Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Bible Revolution

Here is an excellent British documentary about how the Bible was originally translated into English:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quakers on the BBC

I stumbled upon a very well written explanation of Quakerism on the BBC's website:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"I Believe" video - Quakerism

Dennis Wholey explores Quakerism in an episode of the I Believe television series.

You can watch other episodes of I Believe HERE.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Christians need a rummage sale. We don't need to throw away the family photo album, but we need to get rid of some of the infomercial stuff." - Shane Claiborne

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Arundhati Roy - "Come September"

One of the most insightful speeches I've ever heard was this one given by Arundhati Roy in September of 2002, as the U.S. was gearing up to invade Iraq. It has now been almost exactly seven years since this speech was recorded, yet it seem eerily prescient, especially in light of the global economic crisis. For example:
"Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market-capitalism, American style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by the human intelligence, undone by human nature."

A transcript of the speech is can be read HERE.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Church That Never Was

The Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Denver, Colorado was the first church I went to after becoming a Christian in the mid-80's. I attended there--usually two or more times a week--for a number of years. I was baptized there. I first learned the Bible there. I made friendships there that have endured to this day. I played in the worship band, was on the "ministry team" and participated in outreach. I met my wife there. Eventually I became disillusioned and then disgusted at the autocratic leadership style of Senior Pastor Tom Stipe and so I left there.

Now it appears that the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Denver never actually existed. At least, that's the impression that Tom Stipe seems to want the world to have. Around the time I left, Stipe parted company with the Association of Vineyard Churches, renamed the church to Crossroads Church of Denver and re-aligned himself more closely with Calvary Chapel, which is where he had begun his ministry in the 70's.

Recently I stumbled upon the website of Crossroads Church of Denver and was surprised when I read the section entitled Our History:
"Crossroads Church of Denver began as a home Bible study in 1976. This Bible study was started by Pastor Tom Stipe in his basement in 1976 and has grown into Crossroads Church of Denver, a congregation of over 5,000."

Likewise, Stipe's biography on the website makes no mention of the Denver Vineyard Christian Fellowship, instead stating that:
"Tom and his family moved to Denver to start Crossroads Church."

In fact, I could not find any mention anywhere on the website indicating that Crossroads Church of Denver used to be the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Denver.

For some reason this bugs me. I know it shouldn't. I parted ways with Stipe many years ago and I doubt if he even remembers who I am. Yet I feel as if someone has tried to erase an important part of my own past. It seems that Crossroads is doing revisionist history for the sake of expediency. The dozen or so years that the Denver Vineyard existed (and was one of the largest churches in town) have been airbrushed out in a way that reminds me of how the Soviets doctored photographs to remove any who had fallen from favor. It seems so ... disingenuous.

Big deal. It's his church, he can do what he wants.

Of course, that's the exact attitude that drove me out. It wasn't his church. The church was all of the people who passed through the doors over the years. The church was the people who worshipped and prayed and served and fellowshipped and generously gave their tithes to pay the salaries and rent and enabled Stipe to build a career. It is those people who are now, apparently, an inconvenient embarrassment to Pastor Stipe.

If you're interested in hearing Tom give a very different history (and I can't imagine why you would be), you can watch a video of him from the 80's by clicking here.