Archive - April, 2010

Are You a Spiritual Bureaucrat?

I’m reading a book called Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. As the title suggests, it’s about, well, making stuff happen.

The book primarily has its application in the entrepreneurial/business world, but I’ve found a few spiritual applications already. The first one? Spiritual inaction. Yeah. Sitting on your spiritual duff while the world passes you by.

Here’s a quote from Ideas,
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Oodles of Noodles

Whenever we have a few intense days of conversation, I like to bring in some humor to lighten things up.

So, without further ado, here’s a hippopotamus singing about noodles. Oodles and oodles of noodles.

Jennifer Knapp: “How am I perverted?”

Regardless of how you feel about Jennifer Knapp’s recent admission, she comes across confident, smart and collected.

In part two and three of this interview, in my opinion she sounds more Christ-like than the pastor she’s in dialogue with. Not because of his position, but because he has no willingness to listen to anyone else’s stance. To me, Pastor Bob is more concerned with being right than entering into another person’s story and loving them where they’re at–regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

In this whole interview, I think Ted Haggard comes off as the hero. Yes, that Ted Haggard. He shows up in part three. Ted’s reminder to us that we’re all in process is a message for the ages. Simply brilliant.

Here’s part one of the interview with Larry King. (This video links to parts two, three and four at the end).

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The Biblical Debate on Homosexuality

I’ve heard them. No doubt you have to. So has Jennifer Knapp. The so-called “clobber verses“–Bible passages used to “clobber” people in the debate surrounding same-gender sexual relations. It’s the Westboro Baptist Church-pitch dressed in polite language.

There’s Sodom and Gomorrah

There’s the Levitical Law

There’s the arsenokoitais debate…

But one passage is consistently left out of the same-gender sex discussion: Genesis 2. Specifically, verses 21 through 25. I’ve been thinking about this passage a lot lately. Struggling with it. Mostly because the logical end leads me to a conclusion that is less-than-popular.

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Everything is a Commercial

Almost every bit of media that you encounter on a daily basis is trying to sell you something. Do you realize this?

Whenever I go to the gym, I engage in “cultural exegesis” by watching MTV. We don’t have cable at our house (for a million different, brilliant reasons), so this is the only time during the week I’m exposed to cable pop culture. An hour is a perfect length to engage this medium–anymore and I’m afraid I’d get hooked.

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Three Cultural Values

Name three things that the culture around you values.

For instance, in Iowa we value:

  1. Working hard (agricultural society filled with farmers).
  2. Family (byproduct of agricultural society–needed plenty of kinfolk to keep the farm going).
  3. Fiscal responsibility (debt is largely frowned upon, probably because of #1. If you don’t have the money, you don’t buy it!).

What about your culture? I’m leaving that open-ended on purpose. Your “culture” may be your family, your place of employment, your city, your place of worship, country, lifestyle, etc.

What does your culture value?

Re-Calibration for the Soul

I think there’s something healthy about re-calibration. Re-calibration is helpful because, well, stuff changes.

The wheels on our car get out of line. We need a re-calibration to get the automobile working as it should.

The purpose of our business is no longer clear. We need a re-calibration to figure out what it is that we’re doing in the marketplace.

Our spines get misaligned from all the years of bad posture. We need a trip to the chiropractor to re-calibrate our bodies so they work properly.

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Hey Jude

I recently read through the book of Jude and, let me tell you, I’m exhausted! I’m just glad I didn’t read it using the Amplified Bible or it may have taken two pages and who knows how long to read!

But seriously, Jude offers a simple letter with two themes:

1. Take a sad song
2. Make it better

Yes, you read that right. How could a music geek like me not make a reference to the Beatles when writing about the book of Jude?

But I digress.
Take a Sad Song

Jude’s main point in his letter to the believers around him was this: beware of false teachers. But not just in general. Jude asserts that false teachers and “some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” (1:4 NLT) Sound like anyone you know? Many people in our churches have some really messed up understandings of biblical theology. And, to make it worse, some churches and pastors even preach and teach this incorrect doctrine. Here’s how Jude describes these people:

When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness…These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

It’s a sad song, indeed. We have strayed away from the Gospel and all that it contains about the sacrifices that were made by the early Christians so that they could live according to the example of Christ. Being a Christ follower isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t footloose and fancy free!
Make It Better

So, how do we take this sad song and make it better? Jude tells us in the second half of his letter.
1. Build each other up.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

We are tasked with the responsibility to pray for each other and to keep each other safe. We must live in community with one another, and be aware of correct doctrine, so that we are able to warn each other and correct each other when the time comes. How can we do this? Join a small group, go to a bible study, spend time in the word, spend time in prayer. First and foremost, though, is find a church that embraces these things and sets the example for living in Christian community. This is the model of the first church.
2. Show Mercy

You must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Mercy. Even to those who have “wormed their way” into your churches, and only intend to satisfy their own desires and agendas. Even those who live by false doctrine and rediculous theology. Show mercy to those people, and, most importantly, help them realize the error in their ways. However, do so lovingly, but also cautiously. I read Jude’s advice as being a warning against getting wrapped up in the same things yourself. If we start publicly criticizing everyone who doesn’t believe our “correct doctrine,” aren’t we making ourselves out to be just as bad as they are? Bottom line: hate the sin, but love the sinner.

Hey Jude! Don’t make it bad! Take a sad song, and make it better!

Naaaa naa naa nanana naaaaa, nanana naaaaa, hey Jude!

Everybody sing!

COLLIDE Magazine Giveaway!

UPDATE: Winners are announced below! Thanks to everyone who played.

I met Scott McClellan in person at Cultivate last year in Chicago. I knew we would get along when he was given iPod duty in my car and chose “Regulate” by Warren G. Classic.

Scott’s written for this blog before and runs REALfakeADS.com. He’s also editor for COLLIDE–a magazine where media and church converge.

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An Infographic of Jennifer Knapp Reaction

On Tuesday night I set my Facebook status up to say, “Jennifer Knapp is a lesbian.”

  • I did not state personal opinion.
  • I did not claim a theological position.
  • I only stated verifiable fact coming from Jennifer herself.

Below is what ensued. The results were fascinating.

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