"Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world." - Todd Littleton
"I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see." - Anon
"Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all." - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
"Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be." - Kurt Vonnegut
"Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals." - Jim Forest
"People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone." - Anon
"... Certainly God's love has made fools out of us all." - R.E. Slater
"An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst." - R.E. Slater
"Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics." - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
"Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated." - Emil Brunner
"Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh" means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mars Hill: Water: 20 Liters Campaign





Water is elemental. A part of us.

Without it. We would not survive.


In the United States, however, the need for clean water is something we rarely think about. We turn on the faucet, and it comes out. Yet around the world, there are one billion people without access to clean water. That’s seventeen percent of the world’s population.

That is not right.

Over the past ten years, Mars Hill has developed a partnership with World Relief Rwanda, to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters there. Through engaging village counsels, we have learned that their biggest need is simply clean water.

Whether it’s participating in water awareness activities and fundraisers, becoming a vocal advocate, or reaching into your pocket to help purchase and install more filters and cisterns—there is a place for you in this work.

Visit our partner, 20 Liters, to hear stories, watch videos, and learn more about how you can engage with this issue, and make a change for good.

If you have further questions, access our FAQs for more information.




Let's Continue to March for Dis-Unity

Here's a little bit of tongue-in-cheek cynism that I hope drives home the point that the house of God, the family of Jesus, his Church and Bridegroom, should show love and unity to one another over everything else that would get in the way. Many thanks to Rachel Held Evans and the many others who have participated in this campaign of "LOVE WINS". Who have taken a stand over the ridiculousness we can get ourselves into when "fighting for the faith" rather than "loving one another" as we dialogue about our faith. Who strive to live the Jesus-life before a lost world as a loving community of God's children seeking to serve and to share God's love.

skinhead
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The Origin of the World & the New Creation


Creation tells the story of a very good -- and yet incomplete -- world awaiting its redemption in Christ.

Kyle Roberts
April 25, 2011
With Easter just behind us, Christians have turned their attention to the narrative of Christ's resurrection, reflecting on themes of new creation, forgiveness, and redemption. It's worth remembering our original creation stories too, because only in their light can we fully appreciate the significance of Easter. The most prominent "origin" texts in Christian theology are found in Genesis 1-3. While they comprise two distinct perspectives on creation, together they are rich with theological insight into the meaning of creation, our human condition, and the God who brought it all into existence.

Genesis 1 is poetic cosmogony, presenting the 'six days' of creation along with the seventh as the day of God's rest. It is lofty and ethereal, cosmological and ordered, poetic in form. Genesis 2-3, the story of humanity's rise and fall at the central place in creation, is gritty and earthy and set in narrative form. (See William Brown's The Seven Pillars of Creation.)

Both texts assert the significance of human beings in God's creation, though in Genesis 1 they emerge at the end of creation on the sixth day (along with other animals), while in Genesis 2 they arrive first on the scene. Both narratives have profoundly influenced Christian theology and Christian understanding of origins: including the roles of God and the nature of God's interaction with creation. In what follows, I offer a small sampling of theological themes which, emerging from ongoing reflection on these texts, have deeply influenced Christian religious understanding—in particular as they relate to a theology of Easter.

1) Creation is very good, but not perfect.

In Genesis 1-3, creation is neither complete, harmless, nor tame. In creation, God brings order from disorder and beauty from chaos, through his Spirit, word, and wisdom. However, neither pain, suffering, nor danger is excluded from what God calls "good." Douglas John Hall, in God and Human Suffering, suggests the creation narratives make room for constructive forms of suffering: loneliness, limits, temptation, and anxiety. This is because "struggle is necessary to the human glory that is God's intention for us" (62).

The desire to provide an answer to the problem of evil and suffering sometimes tempts Christians to want to read Genesis 1-3 as laying the blame for natural suffering (and death) on original human sin. In so doing, they elevate the role of humanity's burden for what originally happened in the natural world to a height (or depth) the scriptures never accord them; it is worth pointing out, however, that humanity has greatly—and sometimes disastrously—impacted the modern, natural environment. The logic of Genesis 1-3 suggests that natural disasters are part and parcel of a dangerous but beautiful world. The recognition that creation is "very good," but not complete, provides motivation for human involvement in the preservation, cultivation, and ongoing care of the earth.

2) Human beings are significant, but sinful.

Human beings play a prominent role in both creation accounts. The "image of God," presented in Genesis 1, is concretized or grounded in Genesis 2. The adam, or "groundling" (note the play on words: adam springs from the adamah, the earth) is animated by the breath of God. The human being is created through a synthesis of divine breath and dirt. As one of my students recently noted, the creation of human beings from the ground raises a interesting question for anti-evolutionists: is it less dignified to have primitive, "ape-like" creatures as our ancestors or to be made from dirt?


No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked


Kyle Roberts
May 1, 2011

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23

When I heard the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death and saw the jubilant celebrations, I was reminded of this verse. God is a God of justice and righteousness and so he calls evil and sin what they are and holds people accountable accordingly. But God is also a God of mercy and love, and desires that all people — even the most sinful and wicked among us — repent and “turn from their ways.”

So, when the wicked do not repent and turn, God takes no pleasure when they experience the consequences of their wickedness in death. I am sure that many people who lost friends and loved ones on 9/1 rightfully feel a sense of justice on this day. I wouldn’t deny them that. But there is a difference between feeling a somber sense of justice and celebrating the death of one of God’s creatures — however wicked, sinful and evil they may have may become.

At the heart of the Christian Gospel stands the truth that not one of God’s people deserves salvation – his covenant love and reconciliation – and not one of God’s creatures stands outside of the intentional reach of His love. Paul tells that God desires that everyone be saved and to “come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). I take “everyone” to mean literally everyone — even the most evil among us — even those who have done us personal, communal or societal harm. There’s no doubt God’s expressed desire for the salvation of everyone in Christ is difficult to accept, especially when confronted with the most radical of possibilities: namely, the salvation of even Osama Bin Laden. But that simply underscores the radicality of God’s grace. No one is outside of the potentiality of reconciliation with God.

What Ezekiel seems to be saying here is that every violent death is a sadness. But when a violent death signifies that a temporal life has reached its end, that dust has returned to dust, in what is very likely a state of unrepentance and of rebellion against God, then our response as Christians should not and cannot be exuberant joy or triumphalism. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; nor does he withhold his justice and righteousness. In the face of evil and unrighteousness, our ultimate hope is in God and God alone. And our response to the “death of the wicked” should be modeled after his as well.