Cosplay or No Play? What You Say?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Blog | 2 comments

Cosplay.  I'm slow and didn't know what this was until just recently.  But it started showing up in my Google feed.

I'm working on Sunday's message.  It's on Colossians 3, our identity in Christ and the clothing that goes with that identity.  Halloween is an obvious tie-in.  But there's also this cosplay phenomenon.  If you're not familiar, go here for the definition.  Do a Google image search and the images will sear you somewhat.  Beware.  The word was created by a Japanese artist in 1983 while attending a Sci-Fy convention in Los Angeles.  It's a joining of "costume play."

Go cosplay and you'll find anime, movie, comic, and gaming characters.  Some people make a living out of it.  Of course.

Have any of you ever attended such a convention?  Did you dress up?  What do you think about the traction cosplay is getting?  How does it relate to our baptisms, our identity in Christ?

I'd be curious to know your thoughts.  I think cosplay is a bigger trend and speaks to a profound issue.  

Or not.

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Window Washing Via Michael Frost

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Frost is a bald, metaphor machine, and the window metaphor he shared at FiveTwo’s Wiki’13 changed my understanding of following Jesus.

Perhaps you have heard Frost before.  I had not.  I had heard of him from Alan Hirsch.  I spent a year with the South African Obi Wan and others in FutureTravelers, a wonderful journey of large-church pastors learning how to more effectively reach and disciple those dissatisfied with the local church.  We Jedis traveled from Austin Stone to Soma Communities to Community Christian with each layover bringing new insight and fascinating stories.  It launched me and CrossPoint on a journey that aims for the blue ocean.

And it introduced me to the persona of Michael Frost.  “One of the best communicators in the Church,” said Hirsch.  After Wiki’13 I would agree. 

Frost’s window metaphor paints like this:  If the mission of the Church is to announce and demonstrate the universal reign of God through Christ, then we who are Church are simply called to help people see that reign present in this world.  The challenge, however, is the room in which pre-Christ people live: it is dark and dank with grime covering the windows.  No light seeps through.  No sun rises or sets are visible.  No beauty can be seen or birds heard.  Yet we who live in the kingdom of God by the certainty of baptism united to the certainty of crucifixion and resurrection know this Kingdom is real (I fleshed out the sacramental link).  We can already see heaven.  The smell of the wine is in our nose and taste of the bread, on our tongues.

Our windows are clean.  Our worlds, lit.  The images live in our minds by the power of full cross and empty tomb.

Our task, then, our mission, is to clean windows.  To expose friends and family to the reality of Jesus’ universal reign.  To remove the grime that hinders people from seeing Jesus and His Kingdom. 

According to Frost, Christians clean windows in two ways: by announcing and by demonstrating.  Words and action.  Sharing and doing, especially in the areas of reconciliation, justice, beauty, and wholeness.  (Frost admits the first three areas come from N.T. Wright but adds the last for completeness sake.)

Thus, if in the world to come no hatred or prejudice or racism will exist, how can you be an instrument of reconciliation when another color moves in next door?  If in the world to come have-nots will not exist and widows will not have to beg deaf judges, how can you be an instrument of justice for your co-worker who has been maligned, so that she gets a glimpse of God’s kingdom today?  If in the world to come the beauty of creation and music and food and art will be the norm and everywhere, how can you bring beauty, how can you leverage art to demonstrate Jesus reigns right now?  And if in the world to come the whole man will be whole, with no illness or demonic possession or debilitating addictions, what can you do to bring release and healing to the woman who has struggled for twelve years?

The mission of the Church is to move into the neighborhood – to be the sacrament of God in Christ – revealing the salvific reign of Christ for all.  That happens through announcing and demonstrating.  Through both word and deed.

For me, that means my widow neighbor whose husband recently died of pancreatic cancer eight (!) days after diagnosis needs to hear and see the “kingdom to come” today.  Through me.  Right now.

What about you?  Whose window do you need to wash today? How do you need to be God's sacrament right now?

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The “Nones” Are On The Rise

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Over the past 70 years, the number of people in the US who claim “no religious affiliation” has risen from 5% to 20%.  Men are more likely than women to be a “none.”  Read the Huff Post article for more.

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