Save Me From Myself – Korn’s Brian Head Welch

Last night I finished reading one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is called “Save Me From Myself” and is written by Brian Head Welch formerly of the band Korn. The book is an autobiography of his life from childhood, through his drug fuelled years with Korn and his coming to Christ and becoming a Christian. I won’t give too much away about the story as it is a book that any young person should read.

The one bit that really got me from a Christian perspective was towards the end of the book where Welch describes some songs he wrote after coming to Christ:

After I’d been writing for a bit, God gave me another song called “It’s Time To See Religion Die.” To me, this song has a few different meanings. For one, it’s a song that encourages people to get out of this whole “Sunday Christian” mentality and into the world so God can use them to change the world, to help people understand that God does not live in buildings made by men (Acts 7:48). We are God’s building, because he dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Upon reading this I grabbed my bible to check the verses mentioned in context. The full context of Acts 7:48 is from verse 48 through to verse 50, from the NIV:

However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?”

The full context of 1 Corinthians 3:16 extends into verse 17 as well:

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

This commentary was something that I had always known but had forgotten about. It seems too often that we get caught up in thinking that God is at Church. When God is actually right with us, right now. And church is something made by man to come together as a body of believers to worship God. Church is not God and does not create God, but we can meet God at church, in exactly the same way we can on our owns anywhere else at any other time.

Welch then continues:

That’s not the only meaning to this song though. Also, this song is for all the people that have been hurt by religion. All of the man-made religion crap in this world has to die. Whenever it’s Christian man-made religion crap or some other man-made religion crap, it all has to die. It must grieve God’s heart when he sees Christians fighting about whose doctrine is right; he doesn’t see denominations, he sees one big glorious bride. When Christians argue about doctrinal issues, all he sees is carnal people acting like children. All that prideful, controlling religious crap is what drives young people away from churches, and it has to go. Much of the world’s population is under the age of eighteen, and we have to bring the love of Christ to them without all this controlling crap going on. Because, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

I found this point quite interesting as well. I think it is important to be able to freely and frankly discuss your differences of points of view on doctrine but many times church groups take it way too far (catholic vs protestant for instance). And it does put people off. If we put as much effort into working with young people as we did discussing the finer points of some minor piece of doctrine how many more people would we save?

You can buy the book on Mighty Ape

The Genesis Enigma – A scientific approach to the origins of life and the universe

When I was in Sydney a few months back I picked up a book at the airport to read on my flight home entitled “The Genesis Enigma – Why The Bible Is Scientifically Accurate”. I was surprised to find what at first I considered to be a creationist book in the popular science section of an airport bookshop. Furthermore the book is written by Dr Andrew Parker an Honorary Research Fellow of Green Templeton College at Oxford University, Research Leader at the Natural History Museum and a Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University none of which are the typical credentials of a creationist.

The book takes a very different approach from most books on God, science and the origins of the universe. The typical approach is to use the bible as a literal roadmap of creation and then tweak the science to make it fit the bible stories. However, Parker takes the opposite approach in The Genesis Enigma by outlining the science of the origins of the universe and life and then tests if the bible can line up with this. Surprisingly with a little less literal interpretation of the bible it does.

The main thesis of the book is:

  • The bible is a historically accurate record of people and events.
  • The six days of creation are not a literal six days but instead refer to the order in which science now reveals the universal comes into being. Something that no one writing a religious book a few thousand years ago would have been able to know, or understand unless the knowledge came through divine intervention.
  • The evolution is an undisputable scientific fact. However atheism is not a fact or theory it is as much a religion as any other faith based religious belief.
  • There is more to life and God than just science. And science cannot explain everything in the world. Science is not the be all and end all of explaining the meaning and purpose of life.

Overall the main ideas in the book make a lot of sense and while I do not necessarily agree with all of them it has provoked my intellectual thought around the subject. The end of the book also finishes with a discussion of intelligent design and atheism which is very interesting independent of the rest of the book. In particular:

“One’s reaction to the science versus religion debate is a very personal choice. Do you believe that science will take such huge steps, changing the way in which it works today, as to be able to answer those big questions in the universe? Or do you choose God? To borrow from C. S. Lewis, do you believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, or that there is a great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest? Creationism and atheism are neither scientific theories nor demonstrably true. If we do not allow them to cloud our judgement then God can appear as a rational answer as to why we exist on earth.”

Furthermore Parker makes a very strong case for divine intervention in the authorship of the bible by stating:

“That Aaronid priest who wrote the Bible’s first page, or Moses who may have given the ancient Israelites their creation account originally, lacked any interest in natural history. Although demonstrating attention to detail in other subjects – geography, politics, economics, law – this Aaronid priest and the character Moses, provide us with no signs of biological inclination. The scientific method, necessary to decipher the true account of how the universe formed and life evolved, with its repeatable experiments, was yet to manifest itself. The ancient Israelites were not conducting scientific experiments in their sheds – if they were, they would have written about it, as they did about everything else they did. The writer of the Bible’s first page simply roamed the desert or traversed the dusty streets of ancient Jerusalem during the day, and marvelled at the stars at night. He was without so much as a magnifying lens.

Indeed, the history books tell us that science and natural history began some centuries later with the ancient Greeks, who were influenced by very different natural surroundings. So, in terms of providing an explanation for how the universe and life came to be, the Aaronid priest given this task, or the character Moses, would not have had a clue. All the same, something was written. And it made its way to pride of place in the Bible.

As such, unprovided with evidence of any kind, the creation account on the Bible’s opening page might be assumed a fantasy. But the Genesis Enigma has told us that those enigmatic phases that ignite the Bible actually mean something – they are scientifically accurate. That would be an outrageous assertion, were it not true. The conclusion that this page of the Bible could, perhaps more than any other, represent God’s hand in the Bible. The true account of how we came to exist may have been handed to humans by God.

In any case, our strong preconception that science has, with each discovery chipped away at the notion of God is proved wrong in this book. Now we can live with the real possibility that God exists while fully accepting the science, rather than straining to find contradictions. Faith suddenly appears that much stronger.”

Now as I stated earlier I do not necessary accept or agree with everything Parker has outlined in his book.  The remaining question for me is that if God is able to put in places the rules that govern the universe that make evolution work on both a small scale (as now commonly accepted by most creationists) and a large scale (as Parker and most of the secular scientific world believes) then why does God just stop there? If God can do all this stuff that makes the world tick over then why can he not decide to play with the rules and create a literal six day creation as well? It is not designed to make us confused about how old the world is, but rather to demonstrate that God ultimately has the power to influence and change the universe. It is about demonstrating that God is in control and not science.

After reading the book and pondering some of the ideas raised in it I went back and read some of the creationism based “science” that I had blindly followed from a few years ago. What I have discovered is that by arguing that evolution is nothing more than a myth and controlled “brainwashing” people they are essentially doing the same thing with “creationism”. Statements such as “long years of educational brainwashing in the mythology of evolutionary theory “ plant ideas in the minds of people that they have been brainwashed, ironically by planting these ideas creationists are doing nothing more than the same thing! Furthermore, the contradictions in their arguments and statements just scream this out.

For instance Chuck Missler who is well known for his Bible commentary and in particular his study on Daniel’s 70 weeks where he shows they are not a literal 70 weeks but weeks of years states here: http://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/528/ that the earth was created in six literal days because the bible says so. However, the bible does not directly say Daniel had 70 weeks of years, no it just says 70 weeks. So how do you determine when there is a literal meaning and where there is not? Furthermore Missler shoots himself in the foot in another article on the site where he argues there is a gap between God creating the heavens and the earth and the actual six day creation: http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/821/ this makes no sense because now in one place he is arguing in an absolute six day creation, and another he argues there is a gap. What one is it?

Or for instance the finding of a city under the Black Sea as evidence for a worldwide flood http://www.khouse.org/articles/2000/299/ when anyone with any knowledge of geology would brush this off as evidence of the plates of the earth shifting and changing over the years. This is not to say that the ideas of intelligent design are completely dead in the water Kent Hovind poses some good questions that have still not be fully answered by science, in particular:

  • Without a creator how did time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves?
  • How and why did matter create life by itself?
  • How and why did early life-forms learn to reproduce themselves?
  • How and why did major changes occur between diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).

The biggest problem with creationism is the way in which they throw out solid science and replace it with arguments that the Bible says this happened so it must be true. This would be the same as arguing the world is made of the Greek Classical Elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Aether) because this is what was written on Greek tablets a few thousand years ago. The reality is the stories written in the Bible were written firstly for the understanding of the people who lived at the time the stories were written. Yes the Bible and the stories in it still have a huge amount of relevance today, however, we cannot take every single word as literal because the very first thing we would be worshipping is a lamb and not a person who lived 2000 years ago.

Song banned from Christian album for loving people rather than judging them

I got this tweet from Parachute Music a few minutes ago:

Download Derek Webb’s controversial new song What Matters More on www.derekwebb.com. INO Records wouldn’t release it. What do you think?

http://twitter.com/Parachute_Music/statuses/5432917972

Not knowing any controversy around the song I went and downloaded it wondering what could be possibly so wrong with the song that a record label wouldn’t include it on a CD. Well listen to it yourself below and see what you notice and what you think.

At first I noticed the words “damn” and “shit” in the lyrics. Surely this was not enough to get it banned. It was a little unusual given that Derek Webb is a former member of Caedmon’s Call a popular Christian alternative rock/worship band however in the context of the song the words fit and are relevant. And lets face it we hear far worse things everyday and probably nearly all of us have music be it “Christian” or non-Christian that has far worse things said in it.

To try and get my head around the whole issue a little bit more I did a little bit of searching for the lyrics, news and blog posts on the song. It turns out the main controversy is not only around those two “swear” words but also around these lyrics in the second verse:

If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
Then it sure looks to me like being straight is all it’s about
It looks like being hated for all the wrong things
Like chasin’ the wind while the pendulum swings

‘Cause we can talk and debate until we’re blue in the face
About the language and tradition that he’s comin’ to save
Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
About 50,000 people who are dyin’ today

Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

Webb makes a direct statement saying that the church is more concerned about being straight and hating on people for being different then caring about people. In fact I believe Webb is bibically correct here Jesus speaking in Mark 12:29-31 clearly states:

Mar 12:29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: `Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.
Mar 12:30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
Mar 12:31 The second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Love not hate, care not judge. But this seems to have fallen on death ears in a lot of the Christian community and subsequently the song was censored off his album.

The thing I find most ironic about this entire situation is that I have so much music that critises the church and the way we act:

Delirious sing in “Our God Reigns”

40 million babies lost to Gods great orphanage,
It’s a modern day genocide and a modern day disgrace
If this is a human right then why aren’t we free?
The only freedom we have is in a man nailed to a tree.

100 million faces, staring at the sky,
Wondering if this HIV will ever pass us by.
The devil stole the rain and hope trickles down the plug,
But still my Chinese take away could pay for someone’s drugs.

Our God reigns, Our God reigns,
Forever your kingdom reigns.

The west has found a gun and it’s loaded with ‘unsure’
Nip and tuck if you have the bucks in a race to find a cure.
Psalm one hundred and thirty nine is the conscience to our selfish crime,
God didn’t screw up when he made you,
He’s a father who loves to parade you.

Yes he reigns, yes you reign, yes you reign,
For there is only one true God,
But we’ve lost the reins on this world,
Forgive us all, forgive us please,
As we fight for this broken world on our knees.

Casting Crowns sing in “What this world needs”

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
What this world needs is not another sign waving super saint that’s better than you
Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suit

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need
A Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That’s what this world needs

What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can’t see
God’s gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt
What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can’t see the difference
And it’s the difference that sets the world free

Jesus is our Savior, that’s what this world needs
Father’s arms around you, that’s what this world needs
That’s what this world needs

So what is the difference this time, is it the mere mention of homosexuality that has everyone sticking their heads into the sand pretending they live on Mars and not Earth?

God is not Santa Clause. Should we be treating him like he is?

A friend of mine blogged this comment last night:

When I first got out of the house, the weather seemed to pack in a lil bit and I prayed and asked God to give me just one hour of non-raining. Just 1 hour… and it didn’t rain. Was somewhat cool and chilly sometimes but not a drop of rain. Thank you Lord!

This got me thinking. Should we really be asking for G-d to make it stop raining?

Sure there are times when we are in severe drought and we need rain, or we have bad flooding and we need the rain to stop. But to pray for it not to rain so you can just fulfill your own private personal desire seems a little bit selfish.

Sure G-d is meant to be our best friend, and we are meant to pray to him day and night. However isn’t this meant to be about honouring G-d rather than him giving us our own wants?

This made me think of the clip from Bruce Almighty where Bruce decides to answer all the prayers to God with yes. It turns out that it wasn’t the best idea out. You can see the first part of the clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFlVr3ysCy0

We are meant to have faith as small as mustard seeds. But does this mean that we should be asking for things as small as mustard seeds to happen in our life? I thought we were given a little bit more independence than that.

Thought for the morning

It is always a good morning when you wake up dreaming and singing the Newsboys song How Great Is Your Faithfulness.

If I rise on wings of dawn
Or drift in seas of doubt
Even there Your strong right hand
Has never failed to guide me out

Great is Your faithfulness
To carry on with a sinner like me
Great is Your faithfulness
Turning shame into victory
Your grace has never let me be
Your mercy’s waited patiently
Oh, so great is Your faithfulness
To carry on with a sinner like me

If I hide in dark and shadows
Fearful of each day
Even there Your blinding light
Illuminates my pathway

Goodness never
Never fails
It never fails me

Which instantly made me think of the following verse in Romans 8 (NIV):

Rom 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
Rom 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Which is fantastic news to wake to in the morning.

Owning nothing, but having everything we ever need.

On Friday I got Rob Bell’s latest book Drops Like Stars.

So far I am 3/4 the way through it and loving every page and every image. The bit I was reading last night was to do with possessions and ownership and Rob Bell quotes 2 Corinthians 6. Here is the full version from the NLT.

2Cr 6:4 In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
2Cr 6:5 We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.
2Cr 6:6 We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
2Cr 6:7 We have faithfully preached the truth. God’s power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves.
2Cr 6:8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors.
2Cr 6:9 We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives.
2Cr 6:10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

I can’t claim to have experienced half the things that Paul and the early disciples experienced. But the words of these scriptures still hold true today. No matter what I pray that I would be able to show that I am a true minister of God in everything I do, and through that God will be able to give me the patience to endure troubles, hardships and calamities of all kinds. I pray that I won’t be beaten, put in jail for my beliefs. However if I ever do I pray that I will always know that God is right there by my side as my saviour and best friend.

There’s something deep inside, That keeps my faith alive

The past few weeks have been an interesting ride for me with some changes in my life. And the future does not look that clear either, all I see is smoke and mirrors. Anyway I have been finding a lot of reflection in Skillet’s back catalogue and latest album recently. Tonight’s song is collide. The lyrics below are only part of the song but it is the part that has spoken to me the most tonight.

We have fallen
We have fallen again tonight
Where do we go from here
When they’re tearing down our lives?
When all they want is
For us to live in fear
How long can we hold on?
Can we hold on?
Hold on

There’s something deep inside
That keeps my faith alive
When all you can do
Is hide from the fear
That’s deep inside of you
Something
To hold me close when I don’t know
There’s something deep inside
That keeps my faith alive

At the moment I have many fears in my life, mainly about the future. But it is that faith that is deep inside, that trust, that is keeping me going. Last night I was a bit of a train wreck but I spoke to a friend for over an hour and got a lot of it out. Being listened to is a really nice thing.

What does a city on a hill look like?

A month ago I asked the question “What is the purpose of Church?” (http://www.brad.net.nz/blog/2009/06/what-is-the-purpose-of-church/) and at the end I stated that it was to be continued leaving the question “What does a city on a hill look like”?

I have been slow to continue it not just because I have been busy, but also because I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about it, and how to write down my various thoughts and views.

The question is derived from the well know verse of Matthew 5:14 NIV:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Now the verse in question is talking about Christians and the Church and how it should appear to the world.

The full set of scripture reads (Matthew 5:13-17 NIV):

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Now it is clear (I hope) from the scripture that Jesus is talking about how Christians should act and behave in the world. And plenty of people have gone out and preached that you should live this perfect life to make your light shine. But I am actually not sure if that is really what I take from this.

You see the city on the hill bit still gets me, and like my views on the church I am not sure if the city on a hill looks as shinning clean as some people make out. I don’t believe that a city on a hill is filled with people in pure white robes and not a speck of dust is to be found. And if I ever came across a city that was like that then I would have to wonder what they were hiding, what did they want you not to see?

It is like those people who appear to have it all perfect on the outside but on the inside are the complete opposites of that, a complete mess. Even myself, on the outside I am really organised and take extreme pride in what I do, but when you get to know me you know that my personal stuff is a mess, like my room is never tidy and never something to be proud of.

In fact I would go so far to say that a city on a hill is the complete opposite to roads without dust, in fact I think in a true city on a hill the roads will be really dusty and dirty with the amount of people travelling from afar to visit it, to find solace in it.

It is like when you are travelling to any city and you see the lights of it in the distance, it always looks great to the first glimpse of the eye, but as you get closer you start to spot the flaws, the cracks in the pavement, the homeless on the park bench, the regular traffic jams. So what makes the city on a hill that Jesus describes so different from any other city?

Well I don’t actually believe it is entirely who we are or the things that we do that makes the city shine. But rather it is deeper than that. It comes down to how we live our life and how God shines his light out through us. The light of the city on the hill is not visible light but spiritual light. It is love. It is accepting people as they are, not judging, not criticising, but loving people. It is accepting people as they come, and showing them the love and the grace of God.

Now that is not to say that some of the things that they do are acceptable things, but first we must show them the love of God, you need to build bridges and relationships with people, not create a pit of lions that you must cross first before you can be considered good enough.

So the city on the hill is actually and very messy and dirty place, it is filled with people who are in need of love and forgiveness. It is like the emergency department at a hospital, chaos, but organised chaos. It is like the church. And the light shinning out of it is the spiritual light of those Christians who are caring for the needy, for the sick. Those Christians who are not donating to the neediest aid agency, but those who will actually get their hands stuck in, those who will actually put on the armour of God and take their place as a foot soldier, a medic, or a counsellor.

TobyMac puts it this way on his “Alive and Transported” album:

You see it’s not our words. Our words aren’t going to be which stops the world in its tracks. Our words will not change the world. They’ve heard it all.

It is not normally our music. Normally we make our music for us, for the body, so that we can sharpen each other, edify the body, glorify our god. Once in a while one crosses over but it’s not typically the music that is going to stop the world it its tracks. Our music is not going to change the world more than likely.

It’s not our buildings, as grand and beautiful as some of our church buildings are. It’s not the architecture, that’s going to change the world.

But I believe what will change the world, is when we begin to love each other, and when we begin to love the world, and when we begin to reach out to the orphans, and the widows, and the lower income families in our communities. When the world sees that kind of love, I’m talking about undeniable love, I believe they will stop in their tracks and say “Yo, whatever you people have over there. I want some of that baby, I want some of that right there for me”.

When our houses are packed so full of love that we have gotta open up the back door to let it ooze out into the valleys and the suburbs and the city streets. When the world sees that kind of love, real love, they’re going to stop in their tracks baby. They’re going to say “Whatever homy, homy, yo homy, whatever you people have over there you Jesus freaks, I want some of that man, I want some that Jesus for me man if it is doing all that.”

How many times have you heard someone actually say something like that? Why do we have to win people for God? Why aren’t they asking if they can come to church with us? Why are we the one inviting them, begging them? What makes church so unattractive? If those modern and megachurches are really so great then why are they (mostly) always struggling for money, or even if they are packed still packed with only Christians who have moved there from other churches? If they are so great then why is the rest of the community still not interested in attending? Why is church so unattractive in today’s world?

Maybe that will be the topic of the next blog on this subject. It is something that I am still wrestling with.

What is the purpose of church?

To worship G-d?
To have community?
To convert people G-d, save them from sin, etc, etc, etc?

All of the above?

You argue that “i want a church who is open minded yet not following the trend of the generation” and I agree.

But shouldn’t we be taking this one step further by saying that we should not be following the trend but in fact setting the trend?

If the purpose of church is just to worship G-d, then should we throw out the teaching and just have a giant two hour worship session? I would sure love it, but is the fact that we don’t do that on a regular basis suggestion that church is more than that?

If community is achieved through church then what is the purpose of small groups? Are small groups just an admission that most churches have become too large and the small group is a simple solution to keeping the masses happy? So is community really the purpose of church?

If it is to convert people to G-d then how successful are we at that?

What is the church offering that is any better than they can get at their local dance club on a Friday night, or at the opera performance at the town hall on the Saturday night?

You see the church is not one thing, or a static body. But rather it is meant to be a dynamic organism, with many people making up its various parts, performing many services with Christ at the core.

But what happens when the arm wants to go to the left and the leg wants to go to the right?

Is that grounds for splitting the church into two and getting yet another breakaway church?

Is there one true church? Is it the Roman Catholic Church, or Christian City Church?

Is G-d in the drums, or in the soft melody of a grand piano?

Does G-d reside in the building, or in the body of believers in the building?

I believe that the church should be on the forefront of everything.

For too long the church has lagged behind, has resisted, and as a result in this post-modern world has ended up being a relic of the unenlightened past.

So is it time for another enlightenment?

I think so.

No longer can we sit back and rely on advertising and word of mouth for getting people to attend on Sunday.

No longer can we be just another social service.

No longer can we resist the constantly changing world.

The world is not flat, yet many churches still act like the wheel has yet to be invented.

For the church to have relevance it must be different.

And not different because it is boring, but different because it must be radical different.

We need to bring back some witch trials…. That set us apart. (just joking).

No, what we need to be is on the forefront of the new media.

Take blogs for instance. What an opportunity missed.

Blogs have quickly turned into a mass media entity, but were founded in political commentary, and that is the focus of many still today.

What about viral videos… already taken, with people typically doing silly stuff.

You see as much as we don’t want to mindlessly following the next trend that comes along, we are not even that good, we are still stuck in the 1500s when it is the 2100s.

And yes I did just write 2100, we need a 2100 hundred mindset.

What is wrong with a bit of experimentation at church?

What is wrong with a bit of hip-hop thrown in the mix?

At the end of the day G-d gave us these talents and these abilities to use, so why are we not using the gifts that we have been given, why are we doubting and questioning everything?

And this brings me to music.

Oh music, probably one of the most controversial topics within church communities.

No you cannot possibly have an electric guitar, electric guitars are evil because they require electricity, and electricity is scary stuff, it involves science, and science is evil (just ask Galileo)

You know what. I want to see a turntable used in church. With the Westminster Abbey Boy Choir’s version of How Great Thou Art scratched up a little.

Why? Because I can. Because if it can get people in the door and worshiping G-d then it must be good?

Well not exactly.

But it is different. And we need that point of difference.

You see at the moment the church may be living, but it is not breathing, it is in the rest home on life support.

And while we continue to play the funeral marches every Sunday morning then it will get just that little bit closer to death. Jesus may have risen, but when will the church awaken?

You see this is what gets my back up the most.

Jesus was not this holier that thou person who 2000 years ago showed up to the local synagogue in a Gucci Suit, driving a Mercedes Donkey M5, and the value of his 20,000 sheep was known throughout the land.

In fact it was the opposite, born in a manger, not a nice clean little straw bed but a pigs-sty (maybe that can be the next excuse for my room looking like one, my room is just having the Jesus experience, amen).

He did not own many possessions in fact he advocated in a minimalist lifestyle, selling what you have, and serving the poor.

He wasn’t afraid to get his feet a little dirty, and a little dusty, but these days we must always wear our Sunday best, and mud well urgh.

He was the friend of tax-collectors, and prostitutes, something that even today we continue to have issues with.

He loved these people, but all we can seem to do today is hate on them.

The church is more known for spreading a message of labeling people sinners, rather than children of G-d, or people who G-d loves.

The key thing was Jesus was not afraid to be different, on the edge, and ruffle a few feathers, he certainly was not old and boring.

But today even the notion of adding a more upbeat song to the mix (or adding a slower song at some churches) will put half the church into revolt.

The church appears to be more concerned with closing the doors on the world from Monday to Saturday and opening them up for two hours on a Sunday to let people in, never to let the warmth of G-d’s love out (it may catch a cold).

And what gets me most is perfectionism.

G-d is perfect, and only G-d can make things perfect.

The church today is too concerned with putting on the correct face, for trying to make itself look like it is one notch above the rest.

Surely the church should be a place that is one notch below, full of people who are on the outside broken, but on the inside healed by G-d.

And that healing that starts on the inside can then begin to thaw the frozen outside.

Surely the purpose of church is to be a city on a hill.

A city not a building, letting light, warmth, and love out.

A point of difference in a darkened world.

Not just a building covered with so much dust that the light inside cannot escape.

And that leads onto the next topic what does a city on a hill look like?

To be continued….

God Bless America/God Bless the West

From Jesus Wants To Save Christians by Rob Bell

America controls nearly 20 percent of the world’s wealth. There are around six billion people in the world, and there are roughly three hundred million people in the US. That makes America less than 5 percent of the world’s population. And this 5 percent owns a fifth of the world’s wealth.

One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, while the average American uses four hundred to six hundred litres of water a day.

Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under the age of five dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14 percent of the food they purchase.

Nearly one billion people in the world live on less than one American dollar a day.

Another 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than two American dollars a day.

More than half of the world lives on less than two dollars a day, while the average American teenager spends nearly $150 a week.

Forty percent of people in the world lack basic sanitation, while forty-nine million diapers are used and thrown away in America every day.

One point six billion people in the world have no electricity.

Nearly one billion people in the world cannot read or sign their name.

Nearly one hundred million children are denied basic education.

By far, most of the people in the world do not own a car.

One-third of American families own three cars.

One in seven children worldwide (158 million) have to go to work every day just to survive.

Four out of five American adults are high school graduates.

Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world does on all goods.

Human history has never witnessed the abundance that we consider normal. America is the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity. We have more resources than anyone group of people anywhere at any time has ever had. Ever.

God bless America?

God has.

Kind of puts things into perspective a little doesn’t it?

We claim we have no money.

Yet we can go on our yearly tours around the world. Visiting countries because we are young and we can. Giving to the poor, to World Vision, Oxfarm, Unicef off our profits not out of love. We give as little as we can to offset our guilt.

We rob the poor countries of their natural resources, send their children to sweat shops to make shoes for us. Then give to World Vision to set them free. It is just wrong. And sick.

How about God bless the East. God bless the poor. The real poor. The real needy. And may God teach us how to be better citizens of the world, removing our guilt and opening our eyes to our selfish ways.