The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Posts tagged ‘Post-Modernism’

Response to John Piper Part 2

Welcome to the bonus blog entry of New Direction, where we search the Spirit, Scripture and more discovering the New Direction God is leading his church in this post modern culture.  Today, we take a  look at a statement from John Piper stating that those who walks away from the viable, traditional church, walk away from Jesus.
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New Direction – Series

Salutations.

Through the centuries, God’s spirit has led his people in new directions.  Using pillars of fire and cloud, He took his people from Egypt to the promised land.  With His Son, He showed us the higher law of love.  With an outpouring of His Spirit, He gave His body new gifts and abilities.  Throughout the centuries, God has used men and organizations to carry out His Will and demonstrate His Glory.  While God’s truth never changes, His direction to us often does.  Every step of the way, some held stubbornly onto the old ways and traditions.  However, in each generation, God found those willing to follow Him in a New Direction!

Today, we see just that.  The aged approach of institutional churches continues to lose effectiveness in a post modern culture.  Followers of Jesus search for what it means to BE the church.  Some have even left these organizations, while many more stay in, struggling to understand their role in the body of Christ.  Their hearts long to be used to love others as Jesus commanded.  At the same time, through the Holy Spirit, some of His children continue to discover fresh ways to read God’s Word, work in exciting, new ministries and reach out to the lost.

On “New Direction,” we explore this new movement.  Join me as I share insight from the Bible, our forefathers, Christians siblings, and even life experiences.  Together we will seek God’s face in reaching this post-modern culture and glorifying Him.  Subscribe to the Youtube channel (below) for a new video nearly every week, jump in the discussion right here on on my blog and join us, so we may reason together.  May God bless you.

The next entry in New Direction is here.

Actions Speak Louder

handsNote: This is part of a series dealing with Christianity and Post Modernism.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  – Kevin Max

“We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.”   ― Billy Graham

After I accepted Christ, I spent must time studying Christian theology.  I wanted to know God better, experience Him as best as possible, and live a victorious life in Christ like the apostles.  I read numerous books, listened to many pastors and took any and all opportunities to learn from other siblings in the faith.  I learned quite a bit.  However, it took me decades to notice a concerning trend.  As a group and culture, we Christians seem more concerned having the correct ‘theology’ than actually living the life.

For some reason, I see 90% of my readers closing this page after reading that last line…but, please, hold on tight.

To properly lead others to Christ, we need both love, communicated through actions, and truth, communicated through words.  Love without actions, or actions without love, becomes meaningless.  And without truth, neither of these matter.  Timothy Keller said,

“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”

samarFew Christians would argue with this.  Most preachers would teach upon the above.  However, in our evangelical culture, we spend a lot more time talking and teaching theology than we do living out the life of truthful love and action.  Such an approach comes off as prideful boasting, and the world sees it.  A recent poll by Barna shows that over half of Americans think evangelical Christians act more like Pharisees, than Jesus.  ( https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/611-christians-more-like-jesus-or-pharisees#.VKgRzSvF_D8 ) .  In the comic book industry, we have a saying… show, do not tell.  Some comic creators, myself included, have a tendency to add a lot of exposition to our story, when showing those same details through actions would get the point across much more effectively (and memorably).

Now, I do not mean to imply that Christians do not love, take action or give.  Many do show their devotion to Christ through action on a regular basis.  However, if one measure the amount of time, money and talent wrapped up in teaching theology versus the time, money and talent dedicated to giving and serving as Jesus did, we would find a huge variance.  And the world notices.

A pastor I listen to spent nearly a dozen weeks (three months), discussing preterism… the belief that Jesus already returned after his resurrection, fulfilling those prophesies regarding his second coming.  My wife and I listened, somewhat interested.  However, I could not help but notice, what if the entire group of listeners took those 18 hours, and, as a group, worked to make a difference in someone’s life…or in each other?  What if, instead of talking about the love of Jesus, we showed it?

I do not advocate a complete 180.  We do need preaches and teachers.  The Bible explains that to us numerous times.  Jesus, himself, preached.  However, I advocate a better balance between how we spend our time, talent and money as the body of Christ.  To show the world the love of Christ, which He commands us to do, will require a massive change in how we gather, think and walk in our daily lives.  I pray that you will join me in asking God to challenge our hearts to shine His light in front of man.

Mat 5.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

John 13.34  A new commandment I give to you,that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

James 2.14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

Salutations.

First, and foremost, I hope that everyone out there enjoys the blessings of our Lord and Savior today… whether you celebrate Christmas, or something else.

As  I monitor the news I have noted that the “Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holiday” wars continue to escalate.  Recently, a store owner posted “Merry Christmas” on her store window, along with a picture of a manger scene.  She received some scathing emails in return.  Allow me to share my somewhat rare view on the matter.
yellingHere’s the thing. The heart of the matter, is a matter of the heart.  You cannot force people to believe in God. The changes in our government and culture, (e.g., changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” or removing prayer from schools) are merely the symptoms of the core concern…. a turning away, by the people in this country as a whole, away from God.  So, screaming the loudest and insisting people use and/or allow “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” will not solve the problem.  Jesus, through his ministry, showed us that change come from inside, by walking with Christ in faith.  He never encouraged His disciples to join government or protests in an effort to force cultural changes from the outside in.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  As an American, I believe in our rights of free speech.  Private citizens should have the protected right to say “Merry Christmas” without fear of violence or anything along those lines.  However, actions have consequences, and God calls us to act with the wisdom of serpents.  Paul lived his live within the context of his culture that he might be all things to all people so that he might win some for the glory of God.  It seems to me that by drawing this line in the sand we waste time and energy over a secondary matter by trying to force people to embrace our point of view.  Again, this seems contrary to the spirit of Jesus’ message.

We would do well do consider how we, as a country, got to this point in the first place.  Now, my mother raised her boy to take responsibility.  Which means, when I face a problem with multiple causes, like this, I should seek out any of those I can take responsibility for, first… and spend as little time as possible blaming others.  That does not mean other factors did not play a role, nor does it mean that the problem would not benefit from others helping to fix the issue.  However, if we waste time blaming each other, we do not solve the problem.  Instead, each of us should take responsibility and moves forward, addressing anything within our power.  Doing so, we cover a lot more distance.  With that said, why have we, as a country, fallen so far away from God?  And what should we, as believers, do about it?

Brennan Manning said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  As I mentioned in an earlier post, America (and most western cultures) began moving to a post modern style many decades ago.  Yet, most churches and pepole of faith have changed slowly, if at all.  They continue to show their faith with talking, use of logic and debates, rather than actions, relationships and stories.

I know I paint with some mighty broad strokes here.  However, ask a few non-believing friend about their perceptions of Christians, as a whole.  The answers may shock you.  An article I read recently completed a poll study, showing,

A majority of unchurched Americans (79 percent) think that Christianity today is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people; 86 percent believe they can have a good relationship with God without being involved in church.

letyour“These outsiders are making a clear comment that churches are not getting through on the two greatest commandments,” to love God and love your neighbor, said McConnell.

What they see the church as is “candles, pews and flowers, rather than people living out their love for God by loving others,” he noted. “Such skepticism can only be overcome by churches and believers who demonstrate the unity and love for which Jesus prayed.”

Jesus said “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Let those of us who want to see a Christian country, state, county or neighborhood…heck…even just our family… keep these things in mind and start with the man, or woman, in the mirror 🙂  If we want others to believe in Christ (and, by extension, the true meaning of Christmas), let us dedicate ourselves to living out His love and truth every, single day.

Jesus said, ” let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Therefore, let us get down on our hands and knees, and first seek God for faith and true righteousness.  Let us remember what culture we live in, and dedicate ourselves to winning them over on their terms, the way Paul did.  Jesus died for us, so let us live every day to glorify Him and love others as He commanded us to.  By doing so, we will show them the real reason for the season, and a glimpse into the heart of God.

More on Post Modernism

Salutations.

I apologize for the lack of blogs this week.  My employer sent me on a special project in another state, which consumed nearly every waking moment at my disposal.  Having returned back home, I now take time to catch up with some of the thoughts I started a week or so ago.  I have read numerous articles and have found these to provide the best insight. (more…)

A Post Modern Change

Salutations.

A few years ago, I started this blog as a place to practice my writing, using mostly fictional stories and characters from my comics.  Later, I started to write more theological centered missives as I dove into various studies.  For the last 15 months, these studies have featured heavily in my blog, focusing on looking at issues logically.  A few months ago, I also started to journal my trek through the older Dragon Quest series.

When I started my blog, and made those decisions to change some of its direction, I did so with three goals in mind.  First, I wanted to practice my writing in order to improve.  For the most part, I feel that I have done well in that area over the years.  Second, I desired to get some serious fictional writing done.  Unfortunately, while I have completed some work, I still need better focus to making substantial progress here.  Third, I published all of this on a public blog so that it may encourage others to walk closer with God.

Lately, I have studied the post modernistic mindset.  For those who do not know, post modernism is “a late-20th-century style and concept in the arts, architecture, and criticism that represents a departure from modernism and has at its heart a general distrust of grand theories and ideologies as well as a problematical relationship with any notion of “art.”  This movement, which started in the mid to late 60’s, impacts the way most people (under 50) think and process information.  For example, a post modern person responds poorly to someone preaching truth to them, as they generally ‘distrust grand theories and ideologies.”  Instead, they would find a life lived demonstrating that theology far more instructive.

The implications of this movement go much deeper than I could cover in a paragraph, or even several blog posts.  For those who wish to learn more, I leave you to exercise your powers of Google-Fu.  However, in praying about reaching out to this generation, and reading more on the subject, I feel I have a better idea of how I may attain my third goal which.  The solution, in part, actually assists with my second goal, as well.

First, I will shift focus on my theological writings from ideological to more personal.  A lot goes on in the world today.  I turn on the news, and I see all kinds of social ills.  The Bible has answers for them, and I have opinions…but, moving forward, you will see less of that on my blog.  Unless an issue affects me directly, or some people ask me to do a Bible study write up on it, I will ignore those in favor of writing about those topics that more directly impact me.  While I always back up my theological assertions with scriptures and reasons, the main thrust will also come from deeply personal experiences.

Second, studies show that a post modern audience learns more from drama than lectures.  In particular, tales with  plenty of emotional thrust drive points home better than any documentary or lecture using logic and reasoning.  This provides me with further encouragement to refocus my efforts on fiction and comics to do just that.  By getting back into that, I actually address two birds with one stone.

Lest some of my friends feel that I’ve ‘sold out’ to the masses or anything, I will, of course, provide some Biblical direction for this.  First, I cannot help but note that Jesus used much allegory and drama in His own teachings to the masses.  He certainly stood ready to defend His approach with scripture and logic when needed, but appealed to the heart and emotions just as much as he appealed to the mind.  Furthermore, Paul understood the necessity to study, learn and adapt one’s approach to fit the context of the culture.  He writes,

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Nearly two decades ago, I chose the moniker “JCServant” because I wanted to be a servant to Jesus Christ and His children.  So, today, I change to a post-modernist approach for the ‘sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessings.”  Will you join me?