Category: The Gospel, Love, and Grace

Christmas Tree

My Favourite Christmas Verse

Christmas TreeGenerally speaking I’m not big on most Christmas songs. A lot of them really have little to do with the biblical Christmas story. For many that’s not that bad – at least they’re consistent with Christianity even if not strictly biblical. Then there are others which are borderline heretical, like Away in a Manger’s line that Jesus didn’t cry, which to me is toying with Gnosticism’s denying that Jesus was fully human. Humans cry, and we even read that Jesus cried as an adult, so why not like every other baby?

Anyway, there’s one verse in one Christmas song that really stands out to me:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

Community - MeowMeowBeans

Peeple: the anti-Gospel

Update: There has been some debate about how real this app actually is. It seems there is a strong chance it is vapourware and will never reach market anyway. Also, after the backlash, their social media pages went down and contrary to previous statements they have said that negative comments do not post without your permission. If true, that makes it sort of like LinkedIn’s recommendation system, but without being limited to professional purposes. As always during something causing outrage on the Internet, read Snopes. I have maintained my original post here because I still think it makes a valuable point, whether or not all the details about Peeple are (still) true.


 

There’s a new app in the world. It’s called Peeple. Its being described as “Yelp for People.” The purpose of the app is to put numerical ratings on people you know.

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Ok, that was about an hour and a half of stunned silence in confusion that this exists.

A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel

A More Christlike God by Brad Jersak

A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful GospelMy first encounter with Brad Jersak was in the documentary Hellbound? which I routinely recommend. He, like many of the other people in that movie, left a positive impression on me. When I saw the opportunity to pick up a book of his called A More Christlike God then, I jumped on the chance. I’m glad I did.

There is a significant and important theological trend in recent years to reclaim the doctrine of Incarnation: that Jesus is the full representation of God. Greg Boyd as one of my biggest influences stresses this point a lot, and Brian Zahnd often says it something like this (paraphrasing):

God is exactly like Jesus. He has always been like Jesus. We didn’t always know that, but now we do.

This is the first book I have seen, however, that explicitly deals with that idea and a few of its subtopics in depth. Most people in theory affirm the idea that God is like Jesus – after all, it is pretty clear in both the Bible and the earliest Christian creeds. If you don’t affirm it, you aren’t an orthodox Christian, by definition.

Talking About Stuff on WikiGodPod

WikiGodPod: Our Stories Shaping GodA week and a half ago, I was interviewed by Mark Groleau for WikiGodPod. It was published this past Monday so you can check it out from the WikiGodPod website or through iTunes or other RSS readers. Aside from my own, I’m happy to recommend this podcast. It brings in a different voice from somewhere in Southern Ontario each week to talk about a range of different things.

In my chat with Mark, we covered my work with the Canadian Bible Society, this blog, pacifism, MennoNerds with our book A Living Alternative, judgementalism around LGBTQ persons in the Church, and embracing our differences instead of condemning each other over them.

We Believe: Gospelology, Bibliology, and Christology

Most Meeting House Home Churches are on break for the summer, including mine, but I’m loving this series we’re in. It’s essentially a systematic theology 101 course. In some ways, not much so far I haven’t really encountered before; I have taken not only Intro Systematics but also some others in my M.Div. Doesn’t mean I don’t really enjoy it, though, so I’ve decided to basically just release the videos here with some short comments during the summer while I’m not likely to be blogging as often.

Week 1: Prolegomena and Gospelology

Bruxy makes a lot of great points in the first week in terms of cautions for studying theology. Most prominently, it has the potential to make us very arrogant and end up actually in living in ways contrary to Jesus even when we say we’re studying Jesus. That’s a very important caution.

Hating the Best: LeBron James

LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat last week. I’m a big NBA fan but not particularly a James fan. I’ve watched the commentary from journalists as well as paid attention to what people are saying on social media, attempting to figure out why exactly people hate LeBron James so much.

(If you’re not a basketball fan, ignore the first section and you might still appreciate the main point in the second section.)

Movie Theatre

Frozen: Love Casts Out Fear

We finally watched the much-acclaimed movie Frozen last weekend. A very good movie, for sure, although maybe a little over-hyped. To the point, though, there were some very good themes. As with Tangled and more often recently in Disney movies, there is the theme of strong women who are not defined by waiting passively for their prince to come in and rescue them. I particularly appreciated how Anna dreams the traditional Disney dream and it seems like she is going to get it, meeting and falling in love with a prince, agreeing to marry him within a day… eventually followed by discovering he just wanted her throne.

That ties in to the main theme, which is glaringly obvious so doesn’t really need much commentary here. When they were young, the two sisters Elsa and Anna were incredibly close and had a lot of fun together, particularly in using Elsa’s power to create snow/ice. Young Anna gets carried away, Elsa can’t keep up and accidentally hits in the face with her cold instead.

Embracing Ubuntu: Meet James

That’s James at the top. Somehow his birthday party involved fitting as many of us as possible into an old phone booth.

This post is the second in a short semi-autobiographical series I’m doing called Embracing Ubuntu. Ubuntu, for those who aren’t familiar, is an African concept that is hard to translate but means something like “diversity in unity.” It is neither uniformity – making everyone the same or not talking about differences – nor is a free-for-all battle where anything goes. It is a recognition that is simple in theory but hard in practice: we are all different and that doesn’t make me better than you. I’ve expressed this idea many times, often using the Anabaptist phrasing the “Third Way,” but in this series I want to give examples of where I have encountered it working.

James was a housemate of mine for three years. The house was initially comprised of members of a campus group. We used it for a variety of ministry events. By the end of that year, half of the house was no longer active in that group because of various concerns. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, and with at least one of the other housemates, it did not go over well in the remaining time we lived together (fortunately only a couple of months).

The Theology of Child Abandonment

Yeah yeah, I know, I’ve already written lots about the backlash to World Vision’s recent announcement they would hire legally-married gay Christians. I promise I’ll move on soon – or at least I’ll try to – but I wanted to hit on something else that I got thinking about. It’s this question: what theology would it take to see holding children hostage as an acceptable – even necessary – option?