Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bricks or Stones - Dr. P. Michael Peterson

Bricks or stones?

As you look around any college campus you see many bricks, and they are a wonderful building material in construction and architecture.

However, bricks are also a metaphor for sameness, lack of individuality, and commonness.

Bricks are made in a mold, and heated to create an identical building material that lacks individuality.  Bricks are symbolic of pressure, systems, and structures that conform individuals to specific behaviors, ideologies and perspectives.   Common Core programs in schools, government over-regulation, media bias, religious dogmas, and political correct standards are forces that can mold and conform us into bricks.  Faced with these forces and pressures that seem to be the accepted social norms, we can stop thinking, stop questioning, stop reasoning, and stop trying.  We risk becoming what others want us to be, think and believe, rather than what we are designed to be, and know to be right and true.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

3 Things to Teach Children about the Cross - Brad Jersak

What is God like? 
Jesus showed us! 
In every Gospel story, 
Jesus showed us what God is like, 
Because Jesus is "God with us." 
What did Jesus show us about God? 
That God is perfect love! 
That God loves us! 

This is the intro to our new children’s book, Jesus Showed UsThe book is a series of sixteen gospel pictures (inspired by the child-friendly Coptic iconography of the persecuted church in Egypt). In each case, the artwork portrays Christ demonstrating the truth that God is love.
We created this book for children because so many children grow up afraid of God and alienated from God, some because of abuse, others because of the brand of gospel well-meaning Christian parents and teachers shared with them. Otherwise healthy and well-loved children often suffer spiritual and emotional damage due to the distorted images of God presented in their early religious education.
This is especially true in what we tell children about the meaning of the Cross.

CLICK HERE to continue reading how to teach children about the Cross.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Let the Party Begin - Greg Albrecht


Key Text: The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)

The very idea of any kind of party, any kind of laughter, feasting, light-heartedness and yes, even enjoyment of life itself, is suspect in some religious environments. Our keynote passage does more than just record history, it is inviting you and me to a party, a party that is already in progress! There's important teaching in this passage. 

You may have heard one of the take-offs on our passage, which goes something like this:
Jesus turned water into wine almost 2,000 years ago, and ever since that time, legalistic religion has been trying to turn wine into grape juice. 

I don't want to spend a lot of time on the specific chemical properties of what Jesus created, but we cannot ignore the obvious. Alcohol was not only served at the wedding celebration that Jesus attended, but he contributed to the fact that alcohol was present by creating it when the original supply had run out. There's no getting around that fact, though there are some religious authorities who twist themselves into theological pretzels attempting to do so. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Firm Foundation or Christian Bubble? Cindy Brandt

Cindy Brandt is a blogger at CindyWords.com and at Unfundamentalist ParentingShe is also a regular columnist for CWR magazine.  

In this talk, Cindy describes how carefully raising children in a Christian subculture or 'bubble' establishes and reinforces in-out, us-them binaries. Is this really a solid foundation for their faith? Or might there be a better and more beautiful approach to raising children of authentic faith? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Likely Cause of Addiction: Disconnection - reflections on Johann Hari by Michael Peterson & Brad Jersak

"The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection." 
- Johann Hari

In his Jan. 1015 article, entitled, "The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think," Johann Hari (author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs) presents a strong case for believing that addictions are rooted, not in chemical hooks, but in disconnection or alienation. The best treatment, he proposes, is human connection. I.e. love. Dr. C. Michael Peterson and Brad Jersak reflect on these findings. 

Michael Peterson

Two thoughts:

1) The author contrasts the traditional treatment approach of bio-behavioral therapies and cognitive interventions vs. a love-based approach. Her final sentence stated:
"For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along."

What are the Politics of Jesus? - Richard Rohr

07 Richard Rohr - What are “the politics of Jesus”? from Plain Truth Ministries on Vimeo.

Monday, October 10, 2016

God Really LIKES You! by Greg Albrecht

"We desire to connect with God; we desire to know God and be known by God. God has created us with a desire for connectivity." - Greg Albrecht
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."—Revelation 21:1-4 
Does God love you? Most people would say, "Of course he does. The Bible says so, and I believe the Bible."

But, does God like you? That question causes many people to pause for a second or two, or longer. Think about that. Sure, he might love you, but does he like you? I believe he does. I believe God Really Likes You. 

Revelation 21:1-4 is the introduction to the spectacular vision given to the Apostle John by Jesus, recorded for us in the rest of the 21st chapter of Revelation. John saw a magnificent city whose streets were paved with gold, gold so pure that it looked like transparent glass. This New Jerusalem featured twelve gates, each of which was a single, giant pearl.

The gates of the New Jerusalem are always open, never closed. There is no darkness of any kind in New Jerusalem, not even night. There is only light, light eternally produced by the glory of God's presence.