Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: The Great Spiritual Migration,204,203,200_.jpg
The Great Spiritual Migration
(by Brian D. McLaren)

Most people who know me know that I try to keep an open, yet critical mind about new ideas. I will consider the ridiculous, try to get into the shoes of those who believe it; but when I'm done, I'll apply the same ax that I apply to my own beliefs. It is in this vein that I opened up The Great Spiritual Migration and it is under this standard that McLaren's book failed to hold up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Spiritual Sobriety

Spiritual Sobriety
(by Elizabeth Esther)

Addiction is a nefarious sickness that can take any number of disguises--including spirituality. In Spiritual Sobriety, Elizabeth Esther (a former religious addict herself) shares advice on how to recognize and overcome religious addiction.

As a recovering religious addict myself, I found the concept behind this book intriguing. In our faith walk, we're always trying to figure out how to do things right so that we can be righteous and accepted and so that we can feel close to God. But, how often do we ask ourselves what is healthy? Is it really healthy to continually be looking for that emotional high we get at worship services? Could our constant fretting over whether or not we're doing the right thing be a sign of a deeper problem? Esther says these are signs of spiritual addiction, and I'm inclined to agree.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Updates! (Parashah Messiah, New Messianic Lectionary, Faith Beyond the Letter)

So, if you haven't heard, there's a few new things going on that I'd like to share with you. Life's been pretty busy, so this is just going to be a quick update, but I wanted to make sure I posted at least something about these latest projects.

Friday, March 4, 2016

How to survive the rise of tyranny

I have to be honest--the results of Super Tuesday surprised me a bit. I thought surely authoritarian supporters would be a minority. Surely, people would hear the rhetoric of Hitler and Mussolini behind the words of this man who "speaks his mind", a man who publicly stated that he wants to increase the power of libel laws. I never thought this idea of building a wall was even meant to be serious, yet we're still talking about it. I believed in the goodness of people, yet here we are promoting an ideology of fear and hate even among Christians! Especially among Christians.

Vox has an excellent article that explains some of the sociology behind all this, showing the personality profile of authoritarians and how fear is a driving force in bringing their dark side to light. One of the interesting things they mention that is easily lost is that Trump isn't even the real problem. The real problem is an American people who espouse an ideology that creates and supports people like Trump. I want to say that he doesn't represent the Republican party, but from the people's point of view, he does (or at least more than half of it). And that means that even if Trump can be defeated, we will see more people like him in the future, because that's what the people are demanding. What we're seeing is a people who are so scared that they want a strong leader, one who will stop at nothing to ensure their security.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Family Vision

Build a Foundation
Create a Home
Inspire a Generation
Grow a Family

Build a Foundation
Values: Faith, Scholarship, Questioning Spirit

I want to build a foundation for faith and practice for my family from a position of scholarship and discipleship, to challenge them in asking questions so that they might own their beliefs, and above all to encourage them in placing their trust in God and His promises. I want my children to be prepared when they go out into the world, such that they know their foundation is sure and tested.

Create a Home
Values: Family, Tradition, Authenticity

Home is where we are free to be who we are. I want to foster an atmosphere of warmth, of tradition, and of freedom. Warmth, that we might each find rest in each others love. Tradition, to carry our identity and guide us in the ways of life. Freedom, to be uniquely ourselves without fear of judgment in a world that often pressures us to fit in. It’s a shelter from the world, a Sabbath all of its own.

Inspire a Generation
Values: Hope, Tikkun Olam, Joy

Our vision is one of hope, centered squarely on the Gospel. It's this hope that propels us to redeem our world through the deeds of Tikkun Olam. It is this hope that brings the sparks of eternity, moments of joy into the everyday of our lives. Open your eyes, see the joy and wonder in the world--there is so much more to life than meets the eye.

Grow a Family
It is in bringing these all together that I hope to see our family grow, recognizing each person's unique talents and working together to build the Kingdom. Ours is a faith that is unshakably rooted in God and His Word, joyously reaching toward hope, and compassionately wrapped in the day by day expressions of love.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: You Lost Me -- Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church And Rethinking Faith
You Lost Me
(by David Kinnaman)

I was looking through the books I had on our e-reader (I forget what I was looking for), when I came across one that I had downloaded several years ago, but never got around to reading: You Lost Me--Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church And Rethinking Faith. Having just watched a documentary called Divided about the problem of youth leaving the church, the topic was fresh on my mind. Like Divided, this books aims to diagnose the church drop-out problem and propose solutions. Unlike Divided, this book is backed by years of research and offers a more balanced point of view.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Center of the Bible

Most modern scholars will tell you that the primary rule in approaching the Biblical texts is to look for what the original author was trying to say within his own time, culture, and context. That is, do not start out with "What does this mean to me?" or "What is this symbolic of?" or "What is the hidden meaning here?" Questions like these circumvent what the author is trying to say. Rather we should seek to understand the language and the culture and then let the text speak for itself.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why I Practice Communion

Photo Credit: Kurt Clark
Communion is one of those Christian traditions that most of us Messianics left behind. After all, once you learn that the "Lord's supper" was actually a Passover seder, why hold on to tradition?

That's why I was wary of joining our local church in their practice of weekly communion for a long time. It seemed intellectually dishonest for me to participate in something that I believed had no real foundation. The Lord's Supper was Passover, not some new thing.

I began reconsidering my position when I read an article entitled Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor by Derek Flood. The article challenges its readers to reconsider the way in which we think about atonement, but in the midst of this Derek pulls in the concept of communion:

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Double Mirror Experiment

Photo Credit: David Marcu
Most people look at the world through some lens--their worldview. These are ordinary people. A few take the time to examine the different worldviews people have. These people we call philosophers. They hold up a mirror and allow us to see ourselves and the worldview we have. Even fewer people take the time to examine the worldview with which they look at other worldviews. These people we call mad. They hold up two mirrors so that you can look at one through the other.

If you value your sanity, I suggest you stop reading now.