Archives For Christianity

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you would have seen a recurring motif: that coming to Christ doesn’t necessarily make our lives better. Or that he even came to make this life better.

There is a prevailing wind of teaching–call it TBNinanity, BestLifeNowianity,  blab-it-grab-it-name-it-claim-it the 1st Church of the Bank of Heaven God’s blank checkianity–which has mass consumer appeal (especially) here in the United States. Point is, people like it when they’re told what they want to hear.

Or that they can tell God what they want, and He has to do it.

I don’t know about you, but my faith walk has never quite worked that way. I make my requests, but Father knows best. Plus a careful reading of scripture seems to bear out the notion that God’s favorites (if we may term them such) were the ones who suffered the most. Nobody likes pain, right? I don’t. Thus it is that a Christianity promising wealth and a life of health has great mass appeal.

The problem is that it’s just not true. I mean if God didn’t spare his own son, what should we reasonably expect? Look at Abraham: being called out, burying his father, burying Sarah, receiving a promise–but not its fulfillment. The Bible is replete with such stories. What I want is your story: how the world, the flesh, the devil, the prevailing wind of doctrine sold you a bill of goods–promised you a better life… When in reality God instead gave you a new life. How he didn’t in fact come make your life better, but rather to give you a better life. I want the honest account of how the rubber of your expecations met the road of life.

Please send your story to:

Chad Jones

My purpsoe here is to counteract the myth that coming to Christ makes everyhting better.

This topic, in your mind gentle reader, may seem far afield of the faith once delivered to the saints. But I assure you it’s not.

How not?

Both horror (films, books, etc.), and Christianity force us to take unflinching looks within ourselves at the skull beneath the skin. We are made to confront our fears, lay them bare. This is often an uncomfortable process, and many there are who just won’t go there. Just as Jesus vicariously suffered and died for us, so, too, allows us to vicariously confront our fears (in a safe environment). It is in the words of director Scott Derrickson, “the genre of non-denial.” And rather than adding to the real horrors of the world, the genre gives us way to deal with, process, and understand the horrors of this world.

Additionally, I find that the genre is not so much about making us afraid (although it does do that), but rather about catharsis–about releasing the tension which it builds within us. We return to the real world better able to cope with difficulties we’re facing in our lives.

Nota bene: as with a balanced diet, horror media should not be all we consume. Because balance is the key to life, like vitamins, we should take it in controlled doses. Now this may not be a prescription for everyone, but I will say that I find far too many Christians who don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable. Who don’t like to confront their fears. Yes, I know the Scriptures say that “perfect love casts out fear.” Who amongst us, however, has been perfected? If we say we don’t have any fears, we’re lying.

The great C.S. Lewis (he being dead yet speaketh), once said that “we ought to come to God with what is in us. Not with what we think should be in us.” The point being that God already knows all of our fears, failures, flaws anyway.

So we may as well be honest.

And in my view, the horror genre helps us do just that: be honest. Be taking that unflinching look, by confronting us with what’s already inside.

That, my friends, is my $.02. You may have come up with a different equation, or come to a different conclusion. If so, please sound off in the comments below.

Thanks as always for reading!

>Yoga Thursday!

randomlychad  —  November 11, 2010 — 4 Comments

>Elevationphoto © 2010 Nicholas | more info (via: Wylio)

Yoga Thursday
     Hello, again! Welcome to another Random Thursday, where the posts are, well, random! On my mind today is Yoga, and specifically the controversy regarding Christians engaging in it. I know this was in the news a couple of weeks ago when both Albert Mohler, and Mark Driscoll, came out against it. Dr. Mohler further clarified, when questioned, that Yoga—when divorced from its attendant Eastern spirituality—was no longer Yoga, but stretching. Yesterday on Twitter, Skye Jethani—yes, he tweets now (@skye_jethani)!–linked to a HuffPo article by Rajiv Malhotra, founder of the Infinity Foundation, entitled A Hindu View of ‘Christian Yoga.’ Mr. Malhotra makes no bones about agreeing with Dr. Mohler—Yoga is, in his view, inherently incompatible with Christian spirituality. He gives numerous reasons—chief among them reincarnation and Karma—for stating so. And he’s right: nowhere does the Bible teach reincarnation: “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment” ring any bells? When I think of what in the East is termed Karma, I take it to be a Hindu spin on what can be called the Law of Reciprocity—what goes around comes around. Or in biblical terms “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” In that sense, in my mind at least, the concept of Karma—strictly as a concept, mind you–is not entirely unbiblical (admittedly I know next to nothing about Eastern religions). However, the devil is as they say, in the details, and that is not all that is meant by Karma in the Hindu sense. It’s, instead, like the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving, and giving—is, in fact, something that accrues as one knocks through multiple lifetimes, trying to get clear, and reach Brahman, the infinite. Thus Karma is intrinsically linked to reincarnation, and thus is entirely incompatible with historic Christianity. All of which is a circuitous route to get to the questions I want to ask: do you think Yoga is an acceptable practice for Christians to engage in? Why, or why not? Can Yoga be separated from its underlying Eastern spirituality and still be Yoga (or does it merely devolve into stretching at that point)? Are the Yogic exercises themselves inherently Hindu as Mr. Malhotra contends? Your answers in the comments, please.
      Lest you think I’ve forgotten, this wouldn’t be Random Thursday without a list. So without further ado I bring you the top 10 ‘Christian Yoga’ poses:
10. The Son Salutation–because nothing says “Good morning, Jesus!” quite as well.

          9. The “Corpse Pose”–because you really will feel dead to yourself after doing Yoga.
          8. The “Child’s Pose”–because your Christian instructor will actually think you’re praying while 
              you catch a few winks
          7. The “Camel”–because nothing screams “Chris Tomlin” quite as loud
          6. The “Crane”–because no defense is possible!
          5. The “Cobra”–because who really needs all those vertebrae anyway? Besides, God can heal 
              you right? 
          4. The “Plough”–you’ve been sneaking in to see Benny Hinn again, haven’t you?
          3. The “Cow Face”–what you make when you get the bill for the aforementioned “miracle!”
          2. The “Downward-Facing Dog”–the posture your assume when your wife sees the “miracle”
              bill!
          1. The “Auspicious Pose”–you assumed it because you wanted to show off your mad Yoga 
              skillz,   but realize you’re stuck and haven’t felt your legs in half-an-hour—so you go on 
              holding it, thinking people will be impressed with you, you hypocrite!

 

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I Don’t Understand the Emerging/Emergent Movement
      I have a confession to make, something I need to get off of my chest: I don’t really grok the whole emerging/emergent movement. This may sound odd coming from a rabid Donald Miller fan like me, but it’s true. Listen, I tried reading Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, but he lost me with his talk of trampolines, springs, and the like. Doctrine is like a spring? Really? It is? Just how, I wonder? Now admittedly, I haven’t read any McLaren, but my question is: just what exactly is wrong with the historic faith that was once delivered to the saints? Why do we need A New Kind of Christianity? Having said that, perhaps I’m not the intended audience for these gentlemen. Maybe I’m just, you know, too churched (my faith journey spanning over twenty years at this point) to get it? C.S. Lewis wrote of a “hall” in Mere Christianitya place of commonality, of the “merely Christian”–and if the point of the emerging church is to get people into that hall, and from thence into the church proper, who am I to deride it? If however, the movement seeks to redefine life, the, universe, and everything—including holy writ—through a postmodern lens, then I must needs oppose it. In my mind, the jury is still out. Agree? Disagree? School me in the comments. Blessings to you!