470 & 471

here are two cartoons inspired by daves rant (no.11) from the last competition. his ‘statement of faith’ rant (line 4 i think) was what started me thinking. thanks dave! :-) more cartoons of your own inspiring coming soon.

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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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77 Responses to 470 & 471

  1. Forrest says:

    Last time I heard, the statement of faith was “Jesus, be my savior”.

    Ya know, here’s something which just struck me – how likely is it that the “Faith” ends up becoming faith in the statement of faith rather than faith in Jesus?

    WHY is there this consuming, compulsive, seemingly “life-or-death” level NEED for somethng more than “I believe in Jesus”????

    There appears to be a great majority of personality types which have deep insecurity of paralysing proportion unless life is thouroughly ordered, classified, defined, and regimented. Even to the point of going well over the top in these pages long “Statements of Faith”.

    It’s the same thing which gives rise to those, oh I can’t find a sufficient adjective, “Mission Statements” businesses and corporations spout; often reading like a cobbled-together conglomeration of warmfuzzyzen psychobabble catchphrases.

    Knock off all this farting around compiling and defining your “Faith” and “Mission” and just get out and go freaking DO IT!

  2. Jeremy Myers says:

    so true. so true. I’ve seen “death by doctrinal statement” so many times.

  3. Alex says:

    http://darksidechaplaincy.blogspot.com/

    The chaplain’s last few posts seem rather relevant to these strips

    Keep up the striling work. Us students at Soton Uni chaplaincy love it!

  4. Alex says:

    Apologies for the spelling errors, late nights on the dissertation are getting to me.

  5. jonbirch says:

    forrest… couldn’t agree more.

    me too jeremy.

    thanks alex. very interesting posts indeed. very interesting comments also. he’s raised a good point i think. certainly, were i in his shoes, i would be raising the very same question.

  6. jonbirch says:

    all the best with the dissertation alex. :-)
    i’m off to bed… far too late… again! :-)

  7. ben says:

    in a way, a statement of faith can help us to discern what is heresy and what is not. do u find something wrong with the apostles creed? i think its pretty cool when we can in unity as a church say, we believe these things about God, and the trinity and salvation.

    i dont want to be at a church that lets any false gospel slip through because they dont care so much about the truths in the bible.

  8. becky says:

    What I look for are not doctrinal statements but signs of the risen Christ. One thing that I look for are “we” and “us” statements instead of I, me and mine comments. The killer for me is when someone says this is “my ministry.”

    7. As far as discernment – I remember an Australian evangelist who said that we need to be receptive to the Holy Spirit but we also need to discern as a community to see if this is of God or gas. So yes discernment is possible but when people say immediately This is THE answer then we’ve cut off the spirt from doing its work within the community.

  9. Forrest says:

    Hi Ben; you have a good point.

    “We need to nail our colors to the mast!”
    Umm, excuse me, but haven’t we already nailed our Saviour to the cross?

  10. ben says:

    i see ur point becky. we need to walk in the spirit, yet at the same time we must back up what we do with scripture.

  11. Ben W says:

    There is this interesting moment in the latest Trucker Frank video on tonyj.net

    “Jesus is who the Bible says He is.” – Tony
    “Well lets nail that down…”- Pastorboy
    one of the comments there was:
    “I think there has been enough “nailing down” of Jesus already.”

    See the vidoe here

    http://tonyj.net/2008/05/19/on-the-road-with-trucker-frank-webisode-5/

  12. zefi says:

    Have some things that would counter this, but I think I understand Jon’s intention (or at least I think I understand), so I’m gonna hold ma tongue.

    Neway:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaker#Creeds
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silence_%28novel%29

  13. jonbirch says:

    satan, in the wilderness, backs himself up with scripture. anyone can do that.
    what false gospel and whose ‘version’ of ‘the truth?’ where should a statement of faith begin and end? would your statement of faith include the eucharist and if so, what would it say? would you need to sign up to all of it to ‘belong?’ or would your statement be grace filled and able to welcome those who think differently? how would you hold a statement of faith and not be a parrot fashion legalist? is this just another lazy mode of head counting? (we do like to count heads)… is this just another way of enforcing our ‘rightness’ and another way of easily assessing (judging) those who beg to differ?

    i have more questions should you need them. :-)

  14. Guys someone is trina pin me down JUST at this moment in my Church life and its a battle I don’t want. If I do Ill become a museum piece and if I don’t there will be trouble.

  15. Rachel says:

    The second one is so true to me! I have felt pinned down or trapped in a box for about 2 years sue to fear of judgement from a previous church – it was horrid. God broke it tuesday and Ive been completly different ever since!!
    id just encourage all of you, to break out of the box, and resist being pinned down – theres so much more out there for you!

  16. ben says:

    what is a eucharist?

    satan manipulated scripture. how did Jesus respond to Satan? with scripture. surely if its not above our Lord to do so we should do so.
    if you are a christian and walking in the spirit, i cant see how you could twist the gospel.

    in what ways do u mean think differently? i think such theological issues such as calvinism vs armeniasm isnt a big deal.
    however there are many issues which are definitely worth saying “this is a basic belief of Christianity.”
    like Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). or the gospel of Jesus and not Jesus plus speaking in tongues(or some other sort of works) to be saved(Galatians).
    such things i could not see how a christian could argue against.

  17. Robb says:

    I guess for me the statement of faith is a funny one. I believe in the faith of the church. I believe in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe they are revealed through the Bible and creeds. I believe creation speaks of Him. I believe we experience Him through the spirit.

    Statements of faith or ‘vision statements’ in my experience are an extra curricular activity. We have the blueprint of our faith already at Nicea when the canon was canonised and the statement of faith that accompanies it was made. In my experience, ‘statements of faith’ tend to be ‘vision statements’ and are what churches come up with when they feel ineffective. A new begining. A list of what they should be doing already. The last one I saw was a list of “The Big 12″. The problem is when you do that all you are doing is defining the church as it is at this moment. They become out of date and outmoded and then discarded as ineffective and a new one is drawn up. I guess that this is the problem when you try to “pin yourself down” ;) .

    The other problem with these statements is that they tend to be reactionary. Look at the 39 articles for example. Don’t tell me that you are not Roman, tell me what you are! What makes you distinctive. “We are not them” is not good enough!

  18. kate says:

    Interesting, interesting, interesting. I have also struggled with these things, with vision statements being a new list of things that are never lived up to, and often believed to be lived up to. A way of killing of the natural messy order that was actually working until it was made to conform.

    Still, after a conversation with a wise man last night about change and how I can’t do it, I’m quite taken with the idea of naming a few things with which I want to agree with God on, even if I cant do any more than agree. Such as; God’s way is interdependance not independance, people are all loved by God, .. and I dont know what else yet because I’m a slow thinker. But that kind of sounds like a statement of faith doesn’t it? But to me there is something very different about it. It’s an amen, not a 12things I should be doing. It’s an ‘I cant possibly follow you, yet here I am following you’ statement not a ‘to follow you I must believe this and do that and appear like this.

    Interested in others thoughts …

  19. Dave says:

    Very moved by the image here Jon – the pinned butterfly says so much – got lump in throat!

    I find myself in sympathy with David Watson – who I understand said that he ‘believed more and more about less and less’ as he went on in his faith journey. Suspect my best shot at a statement of faith is that ‘we are all bastards and God loves us’. Whilst appreciating the need to have some degree of communality amongst believers it seems to me that our differences are creatively exciting and so often bring out such good stuff – as long as we ‘just keep on talking’ (BT or Pink Floyd!). My other thought on this comes from a story that Fuzz Kito told about a NZ sheep farmer who had looked at an Aussie’s farm and was well impressed – however, he was confused to find no fences – the Aussie farmer said, ‘we don’t need fences as we look after the water holes’ – less fence making and more water hole protection I say!! Thanks Jon – an inspiration – as ever! dave :)

  20. Robb says:

    Nice one Kate. Jesus said follow me but we nailed him down instead.

    It is funny that we try to turn a relationship into a formula. This is why I don’t think tracts and three step converion techniques work. I have a relationship with my wife. I didn’t have it explained to me in a certain way and then have a specific wording to recite before we went to our first gig together [Metallica - she made me buy her a pint. The rest is history]. We didn’t read the ‘first date’ pamphlet* before we went out.

    Why do we try to turn a relationship with Jesus into a formulaic intellectual activity?

    *it doesn’t matter how many different ways I spel this, it still looks wrong.

  21. Dave says:

    nice onee Robb ! dave

  22. If we’re trying to operate in the Christian tradition, then some common understanding of what that tradition is, including how it came to be, is either necessary or, at least, helpful. We learn from those who’ve gone before. (Who is this Jesus? How do we know about him? Why should we trust that information transmission mechanism is valid? What did he do and say? …)

    If we’re following Jesus, he was quite clear that this is a community thing – having a simple summary of where the community “is at” is a tool, in this analogy a compass for finding our way.

    If you’re lost and someone you think you can trust offers a compass…

    Disclaimer: maps, compasses, parables, boots, travel guides, services and other orienteering paraphernalia are not to be mistaken for neither the territory nor the journey.

  23. Errant smiley above. Ho hum ;)

  24. Robb says:

    Well said Beardie ;)

  25. Hmmn, the double negative in the disclaimer is annoying.

  26. Robb says:

    So they are not to be mistaken for anything other than the territory or the journey??
    :lol:

  27. Chris F says:

    The enneagram (a personality tool I like – good as long as you hold it lightly and don’t get too nerdy about it) suggests about 50% of population belong to a type that prefers security, avoids anything unsafe.

    Nothing wrong with this type, they have corresponding strengths – just like all of us no matter which type we happen to be

    But it helps me to understand the game being played. I too play a game – a different one; I get very frustrated by the silliness of my “down” side.

    So it helps me have compassion for those who play the safety game. Hopefully they’ll see it one day for what it is; transformation starts to happen when we have our eyes opened.

    But for a huge number, they will always need things to be defined, safely sorted out. And until they see for themselves the silliness and danger of it – and they’ll never be totally free any more than I will of my silly game – we will all be stuck with statements of faith etc.

    I think love includes letting them be the way they are without needing to fix it – while always holding out an invitation or challenge to let God fix it in his own way

  28. ben says:

    so should we let people believe anything they want?

  29. Robb (25): nah, that’s what it currently says! Too “Yes. Minister”. The “neither … nor” should be an “either … or” to be what I was trying to say.

    Chris F (26): “good as long as you hold it lightly and don’t get too nerdy about it” might sum up the discussion as whole :)

    ben (27): Can you firm up what you mean by “let” please?

  30. Dave says:

    Hi Jonathan – I would argue for common understanding and agreement over processes to explore evolving belief rather than statements of faith that run the risk of pinning butterflies to boards (or ‘witches’ to stakes or heretics to bonfires!). For me these would include dialogue, prayer, scripture, tradition, contemplation, active service, teaching, preaching, worship and a healthy dose of humility (on my part!)Personally if I am to be ‘pinned’ for a statement of faith I quite like the old Nicene creed… :)

  31. jonbirch says:

    ben… i was going to ask the same question as beardie…
    for example… can we ‘make’ someone believe in the virgin birth? we neither can nor should.

    robb no.16. well said.

    your right chris f… the problem i have is that it seems to be the pin it all down folks who rule the roost. so rather than us let them be, i wish they could let everyone else be… but i guess that’s the nature of the problem really.

    i keep coming back to the same place in my thinking… which is, everything is about relationship. everything. that’s why jesus is a better way forward than legalism… god himself has shown us that.

    dave… i agree… and thanks btw. it was your rant got me thinking! :-)

  32. Chris F says:

    “the problem i have is that it seems to be the pin it all down folks who rule the roost” – yes, you’re right Jon, I’m afraid they do. Oh well there’s always the odd satirical cartoonist to knock them off their perch!

  33. Robb says:

    there’s always the odd satirical cartoonist to knock them off their perch

    Can anyone else smell fish?

    I think he’s calling you odd Jon!

  34. drewman says:

    The problem for me with the whole statement of belief stuff is that it becomes all at once comforting and stifling.
    For years I have been comfortable with my (thats mine – from my background, experiences, teachings, opinions etc .) ‘God in a Box’ however recently I have begun to question whether there is more that exists outside of the box. Thats pretty scary if you are coming at this from a point of view that almost seems to worship the statement of faith as much as the God it’s supposed to be about!
    Even worse is when you start to wonder whether the ‘box’ is even relevant anymore. When your understanding of God is so mixed up with a statement/system of belief and you start to question the statement you cannot but help but question God as well. Thats scary, uncomfortable and disquieting.
    Thanks Jon for throwing a sensible lot of questions up in an environment in which that its OK, and not heretical, to ask!

  35. Dave (29): A SoF could emerge out of all of that. But then I’d expect a SoF to just be part of a local church institution’s “here’s roughly where we are” public face (e.g. on a welcome pack brochure, replete with contact details and event timetables [Hmmn, maybe I'm more boxed in in-the-box than I realized... {not that much of thise applies to rural West Yorkshire}]), and not something to string people up with.

    My ideal SoF would be short and have a rather high proportion of embedded vagueness – hard to string people with a small amount of loose, fluffy wool :)

  36. drewman (33): Abuse doesn’t necessarily void proper use.

    A SoF shouldn’t be set in stone and raised on a pedastal – that’s just a mini bibleolatry. Pamphletolatry?

  37. janetp says:

    Dave (29): Your comment has got me thinking. I like where it’s going and I think if we could all focus on these things more, instead of getting hung up on definitions, we might find it easier to be inclusive.

    That said, a certain amount of ‘pinning things down’ seems to be necessary for us as human beings, otherwise we end up believing anything or ‘getting lost’ in the endless possibilities. Certainly, the more I’m asked to ‘sign up’ to a statement of belief (in anything, not just Christian), the more elusive it becomes. Which may mean I’m the kind of wishy-washy (non)thinker I’d like to think I’m not!

    I think, for me, the bottom line is that there is always a tension between not pinning things down enough (= confusion/vagueness) and pinning things down too much (= dogmatic and stiffling). Sometimes I really envy the fundamentalists their certainty, when I feel as if I’m trying to balance on one finger, upside down on a rubber ball which is standing on jelly in a pool of quicksand! I agree with Jon that everything’s about relationship, but relationships don’t seem to lend themselves to being pinned down either!

    On the other hand, with relationships, it rarely (if ever) matters.

    Not a very coherent response to the pictures and this thread, but thanks for letting me ramble. :0)

  38. Dave says:

    #34 – “My ideal SoF would be short and have a rather high proportion of embedded vagueness – hard to string people with a small amount of loose, fluffy wool” – man after my own Heart Jonathan! shalom :)

    #36 – Janet – loved your ramble and tread those paths myself – I get fearful of those who seem so very certain about everything – whatever happened to ‘The God of Surprises’ (Gerard Hughes title – gr8 book!) Dave :)

  39. Hayley says:

    I’m going to read that book soon Dave, I’ll let you know how I get on! xxxx

  40. Carole says:

    I like that book, too, Dave… :)

  41. zefi says:

    Imagine having a Church that declares:

    “We believe that statement of faith are detrimental to one’s relationship with Jesus,”

    or

    “We do not believe in statement of faith.”

    Won’t be long before THAT becomes their statement of faith.

    Statement of faith is like the basics in learning to drive a car. You need to know the basics, but knowing all the basics is not all there is to know. To be a good driver, you need to go outside there and drive. But the basics are essential, whether one is indoctrinated by others, or even if one is crudely self-taught.

  42. TyTe says:

    I like the idea of statement of faith. Every month you get a letter through the letterbox with a list of how you spent your faith each day. Of course, you’d scan to the bottom line to see what your faith balance is like and whether you’re overdrawn.

  43. ben says:

    hey jon. yeah what i meant is that if someone in your church is saying, “hey guys, i just received this revelation that i SHOULD sin because that way God will get more glory out of saving me!” what should u say to that? should the people in this mans church let him believe what he wants? or should they show him where he has gone wrong?

  44. ben says:

    i agree though that you can mouth off doctrine in a statement of faith on sunday or whatever and then live the other 6 days of the week completely forgetting that Jesus is Lord.

  45. ben says:

    sorry if this doesnt make sense its almost 3am here and ive been finishing an assignment :|

  46. janetp says:

    Drewman (33): Hey! I’m not the only one! :0) And neither are you.

    I’ve always had a questioning faith, and have never been afraid to say “I don’t know”, but at this point in time, I find myself questioning everything to the point where I don’t think I could make a personal statement of faith at all (however woolly – though I love Jonathan (beardie)’s suggestion)!

    It’s as if I’ve suddenly outgrown my previous view of the whole God/faith thing (although, like with growing out of clothes, it hasn’t happened overnight; rather, I’ve realised overnight), and I find myself searching for a new understanding of (relationship with?) what faith means to me – what I believe and what, if any, statement of faith I’m comfortable with.

    At the same time, I still feel very much supported and enriched by my ‘church’ community, both locally and in the wider sense, and I’m lucky that my immediate congregation is fairly open-minded when it comes to questioning, so although I don’t necessarily feel I can share the full extent of my questionning at the moment, I do at least feel it is a sufficiently inclusive environment for me to continue to belong while I go through the process.

    The odd thing is that, even though I’m not actually sure if I even believe God – in the personal, personified sense – exists (as opposed to being a comfortable anthropomorphisation on my own part of a wider ‘power’ in the universe), somehow, somewhere I still feel ‘tethered’ to something/one real with a ‘cord’ so strong (please excuse the flowery language, but I don’t know how else to describe it) that it can easily take the strain of me ‘jumping of the cliff’ as it were.

    There is a risk in all this that I will end up having an unrecognisably different faith (atheism, for example), or maybe (to all intents and purposes) none at all, but at the deepest part of me, beneath all my doubts and questions and tying myself in knots, there is this … thing that feels unbreakable. I can’t explain it.

    Finally, I’ve just borrowed a book called “I Believe, I Doubt” by Gunter Weber. I’ve only just started reading it, so can’t comment fully, but it might be of interest to some of you who are doing a lot of questionning at the moment.

    Dave (37): Thanks for the encouragement.

    Good luck to all you fellow questionners! :0)

  47. sarah says:

    Forrest – YES!

    Just want to do it don’t give a flying **** about that.

    Sas

  48. sarah says:

    Rachel 14 Yippee!

    Glad :-)

  49. becky says:

    42. Ben – I was in a situation like the one you described and it imploded in my face – yes I was ‘right” but my response was far from Christlike. I struggle with this a lot when I see someone engaging in self-destructive behavior because my parents died from alcoholism so I know what can happen when this behavior runs its course. In fact, I just had another blow-up because I “tried” to help someone before they wreck their career.

    What i realized is that while I cared about these people, we didn’t have the kind of relationship where they would hear me in love but instead they saw me as a strict legalist.

    To me – Setting up a doctrinal system is the Pharisees’ method that issues a law without love.
    What blows my mind about Jesus is that his concept of radical love enabled him to LOVE people first and foremost and once they knew they were loved, then he began to instruct them in his image.

  50. subo says:

    how good to feel there’s a space in life to rant about stuff – here goes,

    “Why do Christian organizations slap a mug shot of a shiny square bloke on their info stuff?”

    I puke every time, I don’t need any photos of smug shiny men in my in box.

    just to set the record straight, I like guy’s, I like blokes, I just don’t like bossy shiny smug ‘older brother’ men

  51. I stumbled upon your cartoons by accident, and I think they are great.
    I posted one on a blogpost of mine, with a link to your blog at the end of the post.
    cheers!

  52. jonbirch says:

    thanks ignatia. :-)

    nice rant subo! :-)

    hi ben… i agree with becky on this. it goes back to relationship again. i’d probably say to the person ‘what are you talking about you daft git!’ :-) hope the writing’s going well. :-)

    janetp… thanks for the honesty. honesty begets honesty. :-)

    drewman… you are welcome. boxes are deathly… according to the bible, jesus broke out of the one they put him in! when we inherit our faith i guess we inherit a minefield of nonsense too… blessings friend. :-)

  53. Joe says:

    “What blows my mind about Jesus is that his concept of radical love enabled him to LOVE people first and foremost and once they knew they were loved, then he began to instruct them in his image.”

    Awesome!

  54. Robb says:

    So how does the God who is the same yesterday today and forever fit into this?

  55. jonbirch says:

    there you go again robb… trying to get god to fit into something! :-) :-) :-)

  56. These are timely toons for me. I’ve only been ‘back’ for a year and read the word with new, older eyes (I was about 14 when I last read it…euuuu almost 30 years ago) and I’ve been hung up about finding a church to worship with. Only tried 2 and sat there thinking ‘WHERE did they get this stuff from?’
    Listened to and talked to people from various denominations and fell into the trap of thinking I had it all wrong; my faith was wrong, weak and misguided. The initial bright flame was nigh on extinguised.
    I told a pastor friend that, for now, I’m better as a Christian out in the world than one who feels like they have to fit in with a set of rules I don’t totally agree with. He was appalled.
    Statements of faith can’t please all of the people all of the time but where does it end?
    I had some silly idea that I would find a church I could fellowship with, grow with, get support and be supportive with; instead I found rules that must be obeyed and an ‘our way of doing things’ that has disappointed me beyond belief.
    Confused of Yorkshire!

  57. jonbirch says:

    unless you’re one of those for whom all of the rules gives you a sense of security, church can be a very hard place to be. sure, you can meet people, sure you can get on… but what about when you need to be completely honest? what about when you don’t agree and hit a brick wall of judgment.
    know that you are not alone botticelliwoman. :-)

  58. Joe says:

    The Inerrancy of scripture – is it from God or Man?

    Unlike most modern church statements of faith, the very first Christian statement of faith – the 325 A.D Nicene Creed – makes no mention of scripture whatsoever, OT or NT. I find this strange given that 300 years after Christ’s death all of the NT literature (in addition of course to the old) would by now have been in regular circulation throughout the early church.

    I find this omission by the early Christians from their statement of faith nothing short of heretical. In fact, I’d go as far as to question their salvation. I mean, how could they not have heard of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy?

  59. jonbirch says:

    a very good point very well made joe.

  60. Joe says:

    Don’t get me wrong though Jon. I think the Bible is an awesome collection of literature which can and does inspire us all.

    But the moment the church created the doctrine of inerrancy, intolerance came to our town :(

  61. jonbirch says:

    well said again. i agree.

  62. Just brooding on this in the garden, I decided the only SoF I could happily adhere to is; To become more Christlike and to help and support the body, whatever it takes, to achieve this for themselves….there, I feel better already…LOL

  63. jonbirch says:

    amazing what a bit of brooding’ll do! :-)

  64. just brooded on what I was brooding on and thought…that’s probably what they said before they started the inquisition….aaaarrrrgggghhhh

  65. jonbirch says:

    amazing what a bit of brooding on brooding’ll do… doh! :-)

  66. subo says:

    this is an obvious point, but I’ll still make it – the daft thing about pinning butterfly’s down is, that God gave them wings.

    for me it’s the unwritten rules in churchs that get me down, like we’re supposed to look up the the minister, wear the right thing and not admit to watching Bill Hicks

    it’s that feeling of you can only be in if your in, and there’s an important leadership structure to bow down too, all of which feels more like playground taunting than community, and yet there’s so much of it.

    and just suppose God has got some cheeky plans for us, to reach out to others or something weird – how can you do that without wings?

  67. subo says:

    it’s the chalk and cheese stuff of them and us.

    those in authority, who got their ticket at bible college, and those who’s real life experiences are of no account

    so sit quietly, and try not to gasp at the comments from the front, – from someone who clearly has no experience of going to work

  68. Robb says:

    Sorry Jon, unfortunate turn of phrase. Ironic given that in my mind I had the eternal God who sits outside of time and the universe wilst interacting with a universe that is inside both space and time. I guess that is the problem with the English language.

    My sentiment is still unchanged. How do we fit this in with the God who is the same yesterday to day and for ever?

    [Is that a better way around? :lol: ]

  69. steve lancaster says:

    Guys, have you heard of “People Like Us”? She’s a DJ/Artist called Vicky Bennett.

    She edits ‘dead’ film and sound recordings of 50s Public Information Films and scraps of kitsch songs together into something new. They don’t lose their meaning, but gain new meaning by the way she blends and cuts them all. This is her fantastic website: http://www.peoplelikeus.org/

    We do the same with our religious texts, songs, statements of faith and testimonies, don’t we? All our dead butterflies and colourless banners stay the way they are, but when they are ‘layered’, and infused with the breath of lived experience, a new meaning is set free – about how Love enables us to transcend all the paraphenalia.

    The point is, that we can articulate our transcendance of all this particular stuff, because the stuff exists in the first place. It was lived once before. In that sense our message is particular to here and now – it’s new. But the core – the Love, God – is timeless. Like Robb said, the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Arguing to keep one bit of creed but not another is like saying “All paintings should be like the Mona Lisa, with a smile stuck literally somewhere on them.” Arguing to ditch all the dead stuff is like saying “We’ve painted enough people already. The galleries are full. Let’s just stop painting people. Forever.” But a “People Like Us” church is one where all the creeds, even if they contradict one another, can be drawn upon to create new life, precisely because they contradict one another. It’s not the only way of doing church, but it’s a very important new way.

    I think!

  70. steve lancaster says:

    Vicki, not Vicky!

  71. Forrest says:

    Hey Steve;

    What you’re thinking sounds well worth the thought.

    “The point is, that we can articulate our transcendance of all this particular stuff, because the stuff exists in the first place. It was lived once before. In that sense our message is particular to here and now – it’s new. But the core – the Love, God – is timeless. Like Robb said, the same yesterday, today and forever.”

    It is so easy to get into a lengthy negative tack in these strings – life is riddled through with faults and disappointments, no denying that – when what one sees looking across the world is distressing it is time to work at looking above the world for encouragement and hope. We need to be reminded that though it seems man and church are bent on descending we have the freely given love and uplifting of a transcendent God.

  72. becky says:

    Here in the states, we can trace what we call “fundamentalists back to the Niagara Bible Conferences that started in 1890 – so when many fundys say “Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it,” they are speaking a modern tone.

    Given the early Christians were still operating out of an oral tradition of story telling replete with poetry, metaphor and other literary devices my guess is biblical literalism wasn’t at the top of their list – they seemed to be more focused on living out the scriptures than memorizing them.

  73. jonbirch says:

    haha robb… sorry for being so cheeky. it was fine the other way round too! :-) still thinking about the question you posed.
    thing is, god may be unchanging… but i only ever grasp tiny weeny bits at a time… and then only from ever changing angles. btw… it’s me who does the shifting.
    god may be unchanging… but how could you ever pin down that which is bigger than the universe. i can’t even pin down one star… i can’t even pin down those who i love the most and know the best. i can’t even pin myself down.

  74. deaconandusher says:

    Love your point of view…..

    Deacon & Usher were here

    deaconandusher.wordpress.com

  75. Pingback: Speaking of Statements of Faith « my four walls

  76. AIMEE says:

    THIS IS TOTALLYMAD!

  77. Pingback: Jessie

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