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Congregation of One November 19, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Philosophy/Religion.

Jeff Arnett studies what is called emerging adulthood, the age group from 18-25 who are mostly single and getting educated in college. Arnett’s study on emerging adult and religious beliefs is interesting, but not exactly shocking.

In short, emerging adults are not likely to swallow whole their parent’s religion. Furthermore, their is a sort of religious integration (syncretism) going on with this crew. They might be Christian, but that doesn’t keep some of them from believing in reincarnation and other eastern religious beliefs. They are not likely to have a strong or any allegiance worth noting to denominations and institutions (Mormons are going to be an exception here).

Interestingly enough, though, even though their religious practice on a corporate level is low, they do maintain that they are in some ways connected and still religious. So, they have not lost their religion so much as they have set it aside, perhaps in order to accomplish some other tasks – graduating from college and getting married.

Arnett’s study shows a big difference between married and non-married emerging adults. When the tasks of college graduation and marriage (having kids might be thrown in there) are accomplished, then religion seems to reappear from the back burner. However, it’s not the old time religion they are returning to, but rather a more losely affiliated and individualized religion. In fact, their personal religious faith and their corporate religious participation may be very different and at the same time pose no sense of dissonance. In a sense, they are a congregation of one.

Let this inform ministers and parents alike. There are powerful factors acting on the religious faith of adolescents who are moving into adulthood – and it’s not necesssarily that they are going to Hell in a handbasket. They are accomplishing some tasks required by our society. At the same time, the coherence of their faith is strained in many regards.

It could be that these emerigng churches who seem to do well with ambiguity and exploration might be a good home for these emerging adults. Comments?


Blame: False hopes perpetuate injustice November 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Philosophy/Religion.

One of Satan’s best and most powerful tools that wears against good people is blame. Satan himself (itself or whatever) assigns blame, but what is even more devious is that he entices people to blame each other or blame themselves. Then he doesn’t even have to take do it himself.

Why blame is bad. Blame is bad because there is no good end to it. The only thing it does is give this sense (false as it may be) that the person blamed can be treated badly with full justifucation for the bad treatment. Blame, in a sense, gives the nonblamed (or less blamed) a right to abuse the blamed (or more blamed). Therefore, since blame offers up an apparently good reason to abuse someone, people are challenged not to take up the opportunity to heap some abuse, whether it be to the other person who is blamed, or even to himself or herself if they are the blamed.

Taking responsibility is different than receiving blame. There is no punitive side to taking responsibility and also not the perceived need to punish the person taking responsibility. There is no hostility with responsibility, but with blame there is this inherent sense of hostility. Blame seeks to make things “fair” without virtue of an agreed upon measure of fair and without virtue of any sense of compassion or generosity. Blame seeks to get to fair by unfair means – an intrinsic hypocrisy and logical fallacy. Taking responsibility is merely doing the tasks that make the needed difference.

The hope (false hope that it is) of blame is justice. Blame never, “NEVER” I SAY, produces justice. It only perpetuates injustice in another direction. Doing the tasks that make the needed difference is what moves toward justice.

Responsibility actually does what blame hopes, but fails, to do.

The Sin of the Believers September 24, 2006

Posted by fajita in Bible/Meditations, Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.
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In Joshua 22, we find Israel having completed the task of occupying the Promised Land. They were one people, following God’s plans, hearing god’s voice, and consulting God at every turn. Here we have Israel at he height of its power and obedience up to this point.

Three Israellite tribes, Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh decide to settle east of Jordan and erect a monument to show that they are faithful to God and with the rest of Israel. The rest of Israel doesn’t like it and instantly decides to kill the 3 tribes. They cite book chapter and verse why they should kill the 3 tribes. They want to keep Israel pure.

Fortunately, they had a talk and didn’t go to war.

Here’s the sin of the believer, the people who have been closest to God, the people who have lived most in god’s blessing and protection: bypassing God.

The 10 tribes bypassed God in assuming they knew what would please God. Only people so close to God can commit this kind of sin. When people get too comfy cozy with God such that they can make decision for God without consulting God, there is bound to be trouble.

Ever seen this sin?

What if… September 17, 2006

Posted by fajita in 9/11, Christianity, politics.

On September 11th, 2001, America was attacked by terrorists. Planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentegon and another plane crashed. Thousands or Americans were killed. 

The enemy was instantly identified as Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. So, the president ordered and attack on Afghanistan. In an effort to destroy terrorism, the president ordered a controversial attack on Iraq. Five years later, Americans still fight on those places – two of the most dangerous places on earth.

What do you suppose would have happened if instead of attacking these countries and occupying them, the Unites States turned the other cheek? What if Americans, who were receiving the sympathies of almost the entire world, made a clear statement that we are not about violence, death and murder, but are instead about reconciliation, forgiveness, and love? What if Americans had demanded that our president forgive the aggressors?  

What if we poured our energies into security and defense, but refused to be seduced into an aggressive posture? What if we refused to respond with force?

These are not rhetorical questions. I really want to know what you honestly believe our reality would be now 5 years later had we not attacked back.

I don’t presuppose any answers and I am not looking for anything specific besides what you really believe.

Would not attacking back have been a disaster? Would it have been an opportunity for the world to be impressed by our love? What do you think?

Forgiveness September 8, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity.

Forgiveness is one central concept in Christianity and other major world religions. It is so common that it is easy to believe we know all that there is to know about it. However, familiarity can be a cruel friend. Sometimes, when we believe we know something, we are susceptible to believing myths asif they were the truth.

So, have you believed any other these myths about forgiveness?

Need to learn to forgive? Here are two good options for you:

Forgiving and Reconciling

Forgiving the Devil

Free Derek Webb September 8, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Music.

Who gives away free downloads of his CD?

Derek Webb, that’s who.

I am listening to the free downloaded CD right now I am loving it.  

Go and get yours here.

OK, it will cost you five e-mail addresses of people you know, but geez, isn’t it worth it?

Baseball, Faith, and the Moses Bobblehead September 2, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Humor.
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Who is looking more desperate, the minor league baseball execs looking  to fill seats or the people of faith who fill them?

First of all, does the Moses bobblehead fill seats? And if it does, what does that mean for the minor league team distributing them? What does it mean for the Christian consumers gathering them up?

Just look at the face on that Moses bobblehead. What is Moses saying to you? He looks pretty ticked off to me, like he just realized that Israel is worshipping a golden calf at the same time he wants to give them the Law.

Isn’t there a happy moment for Moses we could have shared through this bobblehead instead of a mad one?

Anyway, read the San Francisco Chronicle article if you want to.

Rick Warren Blog? September 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, General, Ric Warren.
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Did anyone else know that Rick Warren had a blog?

Good and positive post on the church.

It is very much promoting his stuff, but so is my blog.

However, I allow comments and Warren doesn’t. And then again, he’d probably get 5000 comments on each post and I might get 500 in my lifetime.

Tulsa Worshop Podcasts August 31, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Podcasts, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement.

Wade Hodges just announced that the Tulsa Workshop sessions will be released one at a time on itunes in the form of podcasts.

He also gives us a looky-loo into the 2007 Tulsa Workshop.

Unchurched/Postchurched Christians August 27, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion.

It used to be that Christians went to chuch and non-religious people didn’t. Now that clear cut distinction cannot be made. There is a growing group of unchurched, or should I say post-churched, Christians. They haven’t lost their faith in Jesus, but they have lost their faith in church as we know it. Or maybe they have seen so little utility and mission that they no longer find it meaningful.

People are making a difference by exiting the church that they cannot change from within. This is a statistical fact.

What I want to do here in this post is to get some feedback about the postchurched Christian movement. Is this a problem? Is it a statement to the organizaed church? What does the organized church need to learn from this phenomenon?

Your thoughts?