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PSA for American Christians

Your laws may give you "the right"
to shoot another human being
in the protection of your stuff,
but your faith gives you no such permission.
That is a sin, contrary to will and word of Christ.

Jesus says"But I say to you that listen,  Love your enemies,  do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you,  pray for those who abuse you... and from anyone who takes away your coat  do not withhold even your shirt.  Give to everyone who begs from you;  and if anyone takes away your goods,  do not ask for them again."

how to read the bible in a way that makes all the difference

Image
[theres a "too long; didn't read" at the end]
Your picture/image of God is wildly important to how you live your life, the world, and the people around you.

We're talking about this at The Table right now. But one thing we aren't going to cover on Sunday that I think is VITAL to our faith journey is this: how do we reconcile the Old Testament and the New Testament?

The Old Testament (OT) is the first 2/3rds of the bible before Jesus. It has wonderful stories like Adam & Eve, Moses, Abraham, King David (and Goliath), the Psalms, the prophets, and many more. But it also has these stories about God that make God appear to be mean, distant, violent, excessively wrathful, and many more things.

The New Testament, on the other hand, is the story of Jesus and the birth of the Church in the wake of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. The thing that makes Christians unique in the traditional faiths is that we believe Jesus is God.

SO, how do we reconcile Jesus with…

Letter to my FM Leaders

Dearly Loved Free Methodist Leaders,

A little about myself to begin. I am a young elder in the church. I am seminary trained and have an M.Div from one of our finest institutions. I served at a church as associate, worship, and youth leader 5 years before attending seminary. I converted in from unbelief.

The revelation that ultimately led me to Christ and kept me in the church was our emphasis on the poor. Growing up in an underprivileged community with parents struggling with addiction, seeing the way God in Christ identified with the last, lost, and least was the revelation that convinced me of the validity of the Gospel. I had originally thought that God probably loved and preferred the religious and robed. Seeing Jesus prefer the company of "unlettered" fisherman, those with disability and disease, the poor, the average ordinary folks found on the outskirts of the kingdoms - the marginalized - was the ordained epiphany that the God of the universe loved me and I was not cu…

My apostolicity - so far unchecked

Jaymes Lackey - 2014
Matthew Thomas
Elmer Parsons
Mark Ormston
William Clark
E. P. Hart 1863
BT Roberts 1852
Thomas Morris 1820
Robert Roberts 1816
William McKendree 1808
Francis Asbury 1784
Thomas Coke 1784
John Wesley 1728
Dr. John Potter, 1715
Dr. Baxter Tenison, 1701
Dr. Philip Tillotson, 1683
Niles Sancroft, 1658
William Laude, 1633
Kyle Abbot, 1610
Richard Bancroft, 1604
Mark Whitgift, 1577
Steven Grendall, 1575
Dr. Matthew Parker, 1559
Phillip Barlow, Bishop of London 1536
Thomas Cranmer, 1533
William Warham, 1503
Cardinal Morton, 1488
Cardinal Bourchier, 1469
Cardinal Kemp, 1452
Henry Chichele, 1413
James Abingdon, 1381
Simon Sudbury, 1367
Simon Langham, 1327
Walter Reynolds, 1313
Robert of Winchelsea, 1293
John Peckham, 1279
Robert Kilwardby, 1269
Boniface of Savoy, 1252
Edmund Rich, 1234
Richard Weathershed, 1230
Stephen Langton, 1205
Hubert Walter, 1197
Fitz-Jocelin, 1191
Reginal, 1183
Baldwin, 1178
Richard, 1170
Thomas Becket, 1162
Theobald, 1139
William de Corbeuil, 1122

We Have Forgotten How to Lament

As I read the story unfolding before us of the mass shooting in San Bernadino, my heart aches.

First, because of the human loss of life and the human depravity that caused it. Second, because I know this is going to be instantly politicized. Third, because we are going to offer up shallow religious platitudes as a mask for our true, contrived, political feelings.

By now we know the drill. We have become so desensitized to the mass murder of innocent people that we don't even collectively mourn anymore. We don't even breathe together the profound sigh of sorrow and lament. Instead we leap into politicking, defense, and demonization.

We are so polarized that as we watch this event unfold, instead of sheer, knock-me-to-the-ground horror, our minds race to a vindictive hope that the shooters are not going to make our political standpoint look bad. "Please don't be a white guy." "Please don't be a refugee." "Please let's not blame mental illness…

Moving on Purpose - what a privilege

Erin, the kids, and I are moving.

We are moving into some apartments in Thermalito that have always had a bad reputation while I was growing up. We are doing this on purpose in an attempt to live with and in the community we are hoping to minister to.

Our approach to church and ministry (service) is that we follow this incarnational model. In short, and in our limited understanding of theology, we want to follow Jesus and do what he did. The Gospel of John, chapter 1, tells us that Jesus, the Word of God revealed in a person, "The Word became flesh and made his home among us." Incarnation = Jesus became the flesh presence of God on Earth. Incarnational = to be the flesh presence God in a community. To be a real person living with and in the place. To experience what the people experience. To be in solidarity with the purpose of redemption. Usually when people talk about incarnational ministry they assume that the place is underserved, underprivileged, and marginalized.

Tha…

On the Neutrality of Stuff and Guns

We live in this post-enlightenment age.
American Christians stereotypically fight the sciences.
But we are shaped by this nonetheless.

We look at stuff as neutral, having no value in an of itself.
But our parents in the faith viewed things differently.

Rich foods like dairy, meats, desserts were eaten during feasts
and abstained from during fasts.
They were thought to make us too comfortable here.
Making this earth our home and not the Kingdom.
They do.

Money always comes to mind.
We think it is a value-neutral object corrupting only corruptible people.
The saints always saw its potential for evil.
Even Jesus calls it "deceitful" and compares it to a false god.
"Get rid of it lest it find a way to my heart."

TV, technology, media
We consume to be consumed. Vegging out to "rest" (read: escape).
But to our forebearers, everything brings us closer to or pushes us further from Christ.
Neutral things and neutral time are not good.
they impede or worse.

So I th…