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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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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Have the Conversation on LGBTQIA – Part 4

ssHere is my last part of the LGBTQIA conversation presentation. Even as I share these articles, my PowerPoints are changing, correcting and transforming. I plan to continue learning and refining my thoughts.

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Don’t be proud

Dr. Ben Toh recently posted an article about pride. He asked some questions about pride and on his blog gave some questions to help someone determine what a proud person looks like and feels. Having thought and prayed about it for a while. I feel like I might be able to add my conclusions about humanities most ingrained sin.
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My Personal Theology of Intercultural Ministry

c11After reading some of the comments on this site I do agree that the interactions that take place are perfect material for a psychologist to analyze. Sometimes we are talking through or above or below each other, and there is a lot of miscommunication. Our illocutionaries and perlocutionaries don’t always add up. It made me think of the great need we have for intercultural studies and so I wanted to share a short paper I wrote about it recently. The class was called Theology and Practice of Intercultural Ministry.

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Misunderstanding Sin

sHe is IMPORTANT in the church. When a friend shared with me some horrible sin of a person in the church, I said, “For his sake and for the sake of the church, report him to the police.” My friend responded, “But he is an “important” older person in the church.” I am not blaming my friend, who is a genuine, sincere and passionate Christian. But I am addressing a horrible theology that implicitly says, suggests or implies that if someone is “important” (or older) in the church, then we let his sin slide. Really?? Furthermore, what does “importance” (or age) in the church have anything to do with what is right or wrong?

Why do such shocking things happen in the holy church of God? My contention is that our theology (Bible study) always informs our Christian life. As I am studying Romans slowly and deliberately, I am positing a grossly inadequate understanding of sin as to why sin continues to thrive even in the church and often dealt with rather poorly. Continue reading →

The Law Makes You Worse

abcDo’s and don’ts. Don’t flirt. Don’t lust. Don’t watch porno. Don’t date…until you’re ready to marry by faith. Don’t be lazy. Work hard. Prepare for Bible study. Write your repentant testimony. Feed sheep (five a week, or at least one). Don’t complain. Be thankful. Be faithful. Just obey.

It doesn’t work. Though not entirely, yet as a Christian I generally don’t disagree in theory and principle with the above imperatives. The problem is that it doesn’t work! Sooner or later it produces despair and despondency (because I just can’t stop flirting!). Or it produces varying degrees of pride and self-righteousnes (What’s wrong with those rebellious, complaining, disobedient, immature, proud people!). Continue reading →

Question Everything

11 Thessalonians 5:21
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

This is the 11th week of Seminary. The academic challenge I am getting here is very restorative to my faith. There are two classes in particular that are changing the way I view life: Introduction to Theological Research and Hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible). These are the two first classes for any seminary student.
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Methods and Aims

23And there is this difference between the matter of aims and the matter of methods…”- Gk Chesterton, Heretics

I recall a childhood story about a girl from India. She was arranged to marry someone from birth. The girl grew up and fell in love with another man and when the time came for her to marry she told her family no. “But this is how it has always been. You marry the man that has been decided.” But the girl, now woman said “But why does it have to be how it has always been? I will still marry.” This is very much the story of a person trying to change the methods while preserving the ideal. In one sense our task as Christians in judging the aims and means is very easy. For most of us the aim is quite easy to judge. A confusion of methodologies and ideologies is a constant source of problem across many different disciplines and institutions. It is very much the story of a person attempting to break tradition.

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Atonement Lessons From Losing My Dog And Cat

dogLast Sunday, I preached on Gospel Righteousness. My text, Rom 3:21-26, is regarded as “the center and heart of Romans,” “possibly the most important single paragraph ever written,” and “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.” Among the many very important themes of the Bible densely packed in these six verses is the atonement (Rom 3:25), which has been explained (and passionately argued about) in many different ways over the last two centuries of the church. In my attempt to not confuse my congregation of about five dozen people, I decided not to explain the different views of the atonement, but to share two very personal stories about my two pets, a dog and a cat, in my introduction and conclusion of my sermon. Continue reading →