Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Post-Charismatic 2.0: Book Release

There's a long saga behind this book's original release, and now into it's Second Edition, but I suspect the details might be interesting only to yours truly...

What I should probably emphasize is the "Why?" behind writing Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick in the first place:
My motivation for writing is the same today as when I wrote the first edition: I have many brothers and sisters who have been victims of some or all of these damaging teachings and practices. I don’t want to see people give up on their faith, nor settle for a ‘safe’ but ultimately sterile Christian life.

“Ideas have consequences,” wrote Richard Weaver. As Christians, our beliefs influence our actions, whether we realize it or not. Toxic practices (spiritual abuse) are always rooted in toxic beliefs (false or misused teaching). People often protest that they aren’t interested in “doing theology”. What they don’t realize is that our thoughts and beliefs about God and how He works are theology.


Including bad or toxic theology.
It is the difficulty in the sorting process that tempts many charismatics to throw up their hands in frustration, and give up. Many will simply skip being post-charismatic (weeding out the chaff to hold to the wheat), and jump straight into being non-charismatic.

And in the extreme, non-Christian. (Note: We want to avoid this.)

(We want to avoid this, too.)

After an overview of the historical roots, we will dig deeper into three areas of teaching that have contributed heavily to the current problems. Problems that have caused outsiders to mock, insiders to be used and abused, and many refugees to flee for their spiritual lives. These three areas are:
  1. Latter Rain (aka Kingdom Now, Dominion, New Apostolic Reformation)
  2. Word of Faith (aka Prosperity, Name It & Claim It)
  3. Shepherding Movement (being under 'authority/cover', aka Culture of Honor)
My hope is that Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick will prove to be a redemptive starting point for current charismatics, post-charismatics, and anyone who desires more of the Spirit but wants to avoid the errors that led to the excesses that led to the exodus.

"I don't want to be post-Spirit,
but I wouldn't mind being post-hype."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stark Raving Artistic: Kelsie Balehowsky

"Alone Together"

I am a big fan of Kelsie Balehowsky.

I'm also a big fan of her creative works. (Look carefully at both pix: Kelsie is not only the photographer who set up the shot, she is every single character in each shot as well. Love it!)

And I love how she integrates artistic talent, social commentary, and her faith in Jesus. (And her husband James is pretty cool too, as is his band Joyful Door.)

Lemme 'splain:

First of all, it's tough being a Christian in the arts. Always has been. Kelsie has to put up with ridicule and disdain regularly in her art classes at university.



"Narcissism"
She'll be the first to admit that it'd be easier to be an artist first and a Christian second, but she won't. She's a Christian, and she's an artist. Period. (One of the reasons I admire her.)

When Kelsie spoke to a photography class in a local high school (my beautiful & talented wife Wendy is the teacher), she was in-your-face-but-not-obnoxious about how serious she is about her faith in Jesus, and really challenged/encouraged Wendy's students as budding young artists with cameras.

Like a lot of people, I have a love/hate relationship with all things technological and social media. Kelsie's photographic art on this topic -- aside from its clever creativity (did I mention Kelsie plays all the parts in each scene?) -- is spot on. Narcissism and alienation are some seriously negative side-effects. (Although I have also re-connected with long-lost friends and keep up with distant relatives through social media -- hence the "love/hate" piece.)


And last but not least, I admire Kelsie and her husband James for their involvement at Metro Community (downtown street church), as well as being part of the wacky and wonderful home group that my daughter Jordan loves so dearly. They all attend different churches, but these guys are "community" with a capital "C".

We had the whole crew over for Thanksgiving once, and as the host of the feast, I toasted the lot of them. We are thankful to have them in our daughter's life, and our own.

Kelsie, her husband James, and my daughter Jo are all buried in here somewhere

We need more young Christian artists like Kelsie. Artists with her commitment to Jesus, her creativity and social conscience, and who also invest time with "the least of these".

As I said, I am a big fan.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Get Uncomfortable, Shall We?

 How would you caption this?
 
The Apostle Paul, that tireless and fearless missionary of the first century, who wrote the majority of the New Testament (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), once wrote a letter to his young protegé, Timothy. In describing himself, Paul says:
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT)
The picture above is startling when you first see it. Jesus and a Nazi walking down the road together. And Jesus appears to be doing what He instructed people to do in the Sermon on the Mount:
"If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles." (Matthew 5:41)
Worse yet, they're obviously having a conversation, and it doesn't appear as if Jesus is calling down fire and brimstone on the young neo-fascist. (He actually looks concerned for the young man.)

Of course, it's just a picture. Not photographic evidence. This didn't really happen.

No need to get uncomfortable. Jesus wouldn't ask the same of us, would He?

Why are you looking at me like that?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

W.O.W.

This has got to be the best response to the Strange Fire conference that I've come across.

This pastor was there. Shane Idleman attended the Strange Fire conference. He is not reacting to a few isolated video clips or soundbytes. He gives an incredible (and respectful) response that makes me want to yell "Amen!". :)

Well done, Pastor Shane!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest We Forget

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Foreshadowing: Post-Charismatic 2.0


It all started innocently enough.

A few requests for a Kindle version of Post-Charismatic. Emails wondering if I had any more copies hidden in my basement somewhere (because the original book was now out of print). I was flattered, but didn't give it any serious thought.

And then an unexpected royalty cheque arrived a week later from the UK, long after the print run was over. And suddenly it hit me -- (yes, after three strong hints, eventually robby wakes up and smells the java) -- people are still tracking down copies (or trying to), even though it's out of print.

I had already regained legal rights to my original book from the publisher a year before. There was no reason why I couldn't re-release Post-Charismatic. Kindle-izing it would take some time and effort, but the book could be made available within a few weeks.

But abruptly -- nay, catastrophically -- all that changed, when I opened my original copy and began reading it with fresh eyes.

And I realized that if I was going to do this, it couldn't be just a simple re-release (hokus pick, no!).

And that meant re-writing. More research. Ruthless axing of extraneous details and rabbit trails. Less verbosity and more plain-speaking.
In short, a proper Second Edition. Post-Charismatic 2.0.
And the finish line is just around the corner.