Is This Heresy?

Is this emerging Christian thinking heresy?

Short answer: yes.  By Orthodox standards, and by Evangelical standards (which are hardly orthodox) this is heresy

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. All of our beliefs are likely heresies of some kind, to varying degrees, small and large.

Kierkegaard recognized that truth, as we understand it, is subjective. He gives an example of two men praying: one is praying to the "true" (Christian) conception of God, but doing so "in a false spirit." Another man is a pagan, praying to his own concept of a god... but he does so "with an entire passion for the infinite." For Kierkegaard, the second man prays in greater truth because his spirit is rightly-oriented.

C.S. Lewis suggested that the only reason our prayers get anywhere 
near God is because God has the grace to intercept them (our prayers) as they spray out into space [my wording]. We are so limited and so broken as human beings that we can't begin to fathom the fullness of the Creator of the universe. How then, can we hope to grasp "absolute truth?" God loves us, and accepts our prayers for what they are: humble attempts at knowing, loving, hearing and connecting with God. That is, when they are humble attempts. Arrogant tirades for the sake of making a point probably don't get too far. Yes, I'm guilty of this, too.

Ultimately, I believe Jesus Christ has grace for our heresies if we're seeking in faith, in hope, and in love. And in intellectual and spiritual humility. I pray my life will continue to better-reflect these fruits.

I recommend 
Spencer Burke's book for some "defense" of heresy...

Pacifism? Can I handle it...

A friend of mine who blogs by the name "bottlebreaker" sent me a copy of a documentary called Prince of Peace God of War that begs:

How did "Love Your Enemies" get so complicated?

Comments by Tony Campolo and newcomer (to me) Bruxy Cavey were highlights of the discussion. Cavey, pastor and author of The End of Religion is likable, unpretentious and articulate. Campolo, in his increasingly manic and excited style, is gripping and poinant. I have watched his final commentary in this film three times now and been instantly brought to tears at each viewing.

In the interview prior to his, a just war advocate has just convinced most viewers (including me) that in some cases like the holocaust, there must be action. And the ideal of pacifism is all but shattered.

Then Campolo appear and relays a story of an Orthodox Priest during World War II who saved a group of Jewish prisoners from being taken to extermination camps. He stepped between Nazi machine guns into the midst of the Jewish prisoners and quoted scripture from Ruth: "wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Townspeople overheard the commotion and flocked to see what was happening. Soon a huge multitude of Christians stood around the Nazis and their prisoners. The Christians were ready to die staying with their Jewish brothers and sisters. The Nazis left without their captives.

God is bigger than our artillary and bombshell pragmatism.

The documentary ended there, a perfect closing soliloquy.

The production quality of this video was less-than-stellar, and I would cut several of the interviewees for not saying anything very interesting, but you've got to give creator John Campea credit for doing something meaninful with an apparently small budget.

Brian McLaren gives a few brief and somewhat unsatisfying soundbytes, but his name on the poster will draw an audience, which is beneficial.

Hope you'll check it out of you have a chance. I'm still not 100% sold on pacifism (because I have an inkling of what I'm capable of if someone tried to hurt my loved ones) but something tells me God is bigger than my vengeance and exists in a goodness and justice far beyond my comprehension. The first, second and third century Christians were likely on to something.

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, reminding us all to take time to reflect as we enter the season of Lent, humbly seeking renewal and grace in our lowly, mortal state of being.

Traditionally this verse accompanies marking one's forhead with ash:

"Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return."
Genesis 3:19

There is so much in me to repent of, but there is so much grace to cover me! It is good news, and my heart feels both lighter and heavier as I contemplate the paradox of conviction and mercy - sin and love.

Another Andrew Peterson lyric goes:
Give us hearts to find hope, Father we cannot see
how the sorrow we feel can bring freedom...

The reference to wearing ashes always brings me first to Mordecai in the book of Esther. Then to modern day, with the Wailing Wall in Israel.

There is a kind of unexpected freedom in sorrow, but we have no room for public grief in the West. We give people a few days before a funeral and perhaps a few days after. Then it's back to work. Back to life. "Get on with it." Not only with death, but with any deep mourning - the American Dream does not tolerate angish or extended grief.

On one hand, I think there are too many Christians in bondage today (women in particular) because of malicious shame placed on them by the church - usually for issues of sexuality.

On the other hand, there are too few Christians in the West who have experienced the deep sorrow of acknowledging their own sin natures. Bonhoeffer coined the term "Cheap Grace," and I believe it covers the casual, sometimes reckless way in which we mentally assent to Jesus without tasting the blood he spilled for us, or comprehending why that blood is on our own hands.

And so tonight I meditate on my own guilt and my own cleansing through Christ, and pray for tangible understanding of how to be healed amidst sorrow - built up as I am broken.

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at

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