Meanderings

Spencer Burke wades into the swirl surrounding Rob Bell’s LOVE WINS. 1 Corinthians 13 never sounded so good (via TheOOZE).

If I speak in the tongues of popularity or of authority, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of speaking absolute Truth and can understand every secret God has concealed and conquer every doubt, and if I have a faith that can move trending topics on twitter, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I say I am only looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves and stake my reputation on the line that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are absolute Truths, they will cease; where there are persuasive arguments, they will be stilled; where there is no doubt in any theological position I take, it will pass away. For we know in part and we try our best to make sense of our world, ourselves and God, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away the childish thought that I could know as God. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Or as a friend of mine likes to say “Love Wins,”
Spencer

 

Culture

Philip Clayton on the intersection of faith and science

Philip Clayton, philosopher and theologian at Claremont School of Theology, joins ThinkFwd host, Spencer Burke, at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens north of Los Angeles where they talk about faith, science, and the parallels between ecosystems and the Church. Clayton describes how the scientific community had the idea that when they figured out the human genome, everything else would be deduced outward from that starting point. What scientists found instead is that life is unpredictable, and dependent on the individual’s environment. A variety of top-down influences determine what we become, and so life unfolds in an unpredictable, unimaginable way.

View Philip Clayton on emergence taking on a life of it’s own

Consider reflecting on the following questions:

Personal Reflections:
1. How has nature, life, death and rhythms enhanced your understanding of God?
2. How do you see God with, in and through us as co-creators of life?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. The top-down approach to management has served us in the past. But now we have networks of networks growing in unpredictable ways. How can we use this new metaphor for growing our faith?
2. If Kingdom-building is going to be more unpredictable, vulnerable, and collaborative, how can we embrace that interconnectedness—the flowing together and even the breaking apart into more parts than before?

Culture

Gabe Lyons talks about learning from those unlike you

The skill of listening needs to be regained, says Gabe Lyons, co-author of UnChristian and guest of this week’s ThinkFwd interview hosted by Spencer Burke. Lyons believes this generation is ready—open to learning from each other at a heart-level without expectations of immediate results, and without needing to control the direction of the conversation.

View Gabe Lyons on learning from those unlike you.

You may want to reflect on the questions below and consider purchasing Lyon’s book UnChristian.

Personal Reflections:
1. If you could invite four people who wouldn’t agree on everything to the table—who would you invite and why?
2. How can I add real value to a present project, group or learning experience I’m involved in?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. Share a new experience or resource that has opened your mind to new ideas. What did you learn about humility, awareness, or different opinions?
2. What would it take for our community to be known more for what we support, are open to, and encourage rather than what we disagree with or exclude?

Culture

Matt Soerens talks about immigration and Christian hospitality

Spencer Burke at TheOOZE has a great series of interviews with folks around the world about how they are living our their Christian faith in the emerging post-modern world. This week he talks about immigration with Matt Soerens.

“Immigrants are more than what they can contribute to our affluence,” says Matt Soerens. Made in the image of God, they are people like you and I who demonstrate the beautiful diversity of God’s creation of humanity. ThinkFwd host, Spencer Burke, talks with Soerens in the Chicago suburb where he lives. His neighbors are a diverse population including immigrants from Mexico, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

View Matt Soerens on Immigration and the Stranger

Soerens has co-authored a book about the church and immigration called “Welcoming the Stranger.” He says his goal with the book was not to convince anyone of a particular immigration policy but rather to look at the issue Biblically and ask—as Christians—what do we do with this complicated topic of immigrants and immigration?

Personal Reflections:
1. Take a moment to role play—what would you be feeling if you were in a foreign country, didn’t know the language, didn’t know the customs, you saw law-enforcement as an enemy and it was criminal to work, yet the conditions in your country were worse?
2. Moving beyond policy to personal, what has been your first-hand interaction with immigrants?

Small Group or Staff Questions:
1. Throughout history we’ve used language to de-humanize people we don’t want to deal with. How have terms like “alien” influenced you?
2. As a Christian, how do you feel about evaluating people solely on their economic impact to our organization, city, or country?