Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Naked Christian

The Naked Christian is a book by Craig Borlaise. It is a book primarily about stripping back everything and looking at christianity and christians in both painful and refreshing ways. Craig Borlaise feeds off his own experiences as a christian both the painful and Good. He uses alot of bibler stories as examples to back up his argument. He is also critical and sceptical of his own conclusions.

The book first looks at the myths that surround and drive christians in in the modern world. The first being the myth of the spiritual sixpack and that the christian needs to be perfect. That the church has to do everything on the large scale and in a perfect way. That big concerts, flashy lights and all that is what God wants when really it isn't what God wants. God wants our hearts (how painful can that be.) He wants us no matter the crap we carry. He wants us to be real and he wants us to change to be loving him more, not loving the programs and the concerts and whatever we can try to create to try to measure up in some sort of way to the screwed standards we have created.

The Second Chapter takes the analogy of the waterhole. It asks the question if whether we as christians, especially in the modern contempory church are driving people away by our attempts at perfection.

Chapter three looks at evangelism and how we do it and whether we have got it all right, Particularly in how we see other people. We think there is a set way to evangelise. Borlaise argues that we shouldn't wear a mask, that we should be natural in our evangelism and form relationship with them. Be natural, showing that we are superhuman and we can show some personality.

The fourth chapter looks into the question of how we see ourselves and the fifth chapter the how we see that world and non christians. Borlaise argues that we need to get past our self loathing and realise that we have been saved by christ. We also shouldn't be about total seperation from the world as sometimes can happen.

Chapter seven was quite interesting. I found Borlaise quite harsh but that comes from where I come from and what church I go to and what I see in myself now and in the past. He is harsh on whaty he terms the "Airhead christian." The Christian who cares more for feeling and shields away abnout thinking through theology and faith in intellectual terms and then person cares more for experiences. I Stuggle with his argument but I think in many cases he is right. Many of the times the "Airhead christian" misses out on opportunities to serve God and to learn more about him. The beauty of God is he is always active. He works on the large scale and the small. God tunred up in the whisper, rather than the earthquake, fire or wind for Elijah, where are we missing God.

This book was a painful read at times and was quite a scary read. It is recommended. Read with caution, and be prepared to be offended and to think.

A Re-Dreamed Church

I Stole this from someone elses blog, this links nicely with my blog on "The Naked Christian" by Craig Borlase. I really think as christians need to be continuing to strip down to the heart of the messge of the gospel, that is The Jesus Died and rose again for our salvation, and to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and the love one another like we would love ourselves.

A Re-Dreamed Church...
Christianity is a young girl wearing too much make-up, too many jewels.When she was a child she was beautiful. Naked, she ran through the city streets, celebrating her life, her virginity, her freedom...One day she looked at herself in the mirror. Carefully, she inspected her clean and wild beauty. Her hair wrapped around her shoulders; dark locks partly hid her face. He skin was soft and olive, dark from the sun she played in day after day. After her labored inspection, she looked around herself at the people bustling by. Businessmen, ladies and servants: they were all clothed and stylized and intent on tasks to be finished. Even the children were covered in popular, colorful attire. For the first time ever, Christianity felt naked. Returning to the mirror, she brushed delicate fingers across smooth skin... Dirty, she thought. Her hand touched her cheek. Ugly. Unfashionable and offensive.Christianity searched through others’ castaway clothing, lying in an alley. She found a tattered dress and slipped it on. It was colorful and gawdy and far too big for her small form. She found a leather belt and strapped it around her wait, cinching in the excess fabric the dress allowed. Next she found a pair of shoes. Once they had been worn for dancing, but the toes were worn through and the color long since faded. She put these on as well, though they were tight and constricted her feet. She found a pile of discarded, faux-jewelry. These items, she placed on every part of her exposed body.Christianity hobbled down cobblestone walkways now, uncomfortable but desperately focused on appearing normal to those who passed. Two young men laughed at her and pointed from across the street. One hurled a piece of rotted fruit straight at her. She called after them, pleading for them to stop as the fruit splattered across her chest and neck. Her language seemed too simple and quaint for their ears and the men seemed confused and walked away. Embarrassed at her simple dialect, Christianity wiped the rot from her body and kept walking, practicing the words her mockers used against her moments ago.Rain began to fall.Pathetic and miserable, Christianity found a street corner with a covered marquee hanging over. She ducked underneath and prayed the storm would not last. At her feet she watched drops of water form into a dark puddle, and as the lights of the marquee above shone down she saw her reflection once more in the water. It was ghastly. She had become a shadow of the beauty she remembered earlier that day. Her skin looked pale and sagged from her cheeks. Her eyes seemed hollow and lifeless. Even her wet hair appeared weak and dead as it caked to her cheeks and neck.A simple thought crossed Christianity’s mind: if she only took off these ridiculous clothes, kicked off the confining shoes and tore the imitation jewels from her body... perhaps the ugliness would fade. But she could not bring herself to reject the flotsam she had accumulated.What if I appear worse than ever? She obsessed.Instead, Christianity picked herself up off the pavement and began searching for more baubles to adorn herself. Lipstick tossed aside. A child’s broken, plastic locket. Eye shadow and rouge.Christianity held these worthless possessions in her hands as if her life depended on them. She applied the makeup and fastened the locket around her neck, but as she brought her hands back down a glint from a finger caught her eye. It was her finger, and like some forgotten dream, she remembered what was there. It was a ring.Since infancy, Christianity had worn this ring - a promise of betrothed love. She had never seen the lover whom the ring entailed, but His letters reminded her of a wedding yet-to-be.Suddenly she looked down at her covered body, her muted beauty, her shamed purity. Tears came now, washing away the red blush, the purple eyeliner and the white paste that covered her fragile skin.Slowly, ashamed at first, she removed the belt from around her waste. Her heart began to pound. Can I be unadorned once more? She slipped off the shoes and felt a rush of glee as blood returned to her cramped toes. Will I be what I was before? Trembling, she dropped the faux-jewelry to the ground and slipped out of the stained, wrinkled dress.Naked, Christianity looked around to see crowds of people gathered. Watching. Where once she had been invisible or worse, a sad joke, now her beauty brought attention like sunlight. Transfixed, the gathering bathed in the effervescent glow of Christianity’s disrobed light. Such rediscovered chastity brought tears to some - cries of delight from others.Some were too overwhelmed to endure such reclaimed innocence and fled to their own ruin. Most, however, stayed with guileless passion, won over by the transformation they, themselves witnessed. The cynics and agnostics who had scoffed at the tawdry harlot early that same day now wept openly. They loved this child-bride and found hope in her unassuming honesty.Never again would she wear the clothing of the city streets.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Under the Overpass - Book Review

I read this book a while ago. It was a really challenging story of two young men, Mike and sam who for 6 Months became Homeless people and travelled through american cities. The reason they did this was to test to see how thier faith would hold up in an environment totally different from what they were used to, totally free from any of the comforts that they enjoy in thier middle class lives. What they found was at times very challenging and very thought provoking

The most challenging thing for me was the way in which normal people treated them, they would be ignored at best and at worst have hostel remarks thrown at them and told to leave places in which they were sleeping, as it was seen by normal people as wrong for them to be there, and in some way by being there they would disturb the scenery or the nice comfortable equilibrium that was produced thier.

Another huanting factor was how christians treated them, they were treated with the same contempt or just ignored. Mike tells the story of how he and sam were sitting in a fast food joint, hungry as and they saw a group of people walk in with food. They were a bible study group, they were spending time together and praying, but they never noticed the smelly homeless men or offer them food. The prayer requests to sam and mike that those at the table were making seemed trivial compared to the requests that they had been giving up; "lord please let us get food today", "lord please find us a reasonably comfortable place to sleep etc." While those at the table were giving up prayers that seemed superficial to the two hungy souls, the prayers they were making at times were the difference between life and death. They did though get left a whole lot of food and leftovers, basically a whole meal after the group left though.

There was another case where the outcome was a bit different. One day they decided to sleep outside a church so they would be there in time for the morning service. In the morning they got a rude awakening. They got told by a man that they should leave, and that it was not right to sleep there and that there were other places they were allowed to sleep, but not right there. They left rather upset and disgusted, but latter came back. When they got there the man came back to them sobbing. He said he was sorry for the way he treated them and wanted them to stay on for lunch. He said he should of known better becuase he himself was a director at a homeless shelter.

These two learn alot from thier time as homeless people and offer practical advice about how christians should minister to homeless people.

This book has been a challenging book to me. It made me realise how I treat those that society sees as undesirable, at many times I look away or ignore homeless people. It is very challenging when you realise that Jesus says: "the way you treat the least of these people, that is the way you treat me." At all times we need to be willing to minister and serve anyone that we come across, no matter what seems to be the cost. It made me also realise how our own comfortable middle class life stunts our faith. Do we really know what it means to trust the Lord to provide in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. How would we cope in environments where we are either persecuted, or poor, hungry and need? Does our faith mean that we get out of jail free or does it mean that as christians we will have to cope with hard times, it think it does mean we are going to go hard times, not becuase God doesn't love us but becase he does and he wants us to put our whole lives in his hands.

For more information on the book you can visit

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Terrorism - an interesting thought

In america the case has become that the terrorist has become the escape goat for americas growing economic and social woes. America deals things it sees as destructive to its society or culture by ostracising them and then persecuting them. This happened in the salem witch trials, the McCarthy communist trials, the Treatment of supposed terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and the way they are looking to treat the mexican illegal immigrant. It argues that the freedom of some individuals should be taken away for the better of thier society yet is it really? Republicans and the American public have been in conservative backlash against the 1970s and the social upheaval of the new left for nearly forty years, hoping to bring it back to an innocent and progressive world that they had before then. This will never happen, as one you allow the forces out the box cannot be closed. This happened with the other social revolutions of our time.

We Need to realise that we have partly created the terrorist and we are as much a terrorist as those who are doing the terrorism Seems that europeans are scared to deal with the problems they have created in the world such third world povery, environmental destruction, nuclear arms, etc. I think we have been as much are terrorist as the al qaeda terrorist. In our question for progress we have created many distructive processes and the potential for evil has been made even greater. We need to make choices, diologue might be too far off in some cases, but we need to start dealing with world social, political, economic and environmental issues, but this diologue must not be just one sided, it must involve those who are going to effect or have been effected. Terrorism/ destruction is happening all the time, but it can be elleviated. We cannot change the past but we can change the future.