Tag Archives: Shane Claiborne

How not to defend unborn human life…


The following picture seems to be viral on facebook now. And despite all the good intentions of people sharing it, it makes no sense at all, and will not in a million years convince anyone except those who are already convinced and want to see their message spread no matter how… But I also am afraid that the unconvinced will be more convinced that the ‘pro-life’ stance (more on that word soon) just makes no sense at all.

Again: This is completely NOT the way to defend unborn human life, the reasoning is just bogus! Does anyone realise how bad an idea looks when it’s brought to you in a way that only makes it look ridicule? (That’s what happens to the Christian gospel too all the time, btw)
But let’s imagine the situation described: If a single cell would be found on a remote planet, what would happen to this cell? The cell  being ‘life’ will not prevent it from all the tests science and the NASA would do on it; and releasing one cell back is not something that happens much either… That one cell, and it’s offspring (mono-cellular life on earth pr0creates really fast by cell division, the chance of finding and keeping only one cell is too small) would in the best case be imprisoned in a lab and investigated by a lot of scientists. But treating it like a human being will never come into consideration by anyone…There are different levels of ‘life’ in earthly life, like human, animal and plant life. Yes, every single cell on earth is considered ‘life’, including the micro-organisms you kill when you boil water or ash your hands with something disinfecting. Mono-cellular life is all around and in us, but it still is a lower form of ‘life’ even than plant-life. A single cell, whether it is a bacterium on your hands, a non-terran cell on a planet orbiting sirius , or in the womb of a woman (and let’s not forget here that there are plenty of human and non-human living cells in the womb, and that non-fertilised egg cells and sperm cells are also living cells and ‘life’)
So the text of the image makes no sense at all in the defence of unborn human life, no matter how  a single-cell zygote is viewed, it being considered ‘life’ will not be of any use. We kill ‘life’ every time we wash our hands, or boil water. If you don’t come up with a reason for the zygote being human life we’re not even in a debate. Please, if the subject is that important to you, don’t treat it like this and ridicule it with nonsense reasoning and bogus arguments. You’re killing your own position!
Oh, and now that I have your attention: let’s add that the word ‘pro-life’ as used by American Christians is of little meaning if you care even a little bit about the actual meaning of word: Life is something that includes born people (and all of non-human life too) so claiming you’re pro-life and being pro-war, anti-helping the poor, pro-death sentence, pro-violence and not anti destruction of nature you’ve made the word ‘pro-life’ worthless The same could be said about ‘pro-choice though, which is also a completely bogus term, both are a very interesting use of language to vilify the other at the expense of the meaning of the term!
(oh, and you can’t go further from being ‘pro-life’ than killing abortionists or bombing abortion clinics, just saying!)
I do believe that human life is to be protected. Born and unborn. I do know that when I saw the first echography of my daughter that I was amazed about how much life and energy that little human larvae had, and did something in her moves that we recognised later after birth… So the human being was there already at that age.But I know the debate about when you can speak of human life is more complicated than this, much more. A third-trimester abortion is just barbaric, but the discussion about a single-cell zygote is something completely different from that. And let’s not forget that the bible is NOT clear about human life beginning at conception, sorry… Let’s not sweep all of that under the carpet either with dumb slogans that make no sense and only make us look dumb, please…
If we really want to be able to call ourselves ‘pro-life’, we should think about these words from Shane Claiborne in the irresistible revolution:
I must say that I am still passionately pro-life, I just have a much more holistic sense of what it means to be for life, knowing that life does not just begin at conception and end at birth, and that if I am going to discourage abortion, I had better be ready to adopt some babies and care for some mothers.
Yes, we Christians should not attack those with ‘unwanted pregnancies’, but help them. We should be known for caring for teenage mothers and making sure that they can make it instead of condemning them. We should win people over with love! Even at the expense of our own western middle-class comfortable life, I think I should add. And I realise I’m nowhere in that…
shalom
Bram

Some Interesting things elsewhere II


every witty quote might offend someone...

Welcome in the second issue of ‘Some interesting things elsewhere’:

Eugene Cho on ‘a lifestyle of enough‘ on Godspace. Shane Claiborne on the theology of enough, I think the rediscovery of ‘enough’ instead of more more more is very important, and one of the ways in which Christianity has to be countercultural in a world where growth for the sake of growth (the ideology of the cancer cell) is the norm in economics.

There is a promise in Scripture that there is enough: that God did not mess up and make too many people or not enough stuff.

Another criticism to a core value of contemporary neoliberal ideologies that are very pervasive even in Christian thought is addressed by Matt Stone in his blog post ‘do what thou wilt shalt be the law of the psychopath’, which invokes the infamous  occultist Aleister Crowley! More from the occult department in this very entertaining article by our anti-capitalist friend Tripp York, who finds neo-druids too capitalist, and points out how Satanists are plagued by the same problems as Christians are…

Totally unrelated is this cool technique of moss graffiti, something I want to try one day!

Sometimes the world seems like getting crazier and crazier. This story is quite enraging, and together with this one scatters my last hope that there is any ‘land of the free’ left in the illustrious US of A…: “Health department raids community picnic and destroys all food with bleach” This weird story about a homeless mother sent to jail because letting her children go to school in the wrong place is equally scary though…And the mess the Americans left in Iraq includes this story about teenagers being stoned to death for their emo look. And if we’re talking about the middle-east, this blogger from Bethlehem is worth following, and these ‘writings on the wall’ by persecuted Palestinian Christians are impressing!

At the same moment the state the planet is in isn’t much better: the acidifying of the oceans, a problem most people never heard about, might become one of the serious threats to earthlings in the future, and one we are responsible for! And if the ocean level rises due to global warming, this guy will be a president without a country… And there should be no patents on genes that are found inside of living organisms!

Some things are just weird. The anonymous declaration of cyberspace independence, which can be read here, looks like it’s from a sci-fi movie, but it’s from the real world we’re living in apparently…

did you read anything interesting?

shalom

Bram

teenage flashback: I’m not flirting, but I might need a hug…


I just fell in love with this picture when I saw it. It looks like me when I was younger:

I don’t think I really wanted and even needed more.

I don’t think I reall needed more. Just love.

Friendship-love. Something real. Something not fake like oversexed music videos, billboards with half-naked women and other nonsense like porn.

I was turned off by everthing about sex at a certain moment. The whole of society was trying to sell me as much sex as possible, and I saw no love at all in it. The Christians sometimes seemed to be more interested in teaching how to not have sex than how to love…

Maybe I did scare girls away because they thought I wanted something I didn’t want. I never cared for sex without love. I don’t think I ever will. I have no problem with sex and I quite like it (which is probably good, since I’m a married man…) but I don’t get the hype. Sex is part of a love relationship. It is not an end in itself, and can be destructive if it becomes an end.

to quote Shane Claiborne:

If we are able to have a healthier understanding of sexuality and to celebrate singleness as well as marriage and family, then we can transcend some of this. One of my mentors is a celibate monk, and he says we can live without sex but we can’t live without love. And there are a lot of people who have a lot of sex and never experience love, and people who never have sex [but] have deep experiences of intimacy and love.

That’s what I needed. That’s what everybody needs. Maybe sex can be a distraction and substitute for some people in a way that just could never work for me, but it cannot replace love and cure loneliness.

Are we there for those who need love and friendship?

I’ll conclude with an old Bram Cools song (lo-fi alert:  strange arrangement, poor melody and not so technical vocals), which can be downloaded here. It’s not really a video, sorry.

Why fear non-violence as a christian?


Scot McKnight, who himself self-identifies as an anabaptist, links on his blog to an article from the American spectator that poses the question if a ‘mennonite take-over’ is going on.

Now i’m still a european who doesn’t understand much of American politics, but after reading the American Spectator I sense a bit of fear of what they percieve as ‘mennonite’, even though most of the names they give are in fact not at all mennonites. What they seem to be affraid of is the growing influence of peace church thought and pacifism in christianity, which they for some reason see as agressive.

(I guess they are affraid of the other side of the american 2-party system, and of the ‘socialism’ monster of the cold war indoctrination, but what I see in both Shane Claibornes ‘Jesus for president’ and Greg Boyds ‘the myth of a Christian nation’ is rejecting both parties alike, and not putting much faith in governments at all, and it shows more a down-top grass-roots anarchism which does not wait on the State to do things…)

Most of the names they give, like Greg boyd and Shane Claiborne, are in fact not mennonites, but it surely can not be denied that they are gravely influenced by postmodern neo-anabaptist christian non-violence. Which is why I like them by the way. One of the things I like most about certain parts of the post-evangelical christianity and the emerging church dialogue is exactly that: a commitment to Jesus and His words, the sermon on the mount and to radical discipleship, even to enemy-love.

I do think this ‘neo-anabaptist’ emphasis in post(modern) evangelicalism is not only very important, but also a move of the Holy Spirit and a call to go back to the core of our faith. A call to first be a citizen of the Kingdom of God before being part of the systems of this world (or ‘empire’) I’m not only thinking of Shane Claiborne, and Greg Boyd, but of Scot McKnight himself, and Rob Bell or even Brian McLaren.

Like Derek Webb sings:

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a king & a kingdom

We as Christians need to be serious that our first commitment is not to any nation, but to Jesus, and to the ‘transnational church that transcends all artificial borders’, like Shane Claiborne says in his ‘litany of resistance‘, which the reporter of the American spectator finds “angry and defamatory“. The first Christians were known to be willing to die for their faith, but not to kill. This is a serious way of following Christ, even into a possible death, but it’s also very powerful. It trancends the so-called myth of redemptive violence.

Like Bonhoeffer said, “…when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match.” (thanks to JoeyS) Or like Walter Wink says “Violent revolution fails because it is not revolutionary enough.”

These are the things that make me want to be a christian. But it seems that exactly these things scare some people, even some Christians… They are too far from our natural human way of thinking. But isn’t that exactly what Christianity is supposed to be. Jesus nor the Holy Spirit can be boxed or put before our cart, and neither can any genuine follower.

No we should not completely withdraw from the world, as some anabaptists tend to do (think about the Amish) Neither should we take over all the values of the world, we belong to Christ. We are to be in the world, but not of the world, like light and salt… We are not to take over with violence, but to love the hell out of this world…

Not by might,
Not by power
by my spirit
says the Lord

Shalom

Bram

A call to subversive Love!!!


hi readers

I will start with a quote from Zack’s response to my last post on cross-gender friendshios (which is worth reading, giving a good explanation of the things I was talking about, from the perception of the culture he was born into):

We don’t often find Jesus bending over backwards to not offend His culture. On the contrary, He went against the grain precisely to demonstrate how backwards their culture was, and to reveal to them what God’s love looks like in society.

That’s the context in which I would place the whole subject of cross-gender friendships, but this topic of subversive love is so much broader that this, and it must have a central place in our Christian life if we want it to make any sense at all. Jesus, Paul and the early Christianity did not only summarise the whole law in the ‘Love God above all and you neigbor as yourself’, but they also lived that way, which was not just a choice, but also an orientation, and a lifestyle, a transformation, a whole new way of being and relating to the world.

So when we look again at the story of the woman at the well (see john 4), we clearly see this revolutionary way of lovingly relating at work. No jewish rabbi at that time would ever even think about being seen with a woman of questionable reputation, even if she wouldn’t have been samaritan. There was a great segregation of the sexes, and a looking down on sinners, and the way Jews reacted to samaritans would be considered racist by todays standards. But against all those cultural taboos, Jesus just talked to her, in a friendly and egalitarian way. No matter how we try, we will not realise how subversive and not done such a thing was. And we are called to follow Jesus and do likewise as He did.

The well-meaning intentions of people who are abstaining from stuff like being seen with people of the other sex or sinners or other wrong company might stem from an honest trying to do good, but it’s far away from Jesus’ teachings and example. And it may be much closer to the one kind of people Jesus always rebuked: the religious elite of his time, like the pharisees and sadducees. He was the one who hung out with sinners and the pariahs of his age, with litteral lepers and traitors of Gods chosen people. We are not called to carefully watch our reputation, we are called to embody christs love, and we are called blessed when we are persecuted for that (see the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5)

In our christian communities we should be one, without distinctions based on race, gender, age, musical preference or social class. Neither greek or Jew, male or female as St-Paul calls it. The first christians lived that way, and so did countless other christian communities in all kinds of situations in the last 2000 years, from old to new monastics, from anabaptists to Jesus people communes. And those communities were not only focussed to keep thier love inwards, but also to sharing it with the world, with hospitality, generosity, charity.

A comment here is that, while I do believe that we have to contextualise the gospel and translate it into each culture we are in ourselves, we do not have to let the culture and it’s definitions and taboos, or even definitions alter the gospel. Au contraire, we should let the gospel transform the culture, just as we need to be transformed ourselves! We come as we are, but no way that we will stay as we are, otherwise our good news does not make any sense at all…

And this may come down to something you could call christian anarchism, or better Love-archy. We don’t listen to then written or unwritten rules that try to put boundaries on our love, just like Jesus who talked with the woman at the well as if it wasn’t special at all to do such a thing…

And I know that I fall short in any way. Both in my personal life and in communal life with my brothers and sisters in christ, and I want to repent of that. I don’t want to see the prayer of st-Francis as inspirational but faraway from my daily life. I don’t want 1 Cor 13 and verses like ‘perfect love drives out all fear’ to be hypothetical theory, but I want to learn how to live them.

This is my new motto for my life:

I want to learn how to love, the rest are details.

will you guide me, Spirit of love?

will you join me, my brothers and sisters?

will you be my all, Christ?

shalom

Bram


ps, for some inspiration go look at the revolt collective or read shane Claiborne’s book ‘the irresistible revolution’. Or look at those countless hero’s and examples that we have in the history of our faith who lived a life of subversive love. We are surrounded by a witness cloud!!

a prayer from Shane Claiborne


I was watching a video with some preaching by ‘new monastic celebrity’ Shane Claiborne, a speaker which I like a lot, because he gives me hope for a different kind of Christianity that makes a difference in the lives of people.

I noticed again that he tends to tell the same stories again and again, but I don’t mind, they are strong stories; and his message is something that needs to become real more in my life. So if you have time, watch it. And think about it.

But what I really liked was his ending prayer. It is something to be prayed together by a group, so I wish to pray it together with all my readers, even if we are separated in time and space:

spirit of the Living God
fall on us
mould us into new creations
give us imagination with the way that we live
that we might not conform to the patterns of this world
but that we might be transformed
by the renewing of our minds
give us a new way of thinking about
our lives and our vocations
teach us to be your church

God we pray that all that You are
would take root in us
that the fruits of the Spirit
would so be inside of us
that everyone we come in contact with
would feel the goodness of Your love
that they would feel
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, gentleness, faithfullness, selfcontrol
and all of the things that You are
in the name of Jesus
Amen

I say Amen too

Bram

Jesus saves, or the red pill out of Babylon?


You might or might not like this song, but I’m affraid I  do. And for more than just the quirky industrial rock aesthetics. I always get some chills, some kind of apocalyptic feeling of urgency over me when I hear the words Brian sings. As if someone is telling me, matrix-wise to use the red pill , that I happen to have with me, but always forget that I can take it…

Run away from all your boredom
Run away from all your whoredom
and wave Your worries, and cares, goodbye

All it takes is one decision
A lot of guts, a little vision to wave
Your worries, and cares goodbye

It’s a maze for rats to try
It’s a maze for rats to try

It’s a race, a race for rats
A race for rats to die

It’s a race, a race for rats
A race for rats to die

run away
run away

So I get the feeling I should run, even though I don’t know where to, and take the red pill, and pick up my bed and leave all things useless and harmfull, and look for the light and go for it. Let’s call it an escape from Babylon system, the soulless monstruosity which turns us into less than humans, and reduces us to the part of a machine. A machine that may even be a suicide machine that could consume the whole planet and turn it into shit while all we do is just endure the status quo of our great civilisation.

But for some reason I never get far. I have my dreams of getting away, and maybe I might even try, but it’s no use. The sad truth is that I can run away as far as I want from Babylon, everywhere I could go I’ll still have Babylon in my heart, and if I’d find unspoiled territory I’d only contaminate it with the very thing I’d try to get rid off…

It’s like an addict who tries to stop his drugs. One decision may be enough, but like a marriage which is not one moment of vow but a whole life of living that vow together, I do not seem to be able to make it real. I’m not strong enough, and I don’t know what to do, I’m programmed by the patterns of Babylon…I seem to stay in nomansland in the best moments, and I’m just asleep or actively participating in Babylon in the worst ones… From the viewpoint of  human being I’m pretty hopeless…

I need help. And I know that the only One who can really help me is the one who is not from Babylon. The One whose Kingdom is the one place I long for… The Prince of peace, bringer of salvation. To use great Christianese words that may be totally meaningless in the real world if we don’t watch out how we (ab)use them.

I’m a christian. I’ve been one all my life, even though there were moments that I’ve been struggling. I believe that the core of christianity lies in Jesus as God incarnate, and that Jesus saves us. Now that statement can be interpreted in very different ways. Sometimes I’ve been told things that seem like it only means that after this life we won’t go to hell, and nothing else. Just some mystical change in the heavenly realm, but nothing else. God does not intervene much… I find that kind of deism very tiring I’m affraid.

In the pentecostel church as a kid I learned that God does intervene, but it was totally cut loose from salvation as far as I could see. Even when YHWH saves the israelites out of Egypt, that is not salvation. Salvation is going to heaven. But then in a lot of places salvation seems to mean a lot of things. The example of the israelites taken out of egypt surely is a form of salvation… I do believe that salvation is more than just going to heaven after this life. I believe it is connected to the coming of Gods Kingdom, which Jesus announced, in and through our lives. I believe in salvation as a process, ongoing salvation, which ends in being with God forever, but that’s not the only thing there can be said about it…

Jesus  invades our life when the Spirit fills us. Where the light is the darkness cannot be. Where the Spirit is Babylon cannot exist. Where perfect love is, there cannot be fear. But that’s just theory for me. Just as the assurance that after this life I won’t go to hell. It doesn’t change my life. In the worst case I could be the irritating protestant who avoids to do anything good because then I would be trying to be saved by works… But that’s just nonsense. Being saved also is a process of being changed, of bringing the Kingdom into our lives, so that ‘His will can be done on earth as in heaven’. and then we wil automaticly do those good workd, not to be saved, but because being a new creation is not theory, or at least, it ought not be…

Shane Claiborne says somewhere (roughly parafrased) that when Jesus says ‘follow me’, that he invites us into a new way of Life. And that’s what I need. I need Life, for me and for this starving world around me. I need salvation, to pass it on to this poor planet… We are lost. and if Jesus is not being saving us here and now, what sense does it make to discuss about atonement theories and soteriology and whatever academic subjects we can make out of it? Does it make sense to discuss about all those things, or are we just called to follow?

And like John Wimber asked: When are we gonna do the stuff? I’ve been a christian all this time, and it’s still mostly theory, even the commandment to love is not being very actual in my life all the time. I’m still at the beginning of my way. And maybe I need to take the red pill daily; and convert time after time. But I believe Jesus saves! And I want to take new steps in that faith!!

Jesus,
learn me to follow You,
and to live Life,
and to bring salvation
to this broken world

Father,
Let Your kingdom come
Let Your will be done
on earth
as it is in heaven

spirit
flow through me
and let me be transformed
to the patterns of Jesus

Jesus can get Babylon out of me, and send me back into Babylon as an ambassador of light.

I pray He does, for nothing else would make sense for this life

shalom

Bram

For those wondering, a spiritual autobiography…


I grew up in a post-catholic country at the end of its dechristianisation process. After WW II Belgium had changed from a catholic country into a secular one, and when I was a kid in the ’80s the catholic school I went to was on its way from a dilluted liberal catholicism to some kind of secular nothingness. But that wasn’t my main influence for my faith: my father was active in a small pentecostel Church, and I’ve been going to pentecostel churches all of my childhood. To be complete I should add that my parents were not just pentecostals, they were originally converts of the catholic charismatic renewal movement coming out of a cultural post-catholicism.  All evangelical type churches I’ve seen were small (the biggest one in Antwerp is 250 people, most are around 30), and there are not much of them… And the catholic ones mostly have only have a small group of old people in it, and younger living groups are almost as rare as evangelical ones I think.

What I remember from the catholicism is that they did not seem to believe in anything very much; though I felt an outsider in school since I as a protestant wasn’t allowed to do my first communion. The faith in God that was presented may have been at the end of the slippery slope towards atheism, but the traditions were still very alive. But it was in my ‘real’ church that I learned about Jesus and started to believe. I can remember the atmosphere that only we pentecostels were ‘true christians’ because only we ‘had the Holy Spirit’ and were born-again. Another thing that I vaguely remember was the Jesus people influence, the last traces of the jesus hippie movement were still alive when I was young, and lost of people from the pentecostel scene were jesus people conversions…

When I was a teenager, my father, who had been a pastor (unordained, I hardly know any ordained pentecostel or evangelical pastor here) left the church we were in to get involved in a church planting project with Vineyard, which was a fairly new movement in the benelux at the moment. I don’t think I noticed the theological differences, but now I do. The Kingdom theology, and the relative eucemenical openness to the whole Church I readily accepted. It felt natural to me.

what I didn’t care for was the whole Toronto stuff… My father had been there in its early days, I think even twice (before the Toronto airport fellowship and the vineyard movement parted ways) and they did some holy-Spirit nights I think, but for adults, so I wasn’t there. And I never qualified for a good pentecostal, for till this day I never spoke in tongues… There were some controverses about the whole Toronto fire stuff in the flemish evangelical and pentecostel circles, but I do not remember well enough.

Also, it might sound strange for me as a musician, but I’ve never really been into the whole vineyard (or other) worship music hype. The thing is that I as a teenager had the opinion that music played towards God wasn’t something tolisten to and buy on Cd, but to play live to worship God. I must say that I only really got into worship with the discovery souljunks 1950 album, which may sound terrible to a lot of ears, but the honest, raw cries to God really resonated with me. I still am not fond of lots of woship and praise music (a style problem) but I appreciate its connection with God. But please keep your hillsong CD’s far from me…

As a young adult I was (and still am) active as musician and worship leader in our small vineyard congregation (10 years after we officially started it’s still just 30 people, but all evangelical churches are small here, and there are not exactly much of them -except for african and brazilian pentecostel churches in a few big cities, but that’s a third world enclave with not much connection to the flemish culture-) I tried to work out how to live out my faith, and out of my questions I started some kind of very primitive email-magazine ‘hallo medechristentjes’ (‘hello fellow christians’ in funny dutch), in which I wrote articles about thing concerning my faith, my questions, and stuff… I did that for several years; but it finally faded away when I ceased being the hopeless single and found the one girl who is now my wife… Relationships can take time, energy and inspiration…

but I started to broaden my spiritual scope. I first read a lot of evangelical, vineyard and pentecostel books, and a lot of C.S. Lewis, and then some catholic books. And then I got interested in a more radical Christianity, and discovered Christian anarchism (jesusradicals forum style) and read Jacques Ellul, and more stuff like that.  And I got married, in a controversial way for some, but that’s another story (part of it is contained in my emerging joneses and marriage post)
Then a few years ago came the memorable psalters concert here in Antwerp. I was the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. And they were also extremely nice people with whom I had some theological discussions. They told me to read a book by one of their friends, called Shane Claiborne. Which really shaked me, and totally resonated with my way of thinking, though I’ve never been able to live it out until now. I need to work that out…

But from Shane Claiborne I came unto the ‘emerging Church’ discussion the last 2 years or so. I read some books and articles and blogs, and discovered I was more than 100% postmodern. I could read ‘a new kind of Christian’ as a native. I had words to describe my worldview and paradigm. I never was sure what ‘emerging church’ was, and I think I’m most attracted to the Kingdom emphasis, the neo-anabaptisch radical discipleship influence, the missional approach to faith, the humble postmodern epistemology and the new monasticism which still impresses me. I hope to one day join it…

But here in Flanders the whole emerging church is still under the radar, and even though there may be some influence in the mainstream of the NOOMA-stuff and some people reading shane Claiborne, most of it is still far away from our small isolated evangelical churches. And the world around is is so thoroughly secular, and the answers we have to give as a church and the questions people in the world have don’t always seem to match… So I pray that we’ll be able to find new ways to live out and bring the gospel, and bring a light to this society that is so lost sometimes…

Now I’m here… Still active in Vineyard (music and sometimes preaching) but looking for new ways to live my faith. I don’t know where we’ll go from here. I want to follow Jesus, and bring His Love and Life to these people… But it’s a long way to go…

Father

Let Your Kingdom Come

Let Yoy will be done

here on earth and in Belgium as in heaven

shalom

Bram

quotes


So here are a lot of quotes; most of them which I’ve posted though twitter and facebook throughout the last year.

I noticed that Shane Claiborne, C.S. Lewis and Brian McLaren are great contributors to my stock of quotes…

just read one; and think about it… and then another one… and so on

True religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. ‘Love thy neigbor’ is not a piece of advice, it”s a command. and that means that in the global village we’re gonna have to start loving a whole lot more people. – Bono

“Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.” -Henri Nouwen

if you think nuclear disarmament is impossible, South Africa did it in 1991. They saw it as something to leave behind along with apartheid, just as previous generations saw slavery, the inequality of women, and child labor as things to leave behind. (Brian McLaren)

A genuinely new, more perfect and better life comes from within, and not from without, it comes from a spiritual rebirth, and not from a mere change of social conditions, of social means. (Nikolai Beryaev)

“When a man is thirsty, whether he be learned or ignorant, young or old, in order to quench his thirst what he needs is not knowledge, but water. Before he drinks the water he does not need to know that it contains oxygen and hydrogen. If he ref…used to drink it until he could understand what we mean by oxygen and hydrogen he would die of thirst.” Sadhu Sundar Singh

Michael Moore: ” It doesn’t seem you can call yourself a Capitalist and a Christian”

the blood of the dodo still cries, that our so-called civilisation is nothing but a very advanced & sophisticated form of barbarism (Bram cools)

Mutual aid is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle – Peter Kropotkin-

everything we consume, we turn into shit… (McLaren wrote a censored version)

the real christian work ethic is not the so-called protestant work ethic which is embedded in individualism, but it is found in Eph 4:28: If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.

“Talk about God is not repressed talk about sexuality; talk about sex is, in fact, repressed talk about God.” – sarah coakley

What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? – Thomas a Kempis

Sadhu sundar singh the question who were right, Christian Fundamentalists or Liberals? — Both were wrong.The Fundamentalists were.uncharitable to those who differed from them. That is, they were unchristian. The Liberals sometimes went to the extent ofdenying the divinity of Christ, which they had no business to do.

“The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.” -Shane Claiborne

Power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anemic. – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

These godless Galileans (ie. Christians) feed not only their own poor but ours: our poor lack our care – Roman emperor Julian

the real christian work ethic is not the so-called protestant work ethic, but it is found in Eph 4:28

“Never forget that u are beautiful, just like everyone else. And never forget that u are a fool, just like everyone else.” -Shane Claiborne

everybody knows that the moon is made of cheese – wallace from wallace and gromit

we are not punished for our sins, but by them – Elbert Hubbard

Christianity is not a doctrine to be taught, but a life to be lived.” Søren Kierkegaard

“Change will have to come from outside, from the margins. The desert, not the temple, gave us the prophets.” -Wendell Berry

Jesus light the light we were asleep beside the roadside waitng on rescue this relationshp it isn’t how its really supposed to be -souljunk-

love your enemies, pray for those who persecute your [Jesus of Nazareth]

There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it. [Lord Voldemort]

Our hope today does not lie on Wallstreet our hope doesn’t rest in America our hope does not come from a new caesar or even a new president, our hope today is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood & righteousness on Christ the solid rock we stand all other ground is sinking sand, indeed as we look around all other ground is sinking sand but christ will live forever – shane claiborne

everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes (shane claiborne)

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. — St. Augustine

don’t buy the lie that new is always better: evolution can be both progress and regress, but mostly it consists of both… -abe Claeysson

if you’re looking for the devil, check out the inquisition, not just the witches…

“A private truth for a limited circle of bellivers is no truth at all” – Leslie Newbigin

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. – Mother Theresa

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” -Jesus of Nazareth-

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”- C.S. Lewis

“If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” – C. S. Lewis

Look into the eyes of the ones who are hardest for you to like, and see the One you love. – Shane Claiborne

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. — Einstein

lust reduces the riches of the deep attractiveness of masculinity & femininity to mere satisfaction of the sexual need of the body pope John Paul II

seek first His Kingdom, and Hid justice, and all the other things will be given you as well… – Jesus from Nasareth, the christ

“God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.” – Shane Claiborne

Every year we waste enough To feed the ones who starve We build our civilization up And we shoot it down with wars – woody guthry

It is more courageous to love our enemies than to kill them – Shane Claiborne

We Haven’t Just been Told, We Have Been Loved – half-handed cloud album title

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

Religious debate can be a lot like pornography, drug abuse, and gambling: stupid yet attractive and potentially addictive, and therefore dangerous spiritually. -Brian McLaren-

“I believe people are saved not by objective truth, but by Jesus. Their faith isn’t in their knowledge, but in God.” – Brian McLaren

the third way of Jesus is always asking if there is an imaginative, subversive, brilliant, creative path- Rob Bell

you can be [insert anything here] but without love you ain’t nothing – Larry Norman

“Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.” – Shane Claiborne

“Some Christians use Jesus as a shortcut to being right. In the process they bypass becoming humble or wise.” Brian McLaren

“The World can’t afford The American Dream” – Shane Claiborne

Each time the people of God becomes effective according to the world´s criteria, this only implies that society has absorbed our action and is using it for its own ends and for its own profit. (jacques ellul)

that’s enough for today…
shalom
Bram

a society built on usury


This C.S. Lewis passage and the current economic crisis make me wonder.

There is one bit of advice given to us by the ancient heathen Greeks, and by the Jews in the Old Testament, and by the great Christian teachers of the Middle Ages, which the modern economic system has completely disobeyed. All these people told us not to lend money at interest: and lending money at interest—what we call investment—is the basis of our whole system. Now it may not absolutely follow that we are wrong. Some people say that when Moses and Aristotle and the Christians agreed in forbidding interest (or “usury” as they called it), they could not foresee the joint stock company, and were only dunking of the private moneylender, and that, therefore, we need not bother about what they said.

That is a question I cannot decide on. I am not an economist and I simply do not know whether the investment system is responsible for the state we are in or not This is where we want the Christian economist But I should not have been honest if I had not told you that three great civilisations had agreed (or so it seems at first sight) in condemning the very thing on which we have based our whole
life. (C.S. Lewis in mere Christianity)

I’ll add some of Rob Bell before stating my case:

l was traveling in Turkey awhile back and kept noticing that a large number of the homes there seemed unfinished. Piles of wood and brick beside the house, half a foundation built,  construction equipment everywhere. It looked like a lot of homes had been started and then the workers went to lunch… for a year. l asked my friend, who has spent a lot of time in Turkey, about it. He said the reason is that the Mustim culture doesn’t allow for financial debt, so people only build with cash. They work for a while, run out of money, save up, keep working, and eventuaüy get the house done, which they own, debt-free. l was struck with how different Western culture would be if we had a similar aversion to debt. How many people do we know who are crippled with financial debt? Having less debt is a better way to live. l affirm this value of the Muslim people of Turkey because it is true, it is good, and it is a better way to live. (Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis)

so maybe our financial crisis is just the logical outcome of our house built on quicksand: a financial system built on usury. Is there any Christian economist who aswered Lewis’ question without taking our western culture for granted?

If this is sin. We may have to repent. How? What can we learn from the jubilee-laws in the torah? How do we have to be ‘not conformed to the world’ in this?

And can we be good news to the people who are the victims of this monster? Maybe if we’d really be as radical as the first christians (or shane Claiborne ) it would really make a difference.

I don’t know. So much questions, no answers,…

anyone??

shalom

Bram