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Answers Without Questions 
Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 08:50 AM - Extra Christy
Posted by Administrator
There is Something Worse than Change

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." - General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

Author Brian McLaren told of speaking to a youth convention decades ago. He asked them to list what issues their churches were struggling with and then what problems they had.

The two lists of concerns didn't come close to matching. The church was struggling with issues the youth had no interest in and was ignoring their strains and pains.

Reminds me of the BING commercials from Microsoft where the answers don't match the questions, leading to more confusion instead of illumination.
One of the issues our church likes to fight over is how exactly Jesus Christ is Lord. A few of us can spend a lot of energy accusing a couple of us who they almost completely agree with of being heretics. (The vote last time we fought on a version of his issue was 96.8% in agreement.) However unfounded and untrue, these accusations upset the rest of the good church folk. Yet the noisy few want to continue because fear, uncertainty and doubt benefits their own agenda.

Meanwhile, outside the church, folks are struggling with how to be Christian in a time of constant war, how to live with the stranger and foreigner, seeking to thrive in a single parent families, dealing greater disparities between rich and poor, worried about threats of terrorism, mourning the breakdown of community, experiencing first hand the evaporation of jobs, and coping alone with other stresses that Christian community of faith, hope and love could help if not solve.

I'd rather change what people find when they search for Christian answers to their lists of concerns than become even more irrelevant, insisting on giving answers to questions no one is asking.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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Book People 
Saturday, January 23, 2010, 10:00 PM - Sermon, Media
Posted by Administrator
From our Song and Service A Light to the Heights worship Sunday, January 24th

Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Videos:

Need That Book


from The Book Of Eli



Why do you want that book? How would you answer?
What are the right words for our faith?
What is the Bible meant to be?



______________________________________________________________


“Getting into a Book” scene from Tale of Desperaux



Scene not available for embeding but here is the link to the clip at WingClips, (a new window will open).

Tale of Desperaux on WingClips

This short bit, talks about the immersion of a mouse in a book.
Watch for the resonance between the book character and the reader.



______________________________________________________________


“Book People” scene from Fahrenheit 451



Scene not available on-line and this version of the trailer cannot be embedded
but here is the link to the clip at YouTube, (a new window will open).


Scenes from Fahrenheit 451 (some graphic!)

This 1966 movie is set in a world where books are banned. All books.
Watch the emotion of the women in talking about books.
How precious are books when they are banned and burned?
How does one become a book?


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Coaching 
Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 04:39 PM - Extra Christy
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Christianity is Found not Given

There are over a hundred scriptural names for Christ. I found a list of 117 in The Complete Book of Bible Lists by Harold L. Wilmington.

Brian D. McLaren lists seven Jesuses he has known in a Generous Or+hodoxy where he describes diverse ways different people hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. He then goes on to affirm 17 denominations/movements claiming his place in each.


How can all these be right, especially for one person? I found it helpful to reflect on the practice of coaching, which I tried out at a seminar this week. Coaches don't make clones of themselves, at least not the great ones. They coach the player to become the best she or he can be, not the best the coach is. It is up the player to "find their swing" in the words of the golf coach/caddy in The Legend of Digger Vance.

I hope you haven't experienced others who give you a filled out scorecard when you wanted to learn the game. Keep practicing, with Christ as your Coach urging you to find your way to deliver his good news!

Spiritual Practices

Diana Butler Bass in her book Christianity for the Rest of Us discusses what a difference Spiritual Practices make in the life of various churches. Spiritual Practices fit well with the idea of coaching. The ones she lists are:

Hospitality - Discernment - Healing
Contemplation - Testimony - Diversity
Justice - Worship - Reflection - Beauty




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All for One and One For ALl 
Sunday, January 17, 2010, 07:50 AM - Church, Media
Posted by Administrator
From our Song and Service A Light to the Heights worship Sunday, January 17th

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Videos:

A Religion for Tiger


from The Daily Show on Comedy Central

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Best News Team Ever - Tiger Woods' Faith
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


Silliness aside, What are the gifts/benefits of each religion?
What do they contribute to the world?


_____________________________________________________________

“Ring the Bell” scene from The Witness


(Climax scene where the unarmed Amish community confront an armed killer. )

Scene not available on-line but here is the trailer.



This movie contrasts violence with the ways of the Amish.
In the climax scene, a boy rings a bell to call the community to witness the violence and injustice.
What is comparable to ringing the bell in our church and community?
How did community beat violence and a gun?



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Shrugs Then Hugs 
Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 01:00 PM - Extra Christy
Posted by Administrator

The Most Important Question Isn't WHY



Presidential Palace in Haiti by UN Development Programme on Flickr

Pat Robertson seemed to be answering the question of WHY Haiti suffered an earthquake with an explanation that it was a result of a pact with the devil (Listen, He seems to be speaking directly to me!). His network, CBN, has a statement about the comment..

Pat Robertson joins a long line of theologians in and out of the Bible wondering why bad things happen with a good God. Some folks will give you a cause and effect explanation in terms humans can grasp.

I prefer the tradition in the Biblical books of Job and Ecclesiastes of humble wonder at the vastness of God. Some have said the answer to the "WHY?" question of life is a shrug. Humans don't know and cannot know.

Thankfully, answering "WHY?" is not our most important task. Martin Luther King tells us: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

Thankfully, Christians and others are answering that question by donating to the American Red Cross and other agencies for relief from the earthquake. The denomination I serve, The Presbyterian Church (USA) has given $100,000 already and its web site is jammed with church folk answering the question more urgent and persistent than, "WHY?"

Some have urged us to consider that the answer to "WHY?" only begins with a shrug. The more complete answer includes a hug.

Jesus Answers WHY?

As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. - John 9:1-7

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




Creative Commons License
This work by J. Christy Ramsey is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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