Why Culture Matters – Q Ideas http://ow. September 22, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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Why Culture Matters – Q Ideas http://ow.ly/Sx2XM One of the most important endeavours any of us will ever undertake is to IDENTIFY our personal cultural-context as well as the cultural-context of the person with whom we are engaged in discussion. PLEASE watch Tim Keller as he aptly defines the sources and delineations of CULTURE. Picture yourself, and your culture, in the grand mix he sets forth. Gary
So many TV evangelists look sleek, polis September 22, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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So many TV evangelists look sleek, polished, smooth. This LUTHERAN Pastor had become a Christian late in life and now devotes her life in Denver to preaching the Gospel to those the world finds weird.
How far would you go to identify with the people God loves? http://ow.ly/SwRJE
– http://ow.ly/StIsQ When generational p September 21, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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When generational profiles change between gen-x and gen-z we will complete a 75 cycle in history. From post WW-2 thru beatnik, rock rebellion through Vietnam & two Middle East wars and September 11, the Dynamic of Change (thank you Marshall) is truly at an almost vertical rise.
Want to know what’s trending, where our culture is going? Ask your 16 year old. Seriously. And walk into their world whenever you can. Gary
Davis v Davis September 14, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: 365, christian, Christianity, Davis, freedom of speech, Gary, human-rights, Kim, rights
Unless you live in cave in the Canadian wilderness you have probably caught whim of a Legal vs. Christian faith confrontation in Kentucky. The case revolved around Kim Davis’, Rowan County Clerk, refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, a ruling recently handed down to lower courts by our U.S. Supreme Court.
Kim’s justification is that the mandate violated her conscience and civil liberties as a born-again Christian. In other words, her freedom of speech and right to dissent were being denied.
In another case, Charee Stanley (47), a recent convert to Islam, was recently suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol to passengers as it violated her religious beliefs. Other flight attendants simply volunteered to take up that part of the job. No problem!?! Except for one Flight Attendant who filed a complaint against her. Thus, the 12 month suspension for Charee.
Are these two cases the same? Similar? Totally different issues?
A perspective. First, I am a Davis— Dr. Gary Davis, to be exact. Second, I also am a practicing Christian. I even teach Christians how to express our faith in ways that make sense to normal people. Most people have NO IDEA who genuine Christians are. They think we are ALL like Kim Davis. I am not like Kim Davis. We may share the same Biblical faith, but that is where it ends.
At the risk of being accused of tooting my own horn, allow me to record a recent texting incident between myself and a friend (not a Christian) that I interviewed for my next book, THE WHISKEY CHRONICLES: what normal people think of Christians. He initiated this conversation—
TD: Just 2 words, “Kim Davis?” Thoughts?
GD: Kim Davis?
TD: Kentucky “Christian” city clerk.
GD: Oh, her. One word, JERK!
TD: Hahaaaaahaa. What do normal people think of Christians? Probably Kim Davis! It’s unfortunate. But I think of Gary Davis…, a real Christian. Time to get that book going.
GD: You are an amazing Encourager, TD! Writing. Writing. Videoing. NEED more Bourbon to finish book.
TD: Hahaaaahaaa. I’ll be right over with a barrel.
Question: Who did more to further the cause of Christ? Davis…, or Davis? Who would draw more people TO Christ? Who would polarize people more?
I’m sorry, Kim; but what were you thinking!?! I am sorry I referred to you as a jerk in my text; it was more of an emotional reactionary response than a reasoned one. Please forgive me.
I live in New England where under 1% of the total population attends church (except Boston; 7%). That’s not genuine Christians, who believe the Bible and attempt to follow its teachings; that percentage is even less. America is NOT a Christian nation; never has been, never should be. We ARE a nation that promotes religious freedom…, within our communities, and in the workplace. Kim believes she upheld her faith by denying marriage licenses to same sex couples. I believe she violated both her job mandate and Scripture’s mandate to be subject to the Bible’s teachings and with government ordinances—
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
~ Romans 13:1-5 (NIV Bible)
Seriously, Kim Davis, although I support your right to dissent, your shape of Christianity just did more to embarrass the name of Christ in our society than to draw people to Him. But you are not alone; too many Bible believing Christians still insist ondefending the faith against this world rather than befriending the people who live in it. Christians are not a bad lot if you can push past our oft offensive antics.
Question: So what can we do to resolve our differences? What can we do live in community with one another.
Comments & criticisms welcome.
…for what it’s worth,
http://bit.ly/1XI2hxD It does not surpri September 9, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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http://bit.ly/1XI2hxD It does not surprise me that 400 pastors & Christian leaders resigned from their positions after Ashley Madison released the names of those who were subscribers to their sex/affair website. 400 seems low.
We live in a culture that is permeated with SEX. Selling industrial auto wrenches held by a girl in a bikini just seems weird. Very. What’s the line? SEX SELLS. A friend of mine recently told his wife that she might feel better if she dressed a little more sexy. Yes, he was a pastor. Really!?! Another pastor confidentially admitted that his wife was having an affair with the chairman of his churches Elder Board.
Personal integrity seems to have been supplanted by personal gratification. I NEED this, we tell ourselves, as if that makes it OK. REALLY!
Maybe we all need to reconsider what we mean by the word commitment.
Certainty, probability, or mystery July 7, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
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Certainty, probability, or mystery— where are you most comfortable? Most of us are low-risk people; we fall somewhere in between certainty and probability. Of course, some of us will not make a decision unless we are absolutely certain of the outcome. This is a good character trait if you are designing cars, space ships, medical procedures, or nuclear fusion colliders; maybe not such a good trait if you are launching a new art form, or writing a book, or nurturing your EQ (Emotional Quotient).At one time or another all three of these qualities will emerge in our lives to suit the occasion— some, more than others. Booking a flight to Glasgow should be more of a certainty; but in today’s airline industry it is oft only a probability, or worse, a mystery. Asking someone to marry you may seem like a mystery, but it had better be more of a probability if it is ever to become a certainty.
Trying to live exclusively in any one of the three individualities causes problems. Insisting on complete certainty produces fear and insecurity: dwelling on the probability of something coming to pass might reduce being proactive, or commitment to see it through, and doubt: whereas living in the mystery will leave you with a sense of wonder, true, and no way to support yourself. Mystery does spark ingenuity and creativity; but it is dedicated perseverance that will bring your dreams to life. And a Team of like-minded individuals. And Money. And Faith. Faith that this will work! You have to believe in yourself…, and your ideas.
So if you find yourself frustrated, floundering, feeling lost at sea and directionless, it is probably more likely than not that you are ready to Go for it!
So STOP waiting for further proof of certainty. Jump into the mystery. More than 150 years ago, Danish philosopher/existential theorist Søren Kierkegaard called it a “leap of faith.” He was right.
Being comfortable in your skin is not always the best thing for us. A little trepidation is a good motivator.
For what it’s worth,
A Quiverful of WHAT?! May 28, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: beliefs, character, christian, Davis, Duggar, Gary, joshduggar, quiverful
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How should we respond to the sexual actions of Josh Duggar when he was 14…, 13 years later?
One such response was titled A Quiverful of Shit. What, pray tell, is Quiverful? Its resource is from Psalm 127, Christian Bible. Look it up. Quite a large number of Americans adhere to the Quiverful ideals of male dominate families, the bread winners, wherein the wife’s job is to bear children, manage the household exclusively, and never working in a fulfilling job outside the home, produce even more children, and homeschool the kids to adulthood. That is her God-defined role in life. Any higher education beyond high school is superfluous to her primary obligation to bear children and raise them. Really!?!
What bothers me is that this family portrays themselves on TV as the perfect, Christian, American family—a role model for the rest of us to emulate. They admit they have problems, but don’t we all?!? But there is never any evidence on their TV series that they have these problems; just an admission that they have them—that’s it. Dirty laundry issues.
Being portrayed as the ideal Christian family is the real problem. Do other Americans’ actually share their values? Actually, yes.
Does it seem possible that in the 21st Century there are families that esteem The Little House on the Praire ideal? For one, the Praire ideal wasn’t ideal. It was hard work, not to mention dangerous at times. The head of the family more than likely worked in his fields nearby nurturing or harvesting his own crops or tending to his sheep/cattle. The Quiverfull Movement has captivated vast numbers of followers due to their emphasis on a self-sufficiency ideology to remain free of any and all external influences. Take NO government assistance; teach your own children so they are not tainted by other children, and never, EVER, borrow money from anyone. Live as if you are independent from any involvement in “the world.” Total self-reliance means total separation from normal society.
Question— Had you grown up in this kind of environment, as did the Duggar girls and their brothers, would you have known right from wrong? Of course you would. Basic human decency & respect are common to us all; whether we choose to follow it is another issue. That being stated, teenage obsession with exploratory sex is a powerful drive, not something easily overcome. I cannot brush aside Josh Duggar’s actions when he was 14; but I cannot condemn him for them either; not given our present society’s over-stimulation of sex no matter where you turn. Teens cannot be protected from that.
What I condemn is this entire Quiverfull concept of agrarian family values that should have died with the incursion of industrialized society. Their values are certainly not Christian in any way. They are about a chosen life-practice that the Duggars and others believe is the right way to live. They are all about control and male dominance. Sorry, perfect Quiverfull Duggar family, your Christian values are not Christian. That are a façade of deep, genuine Christian faith. Your faith is simply fake.
Your faith seems an attempt at conservative values that are impossible because of our basic nature. Josh is under fire for what he did in his adolescence. Would any of us have fared any better?
It certainly is not genuine Christian faith.
Finally, it seems a tragedy that there seems to be no regard for the sisters involved. Did we have to open up these old, deep scars, bleeding across the entire social media scene? Incredibly callous.
Dr Gary Davis, President
Mindless Christianity May 11, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: acceptance, Bruce, christian, Church, Davis, Dr, fleeing, Gary, Jenner, mindless, thinking, U2
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Now imagine that you are a part of that religion and see no evidence of this in your churches. Worship services are great, the pastor’s sermons hit the nail on the head every week, the average age of the congregants is 35-45, the building is paid off, and you enjoy your Christian life in the midst of friends & family.
What you don’t see are the people who are not there. They are long-gone— playing golf, enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning at Starbucks, at home, boating, or simply sleeping in. The thought of going to church on a Sunday morning never enters their minds.
Too many of us have become mindless about those whom we never see. They are just “them,” or “non-Christians,” “the unsaved.” They are non-entities. We organize commando raids, evangelistic thrusts, into their midst and then regroup to “debrief.” Really!?! Whatever happened to being part of our society, our community, having neighbors we actually know and enjoy?
Actually, whatever happened to meaningful engagement? It feels as if the majority of our Christian community has ceased functioning, at least when it comes to clear, mindful thought. We find it so much easier to simply sit there and have someone who is an authority tell us what to think, believe, and DO. Then it slips out of our brains by that afternoon or evening.
With all the great minds of our past who launched the amazing movements of our faith past— the Cistercians, Augustine, Anselm, Francis of Assisi, Benedict, the Moravians, the Sacred Heard of Jesus, even those pesky Protesters, Calvinists & Huguenots, Pilgrims & Puritans— All made deep intellectual, yea academic, contributions to the history of Christian thought.
Today, not much thought is taking place in our churches. It has been replaced by a casual intellectualism and glancing references that support our personal perspectives. Even books are written for those with no more than an 8th grade reading level. Really?!? That’s it!?!
Ergo, please try to learn to think more deeply about your faith. Read some richer books than simple personal testimonies, or “sweet-Jesus” stories. Read books you cannot understand. Learn the differences between Christianity & Islam, between Catholics, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals. Learn the issues surrounding the emerging/emergent church. Think through possible loving responses to Bruce Jenner, One Direction, and the challenges put forth in the music of U2.
None of us were born brainless, mindless automatons; but there is ample evidence that we have striven doggedly to move in that direction.
For what it’s worth,
Bathed in Yellow April 27, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse.
Tags: christian, Christianity, Davis, Dr, Gary, God, Painting, Starry night, strength, Van Gogh, vincent
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It is not an unknown fact that painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), used yellow in his art to signify the presence of God. In many of his self-portraits he was bathed in hues of soft gold and yellow.
Vincent lived a troubled life. Though he was the son and grandson of Dutch Reformed Church ministers, his own faith was tumultuous; he was constantly plagued with doubt, low self-esteem, and depression. So much so that at age 37 he took his own life with a single gunshot.
His paintings reflected his life— vague, obscure images, dark & brooding; yet with that thread or point of golden yellow burning through somewhere on the canvas. Whether point or thread, it is always there.
His art reflected his own life, to be sure; but it also mirrors so much in our own lives as well. The Christian life is not a glorious, joyous road to travel. Like van Gogh, we too find ourselves in places of darkness and confusion more often than not. Sometimes, the yellow glow of grace is totally lacking— or, at least it seems that way. At other times it feels like a distant star we can barely make out in the heavens. Or, as in Starry Night, we are engulfed within it— “the glory of God shown ‘round about them.”
This is the way it was meant to be. Our faith is worth very little if we only bask in the glory of God’s golden hues. But this world is a complication of darkness and light. It is in those dark times, in turbulence & testing that the steel of our trust in Christ is proven.
But you already know that. What you must constantly keep before your vision is the reality that your strength must come from God and not merely from within (II Tim. 2:1). In times of deep tribulation, our strength will eventually give out, fade, and collapse. Therefore, it is much easier to rely on Christ’s strength from the very onslaught of trouble rather than to tack it on after our own wears out.
For what it’s worth,
Response: The Science is IN: God is the Answer April 3, 2015Posted by needinc in emPulse, Faith in Culture, Journey, Relationships.
Tags: acceptance, Christians, Clueless, Davis, Dr, Gary, God, religion, spirituality
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For people within the sphere of religion, any religion, Brian Bethune’s & Genna Buck’s article The Science is IN: God is the Answer (McCleans, 30 March 2015), comes as no surprise. People raised in secure loving religious homes tend to have greater skills at facing the realities of adulthood. Children raised within this kind of environment tend to be better equipped at re-defining themselves when they reach both puberty and that “ah-ha” moment we now define as “individuation.” i.e. that phase in life wherein a child ceases to define his/her-self in terms of their parent’s values and creates their own value system, beliefs, and life priorities. Granted, this can be a time of trial & error run amuck; but, hey, that’s what growth and transition are all about. If you get it right the first time, you’re holding on way too tight!
That being stated, I have encountered a LARGE number of twenty-somethings, who come from religious families— conservative Christian, liberal Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim (Sunni/Shiite), and others, who are a psychological mess. Their lives have no borders or boundaries; they can’t make a decision about anything; commitment to anything is terrifying; and their ties to any belief system change hourly. “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
I’m sure Lisa Miller’s (the researcher who studied this topic for 18 years) efforts yielded factually supported data. But I wonder if she ever actually met an adult child from a conservative Christian family? Or Catholic family? Or modern-day Jew? There is very little faith left to their religion. They are, in effect, practical “religious-atheists” who call upon their religious roots in times of disorientation or trouble and then quickly return to their lives as really nice people.
Our societies search for spirituality outside of faith has only yielded a feel-good-faith; certainly not one that will hold up under the pressure of postChristian non-presuppositions about why it’s not all about me. It is, ya know.