Thursday, 10 December 2009

Twenty Four

No man is an island. That's aphrase someone said once and people thought it was cool so people say it now like it means something. Well whatever, if i was an island I think I know what my National Anthem would be. Twenty Four by Switchfoot. The Part:

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

I guess that's what I want. I think lots of people want it. People like me, struggling throught their own thoughts, trying to follow their heart and their God and work out which parts meet botht those requirements, which don't and live in the tension of that.

I do wan't to see miracles.

I wan't to change the world in a small bit.

I desire purpouse, meaning and direction.

I need these things. And I guess the christian thing to say is I find them all in God. That's great. In theory. But I live in reality. And I'm still on a journey to find them. Who wants to join me?

MK

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Why I'm Emergent: My Theology

If you like to read my blog for light reading or a challenging thought this may not appeal to you.
I feel it is importan to know what you believe and while I do not like fully associating myself with any umberellas of the Christian faith I feel an association with the emerging church and these beliefs.

Post-evangelical:
A belief in the need for personal conversion
A high regard for biblical authority
An emphasis on the death and ressurection of Jesus
I encourage engagement with the arts
I encourgae sensitivity towards homosexuals

Post-liberal:
Theological rationality is not to be rooted in the authority of the individual (cogito ergo sum, "I think, therefore I am") but in the language and culture of a living tradition of communal life. The Christian faith be equated with the religious feelings nor the propositions of a rationalist or fundamentalist approach to religion. Rather, the Christian faith is understood as a culture and a language, in which doctrines are likened to a second-order "grammar" upon the first-order language and culture (practices, skills, habits) generated by the scriptural narrative.

Neo-charismatic:
I embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit including glossolalia (speaking in tongues), healing, and prophecy. I encourage the practice of laying on of hands and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, however, unlike Pentecostals, I not expect a specific experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit as a requirement for those gifts.

Post-Modern Theology:
I challenge the modern church on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon.

Generous orthodoxy:
Some emerging church leaders see interfaith dialogue a means to share their narratives as they learn from the narratives of others.Some Emerging Church Christians believe there are radically diverse perspectives within Christianity that are valuable for humanity to progress toward truth and a better resulting relationship with God, and that these different perspectives deserve Christian charity rather than condemnation.

Authenticity and conversation:
creating a safe environment for those with opinions ordinarily rejected within modern conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Non-critical, interfaith dialog is preferred over dogmatically-driven evangelism in the movement.

Communitarian or egalitarian ecclesiology:
Church is not an institution but a fraternity.
Church as interpersonal community.
Church as a fellowship of persons - a fellowship of people with God and with one another in Christ.
Connects strongly with the mystical 'body of Christ' as a communion of the spiritual life of faith, hope and charity.
Resonates with Aquinas' notion of the Church as the principle of unity that dwells in Christ and in us, binding us together and in him.
All the external means of grace, (sacraments, scripture, laws etc) are secondary and subordinate; their role is simply to dispose people for an interior union with God effected by grace.

I am also drawn to the idea of New Monasticism:

The Twelve Marks of new monasticism
express the common thread of many new monastic communities. These "marks" are:
1.Relocation to the "abandoned places of Empire" [at the margins of society]
2.Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
3.Hospitality to the stranger
4.Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
5.Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
6.Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
7.Nurturing common life among members of intentional community
8.Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
9.Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
10.Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
11.Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
12.Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life

And if you're still with me I believe in Substitutionary atonement ;)

MK

Monday, 23 November 2009

But Was Jesus Funny??

Romans 8:29 (New International Version - UK)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

This verse is the verse that many LOVE to talk about as it gives us a chance to hear thie views on predestination. Luckily for you I'ts not predestination thats been on my mind. It's the next bit.

"to be conformed to the likeness of his Son"

We are to become like Jesus..

And what? I hear you say, We've had this drummed into us for years, be nice, love the trees, turn the other cheek blah blah blah! But this has been troubling me recently. I feel I'm on some sorta journey. You could call it finding myself if thats not too Dawsons Creek-esque. And I'm finding I try so hard to be a million people. I want to have the swagger of Liam Gallagher, be as attention grabbing as Russell Brand whilst dressing like a young Alex Turner and quoting Pete Doherty lyrics... I guess I try to be like all these people because I respect them. I respect Jesus and all but how can I be like him?? How did he dress? was Jesus funny? what kind of muisc did he listen to? You see these are the things I think of when trying to be like somebody, because I'm obsessed with the exterior. People can see that and thats what matters right?

"People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

Oh..

I see..

I'm kinda getting this now.. but what is the heart? how does Jesus want my heart? how do I change my heart? when you have a 'change of heart' it normally isn't because you decided to.. right?

Guess God can change our hearts though? break them, shape them? we just have to give them to him..

but that might mean he changes us..

and I'm pretty funny and great. Difficult. I'm slowly figuring out I'm not that great though. God is great. And Jesus is great. And I've got to spend time with him letting him seep into my heart. easy said (typed) not easy done.

Not all journey's are easy and I'm on a journey. I don't know if people read this. or if they are on a journey. I hope so. and I hope you are

MK

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Just For Fun- Albums Of The Decade

Just thought as all the music magazines were doing it I would post up my top albums of the decade as it is coming to the end!

10. Nine Days- The Madding Crowd
9.Switchfoot- The Beautiful Letdown
8.Oasis- Don't Believe The Truth
7.Robbie Williams- Escapology
6.Brian Houston- Three Feet From Gold
5.The Strokes- Is This It?
4.Bloc Party- Silent Alarm
3.The Libertines- Up The Bracket
2. The Streets- Original Pirate Material
1. Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Just thought I'd take a break from the heavier thinking for this wee post :)

MK

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Do You Love Me Enough To Let Me Go?


It has been a while.
Ive been thinking a lot about love... I guess everybody does.. everybody wants to fall in love. Look at the charts they are full of songs about love. 'fight for this love', 'everybody in love,' 'you've got the love' and thats just three songs in this weeks uk top 40!

But why are we never satisfied with the love we give eachother?

This is a question John Foreman has been asking, on the new Switchfoot album (it is awesome) there is a song called 'Enough To Let Me Go' it caught my attention straight away with lines like:

"Do you love me enough to let me go?
To let me follow through
To let me fall for you, my love
Do you love me enough to let me go?"

I wondered what he was talking about! is it a break-up song, a make up song a get together song? whats the problem with love? but that is the problem.. love between people is a bit broken, its got a bit twisted..

John Foreman himself says this of the song:

"In our barcode media, love is often portrayed as consumption. As consumers in a commercial driven culture we can begin to view other souls as objects, or potential cures for our deepest fears and insecurities. Perhaps if I found the right lover I would no longer feel this deep existential despair. But of course no human soul could be the Constant Other, the face that will never go away. Only the infinite can fill that role. But the silence can be deafening. It's a fearful thing to be alone. Do you love me enough to let me go? "I can't live without you"- I would die if you ever left me"- These are not the songs of love, these are the songs of consumption."

And I guess thats true.. no human soul can save me from whatever it is i need. Only God. Thtas easy to say though? Its not easy lived out. I look for people to fill that space. Attention, adoration, girls.

I've been re-reading 'Through Painted Deserts' By Donald Miller and in it his mate Paul says to him:

"I have just been thinking how what we really want is forpeople to love us. God, girls, friends, parents. It seems like life is all about that stuff, you know." "...I just feel like God put us here to enjoy Him...that He is love."

Paul was right.. I guess thats what love is all about.. God.

I don't think these meandering thoughts make much sense but I pray they will... resonate with someone... that we can all forget about trying to earn everyones love, we can stop using 'love' for our own selfishness and that we understand that God is love. and we enjoy him...

Life is a journey right?

I was going to end this with something funny and smart.. to try and make you love me more I suppose.. But I'm learning that I don't always have to be the Funny guy all the time.. I'm allowed to question, to ponder and to wonder...

Perhaps You will love me enough to let that go?

MK

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Public Speaking

Ok, i go to the Irish Baptist Bible College and every Wednesday we have a public speaking class where we just have to practice addressing audiences. Last week we were told to try and come up with something serious to say. So this week I shared the things about the modern day church that frustrate me. It felt good. So now I want to share these with everyone

It frustrates me when helping the community is dismissed as being just a 'social gospel'.
It annoys me when all successful american pastors are scrutinised until we can find fault with thme, point the finger and declare them a heretic.
It frustrates me when we create a hierarchy of sin. One that accepts the gkutons, the gossips and the liars but dismisses the homosexuals, the alcoholics... because we feel they aren't as worthy as us.
It kills me when we use love as currency. Loving only those who act, talk, think and dress like us and we withold it from those who don't.
It hurts mewhen secterianism makes it to the pulpit.
It frustrates me when we think 'morality' just means homosexuality and abortion and we fail to think about peace, poverty, justice.
It annoys me when we focus on the fact we don't drink, don't smoke and don't swear but ignore all the things Jesus talked about.
It Frustrates me when we do a leaflet drop and think that is our outreach done. box ticked.
It annoys me when we ignore the poor, walk past the begging and tell tales of how they get picked up in flashy cars later. they don't.
I find it annoying when after a big event where lots of people come to Christ we say they got 'saved' in inverted commas. As if their salvation isn't as good as ours.
It annoys me when we use war metaphor as if we are at war with alcoholics, abortionists and homosexuals, and do not see our enemy is the sin that binds them.
It annoys me when we think God is on 'our side' in wars we fight. That God is a western God. God loves the WORLD.

It Frustrates me, when I'm Guilty of these things.

It Frustates God.

Amen MK

Thursday, 8 October 2009

You Hold Me Now


Hey Hey!

Been struggling a lot with doubts recently. What if we have got it wrong? how do we know we are right? are christians deluded? But this past week thanks to friends and a lecturer in college and of course the holy spirit I know Jesus was who he said he was and everything else balances on that. Amen?


Life for me is kind of like Super Mario Land... You go through life overcoming struggles and eventually when all is going well you have to beat a big problem (like a boss) when you do you get to the next level. Fitter, Stronger. Better equppied but with new dangers and problems ahead of you.


Good thing is Jesus already completed the game. He Won. In Christ we have the victory.


Favourite song of the Minute: You Hold Me Now by Hillsong United


On that day when I see

All that You have for me

When I see You face to face

There surrounded by Your grace


All my fear is swept away

In the light of your embrace

When Your love is all I need

And forever I am free


Where the streets are made of gold

In Your presence healed and whole

Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone



No weeping, no hurt or pain

No suffering You hold me now

You hold me now

No darkness no sick or lame

No hiding You hold me now, You hold me now


In this life I will stand

Through my joy and my pain

Knowing there's a greater day

There's a hope that never fails


When Your name is lifted high

And forever praises rise

For the glory of Your Name

I'm believing for the day


When the wars and violence cease

All creation lives in peace

Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone


No weeping, no hurt or pain

No suffering You hold me now

You hold me now

No darkness, no sick or lame

No hiding You hold me now, You hold me now


For eternity

All my heart will give

All the glory to Your name


Amen.


MK

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

London Calling


Well.. I am back from my week in London. With so much on my mind and yet not a lot to type. words don't quite cover what happened me over there. I prayed on the first day God would break my heart into a million pieces. He did. I always expected him too. Just forgot it was gonna hurt. So now I'm sitting a home, with a heart breaking for the people of London. For the kids, the teenagers, the churches, the alcoholics at bus stops. Everyone I came into contact with and everyone i didn't. God really does have more for nondon and for me. but what?

Well I had my interview with Irish baptist College today. hopefully starting my theology degree next year. So I am here in Lurgan for 3 years at least. For three years I can give myself fully to God and to lurgan. But at the minute im asking myslef does God want me to go serve him in London... and waiting on his answer is wrecking my brain... but i guess his answer may wreck more.

If you want a safe and easy life don't ask God to break your heart into a million pieces. if you want the best life..do.

Mark

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

saddest lyrics ever?


"I'm too cold to be alone this winter, I'm too old to be alone.
I just want to hold you this winter, I know you get so cold.
I just want to call you this winter. Where are you tonight?
Why aren't you here? You should be looking after me this winter, I sure as hell can't.

Behind everything I do stares the cold truth I don't have you.
I still love you, I must be the world's biggest fool.
Everyday I wish you weren't so braw coz I miss you.
How am I supposed to unmake the world's biggest mistake.

I don't want to be your open wound all winter; you don't need to see me cry.
I think I need professional help to get better, this may take some time.
My life is dead and I can't see a future, I never could and I still can't.
Do you still think I'd make a terrible father? I guess his blood still runs in me.

Behind everything I do stares the cold truth I don't have you.
I still love you, I must be the world's biggest fool.
Everyday I wish you weren't so braw coz I miss you.
How am I supposed to unmake the world's biggest mistake. "

Cold Winter by Malcolm Middleton

Letter From God To Man


I am back to blogging :)
been listening to this song a lot this week called 'Letter from God to Man' the song is not a christian song, was not written by christians and isn't trying to say its theologically sound. So please don't be pretentious and condemn it. It's art. But anyway I just thought I would share a bit from it that made me think. Its trying to write from the point of view of God:

"It was You that invented bombs, and the fear that comes with them
And it was You that invented money, and the corrupt economic systems
You invented terms like 'just-war' and terms like 'friendly fire'
And it was You that didn�t know when to stop digging deeper, when to stop building higher
It was You that exhausted the resources I carefully laid out on this earth,
And it was You that even saw these problems coming but accredited them little worth
It was You that used my teachings for your own personal gain
And it was You that committed such tragedies, even though they were in my name"

Just made me think about all the stuff christians do in Gods name that aren't right. Been thinking about wars alot recently. How can Christians pray about war and expect God to take their countries 'side'? how can it be us who decides a nation is past redemption and kill them? How can a christian call hospitals, schools and churches 'collateral damage' as he blows them up? How can American christians pledge alleigance to their flag and to God? How can british and irish christians fight for the liberty of people by blowing up their relatives, friends, families and communities? Think about it. I have been.

Summer is drawing and end now :( I'm currently doin up my new house me and Chris are moving in to. Looking well. Made a lot of mistakes at the start of summer. hurt some people. hurt God. But since i was a leader at Inters camp in Castlewellan i have just known God LOVES me. God loves ME. God loves me. same setance 3 times. three different meanings. All lessons learned. God not only loves me but likes me. Not only does he forgive me. He wants to.

God is more than I can say he is. He means more to me than i can say. and he's done more for me than i can ever do.

It's time to live like i mean that... problem is it's always been time to live like I mean that... still trying to work this whole thing out i guess...

Mark

Saturday, 4 July 2009

When You Say Nothing At All

ahhh.. just downoaded Ronan Keating: 10 years of hits... bliss!
anyway LOVED ireland trip with Gareth. We visited Galway, Limerick, Monaghan, Tralee and a few other spots i will blog about in full next week.
Going to CEF Junior Camp tomorrow in Kilkeel for a week as a leader...cannot wait!
expect a proper round-up next week
ps. Transformers 2 is Amazing!
mk

Monday, 29 June 2009

Light, God and beauty on the open road

I am calling my first post 'Light, God and beauty on the open road' as it is the subtitle to the amazing book 'Through Painted Deserts' by Donald Miller (My favourite author,) in his book he retells of a time he went on a long roadtrip and discovered there is more to life than 9 to 5 jobs and church on a sunday but in fact there was life to be lived, beauty to be discovered and a God to know and to search for.

I'm going tomorrow on a roadtrip around Ireland with my wingman Gareth Hanna. (ok, he's driving so i'm the wingman..but this is MY blog!) It could be a great time to laugh and see a few sights and i hope we will do both. But i guess I'm hoping for more. I always am. I really want God to show up in a big way. Take me comfortable christianity and turn it on its head.

Tonight I was out with Timmy Johnson talking about God and his will for our lives and its exciting but very scary. We both feel God is calling us to do great things for him and he is inspiring dreams and ideas but we don't quite know how these will look when lived out yet but i guess we are juat at the tip of the most exciting part of our lives..

So tomorrow im going to Ireland to see sights and have a laugh but i guess I want it to be a time where i see God. In the beauty of nature, in the people around me, in Gareth. In Me.

Mark