Tag: Christ

A Scattershot of Christianity

A snarky take on the monster we created
“The gospel is less about how we get into the Kingdom of Heaven after you die, and more about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven before you die.”
~Dallas Willard

This week, we’ll hold the mirror up to American Christianity letting its followers have a look at the monster they have created in the name of Jesus. We’ll take a scattershot approach delving into the Christian news media and letting their own pressing articles and news to inform us about the most important issues within the faith. We’ll skewer through their hypocrisy. When you take a look at Christian media and blogs as an overview of what currently matters most to Christians. The results are pretty sick.

We’ll talk about Christianity’s current obsession with all things, not Jesus, as we assess many of the root problems plaguing faith in America. We’ll run through issues of fake persecution harping on the wrong and inconsequential issues, having false historical idols, being self-serving, and a myriad of other offenses as we blaze through Christianity through their pop-culture’s own lenses and news outlets.

Looking into what’s important to them, we’ll let their lead stories inform the answers and chart a path to nowhere. The results are along the lines of what one would expect. It’s not a snarky takedown. We’ll let them do that on their own. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of holy snark to spread around in the process. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the journey through missing the point. Join us as we deconstruct why the faith has gone awry and hopefully, chart a path to right the ship. There’s always hope but that only happens when we cling close to the ways and teaching of Jesus and shed the religious bullshit of the times.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Another Shooting

A snarky talk about guns in America

Another mass shooting, another day in America. This is becoming all too common. The shooting in Parkland, Florida is just a symptom of a larger problem plaguing America. This week we’ll talk about the tone-deaf response from many Christians and the NRA funded enablers in Congress. This isn’t the world our children deserve, but unless we make a change, it’s the one they will inherit. We mourn the losses, but also look for a way to change the pattern. As Christians, we should seek tangible and coherent answers to gun violence. We can’t let the lure of American Christianity inform our perspective. Jesus calls us to non-violence and that must be the only way.

We also catch up with documentarian Christopher Maloney and talk about his film In God We Trump that premiers at the Big Sky film festival this past week. Chris journeyed across the country interviewing people about the Trump’s evangelical backed win. His insights informed this relevant documentary that’s a look at how evangelical Christianity brought us to the breaking point in America.

If you’re interested in hosting a screening of the film, you can sign up at www.InGodWeTrumpFilm.com.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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Fun with Authoritarianism

a snarky take on Christian power structures

Who doesn’t love a good dose of authoritarianism? We’ve seen Trump’s desire to rule without boundaries. We’ve seen it in Jerry Falwell Jr. and other Christian leaders exercise it. No one seems to like the idea of authoritarianism, but Christians continue to accept and embrace it in the local church. The church was never meant to be an exclusive club ruled by an iron fist and a Bible. It was also never meant to be run by tyrants called pastors, yet it happens every day from a majority of clergy in America. Do we have to stand for this? No. Let’s talk about how this happens and how to move past these little men that are drunk on imaginary power. It’s not the way the church was meant to be run or practiced.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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America and the Empathy Problem

Guest post by Kelly Triplett //

My day started like any other day… in the darkness before dawn, where a screaming baby, with no patience for my morning stumble, demands his first breakfast.  Before my brain could even comprehend a new day has started, I sat down to feed “the dude.”  Picking up my phone, I catch up on all the important things going on in the world… i.e. check who commented on my witty Facebook status, pin multiple DIY projects on Pinterest that I will probably never do, and finally, check the news to keep up with what’s happening in the world. Many days, I have sat in the darkness of the pre-dawn hour saddened by the atrocities happening around the world, but not this day. I experienced a myriad of emotions I rarely feel together ranging from anger to embarrassment.

The headline at the very top of the page read, “We Don’t Want Them Here.”

Only moments before reading this headline, I scrolled past images in my newsfeed of Jesus standing over Trump in the Oval Office and even carrying suitcases back to the White House. I’m thinking neither of these is very accurate considering they probably didn’t have suitcases back in Jesus’ day, and Jesus wasn’t white.  Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe they’re just alternative facts… I digress…

There are many things wrong with these sentiments, but what stood out to me so very early on this particular day was the juxtaposition of these memes against the reality of what is currently happening in our country. Trump is being hailed as an advocate for life and for Christian principles, yet this administration has blatantly turned it’s back (and, by default, our backs) on those who are in desperate, life and death situations.

People who are marching in the streets are told to suck it up, called snowflakes, and told how appreciative they should be to live in a great country like America. All the while, what we should be asking is why are you marching? If millions of people are hitting the streets to protest the travel/Muslim ban (insert BLM, women’s rights, etc… here), we should realize that there is a group of people who are hurting. That should be enough for us to question our methods and go seek change. Instead, we have the complete division between those who are hurting and those who are privileged enough to not have to worry. From the comfort of my home, I have watched the crisis unfold in Syria, and I cannot wrap my head around the degree of suffering these people have endured. As I hold my two-month-old in my arms, I try to put myself in the shoes of a woman fleeing for her life with her child in her arms. Tears stream down my face as I remember these are the people we are denying a safe haven.

What do I want to ask my friends and family who truly believe that Trump is bringing back conservative Christian values to this country: Where is the empathy? Where is the compassion? If we were faced with the same life and death situations these refugees are running from, would we not hope that someone would be brave enough to take us in? Bible 101 teaches us to love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? The Samaritan. The one who is considered to be the lesser. As a Christian, I am not told to help those who hold the same belief system, those who look like me, or those who can help me get ahead in life. I am called to show the love of Christ.

By this point, you’re probably asking “What exactly is this post? A pessimistic rant about the state of our nation?” Maybe…but what if we turned it into a call to action. There are people hurting in our world. More importantly, there are people hurting in our neighborhood. What if we could step outside of ourselves for even a brief moment each day and seek these people out in order to ask them how we can help? If we can’t help, maybe we can listen. There is a deficit of listeners in this country. We can fill that void. And maybe, just maybe, we could inspire the change we seek in this world. What America needs most is empathy.


Kelly Triplett
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Kelley is a woman of many questions and very few answers. Unfinished projects, awkward silences, and karaoke top her most hated list while good beer, a solid community, and puppies top her most loved. She is realistic to a fault, but has hope that all things have the potential for change.

Resurrection

banksy

resurrection announces that God has not given up on the world
because this world matters
this world that we call home
dirt and blood and sweat and skin and light and water
this world that God is redeeming and restoring and renewing

greed and violence and abuse they are not right
and they cannot last
they belong to death and death does not belong

resurrection says that what we do with our lives matters
in this body
the one that we inhabit right now
every act of compassion matters
every work of art that celebrates the good and the true matters
every fair and honest act of business and trade
every kind word
they all belong and they will all go on in God’s good world
nothing will be forgotten
nothing will be wasted
it all has it’s place…

– Rob Bell

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Let’s Kill the War on Christmas

Let’s make a pact. Let’s do it now while it’s still early. I mean right now.

Let’s make a promise to abstain from the following phrases or even engaging in conversations about said phrases:

  • There’s a War on Christmas
  • Keep Christ in Christmas
  • Jesus is the Reason for the Season

We’ve got to get a handle on this before it gets out of hand. It’s already starting to ramp up and we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet. I’ve recently heard Bill O’Reilly and Pat Robertson talking (separately) about it and anytime those two are on the same page you know you’ve got a recipe for trouble (and plenty hot air). It needs to stop now.

How do you put a stop to this annual bemoaning? First, just pretend you’re at Hogwarts and these phrases are to be treated just like mentioning He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. We won’t speak of it. If you hear someone else bring it up, first go with polite shush. Then, if they continue, feel free to slap them across the face and say “NO!” like you would scold your dog after you caught him peeing on the carpet. I’m just kidding. Well, sort of.

It’s always the same story. Someone can’t display a Christmas tree here or a plastic baby Jesus there. Then the Christians get up in arms about their rights being violated. I would like to present you with an alternative viewpoint and ask: Does it really matter? Does that glowing nativity on your front lawn really what God meant when said in Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before others…” Is this really about your Christian faith or is it more about your traditions? This whole argument is a waste of time and gives Christians yet another reason to get riled up and blame culture for secularizing this most sacred of commercialized holidays.

Tis the season for Christians to miss the point. Let me ask you this: can anyone take away your devotion to Christ? Or to put it a different way: how much of your holiday season actually revolves around Christ? Is Jesus the reason you’re standing those long lines on black Friday? You can’t have it both ways. It’s either Christ or commercialization. I think that the latter closer embodies our traditions. So just leave the atheists alone. This issue isn’t about them.

If you want to truly celebrate the birth of Christ, go out and follow his commands. Care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. Seek justice where there are people being oppressed. Offer hope to the hopeless. Give of yourself to others. Finishing the verse from Matthew I stated before, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Celebrate Christ this Christmas (and the rest of the year) with your actions by embodying Christ to those around you. That is what matters most.

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Ministry in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse: part 10

{continued from part 9 or start at the beginning}

Survival Lesson #10: ZOMBIE MAYBE GONE, BUT THE THREAT LIVES ON…
(Conclusions)

 “The walking dead attack churches for one good reason: It’s where the food is. Despite their education, technical savvy, and professed disinterest in the spiritual world, urban Americans run, screaming to their gods, at the first sight of zombies. These places of worship, crammed with people loudly praying for their souls, have always served as beacons for the undead.”

 – Brooks (p.82)

Learning to live in a new environment, whether post-apocalyptic or post-Christian, you must first survive before you can expect to thrive. As I stand, miles down the road looking back, I am surprised at where the past two years have taken me. I owe much credit to these changes also to my fellow classmates and professors in the MAGL program. They have been better traveling companions that I could have ever asked for, and many will be lifelong friends. Dallas Willard referred to personal development and inner transformation as a “spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself” (Willard Renovation of the Heart p. 22). This spirit-driven process has turned a cynical and jaded pastor with a profound distrust and distain for the institutional church into a new church planter. I have been refined, cultivated and developed as a leader walking humbly towards this new endeavor. In the next few months, I will be moving across the country and planting a church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I would have never found myself in this position if it were not for the MAGL program; these past two years have been revolutionary in my life.

Moving forward, I see that planting a church in a post-Christian and globalized world is not without its difficulties. Becoming an intentional and incarnational leader that equips a community living in the shadow of these new realities requires rethinking church in terms of diversity, hierarchy, and spirituality. If we are truly to become a church that is both missional and transformational, then we must become incarnational at all costs. Christian ministry in the 21st century is much like surviving a zombie apocalypse. We are not called to be safe; we are called to be survivors that live on mission under the auspice of Christ. “The Christian… does not claim that the world is safe, but only that it is under God’s lordship” (Newbigin A Community of Character p.101). Lastly, “no matter what happens to the surviving humans, there will always be the walking dead,” (Brooks p.157) we just don’t have to be one of them.