Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SESSION 1: Jesus Untangled: Cincinnati - Keith Giles




This is a live recording of Session 1: Jesus Untangled:Cincinnati led by author Keith Giles.



Recorded live on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Northstar Community Church, Loveland, OH.

In this session, author Keith Giles speaks about the need to separate our faith and our politics.

NOTE: Apologies for the final Q&A session cutting out at the end.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

FINAL: Podcast Dialog - "Does The Evangelical View of the Cross Lead To Violence?"





Awesome Part 3 of a conversation between Quoir authors Matthew Distefano, Keith Giles, and Jamal Jivanjee and about how Evangelical Christian views of the crucifixion relate to ideas about redemptive violence, and more.

In this Podcast we talk about:
  • 2:30 – Are we making claims for the Bible that it doesn’t even make for itself?
  • 9:55 – What is a “Flat Bible” perspective vs a “Jesus-Centric” perspective?
  • 14:50 – Why Jesus is superior to the Old Testament
  • 18:40 – Has the Bible hindered Christianity?
  • 26:00 – Is it appropriate to “chuck the Scripture”?
  • 30:25 – Why context matters
  • 31:50 – Why the Holy Spirit and community are essential to understanding Scripture

Monday, May 22, 2017

CINCINNATI: BEFORE AND AFTER



How can I summarize what God did this weekend in Cincinnati?
As someone who makes a living as a writer, it's not often I find myself at a loss for words.
Not that the event itself was something so remarkable that no one could explain it. It was a simple gathering of people - around 20 of us - who came together to hear more about Jesus and His Kingdom and our place in that Kingdom.
Not that the connections we made with one another were so unusual or out of the ordinary that the universe had to stop and reorient itself. We simply reconnected with people we hadn't seen in a long time, and made new connections with people who were family all along, but we just didn't know it until this weekend.
For me, the focus was that three hour block of time on Saturday. That was what I thought I was there for. That's what I had prayed about and prepared for. All my energies were on the presentation, the conversations and the "results" of that time.
What God showed me was that I was really in Cincinnati for everything that came before and after that window of time.
The private conversations. The tearful testimonies. The sincere expressions of love and affection. The gratitude expressed. The laughter around a table where a meal was shared together. The prayers for one another around a quiet living room.
That's why I was there.


And I am so blessed, my friends. I am so blessed and so honored to be so very loved.
Thank you, everyone, for making the drive, for taking the time, for giving your talent, and your resources to surround me with your love and support this weekend.
I know the Lord is doing something truly wonderful in Cincinnati. I know that He is stirring people up and nourishing seeds - some of them planted long ago - to grow towards the light and break through the soil.
The Kingdom of God is advancing in this place. The life and light and love of Jesus is pouring down in great abundance.
People there can smell it, like the scent of a rainstorm on the breeze. They are opening like flowers to receive the waters of new life and transformation is at hand.
I cannot wait to see what the Lord is about to do in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Just wait and see.....

Thursday, May 18, 2017

PART 2: PODCAST- Does The Evangelical View of the Cross Lead To Violence?


Part 2 of a conversation between Quoir authors Keith Giles, Jamal Jivanjee and Matthew Distefano about how Evangelical Christian views of the crucifixion relate to ideas about redemptive violence, and more.


NOTE: I personally do not believe that the Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theory is what ultimately leads to violence. 

Case in point: The early Christians did not embrace this PSA theory until John Calvin introduced it in the 1500s, and yet they did engage in a lot of violence against others, and even one another.

However: The PSA view does impact the way we see God and it does often provide justification for our own violence because, if God is violent can't we be violent, too?

In this Podcast we talk about:
*Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
*What is the mechanism that creates the necessity for Christ's death?
*What is Mimetic Theory and how does it relate to the crucifixion?
*If Jesus wasn't killed by His Father to satisfy His wrath and make it possible for us to be forgiven, then what was the cross all about?
*Why did Peter deny Jesus? Was this a special character flaw or are we all wired to go along with the crowd?
*Why is Jesus' invitation to "Follow Me" crucial to our ingrained tendency to imitate the desire of others?
*What does it mean to say that "No one has ever seen God at any time [except Jesus]?"

AND MORE!



LISTEN HERE:



LEARN MORE?

Suggested reading for further study:
*Reading the Bible with Rene Girard, edited by Michael Hardin
*I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by Rene Girard
*From The Blood of Abel by Matthew Distefano
*Raising Abel by James Alison
*Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe

For more on the "Flat Bible vs Jesus-Centric" discussion:
*Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb by Keith Giles


Online Resources:
VIDEO: The Monster God Debate [Start with part 2 here]
VIDEO: The Beautiful Gospel by Brad Jersak

WEBSITES:
www.RavenFoundation.org
www.PreachingPeace.org


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

THE MYSTERIOUS SATOR SQUARE





Discovered in the ruins of a Pompeii house covered in the ash of Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD, this was found etched into the wall of a home:

R O T A S
O P E R A
T E N E T
A P E R O
S A T O R

These are five words in Latin which roughly translate to: "The sower/farmer with his eye on the plough turns the wheel with care."

Essentially a veiled reference [some argue] to the sower parable told by Jesus, with references to the "plough" as a nod to discipleship and keeping our eye [and our hands] to the plough [which is yet another metaphor used by Jesus in terms of discipleship].

But that's not all.

Notice that the first word "ROTAS" runs left and right at the top of the square, but also runs north and south at the far left of the square.

Now, notice that "ROTAS" at the top and "SATOR" at the bottom are the same word written backwards and forwards.

Notice also that "OPERA" and "APERO" in the next rows are mirrors of each other.

Now, notice that the center word "TENET" is itself a palindrome [meaning it's the same spelled forward or backwards].

Also note that "TENET" runs left and right and north and south which forms a cross in the center of the square.

And please also notice that the letter "T" is fixed at the center top and bottom, and the center left and right. [The letter "T" was synonymous with the symbol for the cross].

So...what's the big deal?

Well, if you take those letters and scramble them - keeping the letter "N" at the dead center - you end up with the phrase "PATER NOSTER" which, in Latin is the beginning of the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father".



And also, there are two sets of "Our Father" which form the shape of the cross with the two letters "A" and "O" left over.

Why are those significant? Because "A" and "O" map to the words "Alpha" and "Omega".

For a more detailed explanation, watch this video:




Essentially, this First Century word puzzle was an early Christian way of sharing their faith in an interesting and creative way.

What do you think?

Leave your comments below.

-kg

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

PODCAST: Does the Evangelical View of the Cross Lead to Violence?



Excited to share part one of this amazing conversation between fellow Quoir authors, Jamal Jivanjee, Matthew Distefano and myself about the by-products of Penal Substitutionary Atonement - or the idea that God killed Jesus to satisfy His wrath so He could forgive us.

Listen to part one and let us know what you think!

NOTE: Part 1 of this conversation is hosted by Jamal. Part 2 will be hosted here on this blog and Matt will host Part 3 on his blog.

ABOUT THIS CONVERSATION:
Why The Evangelical Message About The Cross Leads To Violence: An Interview With Quoir Authors Keith Giles and Matthew Distefano 

Although Jesus was the prince of peace and demonstrated love and non-violence throughout his life, evangelical Christians by and large have been the most consistent defenders of empire building, military action, and war. The reason for this anomaly among Christian behavior isn't simply hypocrisy, however. This behavior could very well be rooted in the way we have been taught to see the cross and the nature of divine justice. Because humans are reflective beings, people will always reflect the God they perceive.

At the 6:15 mark, we discuss the disconnect that penal substitution theory causes between our view of God as father, and our view of Jesus.

At the 10:00 mark, we discuss the fallacy of believing that sin separates us from God.

At the 14:30 mark, we discuss why Jesus actually was crucified.

At the 20:54 mark, we discuss why Penal Substitution Theory of the cross was not a view held by early Christians. Penal Substitution Theory, as commonly found in modern evangelical thinking, was largely a creation of John Calvin. 
Visit the landing page and listen HERE> 

.

Love

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why Did Jesus Die? by Kevin Carter



[Guest Post]

NOTE: This post was written in response to the previous post about whether or not the Father turned His face away from Jesus on the Cross.


[As] Rob Bell pointed out on one of his podcasts, the connection with those words [“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”] and a common prayer that was prayed based on the Psalms when one neared Death. That [revelation] was part of one of the original understandings that started to unravel my belief in God's hatred of sin requiring death and judgment.

I now realize, that there are many other ideas for why Christ had to die. There are two that are compelling to me, and I take them both seriously:

WHY DID JESUS DIE?

1. He died to show us how to live. Christ's entire life was meant to be something we followed. He was not interested in controlling people's moral actions, instead every action was meant as a means of self-sacrifice so that others may have life and have it more abundantly – right here, right now on Earth – not just in a reward in the afterlife.

As a result, His life could have ended no other way than in death as a proof to us that our lives are not ours, but are to be given out in service of others, even if it means we have to give up our own life so that others may experience better life.

His resurrection was then a reminder that even in death, it isn't an end to us, but that God has power over life and death and there is more for us. Death isn't an end, but only a beginning and so giving it up for another isn't a terrible end to life, but a beautiful beginning.

2.He died because we required a sacrifice. The view that resonates the most with me however is that Christ's death wasn't because God could not bear to look at sin and required death and blood to overcome his aversion to it, but that we could not look at sin without requiring blood and vengeance. The entire sacrificial system was simply man's best effort at serving a loving, Holy God in light of our own understanding of intrinsic evil in and amongst us.

[NOTE: Remember that Caiphas, the High Priest, said, “It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He meant that in a practical sense, not spiritually.]

God however has always loved us, always called us towards a more beautiful, peaceful life by overcoming that evil around us rather than having it control us. God has never required a sacrifice for His love, we simply assumed He did.

[NOTE: See Jesus in Matt. 9:13; 12:7; and also Heb. 10:8; Ps. 51:16, Hosea 6:6, 1 Sam. 15:22]

As a result, God also knew that humanity would never be free to truly bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth if they were hampered by a transactional system that left them in bondage. So Jesus died, not so that God could forgive us of our sins, but that we could.

To me that makes His death even more beautiful.

It's always troubled me that God set up such a broken and dirty system whereby God allowed sin into the world, but then required death of anyone entangled by it.


Instead [this view] shows us that God never required the death of Jesus for His own ends, but freely gave it for ours.

Those two ideas have radically changed the way I interact with the world around me in light of Christ's life, and I'll never go back to where I was before.

FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE WATCH "THE BEAUTIFUL GOSPEL" by Brad Jersak VIDEO