Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Lord has given me a word, something heavy on my heart, that this generation needs to restore honor to The Church. For far too long people who call themselves Christians have been doing hateful and fear-fueled things. Francis Chan's teaching on Sunday could not have been anymore timely. I really didn't know what restoring honor to The Church could looked like. Especially in the micro, in the macro it is very broad strokes of severing and loving the world as Christ did, but I was kind of at a loss for the intricate brush work of our everyday day-to-day. I do not want to come off like, "Ohhhhhh! I get it now!" Because I don't, I understand very little, but that is something I have realized this past year and a half. That I only understand what I need to, and in most of the cases what I am ABLE to understand for this step of the journey. And to be 100% honest, do I need to know what is gonna happen 3 steps from now or do I just WANT to? Anywho I digress, back to things I am blessed with understanding in. The Church needs to rise the from the ashes of the idiots morons and selfish men and women who were Christians in name only. We will need to distinguish ourselves, and the ONLY was we can do that is through love! Sacrificial love. Intelligent love. Funny love. Gentle love. Bold love and so forth.
How to start this process? Look at your own hearts and ask the Lord to show you areas of pride and fear. Then ask Him to show you and how to replace those areas with trust, humility, and love. It won't be easy, but when has anything easy been memorable or powerful?
P.S. The drawing is supposed to represent coming out of ashes, and the Owl is something the Lord uses to speak to me, and they are cool, ANNNNND they are fun to draw. :D
Friday, July 1, 2011
First off a commentary on Circles, and for those of you who are on their game I thank you and apologize, but that is not me so here goes.
I love you guys so much! It’s pretty crazy, because last year I was very selfish with how and when I would use the word “love”. Thinking that my not using the word somehow kept its integrity intact. I realize now that what I thought was saving was actually strangling. To not use the word when its called for is it the exact opposite of what I was trying to do. I felt others used it out of context way too often. Something I realize now is that overcompensation doesn’t make things right, it just throws things even more off balance.
So yes I love you all. I love this program and group dynamic! These past two months for me in CIRCLES have been really bad. I have been really lame, this compromise of my commitments for CIRCLES is even reflecting into my own personal spiritual life. I started CIRCLES strong and excited! Blogging! Reading! Meeting! I want these last 2 months with you guys to be like the first four months with you guys! I want to finish this race set before me. I am not going to fizzle out. Both for me and for you! It’s exactly what I said above, I love you guys! When I read your stuff and have conversations with you on Saturdays I get so blessed! For me to back off and get lazy is really me hurting you. I know life can get in the way, it has for me these last two months. We are not perfect, we will struggle EVERYDAY! I hear what you are all going through, interestingly enough it seems that similar struggles are prowling around the group, like a roaring lion looking to devour. We are in this together and I want to finish this commitment strong! I want August to mean something! I won’t greet September with a shrug. So basically sorry AGAIN for being lame.
I am going to step up my game!
I WILL BLOG!
I WILL READ!
I WILL BE THERE ON SATURDAYS!
\(except July 14 when ill be in Florida nerding it up)
I WILL LOVE!
Friday, June 3, 2011
I was gonna write commentary on it, but he wrote it so wonderfully that there is not need for my opinion, well other than, "What he said!".
Six Ways to Engage Culture
In a recent interview, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright surprisingly remarked: "We're so obsessed about debunking Bush in this country that we don't spend time on any other subjects. That's a little depressing." Wainwright's point is that many Americans neglect a whole range of cultural issues, often neglecting political engagement for finger-pointing.
What's more depressing is that many Christians are just as guilty of this charge as non-Christians. As a result, there are few citizens who think through cultural issues critically, and even fewer who think them through redemptively. Here are six ways to promote critical and redemptive engagement with culture.
we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
We should approach culture just as we should approach all things: prayerfully.
What should we pray? We should thank God for the gift of culture, confessing that all cultures contain truth, beauty, and virtue, asking Him to help us recognize and rejoice in these good gifts, which come down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Alternatively, all cultures also disdain truth, beauty, and virtue. Thus, we are dependent upon God to enable us to recognize and reject those things that are harmfully false, ugly, and immoral. By asking God to give us the perspective of His Spirit, "the Spirit who searches out all things, even the depths of God" (1 Cor. 2:10), we can begin to discern between the things which are true, beautiful, and good and the things that are false, ugly, and evil.
2. Engage culture carefully. When approaching any given issue, from parenting to politics, we all have our biases. In order to engage culture well, we must strive to avoid the paths of both the sectarian and the secularist, of both blind rejection and uncritical acceptance. This will require careful investigation into the issues we face, taking the opposing view seriously and weighing its merits.
Make a habit of hearing both sides of an issue before you baptize your opinions. Be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19).
3. Engage culture biblically-theologically. Why hyphenate biblical and theological? Why not just say "think biblically"? Well, the plain fact is that the Bible does not explicitly address most cultural issues. It does not tell you who to vote for, which school to go to, what movies to watch, whether or not you should date, whether or not to abort your baby, or how to respond to cloning. Instead, the Bible offers theological principles which we can appropriate in order to form opinions and convictions about cultural issues. For instance, there is no verse in the Bible that reads: "Thou shalt not have an abortion." However, the Bible does inform us that God is the author of life and that to take human life is murder, which is prohibited by God. The circumstances surrounding abortion can be complex. A mother's life may be threatened if the life of the baby is not taken. The Bible does not say, "Preserve the mother's life." However, there are principles and practices in Scripture that can help us make wise decisions about cultural and ethical dilemmas.
The problem, however, is that we often start with cultural assumptions about what is right, beautiful, and good and go to the Bible to prove them. Instead, we need to bring cultural questions about what is true, good, and beautiful to the Bible, reflect on them theologically and then prayerfully, and carefully form our opinions. Don't begin with cultural convictions and end with biblical proof-texts; end with cultural wisdom by beginning with biblical-theological reflection. Start with the biblical text and reflect theologically on cultural issues. Move from Text to Theology to Culture, not the other way around.
3. Engage culture redemptively. Strive to connect your theological reflections regarding culture to redemption. We can redemptively engage culture in two ways: practically and positionally. To practically redeem, identify what is broken, what is in need of redemption, and take restorative action. Ask yourself questions like "How can I bring the gospel to bear on this issue?" or "How can I restore, forgive, or reconcile in this situation?" For example, if you come to the conviction that abortion is ugly and immoral, think about how you can help those who are suffering from the devastating affects of abortion.
Don't just debate others. Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Learn how to counsel mothers. Don't become self-righteous and inactive; practice your cultural convictions. Live them out redemptively. Our practice should flow from our position in Christ.
Our actions ought to reveal our redeemed identity, not form our identity. Consider the danger of mistaking your newly-formed habits for who you are. For instance, do you think of yourself now as an environmentalist or as a citizen of Zion with an environmental conscience? Do you draw significance from being a "pro-lifer" or from being new creation in Christ Jesus? Ask yourself, "Am I confusing my practice with my position?" or "Am I finding my significance in what I do instead of who I am in Christ?" Guard yourself from subtly allowing cultural convictions to take the place of your identity in Christ. Ground your identity in the gospel and your practice will be more redemptive and more honoring to the Lord.
4. Engage culture humbly. Recognize that you have much to learn from a given culture. Read, converse, and reflect on cultural issues with a teachable heart. Ask God to shape your convictions through whomever or whatever He wills. Avoid proud dogmatism and cultivate humble conviction. Don't put others down who believe differently from you.
Consider others more important than yourself without surrendering your convictions. Yet, be willing to revise your opinions through a process of Text-Theology-Culture.
5. Engage culture selectively. Realize and embrace the limitations of your own time, experience, and interests. Spend your time wisely. Don't sacrifice time with God, church, or family in order to become more culturally savvy.
Everyone has been created differently, to live a unique life. Make the most of your experience by redemptively engaging culture, but try to avoid making the experience of others your own.
There are too many issues in the world for you to become an overnight expert on Christ and culture. Be selective about what you engage.
Summarizing the Six Ways
When engaging culture prayerfully, we depend on the wisdom that comes from the Spirit who searches out all cultures, who can enable us to recognize and rejoice in what is true, beautiful, and good, and reject or redeem what is false, ugly, and immoral. As a result, engaging culture can become an act of communion with God. Relying on the wisdom of the Spirit will also mean careful investigation of cultural issues, being critical of our own biases while maintaining an open ear to the arguments of others. However, we're not left to navigate the turbulent waters of our culture with only prayer and reason. God has given us his Word, a divine and authoritative Text from which we can glean wisdom and theological principles to engage culture. When wrestling with issues, we must be careful to bring questions, not assumptions, from our culture to the Word, following a pattern of Text-Theology-Culture. This biblical-theological engagement with culture should always lead to redemptive action, restoring what is ugly and immoral from our position as accepted children of God, citizens of Zion. In turn, we can engage culture humbly and selectively, recognizing our limitations and rejoicing in our unique opportunities to engage the world around us. Finally, try to practice these six ways of engaging culture not just as an individual but in community. To put a spin on Rufus Wainwright's words: Only when the Church in this country becomes obsessed with glorifying God in all things will we critically and redemptively engage our culture on all kinds of subjects.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I just wanted to encourage you ALL to continue to walk towards the Lord and risk for Him! Use the spiritual gifts He has given you, develop them! If you are not sure what they are, I would encourage you to pray about them specifically. He will show you what they are, and 9 times out 10 you are using them without realizing it! As long as your concern is for His glory you are safe in the center of His will! During worship I looked across the circle of us slices and saw Kate praying and singing. I got an, for lack of a better term, "image". When I say "image" in this context it's more of a braiding of an image, inspiration, and insight. That sounds much move convoluted/complex than it needs to. Basically we all know how the Spirit speaks to us individually, He spoke to me in this. So during the study and I drew what I saw and felt, praying about it here and there and listened to Darin teach. I could have kept that to myself and that could have been the end of it, that would have been the comfortable thing to do. What if my silly drawing was way off, what if it wasn't any of my business to do that, what if? what if? what if? Instead i didn't mind risking and showing her. Thirty minutes and two smores later we had an awesome conversation! It was encouraging to her and me. When we willingly walk into what the Lord has for us Glory is generated.
So thank you again for all of your hearts and minds! The Lords is almighty and POWERFUL! WE WILL WALK IN THAT POWER!
Monday, May 23, 2011
I just want to thank each and everyone of you for your friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, patience, encouragement, and leadership these past 4 months, especially the past month. These last 4 weeks have been a very difficult and dark month. I have withheld form blogging for many reasons; shame, frustration, apathy, guilt. Basically just death, but I am alive! And I must repent from death! So I ask you all to continue to forgive me, encourage me, rebuke me, and love me! If I want the Lord to be Glorified in and through me I need to leave room for him be glorified! I know I have in the past, but it's to march into the future He has for me!
There is such a powerful Spirit stirring up in CIRCLES, and I am so excited amd blessed to be amongst and a part of it! I love you all so so so so MUCH! And I long to be on the battlefields with you! MAY WE RUN OUT WITH CONFIDENCE AND POWER!