>"The Internet Is My Religion"

>I think this is an important video, telling the story about how one man’s faith in God is replaced (to some extent) by the internet.  It’s where religion becomes the interconnectedness of separate individuals working for good.  There are a lot of very Christian themes that come through this talk and I think it’s an important video to watch.

It might make you tear up.

It might make you want to tell him all about Jesus.

It might make you wonder where the church is in the story.

It might help you see technology in a new way.

You might just agree with everything he says.

(Also, know that you might be asked to offer up an email address in order to watch more than about five minutes of it.)

HT/Matthew Paul Turner

http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/pdf2011?layout=4&clip=pla_8a026681-a944-4459-a735-6ff526f72b5a&autoplay=false

Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com

>When I Became A Christian… By Rachel Held Evans

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This is a quote from her book, Evolving in Monkey Town, and found on her blog.  and I think it’s a beautiful description of some of us who come to faith early and can’t really remember a time when they weren’t trying to follow Jesus:

People sometimes ask me when I became a Christian, and that’s a hard question to answer because I’m pretty sure that by the time I asked Jesus into my heart, he’d already been living there for a while. I was just five years old at the time, a compact little person with pigtails sticking out of my head like corn tassels, and I remember thinking it strange that someone as important as Jesus would need an invitation. Strange now is the fact that before I lost my first tooth or learned to ride a bike or graduated from kindergarten, I committed my life to a man who asked his followers to love their enemies, to give without expecting anything in return, and to face public execution if necessary. It is perhaps an unfair thing to ask of a child, but few who decide to follow Jesus know from the beginning what they’re getting themselves into.

>Salvation and the Trinity

>Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity', fres...Image via Wikipedia. . . To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
— 1 Peter 1:1-2

[T]he work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it, and the Spirit applying it.
— J.I. Packer

The Christian life is a matter of “being taken up into the life of the Trinity.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Trinity and the Gospel have the same shape.  Our faith is about entering into Trinitarian life…entering into it by way of the Trinity.

Gotta’ say, I don’t do a whole lot of thinking about the Trinity.  It’s more practical, it seems, to separate the persons of the Trinity out from each other.  It’s easier that way.

But, when you bring them all together and think of what it means for faith and the relationship within the Godhead itself…it blows my mind. 


(HT/ Jared Wilson)

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>Fundamentalism — Quote from Rachel Held Evans

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This is from her book, Evolving in Monkey Town.

I was a fundamentalist because my security and self-worth and sense of purpose in life were all wrapped up in getting God right—in believing the right things about him, saying the right things about him, and convincing others to embrace the right things about him too. Good Christians, I believed, don’t succumb to the shifting sands of culture. Good Christians, I used to think, don’t change their minds …

I was a fundamentalist not because of the beliefs I held but because of how I held them: with a death grip. It would take God himself to finally pry some of them out of my hands.

>"The Radical Fringe" of Christianity

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Jarrod McKenna in the Australian FriendImage by C. Wess Daniels via Flickr

Ron Cole, who writes “The Weary Pilgrim” describes the work of Jarrod McKenna as the “Australian version of Shane Claiborne.”  “The Weary Pilgrim” highlights a podcast of Jarrod’s.

What I wanted to quote, however, is how he describes Jarrod and this “radical fringe” of Christianity.

He is part of a radical element on the the fringe of the church that sees faith and works, the practice and action of faith as being critical. The teachings of Jesus put into practice must be lived out, as radically today… to dilute them, co-modify and embed them in western church culture is not the redemptive vision and imagination of Jesus. This radical fringe believes Christianity is in trouble because it has become to passive and culturally accommodating. They are stirring the luke-warm pot of status quo Christianity.

That’s some powerful language there. 

And I am left with the struggle of determining how I should live this out when I have bills to pay, kids to pick up, a church to fund, construction workers to check in on, and a stewardship campaign to close out.

Sometimes I seem and feel so far from this “radical fringe.”  I feel so…established…so diluted…so co-modified…so embedded.

Alas.

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>"The Trouble With Born-Again Christians…"

>born againImage by megpi via Flickr

The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around. — Herb Cain

This is a post over at Ragamuffin Soul, a blog by Carlos Whittaker that inspires and challenges me.

And, this quote…, well, it inspires and challenges me.

First off, it’s entirely out of context.  I have to admit this. As I read this I have no idea what it is that brought Mr. Cain to this conclusion.  Could he have been made to feel “unchristian” because he brought up questions of faith or because he expressed doubts?  Maybe he had just come back from a retreat with some “SuperChristians” and others doubted his own way of expressing his faith?  Perhaps he just got off the plane after sitting next to someone who spent the entire flight trying to convert him?  Or, quite possibly, this was spoken or written after years of trying to find a church that would welcome him because he’s divorced?  Or or a minority?  Or Goth?  Or….

Secondly, even though I am a born-again Christian and have been rescued from my sin by the grace of Christ (Thank God!), I have had my struggles with some of my “born again” brothers and sisters in Christ.  I have felt excluded.  I have had my faith questioned.  I have had my interpretation of Scripture belittled.  I have even had the way I pray — which can be quite colloquial — criticized.  Some of my issues have been semantics…just the language we’re all comfortable or uncomfortable with.

Third, there are a whole lot of really awesome “born again Christians” out there.  I’m friends with a lot of them (which sounds pretty meaningless as I write this).  I find many of them to be challenging and accepting, loving and respectful, and really not pains at all.  The notion that they are all “pains” is a cultural generalization that is merely a stereotype.  This is not to say that there aren’t “pains” among them.  It just means that the generalization is a generalization.  This is a cultural stereotype that, even though it is not entirely true, has some basis in truth based on the experiences of many.

Fourth, and last, Mr. Cain could very well have said this about me at times.  I sometimes wear my Christianity like a badge…giving me the authority of the “faith police” in my environment.  I have bouts of self-righteousness and I can, I know, sometimes struggle with the fact that other Christians aren’t more like me and my own understanding of the faith.  I recognize that as sin.  I recognize it as pride. I recognize that as Pharisaic. And I see that sin in myself.  At times, I’m part of the problem.  I merely hope and pray that my actions, my words, my expression of Christ in this world won’t lead to all Christians being defined by the same broad stroke Herb Cain uses here.

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