been garnering quite the blogospheric acclaim. Check out a sampling:

On Journeying with those in Exile Part I and Part II

Man of Depravity Part I and Part II

Provocative Church

Jesus Fish Food


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

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    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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