Changing the World, Right Where You Are (Shane Claiborne)

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 9.05.12 PM.png

Shane Claiborne shares a great story about how God used him, right where he was, to transform the world around him and challenges us to do the same.

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. From working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta to standing against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Shane lives his life as if Jesus really meant the things he said.


About the Poster
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Art and the Transformation of the World

Transforming the World - Backwall blank.png

I heard a great David Foster Wallace quote the other day about how art (specifically fiction) can be an agent of transformation in the world even when it doesn't seem like it could or should.

Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.

 

About the Poster
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Deeper Dive Podcast (Transforming the World - Week 2)

Deeper Dive Cover Art (small).png

Randy, Debbie, and Isaac talk about some of the background of Acts 4:5-13 along with what it means to be transformational in the world around us.

Listen in your device's podcast app – Apple version here and Android version here or use the desktop-only player below.


About the Authors
Randy and Debbie Reese are Co-Directing Pastors at Calvary UMC
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion

 Quote from Jonathan Haidt's book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion."

Quote from Jonathan Haidt's book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion."

Scott Hughes over at the Discipleship Ministries Blog has a good (and fairly short) summary of Jonathan Haidt's book "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion." His first two parts are below with more to follow later. This is a good read for anyone interested in understanding current fractures in culture, society, politics, and the church.

Part I

Part II


About the Poster
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Deeper Dive Podcast (Transforming the World - Week 1)

Debbie, Randy, and Isaac talk about temple gate layout and it's importance to the Acts 3; along with more examples of how Christianity has influenced our world for the better.
Link to temple illustration: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/appendix-b/temple-mount-first-century/


About the Authors
Randy and Debbie Reese are Co-Directing Pastors at Calvary UMC
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Praying the Resurrection (Thomas - Part 2)

Thomas.jpg

Yesterday, we talked about the icon of Thomas and the Resurrected Christ calling our attention to being both wounded and resurrected at the same time. At first glance, this seems like an odd state to be in. If Christ is risen from the dead, why aren’t the wounds healed and gone? Doesn’t resurrection mean perfected restoration?

The resurrected Christ invites us to reimagine what it means to be “whole.”
The resurrected Christ invites us to reimagine what it means to be “restored.”
The resurrected Christ invites us to reimagine what it means to be “healed.”

If the author of being itself stretched out his arms on the hard wood of the cross to pull together death (the wounds) and life (the resurrection) into his his own body, how does that help us truly see ourselves and our place in the world around us?

Just like Christ, we are a mixture of wounds and wonder, misery and majesty, sorrow and satisfaction. Christ shows us that being fully alive is recognizing we are ‘loved-back-to-life’ even in our woundedness. Our wounds are a part of the glory of being fully alive and fully present to ourselves, each other, and the world around us. 

  • How do your ‘wounds’ present themselves in the new life you know in the resurrection? 
  • Are those ‘wounds’ a glorious part of your ‘body’ or do you ignore and/or deny their presence? 
  • What would life look like if we all acknowledged one another’s wounds as part of our resurrected experience; and in that acknowledgement were grateful for the way Christ pulled both his wounds and his glory together at the resurrection?

About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC

Praying the Resurrection (Thomas - Part 1)

The moments after the resurrection are some of the richest parts of the Gospels. The story of Thomas (the disciple who doubted in John 20:24-29) is often held up as confirmation of the resurrection by a doubting skeptic (Thomas), along with a promise of blessing for “those who have not seen and yet believed” (us). It’s easy to make this story entirely an issue of belief or disbelief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. But there’s much more going on here than just a yes/no check box next to the word "resurrection." John’s inclusion of Thomas’ encounter invites us to think about the nature of the resurrection. The nature of the resurrection can be a focal point of contemplation that continually moves us deeper into prayer – something beyond than a simple yes/no assertion. Pictures, so often, tell the tale in profound ways:

Thomas.jpg

This icon of Thomas and the risen Christ calls us into the mysterious paradox of the resurrected Christ: Christ is wounded and resurrected at the same time.[1] Take a moment to pray through the implications of being wounded and resurrected at the same time – it's pretty scandalous when you think about it. Tomorrow we’ll walk/pray through some of those implications, both for us and the world around us.


[1] For more on the wounded/resurrected paradox, see Richard Rhor.

About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC