Monday, December 14, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil (Different forms of Evil)

Diff forms of evil and what is the point of them? And what does God do with them?

Although, evil has a simple definition: Evil is the simple disregard of human life, a disregard of justice, and the valuing of one life over the other. Just by looking around at the world and our lives we can notice that there are many forms of evil. These different forms of evil are important to point out to make clear what God thinks about these evils.

For the first form of evil we need to look no further than ourselves to find. As I stated before humans have a problem of sin that if not reconciled leads to the devaluing of life that leads to evil actions as simple being rude to your waiter or as complex and terrible as herding people on to a death train on its way to Auschwitz. Yet, in the same breath, it is very important not to use the word evil lightly. Much like sin is a deeper problem that leads to sins, evil as I have defined, is a deeper problem that leads to evils.
The solution to this evil is in relationship. Since, the problem of sin is a problem of disconnection and wrong relationship with God this must be reconciled to make it possible and easier to see the world with God’s eyes; to see the “createdness” of the individual and the equal playing field that humanity rests on.

Invisible People TV is an organization and website that interviews homeless people so that there lives will not be invisible but very visible through their stories recorded on video. Jay, a homeless man from Cleveland is asked what he would wish for if he was given three wishes. What he says is simply profound,
“If I had three wishes, I believe first that everyone would treat everyone as equals. The man who has a 100,000 dollar job is not better that the person who is picking up garbage on the corner for somebody. Were all the same, were all human beings why can’t we just help each other. And I think if everyone did that I might not even need two more wishes.”

No theologian or philosopher can say it better than that. Jay is down and out, has been out of work for two years and has been getting the run around by every social service agency he has come to. He knows what evil is, he knows what suffering is and amazingly in the midst of economic turmoil he does not wish for a million dollars but simply that people won’t devalue one person over the others. Jay recognizes what is at the root of the evils of this world.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil (god)

This is the section dedicated to understanding God's character inlight of the evil that I defined and described above. Answering questions like Why Would God Let Evil Persist? etc.


God’s very essence is to be in relation or in community with others. This is witnessed in God’s relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Out of God’s relational essence came his desire for creation. Heyward, describes real relation as one founded in love, humility, and God . This is the context that humans were created out of. Because right relation rests on the capacity to choose and not be forced into relationship, God is restricted by his loving desire for genuine relationship to give humans free choice. Yet, there is undoubtedly something in this world that corrupts the choices people make.

This is sin not evil. In my terms sin is separation and disconnection from God. Heyward would put this as not being in right relation with God. This disconnection (sin) blinds us from seeing each others as equals (evil) and hence there lies the justification for evil actions. The devaluation of a person is rooted in the problem of sin that leads to evil as the concept I have described which leads to evil actions. Yet, without free will God could not be in a right loving relation with humanity. This paradox of sorts can be summed up like this.

Free will and choices lead to evil.
Love is dependent on free will.

As well, love and right relation with God and others in the only way to remove evil from the perpetual paradoxical cycle.
From this we can establish how God feels about Evil. The prophet Amos tells us that God hates evil and Isaiah tells us that God loves justice . God would prefer there to be no evil, because he would prefer us to love others equally, or as Jesus says in Matthew 22 to love your neighbor as yourself. In this God reminds us of our humanity, that we are all on equal playing fields and valuing one life over another is evil. God does not desire a world full of genocide, murder, or any other action caused by the devaluing of life but a world of mutuality, equality, and solidarity.

God's View and Our View of the World

Greek influence on Christianity has lead to a place where it has been commonplace to separate the physical from the spirit. This has lead to theological interpretations that have created a God who places paramount importance on the soul and that does not care about the physical that is fading away. This has had extreme implications for the justification of evil throughout history and very much so today. It is not out of the ordinary to hear someone say, “Jesus is coming back soon, this is Earth is going to explode and be done away with, and so why not use it up.” This is an example of what may happen if this perspective that God does not care about the physical is taken on. There is a disregard for the value of the Earth and raping and pillaging it dry of its resources is not only justified it is what God wants us to do.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thoughts on God and Evil

This semester I took a seminar class on theodicy. Theodicy is the theological/philosophical discussion of justifying a "good" or "loving" God with the reality of evil that plagues the world. Our final assignment was to come up with our own theodicy, or our own personal way that we justify a the existence and belief in a good God with evil.

Here are some high lights. (that will come in parts)

Often scholars will stray away from defining evil and point to massive historical events of suffering as examples to define evil. No doubt Hiroshima, the Holocaust, and other horrific events are accurate examples of evil, but it is dangerous to avoid defining evil. If in defining evil the hope is to better understand evil so it can be avoided in the future than a clear definition of evil must be presented. What about Stalin’s reign and the Trail of Tears should never be repeated? In defining evil we must find the underlying root that is common in everything that would be deemed evil. Evil is the simple disregard of human life, a disregard of justice, and the valuing of one life over the other. From this comes the justification necessary to allow the suffering of one or many to persist.
The Holocaust could never have been possible if the Jews lives were valued as much as Germans. In order for the final solution to go forward Jews had to become less than humans, vermin that plagued the earth from reaching its potential. It is simply impossible to put a family member or friend that you know to be deserving of life just as mush as you on a train leading to Auschwitz.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I love this and have been trying to think of myself as irreplaceable in God's eyes. More importantly, if we can find out why people around us are so irreplaceable to God by building deep relationships or trying to take on the perception that God sees the world, I will be able to love people a whole lot better.

"Egotism is pathological self-obsession, a reaction to anxiety about whether or not I really count. It is for our acute self-conciseness and can be prevented and healed only by the experience of being adequately loved. it is, indeed, a desperate response to frustration of the need we all have to count for something and be held to be irreplaceablee"
-Dallas Willard, Divine Conspiracy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where's the Unity in the Body?

If Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians today, this is what I envision it might go like...

Dear Body of Christ,

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so there may be no denominations among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brother and sisters, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Calvin"; another, "I follow Luther"; another, "I like how Steve from United Church preaches", still another, " I just follow Christ".

I Christ divided! Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Steve United Church? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Take on Grace vs. Karma

Hello Everyone,

Here is an update on my life, I know the millions of you out there are dying to know what is new.

Today was the first day of a new work out program that I am starting that is called Insanity. It truly does seem like the only word to describe it may be Insanity. Nevertheless, today marked the first of a sixty day journey to get fit! I will let you know how it goes as I get more into the hard stuff but I am excited for the new physical challenge and the fun and health it will provide!

The last blog with Bono's interview has been something that has been heavy on my heart. Grace v. Karma and how thankful! we should be that God does not use karma to determine who he gives love, life to the full, and eternal life to. For whatever reason that simple illustration that Bono uses has allowed me to search myself and see that I would have no chance, whatever the standard, to live up to that standard let alone be sinless so I can be with the sinless father. Thank God for grace! The power of grace and forgiveness is crazy.

In a theology class of mine a play I read talked about forgiveness as a an act that is completely out of nothing and is 100% creation. It comes from no where, makes no sense, and is the closest thing we can do to be like the creator. How is it possible that someone as evil and that has caused so much suffering as Hitler as the same opportunity to be forgiven and absolved of the things he has done as I do. God can forgive everyone and desires all his children to experience the life of being forgiven. God's forgiveness and grace destroys any hierarchal perception we create about evil, sin, and suffering to give us comfort about our own shit

"Forgive them Father. For they know not what they do."

John 8:7 "If anyone of you is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone. Where are they now? Does know one condemn you? Than neither do I. Go now and leave your life of sin!"

In view of our own condition, and in view of God's grace there is no room for condemnation that we may have for others.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bono: Karma vs. Grace

I suck at blogging and I apologize to my fans. Hopefully I have only lost thousands of you and not millions.

Anyways, I cam across this article on Christianity Today website that pulled some of this interview done with Bono from a new book coming out.

I can not think of anyone that has taken their celebrity status and humbly used it for the gospel and the kingdom. Bono has his finger on the essence of Christianity better than any theologian, pastor, or seminary graduate that I know! There are many things that he says in this article that I found to be awesome! Enjoy it and let me know your thoughts...

Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.

Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn't so "peace and love"?

Bono There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Bono I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?

Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.

Bono Let's not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows …

Assayas: So you won't be critical.

Bono No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier.

Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?

Bono … [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson's. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved … by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.

Assayas: Didn't he put them on?

Bono Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: "Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper."

Assayas: I don't remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.

Bono Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.

Later in the conversation:

Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched …

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:

Bono: … [I]f only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond (no correlation to the context of my blog)

I hate when churches do series. But I don't think it be such a bad thing if a blogger did a series. Well we will see. I am going to embark on series that my seem depressing, anti-productive, and cynical but I believe it to be a worthy exercise for myself and all of the millions of my readers that influence the world. I wont to address what is wrong with the world.

The world is tangled web of injustice and corrupted interconnectedness. Yet, it is impossible for one person to end all injustice. We need to know what is wrong so we can find out what we are passionate about what it is that we want to fight. Because the world is so interconnected fighting an injustice may in fact be fighting many.

Even more important to address is ignorance. The tangled web on interconnected injustices that we live amongst is so thick that many injustices go unseen. We may be wearing an injustice or supporting an injustice with our last meal but never even know it.

I believe with all my heart that Jesus was not preaching Christianity, hell! not even Paul used the word Christianity. Jesus was preaching the kingdom and if Christians, if I were, preaching the kingdom life wouldn't be so comfortable and we would face the same destiny that Jesus faced. Being kingdom builders means caring about this world, this society, and your community becoming more kingdom like just as much we care where my "soul" (whatever that means) and other people's "souls" are going.

This world matters and followers of Christ need to be about ending injustice. Period.

So i embark on a journey to untangle the web as much I can in order to help myself and my millions of readers learn what it is that they need about. What they have an ordained passion to end.

I would love help on this, so any suggestions, or guest blogs on how you see the world being un-kingdom like are totally welcome!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health Care

health care is an inalienable right. just as much as free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to own land, the right to a job. there should be no argument about whether or not everyone has health care. hows it done sure. but clearly something needs to change if the current system leaves so many uninsured and so many to be taken advantage of.

what do others think ?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Promise from MLK

“When our days become dreary with low hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the blue corner Jacob, in the red God.

Once upon a time there was an ordinary man who was commissioned by God to be a great leader. As he was leading God's children to a future hope Jacob was left alone. A man came upon him and they began to wrestle, "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak."

Random to say the least.

Even more interesting is the man that comes upon Jacob, is actually God.

Take a moment, and try to wrap your minds around the idea of the creator of the farthest reaches of the universe coming into human from to go a couple of rounds with ordinary Jacob. Craziness, I'd rather wrestle 10 Andre the Giants (see picture) than one God.

This is what I take from the story...

God is alive and real and tangible and wants you to engage with him in conflict. (conflict not in the negative violent connotation that we have of it, but conflict simply being to opposing forces colliding.) In this case God and Jacob literally and physically collide in a wrestling match.

This debunks a few perceptions of faith and God:

- That we are suppose to be robots, being dictated by God in everything we do. On the contrary, if you don't understand where God is taking you then wrestle him over it.

- It's a "sin", or wrong to be angry at God. On the contrary, every wrestling match I have ever been in has been a result of anger or has resulted in anger. God wants your whole heart, the good and the bad, the confused and the certain, and especially the joyous and the angry.

Heres the rub...

God wants to engage with you and wrestle with you over every aspect of your life. The more we do this we become closer to God physically and our ability to hear his voice is much more clear. I tend to leave God out of a lot of my life, and push him far way from me, definitely far enough away that we couldn't wrestle.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My life in the Psalter

Psalm 73

Surely God is good to Israel, 
       to those who are pure in heart.

  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; 
       I had nearly lost my foothold.

  For I envied the arrogant 
       when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

 They have no struggles; 
       their bodies are healthy and strong. 
a]" style="line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]

  They are free from the burdens common to man; 
       they are not plagued by human ills.

  Therefore pride is their necklace; 
       they clothe themselves with violence.

  From their callous hearts comes iniquity b]" style="line-height: 0.5em; ">[b] ; 
       the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

  They scoff, and speak with malice; 
       in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

  Their mouths lay claim to heaven, 
       and their tongues take possession of the earth.

 Therefore their people turn to them 
       and drink up waters in abundance. 
c]" style="line-height: 0.5em; ">[c]

  They say, "How can God know? 
      Does the Most High have knowledge?"

  This is what the wicked are like— 
       always carefree, they increase in wealth.

  Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; 
      in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

  All day long I have been plagued; 
       I have been punished every morning.

  If I had said, "I will speak thus," 
       I would have betrayed your children.

  When I tried to understand all this, 
       it was oppressive to me

 till I entered the sanctuary of God; 
       then I understood their final destiny.

 Surely you place them on slippery ground; 
       you cast them down to ruin.

 How suddenly are they destroyed, 
       completely swept away by terrors!

  As a dream when one awakes, 
       so when you arise, O Lord, 
       you will despise them as fantasies.

 When my heart was grieved 
       and my spirit embittered, 

  I was senseless and ignorant; 

     was a brute beast before you.

  Yet I am always with you; 
       you hold me by my right hand.

  You guide me with your counsel, 
       and afterward you will take me into glory.

  Whom have I in heaven but you? 
       And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

  My flesh and my heart may fail, 
       but God is the strength of my heart 
       and my portion forever.

  Those who are far from you will perish; 
       you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

  But as for me, it is good to be near God. 
       I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; 
       I will tell of all your deeds.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making Home Home

So usually I only blog about deep spiritual or philosophical matters but I have recently decided that maybe all my readers out there would like something a little more laid back, relaxed, and more about my life. The last part isn't so much for my readers, do not take me for being that narcissistic, but I think I would like to just vent more about more random things going on in my life rather than feeling this heavy load to write something that is going to be this monumental discovery that is going to change lives. As if I can change lives. 

Yesterday was a good day I officially moved into my apartment and made it home. The first two nights I stayed here I was the only one and it was just to move some things in. Both nights were the worst nights of sleep ever, one of which I spontaneously woke up in the middle of the night and threw up. The other I was having such a vivid dream of a man trying to chop me down with an axe, not to mention hearing weird loud noises all through out the night I was convinced this man was actually in my apartment. It felt mostly like I was staying in a cold, plain, and lonely hotel room. 

But yesterday we broke this bad boy in and made her feel like home. First off we have furniture (a great big leather couch and a lazy boy recliner) and a great 50 inch projection tv screen that is as wide as it is deep. We had our first guests over and broke the kitchen in by making a delicious meal that we went all out on and washed it down with some ridiculously good pecan pie. 

To say the least after a day of really living and sharing life with good friends and roommates in my new apartment it felt like home and I slept like a baby, keeping the man with axe at bay. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wisdom of Nee

Could the American individualistic thought that has plagued America since the invention of capitalism be at the core of why the modern church resembles nothing of what we see in the second testament or more importantly its lack of resemblance in the very person of Christ? 

There are many who think that they can be Christians all by themselves! But God will not allow this. Often their individual prayers are not answered, their personal study of the Scriptures does not enlighten them, and their individual seeking does not enlighten them, and their individual seeking does not lead them to God's will.
If such a person would say to another brother or sister, "I just cannot get through this matter by myself, would you help me" and they prayed together, he would be clear eventually. Whatever he could not understand by himself, he would see clearly when an answer was sought with his brother. 

Such a person is often still proud, thinking that he can make it by himself most of the time, and that there are only a few times when he cannot get through. 
This is individualism. In the church individualism must be broken. We must allow the Christ in us and the Christ in all the other brothers and sisters to become knit together in one Body.
one and only... Watchman Nee

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Into the Wild?

This vacation I began reading the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. Quick Synopsis: "In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000, in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter..." 
You may have seen the movie but the book reads much differently. Instead of focusing on Chris's adventure's tramping around America and highlighting the beauty he witnessed along the way the book is more of a discovery to find out who this young man was that would drop everything and anyone in search of some sort of transcendental experience in the "wild". 
I began to Journal about what it is about the connection between man and the wilderness thats seems to span time. 
This is what came out:
What is it about nature and the wilderness that calls and lures men? Lures me? Nature seems to be seen as a place to heal, meet some primordial need for adventure, and most importantly it seems to be a place we search to complete the void that haunts our lives. We are restless because we demand to live the way we were created to live, we are restless because living the way we were created to live is a mystery to most. Those that claim to possess the truth either parade around in a demeaning and demanding manor, confused by the hierarchal interpretation they have been fed through. On the other pole is those you may actually obtain the truth but have grown complacent and comfortable without sharing or truly tasting a life of risk, adventure, danger, happiness, and true fulfillment. This in mind, with no where to look in society, we take to the wild. Maybe because what we long for is ultimately to know the creator and nature provides the last unadultured view of the creator's face. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Communal Life (Read if you are a Christian)

Here is an exert from a book I just finished called From Eternity to Here. I was going to try and sum it up but Frank Viola puts it so well I thought I would save myself the work...

This maybe one of the most ridiculously thought provoking passages on church and community that I have read to date. The Bible never gives us an exact blue print of what church is suppose to live up to, but here Frank Viola may have something.

Properly conceived, the church is a colony from heaven that has descended on earth to display the life of God's kingdom.

By its way of life, its values, and its interpersonal relationships, the church lives as a counterculture outpost of the future kingdom--a kingdom that will eventually fill the whole earth "as the waters cover the sea."

God's ultimate purpose is to reconcile the universe under the lordship of Jesus Christ (Col 1:20; Eph 1:10). As the community of the King, the church stands in the earth as the masterpiece of that reconciliation and the pilot project of the reconciled universe. In the church, therefor, the Jewish-Gentile barrier has been demolished, as well as all barriers of race, culture sex, etc. (Gal 3:28; Eph 2:16).
The church lives and acts as the new humanity on earth that reflects the community of the Godhead.

Thus when those in the world see a group of Christians from different cultures and races loving one another, caring for one another, meeting on another's needs, living against the current trends of this world that give allegiance to other gods instead of to the world's true Lord, Jesus Christ, they are watching the life of the future kingdom lived out on earth in the present. As Stanley Grenz once put it, "The church is the pioneer community. It points toward the future God has in store for his creation."

It is this "kingdom community" that turned the Roman Empire on its ear. Here was a people who possessed joy, who loved one another deeply, who made decisions by consensus, who handled their own problems, who married each other, who met one another's financial needs, and who buried on another.

This community was living in the presence of the future. It showed the world what the future kingdom of God will look like, when Jesus Christ will be running the entire show.

The church's allegiance was exclusively given to the new Caesar, the Lord Jesus, and she lived by His rule. As a result, the response by her pagan neighbors was, "Behold how they love one another!"

We live in a day when the Western church enshrined rugged individualism and independence. As such, many modern churches are not authentic communities that are embodying the family of God. Instead, they are institutional organizations that operate as a hybrid of General Motors and the Rotary Club.

The spiritual DNA of the church will always lead its members toward authentic, viable community. It will always lead its members toward authentic, viable community. It will always lead Christians to live a shared life through the Holy Spirit that expresses the life and values of Jesus Christ. In other words, it will live as the family of God.

In this way, the church becomes the visible image of the triune God. By sharing in the communion of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit, the church puts God's love on public display. It becomes his family in the earth in reality.

The family dimension of the church is not peripheral. It's central to the church's life and mission.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wilderness High Lights

Key Words to My Wilderness Experience

Diversity: I was blessed to go out into the Colorado Mountians with the most diverse group of people. At face value everyone would of seemed like a well off, white, suburbuan, kid from Carmel who has everything going for them. In reality each individual and the stuff they were dealing with in their lives could not have been different from the next person.

Illogical: Thirteen high schoolers, many of which had never slept outside, two leaders, and two guides that have minimal experience and training hiking in the premiere, beautiful, and dangerous Colorado Mountains. It did not make sense for us to make it back without getting lost or seriously hurt. It rained one day. One day for mid july in Colorado is nuts! We should have been rained on every afternoon. Clouds would roll in and I would be preparing for the rain that never came. Illogical.

Honesty: Fifteen people that barely knew each other realized what it meant to be honest with themselves, each other, and most importantly with God. We sat around telling our story, telling things we had never told any one else, bringing out the crap that we hide in the depths of ourselves usually letting it eat us from the inside out. I learned that if we are to "be Jesus to the world" we need to listen to peoples' stories, dig deep, and get at their heart to discover who they really are. Jesus does this with the Samaritan women at the well. Due to our honesty, vulnerability, and the way we loved each other we became a family.

Humility: My prayer before this trip was that of John the Baptist's: "He must become greater i must become less". Man did God answer that prayer. After the night of solo's Jenna (my co-leader) and I reconvened and both had this overwhelming feeling that we were undeserving and unqualified to be in these kids lives. I have know skills, education, or experience in many of the things that the kids were experiencing. Any effort I was to put forth to counsel or improve the kids lives would have been futile. God made me the size of an ant and him and my need for him HUGE. All I could do is show up in these kids lives and point to God.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Into the Wilderness

Today I will embark on a 24 hour bus ride to a remote destination in the Colorado mountains. Once there, I will set out with 15 high schoolers with only what we can carry on our backs into the wilderness for 6 days.

Needless to say, if you think of me, pray for me.

I am so excited for many reasons about this trip.
1. I love the wilderness, colorado, hiking, and can not wait to see how much I learn and Grow.
2. There are two dudes that I spend a lot of time with that usually would go to camp this summer, but they are ready for something more challenging and I am really excited to have this awesome experience with them so early on in their high school years.

So yes. pray for me and for the kids: That we are safe but challenged and stressed to the point that we have to rely on and draw near to the lord in ways we have never experienced. Pray that bonds of friendship will be made even stronger. Most importantly pray that i can be a leader who doesnt lead at all. Pray that I can step back and allow god to do all the work. For I want to become less, and he to be become greater.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Repentance ?

I have always struggled with the idea of repentance. Not knowing what is truly means and also being scared of it for some reason or another. I tend to avoid it because I don't understand it totally in either Biblical or experiential terms.

This quote better helped me rap my mind around why repentance is not only necessary but a vital component to a follower's growth as we strive to become more like Jesus.

"Repentance means turning away from darkness to light. We must name and accept our sin, understand that it remains within us, and use it as a spur to another kind of existence." Chris Hedges

This quote was taken from Hedges book called Losing Moses on the Freeway. I encourage anyone who is interested, intrigued, confused, or ignorant of the 10 Commandments application to society NOW they should pick up this book.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Wise Man Told Me

I have been struggling with this idea that I feel like there are so many areas of my life that are still of the old me, that are still of this world and are areas that I have not let die and be resurrected in Christ. Or rather I have not been able to turn them over to God. For many reasons, Fear of where it may lead, unwillingness to sacrifice, the need to fulfill my own selfish ambitions, etc. Either way I have been struggling totally putting this in words and a friend shared this passage from The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Knee with me.

"If we give ourselves unreservedly to God, many adjustments may have to be made: in family, or business, or church relationships, or in the matter of our personal views. God will not let anything of ourselves remain. His finger will touch, point by point, everything that is not of him, and will say: 'This must go.' Are you willing? It is foolish to resist God, and always wise to submit to him. We admit that many of us still have controversies with the Lord. He wants something, while we want something else. Many things we dare not look into, dare not pray about, dare not even think about, lest we lost our peace. We can evade the issue in that way, but to do so will bring us out of the will of God. It is always an easy matter to get ouf of his will, but it is a blessed thing just to hand ourselves over to him and let him have his way with us."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A poem from Seamus Heaney

Humans beings suffer.
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.

History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history can rhyme

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge,
Believe that a father shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Heaven and End Times

There are so many misconceptions, crooked theoliges, and wild fantasies about what heaven is, it is almost funny. I have come to see how important are understanding and perspective of these controversial issues are.

Here is some scripture that has given me more insight into what the future holds and where we are suppose to rest our hope.

Revelation 21
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Right away there are some stark differences between what this passage says and most christian views on heaven and he end of times.

Heaven is coming here.

1 Corinthians 15
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Philippians 3
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Key word transform -"he will change the present body into the one that corresponds in kind to his own as part of his work of bringing all things into subjection to himself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Convicting Call to Action

1 John 3 17- 20.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.


One of my favorite scenes in a movie that I have found to be so relevant to matters of conflict and peace is from the Harrison Ford movieWitness. The premiss of the movie is that an Amish child has witnessed a murder and Harrison From is assigned to go under cover and live with the Amish and protect the child from the murders who are after the witness.

The Amish are peaceful and choose to avoid violence. They don't have any physical training in fighting and they do not keep firearms in their community. Some would call them pacifists. For whatever reason that title has been given a negative connotation: Pacifists let the world pass them by and are to scared and weak to stand up to any one imposing violence. (something like that).

At the climax of the movie the "bad guys" have broke into the Amish community while most of the men are out in the fields doing manual labor. The boy is captured by the antagonist but just after he was able to ring the bell and single the men back from the fields. The scene is that the bad guy has the gun to the boys head while Harrison and a few others are standing there trying to talk him out of killing him. As the men appear over the hillside they approach the scene without a word, without force, and with really nothing other than their presence. They merely stand and witness the scene unfolding. The antagonist realizes that there is no way out of the situation. He has so many people watching him that he will easily be convicted for anyone he kills in an attempt to escape. Reality also strikes him that he only has a few bullets left in his gun, not nearly enough to kill all the witnesses. He lays down his gun and allows him self to be arrested, their presence was the power that disarmed him and brought about justice.

Yesterday, I was walking through the neighborhood with Josh Kupkee (neighborhood resident and also an intern at Broadway) and also Jeffery Perkins (neighborhood resident and staff member). On our way heading back to the church after a stroll through the neighborhood we heard screaming and yelling from the street over. We nearly walked on but it didn't stop and it became clear that a women was being hurt by someone else. I would have probably continued on minding my own business but Josh immediately turned and began to walk towards where the noise was coming from. As we walked by the scene it dissolved. We didn't say a word or act physically towards them in anyway, we merely were witnesses to the violence and our presence was enough to stop it.

Now is the conflict over? Is the women in this situation free of the physical abuse she may have received?
Heck no, but I do know that she knows that somebody cares enough to walk by and we dissolved the situation that was violent.

I was also reassured that peace is not only possible it is effective and a moral choice that has ten times better chance resulting in peace than using violence to resolve a situation does.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Blogs

Here is a list of blogs that are participating in the blog circuit that I am taking part in. Take some time and check out these other bloggers.
Go here to experience all of he questions and answers:

Today (June 9th), the following blogs are discussing Frank Viola's new bestselling book “From Eternity to Here” (David C. Cook, 2009). The book just hit the May CBA Bestseller List. Some are posting Q & A with Frank; others are posting full reviews of the book. To read more reviews and order a copy at a 33% discount, go to

For more resources, such as downloadable audios, the free Discussion Guide, the Facebook Group page, etc. go to the official website:

Enjoy the reviews and the Q and A:


Out of Ur -

Shapevine - (June newsletter)

Brian Eberly - -

Greg Boyd -

Vision Advance -

David Flowers -

Kingdom Grace -

Captain's Blog -

Christine Sine -

Darin Hufford - The Free Believers Network -

Zoecarnate -

Church Planting Novice -

Staying Focused -

Take Your Vitamin Z -

Jeff Goins -

Bunny Trails -

Matt Cleaver -

Jason T. Berggren -

Simple Church -

Emerging from Montana -

Parable Life -

Oikos Australia -

West Coast Witness -

Keith Giles -

Consuming Worship --

Tasha Via -

Andrew Courtright -

ShowMeTheMooneys! -

Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer -

Jason Coker -

From Knowledge to Wisdom -

Home Brewed Christianity -

Dispossessed -

Dandelion Seeds -

David Brodsky's Blog- "Flip the tape Deck" -

Chaordic Journey -

Renee Martin -

Bob Kuhn -

Living with Freaks:

Real Worship -

Fervent Worship -

Julie Ferwerda Blog - /

What's With Christina?! -

Irreligious Canuck -

This day on the journey -

Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity -

Spiritual Journey With God -

Dries Conje - / /

Journey with Others -

On Now to the Third Level -

Christine Moers -

Breaking Point -

Hand to the Plough -

Jon Reid -

Weblight -

D. L. Webster -

Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life -