Sunday, May 25, 2008

I can't imagine life without you

We just had an awesome service this morning and we had the privilege of having Wayne and Libby Hurirua previously from the Parachute Band come and lead us in worship. These guys are incredible with creating an awesome atmosphere of worship and leading people into the presence of God. The worship time was amazing, the sound quality and fullness of the band was awesome, but what was an even greater sight for me was looking out and seeing the whole congregation of our church with the hands lifted and giving glory to God. 
There is nothing in life greater than connecting with God.
I'm so into extreme sports and all that kind of thing, but when it comes down to it, the feeling of fullness and wholeness that is felt when I connect with God cannot be replaced by anything. 
One thing that Wayne said within the service, was our absolute need to keep God first in our lives. The Israelites forgot their need to be in close, personal connection with God and ended up losing thousands of men to death because He was no longer helping them to win battles. They tried to figure it all out themselves and thought they had life downpacked without Him. I'm not saying we need to be close to God so we can win some battle; we need to continue being intimate with Him because if we don't we lose what life's about. 
Man the numerous times I've spent trying to find fulfillment in trying to be a 'good' person or trying to make stuff happen without having God in the mix has been the biggest waste of time. Without constantly being in close relationship with God means I eventually find myself burnt out, unhappy and unfulfilled. 

Going into this weekend's youth camp without completely trusting God is going to be a waste. Going into the rest of our lives without having God centre and close in our lives is a waste.

I know this sounds abit controversial but simply put, life is a waste if we're not in relationship with Jesus. 
Life exists because of Him. 
Life isn't fulfilled without Him.
Life is found completely and only in Jesus. Straight up.

I'm taken by lyrics from the new Hillsong United song "You Deserve" which say - "I can't imagine life without you, without you, cause it's all for you, yeah it's all for you God".
And truely, I can't even imagine life without God because it won't make sense.


If you haven't yet connected with God in a real way I'm praying for you. I'm praying that God will reveal Himself to you and that you will come to discover the true and amazing life that is only found in Jesus. 

Honestly, don't go another minute without saying to God you want Him and you want to live a life that's fulfilled, complete and totally connected with the one who loves you. God responds to prayers like that - so go for it.

44 comments:

dugggg's bro said...

a coupla queries:

could not the "awesome atmosphere of worship and leading people into the presence of God," be in fact one and the same? let's not confuse them

interesting how God always shows up during worship...almost like it (sorry, a big-balled He,) operates automatically...

also if someone hasn't "connected with God in a real way" might that not simply be their humility at not labelling everything as God. what are you praying for exactly? that they might be clones of you? or saved, like you?

enjoy and reflect...though I expect...you to deflect

Rhys Lake said...

Hi dugggg's bro, thanks for your comment.

Even if I disagree it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate you sharing what you think.

Firstly, I didn't say that or infer that God always shows up during worship. I think that there are many times God doesn't show up in a worship time because of different reasons. Nearly all of them are because people think it's about the song or because the worship is all about them having an 'experience' rather than worshipping because of it's primary purpose of giving God glory.
God shows up in worship, which by the way was never classed as a song by the Bible, when people are longing to honour Him for who He is and what He's done - not for what they can get from it.

As I said - the Israelites lost their battle because they forgot how to worship properly. They lost because worship became all about them - not God.

Secondly, when I said "connected with God in a real way" I meant it. I have meet many people who think they're Christians but obviously through their actions show they don't have a real, alive and close relationship with Jesus. Or, I've met people think having a relationship with God is going to church every Sunday, have communion every 3rd week and being a good person.
There is so much more that God wants to show us and give us than just attending church once in a while. Having a REAL relationship with God literally transforms who you are and your outlook on life. Thinking you have one because you attend church every now and then misses so much of what life could be with God.

I'm praying that people can experience for themselves the incredible life that we can have with God - the thing we were created for from the beginning.

Thanks again for dropping by and leaving a comment, good to hear what you think!

dugggg's bro said...

Im heartened by your appreciation of the comment. it was interesting reading your elaboration of your original points.

it was also interesting seeing the points you put forward in your reply. especially since most of them didnt respond to my early comment: you said a lot about worship not being the same as songs, I didn’t raise that; your talk about God showing up was different to what I was getting at, I just quoted you...

it is also interesting to read about worship being for God…why all the pop-style music, only more crap and with lame lyrics then? surely that is to make God more appealing to those who aren’t real christians?

also, and I always find this funny, your comment about being able to tell who isn’t Christian…isn’t that being judgmental? I talk to “christians,” (and I love how people who use that label all tend to be the same unbending, Pentecostal type who only call themselves christian, as though their way of being Christian is the only way and by inference that catholics, and greek orthodox and all the others who admit how they are being christian, aren’t actually christians) who say, “we can’t judge, only God can judge,” and then, like you they go and wish things for people, meaning they judge these peoples current lifestyle choices as wrong. or they even say things, such as you did, that you can tell they arent really Christians.

I don’t know, but the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy to me. I mean I am sure you are passionate about what you believe and all but it sure as hell wouldn’t win me over. it is quite funny that there are christians who people hate, like brian tamaki because they say what they believe, and sure what they say is wacked…but then there are other christians who believe damn near similar shit, like you and most of the people I see who comment on your blogs or your blog is linked to, who when commenting sometimes slip up and admit they believe that sort of stuff, but most of the time want to deny they do or focus on other shit. maybe I am way off, just calling it as it seems, like Id be keen to hear how you deflect being judgmental bout those halfass christians you were talking bout, as I said, sure you think you are doing it for their good, but I am sure that you would never name these halfass christians that you know, and if they asked, I am pretty sure you would deny that you thought they were halfass christians.

look forward to hearing more from you

Anonymous said...

based on rhys's own criteria i wouldn't consider him 'connected with God in a real way.'

Hypocrite.

rjmannotated said...

Rhys, I apologise, for the previous comment by 'anonymous' as it was actually from myself, in a spur of the moment fit of rage.

Reading your post/comment frustrated me intensely, for I have often been on the receiving end of judgements similar to those contained within your comment. There is an imperial consciousness attached to your understanding of who constitutes as a Christian. I feel that you (and others) portray yourself as if you and your minority fundamentalist-pentecostal perspective owns Christianity. You are a niche, and that is fine, but you should realise that.

I wish there was room in your understanding for others to disagree, but when you start deciding who is Christian and who is not, based on whether they agree with you or not, then you become God, and dialogue ceases to exist.

pie said...

"Firstly, I didn't say that or infer that God always shows up during worship."

Only a reader may infer something, a writer always implies.

imatrufundy said...

Hey broham, nice call! I fully agree, we can't always know why God shows up but He fully does, and we do know Him, and a lot of Him, especially when we put our trust in the Spirit.

Excellent point about worship not being just songs, it is so much mroe than that. Worship gets us in touch with God, and the Bible provides us with all the answers we need for our life.

I see a lot of people are overanalysing these things, they probably haven't had this experience! Imagine trying to compare the experience of simply watching worship from the outside and being a Spirit-filled insider?

Of course people can disagree with how to be Christian, that is what they are doing. But when you, and not God, or the Bible, start deciding what it is to be Christian, then you have to realise that you can't call yourself Christian!

I really don't understand why others nitpick such little details. We don't need to know everything! Why don't you give being Christian a go instead of harassing it?

diz said...

Hey, I hate to spoil the party, but I think Jesus said what He thought a Christian was - someone who believed in Him.

In the context He was speaking in (Jewish, 1st Century CE), that referred to more than an assent to teaching; it implied a reliance on.

In His day there were heaps of options available, pretty much diverse ss now, and He really only expected one result of believing (relying) on Him, and that was obedience. Pretty clear really.

So if you/we/anyone wanted to know what a "Christian" was now, I suppose we/they would just use the same criteria - "are they obeying Jesus?"

Now thatsnot going to being some esoteric way, or even able to be judged caseby case; its actualy going to be an outcome of someone being able to say "I did what I was told."

How would we know that?

Well I suppose it would look a bit like the guys who first started obeying Jesus - supernatural, significant, and servant-led.

To call that "Pentecostal", and effectively accuse Rhys of bigotry seems a bit hypocritical and judgemental to me.

Sorry. Just trying to be honest - you know, intelectually . . .

Sam said...

I'm gonna jump in because I was asked to, and because I know a couple of you guys personally and more or less where you're coming from.

Firstly, I'd just like to ask that you hear what Rhys was really trying to say here - he wasn't really trying to label 'real Christians' and 'non Christians'. Yes, that could be read it into it, and I think all of us can understand how hard it can be to really articulate what we mean sometimes. My blog is no exception. I'm ignorant and still have so much to learn, but I want to talk about stuff and ask questions and get viewpoints. I think the driving force behind this post was that Rhys wants everyone to know God as well as he does and more, in whatever form that may be. For him, he tends to experience that connection mostly in times of community worship at church. For me, it's when I learn more about God and His plans and the genius of the gospel. From what I understand, Rob experiences God in his study. I think all of these fall inside a relationship with God and they are all ways that He speaks to us.

This is why we need each other, and why we need robust debate and talk between us, but also why at all costs, we need to be for each other, and perhaps merely going by a blog comment with which to completely assume you understand what someone means isn't the best way of going about it.

And Rob, I understand your frustrations and can see why you would feel pushed to the sidelines within the Christian community - and I don't think that's your fault at all, we need more guys like you who have done the hard yards and studied, and it's probably going to be a tension you live with for a long time. But please don't see these remarks as an act of exclusion, but for an opportunity to expand the thinking of others around you.

Rhys Lake said...

Thanks heaps to those of you have commented and put down your thoughts on what you think.

For me it's important for me to say first off that if I gave the impression that I was judging who was a "real" Christian and who wasn't I'm sorry. That was not my intention for this post at all though I can see how it may look like I was. I certainly wouldn't judge someone on their relationship with God based on their style of church or way that they connect with God best (as Sam mentioned).

The intention for my post was to give people an understanding from where I am on how I see life and it's purpose which I believe is only truely found in Christ. I wasn't trying to come across as though I was the prime example of a real Christian - I'm the first one to admit I'm not perfect. What I was more getting at was the incredible gift of salvation God offers to every one of us who aren't perfect.

This is in no way avoiding Dugggg's bro's desire for my 'deflection' of the judging question (I have some thoughts on this point which I'm happy to post about if people would like) but more a clarification on what the intention was of this post. As Sam said my desire isn't to point fingers at people but the opposite - to do what Jesus did and offer people the opportunity to accept the awesome opportunity of a life with God.

I very much realise that some of you reading who don't have one don't want one so I'm not trying to force anything here. I'm just posting on something that I have found the greatest thing in life and don't want to hide away the most amazing opportunity you could be offered.

dugggg's bro said...

glad to see rhys has a protector he can call on in sam...

also unsurprising to see others leaping to the defence of what is INHERENTLY, and regardless of how packaged or masked, an exclusive heterodoxy masquerading as THE Truth.

I fully understood rjmannotated's frustation.

a coupla things...firstly, rhys, it is good to see you think you aren't perfect, but again you don't see the hypocrisy in what you are saying, I am not saying it is conscious deception on your part, but it is misleading nonetheless. you never addressed what I said about your desire to get people to know God and therefore dismissing their current lives.

it would be like me saying to you, tyou really should eat two slices of toast only for breakfast. sure I might be resigned to the fact that you won't do it, at least not at once, like you may be with some of the people you pray about; but,don't confuse this with acceptign their lifestyle, I still think that what you are eating for breakfast now is wrong, can you see at all what I am saying?!

that said there isn't necessarily anything wrong with judging people, but I would say that there is about jduging them and then denying that you are doing it. keep posting, as I know you will anyway, but try and think about what you actually mean, and say it! (this is an example of being honest about judging someone :p)

in response to diz, sorry but pentecostalism is not christianity! I am not denying it isn't part of it, but it ain't it

you seem, pretty clearly, to be aligning pentecostalism and christianity as the same thing. they aren't. it is like saying auckland is new zealand. sure it is part of new zealand but it so not new zealand, it is one way of being new zealand, it is not the only way. acknowledge that you are an aucklander, who is a new zealander, don't simply tell another new zealander you are a new zealander! that way I can understand better why you don't know where hataitai is, and also don't simply say "that is something I don't know about, it isn't new zealand."

if you follow that then you can also see how your hypocritical, hurtful, exclusivist and ignorant what you are saying is! you try and claim early christian as pentecostal, what a lol, early christianity was really diverse, sure there were elements we could associate with pentecostalism today, but you can't own early christianity simply because there is a term which the same and things similar! it is like being an aucklander, knowing that captain cook once visited new zealand and saying that he was a new zealander. he wasn't, and he sure as hell wasn't an aucklander!

I am saying when you are hypocritical enough to call yourself a "christian" without acknowledging in what way you are being "christian" and then denying others claims to being "Christian" then that is not honest. spelt out intellectually and allegorically for you, but simple enough.

also re:sam, that is some nice makeup, both on the picture and on your views :p

fair call re:articulation, but what of when you take a message out of someone's post, as you do, make it amenable and sell it as the intended meaning?

lols at how you say you experience God when you "learn more about God and His plans and the genius of the gospel," in contrast to how "Rob experiences God in his study." does that mean his study is not of God, whilst yours is? just a slight, but one that lets some light of truth through that visage odf decpetion methinks.

also do you therefore think God tells people conflicting things, because you sure don't seem to agree with what has been said by rjmannotated or myself, though you appear to think they are equally valid. I don't think you are a relativist, yet you appear to be, what could be the motivation here?

also, I would think that what you think is the "Christian community" is but a part, and the fundamentalist part at that. sure it doesn't accept the rest of the christian community but it is not the christian community, so to say that thinking christians, a rarity though they are in this largely fundamentalist or atheistic country, are a majority of THE christian community is misleading, worldwide christians tend to actually actively engage with their faith, rather than seperate parts and then try and say "I can explain this, but this I have to take on faith."

then imatrufundy...are you giving "being Christian a go instead of harassing it?" or are you harassing other christians who are not like you?

you and diz seem to have a nice set of definitions of what it is to be a christian though. a couple of challenges though, what if you take the parts of the Bible that convey stoning of people who do things wrong etc? do you simply ignore that part and say that the part where Jesus says who is not sinless can throw the first stone? you both seem to be throwing a lot of stones fo judgment around the place...

also on perhaps a more relevant point, what if people disagree over the teaching of jesus they ought to be obedient to? is it just who talks the ludest that is right? hmm...probably not a contradiction or a problem for the dogmatic in agreement but phwoar, what about issues that divide the church like premarital sex, or homosexuality, clearly defined "christian" position there, I guesss in that case you ignore the "logic" in the stoning case? guess that doesn't matter, it isn't hypocrtical, obviously...

Sam said...

Ha classic.

rjmannotated said...

To begin, I find it ironic that Sam claims to know where I am coming from, and then effectively says that we often aren't understood! I think this is very much the case here...

So here is my response to the emerging conversation. Dugggg's bro is right on and has articulated my points better than I ever could with a great analogy, thanks a lot.

To clarify, although I have made some judgements, I approach this more as a justice issue. My previous comment was a cry of protest from, as Sam pointed out, the margins. I would, however, like to refine Sam's observation. I believe that I am coming from the sidelines specifically in the context of this blog, and perhaps also your communities, but I would definitely not go as far as Sam and say in the Christian community itself, for I draw from mainline traditions that have a longer history and wider dispersal than both your versions of pentecostalism and fundamentalism. Nevertheless, as Christians, we should be aware that our mission is to the marginalised, and so in this situation - if we are following in the way of Jesus - I hope that we will be attentive to those who differ from the status quo.

What I find fascinating is that Rhys, Sam, diz and Imatrufundy do not realise that they actually come from a minority perspective on theological and traditional/historical spectrum of the church catholic. What upsets me here, then, is that Rhys has little understanding of where he himself is coming from; what his perspective or lens is and how that compares with others. This is a common problem among many fundamentalist Christians and unfortunately is a less than adequate starting position for successful dialogue.

Furthermore, we have to be careful with our words and mean what we say. Now this is easier said than done, and I am occasionally ashamed of the things I say or write. But what I am trying to emphasise is that word and deed go together. As it has been said previously, Rhys & Sam often engage in a two-faced approach on their blogs by masking their true thoughts with pleasantries and a pseudo-openness to other points of view. A great example of this was on Sam's blog in which he made a sequence of posts giving the impression that he loved homosexuals. This position, however, was undercut when he admitted in the comments that he thought homosexuality was a sin. Sam's concern, of course, was what part of his theology he should be proclaiming: the fact that he believes homosexuality is a sin, or that he loves and desires to be inclusive of homosexuals? Whether there is a contradiction between holding these two beliefs at once is not the point, but rather the underhand way in which he proclaims the positive aspects of his understanding, while downplaying or omitting the negative parts. This easier path/way that Sam has travelled is a separation of word and deed; in other words, his actions (in this case what he writes/proclaims) are not keeping with what he truly believes.

So back to the focus of my earlier comment, and then a note on the initial post. I think that Rhys' criteria for who constitutes a Christian is crap. Sam's intuition was wrong; I did not mistakenly think that Rhys was talking about different forms of worship or church. Rhys' comment was clear: he has met "many people who think they're Christians but obviously through their actions show they don't have a real, alive and close relationship with Jesus." Rhys believes that he has this kind of relationship, and so we can deduce that he believes his actions are the fruits of such a relationship. I, however, don't believe that Rhys meets his own criteria, for his actions are contrary to that of most mainline Christians, for example, his confusion of evangelization with proclamation and his docetic and gnostic approaches to scripture and Jesus. The truth is that I personally would include Rhys in my own definition of what constitutes a Christian, for he genuinely walks the faith as he believes it. The problem, then, is that Rhys often confuses HIS perspective with THE Christian perspective, and this consequently feeds his imperial consciousness. As you can see this is more than just diversity in worship styles or church, it permeates the whole of his theology and ecclesiology.

So as you can see, the people on this blog can really work me up! Rhys, Sam and others do not critically acknowledge where they come from, and this leads to their confusion and often ignorant dismissal, even if only implicit, of most mainline Christians. There is also a two-faced approach in their proclamation which I find absolutely frustrating. What I have written is blunt, honest, and straight to the point. I am interested in how people will respond. Will they have the eyes to see and the ears to listen?

Rhys Lake said...

There's alot being said here, much of which will be pretty difficult to reply to given that much of my time will be spend trying in detail to explain my point of view. However, most of you know where I'm coming from already and disagree with it so I'll just leave it as it is.

As I have explained, I was not wanting to come across as though I walk around pointing fingers at people declaring them a Christian or not. No matter on what theological basis I would declare that upon - whether 'pentecostalism', 'fundamentalism' etc etc, that's not my place to say. But, Rob I am equally frustrated as you are on the issue of people who say one thing but live another. We might be specific in this area on different issues, but I am equally frustrated by people who say they are a Christian but their life says otherwise.

What I was meaning by a 'real relationship with God' was not a judgement call on whether their Christian belief was true or not, I was using the word real in the meaning of whether it was something that wasn't just a 'this is something I've been brought up on therefore I am a Christian' or 'yeah, I believe in God, therefore I'm a Christian' - it was more a statement that if you declare that it's vital that your actions line up with your words.

Yes, I struggle with that - as I said, we're not perfect representations of Christ. However, what I'm getting at is people's actions not lining up with their declaration of faith - not whether they are a true Christian or not. See the difference?

Yes people throw out the "Judge and you shall be judged", but I believe that's in context to whether we're making judgement calls on assumed things such as someone's thoughts, feelings etc - stuff that we have no evidence of. However, it's stupid to say that you can't judge someone purely on their actions.

If, when I'm say 35, my wife and I want to go out for dinner one night. I have two choices on babysitters to look after my kids (neither of them are Christians and therefore cuts out bias). Girl #1 - listens to deathmetal, has piercings in every nose and ear cavity and swears alot but insists she loves my kids heaps. Girl #2 - is averaging an A at highschool, has a good relationship with her parents and enjoys gymnastics (for the sake of the story). Which girl do you think I'm gonna choose to babysit my kids? Of course, any good responsible parent would choose girl #2. Why? Not because I nessaserally question Girl#1's love for my kids but because I wisely decide that a girl doing well in school, honours her parents etc is better suited to raising my kids in the way I would.
I am not deciding based on doubting something I have no evidence on (#1's love for my kids - as she may very much love them) but on a wise look at each of their ACTIONS.

I'm not questioning people's salvation based on an assumption of stuff I know nothing about or have no evidence for. And I'm not even questioning people's salvation based on their actions. What I am saying is, if somebody has a relationship with God that is showing through powerfully in their actions then that's the kind of person that I want to continue being and desire for people to come to that same place.
A place where "I'm a Christian" isn't just a statement we throw around the place as though it doesn't mean much, but where people can say that and know that they are connected with God in the way we were created to be.

rjmannotated said...

That's great Rhys.
But unfortunately, you haven't listened... You are talking right past what I said. I never mentioned the word salvation so lets no go there. Of course, I don't disagree with you that our actions should match up with our words, because I said it myself. But there is another element to my protest that you have largely ignored.

I'm sorry to sound harsh here, but I don't think that your actions match up to somebody with a stronger relationship with God than say, the people who you think don't have a strong relationship. My reasoning is that your Christian actions are based, as far as I can tell, primarily on your upbringing and are not what I would consider mainstream. I refuse to believe that God is a n00b. Again, I must insist that I do consider you a Christian, and so there is something wrong with your own criteria. It denies others based on your own narrow prejudices.

Ok, I will leave this for now, for I see that the direct approach hasn't really worked.

Anonymous said...

why does it seem that this discussion seem to constantly come back to a "mainstream" view vs. a so called "minority" view??

history is full of instances where the mainstream group of society had it wrong, just because a view is a majority one doesn't necessarily mean that it it true or correct.

it seems that dismissing a view just because its proponents are in the minority is not the way to go about a rational discussion...

pie said...

"Girl #1 - listens to deathmetal, has piercings in every nose and ear cavity and swears alot but insists she loves my kids heaps. Girl #2 - is averaging an A at highschool, has a good relationship with her parents and enjoys gymnastics (for the sake of the story). Which girl do you think I'm gonna choose to babysit my kids? Of course, any good responsible parent would choose girl #2. Why? Not because I nessaserally question Girl#1's love for my kids but because I wisely decide that a girl doing well in school, honours her parents etc is better suited to raising my kids in the way I would."

You re going to have dull, boring kids.

dugggg's bro said...

wow, lots of discussion

rhys: I do think it is quite worrying that it is quite worrying that you don't want to name your own theological position. I suppose it could be because you don't like those names, but it could also be because you think they are integral to being christian, I don't know, but it would be good to know, for you and for others.

rjmannotated: I agree with what you are saying about pentecostalism not being mainstream in that it is detached from the Tradition (christianity as practiced ever before) it has become popular christianity and as rhys's church, and other mega-churches have become their own world, they have no need to participate in wider church actions or bodies, as the church has traditionally done. so I can see, and I think you need to, too, why rhys wouldn't have a clue about "the Tradition," his church has no involvement with it and is making it anew, as it sees, misguidedly assuredly, as true and back to the early church (or back to the way things were perceived to be 50ish years ago at least)

anonymous: sweet comment, it seems like you really get what people have been talking about! not. whilst that did originally seem to be the way from people like sam talking about being marginalised and outside the "christian community" I don't think anyone has tried to say that the mainstream is right. rjmannotated pointed out that fundamentalists were in the minority, he wasn't saying they were wrong, except when they told others they weren't christian because they weren't fundamentalists.
nice try though, loved the attempt at overwhelming rhetoric

what I like about these last few comments is that both rjmannotated and rhys seem to be agreeing, like over that word and deed, word and action parallel agreement. I'd say that rjmannotated seems to do the deed part because of consistency of his word, as seen here. but rhys' action too is consistent, consistently wannabe populist, which I guess reflects his word...I can see where you are coming from though rhys, it is the christians are nice guys, but set against the world, who are wrong, let's save them by converting them mentality which you at times admit but other times deny, I guess that is down to audience too...

hmm...well like rhys and rjmannotated I agree that this isn't really going anywhere. it was interesting whilst it lasted though.

capotheologist said...

LOL! I love it. There is intense shit all over the show. I like the owning of "mainline," by Rob.

I can see that people have already tired of this conversation. Ah well, it tends to be the way, both my luck at coming in late, and the atmosphere of bailing when things become exciting!
Let me say that I think Pie’s points on the following post are ones which, for a system that claims to be absolutist, NEED to be addressed. Otherwise, that system cannot hold onto those claims; simply ignoring those questions is unacceptable considering the relevant truth claims that system makes.

I am worried about pointing too many fingers, unless I employ the Bill O'Reilly, whole hand point, as I know there are more fingers pointing back at me. =p
After noting "imatrufundy's" comment on Sam's blog about my previous attack on her/him for being bigoted, I realise that it isn't a good way to go about discussion. That was truly dismissive of me, and not encouraging of discussion, which is what is needed here, as Sam aptly pointed out.

I think that whilst Rob and "dugggg's bro" make damn fair points about aspects of Rhys' theology that seem hypocritical, there are always going to be tensions within different forms of church and different theologies. The fact that Rhys' doesn't seem to be aware of them is worrying, and I can certainly empathise with a fear of a theology claiming ownership of God, because, let's be honest, it can't!

Like Rhys, I think it is good to note that we can judge others on their actions, but not on thoughts, etc as those are only hypothesised on. Building on that though, I think that written words constitute action and need to be seen as such and are thus subject to judgment We all need to own what we say, and be aware of the ramifications of what we say and do. In that sense, and I must make clear that this is how it appears to me, else I too, fall prey to the hypocrisy (by appearing to be an ultimate and objective fount of knowlegde) and judgments that are rife throughout this post, that there are definitely hypocritical things expressed by Rhys. Things have been said that are: contradictory; transitory; attempt to exclude people or are simply illogical; or they are ill-informed or essentially just proclamatory ignorance, as noted by Rob and "dugggg's bro."

Anonymous, please, please, please, do not confuse "mainstream" with "mainline!" Mainstream is such a dirty Don Brash-ism taken out of context from America and employed here (now lamentably commonly) to marginalise and dismiss people and deny their voices! So understand I oppose the word, it doesn't just state a group is a minority, but places them firmly in the margins.
I would urge Robert not to employ that term, as I feel it is loaded; though, I acknowledge that probably was not his intention. That said, I am pretty sure all Rob is doing is saying is that Pentecostal Christianity is a minority voice within Christianity, albeit a very loud one, and ought to be understood as such. That does not insinuate they are wrong.
Also, "mainline," refers to churches which tend to be: universal/catholic in scope; ecumenical, to a large degree; engaging with the world, and with theology; and which tie into a tradition which is ever-developing. This is distinction to churches which are: insular; exclusivistic; proclamatory (not evangelical in the correct understanding of the term); and creating traditions as they go.

Also, picking up on Pie's noting of "dull, boring kids," I find it revealing that in this example, both the baysitters were female. To me, this reflects a lamentable essentialist gendering on behalf of Rhys. Now I am sure Rhys' intention was not to do so; but, it is suggestive of his expectations of gender roles, at the very least.

Ah, there is so much to address here but I feel certain, considering both the formlessness of the written word and the apparent desire to talk past one another, it would be pointless. I feel that it is far better to talk things out faccia a faccia, or through a good tête-à-tête, if you prefer that expression to the lesser known Italian one.

As, I hope, is obvious, I side, largely, theologically with Rob, and, I suppose, nominally, with "dugggg's bro." That said, I think that a lot of what "dugggg's bro" says is also ill-informed and are integrally based on hypothesised presuppositions of what Rhys and co think.

In the end, I would say, "look, what I am saying is just that, my voice, my sayings, my expression." I am not making any supervening universal truth claims here, so please don't engage with my comment as if that was what I am doing, else you miss my intention. Even when my language can be read in absolutist terms, I would suggest that you do not so as you miss the mystery I am hinting at.
Rhys: Keep up the posts, and indeed, hearken and listen, not just hasten to comment.

capotheologist said...

I like the owning of "the Tradition" by dugggg's bro. I assume it is referring to "the Christian Tradition" as opposed to all these little traditions we have like liturgy, worship songs etc? Regardless of your intention, that is how I would seek to define it.

I would also like to say that, in addition to "mainstream," being claimed to dismiss people, by whomever..."liberal" is used by dogmatic people to dismiss people who aren't dogmatic, or in, or what have you; and, "fundamentalist" is used dismissively of those dogmatic people (and even by dogmatic people of other dogmatic people who are different to them) largely by othodox Christians.

I think we need to have more respect for those we dialogue with; and, we need to who we are, else we will not know where we are coming from, thus, avoiding the beauty of the difference and diversity of opinions, theologies and spiritualities out there.

Rhys, though I know you not, enjoy your camp, and I hope you come from it with a heart open (-ed through your transformational relationship with Christ).

ps please note that is my hope, and projection, it need not, and in fact, probably, is not, your own (at least not your emphasis)! =)

Rhys Lake said...

"I think we need to have more respect for those we dialogue with; and, we need to know who we are, else we will not know where we are coming from, thus, avoiding the beauty of the difference and diversity of opinions, theologies and spiritualities out there."

Capotheologist - I completely agree with you 100%.

I think it's important to know both not only so that we can appreciate the difference etc, but so that we can actually have a good conversation on an understanding level instead of getting mixed messages or not being able to effectively talk with people.

pencil man said...

Rhys I completely agree with you 100%

I think that we all should try to be more like Rhys who is a brilliant reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has shown gentle humbleness during this discussion, and definitely lives the Christian faith as it should be lived. Dialogue is important, but not at the expense of standing up for what is right - namely - the gospel, which is absolute truth.

Thanks Rhys for an awesome post.

Anonymous said...

I think being christian is having a love for God, and from what i read it sounds like we all do. Once we have a love for God we are going to want to be better and live a life through Him, and sure we're going to fall short and sin but that's going to happen because we are humans. I believe that it all comes down to how much we love, and trust Him.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is way old but I was looking up the lyrics for that song 'You Deserve' and came across Your blog, and thought I'd comment incase you ever get the chance to see this .. I loved your entry and I pray that the other comments didn't discourage you, I was blessed by what you posted, there really is no point in living without God :) Keep on being passionate for God .. God bless!

Rhys Lake said...

Hey Anonymous, thanks heaps for your comment. So random how you found my blog - not really blogging anymore but thanks for the encouragement!

Rhys

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