Archives For God

Game of Thrones is arguably the most popular and successful show on television.  A big reason for its popularity is the gratuitous nudity it’s become famous for.  People will rush to defend these displays for the sake of art, yet the producers know that sex, not art, is what sells.  Listen to a Game of Thrones director, Neil Marshall, quoting an unnamed show producer on the Empire.com Podcast:

This particular exec, like, took me to one side and said, “Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience. Ok?  Everybody else is the serious drama side. I represent the perv side of the audience, and I want full frontal nudity in this scene. So you go ahead and do it.”

This was followed by chuckles and laughs shared between Marshall and the podcast host, both men.

Our culture is a cesspool of objectification of the female body.  Women aren’t seen as human beings, but as objects to be consumed by men.  You see the end result of this in the millions of broken hearts, despairing headlines, and addicts trying to find their next and bigger fix.  Yet we let the cycle continue by gorging on the gratuitous objectified bodies of Game of Thrones and many other porn outlets, acting like we can have the best of both worlds: enjoying the instant gratification of sex way outside of how God designed it, without it having any effect on our life, relationships, and the fabric of society as a whole.

Read more from Noah Filipiak on Game of Thrones at the Covenant Eyes blog:  If you’re watching Game of Thrones, you’re watching porn.

I started my church 11 years ago with big dreams for God.

Church planting networks want people with big dreams for God.

We create huge conferences to encourage people to dream big dreams for God.

At this point your “cynic radar” is already starting to go off as you read this.  Bear with me a little longer before you cast me off.

Try to name one person in the New Testament who had “big dreams for God” in the way pastors and church planters are taught to.  The first people who come to my mind were the Jewish crowd in Matthew 21:1-11 who laid their coats on the ground while waiving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  This was “big thing” energy at its height as people shouted praises to Jesus and proclaimed him as their Messiah.

This frenetic crowd was made up of the same mob who shouted “Crucify him!” later in the week. Continue Reading…

Suffering is one of the most common reasons people doubt God.

If God is so loving, how can such bad things happen?

Trite statements by Christians only make this worse:

Something good will come out this, just wait.

God has a purpose for everything. 

Something good will come out of rape, child abuse, or the premature death of a loved one…

As if God were committing atrocities so we’d learn a lesson later.

I want to propose that most people live with the expectation that this world is heaven, so when they discover (through observing or experiencing suffering) that it isn’t, they are devastated.  Specifically, their idea of God is devastated.

This is a very complicated topic because we are indeed eternal beings, yet we do not live in an eternal world.

As eternal beings, we long for heaven.  Not just heaven as the place or destination, but a state of being without suffering, pain, disease, and death.  This is, in fact, what we were created for so it makes perfect sense we’d still be hardwired for this.  What we long for is a world without the effects of sin, while we live in the midst of a world riddled by these effects.

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It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is coming.  The season of love.  You can tell a lot about a culture by the way it celebrates holidays and in this case, you can tell a lot about what a culture thinks love is.

If you asked a person on the street what love is, you would hopefully get an answer that refers to caring for another and being committed to another in a selfless way.  Meanwhile, everyone can admit that our culture is plagued with sexual travesties:  rape and child abuse at the top of the list, with more subtle stops along the way.  The subtle stops will be debated, especially in our post-truth culture where the prevailing value is each person gets to choose their own values.  This means even if a person’s sexual patterns are destructive, it is a worse crime to tell them they are wrong than it is for them to continue doing whatever they want, whenever they want, with whoever they want.

Most people will still admit they don’t like feeling objectified.  What I mean is, most women will tell you they don’t like it when men gaze at their breasts instead of making eye contact.  Most parents will tell you they don’t want boys ogling their teenage daughters like they are pieces of meat, and making advances to act on these desires of consumption.  Outside of the sexual realm, objectification still applies.  No one wants to be treated like property, disrespected as subhuman by their bosses or customers, or treated like they don’t have innate value and dignity. Continue Reading…

An abbreviated version of this article was published on the Transforming Center’s website: What does transforming leadership look like for Pastor Noah Filipiak?  Here is the full version:

 

I love seminary.

 

I have one seminary degree and look forward to going back for more.

 

With that said, my experience in a Transforming Community has been the most important ministry leadership training I have ever received.  It’s not that it’s a competition between the type of things you learn in seminary and the type of things learned through the Transforming Community, it’s just very noticeable which ones are more emphasized in the Church today (and in my own ministry leadership life up to this point).  Noticeable due to the amount of pain and personal struggle I and so many other ministry leaders have endured in our untransformed selves.

 

I’ve seen the same concept true at the gym.  You often see people at the gym, usually fellow men, who are incredibly muscular.  Muscles on top of muscles and they are straining to build even more muscles.  I often wonder if these are NFL players or ditch diggers or some other occupation where this sort of strength would be beneficial.  Obviously the strength isn’t there for pragmatic reasons.  Meanwhile, as a former college track and cross country runner myself, I rarely see these muscle-bound titans hop on the treadmill or exercise bike.  Lots of muscle is great, but if it’s the only thing that’s ever focused on, a person can spend all that time in the gym and still be a very ineffective athlete.  After all, it’s pretty hard to be athletic if you can’t breathe!  There’s nothing wrong with being a bodybuilder or doing a lot of strength training, it’s just caused me to notice an interesting parallel to ministry training.

Continue Reading…