What do you think of the new logo and the subtitle for subversiveREFORMATION.com? What do you think the image means? What are your thoughts on the phrase? Please comment.
When I opened up christianitytoday.com to read today’s interview formatted article with Rob Bell talking about his most recent book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians , I laughed out loud. Sitting right in the midst of the text was an dynamic (technical term, not descriptive of the ad content) ad "From the Creators of Facing the Giants: Fireproof on DVD, Never Leave Your Partner Behind." "Christian"^ marketing kills me. Of course and unfortunately, the marketers for "Facing the Giants" had to play off the "Left Behind"^^ language. The Christian life is about so much more than getting "left behind." As Bell eloquently presents in his book, salvation is not confined to the afterlife or to individual reconciliation with God. There is salvation in this life from systems of tyranny and injustice. Here is a bit from the article in CT that I particularly liked:
Question to Bell :
Are you a pacifist, or do you think that a truly Christian church has to be a pacifist church?
Rob’s Response :
My dad is a U.S. Federal District Judge and gets lots of death threats. On Father’s Day a couple of years ago, there were bodyguards in the driveway at our house. And I am okay with that.
But I sit right in that tension. Sometimes people say no police, no armed forces, no anything. And the truth is, whether I am falling short of Jesus’ teaching or not, there are situations where I am really glad that there is a policeman standing right there and that he has a gun. So I don’t know how exactly you work that out in detail.
But my hope would be that as a Christian, you would have a larger imagination. Take Saddam Hussein. Your first impulse would be, "Man, if he wasn’t in power, it would be greatand the only way is to bring in a hundred thousand troops." To me, the third way of Jesus is always asking if there is an imaginative, subversive, brilliant, creative path.
^ Christian is used in quotation marks to designate "Christian" in its use as a quasi-psuedo-popular subculture rather than a term that describes a person reflecting the image of Jesus.
^^ I do not recommend the "Left Behind" series – just so we’re clear about that.
I welcome and appreciate comments that question the intent or perspective of my posts. One particular comment, which may seem adversarial but I would suggest is written for constructive or at least clarifying purposes (tone and intent are largely lost in the blogosphere), reads as follows:
"im a little confused on your opinion of journey. i have been there a few times but not much scripture was used so i havent been back. may come again sometime though.
speaking of scripture . i appreciate your writing but would like to see more scripture references.
im also curious to why you chose the name subversive reformation. a lot of post-modern movements (like rob bell, donald miller, shane claiborne kind of thing) make me wonder if we are too cynical and proud of our big words and creative artwork that we miss the point: LOVE."
Please note that I am not degrading this comment but rather continuing with the invitation for discussion. There are many directions in which to go but I want to begin by addressing only one small element of the comment. I may return to the ideas of postmodernism, movements, naming, and cynicism but first want to conisder "scripture references."
We have been conditioned to expect Scripture to be used in a certain way. Don’t get me wrong, I highly value the recitation of Scripture during church gatherings. I sometimes need to go to a Catholic or Episcopal gathering just to hear the public reading of God’s written communication with humanity. It is good for the soul of my recovering popular-evangelical self. However, to quote Scripture doesn’t mean that one has to "quote" (pun intended) Scripture. Modernism has conditioned us to want references, bullet points, quotations, citations, enumerations and many other "ations." Our western, post-enlightenment minds that place an overly-high value on reason and logical processing have difficulty recognizing that Scripture is interlaced within our stories.
Here, I will draw a parallel using a specific reference from Scripture . The book of Esther found in the Hebrew Scriptures (TNK ) never uses the actual word "God" in any of its forms (YHWH, Elohim, etc.) Esther is the only book of the Bible that does not use the word "God." Does that mean that God is not present throughout the story? Should the book of Esther not have been included in the Bible? Should it be discluded from that which is considered in the Judeo-Christian tradtion to be "holy writing" simply because the word "God" isn’t quoted? Equally, should any writing that does not "quote" scripture be tossed out as though it is irrelevant and removed from the narrative of God with his people?
© 2008 Clint Fisher.
Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall
Princeton University NJ
- Change is coming.
- Throughout history, shifts in climate change and the use of alternative fuels has required adaptation.
- Those who change/adapt with continue
- Must adapt for: Human Rights / Creation Care / Intolerance or Torture
- Many disagree and are not adaptable for a greater vision
- The Image of Jesus
- Matter + Spirit has not defined the church
- Social action has not defined the church
- Evangelicalism has focused on the “personal” only
- Movement toward a return to social justice
- The church should be a disturbance
- Those who react to the disturbing presence/action of the church do so out of fear
- Continuum: Disinterest ® Disturbance ® Doing ® Done
- 25 years of pummeling something into someone’s head
- Collaboration with groups upon which are frowned
- ACLU / gays and lesbians
- Movements happen because ¸ PEOPLE CHOOSE TO ACT
- Government works for those who are their friends:
- Lobbyists for oil industry who are bringing in billions of dollars
- Wilberforce was too young to know any better and to know what could he could accomplish
THE PRECEDING TEXT COPIED AND/OR ADAPTED FROM MY TYPED OR MOLESKIN RECORDED NOTES ON THE ENVISION CONFERENCE MAY OR MAY NOT BE MY OWN THOUGHTS AND MAY OR MAY NOT INCLUDE DIRECT CITATIONS OF ORATORS/FACILITATORS. THE ORATORS/FACILITATORS SHOULD NOT NECESSARILY BE CREDITED OR HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR SPECIFIC WORDS OR PHRASES THOUGH SOME WORDS ARE THEIR OWN.
Photography by Clint Fisher @ aenonfire.com.
I am somewhat frequently interviewed by students here at MVNU for Research Writing projects, Public Speaking presentations, or Christian Life and Ministry papers. Tonight I was interviewed by Daniel Coutz. It was one of the more thoughtful interviews that I have experienced and I appreciated the approach. The conversation went something like this:
Daniel: “Respond to this statement: The United States is a Christian Nation.”
Travis: “No earthly empire is distinctively in keeping with the way of Jesus. Those who claim the United States to be a Christian nation need to enroll in a post-reformation church history course that discusses the period of American colonization. Also helpful would be a study in theology and philosophy to explore the definitions of theism, deism, and idolatry.
Daniel: “Do you feel the American flag should be displayed in churches? Why or why not?”
Travis: “No. The church is laced with a history of symbol and icon for visual engagement in worship and when one considers what the American flag represents I would have to question what one is worshiping. I would have no problem with displaying a flag in a church if it was displayed beside every other flag of every other nation so long as the symbol is understood to represent equality and unity.
Daniel: “Respond to this statement: The loyalty of a person belongs first to his country.”
Travis: “Why would one view an earthly empire as something to which giving loyalty is necessary or a priority? My suggestion is that most would give said loyalty due to an enculturation that promotes a sense of loyalty as nessecary. I would also suggest it has something to do with the supposed ‘safety’ provided by the military branch of a certain country’s government. Fear would be that which fuels loyalty to an earthly empire.”
Daniel: “Respond to this statement. Christians living in the United States should be patriotic about the United States.”
Travis: “One’s definition of patriotism would be primary. I find it problematic for a follower of Jesus to pledge his allegiance to an earthly nation. So in the sense that the recitation of the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ is patriotic, then patriotism may be considered contrary to ‘worshipping no other gods.’”
This post is part I of II of possibly the 2 most shallow and unthoughtful posts I’ve ever written and may or may not include a certain amount of sarcasm.
If you have Facebook and you are reading this blog then I assuming that you are awesome enough to have the application “Pieces of Flair” included on your profile. Please add the subversiveREFORMATION flair button that I created. It may be found by searching the keywords “travis,” “keller,” “mvnu,” “church,” or “reformation.” So far it is being used by 62 dedicated friends.
… the Church will be subversively reformed. Part II of the Protestant Reformation is in process and is moving. There is no individual leader. No Martin Luther. That is where the subversiveness enters.