Another New Project In The Works

Back in April I told you about a new project that was in the works.  As of today, we had not heard any concrete information about whether or not our propsal will be accepted.  You can re-read the post here.

Well, on June 21, my project load doubled.   A friend of mine (Ray, check out his blog here) and I were at High School camp last year when we began to have a discussion about Christianity and society.  Even though we are only removed from High School by only 10-11 years, the world is completely different- the understanding of what it means to be Christian has changed, worship styles have changed and the way we encounter the Divine has changed.  Sadly, the perception of Christianity has not changed.  This made us ask, “why would anyone want to be a Christian when it seems so lame?”  and thus the idea was born.

So we contacted Chalice Press (our denominational publishing house) with our idea and they asked us to write a proposal for a book on this topic.   We are both in transitions in our lives but I believe we will get this completed soon.

Stay tuned for more updated from both projects!  Below is a very nice tweet from Ray’s wife about our project.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

The Gospel According To Family Feud

The other day I was watching TV and the game show “Family Feud” came on.  I have enjoyed the show in years past but it has been a while since I had ever actually sat down and watched it.  The very first survey question caught my attention.  It was:

Name a profession whose members will have a hard time getting into Heaven

Interesting survey question to say the least. What is “Family Feud”‘s goal here? By simply asking this question the creators/writers of the survey question were making a theological statement. To them salvation is found in how good of person you are AND there are people in this world who because of their choice of profession will not inherit the riches awaiting them in Heaven. While there are some who believe that Heaven is reserved for Christians only, there are some who believe that all of humanity will not be barred from the glories of God.

Not so says Family Feud…

Here is what the survey said:

  1. Lawyer
  2. Politician/Govt.
  3. Stripper
  4. Prostitute/Pimp
  5. Drug dealer
  6. Athlete

Other answers not making the survey:

  • Tax collector
  • Hit man
  • Con artist
  • Thief

One first glance the majority of the people listed by the survey are those that fit certain stereotypes. Polticans lie and cheat, lawyers lie to get their way, drug dealers are preying on the youth of America, etc. etc. The only one that didn’t make sense to me was ‘athlete.’ Sure in recent year in the age of steroids and mega contracts there are those who believe that professional athlete are nothing more than big, money hungry babies. Of course, this isnt always the case and I do point out that the survey did not specify between pro and amateur athletes, so looks like my league baseball days has punched my ticket to netherworld known as hell. 😀

The theology that Family Feud is promoting is one what widely labels certain professions as negative.  Forget the fact that there are lawyers that take on cases for free, forget the politicians who actually do their due diligence and serve those they represent, forget the athlete that is using his/her God given talents to play a sport and use part of their salary to fund charity work.  Just forget all of that… let’s make generalization… because that has worked in the past, right?

Am I making too much out of a game show?  Maybe, but maybe not; the fact of the matter is that theology can be promoted outside of a stained glass building.  Sure it is light hearted game show but is there an element of truth?  Yes, but a gross over simplification with an element of theology can be a scary thing; that’s just enough knowledge to be dangerous.  Now I am not sure how many people draw their spiritual knowledge from a game show but is a conversation that is happening outside the church in the public arena.

I believe people are seeking this conversation about the Divine in the world today… Family Feud is just starting it off for us.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

“What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part II- Freedom of Belief

This is the second installment of my “What Does Your Church Believe?” series. Last week I discussed the notion of open communion and the importance of it in DOC theology (click here for Part I). This week we will look at “Freedom of Belief.”

Back in the 19th Century when the what is now know as the Disciples of Christ was beginning to form as a movement, one of the pillars that many lifted up was the notion of freedom of belief. Our founders came out of a Presbyterian background. While there is nothing wrong with being Presbyterian, the founders did not like the use of creeds in worship and as tools for believing the ‘right’ types of things. Over time the motto of the Disciples of Christ became “no creed, but Christ.” This means that we are called as followers of Christ to seek out a relationship with God in a way that is meaningful for ourselves, just as long as we center our beliefs on that idea that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

We all come from different backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic status, generations and education levels. We are NOT going to interpret the same thing even though we are reading the exact same passage. Some passages that were meaningful to us five years ago do not mean as much today. I like to give this example. My daughter, Violet, was born on February 1. On January 31, passages in the Bible that mentioned parenting, God as a loving parent, or that the people of Israel were God’s children, it not mean as much to me as they did when I read them on February 2.

Now if there was just one interpretation, who would get to decide which was “correct?” Would the Catholic interpretation be favored over the Baptist interpretation? Would the Presbyterians be “more correct” than the Methodists? As you can see this would cause major dissention between the denominations (and there is already enough of that to go around.)

Does Freedom of Belief mean you can believe whatever you want? In sense no. When reading the scriptures one has to remember the original intent of the book or passage one is reading; we can’t make the Bible “say” something that it never was intended to ‘say’ in the first place. The Disciples of Christ sum it up by stating “Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Holy Spirit, study and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.” The key here is extending grace and acceptance to others. We may not all believe the same things, we may all see something different when it comes to the Bible, but if we are grounded in the one essential of faith, Jesus Christ, then everything else is secondary.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan