Missional God (more)  

Posted by Ben in ,

Check out parts 10 & 12 to Scot McKnight's synopsis/outline of The Mission of God by Christopher Wright.

Part 10

Part 12

In fact just go read all the posts. This looks like a fantastic book and there is a lot to gain from reading/joining this discussion.

A Response  

Posted by Ben in

I made a post a couple of days ago with some videos Ken Silva had posted on Youtube. In that post I told my readers the truth about what I think about Ken's website. However, I did so in a way that cast not only his website in a negative light, but also Ken as a person. This was not like me, and something I should not have done. I was blessed to have Ken visit my site which is very exciting. However, he called me out on what i'd said, and i'll publicly say this. Ken, I hope you come back to read this...

I apologize for the way i cast you as a person in a bad light in my blog. You are quite a fundamentalist in your approach to the Bible, and I believe that is a very unbiblical way to read the Bible. I also think that you miss the mark a lot when talking about Emerging folks. Keep in mind, I am no emergent. I have emailed you previously before a couple times with honest questions and once with a very honest correction to a quote you put on your site. A quote in which you denied the very core, basic tennant of Christian faith. That a Christian is defined by loving Christ, not by their doctrines (you had a quote saying the opposite). You did not respond to any of these honest attempts to have conversation. Later i sent you an email rebuking you for your negative words about XXXChurch. You finally responded to that one, in a way so as to make it seem i had no right to talk to you in such a way. Anyways, these are my points of disagreement with you, and especially with the way you run your site, and the things you say. I had an obligation to let my readers know. However, I should not have cast you as a person in a negative light. I apologize for doing so and I hope that my apology will be accepted.

Anyways I think it is great that you posted such a great video. A video which gives hope to CHristians, that opposites can sit down at one table and not call one another heretics. That Christians can realize that we can all agree in loving and serving Jesus Christ. It gives hope to Christians in the middle like myself who are neither conservative, nor emergent, that those on the polar ends can join in the body together. I am not sure what you meant by "matthew 23." Jesus is rebuking the self-righteous Pharisees. That has no relevance to your video, or to my discussion of your video. If you would like to expound upon that... feel free.

Again I apologize for casting you in a negative light as your person. I hope you know i've prayed for you after reading some of your blog. I am sorry I did not show you a better way in my post, I tend to try to do so. I hope by publicly apologizing I can show you what I am really all about.

Our Missional God  

Posted by Ben in , ,

You have probably seen me reference either Scot's book or blog, both titled The Jesus Creed. That is because I believe Scot is an amazing Christian, Author, and Scholar. I don't know him personally, though I live close enough I should try to make a trip and meet him at some point. He runs a fantastic blog over at Jesus Creed and I am going to send you all over there for another great discussion, but most importantly a specific post. Scot is walking through Chris Wright's The Mission of God currently. The most recent blog covered a chapter on the Exodus and how Wright views it's importance in the overall redemptive story of God.


It is a great story of what Redemption and Salvation mean to God and mean for us. If you're not a Christian and you are reading my blog, GO CHECK IT OUT! Maybe you'll be somewhat more interested in the story of Christianity than you were before. God is not a God of rules and human-like wrath. He is a God of Holy Wrath which seeks to redeem rather than punish. This is just a great chapter on how important the Exodus is and what all God's mission in His creation, our world, is all about.

Our Missional God 11

Cool Interview  

Posted by Ben in , , , ,

There is this guy named Ken Silva. He runs a smear website which he tries to use to show how every "emergent" and every other Christian he disagrees with is a "Heretic." The only problem is that Ken's website does a much better job of showing his lack of understanding of Emergents and of Scripture, God, and Christianity.

He posted a couple videos, an interview, on Youtube. I am not sure what his purpose was, though I am sure he did not accomplish it in this video, since it did not cast Tony Jones in ANY negative light. In fact what it showed, I am extremely grateful to see. It showed a VERY conservative, reformed minister and a VERY liberal "Emergent" (i only use that term because he is in fact the Director of Emergent Village) sitting down and having a very civil conversation about the Gospel. There were many points of disagreement, but also many points of agreement or at least understanding. A lot of laughs were shared and altogether it showed both men treating the other as and calling the other a "brother in Christ." This is AWESOME. Check out the videos... tell me what you think.

John Chisham (Left) = Conservative, Reformed Minister
Tony Jones (Right)= Liberal, Emergent

A God Who Answers Prayers  

Posted by Ben in , ,

For those who read my blog, I'm willing to be vulnerable with you. I personally love to read books about God and about the Bible. I love to read the Bible. I love to get to know who God is. However, one thing i struggle with is having a time set aside for God. I'm not big on "the same time every day." For those whom that works for i couldn't be happier that's just not who i am. And don't take that to mean i don't spend time in relationship and in time with God throughout my day, i believe he is with me at every point and I can commune with him at all points in my day, my LIFE is relationship with Him if He is in me. However, I do struggle to take time out of my day to intentionally spend time only with our God. This is something I am working on getting better at, as should we all have an aspect of our relationship we are honest needs improvement, and constantly seek to improve.

Thus i have learned how important prayer is. I drove home last week and on my trip i got bored of my extensive CD collection and decided to play the "radio game." I was suddenly bored of that after about 15 minutes and i stumbled onto a Christian station where a preacher was preaching (imagine that). He was preaching on why we should be a people who pray. Why prayer is so important to the Christian Life. It was a great message and I spent a good while listening to him. His final point was that when we pray, we receive or partake in the power of God. Eventually the sermon was done and i put a CD in and began to cruise some more. I kept rolling this idea over in my mind, partaking in and receiving the power of God.

One of the things i have done to boost my prayer life is to keep an active prayer list of everyone i wish to pray for. There have been a great many people whom I've added to it over the past few months. A lot of them are the people i spoke of in my Chicken & Cigarettes series. Three in particular. Emily, George, and Anthony.

I got in late that night to Galen's house and got to sleep. The next day we got up and moseyed around the house a bit before heading off to Baltimore with his girl, Jessica, and another guy named Wyatt. We had high hopes of seeing these three people!

We got there and we talked to the woman who, with anthony, supplied our blankets the night we stayed there. She informed us that George and Anthony would not be in til later since they were at their jobs, full time jobs! She also told us that Emily was not living there any longer, as she was now living in an apartment in a senior apartment complex!

We pray for a lot of things and i watched a video on youtube that said Christians "count the .1% of answered prayers as "God answering prayer" and the 99.9% of prayers which are not answered as "God just said no because he knows best" and that it's our "scapegoat" or "copout."

The Jesus Creed has a chapter in it entitled "Praying the Jesus Creed" all about Jesus' Prayer which he teaches the disciples. And how it is a practical outlet of the command to "love your neighbor as yourself," as it fit well into Scot's definition of Love. If Love is an action of one to another which seeks to help see the other become who God desires them to be, then prayer must be a way of doing such. Jesus teaches us to pray for not ourselves, but for ourselves AND others. To pray for the things God ALREADY WANTS TO DO in their lives. Prayer is an active part of our surrender to God, to His will. It is an active part of loving God and loving others. When we pray, we submit to God's will, and love others, by praying that God would provide those things for others which he already desires to do/provide.

"Give US this day our DAILY BREAD"
"Forgive US our transgressions"
"Lead US not into temptation"
"Deliver US from evil."

These are the requests Jesus taught us to make of our heavenly Father. Maybe we aren't always praying about the right things, maybe they are our desires, and not part of God's already sovereign will. Maybe our prayers are not part of actively loving others, of helping to shape them into who God desires them to be. I believe praying for a home, for a job as an active member of society, and to eventually see those on the margins brought back into active membership in the beloved community are those things in God's will for all of humanity. And thus, prayers were answered that day in the park. We did not get to see any of the three we most longed to see, because God doesn't answer prayers to see people out of OUR desires, he answers the prayers for others which are shaping them into God's new creation. He answered prayers, and we did not get to see them because they had either a home or a full time job. Praise God.

Leave comments!
Tell me about some prayers God has answered in your life...

More From Chicken & Cigarettes  

Posted by Ben

After writing and reflecting on my initial trip to Baltimore i realized more about my trip than i had ever known previously. It became very exciting as it all began with a phone call on a rainy, cold day in January. I told my friend Galen that he needed to read this book The Irresistible Revolutionby Shane Claiborne. I mailed him the book while he was away in Brazil(?) on a work and witness trip. I told him that after he had finished reading it, we were both going to be silent before God for a while. We might pray some, but we were going to spend a lot of time hearing from Him. We would then call each other, and I very well might say "are you thinking what i'm thinking?" We did this and Galen responded with "I'm with you brother."

It did not mean at all what i had thought it MIGHT mean when i first sent him the book. But it did mean this, eventually Galen would tell me he wanted to go to Philadelphia for a week or so while i was home. Then i read The Simple Way's policy on visitors on their website which strongly discouraged the course of action Galen and I were hoping to do. I decided i felt it were better that we follow The Simple Way's vision, and do something local. Little did i know that Galen would have an idea already churning through his wacky brain.

All that is to say that all because of a phone call we ended up spending a day and a half on the streets of Baltimore and Galen and I experienced enough that i filled up an entire 10 blogs with only my experiences. We ultimately encountered Christ through the humble elements of Chicken and Cigarettes and were witnessed to by an amazing homeless man. We intended to make plans to go back and we did so for August 4.

When we got to "the nitty gritty" and were talking it out, a girl from the local Helping Up Mission contacted Galen to talk to him about our interest in their mission. He told her about our plans at more vigilante work and this girl decided that her and others wanted to team up with us and do something a little less organized and a little more raw. So i am excited about this and hope that we can also be an asset to them in their ministry at the mission as the days move forward.

How cool is God? Talk about a confirmation that we're doing good work. My father also talked to a homeless advocate in Washington, D.C. about the homeless situation and community in Baltimore. He told my father that he thought it was great that we were doing something good, but that we should get involved with those who know the area because Baltimore is a very rough culture with a lot of hard drugs, mainly heroin. All this coming at a time where we were currenty being led by God to team up with one another. How exciting? Anyways, we are headed up Agusut 4 and we are excited about the addition of the workers from the Helping Up Mission.

We ask that you would be in prayer for us as we move into this time, prayer for our safety and ultimately that God would not only teach us amazing things, but use us in some sort of powerful way. That God might use our mustard seeds to do something really great by His power.