Archive for September, 2004

Conservative or not?

Conservative or not?


I am theologically conservative.  One item that puts me firmly in the conservative camp is my very literal view of miracles, and the supernatural transformation of our nature.  I believe that the real problem with humanity is sin, and that our fallen nature compells us to sin until we are freed through submission to the work of the cross and the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Christ came and died in order to a do a number of things but one of them wasn’t to give us a new law that we wouldn’t be able to follow anyways.  Salvation is not just about eternal judgement, it is about being free from sin in this life.

Many elements of the conservative evangelical church have resorted to brain washing people with a narrow world view.  The fear of hell is used to scare their kids in to religion.  Emotionally manipulative tactics are used to get decisions out of psychologically weakened people.  I believe this is the fruit of a church that doesn’t know God.  A church that has turned to every method of pursuasion in the book to further it’s agenda and has very little actual faith in God.  The gospel commonly preached is not the one of the apostles.  It is an odd combination of intellectual assent to conservative worldview combined with cheap grace and thinly veiled legalism. 

As I read scripture, including the words of Jesus, I see a strong theme that is largely ignored in Christendom.  The Kingdom of God is evidenced by positive change.  The vine bears fruit from the branch.  The good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit.  The stewards bring return on their investment for their master.  The seed that fell on the good ground produced one hundred fold.  The world will know we are Christ’s disciples by our love.  For Paul the evidence for “Kingdom authenticity” came from displays of God’s power, his weakness, and the transformative change in the lives of the people he ministered to. 

It is my impression that a lot of the conservatives that going around complaining on the blogs are just modern day pharisees that have no faith in Jesus Christ.  There is a rampant form of conservative evangelical Christianity that has kept the structure of a living faith but God is largely absent.  I don’t know how I could come to any other conclusion when people tenaciously hold to certain morals while acting completely outside of the character of Christ.  Jesus’ words come to mind “you understand neither the scriptures or the power of God.” 

8 Comments

Commenting Tips for Emerging Church blogs

Commenting Tips for Emerging Church blogs


  1. Continually call in to question the faith of everyone who disagrees with you
  2. Comment on almost every post with “do you believe in the bible”
  3. Engage on three issues (the bible, homosexuality, conservative politics) and ignore all others
  4. In the absence of a post about these issues (see tip 3) make a comment about them anyway
  5. Continually assert that all issues are abundantly clear
  6. Hide your identity, because it is easier to ‘take a stand’ for truth anonymously
  7. Treat people like crap, then appeal to the idea that it is unloving not to tell people the truth
  8. Remember, even though 90% of the church in 2000 years had a different perspective than you, you are right and everyone else is wrong.  Your tireless study at the feet of those who tell what to believe, rather than help you to learn, is all you need to know everything about everything.
  9. All those who think women shouldn’t be restricted from church leadership are part of a vast radical feminist agenda attempting to thwart the purposes of God.
  10. If the blogger is soft on homosexuality see tip 9.
  11. If a blogger believes something different from you it must be because they don’t want to submit themselves to God’s word. 
  12. Change the focus of the conversation from ideas to the blogger’s personal walk with God.  If you make it personal people will see their obvious sin and change their ways. 
  13. Never start your own blog because people might actual be able to challenge you on your ideas and expose weaknesses in them.
  14. When someone expounds deeply on some issue just say you don’t understand what they are saying and ask them again “Do you think the bible is the word of God?” 
  15. The last thing you want to do is care about someone and begin to build a relationship of trust.  Sinners and liberals are tainted and if you get too close to them you will be infected. 
  16. Completely ignore the fact that you have never been able to change anyone’s mind.  Don’t worry about the complaints about how harsh or unloving you are.  First and foremost Christianity is about holding a particular world view, your world view.
  17. Erode the relationship you have with the blogger until they finally ban you from their site.  Then gossip about it on other people’s blogs telling people that your criticism was just so effective the blogger couldn’t handle it anymore. 
  18. You have nothing to learn from anyone, but you have lots to teach.
  19. Remember all people that share the same label are exactly the same.  Don’t waste time figuring out what the author is saying or what the author believes.  Just begin criticising them based on all your assumptions about the people with that particular label. 
  20. Remember that all english speaking cultures are exactly the same.  Disregard any possibility that words mean different things in different places. 
  21. Never, ever, give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

18 Comments

Emergent <> Emerging Church

Emergent <> Emerging Church


The organization Emergent has received a lot of criticism.  This is hardly surprising seeing has how the emerging church movement has many disaffected evangelicals many of whom have issues with authority and structure.  What does surprise me is how some people equate the emerging church with Emergent.  When something goes wrong at an Emergent conference, then people start talking about the failings of the emerging church.

For me Emergent has played a small role in facilitating my relationships in the EC.  I went to one conference in Victoria, B.C. which was a profound disappointment.  I was able to meet Brian McLaren with Jordon and Wendy and that was cool.  Brian seems like a terrific guy.  I read “A new kind of Christian” by Brian McLaren who is a big part of Emergent and that was the book that convinced me that I had been shaped by postmodernity.  I’ve heard many stories about some of the leaders in Emergent from Jordon who introduced me to this whole conversation. 

When I went online with my blog I found myself connecting with Canadians, Kiwis, and Australians and only a few Americans.  I was surprised at this as Canadians often regard themselves as unarmed Americans with universal health care.  I’m now convinced that this isn’t the case.  America and Canada are growing apart as cultures.

The folks over at Signposts used to host these EC chats where I connected with lots of other people.  It eventually got to the point where I had so many relationships that I couldn’t maintain them all.  I imagine that happened to a number of us and the drive for these chats died.  I’ve seen something similar resurrect itself in the Habbo hotel though. 

In many ways the Protestant reformation couldn’t have happened without the printing press.  Today the EC wouldn’t have happened without the Internet.  No one organization has facilitated the conversation I’m in.  For me the conversation takes place on blogs, IM, Skype and cheap fares to Ontario from WestJet.  In my little corner the Internet is part of the DNA of the Emerging Church.  It is decentralized, chaotic, creative, egalitarian and rapid.

Resonate looks like it will be big part of the conversation for me.  I like it because it is distinctly Canadian, it embraces the Internet, and it encourages people to form relationships, organizations and events in their own regional context.  Right now it is less about building a brand, and more about building the kingdom.  I hope that other countries form indigenous networks as well. 

1 Comment

It looks like Mr. Martin did something right

It looks like Mr. Martin did something right


When the Liberals were not smearing the conservatives they hammered home one solid promise.  They said they would reduce waiting times.  In the recent federal-provincial conference our leaders came to an adequate compromise which will see 18 billion dollars poured in to medicare for the next six years.  Martin has proven that this government is different from the old one.  In some ways bad, and in some ways good.  Working cooperatively with the provinces is very good.

The Feds have come up with the money, now the onus is on the provinces to fix health care.  They haven’t taken the difficult steps to reform the system because they have been too preoccupied with hammering the feds for money.  Now they have a long term deal. 

I wonder what the NDP are going to talk about now?  I don’t think they can play the Paul Martin is an evil right winger card. 

No Comments

Rush rules!

Rush rules!


Given my revelation this morning I decided to pick up a little Rush.  They are filling me with inspiration for this site design I’m doing!

All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question
Of your honesty

One likes to believe
In the freedom of music
But glittering prizes
And endless compromises
Shatter the illusion
Of integrity

For the words of the profits
Are written on the studio wall,
Concert hall
Echoes with the sounds…
Of salesmen.

2 Comments

I'm a new world man

I’m a new world man


I have a confession to make.  I have way to my much pride.  I’m proud of any success that I have.  I’m proud of my abilities, proud of my business, proud of my accomplishments etc…  This pride often comes back to haunt me because it hurts so much when I fail.  When I fail to live up to the standard I project there is a disconnect that results in so much anxiety and worry.  It generally isn’t the big things.  It is the little things.  The off handed remark that hurts someones feelings.  It’s the missing of setting that screws something up for a client. 

I was talking to God about me, who I am, what my real issues are.  As I was talking I heard a song in my head which was strange.  It was “New World Man” by Rush.  I looked up the lyrics and man it certainly does sum up part of my life.  The following two parts are particularly true.

He’s got to make his own mistakes
And learn to mend the mess he makes
He’s old enough to know what’s right
But young enough not to choose it
He’s noble enough to win the world
But weak enough to lose it
He’s a New World Man…

He’s not concerned with yesterday
He knows constant change is here today
He’s noble enough to know what’s right
But weak enough not to choose it
He’s wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it
He’s a New World Man…

2 Comments

Blogging train wreck

Blogging train wreck


Over at Radical Congruency there was a nasty flame out over whether baptism is necessary for salvation.  The post was made several months ago, but the comments suddenly came alive just a few days ago.  A handful of anonymous posters launched a verbal assault the likes of which I’ve never seen on my blog.  It is a glorious example of how things can go wrong in the comments.

The anonymous commenters in the thread gave some lame excuse about it being too dangerous to use your real name in a chat room.  If there is any hope of healthy dialogue informed by scripture there has to be accountability.  There also has to be a way to confront someone in private.  Neither is possible with anonymous comments.  It is so strange how people who claim to live under the authority of scripture never seem to follow it when it comes to conflict.  

Of those who comment on blogs the people who claim to hold the highest regard for scripture often show the least regard for people’s feelings.  Did Jesus go around and tell everyone their theology was wrong and if they didn’t agree they were going to hell?  Jesus did confront people and he was nasty when he did it.  He hammered the pharisees for their hyprocrisy, for weighing people down with heavy burdens and refusing to help, and for their precise tithing but neglect of the weighter matters like justice and mercy.  Some people just get mad and stupid over the wrong things.  Where is the fruit of the Spirit? 

How is it these people think they are going to change anyone’s mind?  That is what blows my mind.  I don’t think they really care about changing anyone’s mind.  They just want to defend their narrow interpretation of the truth.

I feel for Aaron.  I’ve had people who I thought were my friends mock me in my blog.  It does feel like the worst kind of betrayal.  We must remember who we are waring against, and it isn’t against flesh and blood.  If we really believe that God is working through us, then forces will be arrayed against us.  Taking time to heal is often prudent, but we can’t stop in our quest. 

2 Comments

Designing a new blog today

Designing a new blog today


I’m looking for inspiration.

1 Comment

Grace whore?

Grace whore?


Tonight I took out a couple of friends of mine.  I offered to buy supper but one of them resisted.  He didn’t want someone to buy him supper.  After enough pressure was applied he gave in.  Later on I told him that he should ask God to help him accept grace.  As we were talking about it the phrase “I’m a grace whore” came out.  I’m more than happy to accept what ever unmerited gifts come my way.  If someone wants to give me money, take me out for lunch or whatever I accept it.  I don’t live by any rules that say I have repay kindness.  I do choose to show kindness.

God’s grace is a free gift.  It is unmerited favour and we must annoy God to no end when we refuse what he offers us because we don’t think we are worthy, or we don’t think we can pay God back.  I know that I get frustrated when people won’t accept my unmerited favour.  Who are my friends to judge what I want to do with my money?  If I want to give it to them, or take them out for supper they should just quit their complaining and just let me do it.  Who are we to judge whether God knows what to do with his grace?  He knows what He is doing, we should just shut up and accept it.  We need it.

6 Comments

First church plant meeting

First church plant meeting


We had our first church plant meeting tonight.  It went well, and it felt somewhat like the first house church meeting almost 1 year ago.  The people are different and the feel is a bit different.  We talked about what we would want church to be.

I think the most common threads were acceptance, authenticity, and being able to think and question.  I rambled on lots in the discussion.  What I really want is a church where I can be myself, God is honored, I’m loved and I can make a difference in the lives of people.  I think I’ve lost some of my ideals about what a church should look like.  It certainly has to be consistent with scripture and the tenets of the gospel.  I don’t care as much about the form as I used to.  Lots of different stuff can work.  I think the bigger issues aren’t the forms but our motivation and our methods of influence.  Is the church about what we want or what God wants?  Is it more about doing something new or about what we are called to do?    Do we rely on God to change people or do we convince them by challenging them rationally or stimulating them emotionally? 

New church or old church the biggest problem we have is that we don’t know God all that well. 

A commenter recently asked me why I’ve withdrawn from mainstream worship.  I’m not sure I would look at it that way.  At this time I’ve abandoned some forms of church, but have always sought to stay in healthy relationship with people in those forms.  I have no significant issue with the denomination of the college.  I believe church institutions are like clothes the church body wears.  They are essential to be able to do certain things, but they exist to serve the needs of the body, not the other way around.  Giving up on a certain style of clothing is hardly giving up on the body itself.  In the life of the global church institutions must come and go.  They can’t last forever.  By starting something new I can be part of the healthy rebirth of the church.  It isn’t really a rejection of the old, but a desire to live somewhat heterogeneously in the network of God’s people. 

11 Comments