The Power of Ideas

The Power of Ideas

Our ideas matter, especially our ideas of God.

Let’s break it down logically for a moment. If I assume that those hot and fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt doughnuts from Krispy Kreme have ingredients that will allow me to live a healthy lifestyle and feel great, I’m going to have an issue. This is especially true for the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger, affectionately known as “baseball’s best burger.”

If I relegate seat belts as a waste of time, I’m going to put my life and the lives of my family at unnecessary risk. At a minimum, I’m inviting an easily avoidable ticket.

If I assume that country music is actually good music, I’m going to experience a lot of depression and confusion. (This is a running joke with many of my Arizona friends. It’s tough growing up in Arizona when you don’t happen to be a fan of country music.)

If I assume that cows are holy and could be a person reincarnated (as Hindus believe), I will drive around a cow instead of moving it from the middle of the street. As an entire community, we will stop traffic for a cow until it moves. I’ve seen this happen in Nepal firsthand.

The list goes on and on. Ideas shape actions.

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The End of Religion

The End of Religion

end of religionI finally got to a book I’ve been eyeing for a few years now. The Canadian pastor Bruxy Cavey wrote The End of Religion, and it provides a great way to see Jesus, the Church, and spirituality in a fresh way. In case you’ve never heard of him, Bruxy is one of those guys I keep up with on a regular basis as he challenges my thinking and keeps me on my toes. I was beyond excited when he agreed to write an endorsement for my book last September.

If you are of the more conservative variety in your theology (which isn’t super likely if you’re reading my blog), you might not appreciate the boldness in which he writes. For example, one of the lines of the book says, “Whenever the church gets into bed with political powers, the church becomes the state’s whore.” Your reaction to that quote may indicate whether this is a book you’d enjoy reading or not.

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Is Following God a Covenant or a Contract?

Is Following God a Covenant or a Contract?

We live in a world today of contracts. It’s difficult to even buy a new phone without navigating pages and pages of contractual agreements first. Or think of how many pages of contractual terms you get every time you sign up for anything (and of course we read every paragraph). Contracts fuel our business interactions with those around us. Here’s what you agree to, here’s what I agree to, and here’s what happens when one of us breaks it.

Contracts are designed to help us navigate situations where no trust exists. This is extremely helpful in these contexts. If I don’t know you, I’m less likely to vulnerably trust you with something important. The danger is when we start applying contracts into areas that cannot function this way.

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"Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don’t ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name. If He was willing to turn Judaism upside down, don’t think for a moment our institutions are safe from a divine revolt. I am convinced that even now there are multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ who are sick and tired of the church playing games and playing down the call of God. My travels only confirm that the murmurings of revolution are everywhere. I am convinced that there is an uprising in the works and that no one less than God is behind it."

Erwin McManus
Does God Exist Outside of Time?

Does God Exist Outside of Time?

“Yes!” If that’s your default answer to the title of this post, you’re not alone. In fact, I would have even answered this way until just recently. A handful of years ago I was exposed to the open view of God and the idea that parts of the future could be open to possibilities (see: God of the Possible). Therefore, those parts of the future were also open to change and to the effects of our free will. Obviously, not everyone is comfortable with this view of God’s foreknowledge as it appears at first glance that He’s lacking something. Yet we also have to acknowledge that Biblically, as with stories of people like King Hezekiah, God sometimes changes His mind and what He intended to happen (see: 2 Kings 20:1-6). That doesn’t fit well with the typical Christian’s theology.

Now there are a number of ways I can explain how the open view of God makes the most sense to me. Yet I always did that with a shared assumption that God existed outside of time. I’ll admit this makes it trickier to understand how God’s created timeline could somehow be clouded or open to Him. What I hadn’t considered until just recently was that this very assumption is worth challenging.

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Bells Rung Simultaneously

Hebrew ThoughtI’ve been reading through a book called Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek. Not likely to become a best-seller anytime soon but this book is loaded with interesting perspective. This is particularly interesting for a Christian since the Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. One of the passages that stood out to me comes from John 1. The first three verses begin by explaining Jesus.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

In the Hebrew thought “word” is “deed.” As the book unpacks it: “‘Word’ and ‘deed’ are thus not two different meanings… but the ‘deed’ is the consequence of the basic meaning…”

In the Greek thought “word” is “meaning.” As the book unpacks it: “The deepest level of meaning in the term ‘word’ is thus nothing which has to do with the function of speaking… but the meaning, the ordered and reasonable content.”

If we consider both the Hebrew and Greek understanding of this idea we find that Jesus is literally the deed of God and the ultimate meaning of God’s intent. Words have meaning, and this one especially so. This word shows us God Himself. I love that it doesn’t matter what language or culture you pick between the two. Both expressions show us that in Jesus we see the fullness of God.

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