Tuesday, March 21, 2006

AKA Lost

Well I finished this book yesterday.

I think my primary thought on it all is "well ya of course." I enjoyed it, it made me ask is evangelism a bad word? And I asked some more, what is the point?

So here are my thoughts:

Evangelism IS a bad word, worse then most 4 letter words. Why, to many people (aka Christians) have used evangelism to brow beat, humiliate, and just piss people off.

The point of what we will call "the artist formerly known as evangelism" is this abundant life that Christ talked about.

Salvation then must be contextual. While there are eternal elements it must be the focus. Life being contextual means Salvation is contextual.

For myself currently I really only care what Salvation means for skid row Los Angeles, aka the nickel.

So I see The abundant life in the following ways: Salvation means a spiritual awakening which leads to a relationship with God.

At the same time relationships with others are made and renewed.

Drugs and alcohol are left behind in search of a better life.

A person experiencing life will deal with life on life's terms even when ignoring life would be easier.

This person will have housing and income, hopefully a job.

This person will truly understand working out their salvation as it takes constant work.

The person experiencing salvation will work the twelve steps honestly with a sponsor or spiritual guide.

On the nickel I see very little if any difference between this process of salvation and the process known as recovery.

1 Comments:

totally agree... evangelism is something we should be not do.

Fascinating to read about your work on skid row... keep going bro! You are being what Booth wanted us to be.

Will put the word out on the nanolog.

peace

thomas aka headphonaught

By Blogger headphonaught, at 11:46 PM  

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Church in the Burbs

Its been a while since I attended a burb church. You know, it smells good, people are dressed good, good sound system ect, a nice clean burb church. So I went on Sunday to raise some funds. It went well we will see how much comes in. I had a thought though. I was raised in burb churches. Until the past year it was all i knew. I felt so foreign. I mean it was like flashbacks all the sudden. I'm not saying it was bad, I found it a great church for an evangelical place. I just realized that I enjoy messy church if I am going to do church at all. For me it like most services did not mean much. I am blown away how much I have come to love the nickel and its people. I do not know how many hundreds have come and gone in the year but I realize that to get things accomplished one must get a little messy. So now we exist in a messy, messy world. I showed pictures of the nickel just 30 miles away. You'd think it was a different world. Well, I guess it is. I guess it is just a different world.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Evangelism

I am reading A.K.A. Lost right now. Its a book about a bad word. Evangelism. Evangelism is a bad word for me. Most of my experience with evangelism has been programmatic war-like evangelical crap. You know ask the person "if you died tomorrow where would you go?" Lead them down the Roman road. Ask them to say a prayer and go on your way. Crap like I said. Or worse it was "friendship evangelism." Make a friend so you can bring them to church. If you did not you were guilt tripped. But what if you friend refused? Move on to another friend. This was the height of Crap. So I stopped. I was in positions where people would ask me about God and such but for the most part I stopped all forms of evangelism. I would only talk about God if they brought it up. I am still there. I teach but I never, never, steer a conversation to talk about God. Does that make me a bad chaplain? Maybe. But many who have seen Crap Evangelism are attracted to God because of it.

Jim Henderson in AKA Lost talks about many things. I think the most refreshing is that evangelism starts with, and ends with, being real. If the real you is a jerk then I guess continue to use crap evangelism. But if we are called to love then the fist thing is to really love others. And so what, (see I'm doing good at not swearing) if their relationship with God or their doctrine does not match yours. Good. Steve Taylor wrote these words some 20 years ago now:

I want to be a clone:
I'd gone through so much other stuff
that walking down the aisle was tough
but now I know it's not enough
I want to be a clone

I asked the Lord into my heart
they said that was the way to start
but now you've got to play the part
I want to be a clone

chorus:
Be a clone and kiss conviction goodnight
cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?
I'm grateful that they show the way
'cause I could never know the way
to serve him on my own
I want to be a clone

They told me that I'd fall away
unless I followed what they say
who needs the Bible anyway?
I want to be a clone

Their language it was new to me
but Christianese got through to me
now I can speak it fluently
I want to be a clone

(chorus)

Send in the clones
Ah, I kind of wanted to tell my friends and people about it, you know
What?
You're still a babe
you have to grow
give it twenty years or so
'cause if you want to be one of his
got to act like one of us

(chorus)

So now I see the whole design
my church is an assembly line
the parts are there
I'm feeling fine
I want to be a clone

I've learned enough to stay afloat
but not so much I rock the boat
I'm glad they shoved it down my throat
I want to be a clone

Everybody must get cloned

I guess much of the church is in the business of making clones. Crap evangelism also has too many strings attached. We hook them (in fact youth ministers are taught about hooks, anything to get them to come) we then either at the same time or a different time scare the crap out of them with hell (I won't say much about that) and try to make clones. I guess that is why I say this kind of evangelism is crap. It is not biblical I do not believe.

Scripture evangelism as I read it is about giving account for you actions. Why do you do this or that? Scripture evangelism takes amongst others. Scripture evangelism loves people and is genuine. I guess that all I'm saying is let us love others. Instead of making others clones of ourselves, why don't we all admit that we are all screwed up, and need God's mercy and love. In doing so we will be real. Anything less then real and the those who Jesus misses the most will have nothing to do with us.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Army Calling

For some reason there is a lot of talk on Army blogs about evangelism. The army has long thought it could transplant the Army anywhere and it works. I actually think that whole understanding is flawed.

Here is the deal, where was the Army called from and too? The Urban poor.

Where has most of the Army's soldiers, officers, and corps gone? The suburbs.

See the problem.

No matter what metaphor we want to use, and The Salvation Army is more a brand then a metaphor anymore, if we do not recapture our calling to the Urban poor there is no point. So, why do we run day care centers, senior housing, kids programs, and the like in the burbs? Let someone else do it.

Why do we send the most resources to areas we don't belong?

I know that will get some eyes raised but do we belong everywhere? No we are a specific part of God's kingdom. People give us money to do work they are afraid to do. I'm fine with that, but why are we sending to the burbs. In USA West the nicest facilities, highest salary scales, are in the burbs. I think I'm going to stop because it makes me sad and angry, but why are where we don't belong?

We were raised up and called to the poor, how many in your congregation live below the poverty line?

2 Comments:

Amen. If theres one primary way the Army is now removed from its initial mandate it is this moving away from the urban poor. Why we keep attempting to do church in the suburbs, competing with other far more competent churches, is beyond me.

By Blogger lucy AR, at 2:43 PM  

We have become, in part, the methodist church that Booth brought the army from!

All concerned with our tradition and not about the important stuff...

look at the emerging church movement and see what Booth got right all those years ago and see where we are going wrong now.

Peace,

Thomas aka Headphonaught

By Blogger headphonaught, at 12:03 AM  

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Evangelism and such

Gordon has been having a discussion on evangelism over at his blog. My thoughts on the whole topic are really all over the map. For Gordon it seems he has issue with hidden hook evangelism, fun events just to present a high pressure sales pitch. My issue centers around this. Most evangelical evangelism (yes non-evangelicals do do evangelism) seems to be focused on getting people to heaven. Bums in heaven came up somewhere. This takes the focus of church and makes it bums (butts) in church and bums in heaven. These may be the same people but not necessarily. Saying the prayer seems to be the focus.

In general it just seems narrow to view evangelism as a church growth and eternal salvation thing. I mean when read the gospels salvation seems to be directly related to the here and now, every day life. To say the eternal does not matter might be oversimplification but it is not the focus, at least in my reading. In short life is not all about heaven and hell. Life is about life, the good news is not an escape from life but life abundant. If all the church can give me is hope for after die the who cares I'll be dead. The church must be able to give life here and now life, if we going to have any voice in the future.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

To Own a Dragon part 2

Well I just finished this book. The end moves talks about a lot of subjects that are needed and ends with spirituality. I realize now why Don resonates with me so well. I can play the church game well. I've played it my whole life. I don't like it but its what church is anymore and to do ministry I must play the game. Anyway, the end of the book hits a serious deep issue for me. Over the last couple years I have begun to realize something. Like Don I do not know if God cares about me. I mean I know he exists and all but I feel often like Don did hanging out with his friends and their fathers. Like I did learning about cars from my best friends dad. Accepted but only sort of. A "charity" case. Even with my closest friends whose houses I was always welcome in, I was still an outsider. At family gatherings they invited me to I was just there, it beat being alone or with my real family but it was not the same. I guess often I feel like the red headed step child. So I wonder does God really care? I have found this prayer uttered from my lips on many occasions. The answer today is yes and no. I know scripture, I know the comfort that Don closes with I know God loves everyone, I just don't feel he loves me. I guess feels isn't even the right word. Maybe know, or believe, I guess I just doubt. I mean with all the world's crap why should God worry about me? Why should he care? My crap is so small to those on the nickel, why should worry about this white middle class American fool? I know I'm smart, I can do anything I really want to, and yet I am not good enough. Maybe it does relate. Was it my fault my parents fought, I mean fight, I mean yell at each other 20 years after being divorced? They did that 3 years ago at my ordination, I blamed myself!

intellectually, I know its not me, but I tell you t is. I am never good enough I guess. I think they have both moved on from that especially after I got married but deep down something says I was not worth it. I was not worth them each swallowing their pride? Ever? I don't know. So I know its absurd for a preacher, teacher, and leader to say but I know God loves everyone, I'm just not so sure about me.

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To Own A Dragon

Well its out.

I have read everything Donald Miller has written and I consider him a genius. But this latest book is really Bushing with me.

His book is about his expiriences as a person without a father. So far I am four chapters is I was crying a laughing all at the same time. Is such a Busher.

I guess I might have been luckier then Donald I mean I know my dad, I know my mom, I even talk to both of them but in many respects donalds life was mine. My parents divorced when I was 7, I remember very little of them together other then fighting and yelling. I remember weekends at dads Christmas eve too. But then my dad moved. From 7th grade on my dad was not there. A months during the summer is supposed to make up for it? I remember the times when he didn't come though he said he would. I remember being the only one is scouts without two parents there for me. I remember a mom who worked a lot 60 hours a week at times to provide a good life for us. I remember seeing real families and wondering why mine was so bushed up. I remember being needed, needed as the man, the go between, the middle of of the family. I remember saying bush it all. Developed close friends and eventually left for college What do I need them for anyway? I also remember the people who invested in my life. My step dad (if only for a couple years), Scout leaders, Teachers, Woody, Gene, Bill, Kevin, and others.

I have not called God Father in prayer in, well I don't know if ever, other then a Trinitarian blessing. I mean I recognize the imagery but it means nothing. Maybe not nothing but close to it. It means failure to keep promises, too controlling, excuses, temporary, here today and gone tomorrow. It means good things too, but I think my image of father is part time at best. I have no use for a part time God.

I knew Don was going Bush with me, I knew it from the previews, from the editorials, I just did not know how bad. So I will continue to read and let him Bush with me.

In two months I will be a dad. I kind of know what that means.

In two months I will be a father, I have no idea what that means.

Don has a key relationship that seems like it has helped him see what a father is. I guess I have had those as well, but I am still not there. I don't know the first thing about the whole bushed up word.

I don't know why I write this here probably just because it consumes my every waking and sleeping moments. I am no afraid I will fail as a dad, I am afraid my children will not know what a father is either. For years I have ignored the metaphor, now I have to face it, I have no choice. So, if maybe you have some insight good. Maybe I'm looking for assurance that its mot that bad, or maybe I'm just bushed.

1 Comments:

Bill-the only advice is what I told Dwight when he was worried about being a father. I told him to think of all the things he wished his father did with or to him and do that for Jacob. So that is what I say to you. I know you will make the right choices.

Rebecca

By Blogger Rebecca, at 5:19 AM  

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MVP Rides Again

With all the talk about Carolina and all the ney sayers And the money he could have gotten, Shaun the Man is staying in Seattle. So lets hear it for those great ones. Bring back JJ ang strong and we will be ready to role.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

URBANarmy: Yeah but no but....

URBANarmy: Yeah but no but....

Well I think it translates great across the Atlantic. Maybe but in the context of learning should be stated "and what else?" But churches buts will simply not have many butts.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thoughts

I'm reading "Scandal Of The Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like The Rest Of The World?" It is by Ronald Sider. I enjoy his books because somehow, I still don't understand it, he can from an evangelical tradition call for personal and social holiness. He argues that we should seek social justice as well as focus on individual sins. I think he can keep this all together because he has a lot of Anabaptist in him. I don't agree with everything he sees as personal sin but he has soon great points.

I'm preaching on 1 John 1:1-7 tomorrow and the focus there is walking in the light. I wonder what it means to walk in the light. Is all just light and darkness? John calls God light. If this is the case I wonder if we should focus on following the light and not worry about where the light stops and darkness begins. I think if we just worry about making sure we are following the light we will always be walking in the light. If we are to busy determining where light stops we will soon be without any light at all and our eyes will grow accustomed to the darkness so we will think we are in the light but the true light is nowhere near.

We started out following the Light. We noticed that wherever the Light went a great many came to our community. We taught them what it meant to follow the Light. Occasionally we would meet those who were in the dusk and we would invite them to join. We sought those who were blind or crippled along the way and we took care of them. We told them about the Light and his message to us the lamp. Every now and then we would see a group go of with their lamps and never make it back to the light. Sometimes some would venture out into the darkness with their lamps, soon we would see them again. We asked what made them able to find their way back? They answered "we never lost sight of the Source of Light. We noticed that we started slowing down. We were okay with that, to much change through our community into a frenzy. Soon we noticed that it was getting dark. We made sure we had our lamps and we said "that's good enough." Light gave us our lamp so we can not get lost. For a while we even saw the Source of Light and were able to follow but we wanted to be too cautious so we did not move fast enough to catch up. We called those in darkness to toward the lamp. Eventually we took the lamp and said it was the Light. But Light never stops. Light is constantly moving. Constantly going to where only darkness remains. What happened, why did we stop? We started calling those in darkness to the lamp and many realized that because of the lamp they could see a bit. But soon they realized that that lamp was not the Light. It talked about the Light and even pointed the way to get back to the Light. When asked about this those who grew up around the lamp said that the lamp was the Light. So those who came out of darkness left. Many went back into their darkness, others sought out the Light. Even when Light passed close the "children of the lamp" refused to get up. They thought it was just another lamp.

But some saw, some realized what was happening, some realized what the lamp was and who the Light was. We followed what the lamp said about where the Light goes. We set out on their journey to the darkest places. Where poverty, addiction, sickness, abound. When we came to these places they talked about the Light and how the lamp points the way. Many more were added to our number. As we went through these places they found that soon they were in dusk. We could see. And so we continued. Eventually we found ourselves in the Light. Light spoke to many. Some remained there in the light to fragile to go anywhere else. Others were sent back to the dusk places. Sent back to point the way toward the light. As we went the area around us became light. We were careful however to tell people who the true Light was. One day we came upon the "children of the lamp" we had left. We told them about the true Light but they said it was they who had light. A few came but many stayed. We found the same thing over and over. Communities who once knew the Light but now had replaced Light for lamp. They had rituals about the lamp, what it meant to follow the lamp. They had rules about who could be part of their lamp community. Mostly they argued that the lamp promised that if they all stayed put the God would rescue them from the darkness. So they told their people to make a living in this land and wait for God. We went away sad. They would not see that Light had already come. They failed to realize, with all their reading of the lamp, where Light was and where Light was not. So we continued with our mission, healing the sick, caring for the orphan, feeding those who hunger, offering help to the addict, all the while pointing out the Light.

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