Tag Archive: christian


i read these two powerful blog posts while i was eating breakfast before work today and really felt the need to pass them on [the third blog post where the author shares two of the negative responses from so-called christians i just don’t even want to post a link to – you can find it – because i just get so crazily annoyed that people can think of themselves as Christ-following Bible-reading people and still think that way] – i too have a series of blogs that have been shelved or deleted or sit unfinished in my drafts box simply because i know of the sensitivity of the topic and how close to home it is for me… and so for now, these will have to do and while i don’t necessarily agree with everything Dan Pearce has to say, i agree with enough of it to believe that these are two powerful messages for us to be reading and dialoguing about…

the first is the original blog post which was titled “i’m Christian unless you’re gay”

and the follow up was ‘A Few More Powerful Responses to ‘I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay’’

may some words i write have such a powerful impact on somebody or many somebodies some day – way good reason and encouragement to keep on blogging and to search for truth while always pursuing Love through it all…

hope you enjoy. would love to hear your thoughts.

“Are you doing what Jesus did and taught?”

that line came up in the bible devotions this morning at the CCDA conference and it’s not like it’s anything new or particularly revolutionary, but it is a line i think must keep on being said and cried out and shouted and written down and sung about until more and more people take a moment to really hear it and digest it and pour their present life through the filter of it and go, ‘Hm. Wait. Maybe not. I should do something about that.’

or something.

the line is NOT ‘Are you going to church?’

it is NOT ‘Are you involved in some form of ministry?’

it is also NOT ‘Do you read your Bible and can you quote verses from memory and know all the words to the latest hit worship song?’

and there are probably a bunch of other things it is NOT.

but what it IS is ARE YOU DOING WHAT JESUS DID AND TAUGHT?

a good place to start is to head back to the gospels [matthew, mark, luke, john] in the second part of the bible and read once more the story of Jesus and pay careful attention to WHAT JESUS TAUGHT as well as take time to focus on HOW JESUS LIVED and then to stop, have a quick hammer time, and think to yourself, ‘Am I Really Living out What He Said and What He Did?’

like for real?

well, are you?

i have been busy reading brian mclaren’s ‘Generous Orthodoxy’ and as a previous not-a-big-fan-of-brian-mclaren am absolutely loving it and highly recommend it – breaks open a lot of different boxes and helps clarify a bunch of christian labels in a very helpful way…

here is an extract from the latest chapter which i really enjoyed titled, “Why I am Mystical/Poetic.” and the context is using metaphors to understand God:

‘So we reach for another metaphor to correct the first, and we say that God is also a father, or a friend, or a shepherd, or a vinedresser, or wind, or storm, or fire, or water, or a rock. Each metaphor enlightens, but if taken too far, or taken in the wrong way, it can mislead. (Is God cold and uncaring like a rock? Shapeless and conforming like water?) We must, therefore never underestimate our power to be wrong when talking about God, when thinking about God, when imagining God – whether in prose or in poetry. Romano Guardini, chaplain to Pope John XXIII in the Second Vatican Council era, captured the challenge of trying to speak of God and divine truth:

“[When one] attempts to convey something of God’s holy otherness he tries one earthly simile after another. In the end he discards them all as inadequate and says apparently wild and senseless things meant to startle the heart into feeling what lies beyond the reaches of the brain. Something of the kind takes place here: “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2.9). [These realities beyond understanding] can be brought closer only by the overthrow of everything naturally comprehensible. Flung into a world of new logic, we are forced to make a genuine effort to understand.”

Now there is no need to swing to an opposite extreme, to say that since even metaphors can mislead, we might as well give up on language altogether. C.S. Lewis caught the needed balance – that language can be a window through which one glimpses God, but never a box in which God can be contained – in a dense but brilliant poem called “A Footnote to All Prayers.” The poem begins:

The one whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow.
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring
Thou

Then he compares himself to Phaedius, a classical Greek sculptor famous for his majestic sculptures of the gods:

And dream of Phaedian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshipping with frail images of folk-lore dream…

Lewis goes on to say that people deceive themselves in prayer, thinking that their images or thoughts of God are actually God, and comparesall our prayers to arrows aimed wide of their target (but that God mercifully hears despite their bad aim). All who pray, he realises, are idolators “crying unheard/To a deaf idol” if God takes the words of their prayers absolutely literally. He concludes by begging God to “take not… our literal sense” but rather to translate our limping metaphors into God’s “great/unbroken speech.”

A generous orthodoxy, in contrast to the tense, narrow, controlling, or critical orthodoxies of so much of Christian history, doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is humble; it doesn’t claim too much; it admits it walks with a limp. It doesn’t consider orthodoxy the exclusive domain of prose scholars (theologians) alone but, like Chesterton, welcomes the poets, the mystics, and even those who choose to say very little or to remain silent, including the disillusioned and the doubters. Their silence speaks eloquently of the majesty of God that goes beyond all human articulation. And it welcomes the activists, the humanitarians, the brave and courageous and compassionate, because their actions speak volumes about God tha could never be captured in a text, a sermon, an outline, or even a poem.”

[a Generous Orthodoxy, brian mclaren, pg 170-172]

my good friend and distant tag team buddy sean du toit sent me a link to this article titled ‘As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.’

Very cool article and worth reading the whole thing but here is an excerpt:

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

You can read the rest of the article here – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

this will be a quick one but it is an important principle…

those of you who are still in high school who are reading this will – more than likely – not be thinking about marriage at this stage of your lives and why should you? well here is one reason…

the PURPOSE OF DATING, as i see it, is for the most part to determine whether the person you are dating is a SUITABLE MATCH FOR YOU FOR MARRIAGE – even if at the moment you are not in a place or time when you are likely to be married soon [which is possibly why saving dating for once you’ve finished school might not be the craziest notion ever – i had my first girlfriend when i was 21 and i can’t imagine trying to deal with some of the physical/sexual temptations and struggles while still at school – it’s a tough ask] – i do know of a bunch of people who started dating while at school and ended up married and so it definitely can and does happen and is great when it does, but i think it CAN LEAD TO A LOT OF UNNECESSARY AND UNHELPFUL STUFF..

but the point i want to make here is this, IF YOU KNOW that the person you are dating is SOMEONE YOU COULD NEVER MARRY, then you are WASTING YOUR TIME and USING THE OTHER PERSON. i’m not saying you have to know with certainty that the person you date is definitely your future husband/wife. but i am saying IF YOU KNOW FOR SURE they aren’t that person, then don’t go out with them! not only are you using them, or possibly using each other, but you are seriously STANDING IN THE WAY OF THE OPPORTUNITY to meet and date the person who MAY BE YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND/WIFE.

[for the next blog on break-ups being a good thing, click here]

continuing with a look at the whole dating thing and how JESUS-FOLLOWERS NEED TO BE UPPING THEIR GAME, transforming their lives thru A RENEWING OF THEIR MINDS and being part of creating a BETTER, HEALTHIER SYSTEM OF DATING

this one is closely linked to the previous one which was about dating someone who has JESUS AS THEIR NUMBER ONE, which is ESSENTIAL, and it deals with a sense of compatability looking specifically at VISION AND PASSION

let me start by saying that i don’t think there is any kind of set pattern of needing to date either someone exactly like you or someone who is completely opposite to you – i don’t think there is a rule – in fact, BECAUSE RELATIONSHIPS INVOLVE PEOPLE they will DIFFER SO HUGELY FROM PERSON TO PERSON that there will probably be MORE GUIDING PRINCIPLES THAN RULES with most aspects of relationships.

but i do think that HAVING A SENSE OF EACH OTHERS VISION will be a huge factor in determining whether you are LIKELY TO BE A GOOD MATCH OR NOT.

but let’s start with PASSIONS/INTERESTS – things that DON’T COUNT AS MUCH – for example, val really enjoys watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ whereas i can’t stand it – does that mean we shouldn’t be together? not at all. what it generally means is that val hires ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ episodes when i am out playing TheatreSports so she can enjoy them by herself… but it also means that a few weeks ago i hired the last disc of the series she was watching and watched it with her (as a sign of my love for her) and tried to not be too disparaging about the stuff i don’t enjoy in it. But we both enjoy ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Chuck’ and ‘Top Gear’ and so we watch those together all the time which is great.

the point is that OUR PASSIONS – the things we enjoy (hobbies, pastimes, sport, entertainment, music) – CAN BE DIFFERENT, even largely so, and it doesn’t really matter – altho it is REALLY GREAT WHEN OUR PASSIONS ARE THE SAME because it means we can SHARE THOSE THINGS – so for me and tbV it’s things like Coldplay/Snow Patrol/Mumford & Sons [music] and Carcossane/Settlers/Rage [games] and cooking/reading/starcrafting(recently for her, yay!)/soduko [pasttimes] and much more… but we also have things that ONLY ONE OF US ENJOY DOING and it’s important that we MAKE SPACE FOR EACH OTHER to do that.

when it comes to VISION AND VALUES, the things that define WHO WE ARE and the DIRECTION WE’RE GOING IN, i think it is more IMPORTANT THAT THEY OVERLAP a lot more. the number 1 factor here which we’ve looked at is having Jesus as your number 1. another example of this is children – if you have spent your life wanting three kids and your wife has spent her life not wanting any children, then that is a value that will more than likely prove you are not a good match. if one of the parties places huge value on career and the other one places huge value on family, then those values could clash strongly and also point towards this not necessarily being the best match.

i don’t have a comprehensive list of vision and values because there are so many things it could be but the key is being able to FIGURE OUT AND COMMUNICATE WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER and see IF A LIFE TOGETHER WOULD BE POSSIBLE with those things in mind. Are the vision and values going to BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER or are they likely to become OBSTACLES TO HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP.

basically we are saying, ARE WE WALKING IN THE SAME OR SIMILIAR DIRECTION (so that if we both keep walking the way we do we will end up in the same place together) and do we place emphasis and importance on the same things when it comes to THINGS THAT COUNT?

it is possible to have SOME AREAS THAT DIFFER and by talking to each other and working out SOME COMPROMISES (meeting each other halfway as opposed to one person simply giving up all their stuff) you can still see good relationship happen, but if the majority of the vision/values differ it is GOING TO BE VERY TRICKY and possibly MORE TROUBLE THAN IT IS WORTH to make it happen.

none of this means the other person is a bad person. it is NOT A CHARACTER JUDGEMENT. it is merely a case of seeing how you both function and operate and which direction you are both going in and REALISING THAT YOU ARE NOT A GREAT MATCH in terms of dating and ultimately marriage.

but this can also ACT AS A GUIDE to help you FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL BE A GOOD MATCH FOR YOU. if you both have similiar vision and values then it will be a lot easier and more fun to be HEADING IN THE SAME DIRECTION and the LIKELIHOOD OF A STRONG RELATIONSHIP is increased.

maybe a good thing for you to do is SIT DOWN SOMETIME and try and IDENTIFY your values and vision and passions so that you are aware of what you are bringing to the party… happy dating!

[click here for the next one]

i believe it is imperative that THE NUMBER 1 THING IN YOUR LIFE IS THE NUMBER 1 THING IN HER LIFE [i’m talking guy to girl here, but all of this flows both ways]

when it comes to passion and interests and hobbies and so on there is room to have differing, even at times opposing interests, but NOT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS and joy and directional force.

in the context of CHRIST-FOLLOWING RELATIONSHIPS this is ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT EXCEPTION THE CASE, and the beauty is that the ‘what?’ has already been decided on (or in this case the ‘Who’)

because as a Christ-follower, THE NUMBER 1 THING/PERSON IN MY LIFE HAS TO BE JESUS! That is what Christ-following means. That is the call Jesus makes on your life [See Luke 9.23]

and so you need to find someone who has Jesus as their number 1!

which, in effect, answers the question, “IS IT OKAY FOR A CHRISTIAN TO DATE A NON-CHRISTIAN?” and the answer is NO, but for BOTH OF YOUR SAKES!

let me give you an example. if i started dating the beautiful Val (tbV) and she was not a Christ-follower then i would not have been able to share with her the most important thing in my life (Jesus and my relationship with Him). So for me Jesus would be the most important thing in my life. For her IT WOULD BE SOMETHING ELSE – and it doesn’t matter what that something else is – her number 1 could be herself or it could be me or it could be money or fame or sport or whatever – the bottom line is that WE WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SHARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN OUR LIVES with each other.

and what that does is it interrupts and IT PUTS SHACKLES ON INTIMACY – intimacy with each other will only be able to go so far because we are completely unable to share the thing that is most important to us – and that is tragic. because a huge part of relationship is identification and sharing and journeying together and so we would be able to have relationship and it might seem great and be a lot of fun, but somewhere along the line there would be a friction or a tension because our two greatest things are different.

for some reason, when this happens, the way it generally (not always but usually) plays out is that the girl is a Christ-follower and the guy is not, and generally what happens is that THE GIRL MOVES AWAY FROM HER FAITH rather than the guy moving towards it…

“but i’m going to lead him closer to Jesus by dating him” – that’s the vibe a lot of girls have put out and with completely well-meaning intentions… and we have even coined a term for it – ‘missionary dating’ (pretty horrible actually and quite deceptive if you think about it) – but in my 3O plus years of existence I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SOMEONE BECOMING A FOLLOWER OF JESUS THROUGH SALIVA

huh? yes, you heard me. cos what is the main difference between being someones friend and dating them? the physical aspects of a relationship. and so if your chief concern is to introduce them to Jesus and life to the full and so on, surely it can be done as a friend and there is no added need to do it from the place of relationship. in fact, THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS AND TEMPTATIONS that get added with relationship (especially relationship with someone who doesn’t follow Jesus who is likely to have a different value system to you when it comes to that stuff) ONLY BRINGS DISTRACTION to the purpose at hand so why not remove them altogether.

as i said IT’S A TWO-WAY THING. you are not just doing this for you, but for them. if they are not able to understand or ‘get’ or share the number 1 thing in your life with you, then it will be frustrating and confusing for them and a barrier will be built up between you and them.

so IF THE PERSON YOU HAVE FEELINGS FOR IS NOT A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, don’t complicate things for them, or you both. be the best friend you can be to them. love them and model Jesus-living to them and introduce them (in actions and also words) to the One who will bring life to the full. but DO IT FROM THE CONTEXT OF FRIENDSHIP! don’t waste your time, and theirs, pursuing something that cannot move to the next level.

this is a KEY ASPECT TO THE WAY WE DO DATING RELATIONSHIPS – conform no longer, transform your mind and your actions, and see better, safer, healthier outcomes.

[click here for next part]