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Evangelicalism, You Have Traumatized Me


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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.

Exerts from the a blog post entitled “Evangelicalism, you have traumatized me” from Robert Lofgren

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the dirge that is our politicians


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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.

The Pencilsword can be found at The Wireless

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living wage


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Bishop

 

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.

Bishop challenges high-income earners

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.

 

the full article from Simon Collins can be found here  

You can read more about Justin here

 

 

 

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Sex


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The following entitled Sex , from Jamie Wright @ theveryworstmissionary.com

For some reason I can’t edit the formatting, so head over to her site & read it there, it’s much better.

 
My youngest son is about to turn 13, so for the next 9 months, until my oldest turns 20 (holy ape balls!), I will be Mom to three teenage boys.
That means our dinner table feels like a locker room… if locker rooms were full of nerds. The conversation tumbles easily from Xbox to music to girls to MineCraft to push ups to girls to movies to farts to money to girls to YouTube, and then back again, in an endless loop, so that over the course of one meal we come around to the subject of “girls” at least 9 times.
At least.
Girl talk inevitably leads to sex talk. And, let me tell you, if there is one thing these guys like to talk about more than girls? It’s sex. So we talk about sex. Kind of a lot. And since (as far as I know) none of my children have gone and gotten married, we’re mostly talking about sex of the pre-marital sort; y’know, Virginity and stuff. The Big “V”. The Sacred Gift. The Golden Ticket…. These chats are exactly as awkward as you imagine.
Obviously, my children know that I had sex before marriage because I had a kid before marriage, so there’s really no getting around it. That same kid towers over me now; a full two years older than I was when his own fluttering heartbeat wound itself into mine. These days, I look at him and I think, “He can’t even keep his own room clean – how the hell did I manage an infant and a full time job at that age?!”
So, yeah, I was an unwed teenage mother. Classy, I know.
But oh, it gets worse, because before I invented MTV’s Teen Mom, I was a little bit of a ho-bag. Yup. I willingly did regretful things with my body, and I allowed myself to be used in regretful ways by some regretfully sleazy douchebags, perverts, and (in retrospect) probably pedophiles. Gross, I know.
I believed that sex was the best thing I had to offer the world. It was the only thing about me worth loving. And I learned, too young, that I could leverage sex to get what I wanted. My female parts had become my greatest asset.
Then I found my way into the Church, 19 with a baby on my hip, and while I lingered on the outskirts of the Christian bubble, guess what I learned… I learned I was right! Apparently, even God was super concerned with my vagina, and where it had been, and what it had touched. Apparently, my genitals were like a portal that led straight to my soul. I had been muddied – and everybody knows that once you muck up clean water, you can’t unmuck it.
It took me a lot of years and a lot of conversations with God (and with people who know more about God than me) to understand that everything I believed about my own sexuality was built on two huge lies.
The first comes from our culture, and it tells us that sex outside of marriage isn’t a big deal.
The second is from the Church, and it tells us that sex outside of marriage is the biggest deal of all the deals ever.
One allowed me to give it away freely, convinced I would carry no burden. The other forced me to carry a spirit-crushing load.
Both are complete crap.
Sex matters. It’s the most vulnerable thing you’ll ever do with another human being. Commitment breeds intimacy, and intimacy is what makes sex freaking amazing. I’m not gonna lie, you can have hot sex outside of a committed relationship – but mostly it’s gonna be like… clumsy… and goopy… and ew. The better you know your partner, the better your sex will be. So basically what I’m saying is that wedding night sex is kinda “Meh.”, and five years sex is all “Yes!”, but 18 years sex is like “WOAH!!!” So go ahead and wait. Wait and enjoy the waiting, and then bask in all those learning experiences with your most trusted friend.
But.
If you’ve already gone down that path, you knocked boots, you got ‘er done, you did the nasty…. and now you’re not sure, or maybe you feel dirty and you’re rocking the walk-of-shame-face day in and day out, you need to hear this — I mean it, you really need to hear this…
You’ve had sex outside of marriage? *gasp* So what! You are so much more than your sexuality. And the God of the Universe, the one who turns whores into heroes, and drunks into prophets, and liars and murderers into leaders and kings – that God? He made peace with you and me and our promiscuous, pathetic attempts at love a long, long time ago. He gave you a Redeemer. Shame is no longer your burden.
Do I want my boys to wait? Absolutely. And they know it! But I refuse to tie their value as a human being to their junk like a shiny red balloon.
I want them to know that sex is sacred. And I want them to believe that it matters. I hope they will esteem the bodies of the girls in their lives, as they hold their own bodies to the same high standard.
But I also want them to understand that the kind of sexual purity the Bible calls us to doesn’t begin or end with Virginity – It’s way bigger than that. It’s way more significant. And it’s way harder to hold on to.
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In God We Trust?


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ingodwetrust

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.

 

Peter Enns “Why I don’t believe in God anymore”