Saturday, March 25, 2006
My in-laws were second or third generation coC'ers. They were good, kind, decent, loving, and mature people. My father-in-law was a pastor of different coC congregations all his adult life. The coC we have left is not the coC they knew. The difference between what they knew and what the coC today is what drives the group's disfunctionality and disintegration.
My first thought about the Winkler tragedy is that the Mr. musta had it coming. This is an uninformed opinion and admittedly unfair.
My first reaction is disgust at the quote "This was a perfect family." What a perfect way to describe the clash between the coC of our parents' generation, which understood that families are anything but perfect, and the coC of our generation, which values above all else a churchful of perfect Christians twice on Sunday and once every Wednesday evening.
It's not "come as you are;" it's "come pretend for three hours a week that being a Christian is a cake-walk; that you have it all together; that your life is a factual representation of your claim to knowing the mind of Christ."
Not that this is preached—of course the church preaches "by-the-book"—but what's valued is what's on the outside. What's valued is the appearance of perfection, which is why so many people leave churches of Christ. For increasing numbers, the pain of staying surpasses the fear of leaving and the condemnation that comes with leaving.
When personal woes wear holes in that peek-a-boo fabric of perfection, the garment is exposed for what it truly is: an artificial construct intended to shield ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ, from the rawness of our own imperfections.
So here we have a community of Christians expressing hurt not in terms of sorrow and dismay for the troubled Winkler family but instead, in terms of shock that the "perfect" family was not perfect.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
i mean, the difference between a Godly man and woman before and after meeting Christ shouldn't be all that noticeable, as i understand God's word.
instead, church says that the difference between a Godly person before and after Christ should be reflected in a hugely changed social life.
the 'new man' will now spend hours and hours and hours each week tied up with church activities. this will serve as an outward sign.
i'm just not sure that's what God had in mind when he talked about the body of christ.
from Washington Times, 3/16/05 I bolded the text which provides this guy's assessment of how many people use religion. (Blowing my own horn here) I have proposed in earlier blogs that coming to terms with God means learning how to live in uncertainty, with coming to terms with the possibility that God is not confined to the pages of your Bible.
John D. Barrow, a British scientist and writer whose work explores fundamental questions about the universe and humanity's place in it, has won a religion award billed as the world's richest annual prize.
In the past, the $1.4 million Templeton Prize has honored Mother Teresa, the Rev. Billy Graham and Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It recognizes advancement in knowledge of spiritual matters.
Mr. Barrow, 53, is known for his popular books and essays on cosmology, the study of the structure and history of the universe. His writing touches on topics such as the spiritual implications of the big bang, the nature of infinity and the limits of science in addressing some of humanity's most enduring unknowns.
"People look to science to give them complete certainty, complete assurance, in the same way they look to religion," Mr. Barrow said.
In reality, he said, neither science nor religion can offer the kinds of ultimate truths that humanity craves.
"Religion is all about how we react to this uncertainty," he said....
In his research, Mr. Barrow is trying to demonstrate fluctuations in the value of the fine structure constant, a fundamental number related to the strength of the electromagnetic force, over the universe's history. Changes in the so-called "constant" would suggest the existence of additional dimensions besides the four familiar ones of space and time.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
it seems to me that the first step in emphasizing "diversity" would be to stop considering cultural (and physiological) groups of human beings as being diverse from each other.
which really made me think about how to respond. here's where i'm at so far:
if the driving force behind your actions is diversity, your focus is on noting perceived differences among people, then pursuing those you define as different from most mmembers of your organization. you spend energy looking for how people are different from you, more energy on convincing them to join you, and more energy yet convincing everyone like you to be ok with people pre-defined as different.
if the driving force behind your actions is inclusivity, your focus is on creating an environment that welcomes members as they are. inclusivity lets you invest your energy in learning how to love as God loves. inclusivity allows you to re-direct the energy you previously spent on defining differences to attitudes and behavior that values members as children of God, first, and children of different language, culture, skin color, demographic, second (or not at all)
until recently i sympathized with the older brother. he worked his tail off, why wouldn't he feel left out...all those years of hard work and the father celebrates the brother who blew it? no fair!
then, the other day, i had the opportunity to hear a bunch (four or five) of seminary-trained, ordained, employed preachers discuss the story at a workshop. they were trying to fit the story into a paradigm of motivation: were the brothers motivated away or toward a goal?
in this framework, the argument goes, the younger brother was motivated away from poverty more than he was motivated toward his father's house. sure, whatever. (the point was more to think about frameworks of motivation than it was to decide upon the *right* answer)
the fellas had trouble with the older brother, though. they couldn't figure out what motivated him more (toward or away a specific outcome). listening to them wrangle with the question, i understood, finally, the story in a way that makes sense.
< dramatic pause > the older brother has lost sight of God, forgotten that life on Earth is temporary, that there is a bigger picture out there. he can't celebrate the return of the younger brother because he's not seeing the dimension of lostness and foundness. he's only seeing the dimension of here-ness and now-ness.
the preachers couldn't figure out what motivated the older brother in this story because they were trying to force-fit the story into a paradigm that does not apply. that's one point.
the second point is, how many times do we screw up God's message because we are trying to pound round pegs into square holes?