Archives For incarnational

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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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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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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FAQs.

mjkimpan  —  July 15, 2015 — 4 Comments

FAQs

this one is a little link happy.

over the past weekend i was honored to attend and participate in the Wild Goose Festival along with a number of my friends. as is tradition, there were multiple conversations had and relationships established with folks i’d previously not had the privilege of meeting.

a number of these conversations began with simple questions and quickly evolved into more sophisticated discussions. most of these revolved around the life, teachings and example of jesus – and how those of us whom identify as christ-followers can best take our cues from the gospel narratives and apply a christ-centered response in our current culture.

i found myself repeating stories from the scriptures on which i’ve taught or spoken or written – causing me to consider a type of FAQ format for conversations – particularly those on the interpretation of what is so often called ‘good news.’ Continue Reading…

life after SCOTUS.

mjkimpan  —  June 28, 2015 — 6 Comments

#lovewins

leading up to – and in the immediate wake of – the SCOTUS decision in support of marriage equality in all 50 states, a number of religious and faith community leaders contacted me asking, ‘how should we respond?’ the majority of these requests came from pastors and churches who are currently unable to support same sex relationships, based on their conservative biblical interpretation and theological perspective – yet almost all recognize that their religious communities have historically not been very welcoming to the LGBTQ community.

they also realize, along with many others, that the journey of faith is a matter of being willing and open to having a relationship with God – and that each and every person is welcome under the banner of the unconditional love and radical hospitality of jesus christ.

this tension in which many religious folks live is a real one – and  has been heightened by the culture war rhetoric reaching an almost fever pitch in the anticipation and aftermath of this weekend’s ruling.
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movement.

mjkimpan  —  April 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

movement

some exciting changes taking place…

as most of my readers are aware, the past two years have enabled me to participate in some wonderful work as the executive director at The Marin Foundation. over that time i’ve been able to work with political leaders, pastors and culturally competent individuals to actively encourage and facilitate peaceful and productive dialogue at the intersection of faith, gender and sexuality. it has been a great honor to work toward reconciliation in spaces that are too often defined by polarized, back-and-forth, win/lose rhetoric.

while i still wholeheartedly support both the work and mission of The Marin Foundation – as well as its staff here in chicago – it has become apparent in recent months that it is time for me to move on and continue to expand that great work elsewhere, in addition to pursuing my passion surrounding inter-faith dialogue and the ever-unfolding story of God’s good news for all people.

in coming weeks i’ll be making official announcements regarding the new opportunities to promote a just and generous expression of the faith within various spaces, and i’m genuinely excited to do so. one organization i will be partnering with is Convergence and their efforts to work with progressive evangelicals – which you can learn more about here.

i will also be partnering with a number of other friends and organizations that are doing similar work, ranging from hyper-local community activism to global initiatives collaborating for the common good as we address concerns in the areas of peace, poverty and our planet. stay tuned here on my blog for more in coming weeks.

i’m grateful for the tremendous support my readers given to me and this important work, and for your continued friendship and engagement in thoughtful conversation with the purpose of inspiring intentional movement toward the Other. each of these ingredients are essential for the flourishing of what i believe to be the future of christianity – an expression of imitating the life, examples and teachings of the jesus we claim to follow.

proud to be an american?

mjkimpan  —  April 22, 2015 — 2 Comments

xianflag

should this make you proud to be an american?

the following video came across my newsfeed yesterday, posted by a former ministry partner of mine, with the status ::

so proud to be an american!

take a look ::

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fortherecord

it’s been a long while since i’ve heard a ‘church song’ that deeply resonates with the just and generous version of my faith i’m growing into.

as a former music pastor, i’m all too familiar with the lack of depth in our praise choruses, as well as astutely aware of the sometimes harmful theological themes undergirding much of today’s (and yesterday’s!) popular christian worship music. even some of the great hymns hold onto a systematic form of the faith, creating formulas of if/then that fell apart under the weight of the reality of living life.

ideas like the prosperity gospel or the primary place of penal substitutionary theory of atonement; battle-cries of us/them mixed with a strong dose of in/out dynamics; each underpinned with our seeming unworthiness before God expressed with an intensified repetition mirroring the self-deprecating speech practiced by the prodigal son prior to being gently corrected by his father in luke 15; the insistence on crafting a simplistic version of the gospel story and indeed, the story of humanity in a theology that could be summarized on a napkin.

but then last week, i heard a few songs written and performed by a new friend, david lunsford from eastlake community church. Continue Reading…