> I was talking to a new friend who works with minority inmates transitioning into society in the final year of their sentence. My friend runs a farm so that A) there is a revenue stream and B) the inmates develop practical skills for employment after they are released.
We were talking about the struggles to raise money and the irony that the bigger the church is, the less likely they are to give financially to a ministry that is not housed with them (I have heard this from a number of people).
It was an educational conversation on many levels.
There was one story that really got my attention. It was about a preacher on the radio (this preacher would be well known to almost everyone reading this) who was talking about some of the conflicts in the Book of Acts.
The preacher was saying that even in the early church (and all throughout church history) there has been all sorts of conflict about opinions over behavior in living out the faith. Food was an example – opinions about who could eat when and what someone else ate that you wouldn’t be o.k. eating. Same with drink. Some are o.k. with drinking some things that others think they shouldn’t be drinking.
Side note: This is always an interesting conversation with someone from a different background, from a different culture or of a different race.
Then the story turned (as my friend reported it to me). The preacher then said “its like people who don’t have a house being critical of christian leaders who have two or three houses. That is none of their business. They shouldn’t have an opinion on that.”
My friend was somewhere between flustered and perplexed. We got talking about economic theory, the nature of conservatism, and current excesses in capitalism.
I said “It’s even worse than that … what the preacher did!”
Stop: take a minute and think about how you feel about christian leaders having 2 or 3 homes and if you object, why you object.
My Take: I use to think about this in a “status” way or even “substance” way by trying get down to the possible motive behind buying 3 houses.
Now, I try to look at it through a Relationship lens. In that light, the preacher switched the conversation. He changed the categories. When you are talking about eating with someone – you are talking about being in relationship. SO if I eat something that offends your conscience, then it effects our connection – our fellowship.
The difference is that if you have a big house (or multiple houses) and you go there – it can takes us out of relationship. It does not have us in fellowship. You going to your house is the opposite of us coming to the table together. They are not the same thing.
My point is that eating together brings us into relationship. You have 3 homes that you can go to and me not having one takes us out of relationship.
If you try to address this through Status language or attempt to analyze this through Structural constructs (like Economics) then you may miss why two christians eating together and religious leaders owning 2 or 3 houses are not the same thing.
I think that it is important to think about this for its relational component.
add a comment here and let me know what you think. or you can jump over the website where the conversation is underway
my friend Russ Pierson (who has started a world traveling Dmin of Global Leadership at George Fox) and I had an interesting conversation about Ecology. He had asked the twitterverse why the giant split between Theology and Ecology. I replied that i thought it was a natural consequence of the Greek Dualism inherited by western European thinkers and over the centuries morphed into the present worldview.
to listen to the podcast [link ]
My 2 year contract with the my Cell phone provider ran out this month and so I ungraded.
I am 24 hours in. I REALLY like my new phone and the things that it does.
Two little observations:
I got a phone that would not communicate with my old phone in order to bring over my address book. I am going to have to figure out how to sync the phone with my computer’s address book this weekend.
Until then I have a problem. When someone sends me a text message, their name does not come up alongside their note. It is just numbers that I do not recognize as I am use to seeing names and not numbers.
SO here is my observation: the content of a message makes little sense apart from the knowledge of who sent it for context.
Thought: You can read something, but without knowing who said it or where they are – it feels like you are missing more than half of the message.Continue Reading →
I have recently moved to Southern California (from the Pacific Northwest and the NorthEastern United States before that) and I have been thinking about a theme that I wrote about in my master thesis. First a story .
My nephew and I went to church our first week here. We were two of the five white people at the service. It was primarily a Japanese and Korean congregation with some Hispanic and a few Blacks. I had a wonderful talk with my nephew on the way home about A) the future of America and B) the irony of him being from Montana where the white/non-white split may actually be at exact inverse proportions to our church service.
I also started a new program in Practical Theology (sound like an oxymoron to most) at a school that is preparing for the future by taking a bold look at religious diversity, inter-faith engagements and the future of pluralism.
All of this got me thinking about these things that will play major roles in our lifetime:
– the Shift toward the global south
-the changing demographics of North America
-and the Post-Modern shift in thinking.
I will tackle the first two here Continue Reading →
Time magazine has had two really interesting articles recently. The provide a fascinating contrast and raise some significant question about gender & power.
How Pakistan’s Floods Have Made Women Too Visible [LINK]
The public mixing of the genders is leading to enormous tension and fear that violence may break out as men try to defend conservative ideas of honor
The State of the American Woman [LINK]
A quiet revolution has changed the status of American women; so what’s new now? Plus: a TIME opinion poll on gender
My thought revolves around the idea that generically many of us would agree that humility and modesty are good things (?) – but are these the ramifications of men being in charge of women’s modesty… I got some interesting responses (on Facebook) to both that idea and the articles themselves.
– No. These are ramifications of men “protecting” their property and keeping it from making them look”bad”.
– Men shouldn’t take charge of womens’ modesty. Women should take charge of their own modesty; unfortunately, many just don’t care.
– Modesty, at it’s heart, should have to do with each sex respecting the other. It is only good and helpful when it is a woman’s choice and men are not enforcing it. It is not a man’s job to enforce female behaviors.
about the article:
– So, we’ve traded oppression for increased stress and responsibility. It is a great advancement from property to personhood, but the relationships still need tons of work. Regarding the unhappiness of American women, options are good (in terms of what we “produce” with our lives), but we should maybe pick a few things from the smorgasboard instead of striving constantly for the “I can do it all” (Wonderwoman) award…a tough discipline when you have high expectations of yourself…
– hmmm…so many thoughts on this one. I think the takeaway point is it’s NOT about who has power…it’s about constantly giving away what power people DO have to those who DO NOT have around us, regardless of sex,gender,race, or creed.
My question is ‘what about when power is not freely given away?’
This was something that I wrote for the Everyday Theology podcast. I thought that it fit here.
Things are necessarily complicated. That is why simple answers often don’t satisfy. This is especially true when it comes to human concerns: sociology, relationships, family systems, psychology etc.
I listened to a presentation the other day that was anti-hunting. I tried to listen with an open mind but I kept coming back to the thought “but you’re going to have to do something”. As sprawl continues to become a reality in most locations, human activity is ever encroaching on the deer’s habitat and we removed their natural predators. Damage to gardens and lawns make the deer a ‘suburban nuisance’. Overpopulation leads to chronic wasting disease. Increased populations become a real hazard for driving. I heard about one state where the insurance company sponsors bowhunting classes. Simple answers like “people shouldn’t shoot Bambi’s mom” just don’t work. Things are complicated and the answers often have to be nuanced and multi-layered.
I like that old quote attributed to H. L. Mencken
“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”
This is why I am a big fan of Emergence thinking.Continue Reading →