Monday, May 29, 2017

ARE WE CHRISTIANS TOO RIGHT FOR OUR OWN GOOD?




The other day I shared something on social media about the common ground we have with Muslims. Essentially, it's a very long list of things that both Christians and Muslims agree about when it comes to Jesus.

You can read the post where this common ground is outlined here>

But the response to this post was what really bothered me.

Instead of Christians affirming this common ground, or celebrating what we have in common - which is Jesus - mostly what I heard instead was a long list of what we disagree with Muslims about.

"But, they don't have the same Jesus."

"They don't believe Jesus was crucified."

"They don't believe Jesus was the Son of God."

And on and on the comments went.

Yes, I am well aware [I think we all are] that Christians and Muslims disagree on many things.

But the point is this: If we want to find a way to share with them about the Jesus we know, we have a very natural place to start that conversation.

However: If all we want to do is to prove that we are right and they are wrong, then we will continue to remain in an "Us vs Them" posture.

The irony of this is that Christians who refuse to accept what we have in common with Muslims are the ones who are also refusing to take any steps towards peace and reconciliation.

And while they are in the process of refusing to move towards peace and reconciliation, they are at the very same time arguing that is is the Muslims who are violent and uninterested in peace.

If we are truly committed to peace-making and ready to embrace the ministry of reconciliation, then we cannot continue to refuse to seek common ground for dialog about Jesus.

Please remember: Our ministry is not to prove that we are right and they are wrong.
Our mission is to love others as Christ has loved us.

As long as we make this about who is right or wrong, we will always have division.
But, if we can be mature enough to set that argument aside long enough to engage in a conversation about what we all agree on, there is hope for peace and understanding. 
Especially if what we agree on involves a conversation about Jesus.

In other words: 
If you want to see all that divides us, then that is what you will find.
If you are looking for what brings unity, then you will find plenty of that, as well.

So, what are you looking for? 

Are you looking for a fight? Then you will only think in terms of who is right and who is wrong.
Are you looking for peace? Then you will only think in terms of what you have in common and build a bridge from there.

Choose wisely.

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." - Jesus [Matthew 5:9]

"Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..." [2 Cor. 5:18]

-kg
**
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FURTHER READING: 

Friday, May 26, 2017

JESUS UNTANGLED: BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE


JUNE 23-25, 2017
NASHVILLE, TN

Details:
THE UNCONFERENCE
Berry Street Worship Center
225 Berry Street
Nashville, TN 37207

Registration: $35 

Co-Hosts:
Richard Jacobson [author of Unchurching]
Steve Simms [author of Beyond Church]

LEARN MORE AND
REGISTER HERE




JULY 21, 2017, 2pm to 5pm
LITTLETON, COLORADO

Details:
South Fellowship Church
6560 S Broadway
Centennial, CO 80121

Registration: $15 early bird tickets





AUGUST 19, 2017, 2pm to 5pm
HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA

Details:
A Place To Talk Event Center
1546 Brookford Church Rd
Hickory, NC 28602-5350

Co-Host:
Herb Montgomery, [founder of Renewed Heart Ministries]

Thursday, May 25, 2017

COLORADO: JESUS UNTANGLED EVENT - EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION



Early Bird Registration for the Jesus Untangled: Colorado event is now available for just $15.

DETAILS
Sat, July 22, 2017
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM MDT

South Fellowship Church
6560 S Broadway
Centennial, CO 80121


BONUS: Those who register early will receive an exclusive 85 page ebook with new material not available in "Jesus Untangled".

DESCRIPTION

What if the greatest threat to Christianity in America was actually "American" Christianity?

Join author Keith Giles as he leads a discussion about the dangers of mixing faith and politics and how Christians in America can rediscover unity in this volatile political climate.
In this interactive session, Keith will explain how entanglement with politics distracts us from the Kingdom of God, and how it is damaging the effectiveness of the Gospel.

SEATING IS LIMITED.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SESSION 1: Jesus Untangled: Cincinnati - Keith Giles




This is a live recording of Session 1: Jesus Untangled:Cincinnati led by author Keith Giles.



Recorded live on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Northstar Community Church, Loveland, OH.

In this session, author Keith Giles speaks about the need to separate our faith and our politics.

NOTE: Apologies for the final Q&A session cutting out at the end.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

FINAL: Podcast Dialog - "Does The Evangelical View of the Cross Lead To Violence?"





Awesome Part 3 of a conversation between Quoir authors Matthew Distefano, Keith Giles, and Jamal Jivanjee and about how Evangelical Christian views of the crucifixion relate to ideas about redemptive violence, and more.

In this Podcast we talk about:
  • 2:30 – Are we making claims for the Bible that it doesn’t even make for itself?
  • 9:55 – What is a “Flat Bible” perspective vs a “Jesus-Centric” perspective?
  • 14:50 – Why Jesus is superior to the Old Testament
  • 18:40 – Has the Bible hindered Christianity?
  • 26:00 – Is it appropriate to “chuck the Scripture”?
  • 30:25 – Why context matters
  • 31:50 – Why the Holy Spirit and community are essential to understanding Scripture

Monday, May 22, 2017

CINCINNATI: BEFORE AND AFTER



How can I summarize what God did this weekend in Cincinnati?
As someone who makes a living as a writer, it's not often I find myself at a loss for words.
Not that the event itself was something so remarkable that no one could explain it. It was a simple gathering of people - around 20 of us - who came together to hear more about Jesus and His Kingdom and our place in that Kingdom.
Not that the connections we made with one another were so unusual or out of the ordinary that the universe had to stop and reorient itself. We simply reconnected with people we hadn't seen in a long time, and made new connections with people who were family all along, but we just didn't know it until this weekend.
For me, the focus was that three hour block of time on Saturday. That was what I thought I was there for. That's what I had prayed about and prepared for. All my energies were on the presentation, the conversations and the "results" of that time.
What God showed me was that I was really in Cincinnati for everything that came before and after that window of time.
The private conversations. The tearful testimonies. The sincere expressions of love and affection. The gratitude expressed. The laughter around a table where a meal was shared together. The prayers for one another around a quiet living room.
That's why I was there.


And I am so blessed, my friends. I am so blessed and so honored to be so very loved.
Thank you, everyone, for making the drive, for taking the time, for giving your talent, and your resources to surround me with your love and support this weekend.
I know the Lord is doing something truly wonderful in Cincinnati. I know that He is stirring people up and nourishing seeds - some of them planted long ago - to grow towards the light and break through the soil.
The Kingdom of God is advancing in this place. The life and light and love of Jesus is pouring down in great abundance.
People there can smell it, like the scent of a rainstorm on the breeze. They are opening like flowers to receive the waters of new life and transformation is at hand.
I cannot wait to see what the Lord is about to do in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Just wait and see.....

Thursday, May 18, 2017

PART 2: PODCAST- Does The Evangelical View of the Cross Lead To Violence?


Part 2 of a conversation between Quoir authors Keith Giles, Jamal Jivanjee and Matthew Distefano about how Evangelical Christian views of the crucifixion relate to ideas about redemptive violence, and more.


NOTE: I personally do not believe that the Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theory is what ultimately leads to violence. 

Case in point: The early Christians did not embrace this PSA theory until John Calvin introduced it in the 1500s, and yet they did engage in a lot of violence against others, and even one another.

However: The PSA view does impact the way we see God and it does often provide justification for our own violence because, if God is violent can't we be violent, too?

In this Podcast we talk about:
*Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
*What is the mechanism that creates the necessity for Christ's death?
*What is Mimetic Theory and how does it relate to the crucifixion?
*If Jesus wasn't killed by His Father to satisfy His wrath and make it possible for us to be forgiven, then what was the cross all about?
*Why did Peter deny Jesus? Was this a special character flaw or are we all wired to go along with the crowd?
*Why is Jesus' invitation to "Follow Me" crucial to our ingrained tendency to imitate the desire of others?
*What does it mean to say that "No one has ever seen God at any time [except Jesus]?"

AND MORE!



LISTEN HERE:



LEARN MORE?

Suggested reading for further study:
*Reading the Bible with Rene Girard, edited by Michael Hardin
*I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by Rene Girard
*From The Blood of Abel by Matthew Distefano
*Raising Abel by James Alison
*Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe

For more on the "Flat Bible vs Jesus-Centric" discussion:
*Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb by Keith Giles


Online Resources:
VIDEO: The Monster God Debate [Start with part 2 here]
VIDEO: The Beautiful Gospel by Brad Jersak

WEBSITES:
www.RavenFoundation.org
www.PreachingPeace.org