bonar crump

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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

OKC Memorial Marathon

Margaret and I are very proud to be in OKC this weekend running the half marathon and participating in all of the Memorial Marathon activities with all of M's family (young and old). We run honoring the memory of agent Paul Ice. We are Team Ice and we have participants in every event of the marathon. Wish us well if you see us in our grey Team Ice shirts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beer-only fast ends with bacon smoothie

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – J. Wilson has survived his 46-day beer-only fast and found some unexpected spiritual insights.

Wilson, who lives outside Des Moines, Iowa, was emulating a Lenten tradition carried out by German monks hundreds of years ago. In keeping with tradition he ate his last solid food on Ash Wednesday and broke his fast on Easter Sunday.

“I made a bacon smoothie and that’s what I broke the fast with,” Wilson said.

He slurped down the smoothie after midnight on the morning of Easter Sunday. He was up late for an interview with the BBC in London for their Easter Sunday broadcast

Wilson undertook the fast with medical advice from his doctor and spiritual advice from his pastor, after he conducted lengthy research into extended fasts.

In his research he found that smoothies were the best way to ease back into food. The plan was to go three days on smoothies before eating any solid foods.

~ ~ ~

Wilson said the spiritual takeaway was threefold:

– "I just don’t think we give ourselves enough credit to accomplish difficult tasks. I think our bodies are capable of more than we ask of [them]. And certainly in relation to willpower - willpower related to food or willpower of how you’re going to conduct yourself spiritually - I think we can do more.

– "I noticed early on a difference between needs and wants. The first thing I noticed even in that first week, I got to the spot on day three when I wasn’t hungry any more, physically hungry. The aroma of food would kind of zap me and I would desire the cheeseburger that I smell or somebody’s chicken noodle soup across the office. So I didn’t need it but I wanted it. So there’s a difference between needs and desires.

– "The real challenge is it’s one thing to subscribe to beliefs, religion or otherwise, it’s another thing to apply them to your life every moment of your life. Part of that whole monk in the world philosophy I was exploring is can you live like a monk or believe like a monk and still navigate our crazy world? The ongoing challenge is you’ve got these beliefs, now fine. Live it."

Queen of Everything

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Magdalene And Thistle Farms Offer Prostitutes A Chance For Regrowth

by Melinda Clark
The Huffington Post

For many women on the street, prostitution was where they turned when they had no other options. But in Nashville, Tenn., there is another choice for these women -- Magdalene.

Magdalene is a private residential rehab center that takes its motto of "love heals" very seriously.

Founded in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest who knows the horrors of abuse from her own childhood, Magdalene is a sanctuary for women with criminal histories of prostitution and drug addiction.

At Magdalene, women receive two years of free housing, therapy, medical care, education and employment -- everything they need to prepare them for the transition back into a community.

Does God Hate Women?

by Sally Quinn
via The Washington Post

Does God hate women? This is a question that never occurred to me until I began to study religion. What I found seemed shocking. In every major faith women are or have been treated as second-class citizens.

That may not be God’s doing, of course. It might be purely a reflection of how some male-dominated religious hierarchies carry out the seeming commands of God.

But what gives anyone the right to decree that women cannot be priests (as in the Catholic Church) or not be allowed to drive (as in the stricter interpretations of Islam). Is it God’s will that Muslim women in certain theocracies have few rights?

While I do not share Ms. Quinn's enthusiastic endorsement of Jimmy Carter, I do feel that it's important when considering the roles of women within organized religion to consider that while RELIGION teaches that women are inferior...GOD does not.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Didn't See Me - Bikers -

Photos: Easter around the world

via CNN

World Malaria Day April 25, 2011

Please show your support for World Malaria Day 2011 and display this button on your page. The button also has links to and to, so visitors to your page can find out more about World Malaria Day activities.

Roll Back Malaria
World Malaria Day 2009

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We wish you all to hell...

We’re after theological perfection. And not you or anyone else that is uncertain of who God is or how God works or how it all started or how it all will end will ever be allowed to stand in our way. We will bully you in the name of “love”. We will scowl at you in the name of “righteousness.” We will demean and ignore and provoke and gossip and twist the very fabric of time into the reality of our liking. We will smugly wish them all to the very hell that they deserve.

~ ~ ~

We will fight back in the name of “tolerance.” We will spit at them and shout them down and scoff at their mystical ideas and regulations and prayers. We will hate them as much as they hate us, but we won’t call it “love.” We see ourselves for who we really are…not who someone else thinks that we should be. We live life. We do not chase life. We do not stalk and judge and demean and ignore – ignore – ignore. We will hate them and wish them to the very hell that they profess.

~ ~ ~

We will hide in the name of self-preservation. We will squat in our own filth and wait for the battle cries to cease. We will avoid and lurk and tip-toe and avoid detection as long as the others wage war. But secretly we will wonder why a god allows it to occur. We will ask ourselves questions that have only one unanswerable answer. We will smirk and roll our eyes and hate and apathetically buy our whole milk while they pit cartons against jugs. We’ll hear them. We’ll have opinions. We’ll hide those opinions in dark places. They are only looking for opponents. They are not looking for solutions. They are not hoping for reconciliation. We will hope that they experience the hell that they spew on us.

~ ~ ~

I will win!—I will win! I am right!—I am right! I know the truth!—I know the truth! I reject you!—I reject you!

I hope you get what you deserve! I hope you all get hell!

{Screwtape smiles.}

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sexual Assault, Cold Nights and God’s Plan

by Hugh Hollowell

At 23, most people her age are very conscious of their appearance, but Stephanie’s wardrobe consisted of thrift store finds and cast offs, leaning heavily toward stretch pants and sweatshirts that advertised events she had never seen and places she would never visit. She was a heavy girl, perhaps 250 pounds and her greasy, stringy hair only served to accentuate her poor skin. Because of her weight, she more shuffled than walked and her head was always bowed, seeking not to offend, avoiding eye contact.

The first time I met her, she was in line for food in the park. She shuffled along, mumbling thanks, eyes on the ground. Over the following months, I tried to engage her but whether it was my being a male, or her inner demons, it just was not happening. Like a dog that had been struck once too often, she flinched at contact.

When there was an open bed, Stephanie would stay at the woman’s shelter, but more often than not she had to make other arrangements. On cold nights, she would trade sexual favors in exchange for a warm bed. To pick up spending money, she would trade sex for money – very little money.

Because of her weight and mental issues, often the promise of a warm bed was revoked, or the money not paid after the oral sex had been given. Several people later told me Stephanie was often sexually assaulted and raped, unable to resist her attackers.

The last time I saw her was on a Thursday in early November. It was inordinately cold that day, with a sharp, piercing wind. Stephanie shuffled down the sidewalk, huddled down into her jacket, oblivious to my wave, ignoring me when I called.

Stephanie made it into the women’s shelter that night. There she could sleep; secure in the knowledge she was safe. In her sleep, Stephanie died of complications from sleep apnea. At age 23, she was another statistic of life, and death, on the streets.

* * * *

I told Stephanie’s story in a talk I gave at a church luncheon. When I finished, they prayed fervent prayers that Stephanie would be at peace in the loving arms of Jesus. They prayed that those who injure and molest women like Stephanie would be caught and punished. They prayed for God’s kingdom to come and for shalom to rest on our city.

At the end of the talk, a lady came up to me, obviously moved by my story. Then she asked me the question I dread most: “How could God allow this to happen to Stephanie? Was this all part of God’s plan?”

If you spend much time working in the inner-city, you try not to ask yourself that question–not because you don’t know what the answer is, but because you do. And if you tell people the answer to that question, they get mad at you, and they call you names, and they don’t invite you back.

What I wanted to tell that lady, but did not, was God did have a plan to take care of Stephanie; God’s plan was us.

I wanted to tell her that it is not we who are waiting on God to act, but rather it is God who is waiting on us. I wanted to tell her that what Stephanie really had needed was not this lady’s prayers but a safe place to sleep at night. What I wanted to tell that lady, but didn’t, is that it is very obvious that we have the resources to help invisible people just like Stephanie but we simply lack the will to do so.

I did not tell that church lady any of that. But I wish I had.

Hugh Hollowell is an activist, a speaker and a Mennonite minister. He’s the founder and director of Love Wins Ministries where he pastors a congregation made up largely of people who are homeless

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ride the Donkey: Love Over Power

by Tony Campolo
via Red Letter Christians

We find it disconcerting and uncomfortable to view Jesus as fully human. We want to perpetuate the belief the He was different from the rest of us, that He had powers and knowledge that were super-human. We conveniently forget that He learned the Scriptures, grew into spiritual maturity and performed no might works in His own power (see Luke 2:52).

~ ~ ~

Jesus really did abandon power when He lived among us. He wasn’t simply holding back and pretending to possess our physical limitations–He truly was one of us. Sometimes we react negatively to that fact and try to suppress it. We want to think of Jesus as a God who disguised Himself as an ordinary man but, at will, could step into a phone booth, rip off His robes and show us who He really was: a first-century Superman.

Judas refused to accept a limited Messiah. On Palm Sunday, power was within his Master’s grasp. It was the logical time for a political takeover, so far as Judas was concerned. It was the opportunity to rally the masses to the cause; it was an hour when Jesus should claim power, and Jesus let it all slip away. Some think that Judas betrayed Jesus in order to force Him to play the power game when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Him–to force Him to establish His rule. This theory suggests that Judas felt that if Jesus were left with no alternative, He would overcome His reluctance to use power and seize the throne of Israel.

If that was Judas’s plan, it backfired. Perhaps Judas hung himself when he realized that his attempt to manipulate Jesus ended in the death of the only One who had ever loved him unconditionally.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Atheists Helping the Homeless Running Strong in Austin

via God Discussion

For 20 months now, Atheists Helping the Homeless has been handing out toiletries, clothing, supplies and food to the homeless in Austin, Texas.

Formed by Joe Zamecki, Texas State Director of American Atheists, and two of his colleagues in September 2009, the group just completed its 23rd giveaway. The giveaways take place on Sundays under I-35 at 7th Street downtown.

The giveaways include practical items, such as toothbrushes, soaps and other items that are often overlooked in charitable giveaways. Atheists Helping the Homeless accepts other types of donations for the giveaways, but the toiletries have been the mainstay. Donations can include tangible items or money.

To the relief of some of those who visit the giveaway table, there is no preaching. They can pick up items from a cheerful team of volunteers, chat if they want, hang out for Joe's music concerts, or just go their way without any obligation.

By using the word 'atheist' in the name, Atheists Helping the Homeless shows that atheists are compassionate. Empathy for others is not limited to church membership.

Atheists Helping the Homeless has helped 1,500 people so far, according to their website. They are now forming chapter groups outside of Austin.

UnChristian: Who Do I Emulate?

by Colin McCartney
Red Letter Christians
[Rev. Colin McCartney is the founder of UrbanPromise Toronto and author of two best selling books: The Beautiful Disappointment and Red Letter Revolution (Castle Quay Publishers). He is also a mentor to pastors and business people and is in high demand as a speaker. Colin is married to Judith McCartney and has two children – Colin Junior and Victoria McCartney.]

I have been doing some thinking about the book UnChristian in which non – Christians had the opportunity to share their views of Evangelical Christians. Not surprisingly they are not too impressed by us. In fact the huge majority of them see us in a very negative light. Specifically, they see us a being homo – phobic, pro – war, insensitive and extremely judgmental.

When I read these accusations towards us I could not help but think of what would happen if we were able to go back in time and do a similar research project on people’s views of Jesus. What would the “sinners” in Jesus’ day say about him? I think that they would be very positive about Jesus after all they were always hanging around him (see Luke 15: 1 - 2).

I believe that they would see him as being the opposite of how non – Christians view us Evangelicals today. They would see Jesus as being sympathetic and forgiving (not homo – phobic), merciful (not pro – war), empathetic (not insensitive) and very gracious (not judgmental).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

If you can't appreciate this then get off my site!

Ian Moore - Satisfied

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Religion and the Question of Conformity

by Jeffrey Small
The Huffington Post

In religion, we use the word orthodoxy to describe what is the traditional view or doctrine of a religion. It's interesting to look closer at this word: orthos is the Greek word for "right, straight, or true," while doxa means "opinion." In other words, orthodoxy means the right or true opinion. For centuries the church has defined what this right opinion is, but depending on what church you go to will determine the specifics of what is orthodox. I often use the expression "Country Club Christianity" to describe the "us versus them" mentality we often see in our religion. We can clearly hear this mentality when people start to talk about who is "saved" and who isn't. In other words, to be in the club you must conform to a particular doctrine.

~ ~ ~

We often think of the U.S. as the country that embraces individualism more than others. Our cultural icon of the "self-made person" who embraces "the American dream" is part of the mythos of our society. Yet the pressure in our individualistic society to conform is still immense. Just ask any teenager about the politics of middle or high school, and you're sure to get an earful about the pressures to act, dress and talk like the others. Former Yale psychologist Irving Janis used the term groupthink to describe the phenomenon of the conformity of group decision making. Groups of people naturally stress cohesiveness rather than individuality in their discussions. Groupthink, Janis said, often results in poor decision making because the most creative and unique (and thus non-conforming) people and ideas are excluded or silenced from the group. Much of this silencing comes from self-censorship. Most of us censor ourselves when we sense that the group we are part of is moving in another direction.

Who are your heroes? MLK? Gandhi? Mother Theresa? A former teacher or coach? A grandparent? My guess is that, whoever these people are, they were not conformists. Greatness does not arise from towing the popular line. I'm not calling for open rebellion here, but rather for us to embrace differences both within ourselves and those around us. I hesitate to even bring up the word diversity because it is not only overused, but it also conjures up images of political correctness that can be just as silencing as the conformity of the majority. Instead, why can't we encourage those aspects of ourselves and others that are unique? Can we find fascination and beauty in these differences? What can we learn from them? In the global and multicultural world we live in today, can we truly live by the words of Jesus (an extreme non-conformist!) to love our neighbors, especially when they do not look or think like us? How do you feel pressure in your own life to conform, to suppress your ideas or your true sense of who you are? What lessons can we take from the rock band, the priest and the psychologist?

Pastor Loses Job Amidst Rob Bell Debate

by Tom Breen
Huffpost Religion

DURHAM, N.C. -- When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.

The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls.

Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow's Chapel in Henderson.

~ ~ ~

Making his new belief public is both liberating and a little frightening for Holtz, even though his doubts about traditional doctrines on damnation began long before he heard about Rob Bell's book.

A married Navy veteran with five children, Holtz spent years trying to reconcile his belief that Jesus Christ's death on the cross redeemed the entire world with the idea that millions of people – including millions who had never even heard of Jesus – were suffering forever in hell.

~ ~ ~

Gray Southern, United Methodist district superintendent for the part of North Carolina that includes Henderson, declined to discuss Holtz's departure in detail, but said there was more to it than the online post about Rob Bell's book.

"That's between the church and him," Southern said.

Church members had also been unhappy with Internet posts about subjects like gay marriage and the mix of religion and patriotism, Holtz said, and the hell post was probably the last straw. Holtz and his family plan to move back to Tennessee, where he'll start a job and maybe plant a church.

"So long as we believe there's a dividing point in eternity, we're going to think in terms of us and them," he said. "But when you believe God has saved everyone, the point is, you're saved. Live like it."

How am I different as a person of faith?

by Martha Woodroof
Faith Unboxed - An unconventional conversation about God

I grew up awash in Pop’s doctrine of fundamental isolation; believing that I felt as alone as I did because that’s just how humans naturally feel. It continued through two marriages, as well as many relationships with lovers, friends, and colleagues. After I became a person of faith however, at some point, I noticed that it had simply gone; that I now lived as a human among humans.

~ ~ ~

These days I’m able to accept (for the most part) that as a person of faith, I must slog through real life’s inevitable discomfort without attempting to dodge or deny its existence, doing what I need to do in spite of how discombobulated it makes me feel; learning, thinking, observing, caring, and making the best decisions I can. My partner, God, is the Whatever that is in me but isn’t of me., and It gives me the will and ability to rise above prejudice, fear, and personal anxiety in order to act and think in ways that are beyond my own self-interest. God binds me to others in common concern for a common good. I may hunger for protection from the discomforts of reality all I want within such a working partnership, but I leave it behind immediately once I expect God (or Rush Limbaugh or Einstein or or my mother) to provide me with any such protection. God is my ability to participate in and, yes, enjoy, reality.

~ ~ ~

My faith, then, is what I do with my absolute acceptance that God is. My partnership with the great Whatever is not something I need to think about or figure out. Instead it is inherently a call to kinder, gentler, more truthful, more forgiving action than I am capable of on my own.

Religionless Spirituality

by Tony Campolo
Red Letter Christians

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Christian martyr, once prophesied from a Nazi concentration camp that there would come a day when there would be a religion-less Christianity. With ambivalence he looked into the twenty first century, and with a prophetic eye saw that while Christianity might increase, institutional religion would go into decline. There is now statistical evidence that he was correct. Studies indicate that in the Western world church attendance is in decline.

~ ~ ~

The irony of this is that while church attendance is in decline, people are apparently more interested in spiritual things than ever before. Books dealing with religious subject matters top bestseller lists. Young people turn out in mass for concerts featuring the performance of super-star Christian artists. Massive rallies of men and women are filling football stadiums and civic auditoriums. It seems as though God consciousness is alive and well even as church attendance withers. I recently interviewed some key sociologists and asked about this new spirituality. They concluded that it had three distinguishing characteristics.

~ ~ ~

It has been said that all heresies are simply exaggerations of neglected aspects of traditional Christianity. I believe that is true. And I believe that unless churches recover ministries of healing, environmentalism, and meditation, people will leave to have these concerns met elsewhere.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Digging Deeper: The Coming Evangelical Split

by Jimmy Spencer
Love Without Agenda

I think Love Wins has triggered this coming landslide, shifting the landscape enough to expose the already growing split of methodology and theology. I think this erosion was what George Barna recorded in his book Revolution years ago. Many of my international friends have already experienced this shift across the world as this shift is just starting to come light to the United States.

In the end—what role does Rob Bell play?

Rob Bell is a snapshot for the United States of the coming rise of an inclusive, practice oriented and progressive Christianity. Rob Bell is simply a face we recognize—but there are millions of closeted progressive evangelicals in pews, cushy suburban seats, hipster house churches, and bar stools across the United States.

I think we’re about to find out who they are.
I think they’re about to find out who they are.

In the end—I think you’ll see traditional evangelicalism march faithfully forward with it’s leaders, speakers, methods and theology in tact. This will be a victory for them. Alongside them will rise new leaders who strike off and attract millions also —they will be practice focused, progressive and inclusive oriented speakers and leaders operating with a new set of vocabulary and methods. This too will be a victory for them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Conversions: From Christian Missionary to Atheist

by Jason Boyett

Today’s conversion story comes from Amy, a former Christian missionary, homeschooling mom, and magazine editor who has recently abandoned Christianity altogether. Now an atheist, she has asked that I only use her first name.

I grew up in a nominally Christian home—Mom took us to church occasionally at a mainline, liberal Methodist Church (There were 13 churches and 13 streets in my hometown—this church was one of the few “mainstream.”) I would consider myself a “seeking” kid. I prayed and had a sense of “something larger.” God/nature. Jesus. Whatever. I remember once seeing a part of a Billy Graham Crusade on TV where he was preaching that Jesus died for our sins. Frequently thereafter I would sit in church and look up at the big cross and wonder, “What does that mean? Does that mean I would have died on a cross if Jesus hadn’t?” About a year later (when I was 13), I was talking about Heaven with my best friend who was Baptist, and she asked me if I was saved. I wasn’t, but I understood instinctively that to be “saved” meant to be saved from something. I was instantly fascinated. To make a long story short, I met her at her pastor’s house that weekend and repented and invited Jesus into my life.

It was a meaningful and deeply moving experience. Pastor King explained the gospel in much the same way I presented it to other people in the years afterward. I remember crying and praying, on my own. “Thank you Jesus, for forgiving me. I know why you died on the cross, and that I never could have earned it.” I really understood what Billy Graham had been preaching about and I committed my life to Jesus that day. What’s more, I was completely bewildered by the beautiful simplicity of it. Why hadn’t anyone told me about this salvation before? I felt certain that anyone, hearing the truth of Jesus, would come to faith in Him as quickly as I had. If I’d had access to religious tracts, I would have been the most rabid tract-distributor the world has ever seen.

I read my Bible every day after that, as Pastor King suggested. I began praying regularly, going to church and youth group every week with my friend. I spent almost 20 years involved in evangelism, leading Bible studies, and on staff (with my husband) as missionaries in a well known, international, para-church organization. I was Assistant Editor of a Christian professionals magazine before my oldest child was born. Three years ago, my husband and I abandoned Christianity and deism. We are now atheists.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just too cool not to post...

A Tiny Day in the Jackson Hole Backcountry from Tristan Greszko on Vimeo.

Should the Church be Led by Teachers and Scholars?

by Donald Miller

The church in America is led by scholars. Essentially, the church is a robust school system created around a framework of lectures and discussions and study. We assume this is the way its supposed to be because this is all we have ever known. I think the scholars have done a good job, but they’ve also recreated the church in their own image. Churches are essentially schools. They look like schools with lecture halls, classrooms, cafeterias and each new church program is basically a teaching program.

The first disciples were not teachers, they were fishermen, tax collectors and at least one was a Zealot. We don’t know the occupation of the others, but Jesus did not charge educators with the great commission, he chose laborers. And those laborers took the gospel and created Christian communities that worked, that did things and met in homes and were active. They made speeches, for sure, but so do businessmen and politicians and leaders in any number of other professions. Educators make speeches and do little else, except study for their next lecture. I wonder what the first disciples would think if they could see our system of schools, our million lectures, our billion sub lectures, our curriculums and our lesson plans. I think they’d be impressed, to be honest, but I also think they’d recognize a downside.

~ ~ ~

So why are we led by teachers? After all, the church and the school system are the only institutions in our culture led purely by academics. Well, the reason is the printing press. The government once controlled the church, but that ended when the printing press was invented and people could read the Bible for themselves. And the scholars were the only people who could read, so they got the job of church leadership by default. So church leadership went from fishermen, to government workers, to scholars. I wonder who’s next? I’ve got money on music executives, if only because they’re all looking for work.

~ ~ ~

* Whenever I write a post like this I encounter dualism, people who think I’m saying if Jesus didn’t choose educators than Bible College is wrong. We really have to stop thinking in either/or. There is no path, there is only a guide. There are a million right ways to be the church.

* Let me ask you this: Aren’t you a little tired of scholars and pseudo-scholars fighting about doctrine? Is it worth it that you are divided against other denominations because scholars picked up their ball and stomped off the playground? If you are tired, then be the church. I’m not kidding, you don’t know everything but you know enough. Be the church and be united. Let the academics go to an island and fight about the things that matter to them, and we will be united based on the things that matter to us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Conversions: Catholic to Southern Baptist to Gay Follower of Christ

by Jason Boyett
also at

"It started off as a growing distaste for organized religion. From the inside, church is not pretty. I quickly learned that church people are some of the meanest, most two-faced people. The gossip and laziness and complaining that went on started making me rethink my “calling” to youth ministry. To be honest, I was never a hardcore Southern Baptist. I got in trouble for using Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos as lessons, I drank [alcohol], and wasn’t all that fond of potlucks. But for the most part I was able to ignore my misgivings and move on. But the doubt began to pile up, and doubt was not encouraged. In fact, when I expressed it, I was told to stay firm against the devil’s attacks and pray because any doubt was from Satan. I was taught that God didn’t like doubt and I needed to avoid it

But hiding it just made it worse. And things began to happen that caused my doubts to grow. First, my pastor asked me to resign from every position at my church because he found out that I was gay. My parents made me go to counseling for the same thing. I went from being the golden boy of my church to barely being greeted. That was the final straw. So I left, I tried other churches, even worked at another, larger Baptist church as part of the media team for their televised services. But the doubts were still there and it felt like God had disappeared. I never quite became agnostic, but for a brief period, I was close. I began to doubt if God loved me or was even there because all the Christians — who were supposed to be his ambassadors here on earth — were hateful and judgmental and fake.

How was I supposed to believe in a God who hated me for something that I could not help or change? [Being gay] wasn’t a choice. I never chose it. Why would I choose to ruin my life and make it harder? But through the writings, blogs, and videos of several authors, I began to realize that God was there, welcomed my doubts, cared for and loved me, and was NOTHING like those Christians who claimed to represent him. God is truly love.

And that brings me to where I am now. I am a Christian, I love Jesus, I am gay, and I still do go to church every now and again. But I don’t like organized religion, nor do I need it to know God. I don’t feel guilty if I miss a Sunday. And I don’t claim a denomination — or any label really — though I am often labeled by other Christians as “emergent” or “liberal” in my theology. I simply believe that Christ is love and loves everyone as they are, and I, as his follower, should do the same."

~ ~ ~

My second conversion — when I left the church, and when I came out — was completely different. I lost friends and got many a thinly veiled negative reaction. My pastor, of course, asked me to resign. My discipleship partner, who was a strict Calvinist (and lover of pastors like John Piper and Mark Driscoll), stopped meeting with me when I said I was gay and couldn’t change it. He even argued that he had to question whether I was really saved or not. A close friend said she could no longer include me in her circle of close friends because my lifestyle was not one she approved of. My parents first made me go to counseling to be “healed,” but I grew tired of hiding and denying my homosexuality to keep the peace. Eventually they asked me to move out. And although I am still on good, speaking terms with them, it hurt that they would do that to me. Many friends supported and stood by me and loved me for who I was. They were there for me when I needed to cry or vent. Some even convinced their parents to open their homes to me. But I did lose a few. To this day, I still get texts, emails, and Facebook messages and comments telling me to turn back to God and that every bit of bad luck is because He is trying to get my attention. To this day, I still find it’s hard to deal with the fact that people would change or leave me because of a part of who I am.

The Gospel according to Harley-Davidson

by Bonar Crump

Today, I embark on a new mission. Suited with my jet black specs, leather short-cuff gloves, and a back pack full of jerky I head out on the maiden voyage of my new steel steed. (I thought about smashing a beer bottle on the forks, but I just cleaned out the garage yesterday...)

My 6 year old daughter named the bike on Tuesday. First choice: "Sparkles" (not gonna happen). Second choice: "Fire" (bad luck all the way round - Gremlin Bell ain't gonna erase that one). Final selection: "Melody" (she definitely sings like an angel).

I'm envisioning a series of contemplative blog posts coming out of these experiences. As I discuss in my book, time alone with God looks very different on different people. My four hours on Melody today are going to be about pondering the direction and intensity of the wind for the most part. But I'm guessing that alot of what I've been researching and developing into a new book proposal will wedge their way into my thoughts at times.

Godspeed to you in your time alone this week...make sure you get one.

What a douchebag

Florida pastor Terry Jones’s Koran burning has far-reaching effect

By Kevin Sieff

I abhor people that advertise themselves as Christians but are just plain old fashioned pricks. If you can't understand anything else that Jesus taught then understand this one very important thing - don't be a dick (DBAD)

To Terry Jones and the rest of his ilk - Just shut up!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Christians Don’t Like Jesus

by Tony Campolo
Red Letter Christians

"As the Red Letter Christian movement came to be known, I realized it would never be accepted. This is because many Christians don’t really like the God that is revealed in Jesus Christ. They want the God that is in the black letters. He is the God that legitimated war and many Christians feel more comfortable with war than they do with a God who tells them to love their enemies and to overcome evil with good.

Many Christians believe in retribution. They want a God who tells them that there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and they become furious when anyone suggests another kind of God who asks them to be merciful and forgiving. The God of grace is not to their liking. Instead, they want a God who punishes people tit for tat, and even beyond that, they want a God who will provide infinite punishment for limited sin.

The God revealed in Jesus Christ is far too generous. He gives His all in love for others, and expects us to do the same. Such a God is too demanding for most Christians. They want one that only requires a tithe. They sing about total self-giving, but in the end they would like to sing, “One-tenth to Jesus I surrender, one-tenth to Him I gladly give—I surrender one-tenth, I surrender one-tenth.” Ultimately, they want a God who declares as an abomination all of those who offend their social mores. They don’t like the God who touches lepers, embraces Samaritans, declares women equals, and has the audacity to say to gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals, “Whosoever will may come.” They don’t like the God that is revealed in those red letters of the Bible because Him embraces those whom they want to reject. They prefer the God of the black letters so evident in the Hebrew Bible, the God who declares certain races unclean and would render women who are menstruating as unacceptable in the house of worship.

They want a God who, when they march off to war, will be on their side and they reject the God revealed in the red letters who warns that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

When we stumbled upon calling ourselves Red Letter Christians, we should have expected the reaction that we got because most Christians feel more comfortable with a God that is like most of us—vengeful, judgmental, and ready to mete out torture to those who do not conform to expectations—torture that goes on forever and ever. The God revealed in fullness in the Jesus we find in the red letters is not to their liking at all.

The Bible says that God created us in His own image. Unfortunately, George Bernard Shaw was correct when he said, “We have decided to return the favor.” There is no doubt that most Christians want a God in their own image, but that’s not the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ. He is not an American who would carry within his psyche all the traits of judgment and prejudices so evident among those who want nothing to do with the God who breaks loose in the Sermon on the Mount. He is not the God of Jonathan Edwards, who preached “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.” Instead, the God of the red letters is the God that we find in the Beatitudes."

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