Categotry Archives: Meanderings (look it up)


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?”


Something more, something real

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Categories: food for thought, Meanderings (look it up), Rantings, You need to read this

In a number of my entries, I am highlighting certain flaws and indescrepancies that I’ve observed in institutional Christianity (i.e., what most people refer to as “church”). If you catch me on a day when I’m ranting, you’re liable to think that I (like many others) am just jaded and bitter and looking for a place to spew venom.

But the truth is, this is a journey, a process–not a destination. I know that in my ramblings, however random they might appear, I am going somewhere. In fact, I believe Jesus is taking me somewhere. This isn’t merely a journey away from something; it is a journey toward something.


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)


Filtered hearing (not as beneficial as filtered water)


Categories: Meanderings (look it up)

Ever talk to someone and try to share what’s going on with you or what you’re thinking, and you just know that person isn’t “getting it?” Either they nod in fake interest, or (even worse, in my opinion), they relate back to you something totally off-kilter, based on how they are [mis]interpreting what you said. This is something I call “filtered hearing”–where someone hears you, but their existing mindsets sort of “filter” the information you’re communicating until their brain registers something completely different than what you said.

I get this a lot from church folks in my home town. When someone asks me how or what I’m doing, and I start to share with them some of the same type of stuff I’m blogging about here, I get some who sort of look at me crosseyed, and then I get some who enthusiastically respond with something related to their church, or what their pastor said, or something similar–and they act like it goes right along with what I just shared, but…I just know they didn’t really hear me.

If they had heard me correctly…they probably would have looked at me crosseyed, like those other folks. 🙂

Religion does this to us. It puts mindset-filters over our eyes and ears so we only interpret incoming data in the light of what we already believe to be true. I think that when God tries to give us a fresh perspective on things, or show up and manifest Himself in an unfamiliar way, we often miss it, and we didn’t even know He was there. Why? Because we only see and hear Him through our filters. I think we all have these filters to some extent, and part of growing spiritually is allowing God to remove the filters, layer by layer. Sometimes what we refer to as “getting a revelation” is more about God opening our eyes to something that was already there. Just something to think about…

One other thing to think about today…I lifted this picture from Ben & Heather Cotten’s blog, live.awake. It speaks to me; I feel like I’m living this picture in some ways. How ’bout you?


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.


Constipated anointing


Categories: fun, Meanderings (look it up), What the heck was THAT?

I’m about to get a bit irreverent and share a funny, sad, true story. ::Inserts tongue firmly into cheek…::

A number of years ago I was invited to lead worship for a week-long campmeeting at a church in Bakersfield, California. Right away I noticed that the pastor of this charismatic Word-Faith church had a distasteful beat-the-sheep leadership style, and that he had something to prove. Anyway, he announced that the last night would be an anointing service, where he would lay hands on and pray for anyone who wanted it. He pumped this up as the climax of the campmeeting, and that last day he went into seclusion to pray and fast, denying his flesh and all distractions so the Holy Spirit would honor his faith and move upon the people.


Labels, labels and more labels

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Categories: Meanderings (look it up)

I read a post last night that I’ve been chewing on ever since:

Until early last year, I had not even heard the terms “emerging church” or “emergent”, and now already the emerging church is collapsing?? Actually, the post is more about people within the movement growing weary of the term and what it stands for; some may already be starting to look for something else.



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Categories: Meanderings (look it up), Rantings

One of the dangers in opening up a discussion like this–when you start asking questions about things like religious systems and institutional church–it can create the impression that you are simply anti-whatever-it-is you are questioning. In reality, I’m more for true relationship with Jesus than I am against something else. But when you’ve been engrained in the religious system as long as I have, you have to spend some time de-constructing what is in place before you can re-construct something better. We usually don’t have any motivation to change something unless we can see what needs changing. So for awhile, it might seem that I’m just “raging against the machine”, but track with me for awhile, and things will get better. 🙂

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