2008-05-30 0 comments

Should have done this a long time ago...

Now that I work for an Internet marketing company, where my online reputation will be under much more scrutiny and, thus, will reflect on my employer, it's time to add a permanent disclaimer on my site:

I am a born again, evangelical Christian. I believe every word of the Bible is true, and have pretty strong opinions on the matter. So...

The views and opinions expressed on this, or any other site where I maintain an online presence, do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, my co-workers, my church or The Church. In short, I speak for no one but myself.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-29 0 comments

More thoughts on the prosperity "gospel"

Just came across a great new blogger...and a great post. I couldn't agree more.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-22 0 comments

Coming soon...

Yes, they are a dying breed, I'm told. Don't care. I've been wanting do a podcast for awhile now. I'll start the process while I'm in the mountains this weekend and hope to have something going soon.

Stay tuned.
2008-05-20 0 comments

Verse of the Day

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
(Matthew 9:9-13)

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-15 0 comments

200th post

Yep...it's #200. Two years, 200 posts, one amazing ministry.

And, no, it's not Multi-Media Monday, but thought I'd share this video anyway. Enjoy (although you've already seen it.)

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-14 0 comments

Twitter Links for a Wednesday

The theme of this week's links? I discovered these through networking on Twitter.

We The Church
Super, super cool new web portal. It's very Web 2.0, very Twitter-esque. And, best of all, it's one of the first social media portals specifically designed for the Body of Christ. Chad Wright's the guy behind it, and if you're hip to Twitter you can catch up with him at Twitter.com/chadwright. He's a pastor at Legacy Fellowship in Cedar Park, Texas.

The Path of Redemption
The blog of someone I follow on Twitter. OK, so I haven't read it much (I should if I'm recommending it), but his posts on Twitter are solid.

Gods Atheists Don't Believe In
I think this was meant as a pro-atheism link, but when I read it I found that it strengthened me at that moment to know I share a faith with so many others while there are many more who aren't aware of my God and only lump Him in with the thousands of others. (Note: Make sure you click on the picture to the far right, or you won't understand the site. You'll see what I mean.)

Avoid Any Hint...
And yet another guy I follow on Twitter. This is phenomenal stuff from a pure heart and many of us in this post-modern, anything goes culture would do well to heed its old-school advice.

Strangers Bring Us Closer to God
Just a great, small story that shows how service to others can inform our interaction with The Father. I'm interested to read her book now.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-13 0 comments

Brian McLaren Speaks...Again

Here's the thing: I don't want to come off as being reactionary when it comes to Emergent types in general and Brian McLaren specifically. I really don't. I also don't want to be what Emergents roll their eyes at--an evangelical, Reformed Christian who only points out bad theology or worldview instead of engaging in dialogue.

But if I am what I hate, then I have something in common with the Apostle Paul, and that puts me in good company. Am I rationalizing? Sure.

That said, here's some thoughts on McLaren's interview with the Associated Press. His quotes are first, in italics.

Q: How is what you recommend different than the humanitarian work churches do already?
A: It's not working within the paradigm that a lot of Christians work — which is all that God is ultimately interested in is extracting souls for heaven. And we might do some good works here on earth, but we don't really expect any of it to work, because the world is sort of, the toilet has been flushed and it's going down.

Ummm...OK. So far, so good. No complaints here. This is one of the central points of why I walked away from my faith in my late teens/early 20s (real original, huh?) and why society has de-valued Christian thought in recent decades.

Q: What do you mean by systemic change?
A: You can make incremental changes within a subsystem but in order to actually change a whole system you have to get a lot of the parts changing all at once. ... You can pour money into building a school, but then if there's a war, the war wipes out all the benefit you got from the school and the school shuts down. You can improve agriculture, but if HIV runs through, then there's so much upheaval, then you can't maintain the advances in agriculture.

And now we're 2-for-2. Of course, I would argue that the "whole system" of Christian theology hardly needs changing. Again, and this is the central point of my beef with Emergent types, if we start talking about systemic change, then we get down a path that questions Christ's divinity the inerrancy of Scripture, etc.

Q: But there's an impression churches are already so active on these issues. Why does anyone need to urge churches to do this?
A: One of the really important concepts is the difference between mercy and justice. There's that famous passage from Micah 6, "Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God." One way to describe it is unjust systems throw people into misery and mercy brings us to relieve some of their misery, but until we confront the unjust systems by doing justice we're never going to make a change. ... I think what churches in America, especially evangelical churches, are just waking up to is the way they have to deal with systemic injustice, not just charitable giving to people in misery.

Bravo, Mr. McLaren. Bravo.

I think the naivete of some of those critics is that they're starting with a pure pristine understanding of the Gospel. It seems to me we're all in danger of screwing up.

OK, now we're starting to have trouble. A pristine understanding of the Gospel? How about "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life...no one comes to the Father but through Me." How are we in danger of screwing up if we start with that as cornerstone No. 1? Is that not a pristine understanding of the Gospel? Look, I know "no one comes to the Father but through Me" is divisive. But Jesus said it. Sorry. End of story.

Ten years ago, the question was, why are Gen-Xers dropping out of church? .. So we've been grappling with these very deep theological questions over the last five or seven years.

Fantastic. That's the question I've been seeking an answer to as well. I know my own story, and I would suspect it is similar to others'.

Q: What are the weaknesses of the movement?
A: Nobody had a master strategy for this. That creates weaknesses as well as strengths. It means you don't have anybody calling the shots and it means that things happen in a somewhat haphazard way. And I think there's a huge range of responses. ... Among evangelicals you have people who are not doing any theological rethinking at all. The theology that they inherited, they're staying with 100 percent. They're trying to do sort of methodological innovation (in styles of worship). And my personal feeling is that's great. Those'll be steps in a good direction... I'm not a purist about anything. I think it's all good. We're all trying to stumble along and take some steps in the right direction. Others of us are asking theological questions and that's always messy.

I am a purist...about Jesus, what He said, what He did. I'm not apologizing for it. It seems like too many people are. Again, the big question: What if Jesus meant everything He said? And, again, what does "theological rethinking" mean, anyway? Does it mean we are rethinking core aspects of the faith, the Truth of Christ? The inerrancy of the Word of God? Because these are areas where there can be no compromise. Again, that's divisive. But Jesus was divisive to a lot of people. That's one of the reasons they wanted to kill Him. (But they failed...
they didn't kill Jesus. Jesus laid down His life.)

...if liberal means that government can solve all of our problems and that secularism is better than faith, and that it doesn't matter what you do in your personal life and that morality is up for grabs, then I'm not a liberal.

Nor am I.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-12 0 comments

Protestants, Playboy and Penthouse

Umm, pretty sure this isn't what the Apostle Paul meant when he talked about engaging culture.


Multi-Media Monday

You gotta love Johnny Cash

2008-05-11 0 comments

Brian McLaren AP interview

My state newspaper (the Charleston Gazette--warning: terrible functionality) ran an Associated Press interview with Brian McLaren on Saturday, which is great because here, in West Virginia, the level of understanding about emerging trends in church and worship are, at best, woefully understood and, at worst, represent a complete ignorance.

As always, I find myself disagreeing with the guy on a bunch of things (am I consciously looking for things to disagree on, or really listening with an open mind? I hope the latter), so I think I'll sit down and churn out a few words about it tonight.

Grace and Peace...

2008-05-09 0 comments

BlogCarolinas Social Media/Web 2.0 conference

Spending a few days in Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn more about promoting my online presence/reputation and to see what implications it could have for 1) Internet evangelism/ministry and 2) the new career God has blessed me with. Can't wait to get back to blogging on a regular basis when I get back.

Grace and Peace...

2008-05-06 0 comments

The Christian Paradox

I found this piece recently, even though it's from a nearly three-year-old edition of Harper's. Don't know how I missed it at the time. Glad I found it now.

So take
a look. Share your thoughts. Stay tuned.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-05 0 comments

Multi-Media Monday

Let's be a little light-hearted today, shall we? Not sure about you, but I definitely need it.

Oh, and don't forget: if you haven't taken the
Evangelical Attitudes survey, please do so.

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.

2008-05-01 0 comments

Evangelical Attitudes: A Candid Christian Survey

This is a blatant rip-off of this month's issue of Relevant magazine, the cover story of which asks about "7 Burning Issues: Injustice, War, Consumerism, Faith, Culture, Politics and Gay Rights--You Asked the Questions, We Found Answers."

I thought it was an incredibly compelling piece, so much that I wanted to do my own survey of some of the issues that's facing the 21st century church in an increasingly post-Christian society. It's something that's of particular interest in my area; West Virginia and the rest of Appalachia certainly lags behind in terms of socio-cultural trends, and the emerging church conversation has yet to reach the hills and valleys where I live. And that's a shame, because the same cultural and societal attitudes that are driving the conversation exist here as they do elsewhere, it's just that we aren't reaping the benefits of what might arise from the emerging church conversation. That's why one of my goals through this blog is to encourage more dialogue about post-modern culture and Christianity here in Appalachia in general and West Virginia in particular.

So, I would ask that you join the conversation, no matter where you're from or who you are. Answer these poll questions, leave a comment, drop me an e-mail. Let's see what there is to learn, and how we can teach others about Jesus.

Grace and Peace...

I welcome all comments. Feel free to comment on-page, or e-mail feedback to CandidChristian@gmail.com.