Archives For questions

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…

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…

devil’s advocate.

mjkimpan  —  February 10, 2015 — 2 Comments

obamadevil

<disclaimer :: this isn’t a political blog.>

it doesn’t matter to me if you’re a republican or a democrat – if you believe obama to be the angelic change-agent so many hoped he would be, or if you’re convinced he’s satan’s personalized hand-tool for the demolition of democracy and the destruction of these united states.

you can believe his policies are creating a more kingdom-of-God minded country or that obama nation is, in fact, an abomination in the sight of God.

that’s not the point.

Continue Reading…

potandkettle

after initially addressing our culture’s addiction to answers we continued our series on sacred cow tipping last week by addressing the inherent exclusivity of church membership and how our application of this tradition not only hinders our ability to love the Other, but unintentionally creates and facilitates an environment of stigmatization, ostracization and marginalization – eventually leading to the dehumanization and demonization of the Other.

today, we’ll explore the dangerous and innate hypocrisy of the subtle ‘hierarchy of sins’ which surprisingly allows room for ‘process’ on sins to which we’re most likely to succumb, and simultaneously provides reason for an outright rejection of those guilty of ‘sinning’ in ways we deem unlikely temptations for ourselves. Continue Reading…

answeraddict


this is a long one… bear with me.

as promised in my previous post, we’re exploring some sacred cows in need of tipping – beginning with our culture’s addiction to answers. as this series continues we’ll grapple with the inherent exclusivity of church membership and how our application of this tradition (better reserved for private golf clubs and credit card reward programs than churches) not only hinders our ability to love the Other, but unintentionally creates and facilitates ann environment of stigmatization, ostracization and marginalization – eventually leading to the dehumanization and demonization of the Other. Continue Reading…

dmb10

a continuation of the gospel according to dave matthews

preface :: in this series, i’m heavily relying upon the intuitiveness of our readers to shape the conversation; though i’ve got some (perhaps many?) thoughts and opinions about dave and his lyrics – and have been continually impressed over the years at the spiritual under/overtones of the band’s music – i’d prefer to allow folks to come to their own conclusions, and to drive the discussion.

so again, some questions to consider in each of the posts of this series :: 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…

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.

Continue Reading…