There are many who are enkindled with dreamy devotion, and when they hear of the poverty of Christ, they are almost angry with the citizens of Bethlehem. They denounce their blindness and ingratitude, and think, if they had been there, they would have shown the Lord and his mother a more kindly service and would not have permitted them to be treated so miserably. But they do not look by their side to see how many of their fellow humans need their help, and which they ignore in their misery. Who is there upon earth that has no poor, miserable, sick, erring ones around him? Why does he not exercise his love to those? Why does he not do to them as Christ has done to him? Martin Luther, Watch for the Light, Daily Dig, December 16, 2015
"The Christmas Star in the night sky, the shining of the Christmas light in the night – all this is the sign that light breaks into the darkness. Though we see about us the darkness of unrest, of family discord, of class struggle, of competitive jealousy and of national hatred, the light shall shine and drive it out.…Wherever the Christmas Child is born in a heart, wherever Jesus begins his earthly life anew – that is where the life of God’s love and of God’s peace dawns again." Emmy Arnold, Watch for the Light
"I think evangelicalism is destined to die of its own success and it will go the way of mainstream Protestantism because there’s just—it depends far too much on charismatic pastors, and charisma will only take you so far. Evangelicalism is constantly under the burden of re-inventing the wheel and you just get tired. For example, I’m a big advocate of Morning Prayer. I love Morning Prayer. We do the same thing every morning. We don’t have to make it up. We know we’re going to say these prayers. We know we’re going to join in reading of the psalm. We’re going to have these Scripture readings. I mean, there’s much to be said for Christianity as repetition and I think evangelicalism doesn’t have enough repetition in a way that will form Christians to survive in a world that constantly tempts us to always think we have to do something new."
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Who Said This? A Republican or a Democrat or a Religious Leader?
If Obama said this, Republicans would continue to declare that he is exactly what they've labeled him to be - a liberal, idealogue, crazy, anti-American, etc. (And Democrats did the similar kinds of demonization to George W. Bush).
If a Religious leader said this, she/he would be ridiculed by the religious right who find it easy to pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA. (I will compare my citizenship to any religious zealot, I've never cheated on my taxes, I vote, I serve, I love being an American, I love my country).
Who Said This?
Republican president Dwight David Eisenhower made this statement in a Presidential address on April 16, 1953. Isn't the vision he shared in this quote in sync with God's mission to bring about restoration and a return to Shalom for humanity, the world and the entire cosmos?
I know that we live in a sinful, fallen and broken world where evil people desire to harm and subjugate but I also believe that followers of Jesus Christ must be willing to pick up their cross, walk in the way of the cross and stand up for peace, for the greater true, for the oppressed, for the marginalized, for immigrants, for the poor, for the mentally ill, for the persecuted, for minorities, for the left outs and stand up to the oppressors, the persecutors, war-mongers and the self-righteous religious idealogues.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:3-11
On April 3rd, Andrew Zirschky will be our guest for a day of conversation, learning and theological reflection. This year we featured a session in the Theology Track at the National Youth Worker Convention led by Andrew entitled Communion Beyond Connection: Youth, Social Media, and Christian Sociality in an Age of Networks. This session was a highlight so we are bringing it to our Kansas City area youthworkers.
Social media, text messaging, and other forms of technology-driven interaction are changing the way adolescents and young adults craft identity and find community. Through “selective sociality” in a culture of “networked individualism” teens write their own identities and communities into being — a process that increasingly leaves them lonely and anxious.
Andrew will help us explore changes to adolescent understandings of personhood and social connection and will consider opportunities for a faithful response by Christian communities. The training will happen at Second Presbyterian Church (318 E. 55th St KCMO 64113) from 9a to 1p.
RSVP to email@example.com or click here to register.
Several days ago, I got an Advent Daily Dig featuring a quote that I can't quit thinking of. I've read it to a few people and asked them to guess who said this. Most people think of Pope Francis, which makes sense because he has us talking about the kind of issues that this quote addresses. We are talking about it because through his behavior he is pushing the conversation captured by the following quote to the forefront. The Pope has been called a Marxist. Jesus was called names also, it goes with the territory. So now, for the quote.
"Let everyone examine himself in the light of the Gospel and see hoLew far he is from Christ, and what is the character of his faith and love. There are many who are enkindled with dreamy devotion, and when they hear of the poverty of Christ, they are almost angry with the citizens of Bethlehem. They denounce their blindness and ingratitude, and think, if they had been there, they would have shown the Lord and his mother a more kindly service, and would not have permitted them to be treated so miserably. But they do not look by their side to see how many of their fellow humans need their help, and which they ignore in their misery. Who is there upon earth that has no poor, miserable, sick, erring ones around him? Why does he not exercise his love to those? Why does he not do to them as Christ has done to him?" Who said this? (The answer below)
Martin Luther, the Father of the Protestant Reformation
AND as a SPECIAL BONUS, HANG OUT WITH AYME's DISTINGUISHED CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR, KENDA CREASY DEAN.
What is the future of Christian
proclamation in a society increasingly driven by networked technologies
and 140-character communications? What place does preaching to young
people have in such a society, and what form might it take? How might we
move from mere sermons and “youth talks” into affecting the lives of
I'm excited to participate in this important Conference. COME JOIN US.
You can receive a 20% discount by entering this code - preach
I was asked the following question. What research have you come across that would be helpful for
youth workers to better understand how the systems and events of this culture are
Great question. A paper entitled Brands:
The Opiate of the Nonreligious Masses?, has been published in Marketing
Science.[i] The research team was made up of
scholars from Tel Aviv University, Duke University and New York
University. According to their
data they claim that religiously minded people are less interested in consumer
products that are branded by a major brand name. In the study those who claim to be non-religious are much
more reliant on well-known brand products, especially when they have the
financial means to afford major brands.
The research team theorizes,
“Brands and religiosity may serve as substitutesfor one another
because both allow individuals to express theirfeelings of
"’Brands are a signal of
self-worth,’ Fitzsimons[ii] said. ‘We're signaling to others that we care about
ourselves and that we feel good about ourselves and that we matter in this
world. It's more than I'm hip or cool,
he said: ‘I'm a worthwhile person, and I matter, and you should respect me and
think that I'm a good person, because I've got the D&G on my glasses.’"[iii]
The Christian faith
is to be lived within a community of practice. Being connected to a faith community says a lot about who a
person is and what they value. If
we don’t know who we are in Jesus Christ and if we struggle to make meaning out
of life through faith then, certainly Apple, Juicy Couture, Gap or Urban
Outfitters more than willing to help fill the void by providing some sense of
self-worth, right? Some marketers are actually attempting to attach
religious overtone to some brands in order to attract consumers looking for
meaning, identity and purpose in life – think True Religion.
Andy Root pointed out, at a youth worker training day
at Youthfront, that young adults are selecting and creating identities for
themselves. One can create their
own profile and craft an identity based on what they buy, wear and
consume. This raises the
importance of a renewed and vigorous emphasis on Christian formation and an
intentional theological exploration of what it means to help adolescents form an
identity rooted in Jesus Christ. I
believe a theology that focuses on what it means to live a cruciform life is
essential in the midst of our consumerist cultural realities.
I think this study is very interesting for those of us who
are involved in ministry to adolescents and young adults as we engage in
dialogue about what brings meaning to our lives. The researchers claims that those who are identified as
“religious minded” people are less likely to be enslaved by major status brands
is encouraging to me. Embracing an
ethos that Jesus Christ is enough will
help us counter the script that suggests we find meaning through the creed I consume, therefore I am.
My article was originally published in Slant33.
[i] "Brands: The Opiate of the Non-Religious Masses?"
Ron Shachar, Tülin Erdem, Keisha M. Cutright, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, Marketing
Science, articles in advance, Sept. 24, 2010. DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1100.0591
[ii] Gavan J. Fitzsimons; R. David
Thomas Professor of Marketing and Psychology; F.M. Kirby Research Fellow; Duke
"Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.
On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.
Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences."
THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING, ALTHOUGH NOT SURPRISING ARTICLE.