The Common Fragmentation of Spiritual Groups

For the purposes of this chat, let’s use “experience” in its meaning as a “touch of reality modified by and perceived through an emotional filter”. In other words, three or more people can be in the same place at the same time and “share” a “common experience” — yet what perceptions and memories are produced in their brains will be […]

Reading the Bible? First, I.A.R.!

This is liable to incite some students of the Bible to fury — but then it may incite them to re-examine whether they’re forgetting the 1st Rule of Interpreting Scripture: Ignore All Rules [Heretofor called “IAR”]. This isn’t as radical as it sounds — just read the following carefully and it may deepen your experience of reading Scripture considerably. So […]

How Ali Plans to Get Into Paradise

No disrespect meant here — just wondering what Ali really knew about God. In his wife’s eulogy, she recounted how he awoke every morning thinking about his own salvation, and he would often say, “I just want to get to heaven, and I’ve got to do a lot of good deeds to get there.” > […]

Expanders — of the Kingdom or the Brand?

Are you a “self-seeker” when it comes to the Kingdom of God? Are you committed to seeking the Kingdom and “expanding” the Kingdom throughout the world — or are you actually putting your efforts into pushing your “brand” of “church” and simply ignoring God’s Kingdom as the real priority in your life and the lives […]

Expecting “Normality” From God When It Doesn’t Exist

Not long ago, I read this wonderfully insightful comment in a dreadfully depressing short story on Mediaterrorism. Take it slow and break it apart — “media” as in advertising and TV, and “terrorism” as in threatening to destroy someone’s life. The “hero” concludes the following: “I see that he is trying to be tactful. I […]

Bomb-Throwing Christian Anarchists?!

The last blog took a look a the existentialist Christian anarchist, Søren Kierkegaard. Don’t know about you, but the word “anarchist” in my mind automagically becomes “bomb-throwing anarchist”. Propoganda a century or so ago created that phrase and image — it’s hard to find any bomb-throwing anarchists in history! The anarchist Auguste Vaillant is the most famous “bomb-throwing […]

Church Mission & Anarchy

Most church people who glance at this first sentence will read, “Kierkegaard?” and stop reading. (!) But here’s a teaser: Kierkegaard (a dead Danish) preached and wrote that whoever loves God must dissolve their active participation in the “Church Machine”.  He referred to the church of his day, but we’ll consider whether it rightfully applies as well […]

Common belief vs. common relationship — not common experience.

“Experience” is a “touch of reality” modified by and perceived through the brain’s emotional filter. Three or more people in the same place at the same time may “share” a “common experience”, yet the perceptions and memories produced in their brains will differ — sometimes with a greater difference than night is from day! Dylan Morrison [The Prodigal Prophet; http://www.amazon.com/The-Prodigal-Prophet-Dylan-Morrison/dp/1460943503%5D has observed […]

Celebrating the Irrational Side of Life!

From Reader’s Digest, quoted from Thomas Troeger on wandering around.com: “There is a dimension to life that is not fully knowable simply by our rational capacities. I love reason, I love science, but reason doesn’t explain to me what it feels like to kiss my wife.” Most people, upon reading the above quote, agree with it […]

St. Peter Takes God Aside…

Liam lay face down on the carpet in his church, weeping best he could. After all, his miserable life merited a few tears, he figured, but producing them seemed harder than he’d expected. “God!” he cried out, “Oh, God! Hear my prayer! Give heed to my supplication!” Even as his mouth formed the words, Liam […]

Can You Name That Pill? How About That Theology?

Recently I came across a med-log (medical blog?) I really needed to read. You also can read the whole thing here if you wish: http://www.drugs.com  Here’s an excerpt: Maybe you get your pills confused, have received a new generic drug from the pharmacy, or have found an unidentified tablet in your teens [sic] pocket? … […]

In Heaven, Will We Still Know One Another?

As people think about “passing over”, they often ask if they’ll be able to recognize loved ones and friends and so forth. So the common form of the question is, “When we get to heaven, will I still know you?” But that’s the wrong question. The real question is, “Will I know you before we […]

There’s a Problem with being Orthodox

“Surely, we wish to be orthodox, but we must first learn what real orthodoxy is. Surely, we wish to be progressive, but we must first have a basis to progress from.” —Andrew Moody, commenting on the theologian, Cornelius Van Til. “Orthodoxy”, according to a dictionary, is from Latin meaning “sound doctrine”. It refers to an […]

When the Kingdom of God Rules the World – Redux

Back in October (2014), we published a blog entitled, When the Kingdom of God Rules the World. Its focus was a wildly popular (but unbiblical) theology originally known as “Dominionism”. Dominionism teaches that there won’t be a “Rapture” where all God’s people suddenly “disappear” and go to Heaven (which is also a wildly popular but […]

The New Face to Terror — Is a New Face for the Church?

Oddly enough, current speculation about ISIS terrorists [2014] operating in Europe and the North America is that they’ve adopted a new and dangerously effective approach to violence — radicalization over the Internet. This M.O. can actually shed some new light as well on the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today. Previously, when the major […]

When the Kingdom of God Rules the World

Yes — I know (according to the Left Behind movie) all Christians are going to suddenly disappear (pilotless planes crashing, cars careening into opposing lanes for head-on collisions, churchgoers all over missing, very few politicians gone 😉 ) and the world will be left in the hands of non-believers… But there’s a competing view amongst some […]

SciFi Theology & the Misdirection of Christendom

Science fiction and/or fantasy proves to be a wonderfully continuous source for profound, spiritual insights… (Don’t you think?) It’s a sad commentary on our times that Religious Seminaries and Bible Schools (not to mention churches and the preachers in their pulpits) don’t resource SciFi writings and movies regularly to help with opening people’s “spiritual eyes”… […]

“Religion” vs. “Relationship: Is One of These a Cop-out?

from dialog on a FaceBook thread I’m some little bit dismayed when I come across defenders of “religion” who trumpet an attack whenever someone like you (or me) demands that “Relationship” trumps “religion”. Last time I faced this, I pointed out (uselessly?) that the battle is only one of semantics. Generally a “religion” loving church-goer […]

Do “Church Ministries” Even Exist?

Barna, the most well-known pollster amongst church groups, came out with a study a few years back called Revolution. In it he showed the research studies and aggregate numbers substantiating that tens of thousands of people have left traditional mainline churches (including Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic) in a search for a more personal, more […]

Before He Died, What was the Last Thing He Saw?

The first funeral I recall doing some 30 years ago in the small mountain village to which I’d moved, was that of a county road worker who’d been a cat-skinner working a rock slide that repeatedly blocked the only highway running through the region. But one afternoon, as he and his ‘dozer were pushing boulders […]

Is the Bible Reliable — Or Do We Care?

Recently I came across a book entitled, Is the Bible Reliable? and immediately asked myself, “Why does it matter to anyone if it is or isn’t?” Then I reconsidered and recollected that there are some church people who care greatly about the Bible’s “reliability”. This is the group of people who have been persuaded that […]

Is It Always Spiritually Dark Before the Dawn?

Summary: Those who are seeking to follow God and find traditionally church-based experiences a hinderance to their own spiritual growth, need to consider a different way in which to relate to one another; a way which I call a “not-church” or “Mu-church” mentality. Those who do not learn to do so will be left behind […]

Too Many Religions — but Only One Relationship

There seems to be no end to religions around the world. Whether one travels to the centers of governments with all it politicians and military powers, to the most scientifically advanced universities, to the most back-woods hick town in the Louisiana swamps or the most dangerous and isolated regions of the Amazon guarded by murderous […]

Facts, Principles, & Pneumatikos

“The problem with facts is not that we need more of them but that we don’t know what to do with the ones we have.” —Alain de Boton The modern culture worships “information” in and of itself, thinking that any problem we face can be “fixed” if we have enough information. And we understand the […]

The “Problem” of “Cheap Grace”…?

Recently I came across a blog decrying the death of the Church, identifying “the serious problem in the Christian church today of what many call ‘cheap grace.’… the popular idea among Christians of downplaying the seriousness of sin and its consequences in the name of not offending the unbeliever.” Apparently (according to the blogger) this […]

Making Merchandise Out of God’s Children

The apostle Peter wrote a warning to his followers — 2,000 years ago: “There have always been false prophets among God’s people, just as there will continue to be teachers of a false spirituality among you. They will ingeniously introduce ruinous sectarianism and divisive lies amongst God’s people — even disregarding Jesus Christ Who reclaimed them […]

Bible Interpretation as a Living Dialogue (from the Archives)

Originally pub., September, 2007 It’s foolish to imagine one can understand the Bible — deeply, accurately, profoundly — without reading the Word hand in hand while discussing it with its author. Most people would respond: “What? You going to find some weirdo psychic so you can ‘channel’ Matthew, Mark, Luke or John? You gonna chat […]

EDEN (from the Archives)

      The fruit was desired to make one wise, and they did eat, and the eyes of both were opened, and they saw they were naked… —Genesis 3.6     What wisdom this, that enabled them to see they were naked?   That caused then to cover themselves and to hide from each other? […]