Between the Ditches of Manifestos and Non-Sense

Ditch. Neatly cut ditch

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Blogs fall into the ditches of either trying to write Manifestos or blithering over non-sense and slathering opinion about everything from politics to sports to fashion. I’ve tried over the years not to fall into these ditches. Granted, I write about a variety of things, and I try to keep this blog filled with original writing not just copied or quoted stuff, but I’m attempting to keep it to my experience.

Let me give an example. When I was a missionary in Uganda, we missionaries would often observe the nation we lived in and ask why the government didn’t just do this or that. We probably felt we had some answers, but the fact is we weren’t in position to really solve national problems. We had enough trouble just helping a small band of Christ-followers in a handful of churches to move forward.

In the same way, the blog I write ought to be about things I am experiencing, whether in my personal, family, work, reading, recreation, or prayer life. So I’ll try to spare you long manifestos about how to solve problems in your organization or non-sense about my favorite foods. What I try to offer here is something of a life that can inspire you to reflect on your own and how to be more human, more like Jesus, more of the person God is making you to be.

Outsider Interviews

From Publishers Weekly: Inspired by and supported with a foreword by David Kinnaman, author of the bestselling unChristian, this tandem book/DVD puts faces on Kinnaman’s findings on Christianity’s image problem. In four cities, the authors interviewed Christians but also agnostics, atheists, Muslims, gays, and other groups Christians are believed to reject. At the heart of the problem, they’ve discovered, is a Christian “swagger” that repels would-be Christians. They advocate the persuasive power of listening and truly liking people, choosing to use the word “like” rather than the overused “love.” In their words: “Jesus is the God who likes people.” Each chapter includes tie-ins to the DVD interviews and a reader’s guide for discussion. The book’s narrative, which recreates the road trip the authors took to do their interviews, seems self-indulgent and boring. But the combined impact of the book and DVD is stunning: the authors have heard and noted important ways Christians can improve their outreach by being more like Jesus, who meets people where they are. (July)

One man’s search for God in the cosmos

This journey of a minister to reconcile his faith with the natural world and wonder and mystery has been a fascinating read for me. Check this out.

I'm reading this book at the recommendation of a good friend, Jon Hart. Author Bruce Sanguin is minister of Canadian Memorial Church & Centre for Peace in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Because of a particular conception of the nature of God (in which God occasionally intervenes in history, but otherwise exists outside of natural processes), many clergy, liberal and conservative, tend to dismiss these experiences* as flaky, or more dramatically as heretical. Admittedly, as [Richard] Tarnas points out, we can get carried away, rendering every triviality in our lives with deep purpose and meaning. There is also a danger of spiritual narcissism, in which everything that happens is significant only in relation to one’s own reality.”

Many churches negate these experiences, risking disassociation with the natural world and God’s involvement. Some overemphasize them, risking spiritual narcissism. Sanguin’s call is for re-connecting the Spirit of God within, above, below, behind, and in front of all creation, and this is his foundation for the book as he builds on an ecological ethic. I’ve not finished the book and don’t agree with his total package, but finding this a worldview expanding and intellectually recharging read.

*He had referred earlier in the chapter to experiences that are variously called miracles, supernatural, random, coincidence, what Carl Jung calls “synchronicity”–no, not talking about the Police/Phil Collins CD.