Love is not a theory

This entry is part 1 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

We talk about love a lot, we say that: God is love! The scriptures say it over and over again, they even say that unless you are in love, saturated with love, bubbling over with love, you are not with god. And so we realise that love is necessary, it’s a fundamental part of our […]

Jesus is not a religion

This entry is part 2 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

While one can assume that Jesus may have been a religious man, Jesus himself is not a religion. He did not come to start a religion, he did not found a church and he did not write a sacred text nor did he ask anyone else to do so. I think if Jesus had intended […]

Christianity is not a checklist

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

It’s not! Ask yourself this, are you a Christian? If so, why are you a christian? Is it because you believe certain things? The right things? Is it because you do certain things? Or are you a Christian because there is a divine reality of love and you live or at least wish to live […]

Church is not an adress

This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

In evangelical circles we keep saying this, Church is the people not the building, but do we really understand it? The word church comes from the german kirche which in turn comes from the greek word kurios meaning lord. So the word church means “those who belong to the lord”, well you could of course […]

Notes on the margins of old book

The Bible is not a book of doctrines

This entry is part 5 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

Anyone who has seriously read their bible knows this is true. There are no clear doctrines found in the bible. If this was the case then all churches would adhere to the same set of doctrines but as we all know the universal Christian church has split into countless fractions all over tiny (or sometimes […]

Community is not a meeting

This entry is part 6 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

The holy grail of church planting in my opinion is the building of a community. The way we traditionally do this is by planning activities in our church buildings and we put on meetings. That is we create structured environments in which people can meet and greet. I am not saying there is anything wrong […]

Grace has no exceptions

This entry is part 7 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

  Grace, it’s such a beautiful concept. Grace an (undeserved) gift freely given. We read in the scriptures that god loved us before we knew about god, before we saw god, before we had our first god experience. God’s grace is scandalous, outrageous and completely free, for EVERYONE. There are NO exceptions! There are no […]

Ministry is not a program

This entry is part 8 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

Ministry is an interesting word for many reasons, the most important reason is that it does not mean what most people assume it means. For me as a Swede it has double significance as it is one of the Christian buzzwords that do not exist in the Swedish language. The closest we get to the […]

Art is not carnal

This entry is part 9 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

This is a blog post that should not need to be written. Art and artistic expression has been part of the church since it’s inception. And while art often is a physical expression (but not always, for example poetry) it is not carnal as defined by the false dichotomy of carnal/spiritual or materialistic as in […]

Women are not inferior

This entry is part 10 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

The title should be enough, that should be the end of discussion. However, since we are prone to get stuck in patterns based on fragmented readings of scripture we have to go deeper than just this statement. We have gotten stuck on a handful of bible verses about submission and male dominance instead of letting […]

Our humanity is not the enemy

This entry is part 11 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

It’s been around for a long time, the notion that the problem we have as humans is that we are in fact human. We call it the human condition. And so we aspire to be more than human, to be ‘spiritual’, to somehow leave our human existence and become something else. The problem is that […]

Ambigram - sinner/saint

Sinner is not our identity

This entry is part 12 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

I have heard it often spoken in churches, you are a sinner! We most often base this on a handful of verses out of scripture like the famous “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of god”. And so we fall into the trap where we think that we are what we […]

Tattoos are not evil

This entry is part 13 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

It is funny how a single verse in the bible can become so important to some people, important enough not to read or understand the context.  You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft. 27 You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of […]

Peace is not a circumstance

This entry is part 14 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

Most people have had this thought, I know I have, If I could just find some peace and quiet, then I could sort out my issues and get on with it. Most people wait for the circumstances to be right, or work frantically to make the circumstances right to achieve peace. This need for quiet […]

Science is not secular

This entry is part 15 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

We live in a secular society, which for most people means separation of church and state. We have this idea that church simply should not be political or involve itself in matters of state. In the same way we have this notion that church has nothing to do with science and that science have nothing […]

Life is not a warm-up for heaven

This entry is part 16 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

The whole idea of heaven, while hope inspiring, often corrodes and hollows out our everyday life. It is interesting to note that Jesus rarely spoke about heaven. To him, it seemed much more important and urgent to deal with life here and now. Heaven in the here and now. “Repent, for the kingdom of god […]

flower growing out of asphlt, hope

The world is not without hope

This entry is part 17 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

I don’t know about you but I hear a lot of hopelessness out there when I put my ear on the wire. The internet is buzzing with naysayers and doomsday prophets telling us that it is too late, that there is no hope left. We might as well just hold on and enjoy the ride […]

The mind is not infallible

This entry is part 18 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

We live in a society that has for centuries prioritised the mind.  We have listened to Descartes who said Cogito Ergo Sum, I think therefore I am and so we believe that we are the sum of our thoughts rather than the sum of our being. God gave us the mind to protect the heart, […]

God is not a belief system

This entry is part 19 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

It is a simple truth really: god is god. God is not what we believe of god. God is not our theology or our doctrines. Since the dawn of time humans have had various ideas, religions, doctrines, theologies about god. God has remained god all that time. I will not say that god is unchanging, […]

Feelings are not dangerous and unreliable

This entry is part 20 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

If you have been raised in church or spent a longer time as a member of some sort of church, then I am sure you have been told not to trust your feelings. I was certainly told time and time again that feelings are a roller coaster, they come and go and cannot be trusted. […]

Self actualisation is not self-worship

This entry is part 21 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

“For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self … Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering […]

Seeing the divine in all things is not heretical

This entry is part 22 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

Look around you, what do you see? Are you not surrounded by grace? By walking talking miracles gifted with the gift of life and love? How is it that within the Christian church, it has become heretical to see and to point out the divine outside of the confines of our little community, outside of […]

Loving the earth is not satanic

This entry is part 23 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

In the beginning when god began creating the heavens and the earths manifestations of god’s self of gods love, and god saw that it was good. And god created humans as embodied manifestations of gods consciousness, god’s glory and god’s love. God charged humanity to be stewards of the earth, to love it and care […]