A Living Alternative

A Living Alternative

I recently read through a collection of essays called A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World. As such, some of the chapters are more on point than others. Overall, it provides a great look at Anabaptist theology and raises the questions that need to be asked in our post-Christendom country today. If you are not familiar with Anabaptist theology you may immediately jump to weird things you’ve heard or seen with Mennonite or Amish communities. While those are expressions of Anabaptist thought, this book shows how rich and diverse this theology and way of viewing Christianity really is. As our world continues to move away from Christianity as the norm, I find myself drawn more and more to Anabaptist theology as a way of making sense how to move forward.

A few passages from the intro (by Tyler M. Tully) help to setup the context for this book and why it is so needed in the Church today:

“Anabaptist simply means, ‘baptized over again,’ and comes from a context where to be baptized into the Church as an infant was to be recognized as a Christian and a citizen of the State all at the same time. Yet these Anabaptists were impressed to live a simple, Jesus centered, alternative lifestyle in accordance with the Scriptures. And so they declared their loyalty to God by choosing to be rebaptized as adults, thus announcing: ‘our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God.’ Placing themselves under immense persecution by Catholics and Protestants by this action, the Anabaptist lifestyle was considered as an alternative to and a rejection of the Church-State.”

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"The Quaker scholar Elton Trueblood approached the Bible this way. One of Trueblood's students told me that he often heard his mentor say something like: 'The historic Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ does not simply mean that Jesus is like God. It is far more radical than that. It means that God is like Jesus.' In other words, the doctrines of the incarnation and deity of Christ are meant to tell us that we cannot start with a predetermined, set-in-stone idea of God derived from the rest of the Bible (or from Greek philosophy) and then extend that to Jesus. Jesus is not intended merely to fit into those predetermined categories; he is intended instead to explode them, transform them, alter them forever, and bring us to a new evolutionary level in our understanding of God. An old definition of God does not define Jesus—the experience of God in Jesus requires a brand-new definition or understanding of God."

Brian McLaren

How Many Kids Should You Have?

Sometimes I read a blog post by someone else that is so well written I want everyone I know to read it. So I do the next best thing and post a link to it on my blog. Below you’ll find a link to a post from a mother with five kids who answers the question: “Don’t you have enough kids already?” Her thoughts are amazing.

When people say to me, “Don’t you have enough kids already?” the assumption is that I am somehow unfulfilled by the number of children in my home now. I need more children in order to be happy, and isn’t that selfish and irresponsible of me?

Why on earth would I want more?

The simple answer is, I don’t want more kids.

Click here to read the post. Prepare to be moved.

The 2 Criteria for Following a Leader

Most of us have had supervisors we loved, and ones we secretly hoped would get a promotion… to somewhere else. How do you know when you’ve got a good boss? Is it when you agree with every decision they make? Good luck. Is it when they only say positive things to you? You won’t grow. I submit to you that at the core, you need two criteria for a good leader:

  1. Someone who can be trusted and has integrity
  2. Someone who is competent in their role

Obviously, good leaders have a whole lot more than these, but I’d argue these two are the lowest common denominators. Sorry for the math reference, that rarely happens.

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Unprepared

Unprepared: Is there anything worse we can say about you and your work? But the word means two things, not just one. There is the unprepared of a final exam, of forgetting your lines, of showing up to a gunfight with a knife—this is the unprepared of the industrial world, the unprepared of being an industrial cog in an industrial system, but a cog that is out-of-whack, disconnected, and poorly maintained. What about the other kind, though? We are unprepared to do something for the first time, always. We are unprepared to create a new kind of beauty, to connect with another human in a way that we've never connected before. We are unprepared for our first bestseller or for a massive failure unlike any we've ever seen before. We are unprepared to fall in love and to be loved. We are unprepared for the reaction when we surprise and delight someone, and we are always unprepared for the next breakthrough. We've been so terrified into believing in the importance of preparation that it's spilled over into that other realm, the realm of life where we have no choice but to be unprepared.

Seth Godin

Deciding How Much Influence You Want

I read the above tweet a bit ago and instantly retweeted it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. If you are familiar with Bob you know he is a super-extrovert. If you are familiar with me you know that I’m definitely NOT. That’s why I’ve actually concluded his statement is more applicable to introverts than to extroverts since for people like me it definitely requires a deliberate choice.

Just today I was thinking about meeting a person for coffee (who I want to meet with and will enjoy their company) but then I also thought about what I wouldn’t be able to accomplish personally during that time. No reading, no catching up on emails, no blogging, etc. If you are an extrovert do your best not to judge me for this, it’s just how my mind works. So Bob’s tweet popped in my head and I reminded myself that making time for people is always a great choice, even if it does take a choice.

What I love most about his statement is that for all of us (the normal introverts and the bizarre extroverts) our influence is up to us. The question is: how much influence do you want? Then, make yourself appropriately available to those around you. Easier said than done for me.