Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still More (what is wrong with me?)

Stories

It is our stories that make us,

not politicians, not executives

with our stories we create our world.

Shoah, Holodomor, Killing Fields,

and hospitals, healing, wells in the desert

Crusades, inquisitions, exiles,

and communities, families, welcoming embraces

What is my story?

God speaks worlds into being

We, His image-bearers, do the same

Our stories do this.

What worlds do I create?

Stories destroy, stories rebuild,

stories wound, stories heal,

A story crucified the Prince of Peace

but a larger story still pulled Him from the grave.

How large is my story?

Empires tell their stories,

and rulers, and authorities,

but there is another story teller,

greater than they.

Who tells my story?

More poetry

I don't know what's gotten into me. Poetry really isn't my style.


Exile

There is pain to slavery

yet there is comfort, too

The lash bites, the shackles rub

but you are safe

safe from decision

safe from care and worry

the evening meal is always there

Of what value is courage?

What is the currency of freedom?

What can they buy a slave?

A quick death;

or a long one

starvation, homelessness, care and worry,

Why, then, this restlessness?

From where comes these urgings?

A whisper in my sleeping ear?

A waking vision, a day dream?

Who is this that says “Follow Me”?

A demon, a fantasy, a fever?

Who?

A Small Poem

This is something I wrote after a "Focusing" experience. Dedicated to Sarah and Kristin.

Contract



Loneliness, despair, death

was my life

into the pit of pain

but not alone

a light, a glimmer, a hope

grasp it, hold on

Thursday, October 11, 2007

95 (+3) Theses for Today

I was wondering what the theses for a new reformation would look like and came up with the following list. They aren't as well thought out as Luther's and I actually ended up with more than 95, but I thought I would run these up the flagpole. They all address what I perceive as real problems in various parts of the church. There may be some overlaps, and maybe even contradictions among them, there are certainly large gaps. Your comments are, of course, welcome.

  1. Expecting the Kingdom of God to be established through right-wing politics is idolatry.
  2. Expecting the Kingdom of God to be established through left-wing politics is idolatry.
  3. It is men and women, together in a body, that constitute the imago Dei.
  4. The church, the Body of Christ, is not just a collection of individuals.
  5. Men and women can both be called to any position within the church.
  6. The church is in the business of establishing the Kingdom, its primary purpose is not to repair the damage wrought by governments, corporations and empire.
  7. The church should not be an instrument of empire.
  8. The world exists for the church, not the church for the world.
  9. It is not the church’s job to critique the world, the church’s job is to create a new world.
  10. The history of Christianity didn’t start with a) the Reformation, b) when your denomination was founded or c) when your congregation was started.
  11. The Bible is not a modern book and shouldn’t be read as one.
  12. Since beauty is the only valid apologetic in a post-modern context, the church should strive for beauty in its life and doctrine.
  13. The Bible is not a jigsaw puzzle, it needs to be read as a whole.
  14. The Bible is, first and foremost, a story, a story that we are called to participate in, not just a collection of propositional truths.
  15. The church no longer needs a hierarchy to function, modern communications and transportation provide everything we need to establish orthodoxy and cooperation.
  16. Orthodoxy is important only if it leads to orthopraxis.
  17. There is no such thing as the “secular”, as “secular” is commonly understood.
  18. Christian ethics are about more than sex, alcohol and tobacco.
  19. The church should make disciples, not converts.
  20. There is no such thing as “just war”.
  21. Questions should not be asked of the Bible that the Bible doesn’t attempt to answer.
  22. Revelation is the only hope we have of obtaining certain knowledge.
  23. Theology is the Queen of the Sciences.
  24. We are called to love all of creation, including homosexuals, democrats, and Sam Harris.
  25. It is not the government’s job to care for the poor, but the church’s.
  26. There are spiritual disciplines other than Bible study and impromptu prayer.
  27. Our identity as Christians is only defined by our relationships within the body of Christ.
  28. Our only defense against the empire that surrounds all of us is each other, the Body of Christ.
  29. The sacrament of communion is more than symbolism.
  30. The cross and resurrection can only be understood in terms of the incarnation and of the life of Jesus.
  31. The purpose of church services is not entertainment.
  32. Our God soiled his “diapers” as an infant.
  33. Our God should be pictured by us as hanging on cross.
  34. Our God can, and did, and does suffer.
  35. We are not saved by what we know, we are not Gnostics.
  36. The church affects the culture by changing the people, not changing the politics.
  37. Abortion is not the issue, a culture that fears and worships death is the issue.
  38. The church should prepare Christians, especially young Christians, for dealing with a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity.
  39. Christendom is dying, if not already dead. It should not be revived.
  40. Knowledge is not the enemy of faith.
  41. Faith is not the enemy of knowledge.
  42. Knowing the Bible is not the same thing as knowing God.
  43. Free market capitalism is not God’s own economic system.
  44. Neither is socialism.
  45. The US Flag is not a Christian icon or symbol.
  46. The US, particularly the US government, is not Christian.
  47. Roman law is a poor framework for understanding the atonement.
  48. Greek philosophy is a poor framework for understanding a Hebrew text.
  49. Material wealth does not imply God’s blessing.
  50. Poverty does not imply God’s curse.
  51. The depth of one’s knowledge is not a measure of spiritual maturity.
  52. America is not great, America is powerful.
  53. The church's job is not to improve America.
  54. The mark of a Christian marriage is mutual, sacrificial submission to each other.
  55. Christian leadership is marked by sacrificial servanthood.
  56. Spirituality and religion are not the same thing.
  57. Christian art should be the best art, not insipid paintings of cottages and sappy music.
  58. Paul should be interpreted in light of Jesus, not Jesus in light of Paul.
  59. Theology should not be ideological.
  60. Every Christian should be a theologian.
  61. America is not God's favorite country.
  62. Evangelism is a community activity, people are attracted to Christianity by the beauty in Christian lives and community.
  63. How we deal with illness and death is a matter for the church, not just "medical professionals".
  64. Christianity is not a veneer to spread on top of secular lives.
  65. Christianity has something to say to all areas of our lives, all areas of creation, nothing is out of bounds, including business, politics and education.
  66. It is more important to be good than to be right.
  67. Part of the gospel is mystery, we don’t have to have all the answers.
  68. If a pastor needs bodyguards to deliver a sermon, he is most likely not preaching the gospel.
  69. The church should not mimic the world when it comes to employment practices, the church should be a model to the world.
  70. The Constitution of the United States is not the fifth gospel.
  71. “Just War” doctrine is a failure, something better is needed.
  72. The gates of Hell are locked from the inside.
  73. Gates, as in “gates of Hell”, are defensive in nature, for them “not to prevail” means they first must be attacked.
  74. The gospel is not about sin management.
  75. Economic systems should benefit all who bear the image of God.
  76. Patriotism is not a Christian virtue.
  77. We are at least 2000 years overdue for a Jubilee.
  78. When the church stops reforming, it dies.
  79. It is the duty of every Christian to resist imperialism.
  80. Marriage is a rite of the church, it is not any of the government’s business who participates.
  81. Justification is not by faith alone.
  82. The church is not a community, it is a body, an organic whole.
  83. We need to recover the theology of James (and Jesus).
  84. Marriage is a covenant that the couple makes with the community, it is not a do your own thing institution.
  85. It is through suffering that we become more like God and Christ.
  86. The eschaton started about 2000 years ago.
  87. It is every Christians duty to resist colonization, anybody’s colonization.
  88. Evangelism, properly done, is not colonization.
  89. It is the church’s duty to provide ethical guidance to science, which cannot supply its own.
  90. Evangelism is not marketing.
  91. The church’s response to terrorism should be mercy and missionaries, not support for bombs and invasions.
  92. The size of your church is not a measure of your faithfulness.
  93. Christians should strive to live simply, not to save the whales, but to save their souls.
  94. It is time for a new exodus out of “Egypt”.
  95. The next reformation should undo the damage and separation wrought by the first.
  96. The gospel of Jesus is truly radical, now no less than in the first century, it in no way supports the current status quo.
  97. In God’s economy it is better to be a gay (homosexual) person who loves their neighbor than be a straight (heterosexual) person who does not love their, possibly homosexual, neighbor.
  98. Sola Scriptura has failed, as witnessed by hundreds of denominations all claiming to be Sola Scriptura.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

To be Continued, continued

This is the continuation of the "why do you believe" discussion from Vox Day's blog. The discussion thread is here. As you can see, this post won't dissappear off the end of _this_ blog for a very long time.

I changed over to blogger comments. I transferred all the comments that had any content from the post below.

UPDATE: I changed the template, the messages are much easier to read this way, I think.

Monday, October 23, 2006

To be Continued

This is the continuation of the "why do you believe" discussion from Vox Day's blog. The discussion thread is here. As you can see, this post won't dissappear off the end of _this_ blog for a very long time.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Why would anyone think this is police brutality?

It seems that the Portland police are such wimps that they can't subdue a 90 year old blind women without pepper spray, Tasers and just generally kicking the crap out of her. It all started with the city's attempt to tell this women what she could have in her yard, and forcibly removing the "unapproved" items. When the women tried to keep just one item, the police were called, she was Maced and Tasered. The city official shouldn't have been there in the first place, it's her property, let her put what she want on it. If the neighbors don't like it they can either buy her out or move. Portland is well know as one of the most fascist cities in the country in its regard for private property. In the second place, why where the police called? If the woman was causing trouble, just leave and decide your next step calmly, it's not like she's going anywhere. Thirdly, it is a sign of out of control police when they feel free to stomp a 90 year blind woman. Outrageous all around.

It's not really about the drugs

It seems that other European countries are pressuring the Netherlands to stop the "cannibis tourism" trade. Seems like foreigners are traveling to Holland to get a little high. The real problem is that France (in particular) wants them drinking French wine. Ditto for the Germans and beer. This is just pure mercantilism masquerading as morality. They say they are going to start researching the effects of pot in an attempt to reclassify it as a "hard drug" which would mean the Dutch coffee shops couldn't sell it any longer. I have no doubt they will be successful, they will get the best research that money can buy. But can we apply the same standards to French wine and German beer? Any objective standard that includes pot as a "hard" drug would also have to include alcohol, which is really far more damaging, but of course it won't.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Why doesn't the government want us to see this?

This picture got the woman who took it fired from her job with a federal contractor. What are Bush and the feds afraid of, that we may actually see the human cost of his misguided imperial adventure in Iraq? Could be. In any event, the government firing, or causing to be fired, somebody who caused them embarrassment is just plain old censorship, and the officials who caused this to happen should be fired themselves, at the very least. Since the government has its tentacles just about everywhere now, they could use this tactic against anyone who causes them discomfort.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Anti-Christian Bigotry

It appears that major networks don't want to have anything to do with The Passion of the Christ. Big surprise. The networks of course blame the violent content, but who are they kidding? They don't have a problem with violence, they broadcast violence all the time, usually mindless violence at that. They have a problem with the message.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Corporate Idiocy

The stupidity of corporate executives never ceases to amaze. This clown told his employees to "come to work everyday expecting to be fired" and he thought this would be motivational. Might have motivated those who could to find a new job. Second example of dumb executive in this story is the clueless moron who hired this guy to begin with. Why would anyone hire someone from a company that specializes in offshoring to be their CIO? That by itself is a motivation killer. I know that there are good companies to work for out there. Its just hard to get in to them, since they have such low turnover.