Monday, January 23, 2017

WATCH: "Keith Giles" The Documentary


Directed by soon-to-be-mega-famous film director, Braden Swope, this short documentary gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of Keith Giles, the house church he started about ten years ago, and what they do when they get together.

The film debuted Friday, Jan. 20th at Chapman University and was also shown Saturday evening at the book release party for "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" hosted at Fuller Seminary in Irvine.

Be sure to watch and to share the video with your friends!

If you haven't purchased your copy of "Jesus Untangled" it's #1 in Christian Ethics at Amazon!

Go grab your copy on Kindle or in Print here:



Learn more about the book at: www.JesusUntangled.com

If you've purchased a copy and read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Share below.

Peace,
Keith



Friday, January 20, 2017

AVAILABLE NOW: Jesus Untangled Launches Today!




The wait is over!

Today is the day to order your copy of my new book, Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Your Politics to Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb. (Foreword by Greg Boyd)


ORDER PRINT COPY


ORDER EBOOK COPY

Here's what people are saying so far:

"This important book clears away the sticky webs that entangle the people of God.
It demands attention. Disagree with it. Debate it. Deal with it, or just do it...but dismiss it at your own peril.
"
Neil Cole, author of "Organic Church"




"In his new book, Jesus Untangled, Keith Giles reveals an unentangled Christianity that is much more than a mere separation of church and state. He demolishes the recurring fantasy of a world transformed through Christian laws and policies, and reawakens us to the truly transformative power of the Gospel. Using compelling examples of Christians throughout history, along with a sound interpretation of Scripture, Keith skillfully argues for today's church to finally lay down the sword of politics, and once again take up the cross of Christ.


- Richard Jacobson, author of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity and co-host of The Unchurching Podcast

"Jesus Untangled touches some of the most sensitive nerves in the religious world. You may struggle deeply with some of the details he presents, but Keith Giles does a superb job of uncovering the lie that wraps the flag or national symbol of any country around Jesus. Our allegiance is only to the Lamb of God." 
- Jon Zens, author of "A Church Building Every Half Mile" and "What's With Paul and Women?"


"Through passionate stories, cultural commentary, and biblical insight, Keith Giles presents a good case for separating politics from following Jesus. We shouldn’t want a “Christian” nation, because no worldly nation can ever follow the values and guidelines of Jesus. The rule and reign of God doesn’t come through laws, regulations, and votes, but through God’s people living like Jesus among the people he brings around us. Do you want to change the world? Follow Jesus wherever he leads."
 –Jeremy Myers, author and bible teacher at RedeemingGod.com

“Many Americans have a tangled up view of Jesus. What is Jesus tangled up with? In three words – American Civil Religion. This is the conflating of American Patriotism with Christianity. Writing with the voice of both a scholar and a prophet, Keith Giles adds an important contribution to a growing library of books calling American Christians to pledge allegiance to Jesus. It’s an important reminder and warning about the dangers of getting Jesus (and loyalty to him) tangled up with loyalty to American Civil Religion.”
- Kenny Burchard, associate editor and primary contributor at ThinkTheology.org

"If you can't stand being challenged, only affirmed, well don't read this book!  Keith will make you think and re-think. Jesus Untangled is a helpful corrective to a tragic mistake made by both the Christian right and the Christian left: Confusing our own politics with the beautiful, transcendent mission of the church."
- Brant Hansen, radio host and author of Unoffendable

"For more than a generation in Americanized Christianity, Jesus has become so entangled in the political realm that he has become more of a political pawn to be owned by a side, than a leader to follow into uncharted territory. His message, once so counter-cultural, has been stifled, suffocated, and reduced to a tangled pile of knots on the floor of the American political scene. I can think of no better place for a Christian to begin sorting those out, and reclaiming a message that is still other-worldly after all these years, than with Jesus Untangled."
- Benjamin L. Corey, author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus
"In Jesus Untangled, Keith Giles provides a desperately needed wake-up call to the church in America, exposing the dangers of nationalism, and showing how Jesus offered a better way—the way of self-sacrificial love. This book should be in the hands of every American Christian."
- Chuck McKnight, blogger at HippieHeretic.com
 
"Simply stated, every Kingdom-minded believer will benefit from reading Jesus Untangled. This is especially true in the hyper-sensitized, increasingly polarized and divisive society that we live in today. In a day when everyone is drawing lines and choosing sides, Keith asks us to "Take a step back from everything you've ever been told, or seen modelled by other Christians, and try to see things from a different perspective than you might be used to." If you are willing to take an open-minded journey with Keith on the topic of Christianity and politics, you will find things that you heartily agree with, things that intrigue or challenge you, and quite possibly things that evoke a resounding, "No, No, NO!" But if you are brave enough to persevere, you will find yourself reevaluating, reassessing and possibly repenting of attitudes and beliefs you have carried about what it means to follow Jesus without entanglement."
- Dan Notti, conference speaker and blogger
  
"I joined the US Navy because I thought Jesus wanted me to kill America's enemies.  My faith in God was tangled with my faith in America.  Untangling my faith has been a hard journey that's taken many years.  Jesus Untangled introduces the main ideas that led me on my journey." 
- Mike Izbicki, former US Naval officer and conscientious objector.
 
 THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE!

After you've had a chance to read the book, please come back here and let me know what you think by sharing a comment.

Peace,
kg

PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH YOUR FRIENDS


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

GREG BOYD: From his Foreword to "Jesus Untangled"



"Jesus Untangled is a clarion call for Christians to wake up
to the many ways we have compromised our distinct calling as
citizens of the kingdom of God by becoming entangled with the
affairs of the kingdom of the world. It is a prophetic call for us
to remember, and to never again forget, that we are soldiers of
God’s kingdom, stationed in enemy-occupied territory"  
– Gregory A. Boyd
Senior Pastor, Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood, MN; author of The Myth
of a Christian Nation (Zondervan, 2006) and numerous other books.

Friday, January 13, 2017

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Look inside my new book


Want to get a little taste of my new book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" before it's published on Friday, Jan. 20th at Amazon?

This is your chance!

Thanks to BookGrabbr you can now download a sample chapter of my book right now>

Let me know what you think!

Be sure to wait until Friday, Jan. 20th - Inauguration Day - to order my book at Amazon, please.

It won't be long now.

Peace,
kg

Monday, January 09, 2017

INTERVIEW: Derek Gilbert talks to Keith Giles about new book "Jesus Untangled"


WATCH: View From The Bunker host Derek Gilbert interviews author Keith Giles about his new book "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb". 


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Our Cultural Blind Spots



NOTE: Recently, my friend Dr. Scott Bartchy – Professor Emeritus of Christian Origins and History of Religion at UCLA – sent me two documents to examine. Both of them contained more than enough insight to fill up this blog for the next few months. This blog is one of many to come based on these new insights.

**

Due to our own lack of awareness about first century Jewish culture, we have been blinded to several key nuances found in the New Testament texts. 

As Bartchy points out, “Their values are not our values. Unless we learn otherwise, both professional exegetes and na├»ve readers naturally assume that our own social experiences and the cultural values with which we were raised have been generally characteristic of socially-approved human life across time and space. Regrettably, this assumption has encouraged readers…to interpret our ancient (NT) documents in ways that ignore or misunderstand the prevailing structures of fundamental human relationships in Jesus’ social world.”

He then goes on to point out that these areas of misunderstanding include concepts like kinship, marriage, patriarchy and manliness.

His paper, “Jesus, The Pharisees and Mediterranean Manliness” – which is scheduled to appear as chapter 16 in a book entitled “Teaching the Historical Jesus: Issues and Exegesis”, edited by Zev Gerber – goes on to masterfully demonstrate how several of Jesus’ commands and teachings are typically misunderstood by modern commentators and bible teachers. The main reason for this blind spot, he says, is our lack of understanding the “Shame/Honor” values inherent within first century Jewish culture.

The tension that arises between Jesus and the Pharisees, Bartchy says, is primarily caused by Jesus’ subversive teachings and actions that sought to undermine the prevailing culture of the day, which the Pharisees were deeply entangled with.

In this shame/honor culture, Jesus seeks to redefine what makes for honor and shame in His Father’s Kingdom, or “When God rules all things”.

In short, Bartchy’s point is this: The way the Pharisees – and every other male in the first century – behaved was normal behavior. When they sat at the place of honor at the table, it was what they were all trained to do since birth. When they asked their Rabbi if they could be given the honor to sit by his side, this was totally acceptable. When they sought to be recognized by others for their wisdom or authority, this was how everything was supposed to be.

Simply put, the first century Jewish culture of Jesus’ day was based on shame and honor. Males were trained early on to bring honor to themselves – and therefore to their family name – at all costs. They were also trained to avoid being shamed for the same reasons. Every male of Jesus’ day was either working to be seen as honored or striving to avoid being placed in a position of shame.

When we see Jesus rebuking the Pharisees flaunting their honor in the marketplace and praying in public, for example. This is what everyone in that culture would have expected them to do. It was not seen by anyone at that time as prideful, arrogant or rude. That is, not by anyone other than Jesus, of course.

Jesus shows up and right away challenges this status quo. It was Jesus who was seen as rude for condemning these men of honor for behaving normally. It was Jesus who was seen as behaving oddly when he rebuked the Pharisees for inviting honorable people to their banquets rather than the lame, the blind, the poor and the sick.

Jesus was the one that everyone in that culture would have perceived as being rude, arrogant and yes, possibly even prideful. Or at least they would have seen him as someone who had little authority to point to those who had honor and claim that in reality they had none.

“The goal of male socialization,” says Bartchy, “(was) to add honor to the family name. (Because) honor was by far the most highly prized possession. How much honor anyone deserved depended on one’s peers’ perception and their public acknowledgement of one’s authority, gender status and reputation.”

Bartchy goes on to describe two forms of honor in this early culture: Ascribed honor and Acquired honor. The honor inherited from one’s family was the ascribed honor one was born into. The honor one might receive by competing with other men in the culture was acquired honor. Both were very important to have and to cultivate.

“Thus, seeking greater honor for oneself and one’s family was the fundamental life task of every adult male, and traditional male socialization produced human beings who were programmed to pursue a neverending quest for greater honor and influence,” says Bartchy.

It is in this context that Jesus’ words to his disciples – “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant” – rang out like nails scraping loudly down the world’s longest chalk board.

“The vast majority of commentators…have ignored the cultural appropriateness (when James and John ask to sit at Jesus’ side in the Kingdom) seeking honor,” he says.

As a result, most everyone has missed the incredible forcefulness of Jesus’ teaching as it cut against the grain of acceptable masculinity in the first century Mediterranean cultures.

One also must take into account how little of this honor Jesus himself had – from both ascribed and acquired varieties: The identity of his birth father was questionable. His family standing was automatically in doubt due to where he had grown up (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46).

Normally, a young male in this situation – with so little ascribed honor – would feel immense pressure to work for acquired honor in the eyes of everyone around him. “Yet…rather than seeking honor for himself,” Bartchy notes, “Jesus was prepared to be humiliated rather than to compete for honor and play the traditional male game of one-upmanship.”

Beyond this, Jesus went further to teach his own disciples to ascribe honor to others and to work to help those without honor to acquire it.

With all of this in mind, listen as Jesus stands on the mount to preach a sermon that proclaims honor upon those who are humble, and those who give comfort to others, and those who practice mercy, and those who make peace. Listen as Jesus defies the honor-seeking culture of His day to declare that God only honors those who have none, and those who don’t want any, and those who only work to bring honor to those people around them who will never, ever earn – or even deserve – honor in their own society.

Bartchy also points out that one New Testament scholar, K.C. Hanson, “forged a major breakthrough in understanding the famous ‘Beatitudes’…when he applied his knowledge of both ancient Mediterranean cultural values and Hebrew and Greek philology to his translation of the Greek word “macharios” (traditionally rendered “blessed”)..(as) “honored.”

Therefore, Jesus’ words, “Honored are the merciful. Honored are the poor.” Etc. take on new and fantastic implications for us. Now we see that Jesus is rewriting the rules and creating a brand new set of cultural values that stand in direct contrast to those considered normative in his day. By saying that the poor are honored, and the peacemakers are honored, Jesus is saying that God uses a totally different set of values for deciding who receives honor and who receives shame. God’s Kingdom honors the humble, not the proud. His Kingdom honors the poor and the outcast, not the rich and the influential.

What must be stressed is that there is nothing specifically “Pharisaical” about seeking honor for oneself during Jesus’ day. Everyone operated under these rules. It was the status quo and no one questioned it.

No one except Jesus, that is.

-kg




Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Revival, Resurrection and Reality



Maybe there’s something wrong with me? 

I already know that I don’t quite fit perfectly into the usual American Christian Evangelical mindset. That’s why I blog about things that often get me into trouble, or invite criticisms from those who disagree with my skewed views.

I think I'm also cursed to always see things from a slightly different perspective, and whenever I share that perspective I'm often blasted for it. But, I can't help myself.

So, when I see thousands of Christians gathering in a stadium for a revival, it doesn’t really resonate with me. Maybe because I don’t really expect God to perform for us on command. Or maybe because I don’t believe that God is impressed by large crowds.

Jesus seemed to always be trying to get away from large crowds, not looking for ways to attract more people. Jesus seemed to care more about those one-on-one conversations with lepers, or prostitutes, or outcasts, or women who most people ignored.

Big events don’t move me, and so I guess I tend to assume that they don’t move God either. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe I’m not. I’m just sharing my gut reaction to big-scale events where people equate a trending hashtag with spreading the name of Jesus – especially when that hash tag doesn’t contain the name of Jesus.

 The bottom line is that I’m not in the place to judge anyone. I know that. No one needs to clear anything with me before they host a large Christian gathering.

If this event ignites someone's heart to follow Jesus more fully in their day-to-day life, then that's a very good thing.

But, if it leaves us empty after the emotional high is over and people are unable to see Christ in their sometimes mundane reality, it might create a dependence on emotional experiences rather than keeping us focused on the reality of a life-changing daily relationship with Jesus.

I’m just saying that if Revival truly comes to our nation, it will probably be in the quiet solitude of a prayer closet and not up on the Jumbo-Tron screen. At least, that’s where most Revivals begin, historically.

Can God do whatever He wants? Well, obviously. Yes, He can do whatever. And maybe if He really wants to get our attention, He’ll have to show up to one of our stadium events because that’s where most of us are looking.

But typically, God seems to love to do things differently. He seems to prefer to defy our expectations and to upset our status quo.

If nothing else, maybe we should keep our eyes open for Jesus in the unexpected places, off the main stage, outside the coliseums, in a quiet place, with a still, small voice calling out in rooms where no one is recording anything on their iPhone or live-Tweeting the play-by-play.

Revival, for me, is a word for a people whose hearts are broken. A person whose soul is ripped down the middle at the sight of all the suffering that surrounds them.

Revival is essentially a word that calls attention to the reality that something that is dead needs to come alive again.

Maybe we don’t need another revival meeting. Maybe what we need is more like a resurrection.

A resurrection doesn’t have a soundtrack or an official t-shirt.
A resurrection is simply a miraculous burst of life in a dark place.

When people who are hungry for Jesus and moved by Jesus are willing to go out and act like Jesus in a world that is desperate for Jesus, then we can honestly say that we have experienced a resurrection.

I’d love to host a “Let’s Go and Do the Stuff Jesus Did Conference"
where thousands of Christians spread out over the city
and break into groups of five or ten
to visit children’s hospitals
and pray for cancer patients
and give hugs to the homeless
and reconcile with their gay brothers and sisters
and pray a sincere blessing for their President
and repent publicly from seeking to change the culture through political power
and maybe take up an offering to feed the poor and house the mentally ill who sleep on our streets every night.

Now, that’s the kind of revival I can get excited about, and it just might deserve to go viral on Twitter, too.

What do you think?
-kg