Wednesday, January 30, 2013

pastor refuses to tip and blames God

 This story about a pastor refusing a tip has been making the  rounds.  I'm glad the MSN version of the story has cropped the Rev's name from the photo, as apparently many have been googling his name, likely to chew them out.  It sounds like, from the waitress' post that all Google searches have led to the wrong pastor being chewed out..

  One commenter left this suggestion for the waitress:
"You should attend his services and ask for a chance to speak. Very professionally and politely call him out."....

The waitress' post was entitled My mistake sir, I'm sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.

The Huffington Post story outs the pastor's be good!!

And before you complain about the required 18 percent, read the story.  It's only on large groups (20).
The pastor and his friends apparently asked for separate checks as an end run.

Having worked as a  waiter many moons ago, I always overtip ..18%+

I give God 10% — why do you get 18?” the customer wrote on the receipt, signing it “Pastor [redacted].”
“My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries,” the Reddit user posted along with the above photo.
The “pastor,” who had the server separate the bill for the group’s 20 members, was reportedly unhappy that the restaurant included an automatic gratuity of 18 percent on the party’s bill.
When we first reported this story, we cautioned that the photo might be part of a hoax designed to stir up some sort of anti-Christian, anti-religious sentiment (as people have pulled similar cons in the past). But it turns out the story is authentic. The pastor is very much a real person, she very much left a “snide” comment on her Applebee’s receipt, she very much complained to management about the Reddit photo, and the waitress is now very much unemployed.
“A pastor says when she left a snide comment on a receipt, she did use bad judgement, but she did leave a tip,” a Fox News affiliate in St. Louis reports
“My heart is really broken,” said Pastor Alois Bell. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”
The 37-year-old pastor explains..


LGBT advocate and Chick Fil A president's friendship

Video and story here

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 worst/ best things Melissa was ever told about ‘Christian sex’

Melissa Otterbein:

The 10 worst things I was ever told about ‘Christian sex’

The 10 best things I was ever told about ‘Christian sex’


Mumford's dad interviews new Archbishop of Canterbury,

Justin Welby is an evangelical-minded  Anglican who followed N.T. Wright as Bishop of Durham.
He has now been elected Archbishop of Canterbury,. Here he and his wife are interviewed  by John Mumford (Yes, the father of Mumford and Sons frontman Marcus) at a Vineyard conference.

An evening with Justin and Caroline Welby. from Trent Vineyard on Vimeo.
John Mumford talks to Archbishop of Canterbury Elect, Justin Welby, and his wife Caroline. They discuss their faith, the 'journey to Canterbury', and their hope for the Church.

Bible Dude

God in Three Parts, Blessed Trinity: Lennon, U2, Larry Norman and a Trilogy of God Songs

Great article, click to read: "John Lennon, U2, Larry Norman and a Trilogy of God Songs":  (HT: Beth).

All the article is missing is the soundtrack, so here it is belwo, keep both windows open..

Lennon, "God" (Part 1):

U2, "God Part 2""
 ": (Live)

Larry Norman, "God Part III":


Israel and Iran: A Love Story

Description: "When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: "Iranians ... we [heart] you." Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message -- and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like "Israel loves Iran," "Iran loves Israel" and even "Palestine loves Israel."
Ronny Edry of Israel accidentally created an online movement for peace in the Middle East when he posted a Facebook image that declared "Iranians, we will never bomb your country."

"Music is the electrical soil for the spirit"

"Thus  does art ever represent divinity, and that which stands in 
human relation to it is religion; what we acquire through 
art is from God, a divine suggestion, which sets up a goal 
for human capacities, which the spirit attains.

We do not know what grants is knowledge; the firmly exposed seed needs the moist  to grow, think, express itself,  Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents .  Philosophy is the precipitation 

of its electric spirit; and its necessity, which will ground 
everything upon a first principle, is supplied by music; 
and although the spirit be not master of that which it 
creates through music, yet is it blessed in this creation; 
in this manner, too, is every creation of art independent ; 
mightier than the artist himself, and returns by its appear- 
ance back to the divine ; and is only connected with men, 
in so much as it bears witness to the divine mediation 
in him. 

Music gives to the spirit relation to harmony. A 
thought abstracted has still the feeling of communion, of 
affinity, in the spirit ; thus each thought in music is in the 
most intimate, inseparable affinity with the communion of 
harmony, which is unity."   -Attr. to  Beethoven, quoted by  Goethe ,  HT SPY 
Scott Jones

quantum smell

Get Adobe Flash player

Jesus Pranks/Parking Prayer

Jesus prank miracles Parking Prayer

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Saints are empty signifiers" by Tad DeLay

Read it here.

"sexually suspect" women used of God: "the most boring chapter in the New Testament"

It probably takes a woman to realize how profound "the most boring chapter in the New Testament" is.

Caryn Riswald  actually calls it (Matthew 1's genealogy) The Most Interesting Chapter in the Bible:

Perez and Zerah by Tamar.
Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab.
Obed by Ruth.
Solomon by the wife of Uriah.
Mary “of whom Jesus was born.”

These five are vulnerable women on the edge of society.  They are not the relatively empowered matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, or even Hannah.  They are women who engineer their own survival and the survival of their people despite the odds against them.  They do what it takes, even if it means sleeping with the father-in-law denying you your rights.  Or lying to protect spies who strike a bargain with you.  Or letting another woman raise your child because she has status and you do not.  Or doing what it takes to survive when the king demands to have you.  Or offering a fierce yes to God’s call.

None of the women are in situations that are ideal:  widowed, unmarried & pregnant, a public woman.  None of them are what we’d like to claim as mothers of the faith.  But they are.  God trusted them – women on the margins of social and sexual acceptability.  They made decisions and engineered their lives, all in less than ideal situations.
  Full article here

More on this:

We began looking at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, noting
-that since "genealogy" is literally "genesis" ("beginning"), there is an inclusio from the first sentence of Matthew to the very last sentence ("till the end of the age"). Point:  Who is Jesus in Mathew?
He is the Beginningg and End.

We also noticed that strikingly, against Jewish tradition, women were mentioned in the geneology.
Not only that, but most were controversial and GENTILES (outside the bounded set of Judaism.
We noted yet another inclusio from beginning of the gospel (Gentiles highlighted in the geneology in chapter 1 and end of gospel ( "Go and make disciples of all nations [literally "Gentiles"] 28:18-20

  • not just women, 
  • but 5 (hmm, remember that number)  women,
  • and 5 women who had a "shady reputation".

That's no accident; we decided that  one way to answer "Who is Jesus in  Matthew?" is
"One who includes all types, even outcasts, in his family,  Very centered set, and we are only in Chapter 1.  (:
 By the way, how many controversial Gentile women show up here?

5...hmm. Must be no accident..

Who is Jesus in Mathew?

The One who is not ashamed to include  four triple outcasts:  gentile/women/people with a shady reputation in his family tree.  The fifth woman was Mary, who fit all three categories except "Gentile".  All women have  a "sexually suspect(Luke Timothy Johnson's great phrase) reputation
and were surprisingly and sovereignly used of God.  -DW

atheist exegesis: "worse than an unbeliever"

Leave it to an atheist do some thoughtful exegeis on this often  "misundertaken" passage

1 Timothy 5:8 - Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

In simplest terms, I think most people use it in an attempt designate who is or is not a Christian (another usually undefined word), but I’ve come to severely doubt that those categories have next to anything to do with how this kind of language was used in the first century.  FULL ARTICLE HERE

Sunday, January 27, 2013

God will ALWAYS give you more than you can handle

I know, you  have always heard that the Bible says "God will never give you more than you can handle."

Chapter and verse, please?

Let me know when you find it.

...Still waiting.

There IS a Scripture that the saying may be based on.  It looks similar, but says something different:
1 Corinthians 10:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  LINK
Besides the fact that  technically Satan gives temptations, not God (Matt 4:1, Luke 4:1, God leads us into temptation... see those verses for that shocker... but Satan does the actual tempting)
God gives you more than temptations.  Sometimes tests, and just life, are enough.
And a glance at the broader biblical context suggests the opposite of the popular motto is more biblical.

Paul himself stated without apology:

2 Corinthians 1 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death
"Far beyond our ability to endure? !" That sounds like more than he can handle.
The great apostle "despaired even of life"?  Dare we suggest that almost, if not inevitably suicidal?

He concludes:

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
God will always give us more than we can handle.
Because we're not supposed to handle anything!
Better deal to let God handle it?
Mark Shaefer asks , "Could you imagine saying to an inmate at Auschwitz, 'Don’t worry; God never gives you more than you can bear!?"

If you think I'm making this up, check the Book 
..and these posrs : 

And don't get me started on the constant "peace of mind" God supposedly offers.
Paul , next chapter:

 2 Cor 2: 13 :I still had no peace of mind!

The 77s got it: "peace of heart is better than peace of mind":
(Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, Col 3:15)

"Bottom Line" by Mike Roe.. the 77s
'm getting tired of walking up every floor
I'm getting tired of waking up anymore
But there's a hope now and there wasn't before
I got no money and I got no time
I fall down every mountain I try to climb
But peace of heart is better than peace of mind

I've got a bottom line
Oh yeah
I've got a bottom line
Thank God
I've got a bottom line
Oh no

You take one look at me and you wanna walk
'Cuz there's no good in me and I shouldn't talk
But I've got everything though nothing at all
I wasn't looking for what it was I found
Myself standing on some holy ground
I couldn't stand it and I had to sit down

Wanted the impossible
Looked for the impossible
The Impossible found me first

I've got a bottom line
Thank God
I've got a bottom line
Thank God
I've got a bottom line
Oh yeah
I've got a bottom line
Thank God

Saturday, January 26, 2013

contemplating Rublev's Trinity icon

Just like you would at a museum, spend some time pondering this work of art below(Rublev's icon of Троица: Trinity) before reading the links below:

 Okay, just kidding.  That photo  above was indeed an artistic reeenactment of the Trinity at one of our gatherings.  The worst part of it is that I am arrogant enough to "direct" the Trinity (what else are pastors for?".  And  Keltic Ken, Shy Stevens and Kevin Deisher ARE quite godly (read about it at this link "most guys do" : pregnant dancing with the Trinity)

But here is the art to ponder before reading the links:

  Links (I would love to hear Mark DeRaud's take on all this, feel free to comment below, Mark):

apocalpyse and subversion of language

Nice post from Orwellwasright below and I love the Hegel quote.

Background frst:

We apparently have the word “apocalypse“ all wrong. In its root meaning, it’s not about destruction or fortune telling; It’s about revealing; It’s what James Joyce calls an epiphany-the moment you realize your so-called love for the young lady, all your professions, all your dreams, and all your efforts to get her to notice you were the exercise of an unkind and obssesive vanity…The real world, within which you’ve lived and moved and had your being, has unveiled itself. It’s starting to come to you. You aren’t who you made yourself out to be. An apocalypse
has occurred, or a revelation, if you prefer…Apocalyptic maximizes the reality of human suffering and folly before daring a word of hope. The hope has nowhere else to happen but the valley of the shadow of death. Is it any surprise that we often won’t know it when we see it?

-David Dark, “Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons and Other Pop Culture Icons”, p.10
See also Ellul: every moment of life= apocalyptic


Language is constantly subverted. From the slang of the inner city where bad is good and a dirty tune is sick (that’s a good thing, apparently), to the manipulative propaganda rhetoric of “humanitarian bombings” and “just wars”  of the rich and powerful, words are constantly subjected to Orwellian distortions ..
...While the manipulation of words in political discourse is par for the course, few words have had their true meaning so effectively subverted than the word “Apocalypse”.

When most people hear the word “Apocalypse” they think of carnage and destruction ravaging the planet – Hell, unleashed on earth. But the Greeks – who created the word – had something different to say. To them, the apocalypse was understood to be a moment of “uncovering”; a revelation of knowledge previously hidden.....
Whether you believe the End Time or Christ’s second coming is upon us, or mankind is about to be transformed by a consciousness shift brought about by planetary changes triggered by a galactic alignment, or that all of the above is sheer nonsense borne of superstitious minds, it’s difficult to escape the feeling that world events are building to a head. A wider conflagration in the Middle East would certainly lead the religious extremists who take the fire and brimstone interpretation of the word apocalypse to feel vindicated.
On the other hand, should a mass movement built upon the foundation of revelations of previously hidden truths successfully overcome the depredations of the ruling elite, perhaps then the true meaning of the word “apocalypse” intended by the Greeks will be restored to the current lexicon.
To the philosopher Hegel, “world history is thus the unfolding of Spirit in time, as nature is the unfolding of the Idea in space.” As we watch history unfold before our eyes, by our actions we help to define it – the choice between destruction or illumination ultimately lies with us  link

Rabbi Adam J. Bernay on "stateolatry"

click this (PDF):"I Pledge Allegiance"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

your body is not the temple/don't worry about God's will for your life

I have long reminded folks who have heard that their individual body is the  temple of the Holy Spirit (therefore, don't smoke,  have sex outside of marriage, commit suicide etc) that  1 Corinthians 3 actually says 

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.  NIV

Here , the body of Christ as a corporate entity is the temple.  It doesn't say that we (or our bodies) are individual temples (templettes, lol).  "You yourselves" (ustedes) together as one are the  corporate one body/temple.  (See A Crash of Rhinos...a Committee of Buzzards).

Then I admit and that later in the same letter (ch 6), Paul  suggests that your (individual) human body i a  (not "the") temple:

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Chapter 3: Together, corporately, we are the temple .
Chapter 6: Individually, a person's body is a temple.

But Shane Hipps presents even this second passage as all about the corporate interpretation, as is the first:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20
For my entire Christian life, I had understood this passage as a call to personal purity ad individual morality. I was taught that if I was ever tempted to drink, get a tattoo, or smoke, this verse could serve as a cocked and ready defense. While I am grateful it warded off certain temptations, Paul is not talking about individual purity. He is talking about the church. 

Every time Paul says ‘you’ in this passage it is plural, yet every time he says ‘body’ it is singular. He is speaking to a corporate group about their shared body - the church. The churchi s the temple of the Holy Spirit, not me personally. Paul is emphasizing that the Spirit dwells in the corporate body. Our individual purity still matters, and the Bible still teaches that the Spirit dwells in us personally, but this passage is actually concerned with the church community as a whole.[Paul assumes that our faith journey is bound up and rooted in a larger community of people who serve together, not individually, as God’s medium. This means the church does not exist only for us, we exist for it - each an essential part in the incarnated body of Jesus in the world]

The true significance of this is well understood by a former seminary professor of mine.  A Christian friend of his  who was not a churchgoer approached him because this friend was struggling with a particular passage in Paul's epistles.  This friend was intent on figuring out exactly what Paul was saying and what it meant for my life.  After he laid out his dilemma, my professor responded by saying, "Don't worry about it."  "What do you mean?" his friend replied.  My professor explained, "You don't have to worry about it.  It's not written to you; it was written for the church, and you're not part of a church, so you don't have to worry about it."  His friend was a bit startled.  My professor told me this man and his family joined a church soon after that conversation.

Whatever you think of my professor's tactics, the point he made is an important one.  We need to read Scripture through a lens that is not just personal but also corporate.  Instead of asking, "What does this passage say to me?"  we might ask "What does this passage call our community to become?"  When we begin to see the images in Scripture as corporate rather than individual, we can develop a more complete understanding of the true essence of the church and gain clarity on God's chosen medium.-Shane Hipps, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church  pp. 96-97.  Read it in context here. Note: this book was reworked as  Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith.
There the bracketed section above appears, and a different story is told  at the end. Read that here."    176-177.

And note this:

In checking this Scripture on Bible Gateway, I see that the ch 6 passage in the 1984 version of the NIV (which Hipps used) reads:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

But the 2011 version reads:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Compare the two in helpful parallel chart here. 

Hmm, translators.  What's up with this backsliding?   Hipps is correct that "you" is singular and "body" is plural.  It actually looks like they may have been following the interim translation, the banned TNIV.  In Shane Hipps' language, this is Windows, not Mac ecclesiology ( "Hidden Power," p 1`46ff. "The 'Mac' approach to church rethinks its theological operating system, 'PC' approach attempts to add to its theology methods that appear innovative perpetuating consumerism," as Kurt Willems helpfully summarizes) .  May be time for a translation temple tantrum.

SBL Greek New Testament includes a footnote:

19 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὸ σῶμα ὑμῶν ναὸς τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν ἁγίου πνεύματός ἐστιν, οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ θεοῦ; καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν, 20 ἠγοράσθητε γὰρ τιμῆς· δοξάσατε δὴ τὸν θεὸν ἐν τῷ σώματι [a]ὑμῶν.Footnotes:
  1. ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α΄ 6:20 ὑμῶνWH Treg NIV ] + καὶ ἐν τῷ πνεύματι ὑμῶν ἅτινά ἐστιν τοῦ θεοῦ RP  LINK


Former pastor:"Just Don’t Call It Church!"

 "I have no problem with meetings that are led,  that have bands that lead the singing and gifted teachers sharing the Word of God – My problem is what happens when you call these meetings church…"  -Mark Neale,. complete article here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Given Deborah, Jael, and Judith, Why Shouldn't Women Serve in Combat?"

 From Christianity Today:"Three views on the warrior women of the Bible and today, as the Pentagon announces it's lifting the ban"
read here

C. S. Lewis on set theory

C.S. Lewis never used the language of set theory
(see Bounded or Centered Set?)

..but thanks to Ken Symes  for reminded us how well he described it:

Christians as centered set vs bounded set 
[The] situation in the actual world is much more complicated than that. The world does not consist of 100% Christians and 100% non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name:
some of them are clergymen. There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand…. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together. Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgments about Christians and non-Christians in the mass. It is some use comparing cats and dogs, or even men and women, in the mass, because there one knows definitely which is which. Also, an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat. But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only about two vague ideas which we have got from novels and newspapers. If you want to compare the bad Christian and the good Atheist, you must think about two real specimens whom you have actually met. Unless we come down to brass tacks in that way, we shall only be wasting time.
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 208-209.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

two temple cleansings

 "...just as there was a temple cleansing just before the closing of the placed temple,
 there was a temple cleansing (Ananias and Sapphira) just after the opening of the peopled temple"
  -Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, "Jesus: A Theography,pp, 205-208.  Excerpted in online article form here . In a footnote in the book, the thought is attributed  to James Spruill.

Tell us who you are; not what you do

Chagall Guevara video Greenbelt '91: "Murder in the Big House"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brian Jones on NOT discouraging nonChristians from Lord's Supper

 3 Reasons I Don’t Discourage Non-Christians From Taking the Lord’s Supper

Who is the father in the parable of the prodigal son? |

Three posts by Andrew Perriman on the prodigal son:

Who is the father in the parable of the prodigal son? | P.OST
Oct 1, 2012 – Who is the father in the parable of the prodigal son? We mostly take it for granted, of course, that the father is God and that the central point of ...

The lost and the unlost in the parable of the prodigal son |

The prodigal son -

Feb 23, 2011 – What is the parable of the prodigal son about? ... So N.T. Wright famously asserts that in the parable of the prodigal son “Jesus was retelling the story of Israel's return ...... Who is the father in the parable of the prodigal son?: