Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Week 5: Three Fun Projects: Plant a Church, Bring Grbage to the Front, and Impersonate Dave; Atonement and Christus Victor

watch Nadia, pastor of a church called House for All Sinners and Saints.  Then if you are brave (profanity alert), click  here to watch Nadia talk about her autobiography. How you respond to a female pastor with tattoos who  cusses, and is nicknamed The Sarcastic Lutheran?
The 'real' Colbert (not in character).in a clip David Dark calls

"The Redeeming Witness of Stephen Colbert" speaks at a Congressional Hearing on migrant farmworkers,

preaching from Matthew  25, no less.
Transcript here; video below..
(hope to post an earlier section when i find it, it was pretty explosive, see this)
Later note, found more...see below

Here was the first part of his testimony, in character:

Complete  Q and A, see (Colbert at 0: 07: 47ff , 0:49:00ff and 0::53:00ff):

  • At-one;ment

Christus Victor:



Christus Victor texts:

Matthew 12:28  Luke 11:20)

We read only the two blue texts in class. Read at least four more to get the theme.

Mark 10:45

Luke 4: 1-21

 John 1:4-5

John 12:31-33

Romans 5:15-21

Romans 8:31-39

Romans 16:19 

1 Corinthians 2:6-7 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Ephesians 1: 19-23

Ephesians 4: 7-10 

Ephesians 6:12

Colossians 1:13-14

Colossians 2:8-19

Hebrews 2:14

1 Peter 3:21-22

I John 3:8 


Narnia clips


-NT Wright: Jesus' death:



the Devil is God's Devil

the devil is God's devil..
I occasionally enjoy playing devil's (uh, I should say "angel's") advocate when I preach and teach. I often ask a group "shock-value" questions as a wake-up and shake-up call to the necessity and validity of the vertiginous (yes, it's a word!) encounter; the test of temptation. In light of the fact that "sometimes we can't make it on our own, " and need to go with Jesus to hear, and experience, a challenging and dizzying "Sermon Way Up the Mount," disciples need to remember to remember that in those disequilibrating times when elevation gives birth to vertigo, let the Spirit be midwife, and what will mercifully be born again and again in you is untold freedom and hilarious strengthening. Here, then is the first question I might cast out: "How many ever pray the Lord's Prayer, including the line 'Lead us not into temptation?'"

And since all answers are a nodding "yes and amen," the subsequent question has earned a hearing: "Would, or could, GOD ever lead anyone, then, into temptation?; especially since we have been taught by Jesus Himself to pray it would never happen?" Since most have detected that, by my mischevious inflection and sly smile the expected right answer is "Of course!," it's an appropriate time to take holy advantage of the stunned to silence room and have them turn from their shock to either Matthew 4:1 or Luke 4:1. Either verse reads right on the lines that "God, the Holy Spirit" is without apology recognized; indicted as the Agent leading someone into a very real and literally demonic temptation. And just who that Someone is, is telling and is troublesome: "Then the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Granted, and important to highlight: God does not do the tempting; the tempter is clearly the devil, but in God's stunning sovereignty, he has personally arranged the time and place of the temptation; He Himself has set the boundaries and parameters of the boxing ring; He himself is out in front ushering Jesus..and often us..right into a head-on . What in heaven's name and hell's court is going on?


"The devil is God's devil!," a much better theologian than me, but one also famous/infamous for "shock value sound bytes" quipped a few hundred years ago. By that biting byte, Martin Luther has not more than he could chew in hand..er, mouth. He meant simply that God is so supernaturally and sovereignly 'in charge' that he is even in charge of, Superintendent of; in fact he created, "Ol' Scratch."..Satan himself. Which is why the Spirit can risk, allow, even set-up our wilderness temptations with Satan. He can trust, that like Jesus, who "at the end of this satanic temptation, came out of the wilderness stronger and more full of the power of the Spirit, and more prepared to minister than ever, " (Luke 4:13-14). We who follow in the footsteps of Christ, even and especially when they lead to the devil's door, we pass the test! And the joke is on the dumb devil, Ol Scratch scratching his damned head as we..the eternally undamned and newly undammed…come out stronger in Spirit. And if Romans 8:28's al- inclusive sweeping claim that "God works all things together for good for those who love God, and are the called according to his purpose" is taken at face and faith value, that "all things" includes "all" all things, including satanic temptation, and Satan himself. With that Romans verse in mind, a more modern theologian, one who is in league with Luther (and U2) in that she was also earthy in a heavenly way, one tested and tempted in the evil vileness and extreme vertigo of Ravenbsruck concentration camp, one Corrie Ten Boom, offered this prescription, "When the devil sticks his gun of accusation or condemnation in your face, just stuff Romans 8:28 in the barrel of that gun, and turn things around by stuffing it back in his face."


Let's take the test. Only two possible answers for each question below: A)God or B)Devil. Choose only one each time. Sounds easy, so take the test, without looking up the accompanying Scriptures until you have turned in your exam. (Number two pencil only, please):

1.)Who sent an evil spirit to terrorize Saul? (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10)
2.)Who sent a deceiving and lying spirit? (1 Kings 22:22)
3)Who authorizes satanic harassment of Job (Job 1:12)
4)Who can destroy both body and soul in hell? (Matthew 10:28)
5)Who sent a deceiving influence, so that wicked people are damned? (2 Thess. 2:11)

How did you do? Isn't it obvious that the only correct answer to each of the above is..God!?
Huh? Is that the good news or the bad news, you ask? Whose side are you on, anyway? Cool down, mama! Now you can look up the Scriptures, and triple check that I am not just making this up, or nuts. I think the lesson, though so much more should be said to be sure our theology is biblical and balanced, is: God is so sovereign that he uses..and even though we are not as comfortable as these Scriptures sometimes are in saying so, He is some sense "sends"…. evil, and wrings good purposes out of them. He is not evil, nor the author of evil; and does not enjoy our suffering and evil; he does not want AIDS, cancer, rape, slavery, etc…...but the devil is God's devil. God is either good and sovereign or not. These Scriptures, stretching and shocking as they are, actually steer us towards his radical "in charge-ness," He is ridiculously sovereign. The devil is active, but he is on a leash…a long one, granted..but God's grabbing the other end.
OK, four more questions. Ready? Of course not! Same two possible answers, God or the devil, for these below:

1)Who sees to it that a sinner is saved? (1 Cor. 5:5)
2)Who is the god of this world? (2 Cor 4:4)
3)Who helps keep Paul humble? (2 Cor, 12:7)
4)Who teaches Paul not to blaspheme? (1 Tim 1:20)

All done? You got an "A" of course, if every answer above is, as verified by the verses, .the devil! Don't get me wrong, the devil ain't good, but he works for God at the end of the day. Church folks don't get this. Bono gets it. As much as he hates, and campaigns against the devil's evil (and he and we should) …God uses evil. He wins. Satan is trumped and checkmated in the End. This is the full-orbed gospel.
Yes, these are the other shocking questions I love to ask at church gatherings. Did they work?


"This generation will be remembered for three things: the Internet, the war on terror, and how we let an entire continent go up in flames while we stood around with watering cans. Or not," Bono preached to evangelical congregations on his Africa awareness tour, hoping for crumbs from our generous spread and table. "Let me share with you a conviction," he often challenged a hushed church, " God is on his knees to the church on this one. God Almighty is on his knees to us, begging us to turn around the super tanker of indifference on the subject of AIDS."

He is right. Even though we can lean back on the lavish and wild sovereignty of God to work good out of evil, nowhere does that justify us doing nothing so that evil (temporarily) prevails because we know that it will (at the End) be vanquished. And there is enough evil and suffering in the world..and in us; we don't need to ask for any additional of either, even if we know they force us to grow....


C. S. Lewis, as previously mentioned, is such a lamppost...
Lewis was at his best at reminding us of eveything we should've known: there are not two gods, God and the devil, who have always existed and are opposites in the all-American "good guy, bad guy" scenario. This ridiculous theology, though, is often our default, unconscious understanding. Many evangelicals will actually suggest that the devil has always existed, and always been bad; forgetting that "Evil is only fallen good," and God made Lucifer; made him good; he simply chose to fall and attempt to claim God's throne.

That is Christianity; the "good and bad eternal opposite" jive is dualism, related to the hell of extreme Hellenism. But the radical monotheism of Christianity, by design is a one-God deal; and He so big that the buck stops with Him..

Kraybill chapters all have a lot to withMONEY/MAMMON.

 argue with Kraybill: find a section you disagree with, or want to challenge him on (Or even assume the role of someone disagreeing).  We thought some of the sections on money would be good candidates here (living out Jubilee; the seven dangers of wealth, graduated tithing, etc.)

We picked up the temptation theme from last class,
^actual photo of two rats found on campus today^
starting with "the devil is God's devil"  list of Scriptures,
and continued into what Charles Kraft calls the
"garbage and rats" Scriptures:

We left a pile of garbage in the room, and asked what would happen if it were left there overnight:

it would invite rats.

Certain attitudes/behaviors/ethical responses seem to be the equivalent of  "garbage," with invites/incites demonic entities to piggyback on them.  Here are some we looked at.

          GARBAGE:                    RATS:         CLICK EACH SCRIPTURE:

  • unresolved anger          devil given a foothold           (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  • no marital relations        Satan tempts                            (1 Corinthians 7: 4-5)
  • unforgiveness                Satan comes in                         (2 Corinthians 2:10)
  • human thinking              "Get behind me, Satan!"          (Matthew  16:23-24)
  • human thinking                becomes demonic and evil     (James 3:16-17)
  • love of money                   a root of many kinds of evil    (1 Tim 6:10)

We called special attention to these last three, and notice how
1) human reasoning, which often seems so ...well, reasonable"....is often the opposite of Upside Down Kingdom thinking.
2)Money matters show up again...

How might virtually all temptations (the three Jesus faced, or others you could name) be fundamentally economic?  Kraybill, you'll remember, calls the bread temptation "economic," but how might any/all others temptations trace to this root/'garbage"?
HINT: We noted that he term economics comes from the Ancient Greekοἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") fromοἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".[1]  
Hmm, maybe when we are tempted to act in "garbage"- like ways within the community/household of faith, we are  facing a core demonic temptation!  How might Jesus, and how might his followers, be tempted economically to not act out the radical ethic of the Upside Down Kingdom?


The rest of this series here.

Church PLANTS 
By group (Party)Design an ad for a new church.  The ad should include:

-Name of church
-Vision or mission or purpose statement
-When and where it will meet
-A logo, illustration, picture, or symbol
-Anything else important to include

The catch: Don't just design the church however you think one should look like; but use only the information in the following scriptures to guide you:
  • Matthew 16:13-20
  • Acts 2: 42-47
  • Acts 4:32-37
  • Romans 12:1-11
  • 1 Corinthians 12:27-31; 1 Corinthians 14:26-32
  • Ephesians 4:1-13
  • Philemon
  • any texts from Matthew  or Ephesians you remember from class that relate
Photo of what you came up with:

quiz: how many times is 'pastor' mentioned in the NT?

I love reminding peope of the community/communitas nature of the church by saying something like "Guess how many times the word 'pastor' shows up in the New Testament?  Only once, and in passing: Ephesians 4, where is it mentioned only as part of the shared leadership the church is called to have."

BUT I was wrong!  Thanks to Gary Amirault for straightening out my math and theology:

The word “pastor” doesn’t occur in the New Testament (KJV, NIV, NASK, NRSB) at all. Shocked? I was. The word “pastors” occurs ONCE in the N.T. in Ephesians 4:11 and NOT as a title.  Gary Amirault 

Okay, that may evoke a groan, and seem like only a technicality to you.

BUT, remember in  a parallel way, "saint" also appears a total of ZERO times in the Bible.

It also only shows up in the plural.
And quite a few more times than "pastors."

It would seem the early church expectation was multiple saints with the gift of pastor are inevitably embedded in the local body.  And this likely has nothing to do with multiple pastoral staff.  It  has to do with many "laypeople" (a word that shows up nowhere is scripture, singular OR plural...so glad Moltmann highlights this, "The Source," p. 95) walking in their gifts..
whether in the gathering, or (more importantly) in the "world" (I remember commissioning Regean as the "pastor to Jiffy Lube").

I realize one might count "shepherd" as the same biblical term as pastor, which opens up other references..but this gets just as subversive, if as in John 10, a "shepherd/pastor is to know all her/his sheep BY NAME."
All this might entail blowing up the 22nd row of pews  (better yet all pews...is that word in the Book?).
More? Chain saw the pulpit..


Related..I often say this, too.  Will I have to append or amend it?

"All American pastors know that  the Bible knows nothing of a weekly meeting where a pastor preaches a sermon.


worship = singing?

image borrowed from the post, "Cavinism as 'The Big Tent?'"

Not long ago, our church had some documents to fill out for the IRS  (Why in the world is church connecting with IRS?..  But that's another post and topic for another day).  So I said to one of our leadership team, "can we have you sign a form after worship?"

Later, as we were signing, she said "I wondered wbat happened.  You said we should sign  after worship, so when we didn't sign after worship, I figured you forgot."

I had ansolutely no idea what she meant.

Then it hit me.  In many circles (and in her previous chiurch, the songs that are sung early in the gatherings  are called "worship" or the "worship time" or "worship songs."  So she thought i meant "after the music," and I meant "after the gathering (Of course, my definition was ecen more problematic)..

It is unbelievable that so few ever even notice, let alone challenge, this common practice in contemporary church.  As I blogged a few years ago:

A strange shift began about fifteen years ago,

Ask most evangelical or charismatic Christians in USAmerica about the place of "worship"
in a gathering. For some strange reason, the word has come to be synonymous with "the songs sung early in the meeting."

"Good morning! After the worship, the children will be dismissed, and Pastor Steve will share from God's word"

We even call the person leading the singing the "worship leader."
Whazzup with that?

Of course, this definition is foreign to Scripture, and to the church in all history and places..until our lifetime in the ... continued

So I was thrilled to catch Dan Kimball's post below (the "worship=music" reference is so accepted and entrenched that in spite of this post below, Kimball has another post called new worship music "Radiant")
I would love to get this topic on the table. It's not just semantics.  Well, actually it IS..but semantics matters.


Should the church accountant be the one called the "worship pastor"?

AccountantThe title of this blog post and question that I ask is not one I am totally serious about - and not really suggesting we actually do call the accountant the worship pastor. But I do have the question of how we have overwhelmingly defined "worship" to primarily be music and singing.
I have become very aware of the power of words—and the power of defining words. In the Christian culture we have created I don't believe we can ever assume anymore when we say the terms "gospel", "Jesus", "salvation", "inspired",  "evangelical", "evangelism", "missional" etc. we all mean the same thing. I have learned (and sometimes the hard way) that you need to be asking definitions of terms with specific meaning to understand how someone else uses a term that may differ from your definition. 

One of these terms is "worship". 

If you were to ask most teenagers and young adults what comes to their minds when they hear the word "worship" it will likely be singing. I understand why they do, as we have pretty much defined worship to them over the past 20 years or more as worship = singing. Now it is totally true that we worship as we sing. But that is only one aspect of worship. We have subtly taught (in my opinion) a reductionist view of worship limiting it primarily to music and singing as what defines the word and practice.

I try to pay attention to reasons why we define worship mainly as music these days. And it is not too difficult to discover. What do we call the person in a church who leads the band or singing? It is normally the "worship pastor" or "worship leader". When our music leaders say, "Let's now worship," that is when the singing begins. When a sermon begins or when the offering is received we often don't say ""Let's now worship" like we do when the singing starts. When we think of Sunday gatherings of the church and when does worship happen, we generally think of the singing - not the teaching or the sacrifice of people who are worshiping by volunteering time in the children's ministry or other things happening. You look the Christian albums and as we call them "Best of Worship" or "Worship Greatest Hits"  that reinforce the idea that music is the primary—or even only—form of worship. I just read on a Facebook post how a group was bringing in a guest person to "lead worship" and of course this guest person was a musician.We constantly, constantly reinforce by how we use that word casually all the time that it primarily means music and singing.  
"Should the church accountant be the one called the "worship pastor"? " »

I Love what St. Mark Thomas posted on my original post:

Mark Thomas said... 

I teach a lot of younger people about worship and what it means. I usually start in the Old Testament and end somewhere in Revelation (chapter 4 or 5) are great examples of crazy and wild "throne room" worship. One thing that I always stress is that worship is not exclusively music. That worship can happen anywhere and not just the first 20-40 minutes of a Sunday/Saturday/Wednesday church service. In fact, there is no such thing as a "worship song"! A song is simply a song, a tool. One must be in the attitude and in the Spirit for the song to be even used in worship. Otherwise it's nothing different than what we might hear on our top 40 radio stations on any given Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday. Does anyone still listen to FM radio? Worship (and revelation) happens when we're in a place of incomprehension, bedazzlement, and transformation. It has to. What do you expect after meeting God face to face and giving Him all the glory? -Mark Thomas


the preacher is not in the Bible


the phrase"my pastor" is bad enough...'my Pastor" is w - See more at: http://davewainscott.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-phrasemy-pastor-is-bad-enoughmy.html#sthash.OakILrRf.dpuf
-more church plants

Provocative Kraybill quotes:

"The altar of a church building is no closer to God's heart than the restroom" (p. 163, read in context)

Related: see: God in the Bathroom?

  "With one stroke, Jesus erases titles".."Titles are foreign to the Body of Christ.  (p 226-229)

Pastors in Kraybill's tradition (Mennonite) have not been historically comfortable with 

any title, really (and going way back, salaried pastors).. St. Paul (oops, Paul, the saint) didn't seem to be either. We call him "The Apostle Paul," but though he was entitled to, he never called himself that: "Paul (comma), an apostle."



video: Impersonation of me by Pastor D.J. Criner (who looks just like me..but more handsome)

Pastor D.J. Criner
Sometimes in a Bible class, I will leave the room for five minutes,
and challenge the students to practice presenting anything they've learned.
It's totally up to them: they can tea- teach it, one person can present etc.

Sometimes I am even brave/dumb enough to say they can choose someone to impersonate (roast/toast( me and my style.

I should have known that with  the delightful and daring Pastor D.J. Criner (of Saint Rest Baptist Church) in class, that  the class would choose him for that impersonation option (:

It was caught on video ...
I guess I say ":awesome" a lot.

Be sure to catch his whiteboard artwork of me. as well:

You all did an amazing job teaching me tonight. I will post video here:






Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week 4 Bad Samaritan Videos, Masada, Gates of Hell, Timelines

Great job on the Bad Samaritan.  Videos!

Great discussion on the "Kingdom" count on your TV shows:



We took a field trip to Masada, built by King Herod.

  The video on Masada we watched in class is not online, but a good summary is here.
(optional:Here are three short articles on it:  1,   2   ,3 )

We voted for president! Results below.  Be prepared to talk politics on Moodle!

Trump (9), Hillary (3)
Bernie (2), Neither (3) ,
Republican, Neither, Trump over Hillary (1),
 Cruz or opt out.  Trump is a pompous ass. Hillary is a liar (1),
 Plead the 5th (1),
 Jesus (woop woop)  (1)
Stephen Curry (1)  
Gary Johnson (1)

After reading Matthew 16, we watched this  17 min. video by Uncle Ray on " Caeserea Phillipi: Gates of Hell."  (Must be signed into Moodle to watch.

See helpful summaries and articles
Pay attention to what you think "this rock" is.

four more timelines tonight:

Preparation Reading:
  • NOAB article “Introduction to Acts,” p. 1919...can be skipped
  • Acts chapters 1-15  can be skipped
  • Fee & Stuart chapter 6 Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent
  • NOAB article “Introduction to The Letters/Epistles in the New Testament,” p. 1973-1974 can be skipped
  • Galatians, Ephesians, James, 1 John (entirety of each) & the NOAB Introductions for each  Just do EPHESIANS
  • Kraybill chapters 11-12

Preparation Assignments:
1.  Letters to NT Churches Worksheet  can be skipped
2.  Service Project, Log of hours, and Response Essay (see description attached to the syllabus and below)
3.  Analysis of Kraybill The Upside-Down Kingdom
Write a 3-4 page, typed essay, analyzing The Upside-Down Kingdom using the following format. In one paragraph describe the main point (thesis) that Kraybill develops in his book (read the Preface!). Then select three chapters from among chapters 1 and 5-12, and show how Kraybill defends/develops his thesis in those chapters. (You may not use chapters 2, 3, or 4 for this assignment.) Finally, include two questions or issues the book raised for you, for use in class discussion. This assignment is a building block for the final paper. This assignment must be submitted to turnitin.com by 6 pm Week 5. Login at top of Moodle