Archive for the ‘ Emergence ’ Category

Rob Bell’s Trampoline

Rob Bells Trampoline

In Velvet Elvis Rob Bell discusses Doctrine as the spring on a trampoline. The springs are not the main point; they merely facilitate the greater goal of “us finding our lives in God.” He compares it to looking at doctrine as a brick wall that when bricks are removed simply falls apart. However a trampoline missing a few springs can still be useful.

This analogy falls apart in itself in that when you remove enough springs you no longer have a trampoline but a tarp. However it betrays an understanding of Christianity that is becoming more invasive as this “emergent” line of thinking expands. Christianity, unlike other religions, isn’t based on a system of living; if you do more good than bad you will be accepted by God. It is based on the premise that our very nature is abhorrent to a perfect God and we can by no means please him. In fact we don’t even know enough to pursue him or look for him save for his provision of grace. Christianity isn’t simply a better way to live, which has lead non believers to the idea of “That may work for you but not for me or others.” Christianity isn’t subjective in its claims, the first century church was called to testify and bear witness of Christ’s resurrection, as historical fact.Rob Bell

There are certain dogma’s of the faith (the proper definition of dogma is to mean those things which can not be compromised not the negative connotation it has taken on) which we can not allow to be compromised for to do so would bring a halt to our Lords work.

Things like the resurrection must stand lest all of Christianity be destroyed, for even the apostle Paul said “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men….If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
‘Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.'”

If Christ is not raised we are left with nothing but a human invention of morality by which to live.

Christianity is different because the LORD not only requires perfection which we can not obtain but then provides the mean by which it is imputed to us by his grace and not by our own means, otherwise we would still be lost. Not other religion is one of grace and destroying the solid brick foundation of those dogmas destroys the Christian faith. I don’t think I am looking to bounce so much as I am looking for a ROCK upon which to build my house.

To be clear I am not opposed to examining other aspects of how we do things as Christians, I believe methodology is always up to examination and change as we adjust to the culture. However we can not compromise out doctrine in the process.

Photograph: Virgil Vaduva

How do we think about God?

Peanuts theology comicEveryone thinks theologically whether a Christian, Pagan, or Atheist and whether the thoughts are conscious or subconscious.  The question is how does one think about God and what influences the direction of those thoughts.  I, of course, will take this topic from the view of a Christian as I believe it to be the only Way to believe, and there will still be plenty of room for divergence of thought down this path.

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Random Thoughts

  • Why is it that all the people who do these concerts to save the planet take their private jets that burn more fuel in one hour than my car does all year?
  • I am a little ashamed that my neighbors have made more active moves to talk to me than I have to them when I pray to God to help me practice hospitality to my neighbors.
  • How can liberal like Al Gore be so sure humans are the cause of our global warming when Pluto, Mars, and Venus are also warming?
  • Would it be worth it to most people to take a huge pay cut and hence a lifestyle cut to not hate going to work every day?
  • I have heard that a torture method used in WWII was to make prisoners dig a ditch and fill it back up making the men feel useless. Every night we clean up after our daughter putting her toys away and every day she wrecks the place again.
  • Why is it that people consider smoking a cigar or having a glass of wine a sin but gorging yourself at a buffet and is fine?
  • Is the Bible the only book we feel justified simply by reading without making any attempt to understand or digest what is has to say? I mean outside of high school lit class.
  • Why do I continue to work when it seems that the politicians are so anxious to take everything I have. If all of us who work hard just stopped who would pay for everything? Maybe we need a new Tea Party where we just all don’t go to work.

Orphans and Christians

I read a recent article that says there are an estimated 115,000 children in America that are orphans and 65 million evangelical Christians.  That is one child for each 565 evangelical Christians in America.  Why is this?  If “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27)  Then why are we not practicing this more?


I know several families that foster and adopt children as a ministry and do a great job of it.  My own spiritual father (Don Nonnenman) had more children through their house then I can remember, but it seems like we should be able to eliminate the need for orphanages if we were truly to live missionally.

             Heather and I have talked about our desire to have a lot of kids in our home although not all biologically ours.  We have decided to wait until we are done having our own to bring others into the house, but I can’t wait for that day.  I don’t try to be cynical but I can’t help but notice that a lot of the churches and Christians that I know are more interested in receiving the blessing of God in the form of a new car than helping a widow or an orphan.  If the missional church is going to be more than just the newest catch phrase for churches to use in their marketing it is going to take all of us as Christians stepping up and making sacrifices in our own lives that help those around us.

Read the whole thing before you send me nasty messages.  I came to this conclusion not after months of research or philosophical debate but after I listened to a GREAT message on my way home from West Virginia.  The message was “Hermeneutical and Exegetical Integrity” by Scott Golike.

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Dear Pastor Saul

This is a letter I found written to Pastor (King) Saul, it equally reflects some views on the modern religious church.

Dear Saul,

I am writing this to inform you that I am leaving your church system. I know that a letter is not the best way to do things but I figured that without my informing you, you may not have even realized that I had left.

It is really no surprise that you would not have noticed my being gone- I was not one of those that you seem to prefer for a member; I was no doctor, lawyer or wealthy businessman. I am only a working class believer without huge amounts of money to throw into the offering basket or huge amounts of time to spend frequenting all of your social programs.

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I again appreciate all of the comments I have been receiving. I am really taking them all into consideration. Obviously I have determined that the Tithe is not a requirement of the New Covenant church. I believe a Pastor has the right to require anything of his members, that is between him and God, so long as it is not proclaim it is biblical.

I suppose it is my way of respecting the Word of God, if we believe the Bible to be the God’s word then he doesn’t need us adding anything to it even if it is for our own good, that is what the Pharisee’s thought when they burdened the people with their laws.

Speaking of the law, this week considers the many laws of tithing….

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