Reflections on Christianity: A Round-up

Following is a round-up from a few blogs that speak of issues relevant to what we know as Christianity. Click on the link at the start of each excerpt to read the full article.

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From Brian McLaren:

A friend of mine says that first we humbly seek for God. Then we humbly speak with God. Soon, though, we may proudly speak for God … and then we arrogantly speak as if we were God! It reminds me of the old line from a Peter, Paul, and Mary song (Hymn):

Passing conversations
Where they mentioned your existence
And the fact that you had been replaced
By your assistants.

Many of us – inside and outside of so-called “organized religion” – are reaching the same conclusion. It’s the Spirit that matters most – the wine – not the bottle in which it is carried.

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From Peter Rollins (In a blog about the movie Shutter Island):

The path to healing and transformation involves the painful process of glimpsing the Real of our own darkness. Glimpsing our wounds, and giving language to them. Wounds that are hinted at in such things as our dreams and our drunken conversations. More than this, it involves being able to do this in an environment of love.

So what would it look like to have a community in which we allowed our darkness to be seen? A community where we would be confronted with the truth of who we are? A community that was therapeutic, not despite the fact that it gives space for this horrific self-disclosure, but precisely because of it?

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From Len Sweet & Frank Viola on Emergent Village:

The body of Christ is at a crossroads right now. The two common alternatives are to move either to the left or the right. It’s our observation, however, that we are living in a unique time, when people are frozen as they look in either of those directions. When they look to the left, they decide that they cannot venture there. When they look to the right, they feel the same. Whether they realize it or not, people are looking for a fresh alternative—a third way. . . .

. . . The crossroads today, we believe, is one of moving forward or backward. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is that third way—and the only way—that we can forge a secure path into the future. If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards. (Christ is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form, as Paul said in Colossians.)

Christians have made the gospel about so many things—things other than Christ. But Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives it meaning. Without Him, all things lose their value. They are but detached pieces floating
around in space. That includes your life. It is all too possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ, who is Himself the embodiment and incarnation of all of these things.

What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy. Neither is it a new type of morality, social ethic, or worldview. Christianity is the “good news” that beauty, truth, and goodness are found in a person. And true humanity and community are founded on and experienced by connection to that person.

This global, Google world needs a meta-narrative more than ever, and the Jesus Story is the interpreting system of all other systems.

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From Mars Hill Bible Church on Spiritual Practices:

Think of it as keeping your ears open, in ways and in places and in times of day when before you wouldn’t have thought to listen. Think of it as tuning yourself to recognize God’s voice, as becoming someone who regularly, intentionally hears.

Spiritual practices are exactly what their name suggests; they’re ways to be deliberate about matters of the soul. A spiritual practice is a tool for becoming aware of God within the normalcy of life—it injects the sacred into elements that could otherwise seem just everyday. So in applying spiritual practices, we find that the lines can be blurred between those things spiritual and what is secular: gratitude can happen when we’re mowing the lawn, worship and grocery shopping are compatible, God can be pursued on the evening commute

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The Daily Office from Mission of St Clare:

This is a link from the Mars Hill site for an online Daily Office should you wish to take a look at how this spiritual discipline is practised.

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Blessing of the Bicycles 2010And as a final dive into what is the blessed diversity of Christianity, hats off to House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, for their Blessing of the Bicycles event.

As a way of acknowledging the inherent goodness of God’s gifts of life and health and the humble but elegant bicycle we are conducting a Blessing of the Bicycles for the entire Denver cycling community. This event is open to all regardless of religious affiliation, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, fat or thin tires, and brand of bike. We even welcome unicyclists and Unitarians. Some may take it more seriously than others but it doesn’t matter. As we swing our thurible of incense over the Schwinns and Cannondales we do so as a human community seeking God’s blessing and protection for all who brave our city streets on two wheels. Group ride to follow!

HFASAS is an emergent Lutheran congregation who approach to life together is Christ-centered. Their pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, is also a blogger as Sarcastic Lutheran.