Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Skeleton notes from Q Day 2


Whew! Here are my notes from day 2 of Q:

Q Day 2 (It Rhymes)

We started this morning with a few songs from Sandra McCracken. She has a pure voice, a sweet spirit and I really enjoyed hearing from her. Glad Q brought her in.

Prayer from Gabe Lyons.

And now…

Miroslav Volf: Demonstrating a Public Faith
Author and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture

Ha ha. Awesome accent. He started by saying "Vhat a wenue." I know, lame thing to notice with someone as intelligent and respected as Volf, but welcome to my brain this morning.

Faith is not going away; faiths in the world particularly Islam, Christianity ad Buddhism are growing. The world is becoming more and more religious place. People of faith have found thmelseves interested in faith that shapes the community and public life of a nation, partly influenced by the spread of the democratic ideal.

People of different religious backgrounds all want to shape the same space according to their different ideas of the world. We are "living under the same roof." We no longer sequester people into particular nations. Tall fences are gone. Fences are gone, period, and we live, many of us, under the same roof which introduces challenges for how we must live our public lives.

Authoritarianism which wants to dominate the public space. On the opposite side, secular exclusivism (the thought that the best account of how to live peacefully is to secularize).

Neither religious totalitarianism/authoritarianism nor secular exclusivism will work. To work within a single polity will generate conflict.

We must give up on the idea of "Christian America" or "Muslim Egypt" or "secular Europe" we need a pluralistic approach giving equal voice to all religious backgrounds.

We need a Christian foundation. Is there such a thing as a Christian foundation for a pluralistic society? Of course Volf thinks yes.

Where does pluralism as a political project have its origin. Thomas Helmus (?), Baptist on the run to Amsterdam. Believed all religious people (including atheists) should have exactly the same freedoms, BECAUSE OF his Christian beliefs. He wasn't concerned only for his own religious freedom, but for all people. So there is historical precedent (also mentioned the Mayflower, etc)

John Locke: Christian reasons for toleration. "There should be freedom in the way in which people come to faith for it concerns the deepest concerns of our lives" and concerns our heart/soul and must be allowed to be free in coming to God/faith. Love should qualify the way in which faith is lived in the world. Love grants to others what they want granted for themselves.

What is often brought against pluralism is the fact of distinct groups and beliefs and how can they live together? "We are Christian on account of our differences from others." Our identity is wrapped up in our difference from others.

Christianity is not only about differences, but about things that are in common with others. The jacket I am wearing is not specifically Christian or not Christian.

Jesus says, "I am the truth" but it's the same Jesus who says he is the one who enlightens everyone.  Specific Christian beliefs are reflected in the beliefs of other world systems. All truth is God's truth. (But we don't have to give up the specificities of our faith)

"We fear each other but have lost the fear of God." We build mosques not to worship God but to mark our territory. Like a cross in Croatia put up to cow the Bosnian Muslims and remind them Croatia has the high ground.

Christ died so that all people can find God and embrace him.




Interview with Barbara Bradley Haggerty hosted by Michael Cromartie: Future of Media and Faith
Haggerty is a religion correspondent with NPR


MC: How do you decide which topics to cover?

News dictates this to a good degree. Catholicism keeps her busy. J Other times, on small news days she can drill down on things like the atheist movement or the rap "Why I love Jesus but hate religion"… how do young people absorb theology and is there danger in "YouTube theologians"? Or the "controversy" over Adam and Eve… is it scientifically impossible to come down to two ancestors?

Her book is "Fingerprints of God"

MC: How do you handle controversial issues?


Get all the sides that you can. Everyone at NPR tries to be fair. I'll literally count up all the sound bites to make sure there's fair representation. Then I do the "squirm" test. I listen to the interview and pretend everyone I interviewed is in the room listening… could I look them in the eye?

NPR has never ever ever pressured her to slant things a specific way.

MC: What do you do with "wacky" people in the religion world?

Everyone has a reason to believe what they believe… inside of finding outsiders to lob insults at the wacky people she tries to find insiders that will give us compassion and makes for much more compelling stories

MC: Any stories coming down the road?

Science's challenge to religion, especially regarding free will… scientists leading toward thought that you don't have choice. If you have the "warrior" gene are you less culpable? Is it actually sinful for instance for homosexuals to act on their homosexuality if it's hard wired into their brains?

Rise of atheism, the fastest growing religion in the USA

Jenny Hwang-Yang: Welcome the Stranger
Author and director of advocacy and policy for the refugee and immigration for world relief

Started in DC in 2006. The tone toward immigration was so negative and demeaning that it made me question my Christianity, because believers and non-believers would use the precise same rhetoric without speaking to Scripture

Many of the characters in the Biblical narrative were immigrants
                  *Abraham
                  *Jacob
                  *Joseph
                  * Jesus as refugee fleeing into Egypt; "celestial immigrant"… downwardly mobile immigrant from heaven he "pitched his tent among us"

God has a special concern for the immigrant

God recognizes the immigrant

God not only loves immigrants, he legislated rules to ensure that their needs are met (Ex 12:49; Deut 24:19-21

Good Samaritan

If we apply theology to misapplied facts we'll come to wrong conclusions.

Who are undocumented immigrants?
·       around 11 million in the US today
·       about 50% came legally but overstayed their visa
·       1 in 5 koreans
·       1 in 6 filipino
·       1 in 8 Indian immigrants
·       millions of undocumented Asian, Europeans, Canadians

"My ancestors came the legal way why don't they?"
·       Ben Franklin in 1751 down on Germans because they wouldn't connect into mainstream society
·       We can glorify immigrants of the past
·       Prior to 1882 there was NO ILLEGAL WAY TO ENTER THE USA because there was no federal immigration law
·       Now lawfyl immigration is tightly limited by law and usually possible only for
o   Close relatives of US citizens
o   Limited number of highly-educated, employer sponsored
o   Only 5,000 visas available for low skill workers A YEAR
o   Brother or sister of an immigrant… ELEVEN YEARS to get in

Christians should submit to government authorities
·       but there is no conflict between welcoming immigrants and following the law

comprehensive Immigration reform:
Invest in border security
Make it easier to come legally
Create a pathway to earn the right to stay in the country

Toms: shared about their one-for-one program where if you buy sunglasses from them, they give sight to someone through cataract surgery, etc


Arthur Brooks: The Moral Case for Capitalism
President, the American Enterprise Institue

Welfare didn't start to be reformed until someone made a moral argument that it was bad for the poor, leading to legislation that led 5 million people out of poverty.

We need to make the MORAL case for Capitalism, not the material case.

The material case for free enterprise doesn’t stand up against a moral argument (i.e. free enterprise doesn't help a woman living in a car with her little girl)

"executive judgment" and moral judgments both processed in the same part of the brain. If you're confronted with both an executive and moral judgment (read the book by Jonathan height(?) "The Righteous Mind"), the moral judgment wipes out anything else.

Now he's telling a story that will influence us through moral judgment. Normal family, the kids want a dog eventually convince the parents, get a puppy named Muffin. They love Muffin, great dog, youngest child leaves front door open and dog accidentally killed in traffic in front of whole family. Dad brings the dog inside and they decide to cook and eat her.

Was that the right thing to do? NO!
Why not? "I don't know."
You made an immediate moral judgement and you can't explain it immediately.

If you want to persuade an audience you must make a moral argument

"You may or may not know that world poverty has been decreased by 80% since 1970. You don't hear about that but it's true. Why has it decreased so much? Because of the UN or foreign aid? No. It's because of free enterprise and trade. If you love the poor, then you are commanded to put into place a system that can lift up people by the billions." ß- you may not agree with this, but if I want to persuade you I have to try to convince you using morality, not practicality/material arguments

Environmental Health; interview with Mitch Hescox and Lyndsay Moseley

My own personal environmental issues caused me to need to run to the bathroom during this presentation, because I didn't use my break wisely.

Stephen Grabill: Common Grace

Loves motorcycles but also was a pastor's kid. He was taught that the spiritual things are the most important and that motorcycles pass away. Realized years later that redemption is an important part of spirituality but ultimately a small part. Common grace is God's "yes" to creation and it's our responsibility to help shape creation and make it a place for humanity. The church should bind all culture and hold it together instead of being cut off and severed from the world. We're polishing brass on the Titanic. But if the church is called to do what is good in the world, then we realize that we need the guys at JiffyLube as much as pastors… we need entrepeneurs and teachers, etc. That's what common grace is all about. Putting a motorcycle together can be a spiritual activity that God sanctions and encourages. It's a mirror of God's craftsmanship, an image of the creator in us… he deems all sorts of non-saving work as good and valuable. There's more to life than soul maintenance. God hasn't given the world over to evil or indifference and neither can we.

Anthony Bradley – Kuyper Revisited
Author and associate professor at the King's College of NY

"My task as a black man today is to tell you why a dead white man matters." Ha ha ha

Kuyper was a pastor, theologian, journalist and prime minister.

"Industrial revolution was at full steam (that's a pun!)." Ha ha ha. This guy is funny.

What does God want in my world in the midst of all this change?

Kuyper takes us to the doctrine of creation

The means that God has brought about to bring reconciliation is cultural shaping

"sphere sovereignty" every arena of culture, every sphere of human study has it's own calling and place in God's design (i.e. state, art, church, economics, family, science). These spheres do not receive their calling from government but by God directly. Government should maintain the infrastructure that allows the spheres to do the things that God has called them to do. It's NOT church-controlled culture. It's not secularize culture. These things are "Coram Deo" they make up the common good.

The black church has been practicing this for centuries. The civil rights movement… harry Belafonte and MLKjr worked together. Belafonte brought in Hollywood people, MLK pastors, garbage workers brought in garbage workers. Everyone followed their own calling to bring the blessings of Christ into their spheres.

"America's third and often unrecognized Great Awakening… the civil rights movement."

There is not a square inch in all of creation that God does not cry MINE! ßwhoa. Bradley slammed the podium and snatched his notes up with this. Pretty powerful, the way he said it.

Gabe: evangelism; there's two moments in a western context when people want to hear the gospel, where they ask where is God? Two times/moments: personal crisis/trauma and global crisis moment. ß Oh, I think it's more often than that, Gabe. Interesting point.

Diane Langberg: Trauma as a Place of Service
Clinical Psychologist, author and faculty member at Westminster Seminary

Shared a story about how in fort in Ghana (Cape Coast Castle) she toured, the dungeons were beneath the ship's chapel. People suffering and dying beneath the worship service….

There are traumas today as well:

1 in 4 soldiers today is a child
1 in 3 females is coerced into sex at some point in her lifetime
child sexual abuse, child marriage, female sexual mutilation
girls have acid thrown in their faces for going to school; stoned to death for being raped
sex trafficking – the dungeons are here, in our cities

people who have been traumatized often need help for a very long time

We are quite like the chapel goers in the fort in Ghana… we too easily fold our hands and sit above the dungeon. We stand on the back of those created in the image of God. Christianity is not about calling others "them."

What does Heaven do? Heaven leaves Heaven and comes down. If the people of that chapel worshiped God of the scirptures, they would have entered into the dungeon so that the dungeon becomes the church. He became like us so we could become like Him. He came into the dungeon and touched us and loved us and transformed us. He didn't treat us like "them" but became one of US. There is not "them" there is only "us."

The body of Christ has often missed that trauma can be the best place for service. If we as the body look out on suffering humanity we could see the traumatized as the greatest missions field.

Christ left glory and came among us and literally got "in our skin."

We must turn the world upside down (as the disciples did) which we all actually know means to turn the world right side up.

Jeremy Courtney: Restoring Hearts in Iraq
Executive Director, Preemptive Love Coalition

It wasn’t an easy morning when I woke up and realized a fatwa had been put forth for my death.

A theology of pre-emptive love.  Here are some stories that elucidate when the convictions of preemptive love are put forth in a war torn place.

Preemptive love: to serve others before they do anything for us, because that's how God has loved us

As a result of chemical weapons there are higher rates of cancer in Iraq than in Hiroshima
1 in 7 babies born in Iraq with birth defects

"violence unmakes the world" but preemptive love unmakes violence and remakes the world

Mulla Abdullah issued a fatwa against us. "We must stop these treatments lest it lead our children to love our enemies." BE CAREFUL! PREEMPTIVE LOVE WORKS!

I called Sheik Mohammed. One of the most amazing men I've ever known, well connected, his children call me "Uncle Jeremy." Asked him to set up a meeting with Mulla Abdullah. Tried to tell his Abdullah's people that we were not enemies.

What is the greater sin in the eyes of God? To do nothing while your children die? Or to befriend your enemy who tries to help your children?

But they refused and the enemy won out.

People have tried to blow up the office, bugged our house, arrested our people on trumped up charges.

We've made friends out of many enemies and given more life saving surgeries. But every day 30 new children are born with heart-based birth defects.

Sheik Mohammad called me back to his house and we talked about the fatwa for the first time. Abdullah was sending fatwas from outside Iraq, in his safety. Sh. Mohammed said, "I don't care what Abdullah says, I will help you to save the children of my mosque."

Christ is the one who died for his enemies to transform us so that we will be people who die for our enemies. We can celebrate the God who works through evil, though it slay us. We've so romantasized our relationship with God that we can't imagine him allowing us to suffer, even to serve him.

Violence unmakes the world. Preemptive love unmakes violence, remakes the world and restores right worship.

Nancy Sleeth: Almost Amish
Author of Almost Amish

A pastor told her that the single greatest issue preventing spiritual growth for his flock was busyness.

No praise bands, no mega churches, no ppt presentation, they are seeker unfriendly and yet their numbers double every 20 years.

Cancer rates 40-50% lower

Obesity rates 5-7 times lower

Suicide rate half the natl average

Divorce rate less than 1% (compared to more than 40% for xian homes in the US)

85% of Amish youth join the church in the late teens or early 20s

This book is not about putting a hand crank on your car, but about the qualities the Amish embrace

Nancy grew up Jewish, husband not Jewish, no one happy they married… they abandoned religion as a result; husband picked up Bible at emergency room of hospital where he was chief of staff (he stole it); he read the gospels and encountered Jesus and had their lives turned upside down and one by one the whole family came to Christ.  We knew we had to make major changes.

They decided to quit their jobs and move into a smaller home (the size of their former garage).

Simplicity service sustainability community connectedness compassion faith

Three practical "almost Amish" actions to consider taking:

1.     keep the Sabbath. Figure out what work is for you, and don't do it one day a week.
2.     Unplug. Is there any form of technology that is distracting you from family, self or God?
3.     Take a walk. It slows you down, helps you to see the world differently, it gives you uninterrupted time to have conversation with a friend or spouse

Now if someone says "What are you, Amish or something?" No, few of us are Amish but all of us can become almost Amish.

Interview with Sami Awad (Gabe Lyons): Refuse to be Enemies

What are the concerns and what is happening in Palestine right now?

Situation is very difficult, with us living under occupation. There is a peace process with highs and lows with both sides to be blamed for the lows. The Palestinian Christian community has been there for hundreds if not thousands of years. It shocks people in the US to hear there is a Christian community in Palenstine. When people say my family has converted I say, yes, about 2,000 years ago at a place called Pentecost.

Bethlehem has a 35% unemployment rate.

Gabe: I stayed with a family in the shepherd's fields, it was amazing to see a place that the family there had been there for centuries. But for many in the US the idea is that when we think of the Palestinians we think of terrorists, what would you say to that?

Just look at me, am I a terrorist? There are people who have done terrible things but they are  a very few, a minority, the great majority are people who want to live in freedom and prosperity and have hope for the future and their children to be educated well.

Gabe: many American Christians feel ownership in the security of Israel should be important, tell us what you do in your work.

From an early age I've been influenced by my grandmother. My grandfather was killed in the war and we lost everything, became refugees from Jerusalem and moved to Bethlehem. Our faith says no revenge, no retaliation, but seek peace. The means to do this is non violence. Through non violence you stand for your rights and for justice without undermining the rights and justice of others.

Peace activism is about exposing the other, making the world see the evils of the Israeli interactions through non-violence. But I realized my life should be more than just peace activism. I started reading the gospels and had to come back and deal with three words, three words that Jesus said, Jesus, my king, telling me, "Love your enemy." My first thought was why? Why? I'm suffering under the injustices of my enemy, but he says it as a command. He doesn't say think about it, consider it or "if I were you I would" love your enemy, but commands us to do it.

Second is love, when you love someone a new creation is made in grace.  Does that mean I go to Israeli sodiers and say, Come on, you know you love it, give me a hug? Maybe that would be too quick.

Gabe: What would you say to us as your borthers and sisters in Christ, how can we pray for you?

It's time for the church to reclaim its stake in the Holy Land? Christians should stop treating the Holy Land like Disney Land. This is your land, this is where our faith was born. How do we reclaim the Christian voice in the Holy Land? We're not just bridge builders between Jews and the Muslims, let's get a seat at the table. What is the peace we want? Grace, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and le the Holy Land become a light to all nations.

 Settling Jerusalem 
Danny Seidemann

My father fled Germany (Jewish). His father eventually came home to Germany in the uniform of the US army.

Some say that Sami's family isn't refugee. Nonsense. His history goes back to a Christian community at the tiem of Christ. Mine go back to the time of King David.

In the 1 sq km of Jerusalem --

Israeli army is an occupying army.

The Holy Land is being violated. We can end this by giving Israel legitimacy and security, and making

Political agreement is in danger, within the next year and a half it might not be possible. The idolatrous abuse of religious faith is polarizing the holy land. The Christian discourse has been largely coopted by

Israeli escapism, sipping drinks on the edge of a volcano
Palestinian despair, "Oh nothing good will ever come"
American disengagement and disinterest

BRING YOUR FAITH TO OUR CONFLICT, and if you will, you will do what you do so well… help fix a broken world to the extent that it can be fixed.   What I'm telling you is known ot all the politicians, but it's politically inexpedient.

I'm a skeptical Jew. There were 3800 Christians in Jerusalem, it's turning into a museum. Christians are disappearing. Christianity is being crushed not by Zionists or Muslims. Peace can save Christianity. Christianity in Jerusalem is the canary in the mine.

Biblical crises require Biblical solution, from Isaiah: "Jerusalem will be redeemed with justice, and those who redeem it will do it with righteousness."

Food, Famine and Aid
With David Beckmann, Stephen Bauman, Paul Weisenfeld

Beckmann: There are half as many people in extreme poverty now than there were 30 years ago.

When we make a sustained effort we can make real change in the question of human hunger. The church can make a real difference.

Bauman: I used to live in Africa, and there I heard their stories of hunger. I think about them choosing which of their two sons to feed. Chronic hunger.

Weisenfeld: president of something involved with Pres Obama; a lot of progress has been made on this. The US gvt and faith-based people have a strong desire to respond to these things. "Feed the future" is about preventing famine with planning ahead

Bauman: do not do for others what they can do for themselves. We've been moving from relief toward long time sustainable solutions

One half of one percent of the federal budget goes toward helping world poverty relief

Pres Obama put on the stage the idea of food security. He pledge 3.5 billion and that brought in 25 billion. If the US backs down, everyone backs down, we lose this… it's really in our grasp, the idea of removing world hunger

Beckman: Distressed that our country doesn't seem serious about removing world hunger and poverty in our midst or around the world. No president since LBJ has made it one of their top 5 priorities to reduce poverty in the US. We're not going to change that unless we get many churchgoers who desire to make a difference in this area. Check out http://Bread.org

Bauman: what if our grandkids sat on our lap and asked what did you do about those billion who were hungry every day?

Weisenfeld:
1.     we can't be complacent. Declining poverty as a result of Green Initiative (Green something, missed the name). Stay the course, stay focused.
2.     The reason we do it is the moral reason, the avoidance of crisis (food stability leads to stability politically), it builds American prosperity (good for the world, good for America)… our aid to S Korea has led to a country that is now the 3rd largest recipient of US imports

Brian Stevenson: Restoring the Justice System
Founder of Equal Justice Institution (?)

There are collatal consequences of massive incarceration

For instance: if you have ben incaracerated on a drug charge you are not permitted to get food stamps or other public benefits. We've created an untouchable population

Many states permanently remove the right to vote from those with a criminal record.

We put more people in prison and punish more harshly, less fairly and less reliably. Our system treats you better if you're rich and guilty than poor and innocent. If you don't have the resources to make the case for yourself it won't go well.

44 million people are living below the federal poverty line.

We like to talk about the fairness of the system but the right to counsel doesn't extend to collateral cases… people on death row dying unjustly because they can't afford a lawyer.

We don't understand how to deal with mental health… treat it as a justice issue rather than a mental health issue.

The only country in the world that condemn children 13 and 14 year olds to life in prison.

Have seen 9 and 10 year olds sent into the adult criminal system where they are often the victims of violence.

Four institutions that have shaped the african American experience:
1.     slavery.
2.     Terror. "We grew up with terror. Had to worried about being bombed, had to worry about being lynched. Terror sent us to the other side of the tracks."
3.     Jim Crow/apartheid. (you cannot move forward until you talk honestly about these injustices… south Africa had a process to talk about the pain of apartheid and after that we can reconcile ourselves to our future). We just moved on. Didn't take the time to talk about Jim Crow.
4.     Death penalty. 22 more times to get the death penalty if defendant is black. "German scholar said we can never have the death penalty again. Our history obligates us to never be able to institutionalize executions of human beings again."

Sometimes you have to believe things you haven't seen. Sometimes you have to replace the hatred with hopefulness. I believe the church should be a big part of this process. I went to the segregated school as a child. I'm burdened by this in many ways. We have in my state Confederate Day is celebrated, and our constitution has Jim Crow language in it.

Racist car with confederate flags and Bumper sticker: "If I'd known it was going to be like this, I would have picked my own cotton."

Guard wouldn't let me into the jail without a strip search (even though it's not legally necessary). Gave me trouble about signing in.

That guard brought my client to the courthouse and he heard the client's story and after that it all changed… treated lawyer with respect and prisoner with compassion.

The message of Jesus says don't be afraid, don't give in to anger. When we give in to fear and anger we perpetuate the problems. Step closer to these communities, there will be anguish.

I couldn't keep typing this man's story in because I was crying too hard. He shared a story about death row, and a broken man who was being executed, who had a speech impediment and spent 20 minutes just trying to say "Thank you for standing up for me. I love ya'll and appreciate you trying." He said he hung up the phone and said I can't do this any more, why do we insist on killing broken people? I realized that the reason this bothered me so much is that I am a broken person as well…

I don't believe that someone who steals something is only a thief. I don't believe that someone who lies is only a liar. I don't believe that someone who kills is only a killer.

Grace is greater than pride. Love is greater than hate. Jesus is clear. He's told us this. We won't be judged by the beauty of our cathedrals, the power of our ministry or our music, we're going to be judged by how we treat the poor, feed the hungry, visit the people in jail.

Love is our motivation, and justice is our measurement. Love justice, do mercy, walk humbly with our God.

Beyond Incarceration: interview w Catherine Rohr and Bryan Stevenson

Rohr: Defy Ventures.
                  Use life transforming tools to impact every urban place. We seek out the most accomplished former gang leaders and drug dealers we can find, put them through an admissions process then training program: hard skills to help them learn a living legally. There's a business plan competition; raised 1.3 million dollars, recruited 120 executives, graduated in the pilot program 31 guys in the last 6 months. Half have already launched their companies. The other half start next month.

Stevenson: when you look someone in the eye you can't help but see their humanity. They are in the life of "Saul"… need to be directed toward becoming Paul.

Structural things that will help: don't make the offender question your first question, make it the last question… 70% of the time they will still hire if it's disclosed at the end instead of the front end.

Gabe Lyon Interviews Os Guiness: The Future of Freedom


Is the unpopular minority protected? Is the tiniest group proteceted. That's the test of religious freedom.

Too often when evangelicals say "Justice" they mean "just us"

Always respond with love and never with demonizing

What is the unum that balances our pluribus? What is the basic definitional reality of what it means to be American? We need civil education.

We all have to think globally. When we "act locally" that's about calling.

This is the moment when America should be most relevant to the world as countries are moving into democracy, etc, but we're "screwing it up royally" because of our culture wars

We are always people of hope. We are never people of fear.

James K.A. Smith: Imagining the Kingdom

To be a restorer is more than to be an analyst or critic. It means to be a doer. God is not looking for people to stand by an comment on the world, but to be agents of renewal in God's world, pulling our labor toward the kingdom.

The problem is when the church resources us as thinkers rather than doers.

The church needs to think about the nature of action. What generates action? Much of our action, work and labor is not the fruit of conscious deliberation. What we do is driven by who we are, by our passions. We act toward what we love.

Our character is shaped so that our action bubbles up out of that passional orientation, which is fundamentally shaped by stories. Stories captivate us, picture what life is about, they narrate what we think is the good life.

A lot of Christians have absorbed an inaccurate picture of action that is based on an intellectualistic account. I assume that I think my way through everything. "You are what you think." You assume that to transform action you change how a person thinks.

The problem is that thought does not generate action. The sciences say that vast amounts of what you do comes not from rational interaction but from character-primed orientation to the world that you don't realize or think through.

A long quote from David Brooks' The Social Animal about being formed to perceive things in a certain way and thus to act/respond to that without thinking about it.

How do we generate Christian action to restore the world and move it toward the kingdom?

We don't need to acquire more knowledge but a feel for the world.

Stories train our affect.

NOTE: Have you ever noticed how all the people who talk about the primacy of Story never tell any stories?

It's not enough to be convinced intellectually, you need to be captured imaginatively. How do we do that?

The church has over-valued logic and under-valued the aesthetic.

We live at the nexus of body and story. We are narrative animals. Liturgies are tactile stories, embodied poems that capture our imagination.

The gospel is a design project and Christian worship is a design studio.

"everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." Herbert Simon

The un-hip thesis: we will not recreate the world if we are constantly reinventing church. If we think we need to reinventing the church we will move ourselves out of the story. The most important thing we can do to source and resource the restorer

We don't need to figure out the next cool way to do church, we need to look at historic practices of Christian worship. When you say the Creed you are pledging allegiance to a coming King and you are a resident alien no matter where you are. We are citizens of a different country. Now here's a comment about infant baptism and the importance of it for telling the story. Communion conscripts us into a story in which no one is hungry in God's world.

Thomas Hinson: Preserving Our Hearts

There can be no social restoration unless there is personal restoration.

The context of leadership is like being in the thin air at the top of a moment… you can begin to be stunted, to die without ever realizing it.

Leadership in a nutshell: The people wanted to worship Paul as a god and a verse later they stone him and leave him for dead.

How do you handle the fact that you aren't able to do the things you're called to? How do you deal with success?

People begin to slowly die without realizing it. Like King David. Seemingly out of the blue he has an affair with his "best friend's wife." Eventually having to murder his best friend. But it wasn’t out of the blue, there was a slow decline. The demands of leadership have taken its toll. He's completely out of touch with himself and with God.

He needed shelter and food and God sent Nathan to bring spiritual breakthrough, to bring shelter.

Do you have shelter in your life? In the Christian life, shelter is those deep spiritual friendships.

V13 he gives David food. "The Lord has put away your sin. You shall not die."


 [MM1]Interview this guy for the blog