It seems that the goal for most Christians is to separate themselves as much as possible from the world around them. The thought process goes like this… “I am supposed to be sanctified and holy. I cannot allow the world to corrupt me from living in righteousness and drawing me away from having a clean and pure heart. Therefore, I will only listen to Christian music, read Christian books, have Christian friends, see Christian movies, talk to other Christians, and go to Christian gatherings.” And it is usually the case that each of those Christian things that people are engaging in, only encourage them to even more continue separating themselves more and more.
For me, I think the mere labeling of everything being either “Christian” or “secular” is a false dualism that has perverted the church and allowed it to lose its saltiness and effectiveness in our communities. We have been hoodwinked and bamboozled by main stream Christian culture into believing that the Christian bubble lifestyle is somehow a faithful attempt to bear one’s cross daily just as our Lord did. I disagree terribly. In fact, more and more I find some aspects in “secular” culture to line up more with the teachings of Jesus than many of our so called Christian products that we sell in the Christian Marketplace. While I am amazed at the enormous consumer power of those who call themselves Christians, could that consumer power be put to better use? And while it’s nice that we consume ourselves trying to be more holy, have we neglected our moral responsibility to engage and serve a world that is broken and in need of the love of Jesus? Can it be that in attempting to be more spiritual and faithful, that we have actually become more like the Pharisees and Sadducees described in the Gospels, and have actually departed away from the life of Jesus who engaged the people, becoming like them in such a way that he could empathize with them.
This is not a challenge to lose our distinction as the people of God, nor to stop pursuing God through Christian interaction, reflection, and community. Yet the unbiblical approach that has become a standard way of thinking in American Christianity continues to erode the very core values Jesus taught. I think the time is now for us to get out of the pews and onto the corners, what do you think, freestyle with me?
I had the privilige of being interviewed by J.R. Briggs (author, blogger, and pastor) on the subject of race. He is a good dude and it has been a pleasure connecting with him recently. He asked me lively and curious questions that delve into theological, ecclesiological, and sociological arenas. I invite my readers to jump over there and participate in what will hopefully be a productive and edifying dialogue on an often neglected subject matter in mainstream America. The interview will be split into 2 posts, one on the 29th and the other on the 30th. See it at http://www.jrbriggs.com
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?
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.
Had to throw this clip in cause it was funny. Jon Stewart is actually challenging Keith Olbermann for being too nasty (I know it sounds like bizarro world, right?). Enjoy.
The brilliant Dr. West shares words of challenge and encouragement with our President.
I have a recent sermon available for the month of February that can be downloaded for free. Just click on my “free freestyles” page where you will find the link. As well, I often offer other free resources on that page as well. Enjoy.
Given the troublesome black on black violence that has spiked in Chicago, and the overall black on black violent trends throughout America’s cities, Dyson has a word of encouragement. What does this mean to you? Freestyle with me…