If Jesus Gave a TED Talk

The Patheos Blog has started a fab series which re-imagine Jesus’ sermons as TED Talks where “in which he Educates people in God’s new Design for a world that runs on the Technology called love.”

Here’s a snippet from the first one of the series:

If Jesus Gave a TED TalkBlessed are the poor, because this oppressive political-economic system is going down in flames.

Woe to you who are rich.  Same reason.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, because a big plate full of that is on its way.

Blessed are those at the bottom of the heap, because the heap’s about to get turned.

You are the salt of the earth; and from the ashes of this civilization, we are going to cook up something really tasty.

Do not think I am a doomer.  I have not come to abolish your hopes but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth:  Not the smallest good dream from the most obscure sage, seer, or prophet shall by any means go unaccomplished.

Humans have a long history of trying to build good and just civilizations, which have an equally long history of destroying themselves. Some among us today are experts in civilization design, but the new kind of society God is building in the world right now—it’s going to leave the experts in the dust.  What we’re creating will transcend the inevitable rise and fall of civilizations.

It’s time to re-think everything you thought you knew about designing human communities:

1. Re-think POWER. You have heard it said: “Thou shalt not murder,” but I say we can do better than that. Imagine a society that resists all kinds of violence, even its “soft” forms where we dehumanize one another through language, litigation, and scapegoating.  If someone slaps you on the right cheek, don’t take to fighting; don’t take to flight; instead, take a stand.  Wage peace aggressively.  Love thy enemy. For real.

2. Re-think SEX. You have heard it said: “Thou shalt not cheat on your partner,” but I say we can do better than that. Imagine a society that resists all kinds of sexual dehumanization and exploitation.  People are not sexual objects for us to acquire and then discard.  It’s time for our species to explore the frontiers of what it means to be faithful to one another.

Read more at patheos.com, the second in the series is found here.

Finding a church

So recently I moved from Bath to Exeter. Not a huge distance but certainly not close enough for me to keep going to the same church. This put me in a bit of a dilemma – how do you go about finding the right church for you?

The first question I had to deal with was why I don’t always like going to church? It’s become almost too obvious to say that men don’t like going to church, but often it’s true. I’m still not 100% on what makes me not like it, maybe I just like to have a lie in on a sunday or maybe I don’t like the idea of being preached at, though I do quite like doing the preaching. There’s lots of things it could be and maybe one day I’ll realise what it is that puts me off every so often. However me not always liking being there isn’t going to stop me going. I’ve figured that this whole following God thing seems to work best in a group!

Looking for a church is something I’d never had to do as a regular punter so to speak. I went to the church my parents when to when I was a child and continued there until I went to uni. While at uni I worked for a church on a placement and was expected there on sundays, so had never really had to find a church to go to for myself. There were a few things however that I thought were important about a church, and this is what I based my decision on, in no particular order.

  • Outward looking – they need to be involved in the community, the city/town and be concerned about engaging with real people missionally, not necessarily always focused on evangelism but working against injustice and bring glory to God in the local area.
  • The Bible as a high priority – I’ve noticed that at times it’s easy to under estimate the Bible and just take it at it’s face value, when in fact it’s a book that can entirely change your life.
  • Passionate worship – it was important to me to be in a church that passionately worships God, not just in sung worship but in everything they do.
  • A place to serve – there needed to be opportunities to serve in all sorts of areas but I do have a passion for worship leading and youth work

and now after a fairly long time of looking, trying to decide between visiting traditional churches and super charismatic churches and everything in between, I have found a church that seems right for me. It’s a free church, with all of the above, to the extent that the second time I went I was in the worship band!

The thing is, it’s not just a church that meets my ‘requirements’ . Its a  church that I feel a part of already. This is because of the welcome I’ve received, to the extent that I feel I now belong to a church that wanted me to be a part of it.

Micah Challenge

If you read the Bible, it would be hard to not notice that the God we follow likes justice. And that He likes mercy. Both are themes that come up far more often that faith or worship, yet often we focus on these much more.  One of my favourite books in the Bible is one of the minor prophets, Micah. A lot of what is contained here is about justice and mercy. And that is what the Micah challenge is all about.

Martin Smith “You Have Shown Us” (Micah Challenge) from Small Seed Films on Vimeo.

Micah Challenge are asking 100 million people to pray and petition in support of the Millennium Development Goal to halve global poverty by 2015. They will be hosting events and campaign activities around the world. You can find out more and get involved at micah2010.org

Martin Smith, above, gives a performance of ‘You have shown us from the CompassionArt album. CompassionArt is a charity that joins the dots between art and poverty: compassionart.tv

I think this is a challenge to all of us today, how do we show justice and mercy whilst walking humbly with God in our local church and community and on a global scale. How should we act in the places where we are?

Are You Religious?

I love this from ASBOJesus:

I dont just duck it, I dive and jump away from it. I get my head down and run away from that question. Quite simply because I dont think I know what it really means. In my mind at least, it means that I go to Church every Sunday, and follow a bunch of rules about what I should and shouldn’t do.

I like to think its more about a relationship with God then anything else.

Maybe one day I’ll stop the ducking and diving, and actually answer the above question.

If you answer it, how do you answer “Are you Religious?”