Tag Archives: Culture

An Interview with Peter Rodger

We set off to interview Peter Rodger, world-renowned photographer and director of the new documentary Oh My God. An interesting look at the question “What is God?” Take a seat and listen as Peter explains his vision for the film and shares interesting insights you won’t get anywhere else.

To find out more about Peter and his new film, Oh My God, check out the website at www.omgmovie.com.

We also invite you to the opening of the film in Portland, Oregon on Friday, December 11th at the Fox Tower 10. After the 7:10pm showing, Rethink will host an opwn interfaith discussion based on the question, What is God? Join us. For more information on the theater and to order tickets, click here.

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Affectless Faith

I was thinking about how much my faith cost to obtain, and how much it’s worth today. Like any product, I suppose it’s affected by the current market conditions, deflation, depreciation, etc. It doesn’t cost me much in maintenance, and I can’t even remember the initial investment.

I’m not even sure how much my faith is worth anymore. It’s one of the only things in life where the value drops the more it is unused. Faith – new in the box and in mint condition – is worth next to nothing. Whereas, a used model, scarred with years of wear and tear, is almost priceless!

We forget that our faith cost us next to nothing. But it cost Jesus everything to purchase for us. The only thing of any cost to us is the box we bought to put our faith into; close the lid and keep it (and us) safe. We wouldn’t want to let it out and start causing trouble, would we?

If I take a moment to reflect on the things I have said and done, the majority of my artistic expression, whether it be music, drama or other pursuits, all have one common denominator: they were targeted towards Christians. All my life, up to a recent time, I avoided mingling with those from the world. I wouldn’t drink wine. I wouldn’t see movies unless they’d received a positive rating from one of the Christian movie review sites. Stuff like that.

Then, I came to this realization: our faith isn’t affecting culture. Neither is it affecting us. We live in a completely separate culture. When we say we are “in the world but not of it,” we are misleading ourselves. We aren’t in it at all. We’re so focused on “living by the book,” we miss the reason why it was written.

Our faith is worth nothing more than mere pennies if we are so worried about taking it out of the box, and using it. Are we worried it will get scratched, bent or damaged if we take it into the world and use it for the reason it was given to us? That’s the only way it will have any value at all! If we believe in the Truth, like we say we do, then what are we afraid of? That the world might somehow convince us otherwise?

I think we are in much greater danger disconnecting ourselves into a separate culture, than when we enter the culture that is all around us. Get out into the world, experience its culture, revel in the goodness where you find it, and let your faith infiltrate and change the dark areas you encounter. Instead of being a bunch of observers, standing on the sidelines of the world, carrying our faith in boxes engraved with the letters WWJD or some other Christian catchphrase, put the box down and get in the game! Better yet, break open the box (its cheap plastic sides will come apart easily) and use that shiny, new Faith! Let it get dented and worn with use. Use it or lose it. Or you’ll forget where you left it, or how to use it.

Sure, your fellow side-liners are going to look at you differently. Sure they’ll probably talk about you behind your back, but as you begin to use your un-boxed faith, living your life with integrity, you’ll convince them to un-box their own faith. Together you can begin to influence a culture, and freely share the gift you’ve been given. You’ll be surprised that as you give it out yours will only grow more.

In the end, the value of your experienced, world-traveled faith in God will be greater than gold. And we’ll all be richer for it.

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Travis Klassen spends his life surrounded by beautiful women – his soulmate Brandee and their two daughters, Topanga and Tehillah. He is a writer, singer/songwriter and business owner, home-based near Vancouver, BC, Canada. You can check out his blog at www.earthtourist.org.

This article was printing in the March/April issue of Rethink Monthly magazine (issue #6).

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Filed under Culture, Lead Story

The Fine Line

I have a problem. His name is Kary Oberbrunner. He has actually become a friend of mine. Well, he was a friend … up until he gave me a copy of his latest book, The Fine Line.

It wasn’t the title that bothered me. It wasn’t even the appearance of the book – its yellow-ness is quite appealing. And, since I’m always looking for ways to “rethink” topics and positions within my relationship with Jesus and within the church as a whole, it wasn’t the book’s bi-line (“Re-envisioning the Gap between Christ and Culture”) that caused such a stir within me.

The emotions began to flare up when I got to Chapter 7. It enraged me and, at the same time, caused me much discomfort. Read this excerpt and tell me how it makes you feel:

Every guy knows the rule.

You can talk about someone’s lack of athleticism, humor, or even intellect, but you never disrespect his girlfriend. A couple of years ago, I gave in. I broke the rule and badmouthed someone else’s girl. I was sitting in a coffee shop with a few of my buddies, and we started talking about a guy we all knew. We liked him, a lot. He was our friend. But his girl annoyed the heck out of us, and the negativity started to fly.

Ripping on this girl felt good because it helped to separate us from her. After all, nobody wants to be associated with a loser. And we were clearly associated with her. She had been part of our lives since we were kids. Most of us had even fallen in love with her at one point or another. Maybe that’s why we started throwing around the comments—we were insecure or hurt. I walked away from the coffee shop that night feeling pretty low. Although the conversation had been entertaining, I still felt convicted.

But the next week my buddies and I started to talk about our friend’s girl again. Only this time it was more intense. Mild dislike soon devolved into hatred. We started telling stories about how this girl offended us. She didn’t dress well or talk right. The music she liked was old and stuffy. But our main gripe was her looks. Put simply, she was as ugly as a dog. It was an ugliness that could be seen on the outside and the inside. Her entire look was outdated and irrelevant. She just didn’t fit in, and none of us wanted to be around her. We were ashamed to admit that we even knew her, much less that we used to hang out with her.

This went on for several months. And then it got worse. More people knew this girl than I first thought. At parties on the weekends it almost became an opening line—talking about this girl. I met more people than I can remember just by communicating my dislike for her. I had the lines memorized and my timing perfect. People howled as I told story after story about how ridiculous this girl was.

Then I ran into her guy.

I didn’t expect to see him. I just kind of bumped into him one day. As soon as I saw him, I realized how much I missed him. I didn’t even remember the last time I’d seen him. But my delight quickly changed to deep embarrassment. I could hardly even look at him.

He stood and looked me in the eye. “Why, Kary?” he asked quietly. “How could you talk about her like that?”

I could sense how much he loved her, and he could sense how much I hated her. His question bored a hole right through me. Why did I hate her so much? What had she ever done to me? Suddenly all my well-rehearsed insults and petty gripes seemed pretty trivial.

I dropped to my knees—I couldn’t help it. “Jesus,” I said to this guy, “I’m sorry I spoke about your bride, the church like that.”

Are you?

Like I was saying, it enraged me. But it wasn’t the words that Kary wrote that bothered me, it was the conviction I felt from within. I, too, have talked about another man’s girl. And let’s just be honest – that’s not right.

Kary is still my friend. And he does an amazing job with this book. There are few resources that explore this “Fine Line,” so take a minute and pick up a copy of it today (click the image below).

You will be challenged. I guarantee it.

Leave your thoughts below.

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Excerpt from “The Fine Line: Re-envisioning the Gap between Christ and Culture” by Kary Oberbrunner. Published by Zondervan. ISBN 0310285453. To purchase the book from Amazon, click here.

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