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bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Biggest Temptation of the Modern Christian is Self Righteousness

by Donald Miller
"Did Jesus have enemies? Did some people not like Him? Yes. People who used the ancient texts to lord over others with the tools of fear and shame and public humiliation and accusation were the enemies of Christ. To think those enemies of Christ do not still exist today in an evangelical context, even using Christ’s name and hiding behind His cause of the gospel, would be naieve. Jesus never controls anybody. He states truths, and is okay with the chaos it creates. Control is the enemy of relationship, and of love. The Gospel is about relationship and love, not force."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus

By John Blake, CNN
"One of his first fan letters came from someone who declared:

"If Hell were not already created, it should be invented just for you."

Other critics have called him "demonic," "blasphemous" and a "schmuck."

When John Dominic Crossan was a teenager in Ireland, he dreamed of becoming a missionary priest. But the message he's spreading about Jesus today isn't the kind that would endear him to many church leaders.

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited "peasant with an attitude" who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.

Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan, one of the world's top scholars on the "historical Jesus," a field in which academics use historical evidence to reconstruct Jesus in his first-century setting."

Faith In A Greater Reality - Hope That You Will Survive

by Martha Woodroof

"Now, I don’t mean to imply that Thomas Merton offers this story as anything other than a casual, back-ward glance. Yet while reading it, I had what I think of one of those light bulb moments of faith, a jump in awareness of what it means to me (or you or anyone) to live in partnership with God. Reading this slight anecdote from a monk’s childhood, it came to me that one of major gifts of faith is the persistent presence of hope in one’s head and heart. And by hope, I mean a kind of blessed, essential calmness—a deep certainty that what’s truly indispensable to one’s sense of well-being is fundamentally unaffected by what happens; that it has to do, instead, with rooting one’s life in a partnership with God. And so, it came to me while reading that paragraph written by Thomas Merton, that I was now a truly hopeful person, because I feel certain that no matter what happens to me, I—as a person of faith—will go on feeling comfortable with who I am in the world as it is. "

Study: Top 5 religion stories of 2010

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

"Four of the top five religion stories of 2010 - the ones that got the most ink - involved Islam, according to a major study out Thursday about faith coverage in the news.

Another headline from the study, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: For the first time since 2007, neither the Roman Catholic Church nor religion’s role in U.S. politics were the No. 1 topic of faith coverage among major news media.

Here are the top 5 religion stories from 2010, according to the study, which examined more than 50,000 stories from newspapers, news websites, newscasts on network and cable TV and radio programming.

1. Controversy over a proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero (23% of coverage)
2. The abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic Church. (19% of coverage)
3. The Rev. Terry Jones' threatened Koran burning in Florida (15% of coverage)
4. Religion in the Obama administration (6% of coverage)
5. Commemorations of the September 11, 2001 attacks (5% of coverage)

What do you think? Are there any religion stories that deserved more attention in 2010 than these five?"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How a Consumer Thinks

by Donald Miller
"Rivalry is consumer thought based in dualism, the pesky habit of turning everything into this or that kind of divisions. Dualism is a way for a lesser brain to feel like it understands the world and thus feel control or security. We are taught to be for or against something rather than to understand an issue from multiple perspectives. We are taught there are only two sides to an issue. This is of course absurd.

Talk show hosts cannot afford to be objective. They must make people feel like they understand an issue and also feel like they have an enemy who is out to get them. They must take sides. They must make you believe that something that belongs to you is being taken away. That’s the fastest way into your pocketbook. You will pay them to defend you from an enemy that may or may not exist. They can’t afford to be objective. They want your money so they have to make you afraid. They must oppose a certain and named enemy, and that enemy must be evil. If they don’t do this, nobody will listen and they won’t make money. We are drawn to sensationalism."

This one's for Jamie

Breaking Benjamin - Until the End
Phobia - 2006

My Take: There’s no such thing as the Bible and never has been

By Timothy Beal, Special to CNN

 Editors note: Timothy Beal is the author of "The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book." He is a Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University.
"Trying to save the Bible by recovering the Adam of all Bibles is as futile as trying to save the marriage by recovering the Eden of married life. There’s no such thing, so there’s no going back. Our desire for a pure, unadulterated, original Bible, “in the beginning,” is an illusion that shields and distracts us from the real, unstable, often terrifyingly ambiguous relationship with another that is the life of faith.

Life is crazy uncertain, so it’s understandable that many of us want religion and especially the Bible to offer deliverance from it. But it doesn’t. It’s not a rock but a river, not a book of answers but a library of questions. When we take it seriously, and soberly, it calls us deeper into the wilderness – away from the sunny shoreline of the island and toward the uncharted interior.

That wilderness, like the ones in which the Israelites wandered and Jesus was tested, can be a place of danger and disorientation, but also of renewal and reawakening."

Monday, February 21, 2011

God Worship or Religious Economics?

The Washington Post
by Martha Woodroof
"Talk about marketing! The (Organized Religion Industry) O.R.I. has sold its message brilliantly, concentrating on such talking points as fear of death, answers to the unanswerable, and moral certainties delivered in God's name. I think it's fair to say the O.R. I.'s strident voice owns the public God conversation in America; so much so that people who reject organized religion often feel compelled to reject God, the great Whatever, as well.
Now, before I go one word further, let me acknowledge that a lot of good people do a lot of good things driven by their participation in organized religion. My quarrel is not with those good people or those good things, or even, per se with organized religion; it's that the Organized Religion Industry seems chiefly concerned with maintaining itself and its employees (often quite lavishly) by pedaling itself as essential to having a relationship with God. The focus of organized religion is not God, as much as itself. People starve, while Joel Osteen makes millions."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freelance Whales

Digging it...

It’s Official: The Computer’s Smarter

"The IBM supercomputer named Watson has beaten two Jeopardy! champions in a three-night marathon. The computer was awarded a $1 million prize, but the BBC reports that “the victory for Watson and IBM was about more than money. It was about ushering in a new era in computing where machines will increasingly be able to learn and understand what humans are really asking them for. Jeopardy is seen as a significant challenge for Watson because of the show’s rapid-fire format and clues that rely on subtle meanings, puns, and riddles; something humans excel at and computers do not.” With his final answer, Ken Jennings, one of the human competitors and the winner of 74 consecutive Jeopardy! shows (a record), wrote, 'I for one welcome our new computer overlords.'" 


What did Watson the Computer Do?
"That’s what Watson — the I.B.M.-built computer that won a game of  “Jeopardy” last week over two human opponents — does. It’s just a bigger and fancier version of my laptop’s totally annoying (spell check) program. It decomposes the question put to it into discrete bits of data and then searches its vast data base for statistically frequent combinations of the bits it is working with.  The achievement is impressive but it is a wholly formal achievement that involves no knowledge (the computer doesn’t know anything in the relevant sense of “know”); and it does not come within a million miles of replicating  the achievements of everyday human thought."


I just couldn't help myself

Thanks to Billy Carter for this one...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Infighting will Kill the Church

by Donald Miller
"And on a side note, I am wondering whether the church in Europe decreased in size and impact because of loose, liberal theology, or because the church got divided and people got tired of the fighting. You never hear about that loose European theology, but you do hear a lot about bitter fights (historically, to the death) over theological squabbles. I think people just left the dinner party saying to themselves that they’d just rather find community at the pub. If the church dies in America, it wont be because of liberal theology, it will be because people don’t sense Christians actually understand or respect Jesus’ prayer in John 17. It goes without saying, then, that if they will know us by our love, they will also know we are not of God by our inability to acknowledge an individuals sovereignty."


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Awareness of poverty over three centuries

Martin Ravallion
14 February 2011

For how long have we cared about poverty? Tracing the number of references to the word “poverty” in books published since 1700, this column shows that there was marked increase between 1740 and 1790, culminating in a “Poverty Enlightenment”. Attention then faded through the 19th and 20th centuries, leaving room for the second Poverty Enlightenment in 1960 – and interest in poverty still rising.
"The last three centuries have seen a shift away from complacent acceptance of poverty, and even contempt for poor people, to the view that society, the economy and government should be judged in part at least by their success in reducing poverty. There are a number of possible explanations for this change. Greater overall affluence in the world has probably made it harder to excuse poverty. Expanding democracy has given new political voice to poor people. And new knowledge about poverty has created the potential for more well-informed action."


D B A D, St. Nick!

Port Authority sued over still-unbuilt church near ground zero

By Chris Kokenes, CNN

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, cites "...arrogance, bad faith, and fraudulent conduct" on the part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in an agreement that would have allowed St. Nicholas Church to rebuild at 130 Liberty St., adjacent to the church's original location.
The church claims that the Port Authority reneged on paying $20 million in due consideration for their property at 155 Cedar St., where the church building originally stood.
~ ~ ~
But the authority said the church made extra demands that threatened to delay the construction of the entire site. The authority said it made its final offer in 2009 of up to $60 million and told St. Nicholas that the World Trade Center could not be delayed by the issue. It says the church rejected the offer and walked away.
~ ~ ~
"We assumed we agreed that a deal was on the table" Arey said. "St. Nicholas no longer exists, and it needs to be rebuilt for ethical reasons. There are other things that are relevant than just money."

Morning Paper Rule #1: Read the comics first.

B.C. by Johnny Hart
Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott
Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Universe - Empirical Science / Empirical Faith

Mere Christianity 
C.S. Lewis (1952)

"The position of the question, then, is like this. We want to know whether the universe simply happens to be what it is for no reason or whether there is a power behind it that makes it what it is. Since that power, if it exists, would be not one of the observed facts but a reality which makes them, no mere observation of the facts can find it. There is only one case in which we can know whether there is anything more, namely our own case. And in that one case we find there is. Or put it the other way round. If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe--no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just what we do find inside ourselves. Surely this ought to arouse our suspicions?
~ ~ ~

My Take: Science and spirituality should be friends

Editor's Note: Deepak Chopra is founder of the Chopra Foundation and a senior scientist at the Gallup Organization. He has authored over 60 books, including The Soul of Leadership, which The Wall Street Journal called one of five best business books about careers.
By Deepak Chopra, Special to CNN

For most people, science deserves its reputation for being opposed to religion.

I'm not thinking of the rather noisy campaign by a handful of die-hard atheists to demote and ridicule faith.

I'm thinking instead of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution has proved victorious over the Book of Genesis and its story of God creating the universe in seven days. Since then, God has been found wanting when measured against facts and data. With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them.

Yet the gap has indeed been closing.

Hey, St. Nicholas, DBAD!

Port Authority Is Sued Over Church Destroyed on 9/11
The New York Times
by The Associated Press

The Greek Orthodox church filed suit on Monday against the public agency that owned the World Trade Center over stalled plans to rebuild a church that was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The church said the agency, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, reneged on a 2008 deal to rebuild St. Nicholas Church at a new location down the block from its old site. It also said the Port Authority sent construction equipment onto its property without permission in connection with the new business and transportation complex at the World Trade Center site.

It filed the suit in federal court in Manhattan.

The Port Authority said it called off negotiations in 2009 because the church was asking for too much money.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The LIVESTRONG Manifesto.
Unity is strength.
Knowledge is power.
Attitude is everything.

Baby boomers flood seminaries

Actually, my prediction is that this trend puts an exclamation point on the prevalent description of organized religion as DYING, ANTIQUATED, and IRRELEVANT. I've got nothing against the boomers. It just could not be more ironic that the "hippies" who rejected the modern modality of their own youth have turned around to drive what's left of organized religion into the dirt.

With grey-hairs in the pews and grey-hairs in the pulpits, is it any wonder that the 40 and less crowd has abandoned ship? The boomers are bringing back the church of the '50s.

Beaver Cleaver is back! And he's wearing a robe!

~ B

My Faith: Suffering my way to a new tomorrow

Editor's Note: Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His latest book and DVD are called Drops Like Stars
By Rob Bell, Special to CNN

"This truth, about the latent seeds of creativity being planted in the midst of suffering, takes us deep into the heart of the Christian faith. We are invited to trust that in the moments when we are most inclined to despair, when all appears lost and we can't imagine any way forward - that it is precisely in those moments when something new may be about to be birthed.
Jesus hangs naked and bloody on a cross, alone and abandoned by his students, scorned by the crowd, and yet defiant, confident, insistent that God is present in his agony, bringing about a whole new world, right here in the midst of this one.
This is a mystery, and one we are wise to reflect on it, because of the countless disruptions we experience all the time.
God is in those moments, grieving with us, shedding tears with us, feeling that pain and turmoil with us, and then inviting to trust that something good can come from even this.
* * *
So keep your eyes and your heart open.  Be quick to listen and slow to make rash judgments about how it's "all going to turn out," because you never know when you'll find yourself miles from home, laying in a hospital bed with a bad case of brain squeeze, all of your plans crashing down around you, wondering how it all went wrong, only to discover that a whole new life is just beginning."

Friday, February 11, 2011


Click Picture for the Rest...
"I like coffee so much that I have tea for breakfast: The first cup of the day in particular is so good that I’m afraid I won’t be able to properly appreciate it when I am half-asleep. Therefore, I celebrate it two hours later when I am fully conscious."

The Pain of Ministry and Its Implications for Parenting and Leadership

February 11th, 2011 // posted in Family, Leadership by George Barna
"While working with Matthew Barnett on our new book, The Cause Within You, Matthew’s selfless service to others caused me to reflect on my typical reaction to other people’s pain and suffering.

For most of my life I have sought to develop solutions to the problems that have caused human hardships while remaining personally removed from others’ pain and suffering. I have attempted to identify with people’s need by studying it but without experiencing it alongside them. Even through all the work I’ve done with homeless people over the years, it has been my wife who has gotten down and dirty in the midst of their pain, diving into their circumstances, while I studied it and sought to create prevention mechanisms or remedial options. I have glibly written off the difference in our approaches to her extroversion and my introversion, or to her management skills versus my analytic abilities.

Matthew’s bold and consistent action has caused me to see the error in my assumptions."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Enjoy!

Sometimes you gotta look at the world with a different set of glasses. Don't always accept that it's impossible.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RELIGIOUS CHRISTIAN is an oxymoron -- "Religion is Garbage"

Probably a bit much on the 'church-speak' for myself and many of you. But listen between the 'churchy-church' phrases.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Christians should rethink sex

By Tyler Blanski, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Tyler Blanski is the author of Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred.

"When it comes to sex, many Christians confuse the fences for the playground.
We’ve created what I call the chastity cult. Married and single Christians alike put sex on a pedestal. We’re more serious and obsessed with the rules than we ought to be."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For some churches, Super Bowl Sunday is 'Porn Sunday'

By Elizabeth Tenety
What wouldn't Jesus do?

"Would Jesus love porn stars?
XXXChurch Founder and Pastor Craig Gross has spent the last decade answering that last question.
"Jesus would be at a porn show," Gross said in an interview Friday. "You read the New Testament --these are the people that Jesus hung out with, these are the people he sought after."
"That's the Jesus I know," Gross added."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010

"Change usually happens slowly in the Church. But a review of the past year's research conducted by the Barna Group provides a time-lapse portrayal of how the religious environment in the U.S. is morphing into something new.

Analyzing insights drawn from more than 5,000 non-proprietary interviews conducted over the past 11 months, George Barna indicated that the following patterns were evident in the survey findings."