Happy New Year! Thanks for reading all year. This blog is mainly purposed to help reverb some of the messages give Here are the posts you read the most in 2013.
10. The difference between Circle of Hope and the School District of Philadelphia (October 10, 2014); One of the reasons my stomach churned when I read about the School Reform Commission and its recent decision was because, for my adult life in Circle of Hope, I’ve been trained to do something totally different and in a totally different way.
9. How Jesus might respond to Ferguson (September 3, 2014); Jesus might just call wicked people enslaved to wicked systems wicked. He didn’t come to create peace or tolerance of evil. He would resist such permissive tolerance. I believe he always offers a path to repentance and transformation. That path for the U.S., or our justice system, will be narrow, though, maybe as narrow as an eye of a needle for a camel.
8. What Beyoncé taught me about freedom (January 17, 2014); But Beyoncé holds a powerful position and she needs to be conscious of everything she’s teaching us. She needs to be responsible. When we hold such power, we need to realize that we are leading no matter what (Jesus says, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you.). This record is allegedly about the power of women and for some could be seen as a feminist anthem; Beyoncé is expressing in ways that women fear to. But there’s more to the story. One can offer a postmodern justification to the record, but here’s what we need to answer: will a teenager a postmodernists perspective? If not, Beyonce is wrong and irresponsible because more than anyone that is who she is influencing Moreover, it seems like Queen Bey is just reacting to the over-the-topness of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga.
7. I couldn’t keep watching Cosmos (April 9, 2014); I suppose I could’ve tolerate Tyson’s smug arrogance and absolute certainty if he didn’t take shots at people who think differently than him seemingly every other second. If he just didn’t overly praise his method, while also devaluing mine, I might have been able to enjoy the show a little more. It just kept smacking me in the face every time I tried to give it a chance.
6. A spiritual director Matthew McConaughey is not (March 7, 2014); Pseudo-harmony meets pseudo-religion meets pseudo-relatability. When I watch the world’s elite enjoy their lives of excess in front of the biggest audience in fourteen years, I relate to the people who would really love to connect with God, their families, and even love themselves, but have so many limitations. Watching McConaughey wax spiritual might make us feel more connected to him and to God, but I wonder if it’s all just an opiate.
5. Deconstructing with David Bazan on Twitter (October 8, 2014); The church needs to be disassembled, but I think we need to reassemble something better in return. We need to create an alternative. We can’t just pillage and destroy. David is right, it needs to be real, slow even, and gradual. But it needs to be right too. Not everything that’s institutional is wrong, and not everything that’s anti-establishment is right. We have true selves and false selves, and getting to our true self will take some deconstruction—but clearly, it takes a lot more work than that. I think the same goes for all of creation.
4. Hell is more Greek than Christian (September 29, 2014); What is with this idea that God loves humankind enough to die for them—for anyone that would ever be born—with an endless and everlasting love? But if they don’t believe or do the right things, he can reverse that everlasting love to hate and punish them with it? The loving God will take the righteous into the restored earth forever, but if you are damned, he’ll plunge you into the depths of a cosmic concentration camp. I don’t buy that, and I’m fighting it. That’s a personal reason to do it. So we have an emotional reason that people resist hell, and a logical reason. That’s enough for me. But here’s one from the Bible.
3. I hope “Her” is not a prophecy (January 29, 2014); My roommate told me that this wasn’t too far along from happening. I exclaimed it was way far off. That was more of a prayer against such artificiality and superficiality. Against a future where sexual pleasure, no matter how it’s derived, is the same as an intimate relationship. Of course, panic attacks about Gmail being down isn’t too different (Phoenix actually has a real panic attack when his OS is unavailable).
2. Three classic songs I’ll think twice about before using in worship (May 21, 2014); Music can so often get stuck in our head, it actually is a very good mechanism that we can use to learn and teach. But sometimes, we unconsciously float through a song and it gets implanted in our brains and without even knowing it those songs can violate how we relate to each other and God..
1. Jesus, sex, and exceptions to the rule (February 17, 2014); The teachings we have on marriage, sex, cohabitation, sexuality, and all of these things are up for discussion, but from my perspective I want to be an includers, empathizers, and understanders. Too often the church is known for its judgment. Our judgment keeping people from following Jesus is decidedly not what Jesus wanted. If your vitriol and prejudice is keeping people from being convinced of Jesus, you’re guilty of a pretty heavy duty crime.