Evangelicalism, you have made your people defend a book, but not the marginalized in front of them. You have blinded them with your judgements. You have made them so hungry for power, that they want nothing to do with the powerless. You have turned them into the oppressors. You have made it all about the next life, while ignoring this one. Your people pray, sing, maintain their holiness, but what they don’t see is that this is turning them into white-washed tombs. They don’t realize that righteousness is justice. Holiness is defending the powerless and taking care of the least of these. You have made it all about themselves.
You still have some honest, good people within your religion, but you must release them from your bondage. You must give them the freedom to be messy, to question, to love, to do justice, to give mercy, to be kind and gentle. You must step aside and let them see Jesus, and to be Jesus.
Evangelicalism, you have traumatized us enough. Maybe you are the one who is traumatized. It is time to examine your fruit. It is time to heal, so that you may bring healing.
The opposition parties have generally opposed the flag change… it wasn’t their idea. But not wanting to miss out on the change-bandwagon they have proposed we change the anthem calling it a “dirge”. The only dirge I hear is the sound of our politicians, and I lament the loss of politics that matter.
Caeser had the Colosseum and we have our referendums.
Be it thoughts on flag changes, comities, TPPA, process, politics of distraction, or how to deliver a punchline that leaves you thinking. Toby Morris, consider me a fan.
Thought provoking video from Spencer Cathcart. The transcript can be found here theliewelive.blogspot.ca/
“We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living.”
The following is part of an article in The New Zealand Herald.
A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the very inspiring Justin & his beautiful Ngatiawa community. It was a significant moment for me.
Wellington’s Anglican bishop says he may cut his own salary to help fund a “living wage” for cleaners, caregivers and other low-paid workers in Anglican churches and social agencies.
Bishop Justin Duckworth, a dreadlocked, Jandal-wearing priest who was an upset choice as bishop last year, is also challenging other high-income earners to take less to fund higher wages for the 39 per cent of Kiwi workers who now earn less than the living wage, defined by union and church groups as $18.40 an hour.
His current salary is about $63,000, or $30 an hour, plus a house.
My personal response is in the future I have to look at what I am earning and say, what is appropriate for me to earn given that many people in our society don’t even have enough to participate meaningfully in our society
“I would ask that everyone else should be engaged in the moral conversation of when is too much too much.”
The bishop, who has lived his entire married life sharing his family home with people in need such as lost teenagers and ex-prisoners, said he and his wife, Jenny, were also considering how to make best use of the bishop’s official home across the road from Parliament when they move there later this year from the community for recovering addicts and others where they have lived for the past 10 years.
“We have always lived with people. We will do that again,” he said.
One of the things we don’t tell the next generation is that you can’t have it all. You have to choose which story you are going to fit
“If you want to choose the story of upward mobility, 2.3 kids, a white picket fence, a mortgage, a university education, a good career and superannuation, you can’t have that and come to this conference and expect to work for justice. You can’t do everything.
We have to tell our young people clearly that Jesus is not an app that we load onto our smartphones. He is the core operating system. If he is the core operating system, that influences everything in our lives
“We have to tell them how to live simply and to be happy with what you’ve got, realising that everyone else in society is screaming, ‘Have more, have more, have more!”‘
His comments came as an Auckland Council committee decided yesterday to keep investigating ways to pay the living wage to the 1623 council staff who now earn below $18.40 an hour. Officials said this would cost $3.75 million a year.
They also backed an amendment by councillor Cameron Brewer to find the cost within the existing $693 million wage bill, which includes 1500 people earning over $100,000 a year.
You can read more about Justin here
For some reason I can’t edit the formatting, so head over to her site & read it there, it’s much better.
If there is one word that summarizes my journey of late it’s Trust, so the following post from Peter Enns “Why I don’t believe in God anymore” is very timely for me. Believe in God? – sure. Trust? – that’s a little harder at times… sometimes a lot harder.
I don’t believe in God anymore. I used to, though.
This is a choice I’ve made. “Belief” in God connotes–at least as I see it–a set of ideas about God that may, if time allows, eventually make their way to other parts of my being.
The older I get, making sure all my “beliefs” of God are lined up as they should be loses more and more of its luster. I see the Bible focusing a lot more on something far more demanding: trust.
Try it. Which is harder to say? I believe in God or I trust God?
I see a huge difference between “I believe in a God who cares for me” and “I trust God at this particular moment.” The first is a bit safer, an article of faith. The latter is unnerving, risky–because I have let go.
You’ve all heard of the “trust fall.” There’s a reason they don’t call it a “belief fall.” Belief can reside in our heads. Trust is doing it, risking it. Trust is humility, putting ourselves in the hand of another. Trust requires something of us that belief doesn’t.
When God promises Abraham that he will have more offspring than the stars in the sky, translations of the next verse conventionally say that Abraham “believed” God. (Genesis 15:6)
“Believe” isn’t the right word there. “Trust” is. The Hebrew word is the same one we get “amen” from. “Amen” is not a social cue that grace is finished and it’s time to eat. It is the final word in the prayer: we’re done talking now, Lord, and we now move to trust.
God promised an old man a lot of kids. Abraham trusted God to come through. That is way harder than believing. Believing has wiggle room. Trusting doesn’t.
The same thing holds for the gospel. “Believing” in God–or even having “faith” in him–doesn’t cut it. At least the way these words are used today.
Beliefs can be collated into a “belief system”–an intellectual construction of what sorts of things are right to think and not think about God. Followers of Jesus, however, are called to do something much harder.
Jesus tells a famous story about why those who follow him need not worry about anything. Don’t fret about how much you have, what you wear, or what you will eat. Don’t worry. Trust. (Matthew 6:25-34)
Jesus illustrates the point in what at first blush seems rather off topic–at best marginally helpful. He tells us to consider the grass of the field and the birds of the sky. Look at them, Jesus says. They’re doing just fine and they don’t worry for a second.
Of course they don’t worry, Jesus, because they are–if I’m not mistaken–grass and birds. Grass doesn’t have a brain and birds are skittish little things that fly into windows. These things aren’t really relevant, Jesus, because, you see, by definition, Jesus, these things are incapable of worry.
And when you put it that way, you can see the profound point–and challenge–of what Jesus is saying: worry should be as impossible for us as it is for grass and birds. His followers–if they get it–should be as incapable of worry as insentient grass and bird-brained birds.
“Believing in God” doesn’t get you to that place Jesus is describing here. Belief leaves room for worry. Trust explodes it.
What a way to live.
The older I get, the less interested I am in believing and the more I am in trusting. That takes a lot of practice. In my experience, God seems more than willing to provide plenty of opportunities.
When your faith has no room for doubt, then you are just left with—religion
The following is a excerpt from a post entitled “Why it’s good to doubt God”, it can be found in full here.
Sometimes things happen in our lives—it may be one big catastrophe or a line of smaller things that pile up—and you start having a lot of doubts. At first, when you have those disruptive thoughts, you try to push them to the side, hoping they’ll just go away, before God notices.
They don’t and he doesn’t.
So you feel your faith in God slipping away—and it is unsettling, disorienting, and frightening to watch that happen. You doubt that God cares, that he is listening; you doubt that he is even aware of who you are—that he even exists.
In such a state of doubt about God, you feel like there is clearly something very wrong with you.
“Maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe I’m a faker. Maybe I haven’t memorized enough Bible verses. Maybe I need to go to church more often.”
Whatever it is, you’re doing something wrong. It’s all your fault.
And so we do the only thing we have been taught to do. We do everything in our power to get out of that state of doubt as quickly as we can. For some, if doubt persists, they live lives of quiet desperation, ashamed or afraid to speak up. Others simply walk away from their faith.
Surely, doubt is the enemy of faith, right?
To have faith means you don’t doubt, right?
Doubt is a spiritually destructive force that tears you away from God, right?
There is a benefit of doubt.
Doubt can do things spiritually that nothing else can do.
Sometimes we think of our faith as a castle—safe, comfortable, familiar. But what if God doesn’t want us to be comfortable and safe? What if comfortable and safe keep God at a distance?
Doubt tears down the castle walls to force us on a journey.
Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind, but we are only leaving behind the idea of God we like to surround ourselves with—the small God, the God we control, the God who agrees with us.
Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is.
If we’re honest, we all think we’ve God figured out pretty well. We read the Bible and maybe memorize some of it. We go to church a lot. Maybe even lead Bible studies or something.
We’re doing great, and God must certainly be impressed.
It is so very easy to slip into this idea that we have arrived—that we really think we’ve got all the answers and that we almost possess God.
We know what church he goes to, what Bible translation he reads, we know how he votes, we know what movies he watches and books he reads. We know the kinds of people he approves of.
God happens to like all the things we like. We feel like we can speak for God very easily.
All Christians who take their faith seriously sooner or later get caught up in that problem. We begin to think that God really is what we happen to think he is.
God is the face in the mirror…
You can read more from Peter Enns here.
There is a God we want and there is a God who is. They are not the same God… the turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.
– Patrick Morley
Has our zealous protection of “family values” led us astray?
Well written & challenging Ben Ponder brings it. And while aimed at Middle America, it just as easily speaks to western Christianity.
I recommend taking the time to read the article in full Idolatry of the Family. A couple of bits that really popped for me are quoted below.
When I read the Bible, I get the distinct sense that Jesus wasn’t interested in saving the nuclear family from a windy onslaught of liberal opinions. I rather get the impression that he was concerned with diving headfirst into the unvarnished messiness of the human condition and saving us—as individuals, as families, as communities, as people—from our own unhinged self-absorption and festering lovelessness.
The world is a mess because we are a mess. We are a mess because I am a mess. I am a mess because my heart is a mess. And the heart condition of each of us is the heart of the issue. Any other agenda, any other moralistic totem or golden calf half-truth, any political platform or religious soapbox should receive our careful scrutiny. Because an idol carved in the shape of a smiling family is still an idol.