Archive for March, 2007

What Would Jesus Build?

Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. If Jesus was a carpenter, a contractor, what kind of church building would he create?

Maybe a white wooden church with a steeple, so that religious people would feel comfortable.

Maybe a large modern brick edifice, so that powerful people would feel comfortable.

Maybe a sprawling metal building, so that the budget committee would feel comfortable.

After all, we all know how important it was for Jesus to make people feel powerful, or religious, or frugal.

Or comfortable.

The Hidden Gospel of Indices

Forget about the secret and lost gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene, and Judas. If 1st century Christians thought they were God-inspired, they would have made more than one copy of them, no? (Thousands of early copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been preserved, in spite of official persecution from church and state).

No, there is another gospel, a different gospel with a greater appeal to conservative American Christians – and it’s even included in many editions of the Bible. (more…)

Ugly is the new beautiful

Amidst the call for artistic excellence in worship, we can easily reach standards that Jesus didn’t bother to strive for. Fellow Anabaptist blogger Graham pointed me toward Celtic blogger Carolyn and her composition The Ugly Song.

What would Jesus listen to?

What Would Jesus Listen To?

Not to miss any opportunity to squeeze Jesus Christ into the mold of American popular culture, let’s produce yet another intimate film of his life – and accompany each scene with a song from Christian radio. I’m sure we could make them all fit somehow.

Which scene in Jesus’s life would be enhanced by Christian hip hop? When was Jesus the most rebellious?

Which scene would be typified by gospel elevator music? When was Jesus the most passive?

Which scene should be accompanied by sweeping choral music? When was Jesus the most proud?

Okay, maybe this won’t work after all.

Pentecostal pacifism

“From the very beginning the movement has been characterized by Quaker principles. The laws of the Kingdom, laid down by our elder brother, Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount, have been unqualifiedly adopted, consequently the movement has found itself opposed to the spilling of the blood of any man, or of offering resistance to any aggression. Every branch of the movement, whether in the United States, Canada, Great Britain or Germany, has held to this principle.”

— Stanley Frodsham, General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, 1917

Quoted in Historical and Theological Origins of Assemblies of God Pacifism by Paul Alexander

A note to Bob Parsons of GoDaddy

Bob,

Some say that sex drives the Internet, while others say it drives them away. True, sex sells. Nations have based their entire economies on what sells. One nation that comes to mind is Nauru. Which begs the question, Bob: what will you have left to sell when you have finished selling out?

Anabaptist Pentecostals

Like early Pentecostals, early Anabaptist Christians got into trouble for believing that believers could be filled with the Holy Spirit, though they didn’t boast about it. But just as most Anabaptists today find themselves far from their roots, so do most Pentecostals. (more…)

Proportional discipleship

This heresy, which I’ve called proportional discipleship, mandates that a person’s commitment to the kingdom of God should not exceed the average spiritual level of the surrounding society by more than one standard deviation. (more…)