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1/25/2006

HAVE IT YAWEH

Don't like how department store t-shirts snuggle your torso? Try Threadless.com, a company utilizing the increasingly popular open-source method of production to clothe the finicky fashion-forward consumer like you. Threadless puts YOU the consumer in charge of the t-shirt production process in which you submit a t-shirt design on-line, the plans are posted, commented on, blogged about and voted upon. Designs with the most votes "win" are put into production. And you get the t-shirt you've always wanted to wear, the joy of creating something everyone else wants to wear and a chunk of change for helping Threadless make a buck or two along the way. Everyone's happy. Amazing!

The LINUX operating system constantly being tweaked and updated by its users is another example of open-source production, as is the popular and always accurate Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia.

Of course Luther may be the father of open-source production theory. He advanced an idea called "priesthood of the believer" - the belief that God is equally accessible to all individual Christians. This idea coupled with rampant consumerism (I want it my way) and individualism (I can do it by myself) have brought open-source theology to us all. That's right, it's finally here, open-source theology. For an example of this marvelous theology formation technique at work visit your local "Sunday school" class where the teacher will lead you and your classmates in the exciting creation of your very own customized theology. The tools? One verse of scripture and one question: What do YOU think this means?

Yes, thanks to the open-source production method you can create your own apparel, your own facts, your own computer software and now your very own God. Songwriters, authors, preachers, publishers, record companies and radio stations are just some of the few prolific theology manufacturers who've discovered this powerful market-pleasing production method. Now it's your turn! Join the open-source revolution.

Who do YOU think God should be? Have it Yaweh!

17 Comments:

Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,

Excellent post! Very timely and accurate. I'm printing this one off to share with my "Sunday School" class. It's "Apologetics 101" and we're really tackling be bold in your witness and show people Jesus. One of the things that stops many Christians from really sharing their faith is the fear of ridicule or being "bested" by a more "knowledgable" person. What we really need to fear though, is the very real fact that if we don't share THE TRUTH with the lost, we are responsible and we will answer for that one day. We must love them enough to overcome any fear we think is too big. So many people have made their own truths these days that it's a difficult task to lead them to THE TRUTH.

Excellent as usual. God has truly gifted you brother!

Beth

1/26/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

Unfair swipe at Luther...he wanted to reform the Catholic church, not create customizable churches. The theology of the priesthood of all believers is not to blame for what has happened.

Good points otherwise though.

1/26/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Wasn't blaming him. Read carefully. Luther's theology (a good thing) COMBINED WITH...

And isn't that the M.O. of us humans. Take something true, combine it with something selfish, cite someone everyone trusts (author, theologian, artist) for credibility and we get a hybrid that looks true but serves us - and that helps the poison go down doesn't it?

1/26/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

While we're on the topic of Luther though...

Do we all really have equal access to God? Maybe access isn't what I question but rather the implication that we have equal discernment, maturity and wisdom necessary to arrive at what is true. We're all biased, with holes in our logic, bogged down with prejudice and culture and traditions all our own. Can any one person alone - any person who calls themselves Christian - teaching or studying or reading, most effectively and accurately discern who God is and what His words meant when they were written and what they mean for us now? I believe that while we all have equal access to Gd - because we all have Christ as our high priest and God's Spirit as our teacher - we do not all have the same ears and attention span and decoding abilities. We are not all equally honest with ourselves, equally attuned to reality, or equally - dare I say it - smart or sensitive. If getting an accurate message from or image of God into our brains and hearts and out to the rest of the world is centrally important o Christianity there must be more scrutiny for how we're doing that today. There must be more of a, I don't know, system?, than "Read the bible and tell me what you think it means."

Why I'm talking about this lately is that I've been visiting Sunday school classes at my church after not being in one for a while. And I find myself, no matter how hard I pray or will myself, getting angry inside. I don't know on my own what is right - I strongly believe that. And so far, in the last three months of visiting, I'm convinced others need to be convinced of this too. I've heard a lot of proof-texting (deciding what is true and THEN finding verses to support that view) and I've heard no bible study (reading the bible first and then going about trying to figure out what it teaches). I've heard political opinion untethered to anything other than the teacher's experience and bias. I've heard regurgitated popular authors. I've heard "what do you think this means" theology by consensus. And no opportunity or process or invitation to disagree, to wrestle together, to consult someone in authority over us AND the teacher - who is unaccountable to anyone. And it all bugs me. Am I wrong to be bugged?

I am bugged. NOT because I think the conclusions reached about God are always wrong - they're not - but because it scares the crap out of me that there's not a system or oversight in place in many churches to guard the church against lies about God and life. There's little fear of God - Something Paul says he had when he preached. He was afraid of misrepresenting God. I am too!

So I'm hoping we'll talk solution here. I wanted to provoke us to thinking of knowing God and drawing conclusions about God as something that is not controlled by the individual. If we decide what is true on our own we become God do we not? How does God want us to discover what is true? What does that look like in action?

I don't know exactly. But I know what I'm seeing in Sunday school ain't it.

1/26/2006  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Give me a minute to pick my jaw up of the floor then I'll respond....
Never understood Sunday School to be so detrimental to my soul but okay you got my attention. I just gotta ask because maybe I'm interpreting what you're saying wrong (and I don't want to be wrong) but are you saying that Sunday School ALONE can cause us as Christians to build up a false "God" and put "it" in place of God? I mean I know you mentioned the other areas and your main focus is totally on Sunday School for right now but am I understanding you correctly? But ya know I mean don't we do the whole read a verse in the Bible and understand it in our own way in our devotional times? I'm wondering when does the Holy Spirit actually come in and cause the understandings hidden from our minds to be understood, and isn't He suppose to be there the whole time anyway? We're not just suppose to turn Him on or off. He's not a computer or anything that is media that you can just shut down. I know I'm getting into an entirely different line of thinking and it has nothing to do with the whole post so I'm gonna simmer down and go do something else...

1/26/2006  
Blogger Whiteboy said...

Basically, what you've just laid out is the rational and argument behind the Magisterium - as it was intended when Christ set up the Church.

1/26/2006  
Blogger stephen said...

This is some deep stuff to think about. I don't understand all of it, but I had this thought: It is easy as pie to make a "personal jesus" that works for each of us. It is not as easy to make one that doesn't perfectly fit our needs. And as humans, we are prone to avoid conflict, so why not make something that works for each of us individually?

I hope that makes some sense.

1/26/2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

the responsibility of being someone who follows Christ is a HUGE one. . I'm afraid of it, actually. I don't want to misrepresent him. . but i have and that makes me cringe and i will have to answer for those times. i've been too 'familiar' at times in my thoughts towards God. Thinking 'oh, we're on a first name basis. He loves me, i don't have to fear him' . . .But i actually do. . why would i think that i was different from all those in the Bible record who 'hit the deck' when in his presence? He was too much for them. . they were afraid of his brilliance and power of presence. I can study the Bible in various ways and i have. . .I can pray to God and listen (which I find harder at times, okay most of the time). . I get to the point where i finally realize that unless he and i make spirit to spirit contact and sustain that contact. . . its all pointless. For him its effortless, for me. . i need discipline for the times when my emotions and feelings pitch me upwards and then drag me down. . I think of approaching him and sometimes i have been so much more reverent than other times. . and sometimes i have felt his presence, but mostly not. .as if my soul was made of teflon and he slid right off it. . I get confused with the 'formulas' people come up with. . there's a formula for everything, prayer, Bible study, fasting, service, worship. . .I wonder if i don't follow the prescribed formulas, will i be on the right track? am i doing it all wrong? Sometimes when i think of my life on display for others to see. . i could just die of embarrassment or humiliation for my idiotic moments and my slips and those falls on my face. . and i feel EVEN WORSE for dragging anyone else down with me on those falls!!! The word "Christian" if i really want to understand what it means, is so heavy. . if i really feel its weight, i'm crushed by it. I guess that's the way it should be? The Christians who have most affected me in my life. . . they were the ones who touched my emotions and gave me permission to display them and helped me when i needed help and loved me when i felt unloved. . and bore with me when i was stupid and brutish. .and wore their heart on their sleeve with nothing up their sleeve. I think, for me, that's it.

1/26/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

Shaun, your blog comments are now officially even better than your blog posts. You were Born To Blog.

1/26/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whiteboy beat me too it. magisterium- "The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give an authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture) or in the form of Tradition. The Magisterium ensures the Church’s fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles in matters of faith and morals."

it seems like to me that we as protestants start seeing things like, interpretation...ect and realize the need for authority. we re-invent the wheel...again. Is their not anything that we can admit that is a good idea and maybe what God intended from our Catholic brothers and sisters? I mean how many of us protestants can recite ONE SINGLE creed of the church? and i dont mean the rich mullins version. not that reciting a creed is bad, but the creeds are chalked full of great theology. It is amazing how many of us have hazy idea about the trinity when the nicene creed has a beautiful description.

I do think that the Idea of priesthood of believers is misrepresented. Preisthood of believers does not= unchecked interpretation of scripture. Even Luther with all his arrows pointed at the papacy believed that individual interpretation should be kept in check by a community. "for no one dare take upon himself what is common to all withouth the authority and consent of the community"-luther

I also wonder at times if something was not thrown off-balence with Luther and his ideas of a priesthood of believers. (as far as interpretation goes)

seth

1/26/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

yea yea, bad move with priesthood of the believer. My bad. Very bad. No biscuit for me. Unclear communication. I thought I was making the point that COUPLED WITH other stuff we got to this interpretation problem I think we have - I have. On it's own it's a great idea I'm thankful fr.

SG

1/27/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

You know the round hole and square peg? We are the peg and God is the round hole. We are the one that needs to become round to fit where we belong. We are to make our opinions and doctrines conform to scripture, not the other way around. There is lots of that! I am guilty of it also. "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17) To take man made doctrine as gospel is dangerous and foolish. Remember Jim Jones and the kool-aid drinkers?? As we walk with Jesus, we become closer to him. We come to know him better and begin to think like him, at least that is the idea (I'm still working on it).
Much like a friend of mine who moved here to Texas (the promised land) from Chicago. After being here long enough, he is now speaking and thinking correctly. He says "fixin'" and every soft drink (regardless of brand) is a Coke, he even bought a pickup truck and owns a pair of boots. My point, we hang around others and we pick up things from them, good and bad. We have the choice of what influences us. When I have a biblical question who do I ask for help with it? I have two things, the Holy Spirit and each other. Seek out the old heads in the church, some of them actually know stuff! They were young and stoopid just like me once.
I have heard some goofy things tought in Sunday school before, and have been swayed by some too!! But if we think we are being tought someone's opinion being sold as gospel, challenge it!!! I have been corrected plenty of times. It makes us better to correct each other. We build each other up, not tear each other down. We should be able to accept correction when it is needed. If something questionable is scriptually based, it'll stand up to bombardment. God wants you to prove that he works. He has a 100% guarantee.
No one would ever know who Martin Luther was if he were wrong. As iron sharpens iron, we can sharpen each other....if we are influenced by what we get from the Bible.

1/27/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we might know who he is if he were wrong. we sure know who joseph smith is.

seth

1/27/2006  
Blogger fasternu426 said...

Good point on Joseph Smith....... :)

If you want to see an organization get screwed up, start a business, a church group, club (car club??), etc... give them a simple set of rules to follow (like maybe 10??)and leave the smartest person in charge with the power to make more rules. Before long, instead of having a single set of rules to follow, you will end up with a set of ten orange 4" ring binders. The binders will be passed out annually and will have to be signed for by each member showing that they have read and understood. A special squad or division will be created within said organization just to handle all the monthly addenums and revisions, that must also be handed out and signed for by each employee, member, etc...and placed in the ten orange 4" ring binders. Before promotions within the group can occur, each applicant will be tested on the knowledge of the contents of the set of ten orange 4" ring binders. One day member #426 looks at the organization and wonders.... "Why am I here??"

Why should we do that to God? Only through Christ are we allowed access to a wonderful God...We tend to put too many layers of crap between him and us. When we hand our lives over to him, he is then in charge. We shouldn't try to take the reins back from him. Sometimes we try and get too deep when the answer is sitting there staring at us...and shaking its head. We are saved by grace, not by rules. Not to say that we should be a bunch of feral, sandal wearing, bible thumping zipperheads with no direction in our worship or belief.... But, at the same time, Seth is right, we do need biblical based direction.

Paul and Barnabas "ordained them elders in every church" (Acts 14:23). But is everyone a minister??? No, but we all have the great commision. Too many Sunday school classes I've been to are the kind where a teacher reads from the teacher's guide purchased as a kit from a chain religious super store, and everyone has a copy. People sit in their seats and nod their heads but look away when asked to read the one tiny little verse that is to be studied that morning. Then they stare at their watch and hope they can get out of there in time to beat the Lutherans to Luby's (for those not familiar, Luby's is like Chuckie Cheese for old people). But, also I've seen some winging it, with nothing but a bible verse that "was put on their heart" Saturday night about 10 o'clock. No direction there either. You don't have to be a revolutionary and stand there with your fist in the air like Che or something, but question doctrine and beliefs (not disrespectfully to where people want to strangle you with your entrails) but to learn.... Many don't know why they believe what they believe. Ask questions. This is bootcamp for Heaven and it's a pass-or-fail evolution.

1/28/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Luby's is like Chuckie Cheese for old people"

the funniest thing i have heard all week. how true it is...

Seth

1/28/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This past Sunday my pastor said something that caught me off guard. He said, "Sorry for all the Bible teaching, I'll get to how it applies to us here in just a moment." I was happy about the Bible teaching we were getting, the same teaching for which he was apologizing. I was reminded of your blog, and again of my own ability to try to have it "my way."
DC

1/30/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mean "maweh"?

1/31/2006  

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