Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Whiteboard Whole Church Whole Gospel Whole World

I came across this video today. I often feel like I'm alone in some of the things I'm learning in regards to church and the gospel of the kingdom. I think this video does a great job expressing some of my thoughts. I didn't make it... but I think whoever did was reading my mind. :)

Thanks Jeff Maguire and Brian Hurst. Well said.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Playdough Scripture Galatians 5:19-21

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:19-21 (Playdough Version)

Are the divisions created and maintained between the 30,000+ Christian denominations not an issue to some?

Divisions are included in this list with the other big sins. Is it OK to ignore this obvious work of the flesh?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love Your Enemies

Jesus taught us to love our enemies. It is a strange idea. If you love your enemies, are they still your enemies? I don't know. What do you think?

To be honest, as I think out bout this. I can't think of anyone who is my enemy.

There are lots of people who have different beliefs and values than I have.

But I wouldn't say they are my enemies.

I love religious people.
I love irreligious people.
I love Muslims.
I love Jews.
I love Hindus.
I love Buddhists.
I love Sikhs.
I love Atheists.
I love Communists.
I love Capitalists.
I love Republican and Democrat people.
I love Liberals, NDP, and Conservative people.
I love Catholics.
I love Calvinists.
I love Jehovah Witnesses.
I love Secularists.
I love New Agers.
I love alcoholics.
I love teenagers.
I love people who have filthy language.
I love government workers.
I love lawyers.
I love the tax man.
I love telemarketers.

And I love people who don't fit into any of the above categories.

I may be at odds with many different ideas, beliefs, and ideologies. But that doesn't mean I don't love those people.

I confess I sometimes I don't act like I love others. I have a human condition where I sometimes act before I think.

But when I stop to think about it. None of these groups of people are my enemies. I truly believe Jesus loves everyone, and wants us to follow His example.

Matt 5:43 - 48 (HCSB)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Invite People To Church?

Is it Biblical to invite people to church?

It is common today to hear Christians encouraging each other to invite people to church.

But I find it interesting that I can't find an example in the Bible of Christians inviting people to church.

In fact, searches for "to church", "at church", "our church", "after church" come up empty.

I wonder if the early church had a different way of sharing Jesus with others that didn't have inviting them to church near the top of the list.

Doesn't this seem strange? I'd love to hear your thoughts on why? Or am I missing something?

BTW: I don't conclude something is wrong just because I can't find it in the Bible. I think Sunday mornings can be one of many times and places to meet with the church. I just question if the event, building or organization should be called church.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vacation and Beer Tithe

Should I be saving up 10% for a family vacation? Should I plan to buy a lot of beer and wine with it? Should I be tithing according to Old Testament tithing principles?

Deuteronomy 14:22 - 26 (HCSB)

“Each year you are to set aside a tenth of all the produce grown in your fields. You are to eat a tenth of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, in the presence of Yahweh your God at the place where He chooses to have His name dwell, so that you will always learn to fear the LORD your God. But if the distance is too great for you to carry it, since the place where Yahweh your God chooses to put His name is too far away from you and since the LORD your God has blessed you, then exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place the LORD your God chooses. You may spend the money on anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or anything you desire. You are to feast there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice with your family.
It seems this 10% tithe was to be spent primarily on a trip for the family. And you could spend it on anything you want, including wine and beer! I'm actually not much of a wine or beer drinker, but I love ice cream and chocolate - maybe I'd bring that to the celebration instead.

However, I'm not a farmer. This passage, like Leviticus 27:30, and 2 Chronicles 31:5-6 only speaks about agricultural produce. Not everyone was farmers. There were others who earned wages for their work as hired hands, fishermen, carpenters, millers, bakers, weavers, barbers, potters, fullers, locksmiths, jewelers, and more. For some reason it doesn't seem they were included in these instructions.

And I'm not sure where I'd go to find this place where "Yahweh your God chooses to put His name". I believe God lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV).

And there isn't evidence gentiles (non-Jews) in the early church practiced tithing at all.

So even though a 10% vacation tithe sounds great to me. Or a 10% beer fund may sound great for others. I don't believe we are bound by this anymore.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Loving the Bible for what it is, not what I wanted it to be

I'm in agreement with Rachel Held Evans on a blog post she wrote titled loving the Bible for what it is, not what I wanted it to be.

I used to think the Bible had clear answers
on most, if not all issues. That if all Christians would simply read their Bibles we would agree on everything.

It turns out many people who disagree with each are often ones who do read their Bibles. There are many topics where we find the Bible can be used to support different positions.

I used to call the Bible the Word of God.

I now realize that the Bible calls Jesus the Word of God. The Bible does not refer to itself as the Word of God.

I used to think the Bible was basically written by God.

I now recognize that the Bible doesn't really teach this. 2 Timothy 3:16 is often used to support the idea of Sola Scriptura. Yet when Paul was writing this, our New Testament Bible was not put together as one volume yet. Some of the books were not even written. Was Paul referring to the Old Testament books here? I'm not sure we should assume he was referring to the letters he was writing, and a collection of books the church would put together some 200+ years later.

However I do believe the Bible was written by God's people, and that it is the best record we have of God's working in and with His people.

I used to believe the Bible taught that nobody should add more to it, that it was God's final words to mankind.

I now recognize the New Testament is not arranged in chronological order, and was not considered one volume in the early days. Rev 22:18 would not have been referring to the collection of Books we call the Bible. I'm not suggesting there is a Bible volume #2 that we need to read. But God is still free to speak to us today.

I used to believe the Bible was scientifically accurate when it came to the accounts of creation.

Now I admit I'm not sure. There are many Scientists who are also Christians who have studied this topic more than I have. Many can be found on either side of the evolution debate. I wasn't there for the earth's grand opening. Neither was Moses or whoever wrote Genesis. Science has been wrong before, maybe they are wrong this time. I don't know. My faith doesn't hinge on this one.

But I do love our Bible. I agree with N.T. Wright that God's authority is expressed through our Scriptures, and that the Bible teaches God is the final authority.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to...

You may have heard this line from Jesus before. If so, imagine for a moment that you haven't. How would we naturally finish the following sentence?

The kingdom of heaven belongs to...

What groups of people would you guess make up the kingdom of heaven?

  • Missionaries?
  • Theologians?
  • Evangelists?
  • Sunday School Teachers?
  • Pastors?
  • Nuns, Monks?
  • Those most generous?
  • Those most caring?
  • Those most wise?
  • Those that have said the sinners prayer?
  • Those who are baptized?
If you were Jesus how would you have finished this sentence? I don't think I would have ever thought to say it the way Jesus did.

Jesus has some weird upside-down concepts for His kingdom.

Matt 19:13 - 15 (NIV)
"Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there."
So what kingdom qualities do children have?
  • Lack of pride
  • They don't have stuff figured out, and they don't care
  • They don't have a clue about important things like the value of money
  • Dependence on their parents/guardian
  • Need comfort of being close to parents/gaurdian
  • Simple faith. They are very gullible
  • Forgive others quickly
  • Enjoy simple things in life
  • Loving
What do you think?

Why do you think Jesus said such a strange thing?

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