Archives For process

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.

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dmb7

this one might catch some flack…

as i’ve expressed in previous posts, i’ve been recently again inspired by the wisdom and posture of my friend brian mclaren. in the midst of recent bad news, brian has determined to share only good news specifically through the medium of poetry – daily providing content which is uplifting, inspiring and encouraging – though not absent of a subversive challenge toward (re)thinking the systemic problems inherent within the status quo.

enter dave matthews.

toward that end, we’ve engaged in a series here at the WayWard follower entitled ‘the gospel according to dave matthews’ – aimed at inspiring thoughtful conversation and intentional movement – and we’ve used dave’s lyrics as fodder in those discussions.

today’s post embodies some subtle tensions many within the church may be uncomfortable with – seeing God as a bartender, drink as absolution, sin as an inescapable and even excusable reality of the human experience, prayer as a (sometimes?) futile endeavor, and depicts even true followers as merely more than hope-filled doubters – yet these lyrics encompass, i think, the opportunity for us to honestly grapple with an understanding of God as One who can handle even our most honest and most vulnerable thoughts.

if only our faith communities reflected that reality.

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dmb5

we continue our series on an alternative look at the gospel through the lyrics of DMB with a fan favorite during each LIVE performance by the group. everyday has a simple yet deeply profound message – nearly as simple (and simultaneously entirely complicated) as the command of christ to love our neighbor.

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facepalm

this is beyond embarrassing.

it is un-christlike.

in the following video, ‘christian’ activists briefly disrupted a hindu invocation in the us senate, marring a historic first for the chamber in allowing an actual separation of ‘church’ and ‘state.’

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conviction.

mjkimpan  —  May 5, 2014 — 6 Comments

conviction

there is a difference between things that are painful, and things that are destructive.

embrace the former, and reject the latter.

i am convinced we are in the midst of a seismic shift – a massive, historic reformation of the way we define what it means to follow jesus. how we understand the bible, the gospel, heaven and hell are being challenged and poked and prodded and picked up and looked at from the underside before being placed back on the shelf of ‘religion’ – and in many cases, the spot the good book is placed in on the shelf has moved dramatically from where it had initially been picked up.

many have found that in the midst of this shift, some voices – ones who may have helped forge their faith in the past – are no longer able to help them grow; in fact, they may even hinder their growth…holding them back from what they feel called forward to.

how can this be?

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GAGC

it’s no surprise that as humans we have an inherent propensity to gravitate toward individuals and ways of thinking which reflect our own personal convictions and biases. our ‘comfort zones’ are made up of the familiar – things which reinforce the world as we already interpret it.

this familiarity provides for us the comfort of the similar – we often surround ourselves with like-minded people – reflecting our belief systems, behaviors and preferred philosophies and perspectives.

this ‘sameness’ is indeed part of the human experience; and yet, left unchecked, it can also lend itself toward the sort of dangerous Groupishness i’ve discussed at length here on the blog in the past. creating a cultural norm of us/them || in/out and refusing to generously engage the Other can, in fact, lead us backwards to a sort of tribalism which is inherently inhospitable and ungracious.

striking that balance is an important part of creating space for civil dialogue and disagreement.

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missing the point.

mjkimpan  —  May 1, 2014 — 6 Comments

lethalchair

just moments ago, i stumbled across an Op-Ed piece on CNN’s blog.

unsurprisingly, it was written about the recent controversial execution by lethal injection tuesday in oklahoma – a ‘botched execution’ that went so wrong that the same news agency wrote previously that ‘it will also prompt many Americans across the country to rethink the wisdom, and the morality, of capital punishment.

As it well should.

enter al mohler’s Op-Ed piece.

much to my dismay, the title of the article written by the widely respected president of the flagship school for the largest protestant denomination in our country (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) with 16.2 million members was this ::

Why Christians should support the death penalty

how have we gotten the message of jesus so damned wrong?

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significant

in an earlier post, i mentioned brian mclaren. i’ve blogged a bit here and there about some of his thoughts, and extensively quoted his work ‘A New Kind of Christianity’ in my series on scripture here at the WayWard Follower. in many ways, that book literally changed my life – and saved my faith.

put bluntly – there is no other author, speaker, pastor or friend who has had a more significant influence on my spiritual development than has brian.

i was first given the opportunity to meet brian face to face as he was touring for his (at the time) most recent book, ‘Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? :: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World and had the privilege of sitting down with him afterwards. our discussion crossed over from inter-faith dialogue to the need for a more generous, gracious, hospitable approach to the church’s conversation with the LGBT community (this was mere months before i came to The Marin Foundation).

it was one of the most meaningful and significant conversations i’ve ever had.

it, in conjunction with spending two days later that same week with rob bell, led to me leaving the faith community i had grown to know and love and start out on a grand adventure. Continue Reading…

hmmm

 

the tweet is from kevin deyoung, a prolific blogger, preacher and author who has about 42,000 more twitter followers than me. he writes for The Gospel Coalition, which was rated one of the top 25 christian blogs for ministry in a recent analysis. his personal blog, DeYoung, Restless and Reformed did even better, landing at #12.

that’s a lot of readers. a lot of influence. a lot of responsibility.

the hashtag referenced in the tweet, #T4G14, stands for ‘Together for the Gospel‘ a well attended biennial conference for pastors and church leaders with big name speakers such as john piper, al mohler, david platt, matt chandler, john macarthur, mark dever (whose talk was quoted in the tweet) and… kevin deyoung.

these guys are professional gospel proclaimers with huge platforms, teaching at a conference all about the proclamation of that same good news.

but…

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bad news.

mjkimpan  —  March 17, 2014 — 5 Comments

badnews

this weekend, my friend aaron niequist posted the above picture on twitter (he got the image via brian zahnd, who’s another person you should follow).

accompanying the tweet, aaron asked,

How did the good news become such a bad story?

and i ask the same of you – isn’t ‘the Good News’ better than this? i think it is.

what do you think?