Monday, July 17, 2006

Gutsy Faith - Week1

Okay, this is my first post for the Gutsy Faith discussion group. It's a group of people brought together to read and share my friend Jeff Edmondson's new book Gutsy Faith (I designed the cover for the book!). We are suppose to blog on our readings each week and we get together on Tuesdays and discuss what we have read, so let's get started, feel free to follow along, heck, buy the book and really follow along! I am going to go through the discussion questions on here and I may go off on tangents of my own, but it's my blog, so I can.

Chapter 1 - Where Guts Begins

What does it mean to you to have Gutsy Faith? - To me it means trusting in God with everything I am. Trusting God has created me for God's perfect plan, that God's will is the best for my life, is the best for God's kingdom. It means trusting in God's word, in God's promise to me, trusting God without compromise. This applies to EVERY area of my life. I think we (american Christians) have a serious problem trusting God to provide our every need, we feel we have to earn as much as we can, to get ahead because the future is unknown, we have a terrible fear of the future. Fear seems to drive the very culture of this country, to truly trust God we have to learn to rise above that fear. This has got to be one of the most difficult parts for me.

Name at least 5 people in the course of your life whom you see as having gutsy faith. - This one is hard for me to answer. I am not sure I know anyone who lives a completely gutsy faith, I am not sure it is humanly possible, we are a fallen people. Different people in my life, and some outside of it have been great examples of gutsy faith. My wife teaches me each day what it really means to trust and to love God, just through our relationship with each other. Some people who I would look to as really obvious examples of gutsy faith are St. Francis, St. Benedict, John Wesley, Mother Teresa, and Dorothy Day. These people to me had more gutsy in their faith then anyone. They trusted God enough to give EVERYTHING of themselves for God and God's kingdom. They lived their lives in a manner that put God and other before self. They gave up ways of life, completely trusting God to provide, so they could spread the gospel and lay down their lives for others. This, to me is what gutsy faith is really all about.

Chapter 2- Yes, No, or Later?

In this chapter Jeff is focusing on the idea that it is never God's desire to say "no" to God's children. That is an interesting statement, I am not sure I agree with that or not, it is a pretty complicated idea. On one hand, I don't think God would ever say or do anything outside of His perfect will, and therefore I think God would, and does quite often say "no" to our prayers, because our prayers are often driven out of selfishness, or sometimes even out of good, but misguided, intention. On the other hand, if you are praying as you should, for God's will to be done despite what that means you may have to do or give up, then God would only answer "yes". The problem comes down to interpreting God's will, knowing what that looks like in our lives. I don't have the confidence to claim I have any idea what that looks like, so when I pray I try to pray that God's will be done, whether I know or "agree" with it or not. The hard part is making sure you allow God to take control of your life enough to lead you by God's will.

Chapter 3 - Everything He Asked For

This chapter is based on the idea that God always gave Christ everything He asked for (giving Matt. 14:13-23 as an example of this). My first reaction was "what about that whole 'take my cup from me'" scene in the garden of  Gethsemane? But at the end of the chapter Jeff tells me to hold my horses, he will get to that later, so I will take his word on that. I can't wait to see what he has to say about it. The premises of Jeff's statement makes sense to me though. Christ would never  ask for anything outside of God's will, Christ is the son of God, but at the same time also God. God and Jesus share one good and perfect will, they can not be separated, so to me it makes perfect sense that God answered Jesus with "yes" at all times.

If God always answered Jesus' requests with a yes, do you think it's possible for Him to answer all your requests with yes? - I suppose it is, if my will lines up with God's will, which I am sure, as a fallen being it rarely does. But if I keep my desire set on that, on having my will be God's will, then I am at least growing in that direction. And I know for a fact that is one prayer God does not answer "no" to.

So, in conclusion, I would like to ask that God break my stubborn will, mold me into His own perfect will, make it one with His. This is my prayer as I start this journey of  gutsy faith.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Recent Recommendations

Lately I have been enjoying quit a bit of good music, literature, and some other random stuff. I thought I would share some of it with my loyal readers (both of you).


A New Kind of Christian - Brian McLaren

Okay, I have put up a fight about this whole "emergent church" and "post-modern" thing. They have become such buzz words these days, it drives me crazy. Because of this I have been avoiding McLaren as well. Well, I finally caved and check out A New Kind of Christian from the library.

What an great book! Never before have I felt so much like someone opened up my head, ripped out my thoughts, and communicated them in a much better manner then I ever could have.

I was a little anoyed with how the very idea of the book somewhat contradicts the subject manner, McLaren is defiantly more "modern" then I think he would admit, but I also think that is needed. The book really breaks post-modern thought down in a modern sort of way. For a modern to truly understand post-modernity they need it explained by someone who understands modernity, in modern terms. I could not do this, guys like Donald Miller could not do this, we are to "post-modern", but McLaren is amazing at doing this. I think he is a modern with a strong draw towards post modernity, one who kind of bridges the gap if you will. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might feel like the modern church has left them out in the cold or feeling like a misfit, or anyone who wants understand why the church is loosing my generation at an alarming rate.

Through Painted Deserts - Donald Miller

I have become a fan of Miller recently. He is most famous for his book, Blue Like Jazz which is also I great book I would recommend, but Jazz left me with wanting more from his writing, the idea of the book defiantly out shined the writing style of it. Jazz kind of felt drumbed down and simplified. Not so with Through Painted Deserts. This book to me seemed more honest and pure then Jazz. It is actually a story of a road trip Miller took with a friend earlier in his life, leading him from where he grew up in Texas to where he now resides, in Oregon.

What I like the most about this book is how he takes the simple events of this journey and really lets the reader reflect on how God moved through him during those few months. There is no set out structure of "God will do this, God taught me this, God proved that to me" it is just an honest memoir of his travels that allow the reader to learn from those experiences in any way God is teaching them through Millers story (very "post-modern"). I think that is something really lacking from books in the "christian industry" where there are way to many books that tell you what you are "suppose to" get out of them instead of letting God use the book in your life any way He sees fit. Props to Miller on this one. I recommend it, esp. for anyone in a transitional period in their life.


Ships - Danielson

This is by far my favorite new album of 2006 so far. I also can tell you right now that not all of you are going to like it. Danielson (aka: Brother Danielson, the Danielson Famile, Dan Smith) to me represents the basic musical emotion of honest child like joy and innocence. If you are someone who takes things very seriously you won't get it, so don't bother. It is the kind of music that if you can bare with for a few minutes it will force you to smile and you won't stop until the album is over. Danielson touch's on some very deep and sometimes dark subject manner with his writing, but there is a constant thread of hope and joy strung through everything he does that to me is a perfect example of that child like joy and faith that can be found in Christ. Danielson is truly one of the most creative Christian artists to come around in a long time. You can witness what an effect creativity can have when you witness how successful he has been outside the "christian industry". Sadly it is also evidence that sometimes the world values creativity more then Christians do. That needs to change.

So, if you want something completely new, completely dif rent, and completely wonderful, check out Ships esp. tracks 1-4.

The Eraser - Thom Yorke

The Eraser is Thom Yorke's (front man for Radiohead) solo debt album. It is a wonderful beautiful piece of art.

If you are a Radiohead fan, this album is a must. If you find Radiohead inaccessible or weird, this album may be a better place to start then a Radiohead album. It is basically a tamer, easier to listen to and easier to understand Radiohead. Not as groundbreaking as each new Radiohead album, but just as beautiful. Get it!

Reprieve - Ani DiFranco

Ani has never been one who was afraid to speak her mind and tell you what she thinks about something.  That alone is reason to love her music. Then she combines it with a creative brand of folk rock that only she can bring and her passionate vocals that make you believe she really could change the world.

Whether you agree with her world view or not, this is a great musician with a lot of heart that anyone could enjoy. Give Reprieve a listen.


Kansas City T-Bones baseball: Because the Royals are terrible and Independent League baseball is fun.

Mt. Magazine State Park: Because the Rockies and Cascades are to far away.

My blog (shameless plug): Because in the next few weeks I will be going through a book called Gutsy Faith (which I designed) with a group of people and discussing it each week right here.