348. utopia?

A few years ago, I put up a series of posts I called, simply, “Christians.” The basic idea was that the work of the Kingdom of God was/is being done, not just by those who call Christ Lord and Savior, but also by those who do not make such a faith proclamation. In fact, there are non-christians who are doing the work that many Christians aren’t doing. So partly to highlight examples of this and party as critique of the Body of Christ, I started putting up links to talks by people who are doing Kingdom work (though they would call it something else entirely).

And so I bring you, Steve Lambert and a talk he did about utopia, not as place, but as process – utopia as a direction towards a future where freedom and possibility abound. He speaks of moving in this direction not through force or coercion or guilt-laden polemic, but through whimsy, creative subversion, and (though he might not use the word) through parable.

On a side note, Lambert’s work reminds me a lot of a friend of mine, Nate Chung – a Christian artist who’s also working on fanciful ways of bringing life into the world through art. Years ago I got to participate in one of his “performance art” pieces in Hawaii. I did a write up of that event here.

But finally, here’s Lambert’s talk:

(If the embeded video doesn’t work, click here.)

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318. found another one

[preface]

A few months ago, I created a new tag for my blog called Christians (see entry 303). The basic idea is this: I’m becoming more and more convinced that the work of Christianity has as much to do with redeeming the world – building the Kingdom of God here and now – than it does with getting people to pray a salvation prayer or understanding a set of spiritual laws. And so when I find a link that illustrates the kind of work that christians should be doing, I’m going to post it up and label it as “christian” whether the person featured is a christian or not.

[end preface]

It’s been a while since I’ve put one of these up but I’m convinced I’ve found another “christian” – someone doing the kind of thinking and work that christians and the church should be doing. This time, it’s a farmer who produces the best foie gras in the world. And I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding foie gras because of the way it’s produced (geese or ducks are force fed far more grain or corn than they would eat otherwise which causes their livers to swell and get extra fatty and it’s that abnormally large liver that becomes foie gras) but the way this guy does it, there’s nothing forced about it.

Back in Genesis when God told Adam to subdue the earth, I don’t think God meant the kind of unsustainable corporate farming practices we use today. I think God meant for us to do something like what this guy Eduardo is doing – working with nature to create something amazing. And for that, I’m slapping the “christian” label on him.

Check it out, it’s a fascinating talk.

(If the embedded video doesn’t work, try clicking here.)

As an update, he found another guy doing naturally sustainable food production, this time with fish:

(Again, if the embed doesn’t work, click here.)

305. another "christian" tagged…

A few months ago, I created a new tag for my blog called Christians (see entry 303). The basic idea is this: I’m becoming more and more convinced that the work of Christianity has as much to do with redeeming the world – building the Kingdom of God here and now – than it does with getting people to pray a salvation prayer or understanding a set of spiritual laws. And so when I find a link that illustrates the kind of work that christians should be doing, I’m going to post it up and label it as “christian” whether the person featured is a christian or not.

Yeah, it’s a thorny move but…well, maybe more on this in another post.

And with that I bring you William McDonough who has an amazing vision for sustainable architecture and urban design. Genius.


(If the embedded video below doesn’t work, try clicking here.)

303. new tag: christians

I have a crazy idea.

It’s probably wrong.

But such is life, no?

So I’m going to put it out there anyway.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my blog has a tagging feature where posts related to a similar topic are sort of grouped together. I’m not as good as some other bloggers are with tagging my posts but I do what I can.

I’m going to start a new tag, and I’m going to call it, “christians.”

Whenever I run across an article or podcast or video online that I can share, I’m going to put a link up to it on my blog and tag it with this “christian” tag.

Here’s the thing.

The people whose articles I’m linking to – they might not actually be christians. I mean, they might be, but I’m not going to check. But I’m going to tag them as such anyway.

Here’s why.

(And here’s where I’m probably wrong, but I hope you’ll see my point.)

I believe that living a life that exhibits the values and teachings of Christ is far more important than praying some so-called salvation prayer or claiming to grasp four “spiritual laws,” or following the Roman Road – if such a road was so important, why is it strewn about the Bible so?1

And so when I find someone who is living in a Christ-like manner, I’m going to post them up and tag them as a christian whether they claim to be one or not.

Why?

Because I’m tired of christians who think that because they jumped through some evangelical hoops that they are somehow better and above those who didn’t jump through those same hoops. I’m tired of christians who think that the hoops are the point and that once they’re through that their only remaining task is to wait for death or the second coming.

Because I believe that among the primary tasks of christians who claim to follow Christ are these: reconciliation, healing and being a conduit of peace, joy, and love in a dark, dark world. I think anyone who tries to accomplish Christ-like tasks such as those are far more christian than those who just pray a prayer and feel content to leave the world as it is.

And so, here are the first two people who I am tagging as christians. And after listening and watching, let me know. What do you think. Are these christians? If they didn’t claim to follow Christ, what would you call them?

Listen to this amazing story about Hal Halvorsen, aka Uncle Wiggly Wings. (Click on the “Listen Now” link just under the title of the story).

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91906449

And then watch this amazing presentation by Benjamin Zander – a man who wants to bring beauty into people’s lives through art – classical music to be precise…but DO NOT let that stop you from watching his presentation – you won’t regret it!

(if the embedded video doesn’t work, try clicking here

1 Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in orthodoxy and I don’t mean to make light of tools that have been useful in leading people to Christ, but just as I wrote in my last post about how the stuff of the church can get in the way of what the church is supposed to be, I think sometimes the stuff we teach can get in the way of how we’re supposed to live.