On my personal blog, Elusive Bread, I shared the following poem that I wrote in my journal recently. I’ve been thinking lately a lot about Walter Brueggemann’s Prophetic Imagination, of which I hope to write more later. In this book on the nature of prophetic ministry in the way of Moses & Jesus, Brueggemann writes,

“I will urge later that…real criticism begins in the capacity to grieve because that is the most visceral announcement that things are not right. Only in the empire are we pressed and urged and invited to pretend that things are all right—either in the dean’s office or in our marriage or in the hospital room. And as long as the empire can keep the pretense alive that things are all right, there will be no real grieving and no serious criticism” (11).

…click here to read the rest, if you dare…

(note: this is a continuation of the previous post.)

+The Process of Critical Contextualization

Where do we go from here? We cannot go back to noncontextualization with its ethnocentrism and cultural foreignness. Nor can we stay in more extreme forms of contextualization with their relativism and syncretism.” -Paul Hiebert

 
Here, I will borrow heavily on Paul Hiebert (he was my mentor’s mentor, an anthropologist, and he passed away recently; what I have read of his works so far is absolutely remarkable), specifically his article in Missiology called “Critical Contextualization” (you can click the link to read the full PDF of this article, which I highly recommend).
…click to read the rest of this post…

(note: this is a continuation of the previous post.)

-Holism
A holistic community of faith engages real life, and all of it at that. Christianity as religion has become a compartment of our lives, something we do part of the time when we are in a particular frame of mind or at certain times and days of the week. Christianity as way of life pervades all that we are.

I’m tired of church just being about the exchange of religious commodities. I want us to see all parts of life as relating to the spiritual (I think of Rob Bell’s Everything is Spiritual Tour). We should share in all parts of life together and be able to deal with all sorts of things. I don’t feel I have to go super deep into this, because it just makes sense.
…click to read the rest of this post…

(note: I originally wrote this as one post. To my slight surprise, when I checked it out at the end it was ridiculously long. Sheesh! Turns out I’m a little passionate about this and have a lot to say. So I’ve broken it into three parts. The first one comes out now, obviously. The second will come out next Friday, and the third the following Friday. However, if you are a brave soul or really want to boost my self esteem, you can view the whole thing at once here: Adaptive Community. The password is: password. Sorry, I had to do do it that way to make this work!)

 

 

Adaptive Community

Up till now, most of my writing has centered on the aspects of church/christian culture that I struggle with. It’s easier to know that something is not what you’re looking for, to know that you don’t feel like you fit in, to know something is off, and it’s much easier to point those things out than to strive to discover and to forge and to be made into something new. Adaptive Community is my attempt to begin dreaming into existence what my heart is looking for…and maybe yours too. This section is the most important part of this series to me, yet I’m finding it the most difficult for me to write about. Adaptive Community is something I deeply yearn for, but I feel I’ve only experienced it in brief glimpses, so it is difficult to describe. I’ll do my best by going through a few qualities that stand out to me as what I seek, then I’ll wrap up a bit on form and a process. Like me, my ideas on this are unfinished.
…click to read the rest of this post…

 

Adaptive Community

Up till now, most of my writing has centered on the aspects of church/christian culture that I struggle with. It’s easier to know that something is not what you’re looking for, to know that you don’t feel like you fit in, to know something is off, and it’s much easier to point those things out than to strive to discover and to forge and to be made into something new. Adaptive Community is my attempt to begin dreaming into existence what my heart is looking for…and maybe yours too. This section is the most important part of this series to me, yet I’m finding it the most difficult for me to write about. Adaptive Community is something I deeply yearn for, but I feel I’ve only experienced it in brief glimpses, so it is difficult to describe. I’ll do my best by going through a few qualities that stand out to me as what I seek, then I’ll wrap up a bit on form and a process. Like me, my ideas on this are unfinished.
…click for the rest…

 

Recap

This is a continuation of my previous two posts Life Between Poles .i. Introduction and Life Between Poles .1. Technical Problems. I’m going to take a moment and discuss the two poles I so often feel caught between. It might be a little random as I pour out my thoughts, which have been floating around in my mind for a long time now.

 

 
…click here for more of this post…

I recently read a challenging book titled “A Black Theology of Liberation,” by James Cone. I’d rather not summarize the book too much, but instead encourage you to read it. I don’t agree with everything, but love some things. This is actually refreshing.

Based off Cone and his very extreme, concrete approach to liberation, I have a few questions or points for the church relating to the often abstract ideas of salvation and evangelism. In the Bible, Jesus uses healing, physical healing, to invite people into the kingdom of God. He does not deny a person’s physical circumstances and tell the blind man or the man with leprosy that he’s not going to heal them, but that they should still believe in God!

Don’t we do that? Don’t we hope to heal people’s souls and ignore their bodies and physical situations because they’re just too difficult?

I hope we can all agree that the church as the body of believers worldwide should be actively involved in liberation. We need churches and communities to equip us for being sent to the world. Otherwise they have no purpose and become like clubs. This can’t just be something they do to remain healthy – real service and real liberation through Jesus are the essence of their being. I wonder if being sent to the world means more than just carrying around a nice attitude in our workplace or school, if it means more than, as a friend recently lamented, acting happy and hoping someone asks you “why are you so happy all the time?” so you can tell them about Jesus. This doesn’t de-legitimize secular callings, but I just think we’re called to more, more, more than just a smile.

I do not doubt that unbelief is a major problem in America. I would love to have more people involved in this Jesus movement. But we need to have a movement of God’s salvation to call them to, rather than an abstract idea too often embodied in just “going to church.” I firmly believe in actually talking about God rather than hoping that our actions witness to it, as I referenced above, but our actions need to back up those words.

There are other major problems in America, like race (still). I recently heard a statistic that 3 percent of Minnesotans are black. 37 percent of the Minnesota prison population is black. My campus is segregated in many ways, because it perpetuates itself as a Norwegian college with very very loose Christian ties (I would argue), which makes those outside the culture feel like … outsiders.

Right now, I don’t have specific solutions or anything. I just know that I needed to write down these thoughts and work through them. I appreciate any of your thoughts, challenges, or questions.

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