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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture

Live(d) from Soularize--Stripping Down with N.T. Wright

Thursday, October 25, 2007

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There are a few things in life that level the playing field among human beings. One of them is peeing together at urinals. This is so true that some executives have their own pissoirs so that they don't have to be brought down to the common animal level. Another is also animal in nature, or spiritual, and that is nakedness. I rode a boat, sitting with a portly British guy in shorts and red pinstripes, his delightful wife Maggie (Mags) skillfully, humourously, bolstering and pruning her husband's fame and pride. I recounted my now favorite public health sign that we pass everyday in downtown Nassau: "Protect ya Tings. Use a RUBBER everytime" and we all laughed, able to identify with something as animal as sex and the diseases that can plague it. At our island destination, we all ran down the beach, childlike, stripping, and grabbing snorkel gear. Tom and Mags. Caleb and Angela. Spencer. Frank and Theresa. Ian and Ann. Taking pleasure in small colorful fish and bright blue fronds. Laughing, splashing, rain soaking the parts of us not already submurged.

Bishop Tom whipped through the book of Acts in just under an hour. Here it is in parts:

"The whole book is really another day, another riot on the surface. People don't tune in to what the Kingdom meant in the 1st century, but that is the main theme throughout Acts--this is the story of how the Kingdom gets out in the world--the reign of Jesus on earth as in heaven."

"The method has to embody the message-so the gospel wasn't spread with swords."

"Jesus body was thoroughly renewed and at home in both heaven and on earth—they were made for each other and Jesus brought them finally back together and this is the basis for everything that follows. To the Jews, this intersection occurred only in the temple. The entire Christian claim says that this truly and everlastingly happens in Jesus—and he is now in the place where is true for the whole world. The whole world is now God’s holy land. The place of Israel was the signpost for this—don’t mistake the signpost for the reality to which it points."

"Resurrection is life after life after death."

And one of my favorite quotes of Bishop Tom's from this evening in response someone's challenge that Luke purposefully rearranged facts to fit the story of Acts within his predetermined framework (i.e. to directly parallel the structure for the Gospel of Luke:

"You can't tell a story fact by fact without first deciding what it is you want to say. If you’re listening to a narrative without massive selection or arrangement, then you are listening to either a small child or someone who is very drunk."

Evangelicalism in Sheep's Clothing?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

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The term "Missional" has become the new buzz word in churchdom. Everyone wants to be missional even more than everyone wanted to be "emergent"--many eschewed the emergent movement, but only a rare few cast asparagus upon the missional movement. But I fear much of the language used to describe what it means to be "missional" sounds awfully famliar.

Wendell Berry writes: "I have had with my friend Wes Jackson a number of useful conversations about the necessity of getting out of movements — even movements that have seemed necessary and dear to us — when they have lapsed into self-righteousness and self-betrayal, as movements seem almost invariably to do. People in movements too readily learn to deny to others the rights and privileges they demand for themselves...The worst danger may be that a movement will lose its language either to its own confusion about meaning and practice, or to pre-emption by its enemies."

Has "being missional" already been coopted? Is it evangelicalism's last ditch effort at survival? Or is it a true and good pattern of spiritual thought and behavior?