“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
Who might this One be who is prophesied about here in Micah to be born in little old Bethlehem? And while they are going to “come forth” this person’s begginings are from ancient times, “from everlasting”. For it is this One prophesied about that is clearly more than just a prophet or messiah but seems to have no beggining as though He were equated with God. And it is this One who is to be Ruler.
This is a verse from Talib Kweli’s song “I Try”. He is a thoughtful and creative lyricist… and a breath of fresh air when compared to the main stream rap crap that is on the radio. Pay close attention to what he’s sayin…
Yo, the things I’m seein’ on the news is insane
A stock broker shoot his kid and throw himself in front of a train
A mother leave her baby home for two weeks all by himself
Three years old, eatin’ ketchup and mustard, cryin for help
Tryin’ to bring your struggle to life
The label want a song about a bubbly life
I have trouble tryin’ to write some sh*t
To BANG in the club through the night
When people suffer tonight
Lord knows I try
Where are you at? Are you focused on others and that “people suffer tonight” or are you focused on your self and chasing “a bubbly life”?
Check out Common as he flows 16 bars… one of the finest emcees and Hip Hop prophets out there today.
Now how can we begin to break away from classical theology and do freestyle theology? What I mean is how can we break from merely memorizing and studying other people’s theology from Europe in the 1500’s and do some theology and studying of our own for our time and our context. Join the cypha…
Have you seen it yet?
This is creativity, ingenuity, and innovation, realized! What are your impressions?
Working out my thoughts for a talk to a group young black teenage males who are not “churched”. Freestyle with me…
I had a great conversation with some friends and our discussion found its way to the discussion of church. I know, me talking about the nature of the Church, surprise surprise!!! Anyways, one friend knowing my long term goal to do a church plant, asked how I would ensure that I did not fall into the routine of what most churches fall into, and how I would ensure I would be different.
I am satisfied with the answer I gave, I basically said that my goal is not to be different. My main critique of some of the emerging dialogue going on is not with approach or style, but with the goals it has. This is not the first person to articulate a desire to be different. And I know beneath that there are stronger convictions that recognize that the church indeed has not always been faithful nor relevant to God and the communities it serves. However, it still seems to be a reaction centered type of thinking to me.
I too am very frustrated with the Western Church as a whole and especially American churches. However, my main focus is not on how to be different than them, it is more on how to be faithful to God. For me I must ask the question, “What does a faithful Church look like in the 21st Century?” And after continually going back to God’s Word, praying, and being shaped by other believers in Christ who are asking the same question, a Kingdom imagination breaks forth, from which the Spirit gives discernment on what that might look like. And then I repeat the process again.
For me I want to make sure that I am lined up with what God is doing, and do not become just another approach that happens to be very different. I desire that God direct me on how I and my ministry can align with what God is doing. Everything centers around what God is doing first, and then me being a faithful participant in God’s doings.
“In the beginning God created…”
How often do you think about God as creative? Creativity is one of the very first things that are revealed about God in the Bible. What does it mean to be created in the likeness of a creative God? Freestyle with me…
Prominent African American theologian James Cone has made the connection between crucifixions in the first century under the Roman Empire and lynchings in post Civil War America. Both of these rugged trees were used to maintain control over a people group. Criminals, revolutionaries, and innocent men were hung up on these trees to not only kill the individual, but to also put fear in the eyes of those who saw these dead bodies hanging. Around 70 A.D. over 6,000 Jews were crucified during the Jewish war. And there were over 5,000 blacks lynched after the civil war.
It is on the cross that Jesus, a Jew under Roman rule was crucified upon as well. The cross has become the primary symbol for the Christian faith. However, its historical significance has been lost in current American culture. As we proudly sport crosses around our necks and on top of our buildings, we also have lost the symbolic, cultural, and social weight of the cross from a 1st century Palestine perspective. The cross of Jesus must be understood in light of the Roman empire and the rulers that harshly ruled over the Jews. In fact, for us to understand the cross we must step up to the foot of the lynching tree. For it is there, in the harsh, ugly history of lynchings that we get a glimpse of the Cross. And it is there on the Cross that Jesus defeats the dominant rulers and authorities of the world, while also defeating death itself.
“Colossians 2:15 Disarming the rulers and authorities, he (Jesus) has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”