I became friends with Leibniz Alexandre when we were co-workers at the Cambridgeside Galleria Apple Store. He is a photography student and asked if I would be the subject of a project in one of his courses. The assignment was to tell someone's story in photos, video, and audio. I agreed and he shadowed me for a few days. He came over to our house and watched me put the kids to bed. He went with us trick-or-treating on Halloween. He joined us for a communion service we held the night before Election Day. And he went with me to a prayer gathering of ministers from all over Boston. After that, he filmed me telling parts of my story. When he had everything he needed, he put it all together in this brief video. It's the story of how the love of Jesus demonstrated in a community of believers taught me what true family was, transformed my life, and started me on a journey to church planting. Enjoy!
There are no words when beautiful little children are mercilessly slaughtered. Darkness like this is not only unthinkable, it's paralyzing. Evil has slapped us in the face and we feel as if we can do nothing to defend ourselves. Only words like "demonic" begin to describe it.
Understandably, people want answers. "Why did this happen?!" But the Materialism that dominates the Western mind, refusing to acknowledge unseen spiritual realities, will not let in explanations that shed light on this darkness. So the media will go on and on about how this can be explained by a lack of mental health care, parental failure, failure to see the 'warning signs.' These answers are inadequate because they are incomplete.
Whenever I voice any opposition to Calvinism whatsoever, I get emails. Apparently Calvinists love to email people who disagee with their views. I've been accused of being too harsh towards Calvinism. Then, I ran accross this quote from Frank Schaeffer and I feel like I've let Calvinism off easy!
"It was no coincidence that the farther I traveled away from my fundamentalist evangelical Calvinist background the more open I became to imitating forgiving behavior. In my mind my dominating and controlling actions had been “justified” by my “call” to “lead” a family as a patriarchal practitioner of the biblical misogyny that all-too conveniently fit my selfish male primate desire to control those around me.
Calvinism is the perfect religion
for males who are real bastards
and want an excuse to stay that way
I’d been told that “God’s plan” included a directive for men to dominate “their” women and children. Calvinism — and all other forms of patriarchal religion Islam included — is tailor made by male primates for other male primates who are mean. selfish and insecure It gives them guilt-free a pat on the head to do what comes most naturally: be jerks. It is too [sic] human relations what Ayn Rand is to teenage boys and billionaires of the nastier kind: justification to never feel empathy, in other words to never grow up."
When it comes to relationships inside and outside the Church, every believer brings a multiplicity of presuppositions. We of course bring our backgrounds and experiences, but we also bring philosophies we've been taught and have accepted. Some believers think true Kingdom leadership will just be one big, hippie drum circle! Have we considered every philosophy we've been taught critically in light of Jesus's Way? If we were to compare our assumptions of how relationships should work with the teachings of Jesus, the example of Jesus, and the way the early church applied his Way, how would our presuppositions hold up? My suspicion is that many Westerners, particularly US Americans, would find that their expectations don't match up with those of Jesus. In this brief post, I'd like to consider a few concepts: democracy, egalitarianism, and hierarchy. My guiding question is: What does Kingdom leadership look like?
I've got tons of hipster friends, but you've probably never heard of them. In fact, I had hipster friends before calling them 'hipsters' was cool. Back then they were just geeks, misfits, the kids who didn't fit into any of the cliques in high school. I knew a lot of them, but back then they didn't think they were "cool." In those days the definition of "cool" was to be part of the in-crowd—the "preps," the "jocks". Labels like that raise the hairs on the back of histers' necks. Then, one day, culture shifted, and the more different you were, the more "cool" you were. Suddenly, it wasn't "cool" to be defined by a category like "preps" or "jocks". In fact, it became "cool" to put labels like that in "air quotes". This shift resulted in a generation that sought to break out of every box, to not let anyone else define them. Even as I write this, I can hear the hipster voices disagreeing with my version of their hipster origins. The last thing they want is someone else telling them were they came from. The problem is, that generation simply created a new box in which to fit. As a church planter, my interest in this group begins with whether hipsterism is beneficial or detrimental to the Jesus movement called the Church.
The only way to truly understand the will of God, or God's written word, is by obeying Jesus.
Scholars can spend their entire lives mining the depths of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament for its truth without satisfaction. Devout believers routinely wrestle with "knowing God's will," yet remain disappointed. Neither academic analysis of the Scriptures, nor soul-wrenching angst, can illuminate God's will or God's word more than simple obedience of Jesus's teachings.
This thought is so simple it may be dismissed out of hand. How could simple obedience serve as a tool to illuminate God's will or God's word? At least part of the answer can be summed up with two ideas: 1) The Superiority of Experiential Knowledge; and 2) Faith as Relational Trust.
Humble Beast artist, Propaganda, who has had some recent internet fame from his viral video poem "G.O.S.P.E.L." 1, recently released a full-length hip hop album entitled "Excellent" (available for ****FREE****!!!). While the entire album is worth a listen, one track in particular is making waves all over the evangelical blogosphere. 2 Why? Because a black, Christian hip hop artist dared to denounce the racism and slave-owning of Puritans—the darlings of Neo-Calvinist folklore. [gasp!] And several of Propoganda's points are powerful!
Here's a little taste:
Pastor, you know it’s hard for me when you quote puritans.
Oh the precious puritans.
Have you not noticed our facial expressions?
One of bewilderment and heart break.
Like, not you too pastor.
You know they were the chaplains on slaves ships, right?
Would you quote Columbus to Cherokees?
Would you quote Cortez to Aztecs?
Even If they theology was good?
It just sings of your blind privilege wouldn’t you agree?
Your precious puritans.
…and, some more:
Oh, you get it but you don’t get it.
Oh, that we can go back to an America that once were, founded on Christian values.
They don’t build preachers like they used to. Oh, the richness of their revelations.
It must be nice to not have to consider race.
Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, urban minister, sometimes designer, writer, preacher, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.