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What I learned at C3, 03/01/11, NY, NY

What I learned at C3

I learned that according to sociologist definition I am not an adult, but still an “Emerging Adult.”
I do not have a steady job, a wife, children (the responsibilities of adulthood), I am in a stretched out period of the 18 to early 20’s classified as “Emerging Adult.” This is disturbing. No wonder I am single!

Now I know.

I learned that my thoughts on Christianity are not so abstract but are in line with the change that is occurring. That is comforting that I am not insane, or a traitor to the Faith in terms of “evangelical” business as usual. This conference has aided in giving word to my thought. Now, to keep the thought dynamic and alive without falling to buzzwords that will soon be popular and meaningless.

God raises up leaders
One can not train themselves to be the leader they think God wants.
God raises leaders and trains them for His purpose (see Scripture: Moses, Joseph, the Disciples, Paul…)

Christ is not come into the world to change it but to “overcome” it. For those of us, who want to change it, to change it is a judgmental framework – no where in scripture does it implicitly state  that we are called to change the world deliberately (it is doomed to destruction – we are not called to put a face on it or judge it. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. What if Christians were about that? …creative and generative, loving – not critical and judgmental?  Called to be reflections of Christ – signposts to the world to come, (Donald Miller) “the world that ought to be ” (Makoto Fujimura)

(all James 1 is good but this was brought up with the following) James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. “ (Those whose lives are cut off from the natural goods God has intended for all) – all bad involvements lead us to be widows and orphans.

It is easy to believe that NEW is better than OLD when observing technology but that is not true of all things, yet advertising this type of mindset can lead us to believe all NEW things are better. Advertising promotes desire not material. Desire for NEW things not satisfaction with material.

Art is process not artifact. An artifact is dead, they are leftovers documenting process.
Not making some THING but BEING something.

IS “church” more compelling than secular environments? If not why not? It should be.
If we reject aesthetic satisfaction, we will fall into sensual satisfaction.

About church, “We either contemplate or we exploit” ~Andy Crouch

Advertising revisited the churches to appropriate the language of worship and use that language to compellingly, through desire, lure people from truth. “if not worshiping God through Jesus, then people, who are built to worship, will worship different god’s [of their own making].”

God’s image bearers represent Him in the world [reflecting His Glory]. Uncovering all the beauty in creation, discovering all that is latent and bring it to fullness (fruition).

Mis-imaging of  God began with the “serpent” (the Father of Lies). Humans, instead of cultivating The Maker’s Creation, we instead create false gods.  Idolatry – raising inaccurate image of God – an idol. An idol promises blessing if you worship it but in the case of contemporary terms: addiction – the blessing is not fulfilling and calls us back unto death (opposite of living fully – a thin life empty but for the gratification of the addiction). This is not the Image Bearing that reflects the glory and life of the Living and True God who sustains life.

In Tanakh, we read that many pagan rites required the sacrifice of an innocent child – innocent blood: child sacrifice (we even see a glimmer of it with Abraham and Isaac – and what is the crucifixion but the sacrifice of innocent blood and child) – aside from those two examples, God does not like the children sacrificed nor the innocent exploited. Do we exploit Jesus for our own gain?

All true idolaters (inc. addictions = sin) sacrifice children to their addiction – which becomes all consuming, in a sense their god. Rather than being consumed by the True God.

God is relational – can be known. Entering into God is relationship – me to Him – Him to me – God is not my utility.

Idols, give false image of who God is! This truncates true relationship because our presence is occupied elsewhere with the false and the dead. God is of truth, yet we choose a lie that attracts our brokenness.

God is exact opposite of an idol.

We not only make false gods, but we make ourselves gods.

Real problem with poverty is that someone has set themselves up as god among the lives of the poor: the poor are exploited. Real life is chained in the exploitation; children are sacrificed from life to death in the propagation of control.

One can play god benevolently as well as malevolently. Either establishes still the “outsider” structure – overseeing the poor, exploitation for one’s gain even if only in “good feelings.” This is injustice: “playing god in the life of others.” Setting up false gods.

God does not like idolatry or injustice. Both mask the true God – God is misrepresented – especially to the poor, whom God Loves: they are His invested.

Injustice is idolatry.

Our culture has become this – gives us a false image of God.

We are missing our Image bearing calling.

Jesus comes as the true image bearer so we can be restored to our bearing of God’s Image.

When we restore God’s image there is flourishing of life.

To add to this I would also say, a false image is not a sculpture or a painting, but ones attachment to it is.

As examples of how people are restoring God’s Image in others, Andy Crouch brought up the work of Pixar (though not a Christian corporation, it’s executives are Christian) for they reflect what it is to be human in all their narratives. http://www.pixar.com/

He brought up IJM http://www.ijm.org/ and artist Henry Ossawa Tanner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ossawa_Tanner

Everyone can live the life and must live the life bearing the image of God. I think of my friends Dale and Jonalyn as they carry the message through Soulation of being “appropriately human” http://www.soulation.org/

Restoration – it is what we are called to do in this world: restoration of image, erasing false idols (which in their own erase the true image of God [and which is our bearing and life blood] leaving us with a twisted sense of life and truth, and beauty – twisted, distorted).

Bringing to light the darkness.

Who plays god where I go – what false idols exist misrepresenting God. Study by observing, no need to challenge it. Just see it for what it is. Then, the bigger question comes, how can I be a vehicle in the restoration of selves to their true image as an image bearer of God. Scripture says man was created in the image of God. We bear His image whether we accept that or not – it is in our making. And we can twist ourselves and we can twist others, and we can twist this world. In the restoration by the True Image of God, we too can participate in the restoration bringing life into fullness. AS some might like to say, keeping it real, spreading the love – but in the proper context of God’s Glory, reflecting His Image as lights in the darkness of men’s souls.

We never know what our impact will be, in fact that can not be our measure as it ultimately leads to the commodification of “image bearing”, making it a measurable tactical thing, no longer a gift in BEing Image Bearers in relationship with the almighty who has called us to BE in relationship with Him (and to love one another as He loves us and as we would love ourselves in charity and right relationship [also known as righteousness – which is not a moral thing unto itself, though that is the by-product appearance of “right relationship”]).

We never know what our impact will be – we just move forward trusting ALL to God (even in our failures). This is a living Faith that ultimately produces in transformation what is called “good works”, cultivated in a heart of God trust and love–love others selflessly and be faithful to the Image we are called to bear – the Image in which we are made.

Gift to others is to release them to be the image bearers of God.

We are called also in our gifts to share those with the world too. In fact, for me to love people enough is to be true to my calling – for me it is to share my knowledge of beauty and my skills to see, however minor, even for so long as I still have vision. I take this seriously.

Andy Crouch would bless us to fail boldly and loudly repetitively – walking in faith, not in fear, to continue through out and preserver, over and over to our very end. This is the good fight. Fail boldly and loudly over and over to be a true image bearer of the one true God in the world.

We are Light and Salt
Light to show people the path so they can make their own way.
Salt to add flavor to life (being one’s true self unapologetically) – think of your gifts – gifts are to be given away not to be exploited (read the GIFT by Lewis Hyde) http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Creative-Spirit-Transforms-World/dp/1841959936/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_5
Don’t ask, give – support your community in the city you are in.


Speaker recommended books (that I have not read)

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307269647?tag=apture-20

Souls in Transition http://www.amazon.com/Souls-Transition-Religious-Spiritual-Emerging/dp/0195371798



A collection of C.S.Lewis:

The Poison of Subjectivism – Calvin College – Minds In The Making File Format: Microsoft Word – Quick View

C. S. Lewis – Learning in a Time of War File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics – Google Books Result

“Modern Man and His Catagories of Thought”


The Screwtape Letters

Choosing My Religion

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