Monthly Archives: February 2010

Three Things Tuesday

It’s Three Things Tuesday (well, it’s actually Wednesday and I’m running late but there’s no cute name to go along with Wednesday, so…it’s Three Things Tuesday) again.

Thing #1  The Real @DaliaLama

Believe it or not the Dalia Lama now has an official twitter account.

You can catch his tweets @DalaiLama.

Thing #2  Criticizing Church, Defending Church

Scott McKnight defends the church against her critics with arguments about the church being made up of a bunch of imperfect people therefore no one should expect her to be perfect…blah, blah, blah.

I think that is a poor defense…just because we (the body of Christ) are all imperfect and prone to make mistakes doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be criticized when we do harm to others or that we should expect people to stick around while we do harm to them or those they care about.

But, in case I missed the point or read something out of context read his post at Jesus Creed (and the comments) for yourself and see what you think.

Thing #3  Billy Coffey

Maybe I’m out of the loop and everyone already knows about Billy Coffey, but I was pleasantly surprised to run across him in the blogosphere recently.  There is something raw and honest about his style – his writing really draws me in and I come away so glad to have read what he wrote.

For instance, check out a recent post he wrote called “What Happened To My Kindness”

Oh, and he has a book called Snow Day coming out later this year.

Prayer For The Week – Teach Me

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve You as You deserve,

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labor and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do Your will.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

The Selfless Gene by Charles Foster

I just read The Selfless Gene by Charles Foster. Foster says that neither natural selection nor creationism can explain everything in the universe and that we don’t have to choose one side or the other – that there is a better way.

Parts of the book were a little hard for me to get through as it was a little like reading a science text book.  The information presented was correct and even necessary but the delivery wasn’t always compelling and so I found it took me a long time to get through the book.  In the end I was glad to have read the book – I appreciated the way that Foster laid out arguments for and against both sides – encouraging both sides to come out of their corners and engage in a civil and intelligent dialogue in order that they may learn from each other.

I think Foster’s ideas will be upsetting to some (maybe even to many) but I appreciated his idea of these two opposing camps being able to dialogue intelligently and respectfully with each other in order to find more of the truth together than they have been able to find apart and separate.

In the interest of full disclosure, this review is being written for Book Sneeze, a project of Tommy Nelson Publishing House. They send me a book for free, and in return I agree to review it. You can sign up to do the same!

Lent and Everyday Life

It’s the second day of following the Fast, Pray, Give Busted Halo Lent Calendar and I’m loving the way it is connecting with my everyday life.

Yesterday focused on being aware of beauty in my everyday life.  I was to fast from rushing and take time to notice the beauty around me, I was to pray that God would show me something beautiful that I hadn’t noticed before.  My day wasn’t particularly busy so it wasn’t that hard for me not to rush but I did have to make a conscious effort to notice my surroundings and look for the present beauty.  What beauty did I notice?  A clear blue sky, a friend encouraging a coworker who had lost his job, two dogs playing together, a husband and wife sharing chores – she cooked and he cleaned up, horses grazing in a large field, and some amazing feats performed by some amazing athletes in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

For the giving part I was instructed to give some time to enjoy a piece of art or a nature scene.  I chose to give that time to some photos that a friend of mine took during our recent Tx. Snowpocalypse.  As I took time to enjoy her photos I prayed for her, thought about what is beautiful about her and gave thanks for her and what she had a hand in creating.

It was a good first day of Lent.

Here’s one of her photos:

For today, the second day of Lent, the calendar says to fast from self-pity and complaining, to pray for God to help in dealing with a difficult situation and offer a kind word to someone who lacks confidence.  Wow, that’s so practical! I love the way these entries are connecting with my everyday life!

It reminds me of Romans 12:1 from The Message:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Lent 2010 – Fast, Pray, Give

I am participating in Lent 2010 by following the Fast, Pray, Give Lent Calendar from Busted Halo. Each day they offer examples of how you can fast from something, a guided way of praying for something specifically and a way to give that is connected to your fasting and praying.

Here are some links if you are interested:

Busted Halo’s Lent 2010 Fast, Pray, Give plan.

Busted Halo on Facebook

Busted Halo on Twitter

Three Things Tuesday

Brian McLaren has a new book out….A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming The Faith and it is creating quite a buzz around the blogosphere.

In this book, Brian examines ten questions facing today’s church.  The questions are:

  • The Narrative Question: What Is the Overarching Storyline of the Bible?
  • The Authority Question: How Should the Bible Be Understood?
  • The God Question: Is God Violent?
  • The Jesus Question: Who is Jesus and Why is He Important?
  • The Gospel Question: What Is the Gospel?
  • The Church Question: What Do We Do About the Church?
  • The Sex Question: Can We Find a Way to Address Sexuality Without Fighting About It?
  • The Future Question: Can We Find a Better Way of View the Future?
  • The Pluralism Question: How Should Followers of Jesus Relate to People of Other Religions?
  • The What Do We Do Now Question: How Can We Translate Our Quest into Action?

From where I sit these are great questions and from what I have read so far I like Brian’s book.  That doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with everything he says but I like it. What I like most about Brian’s books is they typically lead me to think seriously about what I believe, why I believe it, how my beliefs lines up with scripture and the teachings of Jesus, how what I believe about one thing conflicts with other beliefs I have, and most importantly, it leads me to examine how my beliefs are being lived out in my own life.

Like I said, this book, which was just released about a week ago, is already getting a lot of attention.  Below are some links you may want to follow:

Check out Brian’s New Channel on THEOOZE.TV where each week will feature a 5 minute episode where Brian will focus on one of the 10 questions posed in his book. The resource can be used by individuals or study/reading groups as a promotion or thought-provoking primer for the next week’s study. Or, it can be a great lead-off for for group discussion of the book, chapter-by-chapter. There’s even a chance for your study group to win a live Skype with Brian.

A couple of good posts by Mike Morrell at Zoecarnate here and here.

And another good post by Chris Marshall at Ordinary Community here.

And finally a response from Brian McLaren to some criticism here.  I am always amazed at how gracious, kind, humble and generous McLaren is.

It’s been a week since Google rolled out Google Buzz, a new service for sharing status updates, links and media with your friends.   It seems to be a combination of facebook and twitter, and Google seems to be tweaking it on a daily basis right now.  It certainly seems to be taking off at full speed but it’s hard to see it replacing either Facebook or Twitter.  What do you think about it?

Kathy Escobar, the author of the blog “the carnival in my head” has a post up titled “why i’m a postevangelical missional emerging ancient-future social-justice progressive conservative 12-stepping bible-enjoying christian-mutt” The post reminds us that although labels serve a purpose they are usually inadequate when it comes to describing individuals because we are too complex for a couple of words to define what we are all about.  It’s a timely post with the online bickering that has been going on among some in the emergent conversation that are grappling with how to love one another in spite of their passionate disagreements.  Relationships between people and groups can get pretty messy at times – hopefully this is just one of those rough patches that will eventually lead to many, or at least some, growing in love and humility.

Prayer For The Week – Let Me Be Aware

Prayer Awareness by Miriam Teichner

God–let me be aware.

Let me not stumble blindly down the ways,

Just getting somehow safely through the days,

Not even groping for another hand,

Not even wondering why it all was planned,

Eyes to the ground unseeking for the light,

Soul never aching for a wild-winged flight,

Please, keep me eager just to do my share.

God–let me be aware.


God–let me be aware.

Stab my soul fiercely with others’ pain,

Let me walk seeing horror and stain.

Let my hands, groping, find other hands.

Give me the heart that divines, understands.

Give me the courage, wounded, to fight.

Flood me with knowledge, drench me in light.

Please–keep me eager just to do my share.

God–let me be aware.

Three Things Tuesday

Here are three things that I wanted to share with you this week:

Homebrewed Christianity is running a new series by a fellow named Michael Camp.  The series is called “I Survived The Christian Right” The first post of the series is about legalism and the second is about Bible abuse.  I could relate to a lot of what he had to say and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

Cindy McCain, the wife of former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, has posed to demonstrate her support of marriage equality.  (If you aren’t familiar with the NOH8 campaign you can check them out here.)

Cindy joins her daughter, Meghan, in posing for the NOH8 campaign.

Cindy’s husband, John, is still against legalizing same sex marriage (and against doing away with DADT).

I don’t know if it makes a difference but I am glad that there are some Republicans finally “coming out” with their support of marriage equality.

Stay on the lookout for a new podcast that will be up and running in the near future:

HCX – HardCore Xianity.  A podcast for the outcast & apostate. An outcast is someone who has been rejected by society or a social group. An apostate is a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.

The HCX team is made up of Adele Sakler,  Drew Tatusko,  Meridith White-Zeager and Ryan Kemp-Pappan

You can follow them on twitter @hcxianity and on facebook.

Good News/Bad News

I saw this on someone’s facebook status update recently:

Open your eyes to all the possibilities around you…. Never give in, trust in God and you will always WIN!!!! the power of ACHIEVING is BELIEVING!!!!!

I restrained from commenting but what I wanted to say is “this is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad theology”!!

If you check out scripture it seems like the most faithful “good guys and gals” had a lot of troubles – some had to constantly flee for their lives, others were beaten, stoned or flogged, many were ridiculed and rejected, some were homeless and poor … these are not experiences that are usually associated with “winners”!

Yeah, yeah, I know, you (or someone) will be tempted to make an excuse and say that being a winner doesn’t necessarily equal a comfortable life … I agree with that statement, BUT we all know that the status update WAS referring to comfort and happiness and prosperity.  Which brings me to my point …

When we send out messages which basically say “if you trust God your troubles will all be resolved to your liking” we are preaching a prosperity gospel and imo that is a false gospel and baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad theology.

I’m not saying that following in the way of Jesus is always painful – there are blessings – but the longer I live and the more I learn I would say “it’s no picnic”.   The kind of individualistic gospel message that so many churches proclaim distorts the message of scripture.  People begin to think that everything that happens is all about themselves when it is obviously about everything but self.  In many ways, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but once you look at the big picture the suffering to be endured is tempered (somewhat) by the purpose and hope that is embedded in the story.

I think a more accurate status update would be something like this:

The good news is that the kingdom of God is at hand.  The bad news is that you probably will have to sacrifice and suffer in order to take hold of it.

Prayer For The Week – Send Me Some Light

I don’t know much about his theology but those closest to him say that Elvis Presley was a deeply religious person.  It is said that he continuously asked for God’s help throughout his career, searched for answers in his spiritual quest and before performances he would find a quiet spot off stage, think about his upcoming performance, and offer this one-line prayer:

Send me some light – I need it.

I don’t know if that story is true but I like the prayer and the simplicity and honesty of it.