This is Titi's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Titi's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Titi
Recent Activity
What? No mention of The Stand? A refreshingly uncaricatured depiction of Christians engaging in eschatological spiritual warfare in the physical realm?
1 reply
There's an interesting interplay between stages and generations. What may be a Stage 2 older generation thing may well have been Stage 3 in its day. I think I have a little of both of these sides at play in me, being under 40, but having much older parents and siblings. I see the need that brought about this wave of empowerment, but it always struck me as a little ungrounded. The empowerment, the meaning, the matter, need to come from something. If they are merely self-generated, they have no anchor and either float off into the sky or crash, or possibly a cycle of both. So I think the crux of a stage 4 approach would be exposing the source of meaning and power, namely God and the image thereof that we all bear.
1 reply
By pre-requisites I'm merely referring to "repenting" or shall we say orienting towards the Center.
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2011 on Can We Skip the Middleman? at Not The Religious Type
1 reply
I think the offer is always open, but I do think some sort of conversion is typically required to take it up ("repent and believe the Good News"), perhaps a re-orientation in centered-set terms. Now it may well be that many people have already oriented themselves more or less properly unbeknownst to us, and possibly not on the terms that we're used to, so maybe the best way to frame it is "Here's the offer...there are some pre-requisites that you may or may not already have satisfied, and I'm happy to walk you through my understanding of them."
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2011 on Can We Skip the Middleman? at Not The Religious Type
1 reply
I think this is spot on with regards to the cultural aspect to which person of the Trinity is a useful touchpoint. I know someone for whom God the Father was a much more meaningful avenue of approach. Since they are all "the center" to our set, we should look to be conversant with viewing the Godhead from all possible angles.
1 reply
In a similar vein, as I was contemplating the anniversary of our friend's passing, I found myself grasping for an anchor to praise God, and landed on "This is the day (this is the day) that the Lord has made (that the Lord has made) We will rejoice (We will rejoice) And be glad in it (And be glad in it)". So I dunno about "urgency", but I think every day that you find yourself in is certainly laden with "importance". It is a day for rejoicing, and it is a day for doing what you see God doing. And at the same time, it is still a day for doing the same old day-in day-out things that life entails. I'm no Brother Lawrence, so I haven't mastered overlaying the two, but I am at least working on toggling at a frequency sufficient to make them seem to be of one piece. Kinda like a zoetrope or a flipbook.
1 reply
I think I'm mostly with you on this one, Dave. I'm predominantly glad. I think they did it just about as well as such a thing could be done. They even went so far as to give him some manner of proper funeral rite, which some prominent Christians would rather they had denied him. Whether or not it ultimately engenders ill-feeling on either side is more up to the loudmouths than anything else. And they seem to manage to make a big enough deal about so many smaller things that I don't in the end see this event as becoming more than a blip in the whole saga. For better or worse, I'm a little blasé about death itself. "So it goes," says Vonnegut. I think ending this man's direct impact on the world feels, in the balance, to be a good thing. I don't relish in it in terms of vengeance, though. God will handle all of that.
1 reply
And, BTW, I am duly honored as the inaugural recipient of this award. Apart from the use of fancy words, I can't claim too much credit for the insights of the comment which kicked this discussion off. I was just reiterating in my own fashion the same sorta stuff that Dave and Christopher, and I guess King David, have been talking about for aeons, connected with my own current experience. And I'd also like to thank my wife, without whom none of this wisdom would probably ever congeal into a practical form.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2011 on Comment of the Week! at Not The Religious Type
1 reply
A dear friend going through a rough spot recently warned folks that anyone affirming her strength or honesty in the midst of trial would be met with a "strong, honest wedgie". It seems like a certain level of authenticity is demanded when you are coming alongside those in pain ("weep with those who weep"), whereas those in pain are the ones who have the opportunity of commanding their soul's to rejoice. Too often I find myself trying, with the best of intentions, to command another's soul to bless the Lord. Let's just say it does not go over well.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2011 on Comment of the Week! at Not The Religious Type
1 reply
This post led me on a slightly tangential tack. I'm going through some rough spots in my life, and I think since my friend's death last year have been taking the hard stuff a little harder. I find myself muttering obscenities under my breath when I hear about something going wrong in my family. But I decided yesterday that it was high time I give up the cursing and try more to utter blessings. Turn my "F***!" into a "Praise the Lord". This morning it struck me that that seems a horribly unauthentic thing to do, because I really am feeling the former rather than the latter. I think that's a Stage 3-ish reaction though, which comes from viewing plenty of completely ungrounded positivity from Stage 2-ish quarters. But the Bible certainly seems to support at least the form of what I see the Stage 2 PTLers doing more than they do the form of the authentic Stage 3 folk. So there's obviously some baby in that bathwater that I am driven to defenestrate. So maybe I can come back to PTL in Stage 4 fashion. Maybe I can loosen my deathgrip on authenticity, the most marked effect of which seems to be amplifying my negativity. I think authenticity is a good thing, something worth accepting and perhaps even embracing. But perhaps we go awry when we "strive" for it. The Psalms have an interesting tack on this. It appears to me that emotional authenticity is largely assumed as the backdrop, and they play the counterpoint: Why so downcast O my soul? Put your hope in God! I could give plenty of reasons as to why my soul gets downcast. But the question here is more of why do you leave it at that? Why don't you "come out of agreement" with it? As a side note, I've been thinking a little about hipsterism. It is an amusing trend to me, as I'm just barely on the outside of it, and I can appreciate some aspects of it and laugh at others. But I think one perhaps accidentally helpful element of that culture is its embrace of the uncool. It's generally meant as self-aware irony, but the immersion persists long after the self-awareness fades, and I think people end up discovering things that were cool about the things they embraced for their uncoolness. Is there a lesson for us all here?
1 reply
On watching Jon Stewart (nitpick alert: the correct spelling has no 'h', short for Jonathan), the thing that jumps out at me is its parallel to Dave's sermon this week: we go out of our way to identify all the things that contributed to causing this, in hopes of appeasing all the different little "gods" to ensure that nothing like this happens again. But ultimately we need to step back from that and look to the God over all, before whom we shall have no others, for safety and sanity.
1 reply
I think actually achieving unity of this sort requires an act of God, because we are inherently incapable of surmounting all of the obstacles in its way for any length of time. So rather than being the generator of a miraculous move of God, it would be more like a sign that such a move is actually occurring. What then is our part in making way for such an act of God? Is there anything we can do to "bootstrap"? Our role is limited, but I think it's pretty standard stuff from the Gospels and Acts. Preparing the way of the Lord via self-examination and repentance, laying down our lives (including our stages and cultures) for others (both inside and outside the church), "doing what we see the Father doing". I dunno. Seems simplistic, and may be a little too boiled down to fundamentals, but I think that's where my current phase of life has led me. I know it's where I feel I need the most work if I want to experience God's benefits, small or large.
1 reply
Wow, I think I've been starting to formulate some of this myself, especially the part about this driving me to seek more life-giving experience from God. Not that I should seek God in order that I might be a better evangelist, but that the dissonance of not feeling like I have much to offer is a helpful reminder of what it is that I should be looking for in my own life. I almost put some of this together in a comment at one point, but it's so much better seeing it really fleshed out, especially in a suspense-filled two-parter!
1 reply
I understand this tendency quite well. I'm guessing it's really a combination of being moved by the art itself and being moved by "coolness", which has a partial correlation to obscurity. I find that U2 still gets me even though they're well past being undiscovered, but they still manage to be eternally cool in addition to their art.
1 reply
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Mark Heard here. His music certainly drove relentlessly at the heartache of a creation that knows it's lost its center. There're songs that might be billed as propaganda mixed in here and there, but there's tons of stuff that just makes me yearn.
1 reply
This is very challenging to me. Because I tend to think that God's kingdom expansion entails some degree of sudden violence. Maybe the conquest of Canaan serves as our model far more often than it should. It is the "be fruitful and multiply" command that is repeated in numerous forms, so it certainly deserves more consideration than it often gets. On the other hand, the theory of the tipping point suggests that even slow growth will eventually have explosive results. This can be seen in nature as well. So I guess the key to revival is the kingdom itself taking deep root in small places, but the end result, at one point or another, should be dramatic and expansive. Maybe the parable of the sower is applicable to movements of God as well.
1 reply
I think I've been starting to form a picture that is becoming more motivating to me in terms of "revival". I have a libertarian bent because I tend to be concerned that those in power are not going to use it well, but at the same time, nature abhors a vacuum so if government doesn't fill it somebody will, quite often these days economic powerhouses of one sort or another. So there's no horse you can truly get behind amongst the powers of the world. So I guess my picture of revival is one where people abandon their trust in chariots, horses, banks, and political institutions. Where people do right not because of laws, guns, or financial incentives, but because they know God and want to take his advice. My fear is that such a world would eventually segue into your average Stage 2 "theocracy" (meaning God at the helm more in name than in practice) and we'd start the whole process all over again. Is it: a) reasonable to expect that God might keep the ball rolling for all time? or b) an acceptable trade that living the Stage 4 revival dream for a time would end in the same old same old? I hope the answer to (a) is yes, and somehow that is the ultimate end game whether God makes it a permanent reality this go 'round or not. As for (b), the same old same old is bound to happen whether or not we get "awakenings", so maybe it's not a zero-sum.
1 reply
I think Stewart has always tended in the Stage 4 direction, even though he makes most of his living making Stage 3 people feel superior to Stage 2 people. Outside of the show itself, he certainly has taken both sides to task for polarizing and lowering the level of debate in America. On a related note, I just wanted to point you to my cousin's new venture, "Beer Summit", which takes a similar tack to covering the issues of the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn7iWjj4S-s
1 reply
All's I can say is: Awesome! I'm a part-time bridge-builder myself. I've heard it said that if you're gonna build a bridge, you're gonna get walked on from both sides. I've certainly had experiences that back that up. It really does take a calling.
1 reply
I think "justified" killing is a fairly normal Stage 2 concept. It's just a matter of who's defining the justifications. In many cases, I think it is actually Stage 1 people who are running the Stage 2 show. It may be that this Rev. Jones is more Stage 1 than 2. On a side note, I think justified killing is one of those things that eventually causes Stage 2 to unravel and become Stage 3. Whether it is the practicioners, the victims, or the observers that make this transition, the dissonance of apparently Stage 1 behavior leads to questioning of the Stage 2 which supported it.
1 reply
Still, as far as understanding the Stage 2 viewpoints within our own culture, PB's suggestion I'm sure characterizes a very common logical leap that can be easy to make. Every stage is prone to its own irrational leaps in order to maintain internal consistency. So even though we may have good reason to believe that PB's suggestion is incorrect, I am glad for its enumeration. Sorry, PB, if even my own response may have in any way discouraged you from posting such things. I am far more Stage 3 than I'd like to be.
1 reply
I think perhaps the issue may not be Islam itself so much as the fact that the most vocal (and, it would seem, powerful) elements of the "Muslim world" are very Stage 2. The same was true in the "Christian world" for a long time as well. Something like South Park could not have lasted very long as anything more than samizdat throughout most of our history. We are still a nation steeped in Christianity, but the vocal elements are a mix of stages, and the entertainment media are probably more on the 3 side. So we are for better or worse at least used to such intense irreverence. My take is the violence we see from Muslims is that of Stage 2 trying to prevent Stage 3 from taking root, because it looks so much like the Stage 1 lawlessness that it exists to prevent. My point here is not so much to defend Muslim extremism so much as to push back from yet another direction. Namely that Stage 2 exists for good reason, i.e. overcoming lawlessness, and that is why we need input from Stage 2 to overcome the quasi-lawlessness of Stage 3.
1 reply
Yeah, I have enough contact with people whose stances would be fairly antithetical to a lot of those generally espoused here that I appreciate that their stories have led them to where they are for good reason. The stage theorist in me believes that many of them will at some point morph into something else, as will many (hopefully most) of us here, in a way that constitutes spiritual progress. But inasmuch as Stage 4 often looks shockingly like Stage 2, and most of us tend to be Stage 3-ish, we really do need a lot of input from the Stage 2 world to overcome our over-reactions against it and make our own progress. So I try sometimes to interject that into the discussion, and more of it can only be helpful. Because my hope for this blog is, more than anything, that it would be a tool of spiritual progress for all of its participants. We talk about stuff, learn some stuff, share some stuff. Hopefully we get challenged on some things and move forward, ideally with some practical impact for how we live and love. Maybe we play the same part for others. I think that's what keeps me coming back.
1 reply
Actually, I was wondering if you had tried the non-confrontational approach first. Reason being, I think that until you have established some common ground with them, your confrontation will look very much the same to them as the Qur'an burners' confrontation. You will know it is extremely different, but they will not. To them, it's just an outsider telling them that they're doing it wrong with very little concrete understanding of what it is that they're doing or why they're doing it. Especially since it comes from a member of the majority culture towards members of a minority culture. It's not your fault the deck is stacked against you, but all the same, if your motive is love you need to go the extra mile and reshuffle the deck, so that what they may end up rejecting would be the actual gospel and not some conflation of xenophobia and Christianity. I'm glad you are inspired by native missionaries, but note that they are _native_. That means they are members of a culture speaking to others of largely the same culture, so they have some common ground to start with. Their confrontation is based on conviction based on that common ground. They are a minority viewpoint confronting the majority, so their tactics and the responses thereto are very different from the situation you are considering. Now it may well be that as you get to know some Muslims, and they get to know you, that some manner of confrontation will be warranted, but I think it's a huge mistake to make that the first weapon in your arsenal. We should be very careful likening our challenges to those of the martyrs, both present and past. These Qur'an burners probably think of themselves as potential martyrs, but is it the gospel that might get them killed or is it their arrogant provocation? The Church in America has a persecution complex, but in reality we are still members of the majority culture struggling with losing that majority. My advice: become the minority. Enter into the Muslim culture, learn about Islam as well as the ethnic aspects. And steel yourself to love these people whether they turn towards Jesus or not. Only then can you translate the gospel into their context. And I really do mean translate. As long as you're a majority outsider, your words will mean different things than what you think they will mean. As a minority insider, you have a much better chance of saying whatever it is that you have to say.
1 reply
There may well be some contexts where confrontation is appropriate. I think we often need to learn more about people before we know which context that is. Have you engaged these Muslims you know in non-confrontational conversation about spirituality? Have you learned what it is that they see as good in what they believe and practice? Until you understand that, and have some common agreement on the essentials of goodness that cross cultural boundaries, you will have a great deal of trouble convincing anyone that there is something better for them, no matter what approach you take.
1 reply