Religion & Spirituality

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faith restored


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love hip hopSept’12 I started a post entitled “dear Hip Hop” it was an open letter to the hip hop industry… mainly lamenting at what it has become.

You see for me, nothing displays more lyrical genius, creativity, grit, realness and truth, than hip hop at its best. I’m talking Tupacs “Changes”, DMX “the Convo” and more recently “Dead and Gone” from T.I.

The flip side being there is nothing worse than bad hip hop… and there is a lot of bad hip hop. All I seem to see is bling, rims, bouncing rides & booty popping, to the point where what was a sign of  “success” has to be financed before you’ve made a name for yourself and is now a sign of legitimacy. As if shiny soft porn videos can polish up that junk you refer to as lyrics & make it legit.

Not every song needs to be deep and meaningful, I have nothing against an entertaining fun track, and I get that it’s an industry, a machine pumping out a formulaic cash generating product to the masses…

But hip hop was never about formula, cash, or the masses. It was raw & real, and people listened because they identified with what you were saying, not because they “got-off” on your videos.

And don’t get me started on “christian” hip hop, with a few exceptions (Lecrae, Rapture Ruckus) it’s just mimicking what’s mainstream,  you claim to follow the God of creation, can we please get a little creativity then, not just replacing gang-drug-b!tch-ride references for ones deemed holier…

“preachin’ the word, like a drug dealers, slangin; holy rock on the curb,
eyes blurred off the holy ghost…”

 

 

I was about to lose all faith in hip hop when I heard this the other day. Faith restored.

 

adventures, News

news: trips & updates


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uganda mapSome really exciting news… midway through the year I will be heading to Uganda & Southern Sudan for a little under a month with 20+ others, there will be lots of driving, avoiding mosquitoes, searching for clean drinking water, visits to orphanages & victims of war – land mines, child soldiers – churches, & the usual Tear Fund-aid agency stuff as well as some space to adventure a little & to take some risks.

 

It’s almost become cliché to say

I will learn more from them, than they from me

But I’m under no illusions that this will not be the case, after all what can I offer? I’m no builder, no engineer, no war trauma psych, no doctor, no pastor, no economics micro enterprise guru…

& that’s one of the reason I decided to go.

Too often it’s easy to rely on my own skill set, knowledge & giftings. All I have to offer is this, to love everyone I meet & a willingness to take risks.

I expect to be stretched, to be totally out of my comfort zone…. I can’t wait 🙂

 

 

 

and in completely lesser news… site update: I’ve done away with “Blogroll” & instead have “Blogosphere“, which I will use to share posts & articles created by others that I’ve stumbled on, stuff that really “pops” for me, the best of the best as it were.

 

poetic, Uncategorized

the label


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nike label

 

There was a red hat I liked to wear.

It wasn’t cool. It didn’t have the label.

Scissors to a Nike T later, soon fixed that,

stitched the label on…

the hat was the same but perceptions had changed.

 

Nike.

Legit.

 

There is a label called “christian”, we slap it on things…

something must have the Label to stand before the throne or to be welcomed into a christian home.

christian approval

A movie depicting post-apocalyptic violence is not welcome… but if it has the Label or he’s saving the last bible, then “onward christian soldier, slay the infidel!”

They both wear the Label & everyone’s happy for them even though she’s spending less time in church and more on top of him, they’ve hit 2nd base quickly headed for home, runaway train of destruction far from the throne, everyone stands on the platform smiles & waves…

they both wear the Label, “praise god” they say.

 

And the Label gets put on 2nd rate shit, you didn’t make it mainstream?

Make it christian legit.

 

Swap in “jesus” for “baby” and we’ll sing your song Sunday. Call your business christian even if your ethics don’t follow him, etch a verse or cross on your trinkets and junk , sit back & watch sales jump.

How high? The label doesn’t make the books christian, but may lead to sales of 65 million, even if biblical theology gets Left Behind…

and then there is her…

she wants to save the world, the poor, the broken-hearted. She’s good for him, he reads more, prays more, laughs more, loves more, new zest for dreams God-given, more than good for him…

if he’s honest she’s saved him. More christian than most the girls he meets who wear the Label…

yet she doesn’t wear it herself.

So no one smiles for them, some condemning in their silence, others angrily confront him in “love”, in love they may be but love isn’t what you’ve shown me.

Putting the label love on anger & self-righteousness doesn’t change how christless it is.

Putting the label christian on something doesn’t change a thing.

When the right idea or action without the label is wrong & the wrong idea or action with the label is right, maybe its time we dismissed this superficial seal of approval & took the time to look at the heart.

Putting a Nike tag on a red hat doesn’t make it Nike. Covering my heart in labels can’t cover what it really is…

only Christ can.

 

message approved

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popsicle stick theology


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popsicle stick art

My gaze has been encaptured by a piece of artwork across the room.

I’ve decided to call it Popsicle sticks & glitter.

I’m not sure what it depicts. If the artist were here I’d ask her, although I’m not even sure she would know as she is very young, lets call her Emily.

If I were to get this piece appraised I’d be laughed at, it pales in comparison to the great artists who’ve gone before Emily. It would appear to have no value, yet Emily’s parents have proudly displayed it on the fridge for all to see.

They delight in it.

They delight in it because they delight in their daughter, in her attempts to create, the effort & time put into it.

 

I wonder if theology is like art, if God delights in our heart, in our efforts, in our wrestling… even though our attempts must look pitiful.

Theology. Art. It’s all just popsicle sticks and glitter *.

 

 

 

*with the exception that Emily doesn’t wave her art work around telling everyone that it’s the only way to make art & if you don’t make art exactly like her you can’t hang out 🙂

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light


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If church is something we are, what might that look like? Let’s take a brief tour from the beginning…

IMG_3459creating…

IMG_3473

earth, light, trees, man…

IMG_3474

lions…

IMG_3480woman…

IMG_3488Woman!

IMG_3495humankind in the image of God…

IMG_3501shiny temptation!

 

fast-forward in the story.

IMG_3502

God chose a couple…

IMG_3506and said he would make them into a great nation, whose decendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky…

IMG_3509they would be blessed, and be a blessing to all the world…

IMG_3512they would look after the poor,

IMG_3513the refuges,

IMG_3516and the widows…

IMG_3521they would worship God and be a light to the other nations.

 

more fast-forwarding…

IMG_3524Boom! a savior expected, arrives in an unexpected way…

he gathers a raggity group of followers.

IMG_3528 Not only does Jesus die for our salvation but shows us what salvation looks like, lived.

IMG_3532Jesus taught about Following & Love & Lordship & Salvation &  Kingdom & Gospel & Light…

IMG_3533leaving his followers with the Holy Spirit, he says GO… into all the world.

IMG_3542And if we step back & take it all in we see Image, Blessed to Bless, caring for the Poor, the Refugee, the Widow, Loving the Least, true Worship, Gospel, Salvation,

we see Love,

we see Light.

 

This is the people of God.

This is following Jesus.

This is Church.

 

This is explosive…

 

IMG_3545IMG_3547

 

 

 

 

 

but we like to compress…

 

IMG_3549

IMG_3555

we like to put things in boxes…

IMG_3556

and if Christ says don’t hide your light under a bowl…

IMG_3561how well does it shine under a box?

IMG_3563

or…

IMG_3568a box-shaped building.

 

If your light only shines in a service, who even sees it?

 

Where does your Light shine?