Religion and Spirituality

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When did you last dance?


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When did you last dance?

I mean lose yourself ridiculously in utter awe of God to point where there was no other appropriate response but to dance.

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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

poetic

hallowed


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behind a tranquil monastery is a boundary of forestry hiding a barbed-wire monstrosity

a church safe cursed by a razor-wire crown of thorns

we must protect our truth, sanctified and clean

like we set the standard for what clean is

hide your light under a bushel

unless it’s sanitized and superficial

poetic

Culturanity


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Supermarket-church snap-frozen-reheated greetings, cookie-cutter-christians rehearsed prayers and scripted meetings

Yahweh’s speechless we’ve hijacked his voice and branded it like sneakers,spread the brand globally sweatshop-manufactured-ministry, unethical in our political standing on others to maintain our status quo

checkered shirts, buzz words, clap for yourself ignore the helpless, it’s you who commands and god who follows, enslaved by his own words pages of grace turned into spiritual laws and promises

a world void of colour and complexity, 40-days of formulaic-faith-paint-by-numbers-christianity

we’ve robbed the God of creation his creativity, denied his mystery, trapped him in a black and white box of simplicity

is it any wonder he doesn’t flow through me…

when kingdom looks so different from this brand of culturanity

adventures

Caged Love


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Spent the day walking around San Francisco, from the Wharfs to Mission District up to the twin peaks to catch the sunset.

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In my travels I noticed that a lot of the doorway entrances have a caged door as well…

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and then I noticed some churches do too…

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and then I noticed not just doorways but little enclaves & places of shelter were caged off…

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and then I found this man in an alleyway…

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and right across the road was this church…

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it had a large sheltered area that would be perfect for alley-man to sleep & shelter in.

 

It may even make a difference in whether he lives or dies tonight.

 

I want to ask a question, so I find an entrance. On the way I see the churches slogan on a big sign,

Relationship. Not Religion.

 

I ask, “why do I see so many areas caged off?”. The answer it seems is because homeless people would take up residence there. “Is this why you guys have a caged area too?”, He looks awkward, a lady pipes up, “You have to remember we have to keep it clean for Sunday”.

I ask her if she knows a homeless guy died from the cold the other night, that he is the 5th in the last 2 weeks. She tells me if they let a few homeless stay (in the courtyard) soon there would be lots & they have families that come on Sunday.

He tells me they’re busy & I have to go now, I thank them for their time, I’m just trying to make sense of it all…

Wouldn’t God be appalled if our courtyards were dirty.

Heaven forbid we became known as a church where the least & disadvantaged seek shelter, or where faith was raw & real for our families, rather than disinfected-white-washed-sanitised-sunday-school-lives.

Lets do some simple math. There are easily a 120+ people there, that would mean committing 1 day every 2 months where you & another person cleaned up & served the homeless that gathered in your courtyard…

 

who knows, maybe then the words of your slogan would come to life…

maybe then it would stop being religion,

and start being relationship.

quotes

the Jesus app


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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

– Justin Duckworth

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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”