December 2009


Due to some of my ideas, I have been accused of creating God, or at least the leadership of God, in western humanity’s image. I have never come out one way or the other on this. I never defended this as my position nor denied it. Mostly because I never really wrestled with the definition of my position.

Today, I announce that I do not believe in a democratic leadership model for the Church!

See, the thing that always bugged me was that the labeling always seemed to be defining human leadership style within the divine Church. I totally reject this. Christ is our Leader and He never recalled that leadership. Instead, the Spirit of God is at work amongst the People of God (individually and corporately) appointing gifts and setting fires of passions within our hearts.

The job of those that God himself gave us as leaders (not necessarily the same people-set that our churches set up as leaders) is to come-along-side and help to release the gifts and to fan the flames (as well help recognize and put out rouge sparks) of those they are given watch over. Leaders need to be listening to the voice of the Spirit of God as He speaks through the people. He is to lay aside his own agenda and listen to even the least of these.

The leader’s place is not even to weight what she hears and make a decision. Her job is to encourage the people as a whole to walk in the ways that the Spirit is leading, to encourage the body to wrestle with the Spirit of God and as a body to move in the direction the Spirit is leading.

We are all sheep. We have only one Shepherd. Even though some of the sheep may take on a shepherding role, it is a role of a sheep, interacting as a sheep, to help sheep and the flock hear more clearly the Shepherd’s voice. Their role is not to hear that voice, decide amongst themselves what to make of it and interpret or relay it to the rest of the flock. Their essence, their nature of being, does not change; they do not become shepherds – not even sheep dogs. They are just sheep helping sheep.

Personally I am coming to think that the clergy/laity mentality, that has so fully infiltrated the Church, could/should be counted as heretical. Those that know me or have read much of my blog would know that there is little that I would call heresy. As a matter of fact, I am starting to think that any thing that is only a belief cannot be considered heresy as our faith is not dependent on beliefs but on a person – the messiah.

However, the clergy/laity mentality is not a belief but a mindset, a way of being that so greatly affects the lives and relationships of the People of God. It is not an abstract concept but something that ontologically changes living active people into passive recipients of others’ ideas of God. Even if these ideas are good and right, the fact remains that these clergy take on the role of mediator between God and man.

Those that support this idea of leadership often point to the Hebrew Scriptures for examples. The problem, that we are told by Jesus himself and it is expanded on by Paul, that these scriptures are pointers to the messiah. They are a type and a shadow of what was to come; what has come through Jesus and the manifestation of the present and coming Kingdom of God. Even if Moses and David are the best example we have of human leadership, it is still just leading like the Gentiles do. Jesus gave us a better way. A way of leading that is more organic, not flowing out of a seat of authority, but out of a seat of relationship; not as leader/follower but as brother to brother.

Any way, enough of my rant, I’ll now step off of the soap box and let you have a turn if  you so desire.

So, though I do not believe in a democratic leadership model, what I do believe is the scriptural model will probably looks vaguely similar.

Many people read the Bible as a series of disconnected quotes and episodes yielding maxims, rules, formulas, anecdotes, propositions, and wise sayings. They have little or no sense of the larger story into which the statements fit and in which their meaning took shape. (19)

From A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (available February 9, 2010)
Brian McLaren

Fifteen years ago the internet exploded out of the gates.

For the next few years we had to put up with random images, animated gifs, gaudy backgrounds, multi-coloured fonts and midi music. Special effects seem to always be abused when they first appear. Those sites are still around, but we have come along way.

Well Avatar is a movie that uses 3D to tell the story. This may be the first 3D movie that has not abused the effect. As a matter of fact, once I got use to the glasses and my eyes got accustom to the 3D, I forgot that I was watching a 3D movie.

The story was great as well. I won’t go into detail, as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

Of course we don’t really believe this – well, except maybe some Calvinists. But what does our theology say? I bring good news to those who tithe? Who are dedicated to prayer? Who bless a certain nation, political party or leader?

So much of our doctrines are exclusionary. God’s blessings is doled out based on laws or principles of God and his salvation is only for those who have correct doctrine. More and more I am seeing that the language used throughout the Christian Scriptures is inclusive:

So then as through ONE transgression there resulted condemnation to ALL men, even so through ONE act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to ALL men.
Romans 5:18

For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ ALL will be made alive
1 Corinthians 15:22

The problem is all the inclusive scriptures get interpreted through verses like:

Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

What happens if we flip that around? What if we interpret the way, truth and life verse through the inclusive message that I see as predominate?

Love this Brian!

We need not a new set of beliefs, but a new way of believing, not simply new answers to the same old questions, but a new set of questions. (17-18)

From A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (available February 9, 2010)

Perhaps we need to take a new approach towards Christmas; maybe we need to take Christ out of Christmas:

For the majority of people in [Canada] Christmas is a time for families to get together, exchange presents, eat good food, watch TV (, and argue).

But this is not Christmas. It is a secular Winter Festival. So here is my inclination – Let’s take the ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’ and call it for what it is – Wintermas.

Like Robin says in his blog quoted above, I also have no problems with presents, food family and celebrations. I rather enjoy them actually. So maybe we need to somehow separate Christmas from Wintermas. Let our culture enjoy the festivities of the winter solstice and we believers can add to this our devotion to the birth of Christ.

Why do we try to enforce our beliefs on our culture in some legalistic manner? Is this not contrary to the gospel that has been handed down to us?

So to modify my favorite quote (see my tag-line):

We are not to force our faith on others, we need to live the advent and share in Wintermas!

Lets stop chanting the slogan “Keep Christ in Christmas” and lets start living Christ in Wintermas!

AFTERWARD:

Oh, I have to update this blog with links to another great post on Christmas that I found through eugene cho.

Beer. Six reasons why your church needs more beer!

This is a great quote and I would agree with the slowest hiker analogy if I thought we, as the church, were just on a casual hike.

Have you ever heard the expression, “The group hikes at the speed of the slowest person”?

I heard someone use that the other week, as a compassionate excuse for slowing down for people who’re slow to adapt to change. My thoughts? Sounds very wise … if you consider mediocrity a virtue …
Glocal Christianity

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