Is God Love?

I spotted this post entitled Love vs. Religion.  It raises an interesting question about how we respond if we believe that “God is love”.

Religion says: Celebrate the same way we do, with decency and order, and be sure you stay in line. Be careful who you hang out with—you don’t want a bad influence rubbing off on you. Appearances are everything, so choose carefully.

Love says: Let’s celebrate! Go wild, tip over the edge! Tell everyone they are welcome to my party! Be expansive, wildly open, stupidly generous, and ridiculously joyous. Invite the oddest people you can find—please! Shower one another with openness and love and being authentic. What great gifts you have for each other! Give them indiscriminately.

New PDA Lectionary

Calling all of you lovers of portable hand-held devices.  Your iPod talks to your iPhone and your other iStuff.

If you use a mobile device that contains your diary like me, you may want to download the common worship almanac, the digital lectionary resource.  Simon Kershaw has once again made our lives that little bit easier.

What If Starbucks Marketed Like a Church?

I have often been heard to say “if Coke acted like the church everyone would drink Pepsi” in a jocular manner.   I have been to churches that resemble the modern parable above in the past and often wondered what was going on.  This coming from someone who spends a lot of time in church! 

I can also remember that first time I entered into the church building with questions I’d like to ask.  Fortunately I wasn’t given the run around before someone gave me access to the coffee!  I need to constantly remind myself of how difficult it was to enter the church for the first time and the experiences I had there.

Who is Welcome?

Jon at ASBO Jesus has a wonderful cartoon inviting us to examine how we as a church engage with the communities around us.  Some of us don’t like it when people come with questions.  Or people who don’t conform to ‘our standards’ without considering that ‘our’ standards aren’t the important standards to keep. 

I was not really into Nirvana but in my head, all I can think is the lyrics to Come as You Are.

What is Alt. Worship?

There is a YouTube video that keeps coming back every so often and making me smile.

Earlier today my Mum and Dad popped in to drop some things off at my house.  Being of different generations and different Christian denominations we often have conversations where we both talk at cross purposes.  I was asked the dreaded question “what is alt worship”?

How better to explain that alt. worship attempts to express the ancient traditions of the church in a setting that speaks into the modern world than an iPhone version of something traditional.  Now if someone could please redo this recording but using an ancient piece of latin, that would make conversations with the matriarch about this topic much easier…

Worship Idea – Vending Machine Jesus

I have had a lot of video’s jump out at me recently.  This one I spotted when Crimperman blogged it.

As you may have guessed, I have five minutes to blog all of those things I keep adding to the list.

Worship Idea – Conspiracy of Freedom

Check this out.  Some great conversation starters and videos!

Facebook

I’ve set up a facebook page to make accessing my blog even easier.  If you use facebook, perhaps you could ‘like’ me over there.

I’m sure there must be an option coming soon where you can ‘dislike’ me 😉

Why Would Jesus Do What He Would Do?

Some days I have moments of clarity.  Unfortunately they are few and far between.  Since I became a regular part of the congregations here in the outskirts of Leeds I have been trying to explain the complexity of Christian ethics.  We live in a world that is quite different to the ancient world.  The ethical dilemmas we face today are undoubtedly inconcievable to the gospel writers.  And what would Moses make of the internet?  What would he say about my sitting here and typing this?  The question in itself makes my mind boggle as I contemplate my own inability to make sense of the implications of immediate communication and instant gratification in a world where our friends become status updates.  Let alone contemplate something like the production of electricity by splitting atoms.

As Christians we are often led to believe that there are two options open to us.  Certainly, the common caricatures we are presented with are such.  One option is that the world is a cut and dried black and white place and that the bible will give us clear answers to all our questions.  ‘What would Jesus do?  Let’s have a look in the instruction manual’.  The other is to assert that much of our heritage is outdated and outmoded and must be jettisoned as we forge our own way.

And this is where I have found myself for the last year struggling to articulate that there is something much more radical at the heart of our scriptures.  As Steve Chalke said earlier in the year at Spring Harvest, neither of these positions take the scriptures seriously.  How does our story connect with God’s story?

And then I clicked on a link to Jonathan Brink’s Blog entitled “Why would Jesus do what he would do?”.  He has crystallised this into two very thought provoking paragraphs.

…story really matters.  At the heart of our action is a story that informs that action.  To take up our cross is an act.  But to know why we take up our cross is a story.  The opposite is true.  If we don’t know why we should take up the cross, we’re not likely to do so.The brilliance of this question is the understanding that story informs our actions at the subconscious level.  Our bodies learn a story about why and then agree to that story.  This contract creates the basis for action at the subconscious level so we don’t have to continually think about it all the time.  We can act from an informed position at a very fast pace.

It is through connecting our stories with God’s story that we can understand what His character is like.  When we understand the more fundamental aspects of God’s character and discover more of what he shared with us as he walk the earth, the more we will be able to act in that manner. 

Janathan’s thoughts are based upon a quotation from a book by Willard.  Check it out via Jonathan’s blog.

Is the Institutional Church an out-moded organisational technology?

 Jonny Baker, Maggi Dawn, Ian Mobsby and Kester Brewin are having a discussion about this topic on the 15th of September at 7:30pm that I’d really like to be at.  Unfortunately there is no hope as I am involved in a service at Inspire that evening.  And if I’m honest, it is a bit far to travel.  If you are in central London it is probably well worth the trip out.