Tag Archives: culture

How Richard Twiss helped me to believe in revival again

Community Transformation

This post is my second contribution to the MennoNerds Anabaptist Missional Spirituality Synchroblog event.

Before discussing such a dreamy topic as “revival” or what others call “renewal,” I must come clean. Every time I hear or read the word, “revival,” I run and get my gun. Yes me a pacifist who desires to not own any lethal weapons, reach for my imaginary gun. Why you say? Because everytime I hear or read that word “revival” coming from conservative evangelicals, more often than not, its from an imperialist Dominionist point of view. Revival understood in this manner is when Christians are lead by white Conservative (more than likely Reformed) evangelical men, who give minimal head nods to Charismatics and multiculturalism with dreams of hegemonic, violent takeovers of the national culture (Conservative Republican political means). Two examples of this are the Acquire the Fire movement and Methodist but hardly Wesleyan Institute for Religion and Democracy.

As a Baptist Christian, as a continuationist with Charismatic tendencies, I do hope for a Spirit-led, Christ-centered renewal of our national culture in general. As James Cone called for in Black Theology and Black Power, there needs to be an exchange in value systems. See the problem with the popular versions of revival is that they resort back to the days of Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finley, and imagine that God will move the same way. We Christians commemorate these revivalists and year to year go on hoping that revival/renewal will look like it did in the past. We hope for a cycle, we know this only as a cycle that happens naturally. And that’s part of the problem. Revival is about cycles being broken, with the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit arriving anew in fresh and unexpected places, and God’s standards for holiness being revealed in the lives of some of the least ideal persons.

I like what Micael Grenholm has to say about revival, that we can’t separate peace and justice from conversionist modes of religion. Reading through the late Richard Twiss’ One Church Many Tribes: Following Jesus The Way God Made You, I once more found a hope for Christian renewal in the USA. Twiss’ challenge to Evangelical Protestantism is still a much needed word, and his contention that we should start viewing the First Nations as a mutual party when it comes to missions, and that Native culture has something to offer (AND NOT JUST RECEIVE). There is something rather impossible when you read Twiss’ words because what he wrote, we have not yet witnessed with our eyes. While folks talk about revival, relying on things seen, by faith, Twiss taught me once more to believe in revival, the likes we have never seen.

Twiss’ post-colonial vision of widespread renewal reminds me of David Walker’s Appeal in the lone footnote in chapter one:

“It is my solemn belief, that if ever the world becomes Christianized, (which must certainly take place before long) it will be through the means, under God of the blacks, who are now held in wretchedness, and degradation , by the white Christians of the world, who before they learn to do justice to us before our Maker–and be reconciled to us, and reconcile us to them, and by that means have clear consciences before God and man.–Send out missionaries to convert the Heathens, many of whom after they cease worship gods, which neither see nor hear, become ten times more the children of Hell, then ever they were, why what is the reason? Why the reason is obvious,they must learn to do justice at home, before they go into distant lands, to display their charity, Christianity, and benevolence; when they learn to do justice, God will accept their offering, (no man may think that I am against Missionaries for I am not, my object is to see justice done at home, before we go to convert the heathens.) “

For Walker and Twiss, the missional and just YHWH of Hosts requires the righteous fruits of those who have been justified by Christ, and just relations between people groups prior to  worldwide revival, and not vice versa. 

The fleshYGod Synchroblog: The Incarnation And Christian Culture #fleshYGod

Being that it is Advent according to the Christian calendar, believers receive an opportunity to ponder anew the meaning of the Incarnation of God’s Word.  What does it mean for an Almighty, All-Wise God to choose the body of an infant to reveal God-self?  What are the implications of the Incarnation for Christians engaging culture?  We (Tyler and Rod) offer that there may even be problems with the way our views of the Incarnation are presented. Our theologies of Incarnation are interconnected to our theologies of cultures.  As such, The Jesus Event and Political Jesus blogs are co-hosting the #fleshYGod Synchroblog from now until Epiphany, on Monday, January 6th, 2014. 


1. You can write your own blog post, telling us your own views on the Incarnation and what it means for engaging culture/s. The post can be written, it can be an assortment of GIF’s, pictures, a video, a video blog (vlog), a short quote. Don’t be afraid. Take a side, Pick a side, any side.*

2. Please link back to this original post so your readers and other readers can find your post to be collected in two weeks. Synchroblog collection ends January 6, 2014 at 11:59PM Central Standard Time, USA.

3. Share your views on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag: #fleshYGod. I will try to collect as many facebook statuses and tweets using the #fleshYGod. hashtag and Storify it in the final #fleshYGod.Synchroblog post.

4. Interact, engage people who you agree and disagree with. Show love and encourage one another peaceably, and above all, don’t be a troll!

*Side note if you don’t have a blog or social network or don’t want to share, but would like to participate, please use the PJ contact page to make a submission:

silence and listening

“The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”- Habakkuk 2:20

Generally in Scripture, there are several types of silence. During the experience of exile, Israelites and Judeans felt as if God was no longer speaking to them. Perhaps God was speaking in different ways than in the past. Maybe God was speaking through action and through divinely commissioned prophets they refused to listen to.

Silencing can also come from humans as well, and sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it is bad. It really depends on what context it is used in. All the way from pre-kindegarten to seminary, I chose to sit quietly, and listen to my teachers, and trust them that they were giving me a fair rendering of human history. I made this choice because I wanted to get good grades, and I wanted to get ahead in life. I only remember getting maybe one referral for behavior problems, and that was like in the first or second grade. Being well-behaved, civilized, doing what I was told, believing what I was told/what I read: these were the ideals.

Yet, inside I knew that something was not right during history lessons. In the third grade, I made up for being indoctrinated with EuroCentric views of history by reading the stories of Native Americans and African Americans, people I did not hear about in class except for during Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Black History Month. The only way I knew from church and school was the way of monologue.

But along the way in my spiritual and intellectual journey, I believe I have found a better way than monologue, of talking past others, of dismissing others’ experiences. Dialogue has become important to me, not only just a simple dialogue for dialogues sake, but dialogue for the purpose of justice and reconciliation. In given exchanges, persons can point to what I have written here or there, and say, Rod, what you write is not balanced. The question is never is asked of me, who am I listening to? Maybe I am listening to persons who are committed to Christian teachings of inerrancy or to the voices of Persons With Disabilities or maybe people from other religions outside of my own Christian commitments (which I am). Fellow Christians are, as commanded by Jesus, owed my love, certainly. That love however does come in a variety of ways.

This love can come in the form of solidarity, assertive correction, or even shunning. As an example, one leader in mainstream evangelical Christianity I have criticized over and over, I do wish for this person’s neoconfederate views to be not just condemned, but ostracized. It’s very difficult for this to happen when megachurch pastors endorse this man, but I will keep working, speaking truth in love. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and truth telling (preaching) is a nonviolent way of resisting evil systems, and the sinfulness within ourselves.

I struggle with all of this myself, since we are all broken. However, I do not consider of tone-policing, which is concern for how one reader believes another writer feels is a form of listening. The language of “tones” and “emotions” just means the reader is far more interested in derailing, and make everything personal (centering your experience instead of letting anOther’s experience speak for itself).

I think it’s in that moment when we are all facing the temptation to make a person’s words all about us, it’s at that time we should take a seat, and be quiet. Listen, be patient, and maybe perhaps choose to respond minutes or days later. Perhaps give ourselves time to re-read offending posts.

Not so much to ask is it?