Archives For community

under the radar.

mjkimpan  —  April 29, 2016 — Leave a comment

radar

for the past twelve months, i’ve purposefully flown ‘under the radar’ on social media and here on my personal blog (many of you have taken notice that the traditionally prolific nature of my public writing, speaking and tweeting has decreased over the past year – which has led a number of folks to wonder if i’m actually being productive anymore.

some folks have literally messaged me asking if i’m still alright, or if i’m working – and what in the world i’m working on.

and of course i am – i’ve been flying under the radar.

but as i said to my friend only yesterday – just because you’re flying under the radar doesn’t mean that you’re not still moving.

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hijab

 

today, my friend david gushee wrote an interesting and insightful article on the drama happening at Wheaton College – the esteemed evangelical academic institution which is making headlines as they continue the process of firing their first-ever tenured black female professor.

the reason?

first, dr. larycia hawkins wore a hijab – the traditional head covering worn by many muslim women. then, she was accused of violating its doctrinal statement because she wrote a Facebook post quoting pope francis which said that christians and muslims ‘worship the same God.’ hawkins told CNN the school offered her a ‘best case scenario’ to return to the college which ‘included two years of multi-layered, ongoing conversation about the theological implications of [her] Facebook post and [her] actions in wearing the hijab. For those two years, tenure would be revoked and restoration of tenure an open question at the conclusion of that period.’

in my opinion, standing in solidarity with muslims by saying they worship the same God as christians do is more of a historical than a theological statement – and it’s factual. YHVH God is, historically, the God of abraham. different interpretations (or, one could more accurately state evolutions of understanding) of that God are expressed through each of the abrahamic faiths – judaism, christianity… and islam.

for an evangelical academic institution to deny this is to show themselves either intellectually dishonest or intentionally ignorant of the history of our faith.

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nationalinsecurity

if you follow my facebook feed, you’ll know that leading up to this holiday season i spent some time defending my counter-cultural suggestion that since the jesus of the gospel narratives is quite clearly against killing people, folks who claim to follow him ought to be as well.

some folks disagreed.

though it’s not the first time an impassioned disagreement has taken place in my world, i was surprised that the most vitriolic – sometimes even violent – responses came not due to my previous suggestions that the gospel is far better news than what we learned in church; or that the family of God expands beyond the walls of religion; or even that accepting syrian refugees and muslim immigrants is a christ-followers’ ethical and moral responsibility; but the assertion that christians shouldn’t kill people.

ever.

i don’t say so lightly. such an assertion flies in the face of the faith and family in which i  was raised – and not just because we used to sing, ‘onward christian soldier, marching off to war…’ during children’s church.

for me, it started on the day i was born.

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(un)common good collective.

mjkimpan  —  December 23, 2015 — 1 Comment

blogUCG

the purpose of (un)common good collective is quite simple; we serve as a shared resource organization to provide services and fund work with churches, organizations and individuals within our growing circle of friends.

in more than two decades of doing non-profit and ministry related work, i’ve found the following to be true –

‘doing good’ is quite common.

there are countless people doing good in our world. it’s common. what is historically uncommon, however, is intentional collaboration and the sharing of resources within these communities of do-gooders. many times perceived competition for donor dollars combined with a scarcity mindset limits the range and effectiveness of the work – and stifles our vision of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

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bastardizing jesus.

mjkimpan  —  December 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

jesuskiller recently, the president of the largest evangelical christian university in the nation called on his students to carry concealed weapons on campus – presumably, to protect themselves from a terrorist attack. like his late father before him, jerry falwell, jr. made national headlines by making comments in the name of christ that are absurd as they are contrary to the teachings of the very jesus he claims to represent.

in the midst of those headlines, a number of my friends and co-conspirators for goodness in our world added their own thoughts to the fray. brian mclaren penned an open letter to jerry falwell, jr., students and faculty of liberty university on huffington post, rightly declaring,

Your message faithfully represents a longstanding (and ugly) stream of American culture and politics. This tradition goes back to those who argued against the equal human rights and dignity of the Native Peoples and African-American slaves, often abusing the Bible to justify white supremacy under its various guises.

shane claiborne spoke up saying,

It’s hard to imagine Jesus enrolling for the concealed weapons class at Liberty University. And it is even harder imagining Jesus approving of the words of Mr. Falwell as he openly threatens Muslims.

but not all my friends agree with one another.

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ancient wisdom.

mjkimpan  —  December 8, 2015 — 14 Comments

floweroflife

our present circumstances are often confusing.

we could use some ancient wisdom.

yesterday, i shared on social media this post – a HuffPo piece written by a friend and colleague concerning the coming (some might suggest present) evangelical schism. the author proposes that the jesus being taught by a number of self-identified evangelicals isn’t quite the same as the jesus invoked by some others of us who similarly claim to proclaim good news.

from my perspective, the primitively conceived, angry and wrathful (even violent) God of some self-proclaimed christians stands in stark contrast to the benevolent being believed by myself and others who claim to be compelled by the life, teachings and example of jesus.

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toilettrump

i admittedly read articles and blogs shared by those that espouse a much more conservative viewpoint than my own. often times it’s due to my desire to understand those with different perspectives. other times, it’s admittedly closer to ‘enemy surveillance’.

this past week was a bit of a both/and.

i read an article shared by a staunchly conservative, republican-supporting friend of mine in which the author claimed the GOP race has come down to the ‘final four’ – but in its march toward madness it ignores the candidate whom has been the front runner in every republican poll thus far – donald trump – but not for the reasons you might think.

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on syrian refugees.

mjkimpan  —  November 20, 2015 — Leave a comment

syria

in the aftermath of the ISIS attacks in paris and elsewhere last week, much has been written regarding immigration, national security and refugees – in particular syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country – and not all of it has been terribly encouraging.

just yesterday, the republican-led house of representatives passed a bill – despite promises of a veto by president obama – to suspend the admission of some 10,000 syrian refugees and then making additional stipulations for screening that have been called both ‘impractical and impossible’.

apart from the new legislation, every single republican candidate for president has come out against accepting syrian refugees. GOP presidential front runner donald trump upped the ante, making remarks reminiscent of the uprising of nazi germany by suggesting that he supports an effort to force american muslims to register themselves in a tracking database. ben carson compared syrian immigrants to ‘rabid dogs‘ and mike huckabee compared them to spoiled milk from chipotle, while fellow candidates ted cruz and jeb bush suggested that national immigration services accept ‘only christians‘ from syria and iraq – but not muslims.

but how would we know who the christians are?

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revision(s).

mjkimpan  —  November 13, 2015 — 2 Comments

chapterone

remember when i announced that i had a book dealthat was pretty exciting…and i worked diligently to produce a manuscript i hoped would accomplish a number of things.

the purpose of the book was to serve as a guide for pastors of conservative to moderate american evangelical churches – helping them navigate better the cultural conversations and practical implications in responding to questions at the intersection of faith, gender and sexuality. the publisher wanted pragmatic advice and ‘an expert opinion’ on ways in which churches could reduce the stigmatization of LGBTQ people in their rhetoric and practice while maintaining the ‘traditional view’ of marriage – a cultural construct to be sure, yet one which is held as sacred within many religious groups – that God’s intent for sex and marriage is between one man and one woman, for life.
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rememberme

earlier this week, i outed myself as an evangelical – though progressive i may be.

and while i’m quite comfortable donning the label, there are admittedly more than just a few things i’d like to see change in existing communities of faith that also identify as followers of jesus.

but some traditions run deep within the subculture of christianity.

i’ve skirted around the edges of tipping over some of our sacred cows before – namely, questioning the primary place of the sermon in community gatherings which feeds our addiction to answers and the inherent exclusivity and elitism found in the current expression of church membership – but don’t worry…it’s nothing that crazy.

i just want to mess with communion a little bit.

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