A Consistent Blog

cWell another year has passed! 2014 was a great year for our little blogging community. Somehow Ben, Joe and I managed to not lose our minds (or did we?). Here are some year end stats. Enjoy and Merry Christmas! (click the pictures to see a larger image)

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Thank God for 2014

22014 has been by far the most exciting year since 2009 when I went to college. I have so much to be thankful for. God’s grace has truly been with me.
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West Loop UBF, 2008-2014

GraceH&SarahPLiving with my head in the clouds. Last year I shared how West Loop (WL) UBF began in 2008. This is a follow up random, limited and selective reflection of our happy and eventful 6 year story and journey as a church. It mainly explains how my ideological perspectives changed. It is “heady” and not practical. As I’ve often told my wife, “Sorry that I live with my head in the clouds. Therefore, your feet has to be on the ground.” I hope this does not sound bad for her!

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Most Christ-like Heretics in 2014

1Do you know what it feels like to be called a heretic? Well I learned from the best! Here is a quick summary of the most Christ-like voices among the heretics that influenced me in 2014. These voices and books have been a God-send on my own journey. I am grateful to have connected with each of them on Facebook.

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The Old Testament and Inspiration

jI recently read an article authored by OT scholar and professor Peter Enns in which he discussed the compilation process of the OT (link to article here). This has been of particular interest to me as of late due to my desire to understand the nature of Scriptural inspiration. I believe that understanding the process of inspiration is concomitant with how we understand the very mind and heart of God, a quest which presumably all Christians have embarked upon (cf. Jn 17:3).

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Vox Populi Vox Dei

v1In times of trouble and conflict we are accustomed to call upon the practical man. Unfortunately the opposite is needed. For the practical man can only do the things he knows and when conflict and trouble arise he has neither the means nor the aim to fix an unexpected conflict. The impractical man is what is needed. Some may tell us that the impractical man fiddles while Rome burns. We are told that he ought to go put out the fire, but what we really need is the impractical man who invents the firehose. Then we can quell the flames forever.

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How to Spot Contradictions

tfI suspect most of our readers here already know quite a bit about using logic and discerning truth from lies. If so, then I would love to learn more! As the holiday season kicks off with Advent, I feel it is important to point out some expressions of logic that helped me navigate the ubf quagmire. One of the Sunday Advent readings was Mark 13:33-37, where Jesus says “Be watchful! Be alert!” Should we not use our minds to be alert with reason as well as faith? For many years I was stuck on the question, should I stay or should I leave? None of what I’m about to share helped me in making that decision; I did that one by faith :) But these expressions of logic have helped immensely after leaving to make sense of the world around me, as well as the world of ubf I had left behind.

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I Don’t Trust Dr. Ben

gp11Highly autonomous. As a predominantly autonomously driven introvert and agent provocateur, the opinion of others likely affects me far less than it might affect others. I believe that this is how God wired me. In contrast, more socially driven extroverts might be affected more by the opinion of others, and by whether or not others like or dislike them. I hope I am not caricaturing any social butterflies (who are really fun people), but only making rather broad general statements.

If you say NO, it’s DONE. To put it bluntly I might even declare–at least to myself, but not to others (I don’t want to come across as being disrespectful or uncaring or rude!)–that I could care less whether or not others like, dislike, approve or disapprove of me. In fact, I am highly motivated and encouraged to do the very opposite of what others desire or expect of me. Thus, I often tell others with a big warm cheeky smile, “If you tell me NO, it’s DONE! If you say Stop, I Go.” So, my wife has learned to use reverse psychology on me. What a wise woman she is! Continue reading →

Misunderstanding Sin

sHe is IMPORTANT in the church. When a friend shared with me some horrible sin of a person in the church, I said, “For his sake and for the sake of the church, report him to the police.” My friend responded, “But he is an “important” older person in the church.” I am not blaming my friend, who is a genuine, sincere and passionate Christian. But I am addressing a horrible theology that implicitly says, suggests or implies that if someone is “important” (or older) in the church, then we let his sin slide. Really?? Furthermore, what does “importance” (or age) in the church have anything to do with what is right or wrong?

Why do such shocking things happen in the holy church of God? My contention is that our theology (Bible study) always informs our Christian life. As I am studying Romans slowly and deliberately, I am positing a grossly inadequate understanding of sin as to why sin continues to thrive even in the church and often dealt with rather poorly. Continue reading →

What Samuel Lee Taught – Part 2

fr“You are free from one man’s teachings.” I will forever remember those words. Those were the words spoken to me by Pastor Wayne, just before he dunked me under the baptism water in the full-immersion baptismal on April 29th, 2012. He was referring, of course, to Samuel Lee’s teachings. I had explained my ubf experience, both good and bad, to him and other Christian pastors. Their advice was of utmost value to my recovery from the undue religious influence I encountered at ubf. Pastor Wayne identified SL’s teachings as a binding force on my life. I believe he spoke those words to me by the inspiration of the Spirit, based on our coffee shop discussions. So here is another perspective about SL, the co-founder of ubf.

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