Mysticism is like Green Eggs and Ham

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, mystics were a sect of orthodox Christianity. Today, they are often labeled cultic-style prophets or hippies. But what if mysticism still has something to offer us and we are missing it because of misplaced labels?

 

The Crazies Ruined the Fun for Everyone

I have had my fair share of run-ins with cultic prophets. There’s no way around it: They’re crazy. I don’t immediately doubt people who claim to have seen visions of God, had transcendent experiences, or encountered semi-divine creatures, but I am a bit leery of them.

Eugene Cho: we cannot fully grasp the infinitude of god…

Eugene Cho, a second-generation Korean-American, is the founder and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and the executive director of Q Cafe, an innovative non-profit neighborhood café and music venue. He and his wife are also the visioneers of a new organization to fight global poverty called, One Day's Wages.

 


in our human finitude, we cannot fully grasp the infinite of god...

We can try but we cannot fully understand the fullness, majesty, and glory of God.

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3 Reasons Why Christians Hate Labels

You’ve heard people say it, and you may have even said it yourself, “Labels suck.” But don't we in some ways need them? With no labels how can we have an intelligent conversation about where our belief systems differ?

We want to get rid of labels because of the judgmental attitudes that often surround them. We think, “Labels suck, and those who use them suck too.” But the very nature of language requires labels: We use words to describe actions and things. All language is metaphor—that is precisely why German and English use different words to describe the same thing. Aristotle was one of the first to point this out when in a lengthy discussion, he says (in summary): “a table is not a table in its essence; it is wood. And wood comes from a tree, and trees have component parts (sap, bark, roots, etc.).” So, language is labeling.
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Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Intelligent Design

1. Design Detection
If nature, or some aspect of it, is intelligently designed, how could we tell?

Design inferences in the past were largely informal and intuitive. Usually people knew it when they saw it. Intelligent design, by introducing specified complexity, makes the detection of design rigorous. Something is complex if it is hard to reproduce by chance and specified if it matches an independently given pattern (an example is the faces on Mt. Rushmore). Specified complexity gives a precise criterion for reliably inferring intelligence.

2. Looking for Design in Biology
Should biologists be encouraged to look for signs of intelligence in biological systems? Why or why not?

Scientists today look for signs of intelligence coming in many places, including from distant space (consider SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence). Yet, many biologists regard it as illegitimate to look for signs of intelligence in biological systems. Why arbitrarily exclude design inferences from biology if we accept them for other scientific disciplines? It is an open question whether the apparent design in nature is real.
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Christians hold an Anti-prayer rally at the Capitol. Can't make this stuff up.

Christians were praying and fasting, as an alarming new threat loomed over the dark horizon. Shirley Dobson, spouse of the famous Dr. James, urged a nationwide call for prayer and fasting on September 25th. What stirred Shirley’s tender heart? What would drive her to skip Hamburger Helper and Diet Pepsi for an entire day? Abortion? Gay Rights? Socialism? No. Prayer.  Well, a special kind of prayer, Muslim prayer.

American Muslims decided to show support for America by having a prayer rally at our nation’s Capitol. It was also an attempt to counter the American tendency to lump all Muslims into the category of “bearded terrorist who wants to kill me.” According to Hassan Abdellah, one of the rally’s organizers, the hope was to “display the beauty of Islam . . . the groups are going to be people who love and respect America, and we want America to know that we are here and that we support the country.” Perhaps anticipating Dobson’s response, he noted “I know that it’s hard for people to believe it’s that simple.”

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Atheist Groups on Campus

For those of you who care about young people today, this article is a must-read. There are twice as many atheist groups on college campuses this year as compared to last. I agree with the author of this study who says that a big reason is the New Atheists who are targeting young people much more aggressively than in the past. Atheists are stepping up their game. Will we? For those of you who care about young people today, this article is a must-read. There are twice as many atheist groups on college campuses this year as compared to last. I agree with the author of this study who says that a big reason is the New Atheists who are targeting young people much more aggressively than in the past. Atheists are stepping up their game. Will we?

Click HERE to read the article

 

Sean

Written Off Not Because I’m Emergent, but a Mystic

I had just finished preaching when a middle-aged chap walked up to me and said, “What’s with all the spiritual ‘God is in everything’ nonsense?” I responded, “Nonsense, huh? What do you mean?” He blurted out, “Just tell me what you believe? Are you a hippie or what?” Perceiving that there was no end to the Who-Wants-To-Be-a-Millionaire style game, I answered his million dollar question that I often resist, “ ‘Hippie,’ no. But ‘Christian mystic,’ yes.” As he began to walk away, he said, “Okay, never mind then. I don’t care what you have to say if that is what you believe.”

 

This wasn’t a first for me. I have become a little accustom to this kind of response. I often ask myself, “Am I just too abrasive? Or, what was that all about?” I have begun to realize that the problem is one of terminology.

Questioning Evangelism

Christians talk too much.  At least, they feel the pressure to.

I have a talk entitled “Why I Am a Christian,” where I discuss the primary reason we ought to follow Christ:  because He’s the Truth.  Christianity (in the sense of C.S. Lewis’ “mere Christianity”) is true and we have good reasons to think so.  But sometimes, when people hear this they feel pressure to have all the right answers for their non-believing friends.  I hear the stress in their voices when they ask, “So what should I say to my non-Christian friends?”  I have some advice. 

First, start with questions.  Oftentimes, Christians think evangelism means we talk and others listen.  So, the believer is supposed to have a polished “Gospel presentation” and a finely tuned response to all objections.  But this approach is undignifying to non-Christians and it completely ignores the unique questions an individual might have.  And it’s why some Christians are really good at answering questions no one is asking.  Francis Schaeffer’s words are instructive here:  “If I have only an hour with someone, I will spend the first 55 minutes asking questions and finding out what is troubling their heart and mind, and then the last 5 minutes I will share something of the truth.” 

I encourage students to start with Stand to Reason’s first two “Columbo” questions

#1 -- What do you mean by that?

#2 -- How did you come to that conclusion?

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Dr. Martin Luther King speaks again...KEEP MOVING.

Listen to this.


Rainbow Sandals (Theologically Observed)

Most surfers and California beach-wear aficionados know what Rainbow Sandals are. They are a light-wear, leather sandal that forms to your foot, virtually indestructible; rather like wearing twin slices of heaven on your feet.

I like to think of them as the sandals Jesus wore.

Whenever we are back in San Clemente, Ca., we stop by the factory to pick up a pair or six. This last visit, the chief architect running the construction of the sandal manufacturing empire gave us a tour, and it was absolutely fascinating. Fashioning the leather straps, cutting the layers of rubber sole, applying the patented glue…you could tell this guy LOVED making Rainbows. Each one was special to him. And like Jelly Bellies, whose factory we also visited, even the flops were items of love and care. (Try purchasing bags of belly-flops the next time you’re passing through Fairfield, Ca.)
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