Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Twilight of Atheism

I took advantadge of one of my first calm saturday to finish a book I have long been reading, I have got interested to read a book about atheism when I could saw some atheist books very well marketed here, but I rather choose a more general book instead of a response from McGrath to Dawkins book, already translated to Portuguese but not marketed as well.
I thought Twilight of Atheism: the rise and fall of disbelief in the modern world a very well organized book and also very well researched, I could found a well done chronology of atheism related to what was happening in Christianity and history at those time.
Besides the very good historical chronology of religion I could saw a very interesting point of view on which faith (and absent of it) is very related to imaginary, when we steal the imaginary from the faith it will not nourish.
Also, McGrath purposes that atheism grows when religion is closely related to power. He made think frequently on Bush era and those atheist books released:
"Where religion is seen to oppress, confine, deprive, and limit, atheism may well be seen as offering humanity a larger vision of freedom. But where religion manages to anchor itself in the hearts and minds of ordinary people, is sensitive to their needs and concerns, and offers them a better future, the less credible the atheist critique will appear. Believers need to realize that, strange though it may seem, it is they who will have the greatest impact on atheism's future."

Besides the historic chronogram of atheism, faith and religion I recommend two chapters very closely related to emerging church issues: "Disconnection from the Sacred: Protestantism and Atheism" where McGrath ties Protestantism ascetism of liturgy to lack of immagination to atheism and "Postmodernity: Atheism and Radical Cultural Change" where he describes very well modernism and postmodernism.

Questions we make to our pillow

In July, I thought about making some gatherings of friends not related to my church network to start some espiritual conversations and get to work all the stuff I have been learned so far, also, it was a matter of gathering friends that I have not seen so frequently, as we live in a very big city, when we loose regular contact through business, school or even church, we have to be very intentional to maintain friendship, there's people that is hard to meet once a year even if he lives in São Paulo too.
I got a meeting room at a hotel located in a business neighborhood in Sao Paulo. A friend help me with a very beautiful invitation which, besides the theme "Questions we make to our pillow", raised a lot of couriosity.
As I am yet a kind of unchurched, I do not count with a team to help me, so I asked help for Sandro Baggio who made available so good and talented people from Projeto 242 to give me a very generous help with music, paintings, drama and films. That is why also I called some friends trhough Facebook to help me through prayers for those gatherings.
We planned to talk about some deep questions that assalt us frequently, like, how much money is enough, how to do so many things in a so little time, if there is a purpose in life and how to be happy. The purpose was not to answer those questions (we are not crazy to it) but to questions how those matters are relevant to us and how. We did it reflecting about what Solomon wrote in Eclesiates and also with some teachings of Jesus. It was a very good time to talk and refect about our rithym of life, about our current consumist system of values and to find again how deeply was Jesus teachings to address those matters, life is so simple and good life is so at hand! Sometimes it seems so far!
As we live in a very crazy city, there was many friends who wanted to come but was unable to, we scheduled our gatherings to four Wednesday nights from August to October, but our city reserves surprises that usually blocks people from going from one side to another.

We tried to test new ways to talk about spirituality, though it is not so easy when you are raised from a church when you are trained to talk about this in a very closed point of view, but I thing we did make good gatherings though there wasn't as many friends as I planned. But for the couriosity raised and for the matter of perseverance I would like to work on these gatherings again next year.
Thank you for your prayers and help.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

David Pierce at CheckList today!

Well, as antecipated, David Pierce blog tour happens today here, please find below some prior questions I have sent him, feel free to post more questions to him at comments, remember though that New Zeland hour is the opposite time now

Luis Fernando - As you have been here in Brazil, even recently at Tribal Generation, what kind of idea you have of the overall church here and some efforts to build a relevant witness to our generation?

David Pierce - First of all, I want thank you for having me on your blog, Luis. It would be great to see you when I am in Sao Paulo next October.

From my limited experience in Brazil, I have the impression that there are a lot of great churches reaching into the emergent generation. In fact, I think Brazil is a leader in that area in many ways.

It was great for me to be at Tribal Generation (along with Sandro Baggio and Aaron) and to see all the different ministries that are happening in Brazil and South America.

Luis Fernando - With this kind of itinerant ministry around the world, I imagine you might go to places you will never have the opportunity to return again, how can you assure the fruit of your witness are having the proper follow up on evangelism or discipleship?

David Pierce - It’s my desire that everyone we reach as a result of our evangelistic efforts are equipped to become mature enduring mature members of the Body of Christ. That is why we are extremely committed to working with local churches and ministry partners to ensure that new believers receive proper follow up and ongoing discipleship. When necessary, we work to develop new churches because it is common for us to ministry in areas where they are very few or no churches at all.

However, I disagree with the idea out there that unless you can ensure that direct follow up will occur, that you shouldn’t proclaim Jesus. All day long, people are constantly hearing lies, through the media, newspapers or where ever they go. So if I have the opportunity to proclaim the truth, I not only should, I have the responsibility to do so.

For example, one day I was listening to the radio, and a well-known Christian band was being interviewed on a popular station. This band had achieved considerable success in the secular music scene. The interviewer asked the singer of the band where he got his inspiration. It was as though he was setting him up to talk about his faith in God. The singer in the band responded by saying, “I know some people would say we’re a Christian band, but we’re not.” Then he said he got his inspiration from different social issues and life experiences. And as he spoke, it was as if I heard a voice saying, “If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).

Luis Fernando - When training other people to build similar ministries around the world, what factors do you have in mind to pass them that will be important to nurture in their home places?

David Pierce - Over the years, I have learned many principles (often the hard way!) about how to effectively reach the emergent youth culture, but I think one of the most important principles is the idea that you can not be impressed with the “scene” God is calling you to.

The “scene” devastates people. Jesus wasn’t afraid to confront human culture, because he knew how often it was sick and destructive. He healed on the Sabbath, he talked to a Samaritan woman in a public place, he invited tax collectors to join him, he ate with immoral people, he offended Jews by not following their laws, he said that he did not belong to the world’s system but came to bring another Kingdom, and he told his followers that they did not belong to this world. Jesus spoke in the languages of the cultures he was trying to reach, but he did not identify with cultural stupidity, confusion, pride, selfishness, injustice, or immorality. Jesus ate with people, loved them, healed them, fed them, used their symbols to communicate who God is, but he didn’t refrain from telling them the truth.

So don’t think you have to compromise with the scene. Be like Jesus, and confront it. This is why I refuse to say, for example, that I am a Christian punk, even though I have spent years in the middle of punk culture. How unbelievable is it to link Jesus with anything like that—a man-made scene that destroys people? I am a follower of Jesus, not a Christian punk. NO LONGER MUSIC has also played in some of the most famous gothic clubs in South America, but that hasn’t made me a Christian goth. I am a follower of Jesus, and that is all. I influence the scene, not vice versa. You need to get out of the scene. Jesus is the one you need to follow.
It seems that sometimes we think that being part of the scene makes us radical. But that just buys into the idea that the scene is more powerful than Jesus. Jesus is the true radical.

At Steiger, our vision is to train, equip and release people around the world to reach out to secular youth culture in urban areas and to raise up evangelistic artists who would impact the trend setters in the fields of art and media with the message of the Cross.

We have a 3-month school in New Zealand every year to give training for those interested in reaching the emergent youth and in our last school we had seven people from Brazil. We also have an Association of Evangelistic Artists that is intended to challenge and equip artists and musicians to boldly take the gospel message outside of the church.

Check out our website – – for more information about Steiger or check out - - for more information about No Longer Music.

I would like to post here a question posted by TallSkinnyKiwi where you can know better what happens at No Longer Music Presentation:

Andrew Jones - How do you describe No Longer Music?

David Pierce - In our show, we start the concert with a lot of craziness that has no real point to it; there are just a lot of bizarre things happening on stage, along with video projections, fire and other special effects. For example, during one song, our base player is strung up by his feet and plays a song upside down.

We do this to develop a relationship with the audience; it shows them that we don’t take ourselves too seriously and gives them a chance to dance and go crazy.

But in the second half, it gets serious. We start the second section by portraying a girl being raped behind a shadowbox in order to convey a sense of the world’s injustice. We use such an intense symbol, because the reality is that people are raped by the world. We do not do anything obscene, but the portrayal of what happens is still very strong, because we want to show people what the world really is like. After that, I pick the girl up and carry her forward, toward the audience. The audience does not know yet that I represent Jesus in the concert. Then I start saying, “I can’t protect you when you’re not by my side… I can’t keep you safe… Don’t hate your life!”

The whole point of this section is to show how passionate God is and how upset he is about our pain and suffering. The concert goes on to show how I die for the girl. Many people still do not realize what is going on, perhaps because I have not used the words “God” or “Jesus,” even forty minutes into the show. We had the crazy part in the beginning, and then it slowly turned into a serious story, but not one time have we said anything blatantly Christian. The reason is that we gear the show toward secular people, so I need to explain to them who Jesus is before I start using Christian words. If I say, “God” or “Jesus” at the beginning of the concert, they will say to themselves, “Oh, I know what this is all about, and I’m not interested.”

Typical Christian words will turn people away immediately, because they have a false idea of Jesus in their head, and the Jesus they reject, you would reject also. As our show progresses and I am killed on stage in place of this girl, I end up covered in stage blood and am put in a clear coffin. Then two people blow fire over the coffin, and, amidst a lot of smoke and light effects, I come up out of it. A lot of people in the audience finally start to get it at this point. Up until then, most just think that it is a crazy concert. But now, the different aspects of the second half start to come together in their minds.

So finally, it clicks in people’s minds that we are talking about Jesus. That is when they start to react. People frequently get really worked up in the audience, especially when I come out of the coffin, because that is typically when God’s power shows up. He comes in such a real way that people feel it. They often say that they feel something like energy, light, heat, electricity, or a life force, because they do not know how else to describe the Holy Spirit.

By this point, the show has lasted almost an hour, and I still haven’t said, “God” or “Jesus.” And I still don’t. Instead, I walk over to the girl and say, “You don’t have to listen to lies anymore.” Then I say it again, “You don’t have to listen to lies anymore! I died in your place. We can be together again.” We embrace, and I say, “You can find your life again.” Then I turn to the audience and tell them, too, “You can find your life again!”

I say, “The world wants to put you in a cage like a rat. Like a rat on a wheel. I don’t want to live in a rat cage. I don’t want to die in a rat cage. I’m so sick of the rat cage. Sick of the rat cage lies. Sick of the rat cage jokes. It’s time to change the road you’re on. It’s time to meet the ultimate life force.”

I don’t use religious words. I don’t even say, “God.” I say, “It’s time to meet the ultimate life force—the one who loved us all along, the one who breaks all the chains. And his name is Jesus.” We have just done an hour show, and the last word I say is, “Jesus.” Because of the way we design the show, many people are thinking, I’m not supposed to like Jesus, but I like him, and I don’t know what to do. I see the truth in this message, and I’m touched, but I’m supposed to be against Jesus. It is confusing and powerful, because people finally get a true picture of who Jesus really is. And thousands of people have come to Jesus at our concerts, because they have seen a true picture of God.

If you want to see a video of what I’m talking about, you can watch this video.

Luís Fernando - David, I am extremely honored to receive you at my blog here, surely I am looking forward to meet you personally here in October. The very nature of your answers show how you are commited to mission and this makes me learn a lot with you. I am posting part of our interview in my Portuguese blog, and I will transfer comments from there to here.

Tag - ; ;

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

David Pierce at CheckList!

David Pierce started a blog tour today with a very interesting interview at TallSkinnyKiwi, so I was honored to recieve him at my blog next Saturday, May 31st.
David is director of Steiger International and leader of No Longer Music, I could see their performance some years ago at Projeto 242 in São Paulo and it was really amazing!
They have been in lot of countries and even countries with a very small Christian witness, this year they will be presenting on Poland, Lebanon, Turkey, Croatia, Finland and Iceland.

He will be here at my blog next Saturday, bring on your questions and feel free to comment.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great conversations with Spencer Burke in São Paulo!

As shared in last post, we had great moments when we received the visitation of Spencer Burke here in São Paulo. It all started with an interview we made with him on March and after, we started to talk about a possibility of doing Soularize here in São Paulo, so we received him from May 15th until 18th when he could take good pictures, and have a good idea of the emergent conversation in Brazil, also we could foster great conversations with friends and could promote a gathering last Saturday on Projeto 242.

If you would like to know how it was, we have streamed mostly of the Saturday gathering and we have them recorded, our session was both in English and in Portuguese, so you might listen and see what happened on video:

Morning Sessions

Afternoon Sessions

Also, we have it recorded on Renovatio Cafe's Podcast:

Morning Session

Afternoon Session

I hope this might help to open brazilian doors for more conversation with great guys abroad we have been known and read in this emergent world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spencer Burke in Sao Paulo

We are looking forward to receive Spencer Burke and spent the next days with him, this idea begun with his interview made for Renovatio Cafe and from tomorrow until Sunday we have a quick time to learn from each other and let brazilian people know about him.
As I am not so used for these kind of things I have spent very rushed days, but I am very excited to have him with us. I believe his energy and good spirit will contagiate many people will be there.
I hope to stream our gathering with him in the main page of Renovatio Café on Saturday from 10:00 until 4:00 (Brazilia time), feel free to check it out!

Projeto Mandaqui is over

I had posted this week a final post for Projeto Mandaqui blog, we have met for two years and, after we found so difficult to gather more people to be with us, we also started to have some difficulties to syncronize our rythm and priorities.
Though it is frustrating I can't be sad for trying, we had wonderfull meetings and each one were a gift from God.
We stopped meeting and now, I am wondering and praying for another way to start our church planting seed.
We need your prayers!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Renovatio café - Now you can read it!

As promised, we opened last week a section of English articles for you friends abroad! We have opened it with two objectives in mind:
  • To let you know what is going here, we will have brazilian bloggers posting in English to let you know our context, how we found the books we have read, it is, the think I try to do here
  • To let friends participate in our efforts in Brazil posting their messages to encourage our work on brazilian emerging church

  • We have already an Article from Gustavo K-fe about Brazilian context of the emerging church. You can visit at this link, or visiting Renovatio Cafe and choosing "English Content" menu, RSSs files for English Content are also available.

    With Lights off for Earth!

    Yeah! Yesterday, we also took our lights off for Earth Hour!
    We turned our lights off, eat our dinner while I could explain my doughter why we were doing such thing. After, I told her a story about the little light that went out searching for darkness and were not able to find it, I could relate it to Jesus teaching about being the Light of the world and we all prayed to be such a light to spread peace, love and happiness everywhere we were.
    Earth Hour were not so spreaded here in Brazil, but it was a beggining, and was a great opportunity to reflect about our use of resources and our responsibility as christians to take care of this world.

    Tag - ;

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Earth Hour, March 29th, 8PM

    I love this idea!

    Will you be in?

    I believe that even if your city is not on this list, it would be awsome to gather people at candles lights to reflect about our use of earth resources. Check at WWF Website

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Renovatio Cafe

    I am so glad to break this long silence to share a very good news! We have just launched Renovatio Cafe website!
    We had long ago planned to launch a site to gather the emergent community here in Brazil, to inspirate emergent brazilians to create good national content and to promote emergent gatherings in our country.
    We have lots of blogs talking about emergent and missional churches, discussing about their delusion on modern church, but unfortunately, we have so rare emergent communities here! I believe this site could be a good tool to empower people to plant new communities here.
    Until then, we will gather people to write brazilan content, but we will also work to translate good contents available abroad, also, we are working to have some good talks with emergent leaders abroad as a matter to inspirate others leaders here, if you are interest to help us in those matters we would appreciate a lot!
    For a while, most of our articles are portuguese written, we have also some files available in English though, further, we plan to have also English content available to our friends abroad, I think it would be awsome to let you know what's going on here!
    I count on your prayers!

    *A revolução já começou - Revolution has already begun!