Worship Art

Erin was a part of Rehobeth UMC’s worship service Sunday doing her worship arts painting. She had not done this in quite a few years so it was really exciting and a little nerve racking. She did great, as you might expect, and the folks there were very appreciative.

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What Google Images Teaches Me about My Faith

Maybe it is me, but I find myself troubled by the things that Google Image shows me about the faith that I claim. This is significant in my opinion because google will push those things that are referenced or used the most to the top because they have been deemed as having the most worth & credibility for that particular search. I would put the bible in this thought captured in image, but it is boringly predictable. So..

WORSHIP

I probably have the most issue with worship.. Seriously, these black silouette hands raised is the predominate image for worship?.. really?..

DOCTRINE

Doctrine doesn’t get a good rap with the image folks. It also gets mixed up with politics and other cultural items.. Is that telling us something?

GOD

I’m glad to know that God is pretty much the same yesterday, today and forever. Except for that muscle character HE is some nice shining lights with a white beard.

THEOLOGY

I must say, I liked the motivation theology poster a whole lot. contemplated making that my laptop wallpaper. It is intriguing the images constructed to try to explain theology. Throwing out the 10 commandments makes for a limited theology in ways, might not be a bad thing though.

PREACHER

This one kinda freaked me out…

PASTOR

I like the safe pastor look better.. Except for maybe that guy in the top right.. Or the movie Troy, not a very good movie.

BAPTISM

I suppose another arms up in the air type image is suitable. I did find that infant baptism rising to the top in so majority of images to be interesting. But maybe those are just baby dedications..

SERMON

I suppose with two or three Sermon on the Mount images we can call this legit. At least there isn’t a benny hinn pic.

PRAYER

Boy am I glad my mommy taught me to fold my hands together and hid in dark lit rooms because apparently that is the way to go about praying to God.

JUSTICE

The gothic nature of all these images has me shaking my head.. Maybe justice is just for goth people.

CHURCH

I like how there are no people in the churches. That’s nice.. Wait a second….

COMMUNION

I could have chosen Eucharist, but those results were too catholic. Reminds me of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “You must choose wisely.” Looking at these, we seem to want to choose poorly.

Last but not least

JESUS

I like my white soft skinned Jesus. Especially the contemplative sensitive type. But when I go out on Friday night I want Buddy Christ!

NOTE: If you are curious, I didn’t do any scrolling for these. This is the first set of results in each case.

So what does this tell you about your faith?

 

Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, Changes in Gay Marriage

There is a interesting set up graphs from the Pew Research group on the peoples perception/view of gay marriage categorized by groupings.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Not surprising that an overall divide of opinion is about half & half (graph 1)
  • Not surprised to see that the youngest generations are more in favor of a gay marriage (graph 2). Percentages have exceeded a majority which is interesting and also lends to a huge divide in values between a church’s viewpoint (graph 3).
  • Not surprising is the breakdown of the Christian faith categories. Though I might say that such a high differential between the Catholic and Mainline Protestant views & the Religiously Unaffiliated. Again, a huge values divide there (graph 3)
  • Was kinda surprised a more moderate voice in the Republican party didn’t bring the political viewpoint a little bit closer to the Democratic / Independent view (which are almost identical). Though a difference is expected, it was a huge divide there and is probably that hill many republican conservatives are willing to die, or live/campaign on (graph 4).
  • Graph 5 is probably right where I’d expect our culture. Conservatives & Liberals are riding their lines and are quite set in those. The Moderates might be like me, you’d favor it, but you are not sure that it is in the whole country’s interest to force it so you’d opt for a conservative/cautious approach. Some then are probably just good either way.

One thing was plugging at my thoughts reading this. An institution, like my church tribe, cannot survive with one or two generations of people apathy towards it. There needs to be some reconciliation that would bring some relational & passionate connection towards the Gen X’ers & Millennials, not to mention the generation after Millennials who are probably going to be more affirming, within the church so that it can survive a values divide. Tough call there as a theology could be debated on either side and the long tradition of the church leans against. Changing just because culture is shifting isn’t the most divine way to change, but it has done so for less than divine reasons before.. Tough call, but a call that needs to be made sometime soon or continue a slow death

Jesus is the shirtless guy : following is the new leading

i'm pondering this quick little ted talk by derek sivers this morning. i caught this idea to be quite radical in shift in the way we look at leadership.

"it was the first follower that transformed the lone nut, into a
leader… if you really care about starting a movement, have the
courage to follow and show others how to follow."

as with most things it has me pondering of faith.. wondering if Jesus is the nut, then who is the follower who showed us how to follow? Saint Paul? some of the Disciples?

where am i in this? am i the guy that's trying to get attention by some silly song and dance or do i need to figure out how i show to follow better?

i think if we asked Christ about the idea of following to lead he'd be pretty stoked by it.

pondering : when in the soul of the serene disciple

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When in the soul of the serene disciple

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

by thomas merton, selective poems of..

photo by paul stevenson creative commons

making a splash in social media : its okay to loose control

i liked this little ted talk presentation on social media, in part, because it is short and tells a simple story. the learning point that i would suggest my church tribe needs to take a hold of is, “its okay to loose control” and that “no longer does the message come from the top down.”

we can all think about how ‘the world is flat’ and everyone has an equal voice to traditional media institutions and powers & that was really scary to them a number of years ago (might still be). but if you embrace that others are talking maybe not just about you, but with you, then they are people to lift up and share the genuine voice/face of your ultimate cause.

but, the control factor comes into play.. ‘what will they say next?’ etc.. well, as someone who comes from a religious background, we say that one needs to have ‘faith’.. yes, novel concept, but a good concept when one practices it. my experience though is that people really only have faith as long as it falls within their boundaries of human control. with that, we miss out on the possible beauty bound up in the mystery of individuals and community. i hope for a day when my tribe’s structural institutions that helped it to get a certain status and size, see the way to get out of the way and have faith in its community to do something remarkable.