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The Rabbit Hole



Alice's inquisitiveness led her down the Rabbit Hole, to an alternative world which was in utter contradiction to her own...and so it is with those Christians who seek a "third way".



Updated: 2018-03-07T16:25:26.535-05:00

 



Smells like Teen Spirit

2016-03-24T15:18:55.750-04:00

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The End of Evangelicalism

2015-12-18T21:40:38.661-05:00

i have witnessed the end of evangelicalism.

"'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!' She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal. Rev 18:2

Evangelicalism drank the wine of American politics and became a beast herself. She has been exposed for the whore she is. Having been stripped naked she is lashing out. Her vitriol is on show, but it's no more than a show, having no impact on reality. She is an empty grave; her very existence fading as quickly as her relevance. 

The Master's she served will continue to live on, but she will be no more. Capitalism and greed; militarism and violence; hubris and arrogance; hypocrisy and self-righteousness; power and perversity: These, her Master's, will continue to live on long after they've devoured her. She has been absorbed into the machine and is no more. 


Fallen, fallen are you O' Babylon. Your children are no more. 
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Everything Changes

2015-03-14T20:01:58.070-04:00

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Renew Your Mind

2015-01-10T09:58:28.465-05:00

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." 1 Cor 8:1 Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture every thought that cultivates love. Where this is difficult, we ask the Lord to give us his eyes of grace and compassion for another, knowing that God loves all his children, and understanding that it is their sense of hurt and brokenness which gives rise to any broken patterns in their lives.This is the very reason which Christ entered the world as a human being, that he might redeem all creation, humanity foremost. Knowing the lengths to which God extended himself and the power which raised Christ from the dead, we know also that God is at work redeeming each life. We begin by loving others because we know God infinitely loves them and believes in their potential for restoration, knowing them as they truly are, which is unknown to us, and even to themselves. In time, we too will begin to love them with the Love of God himself, seeing only what God sees.Our thought patterns are so incredibly vital because these patterns will lead us either toward a knowledge that will puff up, or a love that builds up. The defining factor in Christianity is love. Without love it matters not what religion or belief system we belong to, because we will be no different than we would be without Christianity. Without love we only have beliefs and even 'correct' belief is damaging if it is not animated by love. Without love we will have nothing more than anyone of any other faith, religion, or belief system.And this is why the Scripture says, "And the Greatest of These is Love." And in another place, If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."The central message of the Cross is not that Jesus died for our sins, or that God's wrath was pacified. These are aspects of the truth, but not the central message of the Cross. The central message of the Cross is that God loves us with an infinite love and demonstrates that love through the most vivid act possible. "For God so Loved the World that he gave us his one and only son." Now some will want to move immediately to the next verses, as though the most important part has been left out: "...and whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." But the central message is the first part of the verse, without which no one could possibly want to believe. The desire to emphasize the second part of the verse is an attempt to skip to the part that glorifies ourselves and what we've done. Yet the central message of the Cross is not found in what we have done or can do, but in what God has done for us to demonstrate his infinite love toward us. The cross is first and foremost God's love revealed for all humanity to behold. Therefore, this is the message: "Love will make us whole". And so we are back at where we first began; Our thought patterns are so incredibly important because before our heart directs our mind toward love, our mind must direct our heart toward love. That is, we must reprogram our mind; our thought patterns. We must destroy every thought that condemns and nurture e[...]



Acrobat

2015-01-09T20:10:51.105-05:00

And I'd join the movement If there was one I could believe in Yeah I'd break bread and wine If there was a church I could receive in  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="274" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/59616704" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"> U2 // ACROBAT from Alessio Ruta on Vimeo.Don't believe what you hear Don't believe what you see If you just close your eyes You can feel the enemy When I first met you girl You had fire in your soul What happened your face of melting in snow? Now it looks like this And you can swallow Or you can spit You can throw it up Or choke on it And you can dream So dream out loud You know that your time is coming 'round So don't let the bastards grind you down No, nothing makes sense Nothing seems to fit I know you'd hit out If you only knew who to hit And I'd join the movement If there was one I could believe in Yeah I'd break bread and wine If there was a church I could receive in 'Cause I need it now To take the cup To fill it up To drink it slow I can't let you go I must be an acrobat To talk like this And act like that And you can dream So dream out loud And don't let the bastards grind you down Oh, it hurts baby What are we going to do? Now it's all been said No new ideas in the house and every book has been read And I must be an acrobat To talk like this And act like that And you can dream So dream out loud And you can find Your own way out And you can build And I can will And you can call I can't wait until You can stash And you can seize Responsibilities And I can love And I can love And I know that the tide is turning 'round So don't let the bastards grind you down[...]



Quoque Scriptura

2014-12-14T20:29:07.350-05:00

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"Also Scripture"

It is false to think that any of us truly adhere to "Scripture Alone". Even as we read Scripture our own interpretation mingles with it, and we get a conglomeration of text and additions.

There is no such thing as Scripture alone. Nor would we really want to exist or know God by Scripture alone. Even the Scriptures testify that God can be seen and known by what we see in creation. All of creation "testifies". And so we learn much about God and His goodness from creation itself. Nature testifies, as well as our own consciences which either accuse or defend us.

The Hebrew Scriptures foretell of a time when God's Law would no longer be something we read about on a piece of parchment, but would be inscribed upon our hearts. Jesus came teaching, never himself creating a written record. Instead, he declares that he is sending the Holy Spirit who will bring to our remembrance all he has taught and will convict the world of sin. But we've traded all these other guides for the one guide of the written Law which is misinterpreted again and again, ultimately leading us to follow the teachings of men rather than the direction of the Spirit and heart.

 It is not "Sola Scriptura" but "Quoque Scriptura" {Also Scripture}. Scripture is one of the ways God reveals Himself to us, but itself declares it is not the only way.



Farewell Evangelicalism!

2014-12-12T08:36:03.439-05:00

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Learning a New Language

2015-01-09T20:23:07.112-05:00

As i work through the first quarter of Genesis, a thought occurs to me. i see altars being made for sacrifices. Noah makes one and Abraham makes one. Yet there is no "Law" yet. The altars and the practice of sacrifices seems to come from other religions. Cain and Abel make offerings to God, but not on altars. Even this seems to be learned from somewhere else, as God does not seem to require it. Yet he receives it.

I love the way God meets us where we're at. We speak to him in ways we understand, even though it is not 'his' language. It is the language created and learned within our respective cultures. Yet he uses this language with us and allows us to communicate with him through it. He accepts altars and sacrifices and later he will use this language to communicate to us a New Language.

Yet he declares he does not need our sacrifices. They do not feed him. Still, he uses this language like an artist in order to paint a divine picture for us. The language of sacrifice will be used to speak to us of the Christ and to explain the meaning of his life and death.

i don't think sacrifices were ever needed. i tend to think they were our creation rather than God's. In fact, in one place God declares he would rather us practice mercy than make sacrifice. Yet, he adopts our language and uses it to give us direction:

He speaks our language, so that we can learn to speak His.





Magic

2013-11-09T19:29:57.692-05:00

Sandra's seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins' gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I've had to make myself.

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Inherited

2013-05-10T16:42:02.523-04:00

The fear that was in you... is now in me.





Marriage Equality and Hypocrisy

2013-03-26T22:42:35.604-04:00


Facebook is filling up with red = signs and now the red crosses are beginning to make their appearance. Lines are being drawn. Many will choose their side while some of us get stuck in the crossfire.

Outside the Supreme Court a fight breaks out. Conservative Christians protest against gays and fists are beginning to be exchanged.

Most of the folks in my circle are of course pushing to keep gay union/marriage illegal. i do not "support" (encourage) same sex marriage, yet i also do not support pushing my faith convictions on others. As i see it, a secular government really has no good reason to discriminate. On the other hand, the Church does.

i believe my brothers and sisters in the faith are wrong to push their faith convictions onto secular societies in issues of personal morality. We can certainly explain where we stand, but using secular governments to enforce our personal faith based morality codes is not how we're called to "witness".

As the Church we ought to maintain the right not to officiate same-sex marriages. If you don't believe in it, then join a congregation that does not practice it.

If others want to support and practice it, then that is their decision. Just the same as if someone wants to practice another religion, or no religion at all, which is also their decision. Some may even embrace Christ and feel all monogamous marriages are acceptable. Many Christians believe and practice many different things that i personally hold a different conviction on, including involvement in war, ecological issues, marketing practices and other political issues.

What i find most ironic concerning this particular issue is our lack of consistency. Conservative Christians take a strong stance on this because they do not believe God permits this kind of marriage. Yet you don't see us taking a strong stance on divorce and remarriage, though this is clearly prohibited in the New Testament. Nearly all of us pastors have 'remarried' couples who have had multiple previous marriages. Usually we don't know all the details for why those marriages split. No matter, the New Testament doesn't permit remarriage for any reason except the death of a spouse. It allows divorce in cases of marital infidelity, but not remarriage. Yet our pews are filled with believers who have been divorced and remarried and while we all agree divorce is bad, we aren't really protesting it. Instead, we even gladly invite these remarried couples to lead in our congregations. At least i know i do.

If the real issue is fidelity to God's revealed will for marriage, then why aren't we pushing for laws prohibiting both divorce and remarriage?

If that's not the real issue, then what are we doing and why?




Dogmatic

2012-10-25T23:02:44.503-04:00

When people feel threatened and anxious they become more rigid, and when in doubt they tend to become dogmatic; and then they lose their own vitality. They use the remnants of traditional values to build a protective encasement and then shrink behind it; or they make an outright panicky retreat into the past.



Feel a Change a Comin'

2012-09-26T00:01:01.110-04:00


"i don't want to be a prophetic voice any longer. i just want to live in peace."

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We're Gonna Die...

2012-09-20T23:56:33.125-04:00

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0 Comments

2012-07-10T19:40:52.166-04:00

This looks like an interesting documentary. i don't know anything more about it, so i guess we'll have to wait for Fall to get the rest...

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Not Enough!

2012-03-12T16:16:27.207-04:00

i'm listening to a podcast of Walter Brueggemann speaking at Eastern Mennonite University. Speaking about Pharaoh's dream concerning the seven fat cows eaten up by the seven sleek cows, he says, "It's always the people who have the most who also have the most anxiety about not having enough."

This is a comical irony. Of course, the reality of it isn't so funny. This anxiety can lead to all sorts of relational hardship, between spouses and between nations. A man is willing to fight more fiercely for what he thinks is his, and is afraid of losing, than he is for what he doesn't have.

How many marriages and nations have found  themselves at war simply due to the anxiety of what might be lost? Isn't this what 'preemptive' strikes are all about?

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt 6:34





Faith & Humility

2012-01-31T08:33:24.090-05:00

As a Christian, there are certain things i believe. As a postmodern Christian, i want to be able to believe what i believe, without putting down what others believe. Yet there is also a history within Christianity which seems to hold the position that to truly 'believe' one must denounce the other's beliefs as "lies".

i suppose there is the reality that anyone who chooses to believe one thing,  by default chooses to 'dis-believe' the other. Therefore, affirmation is also denial. In the Christian faith this means that if i believe in the story revealed in the Hebrew/Christian Scriptures, then i don't believe other religions are ultimately true. Some Christians go further, asserting that other religions are actually and intentionally deceptions. i tend to think it's just human beings trying to figure things out.

i love my faith and it's teachings. i find life, meaning, and purpose within them. Yet i don't like the way holding to one religion or belief system often leads to the denunciation of another. If i hold to one faith system, do i have to denounce another as false or deception? This of course is what many of the major religions do. Many wars have been (and are being) fought over such things.

We ought not deceive one another by pretending that we hold all things equally true. Anyone who accepts certain writings as divinely inspired will of course reject other writings or beliefs that stand in contradiction. Yet to believe is different than to empirically know. This is where faith and science part ways. There are many people of varied faiths that sincerely believe. Each has the right to desire that others discover and benefit from the faith they so appreciatively hold. Each one, by default, rejects the ultimate truth of the other. Yet to accuse and defame one another as 'deceived' goes beyond the boundaries of faith or knowledge.

At best we can say: "I believe". When it comes to "faith" there is no such thing as "knowing" in any empirical sense. If there were, it would no longer be or require faith. Sometimes we feel pressure to prove our faith by claiming "knowledge". We do this because we want others to believe the 'truth'. Yet in labeling our 'faith' as 'knowledge' we unwittingly lie about what we believe to be true.

i suspect i believe in my faith the way the Muslim, the Jew, the Hindu, and even the Atheist believe in their's. In fact, i imagine there are others, of other faiths, who believe more fervently in their faith than i do mine. That is not to say that i 'doubt'. Can you 'believe' that others are as truly convinced in their 'faith' as you are in yours?

That is not to say that all religions are 'true'. Nobody really believes that.

i'm staking all my chips on the belief that my faith is true. That doesn't mean i have to throw the other guys chips in his face. i would appreciate it if he extend me the same courtesy.



Apocalyptic Weather

2012-01-13T09:40:34.135-05:00


(image) Well, the big snow storm blew in last night. The one we were all afraid would have us trapped in our houses. It was about three inches...

This morning i found myself upset about the false weather predictions i've heard. Then i chided myself for being so ridiculous as to be upset about such a silly thing. Why would i be upset simply because folks once again exaggerated a bad weather forecast?

Soon i realized that it had little to do with the weather at all. Instead i had found a loose connection between the fear of weather conditions and the exaggerated spiritual and political fears that are constantly bombarding our conservative talk shows and infiltrating our casual conversations.

A whole lot of apocalyptic hype of the horrors to come because of this law or that politician...and then three inches.

It's a disappointment really. Our fear filled imaginations are much more vivid and exciting than the mundane reality.


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Christian Witness and Tebowing

2012-01-31T08:31:03.358-05:00

i don't watch football, but i've certainly heard of Tim Tebow and what has become known as "Tebowing". This raises a couple of questions...

First, i'm all for people being open about their faith. i'm an Evangelical Christian (minus the politics). i believe witnessing is part of the faith. Of course, there are many different ways to witness.

So, on the one hand, i am fond of Tim Tebow. On another note, i think this whole "Tebowing" phenomena opens the discussion of witnessing vs. effective witnessing. The only person who hasn't been embarrassed by unabashed and obnoxious witnessing is the guy who is doing it.

i'm not sure that Tim Tebow has gone overboard. i truly don't know. i do know some team members have been complaining, but he has also become an encouragement to others.

i do believe that just shouting the name of Jesus isn't the way Jesus intended us to witness to his love and saving grace. i believe there are effective ways to witness as well as ineffective ways.

Then again, what may distance some can draw others. Where's the line? i'm not sure. But this video captures the tension humorously (well to me, while to others it may be off-putting :-)

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This parody also unveils an embarrassing aspect of American Christianity, where Jesus has been co-opted into an "added blessing" upon frivolous past-times. Truly, i don't believe Jesus is concerned about who wins the game or the talent show.



The Devil We Know

2011-12-01T23:04:13.840-05:00

(image) "There is a devil. He lies in our collective history at the intersection of violence and hubris. Charles Baudelaire was wrong. The devil's greatest trick is not to convince us that he does not exist. It is, instead, to convince us that he lives in our enemies, that he surrounds us, and that he must be destroyed, no matter the cost, no matter the collateral damage. What better tactic could be employed by a creature that lives off violence, that, in a fundamental way, is violence? The Devil is negation, and the negation of negation, but not in some purely abstract, philosophical sense. The devil is the negation and hatred of the Other, a sinister force working its will in our social order and then disappearing into the shadows."
-W. Scott Poole Satan in America: The Devil We Know



History Repeats Itself

2011-11-27T07:00:01.996-05:00

Supposed Christian politicians tell illegal immigrants to line up and get on the train. They want to deport them back to their poverty ridden countries. Why? Not simply because they are breaking the law. Those who helped slaves escape on the underground railroad are applauded for their heroic efforts, even though they were breaking the law. Germans who helped Jews escape the round up are also considered heroes.But German society considered Jews to be a bane to their social and economic culture. Jews became the scapegoat for Germany's problems. People despised the Jews, blaming them for the loss of jobs and societal deterioration.Today Latinos are the scapegoat for American society. Truth be told, many Anglo-Americans would like to see nearly all Latinos deported, but they only have legal grounds to deport undocumented Latinos.What conservative Christians are failing to do is ask the important question concerning the conditions we are sending these human beings back to. We don't care. It's not our problem.Round em' up, stick yellow stars on em', and force them to board the train. We don't care where that train is going, so long as we don't see em' again.Perhaps, like former Germany, one day we'll wake up to discover that it wasn't the Jewish Stars that were the problem...instead the problem was embedded deep within our own souls.[...]



God has left the Building; or "Jesus ain't your Mascot"

2011-11-24T23:13:10.366-05:00

(image) On this Thanksgiving Day there is uproar. The president left mention of God out of one of his radio addresses. In Afghanistan the troops are upset because a cross was taken off the military chapel, since it was against regulation.

People are upset that God isn't being allowed to continue as the American mascot. i'm beginning to wonder if we haven't misread the signs. Perhaps it's not America that is taking God out of it's political and military jargon...

Perhaps God has left the building (Ezek 10). Perhaps God is tired of being used as the American mascot. He's tired of people invoking His name to justify their personal and secular missions. He's tired of being used by politicians to get elected, and by governments to justify their violence.

Maybe God is behind it all. Maybe He's tired of being our mascot as we continue in our own broken reasoning, using our own broken means, while the whole time justifying it with His name and His symbols.

When Jeremiah told Judah that God would send the Babylonians to destroy the Temple, they jailed him as a traitor and false prophet. They could not imagine that God would ever allow Jerusalem or the Temple to be conquered. God was their mascot. They invoked His Name even as He sent Babylonian troops into the holy city and left not one stone of the temple upon the other. (2 Kings 25; Psalm 79:1)

Maybe God took the cross off the chapel wall at the mlitary base in Afghanistan. Maybe God desired that His name be left out of the presidents radio address for Thanksgiving Day. Maybe He's tired of being our mascot.



Civil War

2011-11-13T19:52:25.347-05:00

Nothing inspires a man as much as something worth fighting for. What is it about our nature that lives for a fight? Is the fight against fighting only a continuation and variation of the same epidemic? If it is, i believe it is the only sane fight. Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called "sons of God".

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Peace is the Way

2011-11-09T12:58:25.906-05:00

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We don’t need to find a way that leads to peace; peace is the way.




Heresy

2011-11-03T23:14:10.218-04:00

Popular religion is always heresy