That just happened.
(1) 0:07 — Bearded guy’s hand dance.
(2) 0:38 — Sal’s rock-star double head bob, Christian-style
(3) 0:57 — “rock and roll…” BWAAAhahahahahaha!!
(4) 1:14 — The sudden vocal tone shift out of the curious and inexplicable quasi-ethnic pop staccato of the majority of this song into a swarthy baritone, for just a moment, bringing special emphasis to the text for “…of mine.” Genius.
(5) 1:51 — Jesus is a Mountie, eh?
(6) 1:56 — You know it. “ZAP.” Good times.
(7) 2:11 — Pretty sure we’re seeing a drug addled Mandy Patinkin rocking those acrylic drums.
(8) 2:22 — “Hoo.”
(9) 2:25 — The evil spirit of Elvis Presley’s lascivious hips seems to be possessing of our poor bespectacled guitar player.
(10) 2:35 — “I have a friend in je-SUS.”
I’m just going to sit here another minute and savor the goodness. Can’t wait to rock this one at Living Hope with matching outfits. So reverent. So real. So good.
“four and a half million shades of wrong :: ‘jesus is a friend of mine’ top ten list” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
As I’ve been preparing to write a Seminary paper about the short history and current theology of the Emerging Church, I listened again to Mark Driscoll’s address to the 2007 Convergent Conference, hosted by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you’ve got an hour and a half, it is an OUTSTANDING picture from the inside of the start of the Emerging Church movement and its theological dangers. I’ve posted it here if you’re interested.
As I listened and learned and thought about the implications for ministry today, Mark focused his attention on an issue that has me by the throat right now… CONTEXTUALIZATION. This post is a summary of his thoughts, blended with my own, in the hopes that we would be passionate preachers of the truth RIGHT NOW in this culture – neither bowing our doctrine to the whims of culture, nor stiff-arming culture as if to protect ourselves from it.
In the world… but not of it. But still in it. Right? And not of it.
Basically this: the local church exists (according to the Great Commission in Matt. 28 and the Greatest Commandments in Matt. 22) to make disciples of Jesus Christ who love God and love people. We (believers) have been born into this time and this place. In this cultural context. For THESE people. Therefore, we must find a way to take the timeless truth of the Gospel (and the hard truth that we are all depraved sinners who need rescue and resuscitation) and CONTEXTUALIZE it for the culture we have been placed in by God in His perfect wisdom. We’re here, right now, on purpose.
I see much energy being spent by by church people in the pursuit of conflict rather than converts. I see the liberal left wing of the Christian community, as personified by the open theism and narrative “trajectory” theology of the Emerging Church conversation, and the fundamentalist far right wing characterized by zealous dogma and self-righteous condemnation of cultural contamination in the church, as two hostile camps, each with their sights focused on the other.
In the middle ground are contextual cultural missionaries (like me), trying to find ways to communicate in today’s culture the timeless truth that we all need Jesus, and that his gospel message of hope is for us. Right now. These pastors, teachers, evangelists, writers, and church folk with a burning heart for God and a passion for the lost souls that surround us are getting shot in the crossfire, and the Church (capital “C”) is suffering for it.
We must be people of the middle ground. As Jesus prayed for us in John 17, not that we would be removed from the world, but that we would be protected from the evil one and united with other believers as we take the gospel to the time and place we have been sent to serve. Contextualization of the Word of God.
This stands in contrast to the left and right wings engaged in a theological cage match…
In the far left corner we have those emerging theologians who believe that theology, and God Himself, is evolving with culture. They are the syncretists, blending Christianity with paganism. They hold a low view of scripture, and they are asking the same basic question that the serpent asked Eve in the garden… “Did God really say…?” They have two hands. In one they hold DOCTRINE and in the other they hold church PRACTICE. In the far left corner, BOTH hands are open. Doctrine and practice are both open to change.
In the far right corner we have the cultural separatists and doctrinal purists who are more concerned with being contaminated by the culture than they are in changing it. They are the sectarians, who see New Testament references to the “world” as synonymous with “culture.” Ergo, “cultural relevance” = “worldliness.” They hold a high view of scripture, but practice “sanctification by separation” from sinners and their interests. They have two hands. In one they hold DOCTRINE and in the other they hold church PRACTICE. In the far right corner, BOTH hands are closed. Neither doctrine nor practice are open to change.
I’m with Mark Driscoll on this one. I don’t want to be a syncretist. I don’t want to be a sectarian. I want to be a SUBVERSIVE, infiltrating culture and speaking their language, with every intention of infusing that culture with the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. We hold a high view of scripture, and we embrace the culture to the degree that we can identify WITH it and not be identified BY it. While there are certainly elements of culture that are worldly, there are things we can receive, things we must reject, and things we can REDEEM in culture through the power of the Word of God.
We, the people of the middle ground, have two hands. In one we hold DOCTRINE and in the other we hold church PRACTICE. The cultural contextualizers (like me) hold doctrine tightly, like a treasure, with a CLOSED hand… but our other hand, the one gripping our church practices and the way we’ve always done things, that hand must always be OPEN.
We present timeless truth using timely methods. We seek to be Biblically faithful and culturally fruitful. We CONTEND for the faith (Jude vs. 3 — “Defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to His holy people…”) against creeping liberal theology, and at the same time we CONTEXTUALIZE our message for the culture we live in (per 1 Corinthians 9, verse 19 — I have become all things to all people in order that some may be saved.”)
That’s where I plant my flag. Next to Pastor Mark’s. And I stand with the greatest subversive, cultural contextualizer of all time, Jesus Christ, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself in human likeness and humbled himself to save us from our sin.
If you have the time and want to consider all of this more carefully, please scroll up and listen to Pastor Mark Driscoll’s address to the 2007 Convergent Conference, hosted by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary…
“emergent vs. fundamentalist smackdown :: where christians and culture collide” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
I mean, I’m pretty much regular-sized… but I do love me some Don Miller.
This summer I read two of his books in a week. One of them was A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, the story of Don’s best selling book Blue Like Jazz being made into a movie, and how that caused him to examine his life story… to see if he was living one worth telling.
I loved it. LOVED it. He challenged me to live a life story of passion, risk, purpose, and adventure. To help my boys see themselves as heroes – as men of honor – purposing to live out valiant life stories of their own. I’ve been waiting for the theatrical release of “Blue Like Jazz” with the kind of anticipation six-year-olds exhibit between dinner and the opening of the gifts while the grown-ups wash the dishes on Christmas Eve.
But now… well, watch this:
So I figure now we have a chance to make this story even more unique. What’s more fitting than a fan-funded effort to help birth this great story on the big screen? You want some ownership in a great story? >> Go here.
I’ll put my cards on the table. More and more, Glenn Beck is giving me the weebers. And, as a conservative (socially, economically, politically), I actually agree with him on many issues. But still… weebers.
On the uncomfortability scale, I think “the weebers” fall three steps past the jibbilies, two degrees beyond the heebie-jeebies, a full stride beyond the willies, but not quite all the way to “freaked out.” This tension is growing in me the more I listen to Mr. Beck. A rising score on the creep-out scale that has nothing to do with his political views – but much to do with his rising influence as a leader of evangelical Christians.
That’s right. A mormon calling evangelicals to revival. What?
“Something beyond imagination is happening. Something that is beyond man is happening,” Beck said to the crowd on Saturday from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “America today begins to turn back to God.” And later, “For too long, this country has wandered in the darkness…” What does he mean by darkness… the Biblical variety? With the earnesty of a gospel revival tent preacher Beck urged the crowd to “Realize that He is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us.”
He. Him. “He” is our king. Even the term “God” can remain a little nebulous, right? I mean, how many of us stand shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers and sing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch at our local ball park? Surely at least of few of the assembled 53,000 some other people at the last Twins game I attended were Mormons, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Muslim, or agnostic. There’s no way no how we were all sold-out Christ followers. America has made a deal with each other… the “God” in “God Bless America” can remain user-friendly and non-threatening to people of many faiths because we recognize our Judeo-Christian roots while affirming religious freedom. “In God we trust.” Yes we do. But that means something very different to ME than it does to Mr. Beck.
His Mormon faith believes in a different Jesus. Not the one and only Son of God, Savior of the world. Not the Jesus of authentic Christian faith. And yet, Glenn Beck’s rhetoric is increasingly becoming more and more a blend of spiritual guidance and political ideology. He frequently uses the name of Jesus Christ, as if he is just one of the evangelicals who rally with him. He talks about “The Lord,” a name reserved only for the One true King of Kings, as someone that he knows personally and follows with devotion. And I hear a growing boldness in his faith-talk. More and more he challenges believers to return to God, listen to the Lord, do His will… which Glenn has figured out and is sharing with a growing audience on the radio, television, and various live venues across the country.
My hypothesis: Glenn Beck continues to increase in boldness as a “spiritual advisor” to the masses because evangelicals have not pressed back, not urged their fellow Christians to be cautious. Many evangelicals seem to be comfortable with Beck’s increasing spiritual language, because he is influential, and his conservative principles are on an uptick on the political clout meter. Many Christians seem happy to ride the band wagon, driven by a Mormon spiritual advisor, because they like the music the band is playing.
My word to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ: DANGER. DANGER. DANGER.
When people accuse Christianity of being exclusive – of claiming to be the ONLY path to God – my response is always the same: exactly. To be more specific, JESUS is the only Way. The only Savior. The only Lord. The only King of Kings. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is core evangelical Christian doctrine. While churches may disagree on whether to use wine or grape juice during Communion, or when is the appropriate time to baptize someone, evangelicals agree on this: we believe in the exclusivity of Jesus, the ONE and ONLY.
I’m not trying to pig pile Glenn Beck in the avalache of negative press and hate that seems to be pouring down on him right now. I think he’s brilliant, and a smart marketer of conservative ideas. And I don’t have any hatered for Mormons, either. As far as I can tell, most Mormons are family-loving, well-meaning, kind-hearted good citizens. I have had good friends in the Mormon faith. We simply believe different things about who Jesus is, and in a spiritual sense, that makes all the difference in the world.
As an evangelical Christian, I want to be led by the Holy Spirit, and encouraged in the Truth by the Word of God and by others who know the Word and hear the Lord’s voice. Glenn Beck claims to know and hear the Lord’s voice. He has a HUGE platform, and for some reason, scads of evangelicals lean in to hear his intepretation of what the Lord’s will is for us. He may be hearing some inner voice, some guiding spirit, something “bigger than man” may be going on here. But without Jesus, he can have no indwelling Holy Spirit. So if it is not God’s voice Glenn Beck is hearing, who is he listening to… and why are evangelicals so quick to follow?
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glenn beck: the new mormon voice of evangelical christianity by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
[NOTE: For another excellent post about Glenn Beck’s influence on evangelicals, click here for a great piece from RELEVANT.]
“new kindle launches today :: yeah, but can it cook me breakfast?” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.