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Ourselves Like Planets

Today a good friend told me that I’m tearing down the church to promote my own views of the gospel.

It stung.

Our job as church leaders is to articulate the way of Yeshua.

It’s a tough job. It means late nights of careful research, retracing steps, internal struggle, new discovery, and, above all, a willingness to continually agonize over and refine our views.

Which means that the way we articulate the gospel is constantly shifting into closer and closer alignment with YHWH, like planets slowly converging to form a connected line.

The goal is not to remold the gospel to fit a particular political stance or social ideal. The way of Yeshua isn’t liberal, or conservative, or socialist. Yeshua taught long before our political system emerged, and long before the idea of state sovereignty was created by a few rich Europeans in the 1600s. So to label Yeshua’s political positions as “progressive” or “socialist,” or to label Yeshua himself as “progressive” or “socialist,” is to retro-read current ideas onto a person and time in which they did not exist.

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Raising Creative Kids

Photo by taren maroun.

Last Friday I spoke on a panel with The LEGO Movie writer Kevin Hageman (Hotel Transylvania, Ninjago) about how to write imaginative films. After the discussion, we had a quick Q&A with parents, kids, and a few film critics to discuss what the film has to say about parenting.

The film is about that moment when we decide not to do what our parents tell us to do. That moment when we go off-script and make a choice based on our own convictions rather than the convictions we’ve been handed. And it’s about how parents tend to handle, or not handle, that moment well.

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Innovation, creativity, and imagination are not the same thing

Photo by taren maroun.

As we launch into a new era of experimentation at FYI, it’s been exciting to see where we are able to innovate.

It’s also been exciting to see where we tend to get stuck.

For example, we are in the midst of transforming our latest research project into a series of books. The writing process is going well, but we spent eight months trying to come up with a title for the series and everything we’ve thought of is terrible.

Why?

We have mountains of fresh content and creative ideas, why can’t we nail this?

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Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense

Photo by Sophia.

I’ve been having an insightful shuffle through Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People. Mihaly is a seminal professor of Psychology and Management, and is the Founding Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont. He writes:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

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To write like this

Lo drove me home from her brothers’ new villa, the two of us wearing a second elephant skin of latex wall paint.

We sat in silence, which was new.

Usually tethered and talky, our paired souls settled without a whisper as her hand flicked to the angular stereo controls and Takk baptized us. The San Gabriel air was biting and fresh, miniature stars tracing the hills and shifting in 3D as we wound our way back to Bungalow Heaven.

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New(s)

Unlike the countless teachers, professors, researchers, explainers and news junkies that have gone before us, our generation has immediate access to the top minds of our day. “Newness,” or “new(s),” are everywhere, and while the sheer amount of new(s) can be mind-numbing, I can’t help but smile at the thought of what we will do with the vast chaotic ocean of information churning just a few taps away.

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Though that was shorter

I haven’t blogged in three years. Since moving to California, I’ve wanted to listen, not speak, and it turns out I’m a terrible listener. The last few years have been an arid wandering, beautifully disordered, tracing paths over rugged craters more desolate than my imagination had been courteous enough to depict. The martian surface of recent life has changed me, and now I sit here at Copa Vida, with much to say.

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Theology On Tap (No. 15) Yardstick

Ten years ago I found out that I had high-grade spit-gland cancer and was given three months to live.  So I started saying goodbyes and thank you’s, telling people things I would never have told them otherwise.  And then, I didn’t die.  Which was awkward.  It was sort of like that scene in Almost Famous when the plane is going down and in their final moments the band members of Stillwater turn the aircraft cabin into an instant confessional.  Jimmy Fallon admits to a heartless hit-and-run, followed by revelation after revelation of screaming infidelity between the musicians, the scene finally culminating in a resounding shout of “I’m gay” from John Fedevich.  Suddenly the cabin stabilizes, the lights pop back on, and the pilot enthusiastically shouts that they’re all going to make it.  It was like that.  Everything was on the table, which didn’t matter because there was no hope that I would be around to see what would happen next.

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