Categotry Archives: changing mindsets


What Is Church? part 2

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Categories: Broken machine, changing mindsets, church, food for thought

This is the rest of the chapter from the book I’m working on, “I Grew Up In Church”. (If you missed the first installment, click here to read it.) This excerpt is copyrighted material, so please do not copy it without my permission. Any comments are welcome.

When Jesus said “church”, He meant only one thing. It was really, really simple. “Church” was the collective group of people who believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and chose to live in that truth and put their trust in Him.


What is "church"? A personal history…

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Categories: changing mindsets, My Story

Below is an excerpt from a book I am working on called “I Grew Up in Church.” The content below is copyrighted, so please don’t copy it without my permission. However, I’d value any comments or feedback you have about the material–from content to writing style, whatever you’d like to say. Enjoy.
My earliest memory of church was at a little Episcopal Church called St. Joseph’s. I don’t know how old I was, exactly. I think it must have been missions week or something, because the memory I have is of being chosen to stand in front of the church holding one of those globe coin banks. I don’t remember whether anyone put any money in it. I just remember standing there looking at all the grown-ups looking back at me and smiling the way grown-ups do whenever little kids do something cute in church. I wondered what I was doing to get all this attention.

The only other thing I remember about St. Joseph’s was the priest, a big jolly man named Father Al. I never understood why his name was Father Al and not Joseph, since it was Joseph’s church. Father Al was over at my house a lot when I was little, and stayed friends with my mom long after we left that church. I didn’t know at the time why he came over so much, but now I know he was helping my mom cope with my dad leaving us.


Christian: Noun or Adjective?


Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, Meanderings (look it up), Rantings

Hmmm…something going through my head lately. Something I read in Velvet Elvis (which I finished by the way–no further heresies to report). But in the book, Rob Bell remarked on something that I found interesting, and am still chewing on and grappling with….

The word “Christian” was not intended to be used as an adjective.

In Scripture, it is always a noun, referring to a person who follows Christ.

Now, forgive me if this offends your religious sensibilities–just being honest here–I have grown less and less comfortable using the word “Christian” to describe myself, although by Biblical standards I certainly am one. I love Jesus and attempt to follow Him with my life, and I’m not ashamed of Him. But the word “Christian” in our culture has become so loaded that people attach to it any of a number of stereotypes and misconceptions every time it is used. It isn’t that I am trying to avoid hostility by non-Christians; it’s just that I want them to be hostile toward me for the right reasons. (?) So when possible, I try to gravitate toward terms like “Christ-follower” or “disciple of Jesus”.

Anyhow…I think that this idea of using the word “Christian” as an adjective rather than a noun has served to complicate things even more. We use “Christian” to describe a type of music, or a type of book, or (forgive me again) even a type of nation. But in the Jewish mindset (out of which most of the Scriptures were written), there is no differentiation between sacred and secular (or in our vernacular, Christian or non-Christian) when referring to these things. In the Jewish mindset, everything is sacred if God is in the center of your life. As such, everything is redeemable under Him. But we so categorize things using “Christian” as an adjective that we Christians start getting paranoid about what’s okay for us, and what’s not okay.

Here’s an example: someone says, “I only listen to Christian music.” I get that we aren’t to just fill our minds with garbage, but show me chapter and verse to show where we are supposed to use the Christian tag to identify something like music. What makes it Christian? Is it that a Christian is singing it? Or that the message has to be specifically talking about Christ? Does that mean typical romantic love songs are not Christian? What if a Christian wrote the love song? Are Christians not allowed to be romantic?

Can you see how this way of thinking imprisons us–let alone alienates us from unbelievers? Do you see how we’ve made “non-Christian” a code for “unclean?”


Word of the Month(s) for January/Feburary: "GRAPPLE"

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Categories: changing mindsets, food for thought, Meanderings (look it up)

I have decided that my “word of the month” should be “grapple.” (The verb, not the noun.) Since it’s late in January, we’ll make it the, uh, January/February word of the month.

Grap-ple [grapuhl], verb

1. to hold or make fast to something, as with a grapple.
2. to use a grapple.
3. to seize another, or each other, in a firm grip, as in wrestling; clinch.
4. to engage in a struggle or close encounter (usually fol. by with): He was grappling with a boy twice his size.
5. to try to overcome or deal (usually fol. by with): to grapple with a problem.
(SOURCE: Unabridged version 1.1)

1 : to seize with or as if with a grapple
2 : to come to grips with : wrestle
3 : to bind closely
(SOURCE: Merriam-Webster Online)


To Life!

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Categories: changing mindsets, Meanderings (look it up)

There is a long-standing and deeply held belief in the Jewish religion that life is a gift, that life should be celebrated, and all of life is to be lived unto God. In the Hebrew way of thinking, there is essentially no such thing as “sacred” vs. “secular”, nor do they really make a big deal out of flesh vs. spirit. If God is in the picture, all things are His, and all life is lived unto Him. They have a saying: “L’Chaim!” Which means “To Life!” Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed to the fullest, with all the pleasures that God has naturally provided. One thing I’ve been learning this past year is that it is actually this type of mindset–the Hebraic mindset–out of which our Christian faith has been spawned.

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