Monday, January 29, 2007

Real People in the Real World

When we dialogued yesterday about eternal life, what Jesus might have meant when he did the big John 3:16 thing on old Nick, and even got into how David, a "man after God's own heart," seemed to be fairly proficient at messing up, I was reminded of a list that an African American pastor used once in a sermon with much enthusiasm.

I liked it so much I asked for a copy. He was making the point that our "heroes of the faith are flawed." While it may be too telling about me, I have to confess that I find great comfort that the Bible is filled with stories of the real-ness of people such as:

drunkards like Noah
liars like Abraham
tricksters like Jacob
murderers like Moses
adulterers like David
idolaters like Solomon
backsliders like Elisha
cursing sailors like Peter
doubters like Thomas
spoiled brats like James and John
persecutors like Paul
sinners like you and me.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

write it

so at my very baptist university we had a week long university-wide conversation about art and how it is effected and effects faith.
we even had our very own dr. sloan give a lecture.
i was surprised.
i thought that, being one of his first public lectures, it would be something powerful, something enlightening, something uplifting...
and it was, but not in the way i had expected.
on the topic of biblical writing and poetry, sloan decided to pull from lamentations and the psalms.
lamentations is a sad, sorrowful, book of despair.
it's hard to read for most, and something i think most of us tend to skim over.
from my OT survey class i remember the discussion of how lamentations begins every verse or line with the consecutive letters of the hebrew alphabet.
some think this is a nemonic device since everything was committed to memory...
but as sloan pointed out, that would be really hard to do considering there are several lines beginning with a, with b, with g and so on.
most of the lines begin with a word we translate to mean 'how?', but it actually is more like an unpronounceable moan.
so perhaps, he offered, that this was not for sheer memorization but for survival.
that when we mourn, if we aren't tethered down...we can tend to allow that slow moan to turn into outright shrieking hysteria.
it is freedom to mourn and grieve, but in such a way that keeps it somewhat contained.
sloan laughed when he said that you must have lived many years if you had looked to the psalms for consolation and daily reading.
perhaps i have lived many years.
the psalms, too, are sad.
it's funny to read some of them since they start off with such, again, sorrowful words and yet end with a 'praise God!' or something. sounds like us sometimes. we can relate to someone else all the shit that's going on with us, and then at the end finish it with something ridiculous like 'but God is still faithful....yada yada yada'.
why do we do it?
sloan mentioned lots of other things too, things that i'm sure most people-like our own ken w.- know from their own long days of religious schooling.
he touched on the many places jesus drew from the psalms and how that was probably the collection of writing that had the greatest effect on jc.
and...the point of all this...sloan addressed how, back in the day, lamentations were used during worship.
the people were in a hard place...they felt alone and deserted and confused...and they used that honesty in worship.
i want us to use whatever it is...maybe we are in a moment of celebration or mourning...either way, i want us to use it.
ken has been asking for us to find heartfelt ways of worshipping...
and so i wonder, what if we could all jot down our thoughts and begin to form ways of using it in worship.
maybe a poem, maybe john or rodney or some other musician were to make it into actual music...
i don't know. i just want us to begin to use our lives to worship with.
i don't want to sing songs about things i've never experienced and never felt. some of them the rest of you have felt or gone through, but i haven't, and maybe some of you can relate to that.
anyways, something to think about i suppose.
let me know what you guys feel about it.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This is so not spiritual

After reading the previous post by Ken in which the author gives a wonderful quote describing the searching of a follower of God, I hate to break it up with something as non-important as this; but since we are in community and in this community I tend to be the only one to spread the gospel of soccer I found the following article to explain the "coming of becks" highly relevant. I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Beckham but his arrival could be significant. While reading, PLEASE click on the Steven Gerrard link and take seven minutes of your life to witness one of the truly great athletes of our time.

The Link:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling. ...We must play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment."

This is a quote of a quote. The origional quote is from the book The Church as the People of God by Hans Kung. I found it in the current book I'm reading called The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsh.

Monday, January 15, 2007

the big 5-0

yes, ken shuman is celebrating...
and we plan on helping him do that.
thanks to karen (party planner extrordinaire) we'll be celebrating 'traditional baptist style'...meaning, bring your own pot-luck dish. anything you want, but enough to share...and by anything, we mean ANYTHING. (i guess this isn't totally 'traditional baptist' after all! ha!)

so give shuman a call for directions if you haven't made it over to the new estate...

should prove to be a pretty fun evening...come and help us toast one of our favorite guys :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

An Incarnational Lifestyle?

In the book “Exiles” Michael Frost makes the case that following the example of Jesus includes the following four aspects. I would like to know what you think.

An active sharing of life, participating in the fears, frustrations, and afflictions of the host community. The prayer of the exile should be, “Lord, let your mind be in me,” for no witness is capable of incarnationality without the mind of Jesus.
An employment of the language and thought forms of those with whom we seek to share Jesus. After all, he used common speech and stories: salt, fruit, birds, and the like. He seldom used theological or religious jargon or technical terms.
A preparedness to go to the people, not expecting them to come to us. As Jesus came from the heavens to humanity, we enter into the “tribal” realities of human society.
A confidence that the gospel can be communicated by ordinary means, through acts of servanthood, loving relationships, good deed; in this way the exile becomes an extension of the incarnation in our time. Deeds thus create words.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

God tells Pat Robertson what's coming up for 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat.

God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.

The broadcaster predicted in January 2004 that President Bush would easily win re-election.

Bush won 51 percent of the vote that fall, beating Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

In 2005, Robertson predicted that Bush would have victory after victory in his second term. He said Social Security reform proposals would be approved and Bush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.

Lawmakers confirmed Bush's 2005 nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. But the president's Social Security initiative was stalled.

"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."

In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006.

Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.

What is the deal with this? We know that God and Pat are tight. Anyone who smiles as much as Pat can must have some good friends. Apparently, God lets Pat in on some good gossip and it's not very good news. Doom and gloom, etc. Now according to Pat, God has given him "predictions" in the past. Some of which have come true, but not all. So, are we supposed to get from this the notion that if God tells us some dire prediction, we can assume that a 50% success rate is good enough...from God? Now,when it doesn't quite come out as predicted we get get this quote:

"I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."

So in his next breath he says He gets it wrong sometimes. So who are we supposed to believe is really speaking here? God or Pat? I just do not see what the point of Pat Robinson is.

I could guess the future as well as anyone and if I had a 50% rate of success that would be pretty good I think.

I will give it a try: I predict that ratings and revenue will slip on the 700 Club and Pat Robinson will say stupid crap to get his mug in the news.