Monday, October 30, 2017
After more than 10 years blogging here on subversive1 and the Blogger platform, I've decided to move my blog over to Patheos.
Here's what that means:
First, this blog will continue to remain online. If you're subscribed here then this is still the place to come for my personal posts about my life, family, and house church-related news.
Second, I will keep all of my old blog articles and posts here on this blog. So, don't worry that any of this will one day disappear. It won't.
Third, all of my newer blog articles will appear on Patheos in a few weeks. I will post a link to that new blog as soon as it's live.
NOTE: You must subscribe to the Patheos feed if you want to receive my new blog posts once everything moves over there. Don't worry: I will post a link to help you do that as soon as it's all ready to go. But if you don't subscribe [and it's free] then you will not receive my new blog articles and posts.
Here's the scoop: I was invited to join the Patheos blog platform about 2 weeks ago by Benjamin Corey, and Chuck McKnight.
Typically, the people at Patheos prefer to move the entire blog over to their platform. However, since I have 10 years worth of posts and since Blogger and Patheos don't sync so well together from a technological standpoint, we arrived at a compromise solution.
I will move about 50 hand-picked articles from this blog and agree to post all new content on the Patheos blog moving forward.
So, in short, this is a "soft" transition.
What the heck is Patheos?
Glad you asked! It's a very large blogging platform for a variety of writers to share their ideas and thoughts. There are various channels on the platform. Some are Christian, some are not. Some are religious, some are not.
Why move to Patheos?
Another great question! The move to Patheos allows me to reach more people [because they have a much larger subscription base and they drive much more traffic than I ever could all by my lonesome].
Do they pay you to blog?
Yes, they do. But that's not why I'm moving over. Honestly. I would make this move even if they didn't pay anything at all.
Should I follow you here and at Patheos?
Yes! Here's why: The quality and frequency of my posts at Patheos will increase significantly. I'm contractually-bound to post a minimum number of articles to Patheos every single week. Plus, this shift to a new potential audience has helped me to reevaluate my approach. But, that is a very good thing, trust me.
See, Patheos is closer to Slate or Huffington Post. So, every article I write will have to measure up to a higher journalistic standard than anything I held myself to here on my own blog.
Does that make sense?
Plus, if you continue to follow this blog [I mean the one you're reading right now], you'll get more personal, introspective and intimate posts that wouldn't be appropriate for Patheos.
In other words, you'll be getting the best of both worlds if you subscribe to this blog here and also to the Patheos blog which should launch in a few days.
Any other questions? I'll be happy to answer them if I can. Please just post them below.
Also: I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been faithfully reading, following and sharing my posts here on subversive1 all this time. You're still the reason I do this. I still need your support, your feedback and your encouragement.
This is just the next logical step for me as a writer and I hope you'll come with me.
NOTE: My next book "Jesus Unbound" is nearly finished! Stay tuned for more info on that.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Several years ago I was writing a column for Relevant Magazine called "Subversive" which featured interviews from various voices in the Emerging Church Movement.
One of those voices was Spencer Burke. He not only helped to launch an emerging church here in Orange County, but he also started an online magazine called theOoze.com and also wrote a great book called "Making Sense of Church".
That's why one afternoon about twelve years ago I was sitting across the table from him in Newport Beach, California interviewing him for Relevant.
But that's when he said something that made me second guess the entire interview. He said, "Just imagine, if the Jewish culture had been Matriarchal instead of Patriarchal, God would have been 'Mother' and Jesus could have been a woman."
Honestly, I didn't know what to say to any of that. I was just so far outside my comfort zone at the time. Spencer is seriously one of the few people I have ever met that I would sincerely call a genius. He has an astounding gift to predict where the culture is headed and he has an insight about human nature that is uncanny.
Still, I wasn't sure what to do with that statement. On the one hand, I didn't want to edit out that quote because I knew Spencer would notice that I had left it off the article. But I also didn't want to publish it and have it hurt Spencer's reputation.
So, I never published the interview at all.
That was over a decade ago. Since then my theology has radically shifted. I owe Spencer an apology for not having the courage to publish his statement which, today, seems so obvious and true.
Here's the deal: God is not male.God is not female. God does not have a gender.
We use the pronoun "He" for several reasons. One, because we don't want to call God an "It". God is a person and therefore has a personality. Two, because a patriarchal society tends to fashion their Deity in the male image. In other words, God made us in His image and then we returned the favor by making God into an image that reflects ourselves.
Unfortunately, the common use of the term "He" to refer to God creates the illusion that God is male. But that is not the case.
God is Spirit. God is not male. God is not female. When the Genesis account tells us that mankind was made in the image of God that means that men and women were both made in His image. The man was created first, yes, but hidden within that man was the female. Therefore, both man and woman were the "image of God" that was created. One was hidden inside the other, but both were created to reflect the image of God.
Yes, the male aspect of God gets more screen time than the female one, but there are several images of God as female that - unsurprisingly - have been overlooked throughout Church history.
But they are there.
For example, when Jesus stands up on the last day of the Feast and invites everyone to "come to me and drink" the picture is of a mother nursing her young. [See John 7:37] This image is repeated when Jesus weeps over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and says that he longs "to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing." [See Luke 13:34]
There are many other verses in the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures that speak of God as "giving birth" to Israel and uses metaphors where God nurses them and cares for them like a Mother cares for her children. The New Testament scriptures often speak of us as being "born of God" and "children of God" who are nurtured on milk as newborn babes in Christ.
So, while we may be accustomed to calling God "He" it is not blasphemous or inappropriate to call God "She" or to alternate between the two because, as I've said before: God does not have a penis, or a vagina.
God is a Spirit and those who worship God do so in Spirit and in Truth.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
LISTEN: Sirius XM Radio Host John Fugelsang interviews Keith Giles about his new book "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb".
Recorded live on Tuesday, Oct. 10th, 2017 on "Tell Me Everything".
Used by permission.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
As part of my new job, we’re encouraged to read through the book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and reflect on each of the habits together in scheduled weekly meetings.
Honestly, it’s not something I would ever want to do on my own as I am allergic to all the usual leadership and success-minded literature that permeates our culture. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the principles are derived from the teachings of Jesus.
For example, the first habit involves realizing that we often allow others to control us. The goal is to move from being reactionary – where we are always being manipulated by the desires of others – to being proactive – where we are driven more by our own set of internal values. In other words, our attitudes should not be shaped by circumstances or people, but by an inward decision to be who we already are, regardless of our circumstance.
So, my joy is not dependent upon outward conditions: how much money I have, or how many people like me, or what sort of status I may have in society. Instead, my joy radiates from within and flows out of who I am inside. Because I know I am loved by God, created in His image, called by His name and adopted into His family as His child and co-heir with Christ, my happiness is fixed on this.
I can be in prison, or sitting under a tree in the park and I am content. I can be rich or poor, young or old, healthy or sick and still remain at peace within myself based on who I am inside.
This is what Paul referred to when he said that he had: “…learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
The second habit is to start with the end in mind. Literally, this means to begin by imagining your own funeral. Who is there? What do they say about you? What do you want them to say? In other words, if you want people to stand and say that you were a great friend, that means you’ll need to start being a great friend. If you hope that people will talk about what a loving and kind person you are, then you should start working now on being more loving and kind to people.
Again, this concept is very grounded in the idea of sowing and reaping. If you want good fruit, then you must first make the tree good, as Jesus said. Anyone who plants an apple tree should not expect grapefruit, or vice versa. The way we behave today plants seeds for what our character will be like tomorrow.
Part of working through the book involves writing your own personal mission statement. This isn’t something I would normally ever do, but again I found the process of sitting down to think about it very inspiring.
Here’s what I came up with for my mission statement:
Have you ever thought about what your mission statement would be? What would you include? I’d love to hear yours if you take time to write it out and share it in the comments below.
Also, what would you want people to say about you at your funeral? What are you doing now to make sure that what they say about you lines up with the impression you hope to make on the people around you?
Share those in the comments if you can.
Finally, if you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe to the blog and share this post with your friends on social media.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Not only am I really tired of all the so-called end times prophets picking dates for the End of the World based on some obscure Bible passage, a few wonky mathematical equations, the alignment of the moon and the stars and a little bit of old-fashioned B.S. thrown in for good measure, I’m downright angry about it.
I mean, I can’t decide what’s worse: The fact that these sorts of predictions continually get promoted or that so many Christians endlessly fall for them.
What it does for our faith is to solidly prove to everyone who has never read the Bible that it must assuredly be too confusing to understand, or just flat-out filled with failed prophecies.
Either way, these end times prophecies about the end of the world based loosely on the Bible do nothing but make Christians look stupid and the Bible look untrustworthy.
Why would anyone listen to anything a Christian says about anything? If they can’t even understand their own Holy Book, what makes us think they can understand my life, or help me with my problems, or lead me to something one might consider to be “The Truth”?
With all that being said, I have something to say to all of you:
Jesus returns today.
I’m totally serious.
Today, Jesus will reveal Himself as the Lord and show His true power to the world.
Every knee will bow when they see Him.
Every tongue will confess when they hear His voice.
Every heart will melt like wax when they realize that they are in the Presence of the Holy One.
His Kingdom will descend from Heaven.
His rule and reign will have no end.
Jesus returns today.
Here’s how: You and I are carriers of His Presence.
His Spirit lives and breathes within every one of us.
There are millions of us all over the world right now.
Those of us who are in Christ will not only do the things that Jesus did – feed the hungry, care for the
sick, stand for the oppressed – but we will do even greater things than this.
Like, love our enemies and pray for those who hate us.
Like, forgive those who have spitefully used us and release them – and ourselves – from prisons of pain and regret.
Like, serving our neighbors and demonstrating the transformative love of Jesus in every way we possibly can.
When people who have not known Jesus see this kind of love, they will see Him and they will be conquered by His affection.
When people who have never experienced forgiveness are set free from blame and guilt, they will experience His presence and be overcome with joy.
When people who have been told they do not deserve love and compassion are suddenly and unexpectedly immersed and saturated by the love of Christ that is higher, and wider, and longer, and deeper than any mind can comprehend, they will know that Jesus has returned to rescue them.
Jesus is returning today.
If you’re lucky, you just might catch a glimpse of Him when He does.
If not, that's ok. He'll be returning tomorrow, too.
But, whatever you do, don’t get left behind.