The Trouble with Passivity in Christianity: A teaching paradigm


Updated and modified

Can anyone imagine any NFL team adopting a new strategy for that involved a typical ‘practice’ where the coach got up on a platform and talked for 30-60 minutes a week and then expected the team to perform well in a game?

Of course, anyone would realize this is pure nonsense for any type of training where the performance of duties was dependent on the participants and not the coaches.

In examining the ‘Teaching Model’ above, we can trace back most of those origins to the factory model system adopted as a result of the industrial revolution.  This paradigm quickly became the education model for our modern schools that emphasized neat rows upon rows of desks and a teacher bombarding the students from the top on down into the aisles.

Albeit, this is NOT the teaching model found in the scriptures.

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Okay, we can all admit that we lack the presence of the apostles today, but nonetheless, we have the scriptures to guide us.

Where one can discover all the particular characteristics of the early church, I think all would agree the early church was at least illustrated by activity!

Aside from meeting daily in homes, the early Christians were devoted and extremely active with high expectations.  We do read of many divisions and too, we see all Christians participating in their salvation existence.

Other elements to look for is that we don’t see people divided by sex or age.  These customs once again are facets of the factory model system and continue to spill over into our education programs that include the churches.

Thus, the early CHURCH then was a true extension of the body of Christ.  For many reasons, it did not involve air conditioned buildings with connected stereo systems that staged modern productions nor were children hard-wired to expect donuts and field trips to amusement parks separate from adults.

Further exploration into the scriptures reveal a positive, active church body that contributed in all ways to the teaching of Jesus.  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:9)

This was not left to one person or ‘preacher’ but was seen as the active duty of all Christians.

In short, this was not a passive or intellectual activity!  Christianity was and should be a living, active exercise and demonstration of FAITH!  The notion of passivity is counter to the true model of the early church and should be the identical model to this day.

In order to change/correct the teaching paradigm, the teaching model moves from an intellectual (program) approach to church passive interactivity to a model that is based on people orientation (experiential). Thus the Bible activity would go something like this:

Church members would first meet at a Starbucks, McDonald’s, or other public meeting area for prayer and brief instructions.  (Scriptural oriented).

Next the church members then would head to a site such as:

Assisted Living Facility

Jail

Hospital

Homeless Shelter

Homeless Area

Home(s) with shut-ins

Church members who have been absent

Areas for particular witnessing such as Parks, Apartment Complexes

Meeting with people with urgent problems

For the above, the tasks would be rotated from one week to another so as not to get stale for the members involved. Suggestive activity is one hour.  At least once a month those involved should meet for fellowship, coordination and strategy sessions.

The paradigm above is suggestive only:  it should not be seen as written in stone and is subject to any and all modification and improvement to include prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Positive BS


Two primary people come to mind whenever I speak of positive thinking.  Dale Carnegie is the first followed by the great Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.

On the onset here, I am not against positive thinking.  However, I do mean to dissuade the idea, the thinking that there is power in positive thoughts.  By this I mean that true power from and with the Christian is a result of Faith, not the concept of positive thoughts.

In speaking of those poor creatures who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the holocaust—some could say by positive thinking that the millions were killed as a result of the absence of positive thoughts.  And idiot could see that this is pure and total nonsense.  It is BS.

Positive thought would not have saved the Jews.  Positive thoughts would not have save the 70 million killed in WWII, the 30 Million of WWI, the 16 million killed by Stalin in the purges nor the 36 million destroyed in China in the mid-60s.

The same case is true with Jesus.  Positive thoughts would not save Jesus from the hands of Pilate.  A prayer to His Father would have, but positive thoughts had nothing to do with it.

The truth is:  one can wish for all sorts of things.  This does not ‘force’ a situation to change.

Faith, on the other hand is a power, an essence that goes beyond positive thoughts, but to the heart of God.

Yes, I agree that negative thoughts are bad and can adversely affect a person’s mind.  One needs to be positive in attitude, but mindful that the true power with God as sovereign is the true source of change and the true source of life.

Jesus, the true spirit of positive force is the light, the driving force that should be coaxing Christians to higher levels.

I speak beyond the new mindset of ‘speaking things into existence’.  For those who say that they can then should speak healing to those who need it and go beyond enrichment of self.  In other words, we should strive to journey beyond the BS of this world and instead to incorporate our self into the true world of God.

Milk and Honey


Exodus 3:8Numbers 14:8Deuteronomy 31:20Ezekiel 20:15

“…home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites…”

As a kid, I could never get over the use of God’s promises to provide the land of Milk and Honey.  Obviously, the milk would mean tons of goats and the honey part would have to be bees.  The bees would mean lots of foliage, fruits and vegetables, but still: by modern standards one would want a land filled with:

Pizzas, hamburgers, steaks, fancy salads and fresh, delicious fruits,

A rather silly, popular song today consists mostly of the insane lyrics of “Milk and Cookies, milk and cookies…”

Now that I could get into.  Who out there doesn’t like milk and cookies?  Okay, so I’ll admit I don’t care for milk all that much, I do when it’s turned into ice cream.  And even then, cookies go good with that.

On the more serious side, I suppose if God were to offer modern man a land today it would be filled with automobiles, air conditioners, shopping malls, fine clothes, iphones, computers, tvs, stereo systems.

Oh, then again, maybe God doesn’t offer this.  Perhaps He’d simply go back to the Milk and Honey theme.  Naturally, this might exactly be why most people no longer gravitate towards the God of the Bible.  Man wants it all and he wants it his way.  No more milk and honey—no sir.  We want all the ‘things’ we have collected in today’s world.  I guess leaving for a better land today would be out of the question. It comes down to the fact that in today’s world, we believe we know more than God.

Magical Fingers (Courageous Keyboards)


With the advent of personal computers and the internet, many have taken to social media, commentaries and various blogs and web sites.

Strong social messages have accommodated these instruments of communication—so much so, one can find almost any position either supporting or opposing one’s own point of view.

Within these messages are ‘brave’ ‘bold’ assertions—assertions so courageously announced a crowd would never witness someone doing this in person to one’s face.

Yes, we are bold and gutsy.  We are dynamite in words and often hide beyond the faceless keyboard, blasting away at one juncture or another and in favor of others.

Often, this is the case of the Christian, one way or another.  We see Christians such as myself making affable affirmations, affirmations probably not experience in the here and now, in person.

It is easy to be brave behind a keyboard.  Easy to announce, to denounce, detest, affirm or bind when the only requirement is that we pounce upon words insisting our point of view is the correct point of view and at other times, insisting our view is the only approach existing.

So then, we examine one form of witnessing and that is by the written word.

Unfortunately, this is usually where witness begins and ends.

We leave out the true witnessing, the witness that counts.

We should see all of our words in living colors by:

Our relations with our family

Our relations with our brothers and sisters

Relations, interactions with the church as a corporate entity

Our Witness as we perform our jobs to the Glory of God

Our witness as we speak and interact with the homeless, imprisoned, orphans, widows, sick, the hungry, poor and afflicted.

So then, in our true interaction with all the facets of our witness, we see not only our hypocrisy, but the lack of real engagement with most of the groups we are called to witness.

Yes, we are brave, filled with courage behind the keyboard, but it will not be the keyboard that provides to those who so desperately need it.

It will only be the concern, the hard work, the personal involvement of people like you and me who bother to reach out to all those people who are the least of them in our totality of witnessing.  In the end, the keyboard is at the bottom of the list for our courageous keyboard is a coward.

 

The Trouble with Passivity in Christianity


Can anyone imagine any NFL team adopting a new strategy for that involved a typical ‘practice’ where the coach got up on a platform and talked for 30-60 minutes a week and then expected the team to perform well in a game?

Of course, anyone would realize this is pure nonsense for any type of training where the performance of duties was dependent on the participants and not the coaches.

In examining the ‘Teaching Model’ above, we can trace back most of those origins to the factory model system adopted as a result of the industrial revolution.  This paradigm quickly became the education model for our modern schools that emphasized neat rows upon rows of desks and a teacher bombarding the students from the top on down into the aisles.

Albeit, this is NOT the teaching model found in the scriptures.

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Okay, we can all admit that we lack the presence of the apostles today, but nonetheless, we have the scriptures to guide us.

Where one can discover all the particular characteristics of the early church, I think all would agree the early church was at least illustrated by activity!

Aside from meeting daily in homes, the early Christians were devoted and extremely active with high expectations.  We do read of many divisions and too, we see all Christians participating in their salvation existence.

Other elements to look for is that we don’t see people divided by sex or age.  These customs once again are facets of the factory model system and continue to spill over into our education programs that include the churches.

Thus, the early CHURCH then was a true extension of the body of Christ.  For many reasons, it did not involve air conditioned buildings with connected stereo systems that staged modern productions nor were children hard-wired to expect donuts and field trips to amusement parks separate from adults.

Further exploration into the scriptures reveal a positive, active church body that contributed in all ways to the teaching of Jesus.  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:9)

This was not left to one person or ‘preacher’ but was seen as the active duty of all Christians.

In short, this was not a passive activity!  Christianity was and should be a living, active exercise and demonstration of FAITH!  The notion of passivity is counter to the true model of the early church and should be the identical model to this day.

 

Flesh and Blood Breaking Down


My friends.  As you know if you read my blogs, I don’t sugar coat anything for to me, most of what I do ends up being mostly either life or death.

I seek and ask only for the truth and only the truth.  Any many times in my blogs, I might speculate and guess what the truth might be.

And when I lose. And I lose big.  When one dies right between my arms and at other times outside of my arms, then I feel a sense of loss.

I believe that human life is precious.  I believe that you even more than I am are important to God.  and in those times when I fail. ..trust me.  I feel the pain.

This is just another way of saying that I wish I knew the holy words to say and to speak, but it is obvious that I don’t.  I am simply a man, a person the same as you.

But, during these times, they are hard times.  they are hard with hard answers and hard questions and at times hard deaths.

All I can say is that I hope that I am there for you and during those times, that I have the words to say.  In Christ’s name.  Amen

Understanding Jesus vs. Man


In understanding Jesus we first see a character this is pure, that is straight-to-the-point.  His character is gentle: patient, kind, forgiving, authoritative, honest, giving—in short, Jesus is basically easy to figure out.  Jesus possesses no hidden agendas.  His spirit is flawless, perfect in all its ways.

Man on the other hand is much more complicated.  Man is devious, fearful, self-protecting, harsh, and let’s face it—lacking.

The reason for this comparison is that man is constantly attempting to figure out God.  Man has a constant urge to resolve the mystery of God, but in fact, through Jesus there is no real mystery at all.

The mystery lies with man.

God needs no explanation.  It is man who convolutes God’s creation.  It is man who brings the carnal mind to purity.  Man is the creation that needs to be analyzed and dissected, not God.

So then, in demanding attention: answers, we should not run to God for our inability.  Instead we should surrender to God’s reign, submitting to His power which is easy to discern.

Man is the complicated creature.  Man is the demanding one and man is the beast that needs to be tamed unto the temperance of God’s Throne.  In reasoning, we should not grow frustrated with God.  The burden of ruin actually falls on the back of man as he refuses to recognize the purity of Christ. In the end, Jesus is easy to understand and in man—there is the lack of that same understanding for in demanding our own way, the result is nothing more than confusion.

That’s A Crock


Unfortunately, many Christian stories, movies and teaching videos demonstrate people suffering due to natural consequences by violating the spiritual principles of God.  The unfortunate aspect of this is that the movie will show the protagonist suffering—dramatically turn to God and then suddenly all of the perilous situations in their life miraculously turn to good and positive fortune. Somehow or by some way, these movies illustrate Christians whose lives are ‘directed’ personally by God where every step is monitored and protected.

This is 100% utter nonsense. It is a Crock.

A Christian is promised tribulations.  A Christian is promised trials and many other misfortunes that fall outside the norm of those who belong to the world.

Sure a drunk, as an example, who gives up alcohol is going to be able to provide much better for his family.  And yes, God can take credit for this.  But to think that once a Christian that life’s essential problems are over is total fabrication.

A person who might have a dying child—who turns to Christ will probably still endure the death of that child.  Just because one is a Christian we cannot expect our fortune to change except for the worst if we are living it properly.

Once again, these stories love to quote the Old Testament Scriptures as a backup, as proof God’s promises.  All of this would be great but a Christian lives under the New Testament, under the leadership and promises of Jesus.  The two are not identical.

Now get this:  it is not that God is going to pull us out of our circumstances:  it is the fact that Jesus promises to be with us in spite of our circumstances. Yes, we are to tote our Cross and might even die on that Cross, and the same as with the Son of God who was not spared, we might die on that cross.  The promise is God’s presence.  The promise is eternal life as a result of our diligence. The promise is heirship to the throne with Jesus who sits on the right side of our Heavenly Father.

No, heirship does not promise to spare us hardships in this world.  Heirship promises guidance and love and continual forgiveness and the essence of God’s love.

No one should ever promise an entering Christian an easy life. For true Christians the easy life is nothing more than a crock.  There is nothing easy about being a Christian that is easy. Following the step of Jesus is painful, dangerous and can lead to an early death.  We are to do whatever God leads us to do.  It is not easy and anyone who says so is telling you nothing more than a CROCK.

 

On Your Side: You Loser


More often than not we begin searching for resources when we feel our luck has given way to even more bad luck.

Perhaps you’re going through a divorce: lost your job: evicted from your home or apartment:

It is also possible that you’re a drug addict, or an alcoholic or sex addict or victim to a host of addictions that plague people around the world.

You could be skinny or fat: ugly or sick.  You might be broke and broken.  Your spirits might even be down as the dismal life you ‘enjoy’ simply sucks all around.

You might be called a loser or even see yourself as a loser.  Heck, the truth might be that you are a loser.

Can you depend on the Christian to accept you as a person?  Can you expect the church community to take you in and to groom you?  Come on, now.  Let’s get serious.  More than likely no one cares about you at all.  Most wouldn’t care if you were to drop dead at a moment’s notice and if that was you out there holding up a sign begging for nickels and dimes for food or booze, then they would even think less of you.  You would come across as an annoyance, someone to avoid. And that’s how it is with losers.  No one wants to be around you when you are down.  No, we seek to label to classify, to detest, deject and to condemn you for no one loves a loser.

Who is it then that is on your side?  Where is redemption if we can’t count on the church or our brothers and sisters?  Where is there hope for those cast into the lot of losers.

The one word that should creep into the conversation is: Jesus.  Jesus is on your side where others will probably fail.  Jesus loves whether you are a bum or a convicted felon. He loves and calls after you:  asking, even begging for you to receive Him.  Jesus is a special man for losers.

And though we have no material worth for this world, Jesus recognizes the value in you, the loser.

And then when Jesus proclaims us as His savior, we are no longer the loser we thought that we were.  We contain value and contain that value because our creator said that we are valuable.

The ‘loser’ in us then, become dead to this world and even to us.  The life in this world becomes real:  it is real as it is a product from God himself and possesses value from the realness and goodness of our Father.  And with God on our side, there is no one against us for none can stand against Him.  And with God and as special representatives of God we are no longer Losers as we are transformed into Saints and into membership of His kingdom.  And in His kingdom, there are no losers—ever.  Only sons of God.

Our Worth as Useful Idiots


The term, Useful Idiot was popularized by Joseph Stalin in the 1950s.  The term, more or less, means a follower who is not a card carrier, but one who embraces the party’s ideology.

Summing up, however, on one is going to believe the term is complimentary, but a negative designation for people who can be manipulated, perhaps even easily.

In today’s world with the new emphasis on ‘groups’, we see the media and others manipulating various groups as one group is played against another.

At least on convoluted collection of groups is the interplay between Christians and Muslims. In terms of political ideology, these groups fall under the classification of:  Yes, you guessed it:  Useful Idiots.

However, I assert that as a follower of Jesus, a person then is engaged with Jesus to the point where no Christian is against another person and to that point then cannot become manipulated.

This means that in fact, a Christian should not be an idiot: that a Christian should be a thinking individual, a caring individual and one who is guided by the principles of our Heavenly Father and not by the whelms of the world.

The important of this is that a Christian follows Jesus and Jesus only. There is no room for hatred with the Christian. The real crime here is that in the end, in being a useful idiot, one can find himself in fighting one another.  Confusion is at the heart of manipulation.  The real purpose here is to divide and conquer, not to unify.  Genuine Christian concern is always to unify: to edify and to build: not destroy.

The primary fight then: the real fight is to resist becoming an idiot for the benefit for those who seek to use you.  This applies to both sides of the equation: either the far left, or the right.  The only person reliable enough and pure enough to guide the Christian is Christ Himself and no human on earth.

In the end, the Christian will probably still be referred to as an idiot in reference to worldly values.  And yes, we are fools then:  but at least we should be fools for Christ and only for Christ, refusing the role, the despicable characterization as a Useful Idiot.