Tag Archives: Religion

The ‘E’ Word

I grew up reading The Good News.

Literally.

The first Bible I remember picking up was The Good News Bible around the second or third grade.

Church was very new to me when I was 8 and 9 years old having not grown up in a religious family.  When I picked up that first Bible I asked what the name of this particular Bible meant and, of course, was taught in Sunday School about Jesus, The Lord’s Prayer and – of course – The Good News.

It was a few years later that I first learned the word evangelical.  I learned quickly that evangelical could refer to both a person as well as a form of expression.

Evangelicals, I was led to believe, belonged to the more ‘radical’ churches….  Evangelicals in my mind were probably the Pentecostals or what I thought of as vibrant Christians (you know those Christians who made the news for sharing their faith and over-dramatized what they said or how they said it rather than focusing on what they did).

It was this second component, being evangelical, that rounded out my early definition.

Evangelicals proselytized.
Evangelicals spoke in tongues.
Evangelicals handed out tracks.
Evangelicals spoke their minds but more always spoke the truth of the Bible.

Or worse I learned to think evangelicals were synonymous with televangelists and street preachers.

These were the radical evangelicals in my mind.

I grew into the evangelical world when I was in college and I found myself surrounded by college youth group peers who were ‘normal evangelicals’.  We had huge pizza parties like the young evangelicals did back home but if they spoke in tongues it wasn’t in your face.  They were serious about spreading the word of God but they wanted to spread the love of God as well.  It was during this time that I found comfort in the evangelical world because my friends taught me that being an evangelical meant that we were to spread The Good News.

The same Good News I knew from those first Sunday School classes.

THIS was the love of God I was told and believed.

I did it all – the tracks, the retreats and conferences, the Bible studies, the fasting… College was a time where I didn’t demur and openly admitted that I was ‘high on God’.

My very first presidential vote was spiritually motivated because I believed that I needed to vote for the best Christian.

I voted other people into office because my friends told me that they represented ‘our values’; they were pro-life, anti-gay, honorable to God…  These were the same values I strived for.  There wasn’t an election back then that I didn’t use my vote as an outward expression of evangelical dislike, fear or repudiation of gays, Muslims, and people not like me and my friends.

And then something crazy happened: God moved in my young evangelical heart and told me to move to New York City so I could save these people.

Or so I thought.

Little did I know that these people would save me.

Meeting people different from myself didn’t hasten my resolve to ‘change the world’ but it broke it.  The world, I realized, couldn’t be changed by me alone because God was much bigger and was weaving something bigger than I could see.

The people different from me became my neighbors, my bosses, my mentors, my friends.

New York changed me quickly and quietly moved me to shed my evangelical coat though I kept it in my closet so I could pull it out if my old friends ever came by.

Though my status changed from Christian to Christ Follower in search of The Good News it was still very easy to flip between the two if needed.

On one hand I was hip and on the other I was a fading evangelical holding onto an antiquated but still semi-relevant belief system.

This worked until I realized that I, myself, belonged in that same paradigm of seclusion.

You see, it’s easy to be evangelical and outwardly love people who are different (if that’s the depth at which you stay without looking at the inside).  It’s damn near impossible, though, to be evangelical in the sense that I was and be one of those people who were different.

I realized, after long struggle, that my attraction to men was not a spiritual distraction.

Not only did I get to the point that I could openly admit to myself that I was attracted to men but I was OK with who I was and I desperately wanted to continue to belong to the church.

Because I knew I needed that simple Good News from the second grade.

The same good news that was mixed with the evangelical roots of my high school days and the foundation of my college days.

I wanted God to love me because at this point I was convinced that he didn’t or couldn’t.

I gave up my evangelical thirst for Good News long before I came out partly because the writing was on the wall.

I was different.
I was one of them.
I didn’t fully belong in the fold of God.

I had hurt people with my words in the past only to find out that those words applied to me too.

I was hurting people like me by choosing to belong.

I didn’t realize it then but being an evangelical can be a good thing and it’s only now that I learned to be one.  The hunt for The Good News and the declaration of it in our lives IS A GOOD THING.

The Good News is most alive in our relationships.

Being a Christian is not about who we vote for or what we we hand out or what and how we do things in a precise way just to create feelings.

It’s not what we say that matters, it’s what we don’t say.

Christ’s verbal communication is dwarfed in the scriptures by his nonverbal communication.  Christ lived through his actions and that’s what The Good News is about.

I’m coming around to considering myself an evangelical again.  It’s so different this time though.

I’m not conservative anymore but let’s be honest and say that doesn’t matter to God.

I’m not going to necessarily declare anything from the street corner because I’ve seen more lives changed over a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer.

And I’m definitely not going to tell you that you’re wrong because I’ve done the wrong things before in my life thinking they were right.  It’s more important to love and celebrate people, helping them overcome life’s trials.

I am going to share what I do know or admit to you that I don’t know something – and embody both.

I’m going to learn from my past and the present and I’m going lean into it – because this ‘new’ evangelicalism isn’t really new but rather a simplification closer to what Jesus talked about.

This idea of being a new type of evangelical might actually be as simple as it gets since it’s about sharing what  the Good News is, however radical and ‘crazy’ some may think it is.

Guitar Hero goes ‘Christian’

When I first played Guitar Hero, I have to admit that the first thing I told my friends was that “THEY should make a Praise and Worship edition. Well, they (actually somebody else) has done just that.

Now – I have to wonder out loud if this is going be questioned in the mainstream media.

GameSetWatch puts it best:
“The word Christian is, in the strict sense, a noun. It literally means somebody who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. People get themselves in all manner of trouble when they turn the noun into an adjective to describe their work, community, bookshop, painting, tee shirt, video game or song.”

Are we separating ourselves and becoming ‘exclusive’ by branding ourselves away from the rest of society? I throw this out there because I agree with the comments above that the term “Christian” is, at its purest sense, a noun. In many ways – increasingly more so – the term Christian (or associated synonyms) are becoming adjectives, continuing to separate (and not bringing together) different (sub-)cultures in our modern society.

However, the selection of songs is quite interesting…

What did you say about lipstick? :: The Ten Commandments of talking about politics

A lot of us (including myself) have deep passions for two abstractly different topics: Politics and Religion. While they are inextricably interlinked, I believe and agree with the opinion that sometimes we (again, including myself) get overly passionate about these two topics, when discussed together and often times step over boundaries of love and respect that shouldn’t be crossed. (To be clear: I’m lumping myself into this dosage of humble advice.)

Bogopolis.com is happy to pass onto to you: The Ten Commandments of Talking (or blogging) Politics.

Bogopolis encourages you to vote with your heart – but do please vote this season – if you don’t, you don’t have the right to complain.

See Also: Vote Because Others Can’t

Heard On Television

“Church is for answers, not questions.”

Sitcom – yes.
A falsehood of the state of our religion – no.

We must ask questions. We must search within ourselves to find the answers our souls craves.

If we allow this notion to consume ourselves and we begin to accept everything from the ‘church’ and not seek questions to the answers that plague us – we become mindless groans.

We must ask questions. We need to ask the whys. We need to loo k into ourselves and ask Why is the Church (global) not addressing the necessary issues?

The television show ended with this:
The church is the place for questions, not just answers.

Good words.

Say Tuned. My church is doing an upcoming series on Life’s Toughest Questions. Should be good.

February 22nd, 2005

You all – I love sharing life with you, sharing my humor, thoughts, and commentary. I hope one day to have a list a mile long of the defining moments in my life that I am extremely proud of. One of those moments – that I know changed my life forever – occurred (or began) on February 22nd, 2005, during what ended up being my last winter in Indiana. I’ve been spending sometime over the last couple of years ‘documenting’ my journey, so I don’t forget the good times I’ve had and the challenges I’ve faced and (hopefully) have overcome. Enjoy this selection, a ‘rare’ treat of Bogopolis.com.

From my hands, a very different blog, a blog of personal reflection:

Continue reading February 22nd, 2005

This is what I’m talking about:

Red-Letter Christians:

This movement was initiated by authors Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis who felt the Religious Right spend too much time on two issues: abortion and homosexuality. They believe Christians should be promoting biblical values such as peace, building strong families, the elimination of poverty, and other important social issues.

Something new? I don’t think so.

Updated: to add video from The Colbert Report.

Get uncomfortable – you’ll thank me later.

Friends, we are not comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Did you read me on that one?

We are not comfortable with being uncomfortable.

A lot of us talk about fulfilling our own potential – well, I’m here to say that I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to fulfill our potential until we become uncomfortable with what we do.

I’m making a personal commitment to do one thing that is outside of my comfort zone each day. I feel that I have lost so many opportunities because I was happy in my comfort zone and I didn’t want to step out of it. I don’t know a lot about this world, about my city, about my neighbors, and even about my friends because I have been too unwilling to step out – even for a brief moment – to be uncomfortable and see what lies beyond this little ‘box’

I’d say join me – but I know that what this means to me, may not be what it means to you… But think about all those lost opportunities that we have forfeited for no other purpose, but to serve ourselves…

Scary, ain’t it?

You all – Something is wrong…

Gospel of Prosperity – This ain’t right you all – things have got to change…

Friends, this hurts – mainly because this does not represent all (or a majority of) Christian congregations. Christianity is not about personal “health and wealth”, yet it seems that our society has transitioned (read: mutated) Christianity into a religion about money and riches on Earth.

Let me put it bluntly: No single amount of money or earthly riches will save you. In the end it will be your personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. God asks us to give what our heart wants – there are no promises of relief from the pain of this world – in fact as a follower of Christ, trials seem to come with the territory – God only says that in spite of the evil in the world – there is a better place after ‘this’ – that he has prepared a place for you to spend with him in the end and that he will get you through the trials of the world, although the pain may not go away.

Seriously, this has got to end. Just because you’re popular doesn’t mean you can prey on people’s fears for your riches…

Sigh….

Continue reading You all – Something is wrong…

Wish a person “Merry Christmas” the politically correct way

So in today’s society, everything seems to be politically correct (PC) – especially when it comes to contentious issues, such as ‘religious’ holidays. Pleas use Bogopolis.com’s guide below to wish a person a PC Christmas.

Happy Winter Solstice
This allows a person to be non-descript in their wishes. Alternatives to this include, Happy Winter Festival Season or Happy Winter-time. The latter allows you to be as generic as possible and not offend somebody who might take offense to wiccan (read: religious) connotations of the first two.

Happy Hanakkuh
Although an alternative to Merry Christmas, this is still a reference to a religious holiday, which wouldn’t be fair to those Christians who are being robbed of their holiday. Other discouraged alternatives include: Happy Eid ul-Adha, Merry Kwanzaa, or Happy Jesus Day.

Happy Boxing Day
First off, Boxing day is an England tradition. Second, does anybody really care what Boxing Day is?

Happy Yuletide Season with wishes of warmth and joy
Seriously, that way too long and a little not with the times. Others that don’t correctly fit, include: Happy New Year (skip the week and season altogether), Happy National Purchasing Season, and Happy Saturnalia Day.

Happy Holidays
This seems to be the most popular choice of, who the Mexicans call, Policticos de Incorrecto (people who are incorrect – OK, I may have made that up…) in America. It allows co-workers, shop owners, baristas, bloggers, journalists, commentators, sportscasters, talk show hosts, everyday people, cab drivers, bell ringers, ticket counter agents, restaurant workers, well-wishers on the streets, and you and I to say what we want to say without taking a chance to say what we really want to say regarding the holiday season. However, Bogopolis.com believes that even this term is politically incorrect – it forces us to dumb down our traditions, shopping behaviors, our personal preferences, our faith – to a global level eliminating everything that our world stands for: diversity.

As an alternative, Bogopolis.com offers the following way to wish a person a Merry Christmas and still be politically correct:

Merry Christmas!

Over the centuries, Christmas has lost a lot of it’s religious meaning and become more of a secular holiday in today’s global marketplace. Yes, Christmas is a religious holiday, in which us Christians celebrate the birth of the one we believe to be our savior was born – but the global truth is that we were not the first ones to claim a winter holiday for our religion. Christmas has become and is a global holiday, which means something different to everybody. Christmas should not be recognized a mere Christian holiday, but as a celebration of family, a time we celebrate the past year with loved ones and prepare for the new. Christmas is truly about love (and let’s not forget about receiving gifts!) and the time we have with each other.
Continue reading Wish a person “Merry Christmas” the politically correct way