The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs

Racial discrimination? Check. Gender inequality? Check. Class warfare? Check. Prejudice based on physical ability and differences? Check. The choice between family values and power? Check. The undying pursuit of the American dream at all costs? Check. The Greatest Showman is an allegory about what the church should be. If we don’t address the fissure currently dividing the church now, we will never put out the fire currently raging through our halls and hearts. Like Barnum, we have forgotten to love. To love people who look, sound, think and feel differently to us. To love other Christians who didn’t vote the same way we did.

Source: The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs – RELEVANT Magazine

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What matters is that more and more people are seeing Trump for what he is, not that some core group of people refuses to do so

The evidence is stronger than ever that Trump’s remaining supporters are never coming back. Most of the people who love Trump are exulting in making liberals angry, and they are not going to be convinced to change their minds. The people who peddle the idea that rural whites are all in Trump’s corner are wrong. Those voters are not insulted by coastal condescension but by the attempts to reduce them to stereotypes who do not — and can never — know any better. What matters is that more and more people are seeing Trump for what he is, not that some core group of people refuses to do so.

Source: Did Roseanne Vote Trump? And Can the Dems Win Her Support?

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I love my Babylon; Oh my Lord I’m your enemy

Oh great mammon of form and function; careless consumerist consumption; dangerous dysfunction, disguised as expensive taste. I’m a people disgraced by what I claim I need and what I want to waste. I take no account for nothing if it’s not mine. It’s a misappropriation of funds; protect my ninety percent with my guns. Whose side am I on? Well who’s winning?

My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves, orphans, widows, and homeless graves. I sold their souls just to build my private mansion. Some people say that my time is coming: Kingdom come is the justice running down, down, down on me. I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son; I refuse to give my love to anyone, fight for the truth, or help the weaker ones, because I love my Babylon. I am a slave, I was never free. I betrayed you for blood money. Oh I bought the world, all its vanity. Oh my Lord I’m your enemy.—Josh Garrels, Zion & Babylon

 

Josh Garrels has spent more than a decade crafting music that cuts clean through. Resting in the space between accessibility and honesty, Garrels’ songs wrestle with and celebrate the mystery of faith with authenticity and heart. Cultivating a genre-blending mix of folk and hip hop, Garrels’ music explores themes of compassion, hope, longing, and liberation.

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Our desire to test theology, whether it is strange or not, reinforces our reverence toward God

Questioning the validity of orthodoxy is anything but spiritual error because Scripture calls us to test such things. Church authorities are the ones fighting opposition, refusing to allow there to be diversity among their lambs. We who are committed to the testing all things are not forsaking the LORD. Our desire to test theology, whether it is strange or not, reinforces our reverence toward God. I cannot imagine a scenario beyond one in which Jesus succeeds in drawing everyone to himself.
Christian Universalism is anything but heretical because it is built on a solid foundation—the unfailing love of God.

Source: Is Christian Universalism a Slippery Slope?

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Christian escapism is really bad theology

Christian escapism is really bad theology. If God so loves the world, then how does it makes sense that we’re trying to leave it? Rapture theology is dangerous theology because it essentially says that we aren’t stewards of creation – it’s all going to be destroyed anyway so why bother. Oh and war – no biggie, remember, all the unsaved will be killed by God and the earth will be ravaged, so why bother. Makes for great foreign policy, environmental stewardship, and more, doesn’t it? We are called to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of God right now, here on earth. We’re called on to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick and imprisoned, to go and make disciples. If God wanted to whisk us away, then why on earth would Jesus command us to do these things?

Source: OnFaith Commentary: Christian Escapism

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Bobby Kennedy healed, Trump exploits racial division

“Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. You can be filled with bitterness, hatred, and a desire for revenge. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand with compassion and love. What we need in the United States is not division, hatred, violence or lawlessness; but love, wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country.” — Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)

Source: Chris Matthews: Bobby Kennedy healed, Trump exploits racial division

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There’s got to be a better way to engage Jesus’ teachings in the 21st century

We don’t have to push each other away. We can actually come together in our differences. We come together to practice connection, contemplation, critical thinking, creativity, and compassionate action for the common good. Our gatherings emphasize building friendships over a meal and having deep conversations about topics that transform the way we see the world while inspiring us all to live peacefully with more beauty, wholeness, passion, urgency, and love.

The Way Collective is a new movement in Santa Barbara, CA, and is a community for people looking to unite by living well for the common good in an increasingly divisive world.

Source: Way Collective

 

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Fox & Friends is the authoritarian Today Show.

The chief goal of Fox & Friends is asserting one’s own status by belittling others. Doocy is an expert at keeping things simultaneously light and nasty. Earhardt is the show’s resident softball interviewer. Kilmeade loves mispronouncing certain words in order to mock those who use them in earnest. Their signature tune is reactionary resentment. There are workout segments and cooking segments and music segments, interspersed randomly with deranged political commentary and militaristic iconography. [It] pairs its banalities with a pettiness of spirit. In lockstep with Trump’s reactionary agenda, it yearns for the past while destabilizing the present and future. It is a witch’s mirror, showing you only those things that you hate most in other people, preventing any meaningful self-reflection.

Source: Fox & Friends is the authoritarian Today Show.

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I am Mennonite, and we are Racist

“Segregation is one face of racism. The Mennonite tradition perpetuates through family. It shows charity to the outsider, but does not necessarily allow the outsider to be included unless they assimilate into everything – the faith, the culture, the family traditions. Despite being a people who endlessly preach peace and justice, who claim to be fighting against the evils of prejudice, most of us aren’t even aware how complicit we are with our own racism. I need transformation. We all do.”

Source: I am Mennonite, and we are Racist | Pastors in Exile

Pastors in Exile (PiE) is an Anabaptist-rooted movement of community pastors outside of church walls. We believe that church is evolving into something beyond just a specific community in a specific place at a specific time. Everyone who seeks to join God’s loving and transforming work in the world is invited to be a pastor in exile with us.

Follow them on Twitter at: @pastorsinexile.

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Mavis Staples – “Little Bit”

Legendary soul singer, Mavis Staples (with the help of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy), confronts Trump’s America on ‘If All I Was Was Black’ out on Nov. 17. “We’re not loving one another the way we should,” she says. “We just strayed into division.” In the wake of exclusionary rhetoric about race coming from the streets and even the White House, the duo set out to address the fissures dividing the country. “The song [Little Bit] is a cautionary anthem of all the ways in which those regarded as suspicious have to weigh their actions just to survive day to day.”

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Stop repeating the heresy of declaring the United States a ‘Christian nation’

“A ‘Christian Nation’ is absolutely heretical. Jesus said you must hate your mother and father and love your enemies. Love your neighbor as yourself. To gain access to true love and true self, you must die to yourself, to your family, to your heritage, your narrow-minded ideology, your ego, your ill-conditioned consciousness and your false identity. Go in your closet and pray for your enemies. You must love your neighbor, love your enemies, serve the poor, give everything away and put yourself last.” — Sufjan Stevens

Source: Stop repeating the heresy of declaring the United States a ‘Christian nation’ – The Washington Post

Sufjan Stevens is a singer-songwriter living in New York City. This piece was first published on his website.

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Embracing criticism gives us lots of chances to love our enemy

““When you embrace criticism instead of avoiding it, you get lots of chances to love your enemy.” — Brian D. McLaren

See: How to be a purple church in a red state

Brian D. McLaren is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker. His latest book is The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian.

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What ‘The Leftovers’ Can Teach Us About Hope and the Christian Faith

“Think of people you consider fanatical. They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian but because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathetic, forgiving or understanding – as Christ was. Because they think of Christianity as a self-improvement program they emulate the Jesus of the whips in the temple, but not the Jesus who said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). What strikes us as overly fanatical is actually a failure to be fully committed to Christ and his gospel.” — Timothy Keller

See: What ‘The Leftovers’ Can Teach Us About Hope and the Christian Faith

Timothy Keller is an American pastor, theologian and Christian apologist. He is best known as the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York, and the author of The New York Times bestselling books The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/timkellernyc

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The loudest voices are defining who Christians are

“In an increasingly post-Christian culture fewer people have contact with real Christians. We’ve hidden ourselves in a Christian sub-culture bubble. As a result only ‘the loudest voices are defining who we are’. Only when we have real contact with people in the culture where love and friendship can be established will we change their perceptions of the church.” — Dan Kimball

See: Live from Shift: Bursting the Christian Bubble: Dan Kimball calls us back into the world.

Dan Kimball is an author and was a leading voice in the beginning years of the Emerging Church movement in the USA. Much of Kimball’s writings question the existing forms of church and their effectiveness in an increasingly post-Christian culture.

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Those who instantly fall in line behind Trump as he bombs people are ensuring that he will keep doing it

“It should be startling and infuriating that Trump is able to order a new attack on the Syrian Government without any democratic debate, let alone Congressional approval. Those who instantly fall in line behind Trump as he bombs people are ensuring that he will keep doing it. The one constant of American political life is that the U.S. loves war. Martin Luther King’s 1967 denunciation of the U.S. as ‘the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ is more accurate than ever.” — Glenn Greenwald

See: The Spoils of War: Trump Lavished With Media and Bipartisan Praise For Bombing Syria

Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, best known for his role in a series of reports published by The Guardian.

Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ggreenwald

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Following Jesus is not “family safe”

“We’re never going to be “family safe” – especially if you’re committed to sharing God’s message of hope with the world. Just ask the house church pastors in China, or Christian leaders in Darfur. Following Jesus is costly and involves a risk.” — Phil Cooke

See: The Sin of Living in the Bubble

Phil Cooke is a writer, television producer, and media consultant based in Burbank, California, as well as a critic of some aspects of contemporary American and American-influenced Christian culture. He is an evangelical Christian and, as Scott McClellan of Collide Magazine wrote, “At times, Cooke may appear to be Christian media’s biggest critic but, as he is quick to point out, he criticizes because he loves.” Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/PhilCooke

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Jesus knew that fear would kill our ability to Love

“Dear American Conservative Church: I know you want to Love, but as a whole, fear is winning. The most prevalent command Jesus gave was “Do not fear.” He knew that fear would kill our ability to Love.” — Sheri Faye Rosendahl

You can find more of Sheri Faye Rosendahl’s writing at NotYourWhiteJesus.org. Sheri and her BA husband, Rich, also run a non-profit called The Nations, doing peace and humanitarian work with refugee neighbors from the Middle East both domestically and abroad.

See: Dear American Conservative Church

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