Tenacity and Disruptions – Consider What I Say

jesus2bpraying “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”  2 Timothy 2. [NASV]

     Thinking, thinking, thinking. We do a lot of that in our evangelical enclave. We want to get things right. We want to think Biblically; from studying the Bible, to theology to worship to communication. Even Paul the apostle encourages us to consider what I say….  He must have had some sense that what he was writing carried some weight with Timothy.

     I wonder if the people I’ve taught over the years still consider the things I have said. Then again, do I still listen to the voices that come into my life? I feel like I still have a lot to learn.

     Heeding what others say to us, taking it to heart, may be just the way our Lord is driving home His point of what He has designed us for. His guidance comes in many forms— first, of course, is through the revelation we know as the Bible. That is inspired by God and binding on all humanity for all time. But the second, specific to us individually, may come from a consensus in a meeting, a whisper from your wife or husband as you nod off to sleep, or even through a little child in your neighborhood.

     Our Lord helps us understand His divine revelation and His personal guidance through many means. Do not try to tie Him down to our boxes of form and focus. He is full of surprises! I once heard the voice of God coming through an 11-year-old boy I was chatting with in a hallway at First Baptist Church, in Amherst, MA. Wasn’t looking for it, no buildup to it in our talk: just Boom! I don’t think he ever knew.

     When our Lord gives us understanding He also expects us to do something with what we now know. Has God been speaking to you about anything new through Scripture, or a non-descript 11-year-old boy, or someone else? Take heed. For as understanding comes, so does our responsibility to act.

     I end with a warning. Never put yourself in a position where you cannot hear your Father speaking to you. Stay immersed in Scripture. Have your “God’s-voice antennae” always fine tuned and ready to listen. [See I Samuel 3; Samuel, the Lord, & Eli.]

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference.


Dr. Gary Davis, President

NEXT— Being a Christian in a postChristian world.

Mindless Christianity

 Mindless Christianity                 Imagine if you will a recent Study released by the Pew Research Center that showed Christianity to be the one religion that people are fleeing from, more than any other religion in the world.


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,


Rethinking Thinking

Clueless, Christianity, Christian, Book, Dr, Gary, DavisRethinking Thinking:

                                    the non-propositional nature of truth.

By now you’re probably thinking—

Okay, are you suggesting that the way Christians have thought about their faith for hundreds of years no longer fits this postmodern culture? And what about this non-propositional Truth stuff? This is getting more than a little weird.

Actually, Christians throughout history have articulated their faith differently, depending upon individual cultural setting. Some are more experiential than theological; some are more communally based than hierarchical; some have a minimal understanding of the theology of their faithbut hold a deep commitment to Christ in what they do know. So as we rethink the thinking about our faith in North American culture, we must to be careful to not create an historical assumption that things “have always been the same.” We must to be willing to reexamine our present-day view of the Christian faith and how it is expressed and understood. Over time I have learned to not be so attached to my words. I even joke about it— “Hey I could be wrong; I haven’t made my mistake for this year yet!” Nonetheless, to challenge the process of thinking does seem, even to me, a tad arrogant. I do so with a great sense of personal fear and large regret that a great era has gone and could be lost forever. The Modern Era has given the world so much—from consolidated nations [mostly], to incredible scientific discoveries and never imagined medical breakthroughs, to established theological constructs for our faith, to world trade, and to space exploration. During the Modern era the battle between religion and science won and lost, lost and won, on both sides.


Think about it—  If you updated this thinking and applied it to any religion, what you might find is a religion not entirely devoid of rational thought, but one where rational explanations of reality, took their proper place in back of actual experiences. It then interpreted them in light of religious thought, revelation, or tradition.[i]  For the past 350-500 years Western Christianity has been a reflection of modern, logical thought patterns. These thought patterns focused on “defending the faith,” debating the opposition, and developing a cohesive world-and-life view which overshadowed the vibrant work of God in our midst. We have raised the Bible to such a divine level as to virtually eclipse the God of the Bible with the words that tell us about him! The wine glass has replaced the glory of the Wine.

Please hear me out on this point. Evangelicals are “people of the Book,” we proudly proclaim. Not, mind you, that I am not a student of the Bible myself. It is the grass-roots of my faith sticking through my toes. It is the one, solely reliable source for Christians to learn about their faith, its foundations in Judaism, its founding, its history, and its implications for living before the God Who made us in this world He created. It is Truth revealed in writing. The Bible is no less, I repeat, than God telling us things He knew we would not be able to figure out from merely looking around. It sets forth the precepts, principles, and practice of what it means to truly be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is 66 individual books, letters, historical documents, collections of poetry, and future prophesies woven together over 4,000 years by 40 ± writers with one central theme— the redemption and fulfillment of the human race by the God who created us. That’s no small feat. The Bible’s internal consistencies, cohesiveness and congruency alone attest to its veracity. It is a book like no other ever written.

But as much as the Bible portrays the mighty works of God throughout history it is not the end-all of end-alls. When I was in college I majored in philosophy (duh). My specialization was language philosophy. I learned that, in any language, words have referents. That is, the word points to the object, the idea, the subject. It is NOT the object itself, it is the sign, the symbol, or the pictogram which represents the object. For example, when I say cow, your mind forms an image of the real thing. I do not know whether your mind’s cow is black, brown, Guernsey or what. That would require you to ask “What kind of cow?” But you would have the basic cow image-idea down pat. Applying this simple linguistic principle to the Bible, it can be stated that the Bible, with its historical sections, poetry, prophesies, and letters, is the tag that points us to God. It describes God for us; it clarifies His conditions for us to live on this planet, it sets forth His rules of protection for human relationships; it informs us of the consequences of our actions, here and later; it sets forth Truth as God defines it.

So, in one sense, the Bible, the Word of God, is the Truth; but in another sense it is only the Truth-Tag, the reference, the word, that points us all to the object of the Word— Jesus Christ, God Himself. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”[ii] In the modern era, with a common acceptance of logical-sequential thought, this simple observation was not particularly important; but in a postmodern era, where the logical process has moved from its basis in sequential word-tag-reference explanations of stuff to a basis in life-experience and our responses to them, this distinction becomes eminently critical. To the point, the nature of Truth itself is shifting from a rational/logical-sequential propositional-base to an individual-experience one.  Truth is moving from an exclusively propositional position to one that is far more personal, far more individualistic. NOT, as some would have us believe, a personal, individualistic rendition of reality; but, rather, a position reflective of one’s personality and preferences. Lost yet? This is important to grasp so hang on.

To keep reading, you can find the book on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.


[i] Applying postmodern thought to religion is not entirely precise. It is actually postmodern thought applied ONLY to Christianity. No other traditional religion (Islam, Hinduism, Budhism, Judism) would allow postmodern thought to be applied to it. They are not concerned with the effects postmodernism has on them as yet. They stand outside the circle of influence of the shift. Some retain their traditions fiercely; others simply hang in a sort of limbo, culturally. But their children will have some concern. There will be little difference between a postmodern Jew, Muslim, Budhist, or Hindu. Will there be that much distinction for the postmodern Christian? Hummmm.

[ii] John 1:14. NIV Bible.

Forgetting to Think

One of life’s greatest pitfalls is forgetting to think. Rushing ahead to make a snap decision, allowing emotion or passion to have unabated reign, plunging headfirst (not necessarily with brain in tow) into fool-hearty acts, all have eventual consequences. Sometimes these consequences can be quite serious; unwanted pregnancy, loss of life (your own, for one), the unintentional ending of another’s life, loss of a job, divorce, loss of trust. Forgetting to think is, well…, thoughtless.

Assembling the proper ingredients in the mixing bowl of the mind is fundamental to the thought process— gathering information, insight & opinion from others, testing the idea, waiting…, waiting some more. Asking, What could go wrong with this course of action? What is the probability it might go wrong? What is the seriousness if it does? Build a model or prototype, if appropriate.

Of course, if you are between the ages of 13-21, little of this may matter. Your hormones have undoubtedly circumvented your thought processes and you are predisposed to act on the moment’s emotion with thinking, and regrets, following later. If you are 21-40, you are more than likely to think about yourself and how you can get ahead or what’s in it for me. [We seem to become such a needy species in this period.] To be sure, though, some of us are not like this: we think of what we can give to better serve our planet and its inhabitants. We are known as the humanitarians, the servants of industry, social workers, missionaries, soldiers…, the ones who give their lives for the lives of others.

If you are between ages 40-60, you are (or should be) thinking about what you will leave behind— your legacy, the impression that will remain with those who follow. If you have not built a foundation for this stage it may be a strenuous time on the road, a surprising time. But it is also a critical one in life’s journey.

Wherever you are along the road of life, the shift to thinking will be sparked by one common consideration— thinking about the effects your actions have on others rather than thinking about what you can personally gain. To never come to this point, no matter your age, is to decide to live a life of perpetual self-gratification and self-absorption. It is to instill an incessant imbalance within between personal desire and human responsibility and kindness toward others.

May God help you!

Or…, change.  Think about it.

Have a nice day,