Agree or Disagree: It’s time to remove the Catholic School System.


If you missed it Friday, Luke Fevin and I were on the Ryan Jespersen Show in Edmonton. It was Faith vs Atheism.

You can listen to it 

Now, some of you might have been expecting more of a battle…..and you would have been a bit disappointed. Because we didn’t “fight”. We had more of a discussion. Part of the reason for that is this was a unique opportunity. It’s very rare that a radio show goes into something like this. So, there was some unpacking to do. There still is.

However, there was a debate.Specifically around the issue of Catholic Schools. And the question around if there is a need for a Catholic School System. Here is where I see benefit for a Catholic School System.

-There are still over 800,000 Catholics in Alberta. There would be many families that do benefit from this. There is a sense of community and connection and shared values. It is an opportunity for families to have additional education and exposure to their religion other than the home.

That being said, there are some concerns. First, how they handled the GSA issue. Many Catholic parents and families were rightly angry on how this was handled. Which, quite frankly, was poorly. Second, the idea of a specific religious school for a religion for many seems outdated. They see religion as damaging to people.

So, while Luke and I did not unpack this as much, the topic is very important to many.  I would imagine and expect Luke and I will be involved in other dialogues like this.

But do you Agree or Disagree that it is time to remove the Catholic School System?

Please be respectful in your dialogue.

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Agree or Disagree: American Culture is the probably the least “Christian Culture” we have ever had.


Twitter stirred up a bit with this Tweet from Eugene Peterson.

It reads

American culture is probably the least Christian culture that we’ve ever had because it is so materialistic and it’s so full of lies.

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast -An Adult conversation around GSA’s


Derek Fildebrandt, Terry Lo, Jojo Ruba, and Jeff White discuss the issues around the Gay-Straight Alliances, Bill 202, and Bill 10.

Derek wrote an excellent blog about having an adult conversation on GSA’s. You can read that here.

Terry, if you remember, left his role as VP of communications for the party Calgary- Glenmore constituency association. This was because WRP members didn’t pass an expanded statement on equality rights on their last meeting.

Jojo and Jeff represent Faith Beyond Belief. They exist to help Christians become effective ambassadors for Christ.

One of the observations Jojo made was that many moderate Christians voices haven’t been a part of the conversation. They feel that they have been shut out of the conversation.

Listen to the Podcast here

Topics we cover include;

Some benefits and concerns about GSA’s. Particularly those involved in a Christian school.

What was missing in this conversation?

Parental rights

Religious rights

The silence of Gordon Dirks and how it impacted both sides.

Why the PC government mishandled the situation so badly?

A possible solution going forward.

Follow Derek Fildebrandt at Fildebrandt.ca

Terry @calgarydreamer on Twitter

Faith Beyond Belief at faithbeyondbelief.ca

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@kevole
@AorDThePodcast
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Question: What is a Christian?


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A while ago, I was part of a panel discussion with about the topic of Worldviews.

There was an Atheist,  a Baha’i, more of a conservative Christian, and me a “Progressive” Christian.

On Saturday, I’m going to be part of a panel discussing the future of Christianity. There will be a “Progressive” Christian, an ex-Christian, a new Christian, and a Conservative/Traditional Christian. This should be an interesting conversation.

One of the first questions we are going to discuss is this one. And, I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this.

If you were asked what a Christian is, how would you respond? You don’t have to be a Christian to answer this question. As a matter of  fact, I welcome those who aren’t.

Agree or Disagree: The Evangelical Church is in trouble


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This is a picture of the Last Supper.

I love this image. Jesus in the middle and the crowd surrounding Him and the crowd squeezing close to Him. The table is small and it is very clear that the table will not fit the crowd around Him. It doesn’t appear Jesus really cares here. He is just glad to have everyone there.

There has been a lot of discussion around the topic of Jesus , tables, invaliitation and who belongs at the table. The recent debate’s around what happened around World Vision. There has been some specific speculation around the widening gap between the Evangelical church and everyone else. 

As an example of this speculation, I present you this blog from The American Jesus. http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=11940&utm_content=buffer2c466&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign

He would argue that it is time to abandon “Evangelicalism” and we need “New Wineskins” Here is a portion of his post.

As the past few years have hinted at, and last week made crystal clear, evangelicalism is an old wineskin that is long past its expiration date. It was a new wineskin once and served the church well for a time, but it has become dry, brittle, and broken.

The Spirit is alive and needs room to breathe in the church, to expand the gospel to people who desperately need it. But evangelicalism is a old wineskin that clearly can’t handle the expansion of the Spirit.

So we must let it go.

Now, while some of you might agree with that. There certainly seems to be some anger, actually lots of anger towards them. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen this much expressed anger towards a Christian group  not named “Westboro Baptist Church” ever after World Vision.

However anger or not, the Evangelical’s are still speaking and standing strong. They would  disagree with The American Jesus and as a matter of fact feel their future is strong. 

I bring to you Trevin Wax from The Gospel Coalition. I present this post http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2014/04/02/the-fault-lines-before-the-evangelical-earthquake/

He argues that not only will the Evangelical Church survive’s, it thrives. Here is a sample from his post.

Revisionists are culturally captive to the demands of a shrinking subset of affluent, Western churches. Though global evangelicalism is much more united on the authority of Scripture and the distinctiveness of Christianity’s sexual ethic, revisionists lecture global churches on why they should adopt the same beliefs and practices that emptied their own.

The Moderates hold to an unsustainable position. They uphold a traditional understanding of marriage and sexual ethics, and yet they downplay the significance of these issues by taking the “agree to disagree” posture or a quiet agnosticism (“since people disagree on this, who can really know?”). I sympathize with those who feel like the culture has thrust upon us an issue we didn’t ask for and those who are weary of the constant cultural clashes between evangelicals and revisionists. That said, this category will shrink the fastest. The revisionists will challenge moderates to stop linking arms with people who affirm traditional marriage because they are “hateful” and “bigoted.” The evangelicals will challenge moderates to recognize the underlying authority of Scripture issues that accompany this debate. Moderates today will be forced to choose sides tomorrow. Those who remain on the fence will see their children, or the next generation, move steadily into the revisionist camp in response to increasing cultural pressure. “If marriage isn’t a big deal, Mom, then why are we holding the line on this?”

Now I’ve given you some reading and thinking. On my Facebook, I asked this question.

When I say the word evangelical, what comes to your mind?

The interesting thing is this. The comments are quite divided and even. There were both positive and criticism towards the Evangelical Church.  The positive includes kindness, compassionate and family-oriented. Criticism includes anger, hatred, and exclusive.

Is there some serious concern around the behaviour of some in the Evangelical Church? Yes, there is. 

However, is there many people that have been impacted positively by the Evangelical Church? Yes, there is.

 

Is it in trouble?

I’ll let you decide first, but from where I sit, there still seems to be room at the table.

An Open Letter to say Thank you to Donald Miller, Brian McLaren, and Rob Bell.


On February 18, 2014 this article http://www.christianitytoday.com/parse/channel/comments/allreviews.html?id=116670&type=article was written in Parse Leadership Journal. The title is The Strange Yet Familiar Tale of Brian, Rob, and Don.

The Article is written Anglican Pastor Kevin A. Miller and identifies Donald Miller, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, three of the most influential Christian thinkers in the last 10-15 years. In a nutshell, and you can certainly read this for yourself, he seemed to put some blame on these three for their influence and questioning of some of current issues within Christianity. As a matter of fact, Miller recently wrote a post called I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect with Him Elsewhere which you can read here http://storylineblog.com/2014/02/03/i-dont-worship-god-by-singing-i-connect-with-him-elsewhere/ Not surprisingly, instead of examining what Miller actually has to say, many in the evangelical church  have done the disservice of questioning Miller’s faith. (Even though the Guy they claim to follow had a conversation about judging)

To his credit, McLaren wrote a very gentle and kind response http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/q-r-you-rob-bell-don-miller-and.html

I admit to be one of the many that in some way, shape or form, have been impacted by Miller, McLaren, and Bell. I feel that this is in a positive way. The way I express my views on Christianity in some ways, come from understanding their thoughts. So, this Open Letter is a letter of thank you from me to them. Maybe you resonate with what you read.

Dear Don, Brian, and Rob,

You don’t know me, but my name is Kevin. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I’m assuming you know Calgary. Donald, I remember seeing you speak in Edmonton for a conference a couple of years ago. Brian, and Rob, I don’t know if you have come this way, but you should. I am one of many that can say they were positively impacted by your words, and your thoughts.

I know what you are asking. How? Great question and glad you asked. Let me tell you stories.

Donald, it was the book Blue Like Jazz. I have to admit, I was a little cynical about this book. The reason was because, many people liked it and my friends would call me against the grain. However, when I read this book, the words that still sink in for me were this.

“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” 

It started to sink in for me and it was beautiful. I appreciated the honesty and the reflection and continued to read. I will also remember your story about going to a carnival and personally apologizing for the actions of Christianity. In the back of my mind, I knew we needed to do that, but was too afraid to say it. It was because people would question my Christianity.

I moved on to other books like A Million Miles and a Thousand Years. I took it with me on a travel to Vancouver. I loved the honesty. 

Brian, for you it was two books in particular. The first was a New Kind of Christian. I loved the characters, the deep issues handled with integrity. Issues like cancer, questioning your faith, changing your approach to faith. I was impacted by how my Christianity was about us vs them instead of simply, us. 

The second was  A New Kind of Christianity. The questions about how we read the Bible, how we view Jesus, God and sexuality. Quite frankly, your questions were far ahead of the times. Because many are comfortable with the Blue eyes and handsome Jesus that is portrayed as a super hero. Not the one, we see in Scripture. I love questions, I love asking and reflecting on things. That book was inspiring too me.

And Rob, Rob, Rob. I remember taking a bus from Calgary to Seattle reading Velvet Elvis. I remember reading the section on how you thought the Bible should be interpreted. I thought to myself “You are right!”. I decided to read that section in a group I led. Needless to say, it was met with resistance. However, it created quite a conversation which I liked. Your books made me think.

The other thing is you made me think about God. Your video The Gods Aren’t Angry still impacts me to this day. The quote that sticks with me is this

“If you are repenting because God wants you to do something, you are bargaining with the wrong kind of god.

It helped me realize my distorted views on this god I call God. I’ve been repenting from that ever since.

This is just a small sample size of your impact. However, in a day where it seems so easy to critique from afar as all three of you have been so often, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for asking questions. Thank you for your deconstruction and construction.

I’m one of many that have needed to hear it.

 

About The Son of God


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  You might have heard that there is a movie called Son of God. It’s being released February 28.

 

 It’s a movie about Jesus and you know who is excited? 

 

 Pastors Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Craig Goeschel, Miles Mcpherson, and Ray Johnston. Also, Archbishop Jose Gomez is too!

 

They are so excited that they have decided that on February 27, the day before opening night, to take over multiplex theatres in their city. The purpose is that they will be distributing tickets for people to see it. How many? Glad you asked. 

 

According to an article written on the Christian Post, here are some numbers for you.

 

  • Joel Osteen (Lakewood Church) – Houston, Texas – Distributing 8,000 tickets from an anonymous donor
  • Craig Groeschel (LifeChurch) – Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma – 18 Campuses. Weekly attendance of 60,000 and Bible application with over 100 million downloads
  • Archbishop José Gomez (Archdiocese of Los Angeles) – Over 4 million members
  • Miles McPherson (Rock Church) – San Diego, Calif. – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
  • Unpolished Entrepreneurs Group (Crossroads Church) – Cincinnati, Ohio – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Liberty University) – Lynchburg, Va. – Over 12,000 students
  • Ray Johnston (Bayside Church) – Sacramento – Weekly attendance of over 10,000

 

It is interesting to note that Crossroads Church have estimated that booking a one night event cost $33,600. If we use this number and we multiply it by 7 churches involved in booking these Multiplex Theatres here is the total.

$235,200. This would be for one night of booking. $235,200

 

 It’s interesting to think about that number. Then it is interesting to think about how many people walking or driving to see this movie, will go by some of the “least of thees” that the Son of God talks about.

 

Yesterday, I took some heat and criticism for, well criticizing this idea. Someone suggested that I was “fighting the Body of Christ”.  I’m not trying to fight, I’m trying to bring in a perspective. 

 

Think about this. At the drop of a hat, 10 churches dropped $235,200 for ONE DAY at a theatre. What if this money was used differently? What if instead of spending this money this way, one person took another person for a coffee and had a real conversation about the Son of God. Or, maybe instead of booking a theatre where people can sit and watch a movie, you send people out to places in your community that need support.

 

You might argue that churches already do that. I agree with that. But you know what, I need to say this and it may sound harsh.

 

People are REALLY  tired of the same old,same old approach to the Son of God over and over again.  A picture with a handsome, white Jesus with eyes like stars, and sultry, sexy (oops said sexy) voice. People know who Jesus is, and they know this is not it. And quite frankly, many would question if this  is “What Jesus Would Do”.

 

Sometimes I think some Christians think Non-Christians can’t read.

 

People know about the Son of God They also know the stories. They know the story about feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and two fish. They also remember the story about Jesus turning the tables in the temple. Calling out “The house of God has been turned into a den of thieves!”

 

Based on that, some might wonder if spending $245,000 for a one night bash is really something Jesus would endorse.

 

They also know who the Son of God was. The type of person He was. They know He was genuine. They know He was approachable. They know He was sincere. They know He was willing to talk. Really talk.

And they don’t see the slick advertising, smooth talking, sharp dressing, events something that the Son of God would be a part of.

 

Others may wonder if some churches combined in their efforts of $235, 200 for more than a one night event, what a positive impact that can REALLY  be to communities in need. They imagine if for a moment how that can help some of the really needy in their own community. Spending $235,200 may lead to cynically ask what the churches real motivation is? And the current conclusions in peoples heads are not very flattering.

 

It’s tiring and it what is turning people off from main stream Christianity. Non-believers and frankly believers alike. They are tired of the fear mongering, superior acting Christians. They are tired of the bombarding of Multiplexes, spontaneous baptism, colouring books,and snake biting pastors. They are tired of the circus act.

 

They just want a real conversation about the Son of God. And they want the representatives to simply act like Him.

Can’t we just give them that?