basics :: an introduction.

mjkimpan  —  September 6, 2012 — 17 Comments

the term ‘water-line’ refers to the line where the hull of a ship meets the sea. on any sea going vessel, messing with something below the water-line – drilling holes beneath the surface – will sink the ship when it’s submerged.  anything above that surface is fair game.

so where’s my personal, theological water-line?

in the past i’ve labeled myself a bit of a biblical heretic.

i’ve more recently encouraged some theologically ‘edgy’ conversations :: from challenging a traditional notion of the gospel to asking controversial questions about hot topics like hell. i’ve re-told tired gospel stories from a fresh perspective and encouraged the reading of some controversial books. i’ve quoted left-leaning thinkers like chris seay, tony jones and brian mclaren, and have allowed many of their thoughts to shape my own in my quest for a more incarnational christianity.

i’m even (quite happily) spending two days with evangelical black sheep rob bell next month.

i’ve written a great deal about homosexuality in an effort to bridge the gap between gays and the church and am desperate to move my dear conservative friends to engage in that dialogue with a more moderate posture and tone.

but lest i be labeled a flaming liberal, i thought it important to let my readers know where i stand on some of the more basic theological tenants.

thus this new series of blog posts, entitled :: basics.

my intent is to develop a sort of ‘water-line’ for future conversations here at the WayWard follower, particularly as it relates to my current understanding of the orthodox tenants of my christian faith.

my desire is to be honest, authentic and self-critical – not presenting myself as one with ‘all the answers,’ but rather as a WayWard follower or pilgrim, seeking after truth in the midst of discussions seasoned with diverse views and perspectives. Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  September 5, 2012 — 26 Comments

i picked up a book with the intent of reading it weeks from now – but after cracking it open a day ago, i can’t seem to put it down.

the ever controversial, often misunderstood and always intriguing brian mclaren brings what could possibly be his most important work to the table of inter-faith dialogue, exposing and challenging the religious hostility that is so often present in today’s christianity and yet unwanted by an increasing number within that faith community.

why did jesus, moses, the buddha, and mohammed cross the road? :: christian identity in a multi-faith world
by brian d. mclaren

imagine four of history’s greatest religious leaders…not fighting, not arguing, not damning and condemning one another, not launching crusades or jihads, but walking together, moving together, leading together. quite a sight in our mind’s eye.

mclaren courageously asks the questions that have been at the forefront of many of my own conversations in the context of inter-faith dialogue – noticing how our religion has, over its first two thousand years of existence, ‘spent too little energy making peace and too much erecting and perfecting walls of separation, suspicion and hostility.

in the bible we read much about love, but in the various christian subcultures in which i’ve both participated and observed, i continually encounter fear, superiority and hostility of the Other – ‘other’ defined, by mclaren, as anyone who is considered to be an outsider, ‘not one of us,’ belonging to a differing group, gender, orientation, party, community, religion, race, culture or creed. Continue Reading…

imago dei.

mjkimpan  —  September 4, 2012 — 34 Comments

the Man and the Woman carried the imago dei.

the poetic imagery in the genesis narrative brings out their attributes – characteristics not only of the creation but of their Creator.

relational. beautiful. unafraid and unashamed. unhindered. unstained. uncovered.

the pair was complete and lived in harmony with all creation, strolling at an unhurried pace in the cool of the day with their Maker, a reflection of his image. naked.

arumin, in hebrew.

but then, the serpent. Continue Reading…

gay TV

mjkimpan  —  August 31, 2012 — 51 Comments

a few weeks ago, a story broke on that captured my attention and wouldn’t let go. like a mental bear trap. or a pitbull. or an alligator.

something dangerous.

apparently, louis sheldon of the ‘Traditional Values Coalition’ has written a post entitled, The Plan for a Gay (Domi) Nation which lamented that young evangelical christians have become more open to gay rights (which is documented in recent polls here here and here as well as elsewhere).

he further said that the ‘gaying of the united states‘ is evidenced by tv shows that are designed to ‘desensitze americans to the genuine risks of the homosexual agenda‘ by portraying gay people as ‘witty, clever, lovable and just a little quirky.’

read that last sentence again.

so – portraying gay people as lovable is actually a secret gay conspiracy controlling hollywood? some sort of ‘homosexual agenda’ meant for the domination of our beloved once-christian-but-now-the-gays-are-taking-over country?

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  August 30, 2012 — 22 Comments

dave matthews and his band came out with another winner.

as i watched the music video and listened to the lyrics, the question occurred to me ::

what would it look like if the church lived like this? Continue Reading…

hell. well?

mjkimpan  —  August 29, 2012 — 33 Comments

hell. it’s a hot topic.

there are multiple perspectives on hell, each subscribing (whether consciously or unconsciously) to a different interpretation of scripture.

with several different views floating around (on any topic), each claiming to have biblical support, asking questions such as what does what i believe about hell tell me about what i believe about God? seems to be a good idea.

the fascinating thing is, as pointed out last year when rob bell wrote love wins, many christians get a little jumpy when you start asking questions about hell. Continue Reading…

mirror, mirror.

mjkimpan  —  August 28, 2012 — 7 Comments

where sin abounds…

i’ve often found myself in denial of my own depravity, ignoring the seriousness of my own sin.

i rarely find myself offering the same oversight toward the shortcomings of others.

particularly when there’s an emotional investment at risk, we become self-protective and point out how we’ve been wronged and wounded by others. we demand some form of punitive justice merely to make ourselves feel better.

time to take a look in the mirror. Continue Reading…

gospel of relationship.

mjkimpan  —  August 27, 2012 — 9 Comments

the following blog post is another of our bridges discussion series here at the WayWard follower. the purpose of our bridges series is to generate discussion amongst guest authors and our collective readers — to serve as a forum of elevated dialogue and constructive conversation between groups that may have different perspectives on important issues to the church.

this post in our bridges discussion series comes from janet lynn trevino elizarraraz, with whom i went to moody bible institute – back before i became considered a bit of a heretic by some others at that great institution. you can find more of janet’s writing at The Mennonite.

gospel of relationship.

Continue Reading…

our father.

mjkimpan  —  August 24, 2012 — 16 Comments


tragic news this morning from two cities – CNN reports gunfire outside the empire state building in new york city and the chicago tribune reports 19 shot dead overnight in my hometown of chicago.

as i posted the above links on my facebook page, almost immediately a topic came up :: gun control.

a friend of mine suggested the answer to the shootings is the concealed carry.  despite the fact that i grew up in a home with guns (an undisclosed family member has several vaults full of shotguns, hunting rifles,  pistols, laser sights on semi-automatics and automatic weapons) and enjoy shooting myself, as a follower of jesus i have concerns with that response.

is the answer to violence more violence?

what does jesus say?

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  August 23, 2012 — 24 Comments

God wants you to get dirty.

we often fool ourselves into believing the sanitized lie that we’re all cleaned up. we posture and present ourselves to have it all together, when in reality we are chasing after a false definition of life – or desperately avoiding a false definition of death.

this pursuit of a false identity defines us and hinders our ability to grow. ‘getting all cleaned up’ is really just a mask. we’re play acting. hiding. faking. running.

it’s hard to partner with God in the tilling of the soil of our hearts.

our hands get dirty. and God wants that.

Continue Reading…