the church reinvented.

Mangiatrice di uominiIn physics, uniform circular motion describes the motion of a body traversing a circular path at constant speed. The distance of the body from the axis of rotation remains constant at all times. Though the body’s speed is constant, its velocity is not: velocity, a vector quantity, depends on both the body’s speed and its direction of travel.

when everything around us looks like its moving, its possible that we might still be standing still. but, sometimes its difficult to see if we have actually moved at all. progression becomes an illusion. but, not progress in the sense of consumerism, but in the sense of evolving/learning. and also not linear. but in the sense that there is a forward motion of some sort outside of linear thinking and time that we are a part of. and so if this is the case, then the church might be in this circular motion inside of linear time. and we need to get church outside of the linear way of thinking. out of progress as an idea attached to consumerism. because the danger is, if the church adheres to what has been then we might continue our circular journey of no forward motion. the church needs to step off the hamster wheel and reassess why its here and what it means to be here.

once we come to these questions we can reinvent ourselves if need be. and in light of society shifting, moving and changing, i think the church must be reinvented. we definitely need to move away from the idea that we need a building to have a meeting. or that we need to sing or that we need to ask for money or that one person should share their views on god. especially if we accept the reality that evangelism isn’t about pushing an agenda of any kind. and so if we work backwards, than the church naturally will have to reinvent itself. not because it MUST stay alive, but because the world needs the church. but not as is. it needs something more and something less.

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world on fire: a midrash on sarah’s lyrics

Sarah Mclachlan is one of my musical heroes and a prophet in her own right. she wrote this song a few years back about the world in crisis and how we should do something about that. and so here is ‘midrash’ (a fancy jewish word, meaning ‘commentary’)

Lyrics:

Hearts are worn in these dark ages
You’re not alone in this story’s pages
The light has fallen amongst the living and the dying

Midrash:  i think this verse is key to understanding suffering. not understanding the why’s of suffering. but coming to the realization that we can’t suffer alone. that we need one another. when the ‘crap hits the fan’, realizing we are not alone in it can be just as healing as getting through it. the world is in disarray, this verse without the chorus would sound much like orthodoxy (we’ve been put here to get out of here) or nihilsm. but there’s hope. it’s friday, but sunday’s coming. and Sarah writes that the dark falls on us all. this is what binds us, the reality that we all go through it, but that we weren’t meant to do it alone.

And I’ll try to hold it in
Yeah I’ll try to hold it in

Midrash: if you just heard this, it would be sorrowful because i think this is an echo of most of our culture. if we see a fight, we encourage it not stop it. if we see something and hesitate than all we do is hold it in. if the world is on fire, it doesn’t have time for people to hesistate. but people who willingly, at the risk of their own lives and well-being step in and respond and do something culturally sensitive and relative to the situation

The world’s on fire it’s more than I can handle
I tap into the water and try to bring my share
I try to bring more, more than I can handle
I’ll bring it to the table
I’ll bring what I am able

Midrash:  i think that was the message of the cross. bring more than you can handle. die to your own safety. bring out of your lack. in fact, the author of hebrews describes faith as something that comes out of our lack (the unseen).
we must be willing to overextend ourselves for the other. not for the outsider, there are not outsiders. humanity is one body, maybe the ‘body’ paul was talking about. and so we need each other. and we need to know we each have something to bring and that we have a responsibility to bring it.
I watch the heavens but I find no calling
Something I can do to change whats coming
Stay close to me while the sky’s falling
I don’t wanna be left alone, don’t wanna be alone

Midrash: for me, one of the more striking verse. sarah is pulling on her catholic faith experience here. she looks to the place where she thinks will have all the answers — heaven, up there, somewhere…but her remedy…not wanting to be left alone. there is something incredibly divine not being alone. sometimes ‘we’ are the only god we have to get us through. sometimes, life is out of our control, but having someone there with you while the sky is falling is quite liberating while we sit helpless and let the sky fall (not a passive kind that is).

Hearts break, hearts mend, love still hurts
Visions clash, planes crash, still there’s talk of
Saving souls, still the cold’s closing in on us

Midrash: again, a bit of sarcasm towards ‘religious remedies’. and how the power of a love-act still costs someone something. and that even in the midst of people doing great things, there is still the reality/dichotomy that evil is still being perpetrated and so we need more people are willing to bring the water. like someone once said, ‘bad things happen when good men do nothing’.

We part the veil on our killer son
Stray from the straight line on this short run
The more we take, the less we become
A fortune of one man means less for some

Midrash: i could write so much on this, as i am sure you can as well. what we have to realize that in the middle of all of our excuses of why we don’t do what we know we should, is the realization that we help in the death of others. that isn’t a comfortable place to come to. and that our need for consumerism create lack for those how have little or nothing. it is realizing that are decisions here, effect others over there. and that all of ‘toys’ aren’t needed and when we think we have what we need or want, we forget those who don’t. we use our things to make us happy and forget those in lack. as james the writer wrote once, ‘brothers (sisters), this should not be so!’

unethical heterology: unintentional conversation

Heterology

The absence of correspondence, or relation, in type of structure; lack of analogy between parts, owing to their being composed of different elements, or of like elements in different proportions; variation in structure from the normal form; — opposed to homology

we have intentions. we tend to be people of purpose. people who go places and accomplish things. some might call that progressive consumerism. and unfortunately, it has snuck into the church. moreso in the halls of evangelism. in the greek, the word is euangellion. at the root of the word are the verbs to teach and to learn. yep, learn is a verb. actively learning. listening. and engaging.

and so unethical heterology is this idea that says we should be able to come into conversations without intentions. or if there is any, it is to solely to connect to that person. not to convert them. but to learn from them. to be transformed. and sure, if they get something out of it, great, but it isn’t our intention to ‘school’ them.

and so maybe we need a new word all together. maybe we need to scrap the word evangelism, yes the one from the bible that was used then for a purpose has since changed into a purpose for brainwashing. so, could we use the word conversation. its nothing new in the scheme of semantics, but it does change the playing field. conversation dissolves the intentions of that purpose, or one would hope so. and it allows us to step back from the need to feel responsible to change another. it then becomes only about loving the other. and so the higher reality is about loving the other, nothing else. listening, learning, teaching, growing, transforming. i think we need this more than we need the orthodox theological framework of evangelism. don’t you?

faith is letting go of religion

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see Hebrews 11

in hebrews, the author talks about faith in terms of what we lack. it is the unseen we that we have. now, if we think of the unseen in terms of lacking something, than it is in our lack that we can create things. it is in our need or out of it that we can create out of nothing. the idea of faith here in Hebrews is talked of in terms of ‘ex nihilo’, the same phrase to describe how god created the earth — out of nothing. the author is not only saying we could create out of nothing, but that faith itself is the act of creating out of nothing, i think its important to remember that the hebrew word for faith is a verb not a noun, it is an action. but this is so different from ‘faith without works’ — that is why i think we need to remove faith from religion and come to realize that faith is drastically different than a system of beliefs. faith is the defiantly hopeful act of living out of our lack, religion says we need more and more. religion advocates consumerism. faith advocates losing our religion. we need less to do more. we need less to be more. we need to divorce ourselves from religion to experience faith. faith isn’t claiming a belief, it is letting it go.

are we learning or arriving; is god learning or arriving…

sin is described in hebrew as not making it to your destination. it is about personal potential. there is some great resources on some of this understanding over at: http://www.chabad.org. In Hebrew, this word is chait. Again, it has to do with not fulfilling who you were meant to be.

some thoughts in process theology believe that god himself is in process. that god is learning or evolving. but, he is the first to learn when ‘truth’ becomes truth. he is the first to know when knowledge becomes knowledge.

some friends and i were talking about contradictions in the creation story, how there are two or possibly more creation stories between Genesis chapter one and two. and the word for void in the hebrew (for chapter 1, early on) means wasteland, it presumes there was something there before. and the assumption from jewish scholars and some christian theologians is that there might have been another earth before our earth as we know it. so, the question is, if god is learning or in process…did he sin? again, sin isn’t the epidemic problem that is sometimes seen in orthodox scripture…it is not living to your full potential. and so if god is in process…then isn’t safe to say that he also is learning like us. and the assumption in the Genesis 1 account, if it is rendered right, that God didn’t live up to his full potential because he had to re-create a better earth. i know how heretical this idea is, and i am not sure i am onboard with it, but am asking the question to anyone who is willing to ask it and research with me. again, first step is to remove all the orthodoxy behind the terms here and restart fresh…and why is this important…well, it is only important in the sense that if God is evolving, then the process of evolving is quite huge to our existence and we must be okay with it as a necessary process and begin moving away from progress in terms of consumerism. because once we embrace the idea that we are in process than we constantly learn rather trying to arrive.

pink is for girls, blue is for buys and other lies…

pink is for girls. blue is for boys. girls are made with spice and everything nice. guys aren’t supposed to cry. women are supposed to be the cooks and in the kitchn, guys are supposed to be outside fixing things. guys are the ‘bread-winners’, women are the home-makers. and many many more…

our society is riddled with certain cultural expectations and their own version of the cultural ten commandments. we live in a society that frames a lot of our thinking. if you feel old, well then, L’Oreal has the answer for you. if you don’t feel adequate enough as a man, well there’s always Cialis. we live in a society that projects that it has the answers to everything and for everything. and without knowing, we take their cue and embed the snyaptic paradigm within our psyche and everyday living. instead of having answers, instead of subconsciously following the crowd and willingly turning ourselves into the victims, i would ask why we don’t challenge all of the status quo’s? why don’t we see life as a blank slate the clears the canvas moment-by-moment? this is some of the idea behind a generous version of ‘Carpe Diem’. this is more than philosophy or cultural theory going on, this is about awakening to the reality that we are more than our society. that we are not the sum of our television commercials, and that we are responsible for not following their cues, but making and inventing new ones for others to follow. maybe follow is a bad word, because it connotes that we are trying to make conversions or disciples, maybe if we can see culture as a testing ground for new ways of seeing the world, maybe a catalyst might be a better word. a place where we can all come together and become inventors in our own right, and that that act doesn’t create followers, but is a catalyst to inspire the divine spark to show up and demonstrate itself in the acts of creation, death, invention, grace and peace. the more we spend time trying to make converts for our worldview, the more like Wal-Mart we all become. society shouldn’t tell us how to do things. society should be taking cues from us, not in one of those arrogant, i am better than you attitudes, but one where we all can learn to catalyse the ‘us’ we were all meant to be. i think a good place to start would be to ask how am i being effected by the society around me? how can i effect society? how can i challenge the subliminal messages and counter-intuitive media-drenched philosophies that fly through the air that somehow tell me who I should/shouldn’t be? the moment we began asking these questions is the moment the boy can go and buy pink socks, if he wants to, and the day the woman can step out of the kitchen into the world of creativity and the moment humanity can start working together to change culture rather than being told what to do.