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thanks to Will i had the pleasure of viewing this wonderful new idea. i guess it was only a matter of time…
well intentioned to be sure…but you know my thoughts on that…
WWJD-Remember those braclets? I guess you think “those people” were well intentioned also. By “those people” I am referring to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am wondering when you post these blogs do you ever ask yourself, what would Jesus think of this? I guessing that answer is no, considering you only seem to have tolerance for certain people and not all people.
Scary? Adam I have been on your blog. Thinking that you are the future of America quite frankly scares me, not people wanting to express their faith through wearing a purple braclet.
You are all starting to sound like a bunch haters, not lovers to me. I would quote scripture on that, but I wouldn’t want it to be used against me as “hate speech”.
Allow me to clarify a few things:
#1 – I am in no way critiquing the idea of wearing bracelets to express your faith. I have no problem with that in the same way that I have no problem with people supporting cancer research by wearing “Live Strong” bracelets.
#2 – In posting this, I was more critiquing the phrase its okay “to ‘live strong’ but better to ‘die saved.’” I think this phrase is too short sighted on what the gospel is all about. it gives the message that “getting your sin problem” taken care of is all that Christianity is about. in fact, it places a higher priority on “getting into heaven” than how you live your life. For the Christian church to be effective in our culture there cannot be a separation between how we live and our getting to heaven when we die. This is nothing new. One example, Dallas Willard writes about it extensively in his book “The Divine Conspiracy” and in the class I took with him out in LA this summer. I personally want a more holistic gospel to be proclaimed from my wrist or however I express my faith.
Why is it not “loving” that I critique this? Am I “hating” when I question the way someone expresses the message of the gospel? Can I not disagree with people’s understanding of the gospel? As I said before, intentions to not make one correct. We say all the time that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” towards non-Christians. why can’t we say the same (of course, not implying that they will go to hell) to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
I will concede:
I did not explain any of this in my post. It was assumed, so it could quickly look like I was just bashing people who express their faith on their wrist. This was not the intention and I apologize if this came across this way. Perhaps the best way to “dialogue” with this difference in philosophy is not in the manner I did it and to further explain it.
I appreciate your follow up post! I took it the same way Holly did…that you were against people expressing their faith by wearing a head-band….not that you were against the “message.” Thanks for clearing up your intentions!.
By the way, I’m in complete agreement that we many times sell the gospel short. IE, we only tell half of what God is doing for us!
For what it’s worth, I think the WWJD bracelets were more on target with the gospel. Quoting out of 1st John,
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his comands. The man who says I know him but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. Whoever claims to live in him must “WALK AS JESUS DID.”
I talked to you son yesterday….he is so cute!!!! Hope your b-day went well. Did you like the card??
Yeah, i realize again that my language (especially – “it was only a matter of time”) was misleading. sorry.
#1-I do believe you were absolutely stating that you had a problem with expressing your faith by wearing a bracelet. But if you say that you don’t, then that’s great.
#2-Everyone has sin problems and repenting is the first step in our walk with God. Obviously, there is more to being a follower of Christ as you mature in that relationship, however I don’t believe we can put limits on how God is going to work through all people to bring His people back to Him. Of course you cannot put the whole message of the gospel on a bracelet but you can certainly put an expression of your faith on a bracelet which may very well open up “dialogue” to discuss your faith, and what would be wrong with that? Could we then still consider it short sighted? I don’t think you are looking at the whole picture, only a narrow beginning.
I absolutely agree with Dallas Willard, I have read the book and I am sure you recall that I sat with you in that same class in LA. I do question however, your definition of “holistic gospel”. If you could futher clarify I would appreciate it. If it is the same “new theology” or “new gospel” that some emergent churches are discussing than I am not on board.
I believe you answered your own question “why is in not loving” with your concession. However, I will say that in your blog post “To Hell with Intentions” you used the word hate in describing the “protestors” (that were reciting scripture) intentions. That seemed to me that you are not tolerant and therefore hateful toward a group of people expressing their faith. If I also misunterstood that post or if it was not your intention, then fine, but that is how it reads.
Lastly, and I don’t mean this to be trite in any way, but in your concession of not fully explaining yourself you say it “was not your intention”. Should I be so quick to say, to hell with your intentions?
I thank Scott for 1st John, that was the same scripture I was planning to use.
I agree with Holly and want to ask: How do you think the Christian church can be effective today? Do you have some new and improved technique to get people saved? Are you more enlightened than the apostle Paul? Or is JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND F O R E V E R ??
Furthermore, Dying Saved is more important than Living Strong. There are millions of people who will have lived strong, but die and go to hell.
I think the point Todd is trying to make is that it is not “either/or”. It is instead “both / and.” God does not just only forgive people of their sins. He also gives them the promise of a changed life here on earth. So in effect, maybe it should be: The Chrisitan life: Live Stong Die Saved
but then you would be sending the message that if you live your life a certain way, then you will die saved. Only thru Jesus can one die saved, not by living strong or any other way. The point is, the bracelet says Die Saved and there is nothing wrong with people wanting to express that on their wrist. If you (not you personally) have a problem with that then don’t do wear one, but don’t knock other for the way they choice to express their faith.
Scott, I would have to agree with Hello??, you cannot die saved if you only live strong, I believe that would be a short sighted statement.
Although I do agree with your intent of the statement livestrong diesaved, it’s like saying be a good person and go to heaven. We know it doesn’t work that way, and we wouldn’t to lure people in with that kind of rehortic.
An analogy just came to me, and since I believe Todd is one of the best at analogies I hope he can appreciate this…
2 people are intent on wanting to reach the world for Christ. One wears a bracelet and one hangs out at a Cigar bar. I am sure we can all agree that this is two very different ways of reaching the world, but in the end if there message is the same, their intent the reach the world and they accomplish it, does it really matter how? I liken this to the gospels. We can read throughout the gospels different accounts based on the witnesses to the same story, but always the same conclusion/ending, right?
I believe whether it is in the gospels, on your wrist, in the cigar bar, reading scripture on the street corner or knocking on doors, God works through people in different ways for His purpose. Who are we to question God’s practices?
My biggest concern here is that the some emergent church’s are more concerned with what the world’s perception of us than what God thinks of us. This, to me, is truly scary.
OK let me clarify. I think we all meaning the same thing about the gospel….we are just having a little difficulty with communication. Let me forget about the whole headband / bracelet thing for a minute here and instead say this:
The way I see the gospel is simply that “true faith” will procuce good works. Good works don’t save you….but I do believe that they are a guaranteed promise from God for those who “believe”. In other words like I said before, God doesn’t just forgive me of my sins (and amen that he does) so that he can let me into heaven. He also promises to supernaturally change me into a new person / creation!!! That is the power of the ressurrection.
That is what I think 1 John is all about! The bottom line is that we can’t seperate faith from works! They go hand in hand!
So let me try one more time. The Christian life: Have Faith, Live Strong, Die Saved
I do completely agree! I did the last time, I just thought there was a little more that needed to be communicated. Thanks for your clarification 🙂
Thanks for the conversation!
Peace out everyone,
i’m not sure how to respond…….first let me express that your comments hurt deeply. if you read my last post on my blog and some others what i hope to communicate is that i’m a broken soul in need of love and others. i guess i’m just a little confused, if this is place to talk about Jesus and his great love, where is the compassion? where is the understanding? i post one word and immediately i’m personally attacked. why not ask why i wrote the word “scary” – maybe i know some people who seeing something like that would turn them further from Christ (i do). i went back and read my blog and i don’t find any posts that are hateful or speak of church/christianity in a negative way. i echo Todd’s comments and just wonder sometimes why not make a bracelet that says “love deeply”, or something of that nature. i guess more than anything i would ask for grace, love and understanding as i’m just trying to follow Jesus the best i know how.
I am sorry if my comments hurt you. Let me say that I have do have much compassion for you. As I have stated before I see much tolerance for the world community and little to no tolerance for the chrisitian community. I apologize that I spoke out of frusturation after seeing your one word response to the diesaved bracelet, that is normally not my personality, but I must admit, coupled with Todd’s post and also his post of “To Hell with Intentions” I feel I am reaching my limit of tolerance with what some emerging churches are saying/thinking.
You say that some people seeing bracelets like that would turn them further from Christ. Let me ask you, what about the the conservative, or modern/contemporary or fundamentalist christian that has that same reaction to alcohol or smoking or cursing. These are all either additions, can be additions or sin issues that people carry and can/will keep them separated from God.
If you believe a bracelet that says “love deeply” will stir the same conversation, and with the hope of the same result of leading people to Christ and mentoring them in their walk with Him, then lets make a bracelet that says “love deeply”, but can they exsist equally for the same purpose? And if they do, then let me flip the coin and say why isn’t “love deeply” scary?
I think if you wanted to really make people understand that you believe that bracelet could turn people from Christ, you would have said exactly that. But I am assuming, and I do not want to assume your intentions again.
You refer to this as a place to talk about Jesus and his great love, compassion and understanding…where are those things represented in the word “scary”? Where are those things represented in Todd’s post “it was only a matter of time, well intentioned I am sure but you no my thoughts on that, to hell with intentions.”?
In reference to your blog, I am referring to your posts on Israel and Palestine. You refer to Palestine as victims of Israel, and people who support Israel as Christian Zionist. I am sure you don’t need this history lesson, but Israel acquired land during wars started by Palestinians. Land that they have been willing to give up for the sake of peace, but each time they give something up more innocent Israeli people are killed by Palestinian terrorists. How are they not victims? What about the Israeli children going to school and their bus is bombed, how are they not victims? I am all for peace, and a palestinian state, but to refer to them as victims? They are victims of their own rulers. And to refer to supporters of Israel as Christian Zionist? I don’t see the love, compassion or understanding represented in that statement either.
I have not read your blog in a week or so, but I promise to do so. I do believe you are sincere in your quest to follow Christ. You will by in my prayers.
In His love,
I screwed up my Adam’s. Your not the Adam I was referring to with the Palestinian/Israeli issue. I apologize profusely! Minus that everything else I said refers to your post. Again, sorry!
Adam Cleveland-if you happen to read this I will post my thoughts on your blog. Sorry!
I had an interesting realization reading through these posts.
I dislike the LIVESTRONG bracelets. Have ever since they came out. I even asked my wife to stop wearing hers. Why? Because Lance Armstrong divorced his wife to pursue his sport (and is now dating Sherryl Crow). That is not LIVESTRONG-ing to me.
Also, people who tend to wear LIVESTRONG bracelets (in my neck of the woods) tend to do it because it is in vogue, not because they LIVESTRONG (which most often they don’t…)
My realization was that that is THE SAME REASON I dislike the DIESAVED bracelets. (well, one of the reasons anyway). They do it because it is the hip thing to do, the next fish bumper ornament, if you will. Not because they are trying to start up spiritual conversations. I realized that this was a very judgemental position.
I don’t know what was going on with Lance and his ex-wife. I don’t know what is going on behind people making/wearing DIESAVED bracelets. I have only my assumptions, judgements, and guesses (which, I’d like to believe are based on past experience and reality.)
The other reason I have an adverse reaction to the fact that EVERY time a popular marketting/message spreading tool (actually, every tim ANYthing popular) comes out, there is immediate a cheesy christian rip-off version. It happens in music, art, print design, t-shirts, brand names, and statement making paraphenalia (like bracelets).
We used to innovate. What happened to innovation?
The greatest thing just happened. One of my coworkers just asked if wanted to buy a Live Strong bracelet. That’s great!
I agree with Holly. Where is the understanding for the Christian community? To be honest I have no desire to wear either bracelet, it is just not my style. (Matt, Ditto on your sentiment about Lance and Sheryl Crow)
I think that it is great the Christians want to turn worldly ideas and phrases into Christ honoring ones. I admit sometimes I catch myself rolling my eyes, but when I stop and think about it I would rather someone wear a bracelet than do nothing. By wearing this bracelet many people are saying, “I am set apart from the world and I’m a follower of Christ. I will Die Saved!” However, I believe in the power of the word of God! I don’t think that we need bracelets or any innovation. When did the truth of Christ stop being enough?
Why do you think that these bracelets would turn someone away from Christ? I read your blog and you mention several times drinking beer. Do you think that sort of behavior is what attracts people to Christ? Not that I have a problem with beer, but come on. Do you think that being seen as real or authentic is more attractive than wearing your faith on your sleeve (good pun)?
We are supposed to be in the world and not of the world. Be careful it’s a thin line.
Agree with Hello??. I don’t recall God ever calling us to be real or authentic, only calling us to holiness. And if we obey this wouldn’t we then be real and authentic in His eyes, not the world’s? More than just a thought…
Guys I have been watching the conversation…here are my humble thoughts:
I would say that I had similar reactions to Matt do as far as the “diesaved” bracelets. My experiences have been similar. I sometimes think that we are trying to be “cool” to outsiders by wearing the bracelets and therefore we can share the message better. The more I think about it, I have no problem with someone who wears the bracelet, they’d just better be sure that they are living right (because I will fight for the fact that there is a strong connection between living strong and dying saved like Scott so eloquently stated – I think that a bracelet like this MAY perpetuate a shortsighted view of what Christ really accomplished on the cross – I’ll stick to that for sure – maybe I’ll put a post up shortly about my thoughts on the gospel we preach, until then you can read my post from a LONG time ago…). This would go the same for Christians who put the fish on their car. You’d better not be throwing out the finger and cutting people off and driving like a jerk if you are going to state “I am a Christian” proudly from your bumper. Personally, I think it is quite a challenge to wear my Christianity with my lifestyle and the way I love people, show them grace, and try to model Jesus. In my past, i have seen so many people (probably including myself!) who sport the latest Christian jewelry, t-shirt, tattoo or whatever and live like the devil and perpetuate the idea that Christians are hypocrites. I hope you all realize that my passion is for having Christ be represented by live-styles and life change rather than a piece of Jewelry. That was my reason for the first statement. I carry a lot of baggage with this because I have friends who have left their faith because of hypocrisy (this is NOT to say that everyone who wears a bracelet is a hypocrite – hence the reason that wearing them is intrinsically bad). I think we all come from a perspective on this issue and that is why I think dialogue can be helpful.
but we are all actually hypocrites because we are not perfect. We will always fall short. If you think that everyone wearing a bracelet needs to be without fault then no one should be wearing them and while they are at it they should take the fish off their bumper.
I think what I’m about to say is one of the biggest misconceptions about evangelism. This is an important one so write it down…. It is not about us!! It is all about God. Yes, we are not perfect, yes we are hypocrites, but that is why we need a Savior. You could be the most pure person on earth, but guess what? That ain’t getting you into heaven and that is not what is going to turn people to Christ. The Holy Sprit is the one who works in the heart of man. All you have to do is be willing to let God work thru you. Maybe wear a bracelet, maybe get out on the street corner and read scripture…. He’ll take care of the rest!
hello?? (a.ka. RG), i am confused as to why you are getting so sarcastic with your posts?
You know my heart towards people and you know that i know evangelism is not about us. of course it is about God. yes we all can be hypocrites, but should we not be working hard (through God’s grace of course) to keep that to a miniumum?
Why all the anger, and sarcasm and condescending attitude? if you are upset at me about something, please talk to me personally and don’t choose a public space like my blog to attack me (anonymously especially).
I don’t in anyway want to attack you personally. I love you as well as your family and have (and will always) considered you a friend. If I am attacking anything it is your ideology. I disagree and sometimes get worked up. For this I apologize.
I though the purpose of this blog was to share ideas and opinions? (Even anonymously if they choose although, that was not my intention) I guess maybe it is only if they are the same as yours? I say this not trying to be sarcastic, but with all sincerity. That is the vibe I’m picking up. I will not post again.
Your Sister In Christ,
Rachel, no harm, no foul. I think one of the hard things about communication via written word is that its often hard to tell the tone of the words. we often read them with baggage, and i am sure that we have all done that. i am more than open to fruitful dialogue and i don’t think we will ever meet another person who holds all the same ideology as us, so obviously we are all “wrong” about something. What fun would it be though if we never got passionate about what we think is right. just that in our passionate pleas we often get misrepresented on accident.
you are more than welcome to post again of course and i would never “ban” any one from my blog…after all, it is a place of more conversation…
I am not a blogger nor a person who makes comments on blogs but let me make a few remarks about the conversation that has ensued from Todd’s post about the ‘diesaved’ t-shirts. I am a friend of Todd’s and a person who is passionate about the gospel so I am sure my remarks will be bias as have all the preceeding remarks.
1. I just reread the post and there is no anger in the tone of the blog. It is simply the throwing out of ideas and thoughts about the gospel. By the way, it seems to me Todd was deconstructing a poor representation of the gospel and this is exactly what Jesus came and did. He deconstructed the misconceptions the people had of the kingdom of God and reconstructed a new presentation of the kingdom of God in the way of Jesus. Is is evil to deconstruct? No! Where we often fall short is in constructing better understandings of the gospel message of Jesus. Todd and Holly both mentioned Dallas Willard and I believe from reading the Divine Conspiracy and numerous articles by Willard on Evangelism that he would have some serious reservations about t-shirt evangelism.
2. The theological discussion of works and grace is a tough conversation. I believe without question that we are called to follow Jesus. The tension of works and grace is a what it means to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Even the go to passage on grace and not works (Eph. 2.8-9) gets interesting in verse 10 when it says that we were created for good works. Our very creation was for good works. In the gosepls Jesus never tries to argue this out (as Paul does in a Jewish context of law and grace). Jesus presents a message that the kingdom of God is for everyone (Matthew 5) and that when we come to follow Christ we enter into a life of tranformation. It is not an either or but a both and. For every passage about grace we have a story about a rich young ruler called to sell all he has for entrance into the kingdom. I am not promoting a works gospel but I am not going to sell out the message of Jesus for a free ticket into heaven.
3. I would also suggest that nowhere in the Scriptures could we conjure up the application or principle that the wearing of the gospel message is the way to present Jesus. It is through our words and actions that we present the humble and mysterious gospel message to the world. St. Francis of Asissi said, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” What a challenge. Would that we were living the message instead of arguing over it on a blog (myself included).
4. It also seems to me that we are all coming at it from our own angle (myself included). For some of us, we sense the authenticity of living the gospel message and for others the unconditional love and yet for others the holiness of God. It would seem that since all of those and many others (incarnational living, redemptive living, confrontational gospel presentations, lifestyle evangelism, etc) could be brought up from Scritpure, we should all try to balance our approach. If it is all holiness as seen from legalism then we miss the message of the Paul in I Corinthians 9. Holiness is to be set apart (yes it is to be different like God – btw, God (Jesus) made some good wine). God has set a people apart for himself throughout the Scriptures. He set them apart so they could mirror him to his creation. If it is only the message of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 then we do forget to be sensitive to other Christians with our methods. I think the arguments over the certain themes of Scripture without bringing in the other side is somewhat short sighted.
I apologize up from for any mispoken words. I know most of you who are posting and I love you dearly. I am not going to reply to any comments (i know that is unfair) if there were to be any. Have a great day being for the world what Jesus was for the world.
not to kick a dead horse, but ….
in my experiene by searching for who God has called me to be (what i mean by real and authentic) i have seen more fruit for his kingdom than by “wearing my faith on my sleeve”. but that’s just my experience – i’m not saying it’s either/or. i wrote the word scary b/c it’s sort of surrealistic to see the life of Jesus marketed in neat packages. I agree w/ Brad’s third point. anyway – if anyone is interested in carrying this conversation further with me in particular look for me on AIM (a7dk7).
No worries about the blog switch holly. btw mine is daibew.com.
For the record I would not personally choose t-shirt evangelism, although I will not condemn it either. And I also may not choose go to a bar and have a drink or the cigar bar to smoke in the hopes of having the opportunity to be for the world what Jesus was for the world, but I would not condemn those means either. In case I was not clear about that, it is now in black and white.
We are saved through God’s grace and we are called to do good works, good works that He has prepared for us. I believe these are designed to work in conjunction with one another, not in opposition or one more imporant than the other. Like God’s sovernity and free will, they exsist in union with one another.
Todd and Brad-I will communicate with you personally through email. And for the record I am sure Jesus made the best wine, not just good wine 🙂
thanks everyone for your thoughts…let’s move on to another conversation….