The Nuances of Honesty: Criticism and Cynicism

cy“Criticism- doubt informed by curiosity and a deep knowledge of a discipline related to your work…

Cynicism- doubt resulting from ignorance and antiquated ways.” (1)

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Matthew 15

honorI have heard tradition described accurately as giving a vote to our ancestors. As with all principles, the principle which explains the law supersedes it. In Mat 15 Jesus says as much when he says “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” The Law of God had been equated with the tradition of the Jews. This is the point of the accusation “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?” Continue reading →

Why So Many Are Done With UBF

ChurchRefugeesScreen-ShotAdmin note: Committed Christians–including more and more 2nd gens–leaving UBF is a reality that some leaders do not wish to face, acknowledge, address or discuss. So I thought that Joe’s recent comment was a such a short, sweet and succinct as well as savory, succulent and scrumptious comment. I felt bad that this would so easily get lost in the thousands of comments that UBFriends has. So I decided to re-post it as a short lead article. Continue reading →

They want Christ, not Christians

c123“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”- Mahatma Gandhi

Going back to Seminary produces mixed feelings in me. Seminary has been so crucial to my spiritual growth this past year, but the school that I study at is also very conservative. I have to look a certain way (even in the gym there is a dress code), think a certain way (premillennial dispensational), and hold certain political/social views (usually conservative republican). Basically I have to toe the party line and keep the status quo. This is not a necessarily bad thing, it’s a part of being in a community. In the church the “we” is bigger than the “me.” This means that I have to be extra careful in the way I dress, speak, write, blog, etc. Often I have to remain silent on topics that mean so much to me. I have to be careful with the discussions I have with my classmates, I don’t want to pick fights. My prayer is to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. (Please do not misunderstand, I love my school, but I don’t agree with everything. In this post, my goal is not cynicism, but authenticity).

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Are you in a Christian ministry?

chBefore we publish MJ’s excellent new article, I want to share a few mid-week thoughts. Ben’s recent comment about being HOT (honest, open and transparent) prompted me to come up with a top 10 list, Letterman style, to find out if your ubf chapter is a Christian ministry or not. Can you be HOT at your ubf chapter? These 10 statements are normal and healthy. Even a really messed up Christian church would have little concern over these statements. What does your ubf shepherd say about these things? Can you share some of these things every Friday in your testimony (or reflection, sogam, whatever they call it now)?

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I am not Anti-War, I am Pro-Peace

fr“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”- Mother Theresa

Change your words; change your worth

In an earlier article, I mentioned how language dictates reality In this article I will talk about how words change worth. The other day, I was watching a clip about Adam Braun the author of “The Promise of a Pencil.” His book describes his personal journey of starting a “for purpose” business that has opened 200 schools around the world, and he started with only $25. In the book he says, “Change your words, change your worth.” This is why he uses the phrase “for purpose business” instead of “nonprofit.”

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End The Endless Self-Pruning…

KevinJesmer…And Instead Dwell In Christ.

Admin note: Reading Kevin’s testimony, I immediately resonated with what he shared below. I know that the Christian life should be full of love, joy and peace (Gal 5:22), as well an overflowing and abundant life (Jn 10:10b). But after a quarter of a century as a Christian, I was experiencing anger, joylessness and anything but peace–perhaps like Kevin after 26 years of “endless self-pruning” as a Christian, as he vividly shares in Part 2: Lost in my human efforts to love God. The Christian life felt to me very much like such a torturous unbearable drag. At that time I didn’t quite know why. But I knew that I needed to seriously re-evaluate my life as a Christ-follower…and make major drastic changes if I were to restore my joy of intimacy with my Lord. See if you can relate to Kevin pouring out his heart in what he shares below.

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (NIV).

Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (NIV).
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Walking in the Shoes of the Other

bEmpathy. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I am blessed and cursed with empathy. It’s one of my top 5 strengths based on multiple personality tests. Empathy is a curse for me because I readily understand the feelings of other people but I have almost no ability to express those feelings. This drives my wife crazy and creates much agony for me. I am finding some relief however through writing books. Some have asked me why I don’t understand the views of the Korean missionaries and criticize them so much. Well, I only criticize after knowing how they feel and figuring out what I believe will help them. For 24 years I walked in the shoes of Korean missionaries. Then I started walking in the shoes of former members.

Today I would like to share with you the most impressive example of empathy I’ve yet come across. If I am blessed with empathy, then my new friend Timothy Kurek is doubly blessed. Timothy Kurek is the author of The Cross in the Closet. Recently he did a TedTalk. Please listen to his story of empathy as it is highly applicable to our UBF situation. Can you walk in the shoes of a former member?

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You eat-a no meat-a?!

s1“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.”

― Søren KierkegaardEither/Or: A Fragment of Life

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