The Language of Redemption & Grace

20 12 2010

I was watching this video over at Andy Cenci’s tumblr:

Something Makoto Fujimura says near the end…

“We have a language to celebrate waywardness…but we do not have a cultural language to bring people back home…”

And it’s haunting me.

As Christians, we need to engage culture.  And I think personally, that often, we need to engage culture where it lives, using its language and its structures as a way to breed familiarity, a feeling of safety, and to let people know that we’re all in the same boat, and that we all need the same forgiveness.

So I find it intriguing that what Fujimura says is that perhaps, at least in the arts, we need to search for the other voice;  that other language that is so shocking, so amazing, and so different than the current culture’s voice-so we may begin a transformation, rather than a simple engagement.

I don’t know what I think about it, but I present it to you so I can sleep. 🙂

P.S. – Andy is the newest staff member at Parkview.  He is one of the Student Ministries Directors.  He’s awesome.  (So is Alison too!)  🙂





Book Reviews Are A-Comin'

11 05 2009

Well, you speak and I listen. (Except for the one person who said they don’t want to read reviews of books. Sorry, dude. Feel free to disregard this and future book posts.)

So yeah, while I didn’t get a very impressive turnout for the poll, (I get 70+ unique pageviews a day, yet less than 10 people responded? Huh?) the results are encouraging enough for me to say that I will occasionally (as I read books I find interesting enough to write about) do book reviews.

UnChristian - Kinnaman and Lyons

UnChristian - Kinnaman and Lyons

 

 

First up, will be “UnChristian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. This book, created by and with the vast and reliable research power of The Barna Group, takes an honest look at the modern church, and more importantly, the image problem that it has as a representation of Christ. I’ve only begun this book, but I’m quite excited about it.

 

 

 

 

Another book I’m reading currently, that I plan on writing about, is “Crazy Love”.

Crazy Love - Francis Chan

Crazy Love - Francis Chan

The author, Francis Chan, presents a view of Christianity, or really, of God, that makes us reexamine how we live our lives. Are we really recognizing the one true God? The creator of the universe? (As Chan puts it on the back cover: “The God of the Universe-the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies, and E-minor” (I love that quote.)

 

Are we truly living while keeping in mind that it is THAT God who created us, THAT God who loves us, and THAT God who deserves everything from us? Do we do this daily?

What’s great, is that while I wasn’t planning it at all (I really didn’t know too much about both books prior to getting them), both books really converse well with each other, and really converge in a purpose-questioning, life-changing way.

Anyway, I’m sure you can tell I’m enjoying both books. In fact, if you’re the type who ISN’T planning on reading the book reviews, let this be the review for you: Get both books. You will not regret it. One takes a hard, honest look at the current problem, and one takes a hard, honest look at the solution.

Again, I’ll have more detail when I finish the books, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve read thus far.

Down the line, I’ll be reviewing a couple books by an old friend of mine, David A. Zimmerman, starting with “Comic Book Character” and “Deliver Us From Me-Ville”.  And hopefully more.  (I’m open to suggestions, if you’ve got a book that you’ve been interested in reading, but weren’t sure if it was worth it…I’ll be happy to take that plunge for you!)

So, look forward to that in the coming weeks. In other future news, I will be reviewing Mega Man 9 as well. Keep your eyes peeled! (What does that even mean?)

I’ll leave you with a quote from the first chapter of “Crazy Love”, not from Francis Chan, but a quote he uses by A.W. Tozer, (and one I find quite true, and humbling if one meditates upon it):

 

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing to us…. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

 

 

 





Book Reviews Are A-Comin’

11 05 2009

Well, you speak and I listen. (Except for the one person who said they don’t want to read reviews of books. Sorry, dude. Feel free to disregard this and future book posts.)

So yeah, while I didn’t get a very impressive turnout for the poll, (I get 70+ unique pageviews a day, yet less than 10 people responded? Huh?) the results are encouraging enough for me to say that I will occasionally (as I read books I find interesting enough to write about) do book reviews.

UnChristian - Kinnaman and Lyons

UnChristian - Kinnaman and Lyons

 

 

First up, will be “UnChristian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. This book, created by and with the vast and reliable research power of The Barna Group, takes an honest look at the modern church, and more importantly, the image problem that it has as a representation of Christ. I’ve only begun this book, but I’m quite excited about it.

 

 

 

 

Another book I’m reading currently, that I plan on writing about, is “Crazy Love”.

Crazy Love - Francis Chan

Crazy Love - Francis Chan

The author, Francis Chan, presents a view of Christianity, or really, of God, that makes us reexamine how we live our lives. Are we really recognizing the one true God? The creator of the universe? (As Chan puts it on the back cover: “The God of the Universe-the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies, and E-minor” (I love that quote.)

 

Are we truly living while keeping in mind that it is THAT God who created us, THAT God who loves us, and THAT God who deserves everything from us? Do we do this daily?

What’s great, is that while I wasn’t planning it at all (I really didn’t know too much about both books prior to getting them), both books really converse well with each other, and really converge in a purpose-questioning, life-changing way.

Anyway, I’m sure you can tell I’m enjoying both books. In fact, if you’re the type who ISN’T planning on reading the book reviews, let this be the review for you: Get both books. You will not regret it. One takes a hard, honest look at the current problem, and one takes a hard, honest look at the solution.

Again, I’ll have more detail when I finish the books, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve read thus far.

Down the line, I’ll be reviewing a couple books by an old friend of mine, David A. Zimmerman, starting with “Comic Book Character” and “Deliver Us From Me-Ville”.  And hopefully more.  (I’m open to suggestions, if you’ve got a book that you’ve been interested in reading, but weren’t sure if it was worth it…I’ll be happy to take that plunge for you!)

So, look forward to that in the coming weeks. In other future news, I will be reviewing Mega Man 9 as well. Keep your eyes peeled! (What does that even mean?)

I’ll leave you with a quote from the first chapter of “Crazy Love”, not from Francis Chan, but a quote he uses by A.W. Tozer, (and one I find quite true, and humbling if one meditates upon it):

 

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing to us…. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

 

 

 





Commitment. It’s This New Thing…It’s This Old Thing.

13 02 2009

 

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

So I was listening to the Bible today (I’m a big fan of the “Daily Audio Bible” podcast…the reader, Brian, is awesome and so on fire for God.  He’s got a hippy-dippy voice so not created for radio, but he’s doing his thang-thang for God and that’s amazing and powerful and God’s definitely taking his loaves and fishes and working miracles from it, and that is truly inspiring…but I digress.)  

 

So I’m listening to the Bible today, and thinking about those ancient times.  Times so distant to us that a lot of the cultural references and thoughts are so foreign to us, that we can’t really get in there, mentally.  We can only associate ideologically or really, more in a strictly historically academic sense.  So I am thinking about these things…And then I think about commitment.  I consider myself committed to Christ.  What does that mean? 

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Commitment. It's This New Thing…It's This Old Thing.

13 02 2009

 

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

So I was listening to the Bible today (I’m a big fan of the “Daily Audio Bible” podcast…the reader, Brian, is awesome and so on fire for God.  He’s got a hippy-dippy voice so not created for radio, but he’s doing his thang-thang for God and that’s amazing and powerful and God’s definitely taking his loaves and fishes and working miracles from it, and that is truly inspiring…but I digress.)  

 

So I’m listening to the Bible today, and thinking about those ancient times.  Times so distant to us that a lot of the cultural references and thoughts are so foreign to us, that we can’t really get in there, mentally.  We can only associate ideologically or really, more in a strictly historically academic sense.  So I am thinking about these things…And then I think about commitment.  I consider myself committed to Christ.  What does that mean? 

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Hell, Heresy and the Holy Bible

12 12 2008

 

I can feel the tension already...

I can feel the tension already...

First off, to those of you who tuned in to hear the discussion about video games that are violent, that swear often, or that generally you wouldn’t want to play with your pastor?  That’s coming.  Don’t worry.  I still have a lot to say about it, and I’m excited to write it.  But something has come up and I feel it is of more importance and interest for right now…Perhaps tomorrow I will write the other post.  Stay tuned for that.  However, even if you typically only read my blog for the gaming news, it’s still a worthwhile topic, and I would love for you to chime in on it.  

Now, back to what I came to write.

I finished listening to This American Life‘s most recent podcast, entitled “Heretics,” but minutes ago.  The story is about an influential evangelical preacher, named Carlton Pearson, who as of a couple years ago, started to doubt the existence of hell as presented in the Bible.  Now this is a man who has committed his entire life to preaching and spreading the gospel.  All of his life he was taught that there is a heaven where those who accept Christ go, and a hell for those who do not.  Hell is a fiery, terrible place with weeping and gnashing of teeth, and it is eternal torment.  

Now, before I continue, allow me to preface what I will continue writing:

1) When I write this, it is not to convince anyone.  I don’t expect (nor do I want) you to believe what I say because I say it.  I have no authority to do that, nor should I.

2) What I write, you may agree with or you may not.  I don’t hate on you on this blog, so don’t be hating on me in the comments.  I’m all for vigorous discussion about the topic, but by posting a comment, you agree to discuss the issue, not the people writing the comments.  I mean, if you need to, feel free to flame me up and down.  I can take it.  I mean, I’m writing about it. 🙂  But don’t stifle someone just because they disagree with what you say.  Let’s discuss it like adults and pray that the truth is made clear.  (Because after all, it will set you free.)

3) Before you read this, you really should do yourself a favor and (if you want to comment, even though I’d love it regardless, you really NEED to) hear the This American Life piece first.  You can download it (or just click to listen to it) HERE.  I’m going to present some of the information, but really, this discussion really only works if you know what I’m talking about.  And This American Life is really a wonderful show in general.  I recommend it anyway, regardless of their topic, as it’s presented well, and always entertains.  Seriously, did you click the link yet?  Do it.  Now.

Okay, that said, let’s dig in.

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Christian Hip-Hop/Rap: The Best Music You Haven’t Heard

23 11 2008

 

To Hell With the Devil?  More Like To Hell With Your Albums!

To Hell With the Devil? More Like To Hell With Your Albums!

Little break from the recent posts about gaming to mention something that is near and dear to my heart: Christian Hip-Hop and Rap.  As a kid who came into his own, musically, in the early 90s, one of the best things about that era were the dance and rap classics from that era.  I’m talking about artists like Boyz II Men, Bell Biv Devoe, Run DMC, LL Cool J, and even more recent stuff like Eminem and Jay-Z…

 

So, around the end of my college experience, around the winter of 2001, I had all this music that I loved to listen to (not just rap, but for this post, we’ll ignore the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, They Might Be Giants, and others that I love as well) and a growing sense inside of me that while I loved this music, I needed to feed the Holy Spirit, and reinforce my belief.  

But here’s the thing, people… The Christian music that I grew up with in my home was stuff like Petra, Michael Card, and Keith Green.  Good stuff for its era, but really?  It was musical retreads, mostly.  Petra was trying to rock, but really just 80’s hair ballad stuff.  Michael Card was musically gifted, but just harkened back to Mid-Life-Crisis Billy Joel.  And while I respect and really like a lot of Keith Green, he was very dated firmly in the 70s.  It was like, there was nothing for my generation.  Sure DC Talk existed, but they were very fake-seeming.  Their lyrics were spot-on theologically, but an album called Nu Thang?  Really?

So, when I became a volunteer youth group leader at my church about 5 years ago, I started raiding their music collection to see the state of Christian music in the opening of the 21st century.  While a lot of efforts are decent, most are about a year old, in terms of pop trends (especially if you listen to the crap they play on an endless loop on K-Love).  So, what’s a guy who loves music to do?  

(read beyond the jump for a couple sample songs, as well as suggestions)

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