bonar crump

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I love the Harp

You don't have to appreciate this one. This is just for me.

Conversions: Fundamentalist Christian to Non-Religious Spirituality

Jason Boyett

Today's conversion story is from Christy, who due to the nature of her experience and family situation (keep reading) has requested that I not use her last name.

Christy transitioned from a fundamentalist Christian childhood to a socially active, progressive evangelical faith during the college years...and then to a current category she describes as "spiritual but not religious." In an email, she told me that, in terms of personal theology, she now "could fall quite nicely into the Unitarian Universalist or unprogrammed Quakers camp."

The overview version is that I was raised Christian, of the right-wing fundamentalist variety, in the Bible Belt in a family that went to church three times a week. I became a highly committed, move to the inner city, save-the-world evangelical in college and throughout my twenties. I was an intern for an urban ministry in college, was a youth pastor intern for about three years in a predominantly Mexican immigrant community, worked in a variety of non-profits (faith-based and not), and went to grad school and studied community organizations and urban poverty.

~ ~ ~

My conversion was more like coming out of the closet than changing my mind. I didn't "lose my faith" or "fall away" or any of those other terms -- it was very slow and intentional and a lot of hard work. I know it will seem like I'm burying the lead here, but I was sexually abused for nine years as a child and adolescent by my father and a youth pastor, and beginning to deal with that was the cataIyst for a new kind of spiritual journey for me.

It wasn't the sexual abuse itself that made me convert. Actually, the self-hatred that resulted from it was what kept me in the fold for so long. I always felt like I was morally defective and God hated me, and I didn't have the right to explore other options.

The truth is, evangelical Christianity never worked for me. Even though I'm a lifer, it always felt like there was some secret handshake to get in the club that I didn't know about. I had an absolutely tortured relationship with church even when I worked at one. I could never find myself in the "Sinner meets Jesus, Hallelujah!" narrative. In Bible studies, I was always the freak who disagreed. I felt awkward praying aloud, and felt guilty that I could never seem to generate the warm and fuzzy love for Jesus that so many worship songs talked about. Mostly, it felt like that path was the only way to connect with God, and I had to keep trying, so my primary spiritual experience was one of feeling alienated from God. (This is why I was always good with the angry kids in youth ministry.)

Where would Jesus jam? 1800s church hosts SXSW concerts

Post by:

Central Presbyterian Church only has two rules for rockers who play its sanctuary as part of South by Southwest: Don’t drink; and don’t shatter the stained glass.

Other than that, pretty much anything goes.

“No one’s bitten the head off a bat so far,” said co-pastor Joseph Moore - testament to the fact that the minimal rules have worked out fine so far.

This is the sixth year the Central Presbyterian Church has been an official concert venue for this wild music festival in Austin, Texas, and it’s become one of the hippest places to watch a live music here. The reasons are kind of obvious when you think about it: After a week of wandering streets awash with trash water and wobble-walking drunks, the church lets concert goes sit down and actually listen to music for music’s sake. Few talk through performances in the sanctuary, and the vaulted ceilings and limestone walls create an amazingly clear, full sound.

It’s “one of the most pleasant places you'll ever see a show,” wrote Paste Magazine.

Plus there’s this whole heaven-hell dichotomy thing going on. Rock and roll has the reputation for being the devil’s music. Church is Jesus’ hangout, obviously, and that’s impossible to forget at Central Presbyterian, which has a car-sized cross on the wall behind the stage. This gives shows at the church a music-video kind of effect. Think how many times Madonna and other supposedly sinful pop stars recorded videos and songs in houses of worship.

~ ~ ~
Moore, the church’s hip 33-year-old preacher, who was wearing a Superman T-shirt and Nike sneakers when we met, sees much in common between church and music, no matter the genre.

“Music at its best … points us to something beyond ourselves,” he said. “At it’s best, churches and religion in general point us to higher things.”

The Perils of Well-Meaning But Short-Sighted Generosity

by Tony Campolo

It took a long time and a lot of safeguards to make sure that the dollars that I get people to give to support missionary projects do the good they are intended to do. We hate to impose the vigorous controls that we normally require when we dish out money. There’s the matter of guilt. Comparatively, we Americans have so much while these needy people have so little. Too quickly we ask, “What can I do to help?” And far too often, the answer leads to money being given without the proper precautions.

What makes me most sad is that I am convinced that I helped corrupt some good church leaders in Haiti. I know of two men who were doing good things for their people until I got involved and started to provide funding for the care of some orphans who lived in their town. These men were poor and they had poor relatives. The money ended up being used to hire relatives for non-existent jobs or jobs that were almost non-existent. For instance, one cousin was paid a standard Haitian salary to spend a half-hour collecting the mail from the post office each day. I know of another man who was paid a full salary to wash the pastor’s car whenever a washing might be needed. These pastors were poor men from poor families; and when I gave them money, they felt that their first obligation was to take care of their blood relatives.

My name's Bonar and I'm a heretic...

by Bonar Crump
In response to a blog posting by Jeremy Myers titled "The Heresy of Christianity". It was way over my head.

Sweet. I was out for a run today thinking about the term “heretic” and it occurred to me that I obviously don’t share the same definition with those that throw it around with a scornful tone of judgment. Jesus was considered a heretic by the Jews…God’s people. Anyway, I’m running and I get the idea to do some shirts that say, “I’m proud to be YOUR heretic”. Then the urge passed, but now your writing about it and it makes me want to do it again. We’ll see…

People that are in a relationship/partnership (new or long term) with Jesus will always be drawn together for the right reasons. Whether we agree with the reasons or their mission statements or their dogma is quite irrelevant. There is, after all, much work to be done. Much service that needs to take place. Many needs that must be addressed.

God is sovereign. To suggest that God could not potentially change the rules midstream is to infer that even the Almighty has limitations and restrictions the must be obeyed. One on one relationship drawing us into a worldview anchored by love, compassion, tolerance, and humility. What happens in the afterlife is complete speculation and who cares. Maybe you rot in the ground and become wormfood…what’s the difference. The point is that our individual faith is akin to a house. Some walls are load bearing walls. If they are removed the structure collapses. I happen to think that a great deal of what we think are our load bearing walls are nothing more than room dividers that structurally aren’t significant in the least. I’ve got one…if you’re a prick don’t try telling me you’re serving the same Jesus that I am because I will probably lay hands on you in a manner that will not bring healing.

I hope I get to meet Gandhi in the afterlife along with Nietzsche, Plato, Henry VIII, and Cher. Let’s be very very careful about what we decide to label as our load bearing walls. Let’s be very very careful what we decide to draw lines in the sand about. Let’s be very very careful to listen to the hearts of others and value their perspectives even if we know they are a half bubble off. Let’s err on the side of tolerance and come up with some better shirt logos.

“Hi, my name’s Bonar and I’m a heretic.”