Archives For love

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…

convergence.

mjkimpan  —  March 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

convergence

this week, i’ve got the tremendous opportunity to plot and conspire goodness with some old and new friends at an event in marco island, florida – hosted by grace and brian mclaren.

the purpose of our gathering is for a group of initiators of a movement to gather together connecting people and organizations to solve great problems and participate in new opportunities – especially to heal the human spirit, to foster abundant life in community, to seek the common good, and to promote responsible living with the earth.

we readily acknowledge that growing numbers of christian leaders from many traditions – traditional protestant, progressive catholic, progressive evangelicals, and others – are coming to shared convictions that are both radical and exciting ::

• the future of the church will not simply be a replication of the past, and
• it is time for vital, new expressions of just and generous christian faith to emerge

many have often felt marginalized and alone in these convictions; yet when we voice them, we all too quickly discover that we are not alone. many others resonate with the restlessness we feel, and speak of… Continue Reading…

#evanjellyfish.

mjkimpan  —  March 2, 2015 — 6 Comments

evanjellyfish

 

over the past few days, i’ve been in pasadena participating in the Level Ground film festival with friends and colleagues who desire to create safe and sacred spaces in conversations surrounding faith, gender and sexuality across a variety of theological perspectives.

the mission statement of Level Ground is similar to that of The Marin Foundation, with a specific focus on art and film ::

Level Ground uses art to create safe space for dialogue about faith, gender, and sexuality. Our hope is to cultivate a better way of speaking with one another across our differences and disagreements. Level Ground is becoming a national innovator in film festival programming, art curation, and dialogue.

the name Level Ground comes from a prophecy in the book of isaiah. the name embodies a space where we descend from our mountains and climb out of the valleys to meet one another on sacred – though likely uncomfortable – level ground.

one person doing similar work in her specific context is my canadian friend wendy gritter. she and i spent some good time together this week, discussing both the rewards and challenges of being leaders in these spaces. as we ‘talked shop,’ our  tête-à-tête drifted into some of the less-than-flattering names we’ve each been called – and how we each have at times had a tendency to preemptively label ourselves as heretics in an effort of self-protection. Continue Reading…

top ten in 2014.

mjkimpan  —  February 25, 2015 — Leave a comment

topten2014

each year on the blog, i’ve published a list of the previous years’ most popular posts. this year, however – the opportunity to do so escaped my attention.

until now.

better late than never, i guess… so here’s a list of the top ten posts at the WayWard follower from 2014 :: Continue Reading…

discriminate

barronelle stutzman is stirring up headlines. the 70-year-old grandmother is the owner of Arlene’s Flower Shop in washington state, and identifies as a devout christian. she’s also opposed to gay marriage – so much so that she refused to provide flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding.

this week a washington judge ruled that refusal was precisely what it sounds like – discrimination – and therefore, illegal according to the state’s consumer protection and anti-discrimination law.

washington state attorney general bob ferguson has made the decision to seek legal fees and penalties not only against the flower shop, but also against stutzman herself.

the law allows for penalties of $2,000 per violation, which means that for every gay or lesbian couple stutzman refuses to serve she could receive the hefty fine. according to stutzman’s lawyer, these fines, in addition to her attorneys’ fees and court costs for the pending appeal could reach well into seven figures.

still, the soon-to-be bankrupt granny is sticking to her guns by refusing to serve gay and lesbian couples. she’s digging in her heels – in her own words, ‘because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.’ Continue Reading…

MLK’s letter.

mjkimpan  —  January 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

mlk

 

purpose and passion combined can overcome the shadows of injustice and inspire movement toward a future of civility.

today our nation celebrates martin luther king, jr.

just a few weeks ago, a number of my friends and i gathered together and recorded a reading of dr. king’s Letter from Birmingham Jail – just released on Vimeo (and available for viewing below).

i hope you’ll take a moment to watch, listen and reflect on the words of this powerful letter. its message is just as critically important today as it was when it was first written.

 

off the highway.

mjkimpan  —  January 7, 2015 — Leave a comment

offthehighway

my friend tony kriz (who has a new book called Aloof! coming out this tuesday – pre-order it here!) has launched an amazing video blog series called Off the Highway – which already includes some phenomenal individuals and thinkers – folks like the author of The Shack, william paul young; lisa sharon harper from Sojourners; new york times bestselling author frank schaeffer; leroy barber from Word Made Flesh and many more…including yours truly.

Continue Reading…

cowtipping

prior to coming to The Marin Foundation, i lived for a few short years in central illinois. during that time i became familiar with a practice known as ‘cow-tipping’ – a favorite pastime of rural adolescents, during which they will sneak up on an unsuspecting cow and push it over for entertainment. some say cow-tipping is impossible. others claim to have successfully tipped many-a-cow. the debate rages on.

i kid you not.

while i avoided ever engaging in such an activity (for fear of a response from PETA or being charged by an angry bull, i can’t accurately determine), i suppose in my more gracious moments i can understand the draw. i also can’t imagine cows are easy to tip over…and once you successfully get one to fall, i suspect you’d want to run away – and fast.

Continue Reading…

dmb9

critical to the history of christianity is the narrative of the birth of the christ-child, jesus of nazareth.

in an intellectually honest analysis, the life of jesus brings about a tremendous juxtaposition and even an apparent paradox between the way in which YHVH was understood by the writers of the hebrew scriptures and the authors of the christian new testament (and perhaps more critically, our interpretation of that understanding in its application for us as followers of the Way today)- most readily evident in the very person of jesus (his life, teachings and example), who consistently broke both cultural and religious boundaries in an effort to stand in solidarity with the Other.

no wonder the religious leaders of ‘the chosen people’ took issue with him.

by the very nature of calling what had been seen previously as ‘unclean’ clean, this rebellious rabbi opened the door to all new sorts of possibilities for his followers to pursue in the practice of their abrahamic faith.

it is in the personification of God incarnate – the God-man, jesus, – we see a more clear picture of divine perfection coming to release humanity from the shackles of sin – overcoming a culture of death and inviting each of us to participate in a more abundant life.

yet sin still remains in our world, even within and amongst those who claim to follow christ…another possible paradox?

enter the christmas song.

Continue Reading…

dmb8

alright – time to put your thinking caps on.

today we continue our ‘the gospel according to dave matthews’ series with a song that truly reflects the purpose of these posts – to provoke thought and inspire conversation through the medium of the musical and lyrically poetic prose of DMB – with a song which carries a great deal of ambiguity and requires a good deal of interpretation (not unlike scripture itself) – yet, i think, may contain truly good news :: Continue Reading…