Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Good times are had all round the weekend

I was pretty amazed at the response my last post ended up having, some good points being made from differing views and although some of them were pretty strong I appreciate the fact that people are taking the time to read and to comment on different points. 
As some of you know I'm running our church youth camp this weekend and we've had an incredible response of registrations come in, surpassing our expectations of numbers for the weekend. It's really exciting seeing the amount of people that have registered for the camp, entitled "Connect 08"Connecting with mates and connecting with God - a time that's going to be an awesome time of hanging out together and being in a great environment.
I'm still struggling with my SuperHero costume as Mr. Incredible but hopefully I'll have that sorted in time for the weekend.We're really expecting an awesome time of not only hanging out together, but also seeing God show up in a really awesome way. In my experience, when we put ourselves in an environment where we're not trying to do anything put-on-ish but are just open and hungry for God to show up great stuff happens. 
I know that from some of the previous comments on the latest post that disagreement is likely, but God has done incredible things in my life in a way I couldn't have come up with on my own when I've been honest with Him and been hungry for Him to do something in my life. I'm looking forward to seeing what God does this weekend in my life and in the lives of those going. I'll keep you posted on what will definitely be an amazing weekend with God and mates... and some pretty full-on superhero costumes.
From last year's youth camp - Hollywood Movie Stars theme:

Rambo and Undercover Brother

Saving Private Ryan and Reno 9/11??!


Pie said...

I'm not sure whether I continue reading this blog for the satisfaction that I get from seeing how frustrated Rob gets from these debates, or whether I just love tormenting myself through reading such ridiculous posts.

If your God is one who shows up to stupid camps with terrible names and wastes time giving spare tyres to those who don't remember to bring them, whilst forgetting to do anything of importance, he seems like a petty idiot.

I can handle the problem of God allowing evil (to the extent that having this argument always ends up going full-circle with no one being convinced either way) but for him to allow evil while "showing himself to you" in stupid meaningless ways just seems ridiculous. I don't see why you people can't think that for one second something good that happens isn't a direct result of God's interference, but rather a combination of coincidence and people just being nice.

pie said...

can you please make a chart over the next week/month/however long of a period that you need to collect this data, and record the ways in which God does stuff for you.

I am interested in what your understanding of religious experience is. From where I am coming from it seems that you just detatch yourself from reality and attribute everything that is good to this "god" chap, and it really mystifies me.

Also, when good things happen to me, do you think that it is your God who is doing these things to reward my lack of faith, or is it rather that coincidences happen to non-beleivers but not believers?

Rhys Lake said...

Hey Pie, I'm happy to do as much recording in regards to the things that I believe God has done or is doing in my life. I can't promise you it's gonna convince you but I'll do it.

I realise that this is not going to help but I realise that I am not even close to having all the answers to life or God so when you ask certain questions I'll do my best to answer you from my personal opinion and biblical knowledge but there are obviously going to be things that I'm gonna have to be honest with you and say I don't know the answer to.

For me, an 'experience' of God etc is something that to me can't be necessarily explained by natural circumstances or go way beyond a coincidence. For example (big illustration), someone healed of cancer to me would be God. In the case of the tire situation, yes I can understand how it might be a pretty big coincidence of 3 guys going past in nearly the dark, who just so happened to have a spare tire, a rim that fitted our car, spare gas, lived in auckland and happened to be going home that evening. As well as being happy to do all that for us. I can completely understand how that can be a coincidence, but more to me it seemed like the kind of work the God I believe loves me and wants to bless me rather than have me sleep on the side of the road that evening.

Although my life is based upon theological, biblical doctrine I'm not the biggest theologican around. That's not excusing anything etc, but what I'm saying is if you're looking for a big, indepth and intense doctrine conversation I'm probably not the right person to have that with. Try Rob...

Pie said...

lol, so God planned their entire trip aswell as return to auckland just in order to save your punctured tyre? If so, surely that would mean that he caused the puncture aswell, which would neautralise events. How Productive.

capotheologist said...

"That's not excusing anything etc, but what I'm saying is if you're looking for a big, indepth and intense doctrine conversation I'm probably not the right person to have that with. Try Rob..."

Might I say that, considering how you have disagreed and dismissed Rob's paradigms and points (though not necessarily Rob himself) this suggestion of talking to Rob about this, means that you see "doctrine" as a negative. Is this so?
I would not expect you to say yes, as it would be an expression of culpability and humility relating to an expressed view; something markedly absent from your comments/posts.

I am aware this is quite a direct challenge; however, like Rob, on reading a lot of these comments from this...I was going to say 'very conservative,' but I think 'anti-"liberal,"' is a more apt term, blog, I fully empathise with the struggles of posting neat comments only to have them dismissed! =p

Also, I would urge you not to associate theology with doctrine. If you meant "for a discussion on theology talk to Rob," then great; but, I would suggest that it still means you think theology is something detached from faith. I sense a heart=faith, head=theology dichotomy.
I gather though that Pie doesn't simply want to talk "doctrine" or theology in an objectified, abstract sense, which is how you have made it. If so, he could indeed have a wonderful conversation with Rob, who is an insightful theologian. I felt he wanted to understand YOUR theology, your imaging and understandign of God and why you define (I would say describe is too open a term here) God the way you do.
I can't speak for Pie; but, that is my reading (and funnily enough, my desire also,) of his comments. That and that he thinks the God you describe is crap, of course! =p

Again, I don't know you, so I don't want this to appear like an out of the blue attack. It isn't, it is a frustration at John Key-esque proposals of ideas and then not fleshing them out when hostility appears; though, there is a good degree of denying what those statements mean! =p

Intense semi-colon abuse on my part; you have my apologies. As do you for my un-edifying and ever-so-slightly-strangled expression of articulation.

Go well.

Rhys Lake said...

Hi capotheologist, thanks for your comment - sorry I took so long to reply. I agree, I didn't mean to seem like I was saying doctrine or theology isn't important - I believe it's vital for us to know what we believe and why. What I was more saying was I am becoming increasingly aware that trying to explain myself to Pie, no matter how much it seems he wants to know what I believe, was getting nowhere. When I said "Try Rob" I was meaning that he enjoys really intense and indepth discussions (from what I understand) on those topics, not that I don't think they're important.

Secondly, I am keen to unpack what I believe and why, I have been trying to do that on this blog, whether I haven't clearly explained that in detail enough I'm not sure, but I also realise that if I was to begin writing now what I believe and why I'd probably be still writing a few days from now. It may work better if you asked me questions, not to judge or to decide how theologically sound I am, but simply so that I have somewhere to start.

I'm keen for it not to be a big debate over issues, which has the possibility of having, but I'm pretty happy to have questions asked and aim to answer them from what I understand from the Bible and my own opinions etc.

Cheers :)

pie said...

It is going nowhere in the sense that I'm not instantly convinced that people lending a hand to other people on the side of the road is divine intervention?

Or because when I ask for your views in regards to this intervention I get diverted to Rob?

But I agree, it is going nowhere.

capotheologist said...

Rhys, I have to say that I have intensely enjoyed what you have said in your last two responses, on this post and the one previous. This (may be because you agreed with me =p but it) is my hope for discussion; and, I really would not have worded things too differently myself. I don't know whether or not you see this as a new tack or a continuation of the old policy though…it will be interesting to see which it is.

I want to respect the spirit of your call "for it not to be a big debate over issues." I can’t do any more than that as I don't really know what that means. I am working from the presumption it is an echoing of earlier calls you have made saying things like "I am keen to build up a good picture of (my experiences with?) God without bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the ramifications of it?" My wording, not yours, is that right? I think it is helpful to know if that is the model you are working from eh.
Regardless I will try to steer away from a bulk of issues as I see them as for a number of reasons: one, a practical reason, from personal experience, I know that the issues that are raised are generally not engaged with; two, a respect issue, you have made it plain that you don't want it to become such; three, a time issue (basically another facet to the practical reason), it is frustrating making time to comment and reflect upon the voluminous comments and posts and then not having a response, and; four, a communal reason, it doesn't seem helpful, to me, for people to have their voices ignored, or for there to be so much tension over issues which some people are obviously so ignorant about (that they are forced to admit, ignore or deny things they don't know/believe anyway)!

That said I do have quite a substantive comment to make! =p
I want to pick up on what I take to be the spirit of what you were saying about theology/doctrine/whatever. I reckon you are right to say this in that blogs should never be the one stop shop for theology; and, for that matter I would assert that neither should one church, one pastor or one theologian be sufficient.
Pie's concerns seem to me to be summed up in "If your God is one who shows up to stupid camps with terrible names and wastes time giving spare tyres to those who don't remember to bring them, whilst forgetting to do anything of importance, he seems like a petty idiot." This, to me seems to be a question/challenge (albeit in statement form) about your understanding of God. I can see your frustration in not being able to convince him of what you believe; however, I think you would be wrong to see he isn't gaining an appreciation for what you believe, as seen through his incessant connection with your comments.
Actually, now that I have seen Pie’s comment after yours, I think he explains/pwns pretty well for himself, lol!

"I'm pretty happy to have questions asked and aim to answer them from what I understand from the Bible and my own opinions etc." This part of one of your sentences has so much in it for me! I am gladdened greatly so see a couched understanding of differing paradigms, through the acknowledgment of "from what I understand from…" Sweet bud, because realistically, I gather that is what people are after (cf earlier in this comment). It doesn’t mean people have to agree, but it is cool to know what people think eh! =)

I think it is the meanest testimony if you can tell what you believe rather than what you think you ought to believe, or that which is objectively true. I reckon it is all good to claim that you hold it to be objectively true, if you do; but, say that you believe that, (rather than say that it is so!) =)

Continuing to unpack that part of the sentence…the first part ""I'm pretty happy to have questions asked and aim to answer them." I reckon that is a mean call; my question would be though, is that what you have been doing, or what you will be doing? Do you think that is what people have been asking?

Though I will continue to say that things here don’t appear discussion oriented…I do look forward to hearing from you!

capotheologist said...

argh...there is so much I really want to say here, but I don't want to take up to much time/space, especially in this medium, where it is difficult to have discussions anyway!

a brief ps saying: with your Word on wanting to answer things honestly along the lines of what you believe and the like, I really think that is cool, it is a great Word to have; it is where I hope my Word is at.
That said, if it is a difficulty, as it appears to be throughout prior posts, where you seem to flip-flop depending on which seems the more attractive answer. I am NOT saying that I think you are changing what you believe, or lying about it, but that you position often is difficult to discern and I believe this is down to your concern about not offending people who you think might agree with your message (as opposed to liberals, Sunday Christians or skeptics, who you are refreshingly blunt with, in my opinion).

At the same time, I know my position is often difficult to discern; though, I think this is more down to having a rather convoluted style of prose. =p

Rhys Lake said...

Hey Capotheologist, thanks for your comment. I agree that it's important to admit that there are going to be areas or things that we don't have a definite answer upon. I try to make sure people know that I don't have all the answers to every question life or people have.

Personally, I think that although having a core belief is vital but expecting to have every aspect of the details sorted is often too much to ask at the beginning.

When I mentioned I'd love to have questions of specific things that I believe so that I am able to answer specific questions as opposed to spending all night writing down every single thing I believe. I'm really open to people asking questions (if they honestly are interested as opposed to using it as a suble way of bashing) and sharing their own opinions on issues.


Rhys Lake said...

Yeah I admit I often may be hard to disern exactly where I stand on things and being pretty blunt about it. Thankyou for recognising that I'm not changing my beliefs to try and please people, the truth is I struggle abit with conflict and naturally I tend to try and avoid conflict as much as possible.

It's something I need to work on though, and thankyou for highlighting it, because being straight up and confident about where I stand is really important.

Pie said...

If i was going to ask a specific question in regards to theology I would certainly not be coming to this blog to answer it. The reason i post here is because i disagree with about 99% of what you say, the only thing I agree about is the postal service being good (U2 and Op Shop are two of the worst bands of all time), and I like to argue.

It seems that the aim of your blog is to write a post, have everyone agree with you, and then move on. Any disagreements result in you avoiding the question or rambling on about something completely irrelevant.

Anyway, Rob has become so fed up that he doesn't read this anymore, so that takes half of my enjoyment away, so I don't see much point in coming back o this blog.

Pie said...

to ask it* (not to answer it)