Tuesday, October 30, 2007


"Everything Is A Rental" by Keith Giles

In light of the recent fires we've experienced in Southern California I've been thinking about the right perspective of our life here on Earth.

I'm reminded that Peter called us "aliens and strangers in the world" and urged us to indulge in the good things of God rather than the sinful desires of this Earth and that Paul teaches that "...Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

What does it mean to be content in our society? It's a lost art, I'm afraid. All of our marketing and advertising encourages us, at all times, to be discontent with the things we own and to pursue the newest and best item on the market.

Who knew we all needed to have a pocket-sized device that would carry over 6,000 songs? How did our ancestors live without Blackberry phones and DVD players in the backseat of every car?
I think sometimes that I would love to move to Amish country with my family and leave behind our modern conveniences. Or at least the television and the cell phone.

Jesus had the right idea when he reminded us that our lives are not made up of what we own or what we wear or what we eat. God knows our needs before we ask. He wants us to focus on His Kingdom and on having a good relationship with Him (righteousness).

After one of the largest fires was contained here in Irvine, California, a local news crew interviewed a woman who stood in the smoldering ashes of her former home alongside her husband and children. They extended the microphone under her nose and asked her to describe the sense of loss she felt at seeing her house reduced to embers. The woman looked into the camera and said, "I can't really think about what I've lost when I start to think about what I've gained." The reporter wasn't expecting this so she asked, "What have you gained?" and the woman replied, "I've gained a greater faith in God, I've gained a greater sense of community with my neighbors here on this street, I've gained a greater appreciation for my children and a love for my husband. When I count all of that, what I've lost doesn't seem like so much."

I wanted to have that answer blown up in large letters and posted alongside every major freeway in our State. This is what the fires have taught us. This is the wisdom that God wants us to develop.

As Paul says, "…we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it". How often do we forget that obvious truth? How often do we live our lives as if our joy and our happiness depended on seeing the latest film or attending the coolest party or owning the hippest swag?

Too often.

The Kingdom of this World is passing away. The Kingdoms of Pleasure and Entertainment and Fashion and Vanity are all soon to fade into Eternity. Jesus urges us to look up, to lift our heads and to realize that this blip of life here is soon to give way to an endless life in the presence of God Himself.

Start living for God's Kingdom today. Start investing in the values of His Kingdom where forgiveness and mercy and love and compassion are most important.

Everything you currently own is not really yours. Someone else will drive that car when you're gone. Someone else will wear your clothes when you're dead. Someone else will live in your house when you have left this life.

Everything is a rental.

Hold on loosely.

"NOT A CHRISTIAN" - The article is up on TheOoze.com on Nov.1st. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! - In celebration of my birthday month (November) I will be giving the first 5 people who purchase one of my books online a free "Goodie Bag".

To qualify you must purchase at least one of my books online and email me your order confirmation # at the end of the order, along with your mailing address. I will send out a free goodie bag to say "Thank You" to those first five people.

What's in the bag?
1) A copy of "The Noise" Magazine. Now out of print, this magazine includes my interview with Jim Wallis as well as articles by David Ruis and Alex Field, plus my articles "De La Soul" and "Lupita's Surprise".
2) Sermon Cd of "The Gospel: For Here or To Go?" - Recorded three years before I sat down to write the book, this is one of the best sermon's I've given on the subject of missional life and it makes a great companion to the book.
3) Jeremy Riddle Cd- Great worship. No charge.
4) The Da Vinci Code Exposed (booklet) - A great response to the controversy by Nicky Gumbel, founder of Alpha Ministries.
5) More surprises to be discovered upon opening up your box.
The first five people to email me with their valid order confirmation number will receive the "Goodies" box.

Email me at "elysiansky" (at) "hotmail" (dot) "com"
Oh..you can purchase either book at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1073843
Because of unforseen scheduling conflicts, Jackie Pullinger will not be able to join us for the Non-Con in March. Because of this I have decided to cancel the Non-Con as we have come to know it.

Everyone who had planned to attend the event based only on Jackie's appearance will no doubt be very disappointed by this. I regret the change and I apologize for getting your hopes up. Jackie is a wonderful person and one of my personal heroes. Her absence will certainly be felt by all of us.

In a few weeks I will make an announcement regarding a revised agenda and other changes in store for this same weekend in March, which will also be called the "Non-Con" but now, it seems, with even more "Non" than ever before.

It will be smaller. More intense. More intentional. A conversation, not a conference.

Those who still have a desire to gather in a small group with like-minded followers of Jesus, engage in conversation about the poor, missional life and following Him, and who are willing to step outside their comfort zone and serve people in the community for a Saturday will be thrilled to hear what we have in store on March 15th.

This is only the beginning of something more unique and grass-roots. God is in this. It is a very, very good thing.

More details at
If you've got the time you need to watch this debate between noted Atheist Christopher Hitchens ( author of "God Is Not Great") and Dinesh D'Souza ("What's So Great About Christianity?").

You need to know what the greatest (and loudest) voices in our world today are saying about Christianity and Faith in God.

Go. Watch: http://www.tkc.edu/debate/

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


*APOLOGIES- Last week's [Subversive Underground] was delayed by Feedblitz and I had to send it out manually on Monday. This is the first time I have ever missed a single week of this free, weekly e-newsletter in over 101 consecutive weeks. I apologize for this. Because of last week's article spilling over into this week, I'm sending you two [SU] articles this week in order to keep the article count on track. From now on I will manually send each weekly installment so that this doesn't happen again.
Thanks- kg

[Subversive Underground]

By Keith Giles

As I sit here typing this I am breathing in the smell of smoke. All around me, hundreds of thousands of acres in Southern California are burning. Right now there are thousands of firefighters trying desperately to save people's houses from destruction with nothing more than a shovel, a fire hose and a prayer.

It's difficult to look at the map of California and see fire engulfing the center of the State, from the southern region of San Diego, through Orange County, and north to Riverside County, up into Los Angeles and even Ventura County, and not wonder if this is the end of the world.

I want to say that this is not God's Judgement on the State of California. When that comes I do believe we will know it and it will make this look like a trip to the beach. No, this is not God's Judgement on our State. I do believe, however, that is is a wake up call for many of us.

A few years ago, when I was still on staff at a local, traditional church, our offices burned to the ground. We lost everything. It was sudden and it was swift and it was merciless. It made us thankful for what we still had. It turned our attention away from what we wanted, and what we had lost, and onto what was really important in our lives. It made us grateful for the blessings in hand.

I don't think you have to have your actual house burn down in order to appreciate the lesson of the fire. You can see the devastation. You can watch people stoop to the ground and tearfully pull their damaged treasure from the ash. You can cry along with the elderly couple who had no insurance and now faces an uncertain future of homelessness, poverty, and destitution. You can take stock of your own life and the fire can redefine your definition of happiness.

My family has a saying we developed after enduring a season of prolonged unemployment. During those times we felt frustrated at the lack of financial freedom, or uncertain about where the money would come from to pay those upcoming bills, we would sit together and join hands and pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for giving us all we need, and a lot of stuff we don't. Remembering that my life was already full of God's favor and that we all had what we needed for that day helped me to refocus my heart and settle my soul.

Most of you who are reading this right now have plenty of food in your house. Many in our world, even in our neighborhood, do not. Most of us have a job, or at least some realiable source of income to look forward to. Many in our own city do not. Most of us have friends who love us, or a family who cares for us, or someone near to us who genuinely enjoys our company. Thousands in our nursing homes and homeless shelters and hospitals are all alone, forgotten and unknown.

The fire serves to remind us that we are human. We are fragile. Life is mutable. Things pass away. People, relationships and family are more important than houses or cars or personal belongings. Love is better than stuff.

The fire reminds us to help others. It awakens our sense of compassion for our fellow man. It causes us to whisper prayers for mercy. It brings out the best within us and burns away the selfishness and the pride and the empty pursuit of things…or at least, it should.

Jesus was always talking about something called "The Kingdom of God". He urged his followers to seek this first, above all other things. He wanted them to remember that our lives are not about what we wear, or what we eat, or where we live. He reminded us that God knows we need those things to live, and that God would take care of providing our needs if we would turn our attention primarily towards seeking after His Kingdom and and being made right with God in our hearts. (Matthew 6:30-35)

There is a lesson for us all in these fires. Remember what matters.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Jesus (Matthew 6:19-21)

Remember, you have everything you need, and a lot more that you don't.

GET MY NEW BOOKS FOR FREE! Yes, I've finally published my two books, "The Gospel:For Here Or To Go?" and "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" over at Lulu.com. You can purchase a paperback version of either book or you can download them both as a PDF file, totally free of charge. My main goal is to spread the ideas and thoughts contained in each of these books. I only make about $2 per book sold, so getting rich is not my goal here. If you want to purchase the book, I will be a very happy man, but don't feel bad about downloading the free PDF and then forwarding the link to all of your friends either.
Spread the subversive goodness.
NOT THIS SUNDAY- I will NOT be speaking at Soul Survivor Church this weekend. That was last week. (See above). Of course, if you still want to join them over there, those guys are awesome and God is doing great stuff in their Church these days. Tell'em Keith sent ya.

GREAT COMMENTS: Over at http://www.theooze.com there are 17 comments (so far) on my article "Destroy the (Christian) Subculture!" Part two will run on November 11th (two days after my birthday). Several people have told me that they've forwarded the article on to their own e-newsletter lists and some of those have also forwarded it onward. Viva la revolucion!

UPDATE ON HARBOR MINISTRY TO PROSTITUTES- Go read an update on our recent trip to serve the girls on Harbor blvd. at http://www.keithgiles.com/

NON-CON CANCELLED?? - Not yet. But I am praying about whether or not I should throw the switch or let it ride. You can pray for me that God would speak clearly about this and that I really hear from Him about doing this thing or not. More details are also at http://www.keithgiles.com under "Weekend Update". Next week we'll either announce that it's cancelled or open online registration and go for it. Keep praying until then.

PODCAST SERMON: "LIVING THE MISSIONAL LIFE" - If you use ITunes you can search "Keith Giles" under podcasts and listen to my sermon last week over at Soul Survivor Church. It's more of a conversation than a sermon, really. I purposely tried to engage people in a dialog rather than deliver a prepared speech. I think it came out ok. If you listen to it let me know what you think.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Number 1- The Gospel Is Not About Going To Heaven When You Die

NOTE: This is the final article in a ten part series of monthly installments. Each month we've taken a look at one of the top 10 things that every true follower of Jesus should know but, I suspect, may not really know.
My plan, later next year, is to add supplemental material to each chapter and release this as a complete book under the same title.
I hope you've enjoyed reading these articles as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Maybe a second Top 10 list will show up starting next January? Hmm…

By Keith Giles

Number 1- "The Gospel Is Not About Going To Heaven When You Die"

If you read the words of Jesus you'll quickly begin to notice that all he ever talks about is something called "The Kingdom of God." In fact, the only Gospel that Jesus ever talks about during his entire ministry on Earth was the Gospel of the Kingdom. There is no other Gospel.

Anyone who reads Matthew, Mark, Luke or John (the Gospels) will come away hearing all about The Gospel of the Kingdom from the mouth of Jesus. Jesus announced that the Kingdom of God was for here and now. This was the "Good News" in a nutshell- Anyone who wanted to enter God's Kingdom could do so on the spot. Jesus demonstrated what life in the Kingdom looked like. The Beattitudes are a picture of what life in the Kingdom looks like. Nearly every single parable of Jesus is designed to explain a particular facet of the Kingdom. His Sermon on the Mount declares the values of this Kingdom. His teachings are intended to show us how to live within the Kingdom, and His life was a blueprint for us to follow as we ourselves enter the Kingdom and learn from Him.

The only Gospel ever preached by Jesus is the message of The Kingdom of God. It was the new order where God's perfect will is always done in the lives of His followers. We do not need to wait until we die to enter God's Kingdom.

Many of us have been taught that the Gospel is about praying a prayer so that you can go to heaven when you die. This is false. Jesus never explained the Gospel in these terms. Instead, he talked about what it meant to follow him. He spoke about being a disciple. He described a way of life that was meant for today.

Most of us would define the Gospel as a spiritual transaction whereby we who are sinners receive a ticket to heaven when we die because of the death of Jesus upon the cross in our place. Yet, if we take this definition of the Gospel and apply it to the scriptures, we can easily see that this was not what Jesus or his disciples had in mind when they went around proclaiming the Gospel.

Even someone with a basic knowledge of the disciples can agree that whenever Jesus described his imminent arrest, torture and crucifixion to his closest friends and followers, their constant response to this was confusion, denial or flat out dismissal. If this were a central part of the Gospel as Jesus was proclaiming it to them, and as they themselves were proclaiming, it would seem logical that they would be able to grasp it. But this is clearly not the case.

Let's be very clear, the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross is an essential element of our salvation and those who place their complete trust in Jesus are promised an enternity in God's presence because of this. This is part of the Gospel message, but it is not the entire message.

Part of the reason we've gotten so far off the track when it comes to an understanding of the Gospel of Jesus is because we've attempted to reduce the message into a quick bumper sticker slogan or a set of easy steps to salvation. Our efforts to market the Gospel have back-fired. Now there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals in pews across the Nation who believe that they are Christians because they said a prayer once when they were nine years old and now they can go to heaven when they die, regardless of whether or not they intend to follow Jesus or surrender their lives to Christ.

Discipleship to Jesus, then, becomes optional, not essential. This is not what Jesus had in mind at all.

When we look at passages where Jesus sends the disciples out into the surrounding area to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, it doesn’t make sense that what they were sharing with the community had anything to do with a guy who was going to die very soon for their sins and, once he did that, if they repeated a careful prayer, then they could go to heaven when they died.

Obviously, whatever it was that the disciples went out preaching, it wasn’t anything to do with a subject they exhibited zero understanding of or agreement with.

So, what was it that the disciples went out preaching? It was simply the Gospel of the Kingdom. The same message that we see Jesus publicly proclaiming over and over again in the Gospels.

Here are just a few examples from Scripture:

"I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43)

"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15)

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." (Matt 9:35)

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom.." (Matt 4:23)

What we must keep in mind, as we begin to explore the concepts found in the Gospel of the Kingdom, is that this new system of life is God’s system. It is not one way of living, but in truth it is the way of living. Even as these new ways of thinking and living and being confound our minds and defy our logic and reason, we must constantly strive to remind ourselves that it is not God’s system that is unrealistic, but it is our own pattern of thinking and living that needs to be reformed and renewed. (see Romans 12)

Most of us read the words of Jesus and see a version of reality that seems surprisingly alien.
The words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount seem to be for another world and another place, not for the actual world you and I live in and deal with every single day. But this is because the World around us is "upside down" to the values of the Kingdom of God. In God's Kingdom the greatest is the servant of all, the first is the last, the weak are stronger, and those who lose their lives find their life.

When Jesus came to preach the Good News of the Kingdom, it was for today. It was intended for the here and now of life, not for some mystical afterlife beyond the grave.

What Jesus was proclaiming was that we could live today under the rule and reign of Almighty God. Instead of waiting to have this quality of life, Jesus was presenting an alternative system of living whereby we could reap the benefits of a God-Ruled Universe right now.

This is why so many people followed Jesus. This is why his message, his Gospel, was so compelling, and therefore so dangerous, to those who held spiritual power over the masses.

In my own spiritual journey, from a nine year old convert in a small Texas town, to a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel pastoring others in their walk with Jesus, I have to confess that most of my progress has assumed the more popular Gospel of Salvation and not the actual Gospel that Jesus himself actually preached while he was here in the flesh.

It was only a few years ago, as I was doing my very first interview for a brand-new online column on American Spirituality called "Subversive" that I quite literally had my little spiritual paradigm re-arranged forever. I was interviewing a gentleman named Todd Hunter. Some of you may know him as the former National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches, and perhaps others of you as the President of ALPHA Ministries here in the U.S. To me, he was someone I had heard preach at various times on Sunday mornings when our main pastor was out of town or sick. He was a practical and real-world teacher of the scriptures, and someone I respected in the arena of modern church development.

At one point in the interview, I asked him what, in his opinion, was the single biggest problem or challenge in American Christianity today. I suppose I expected him to cite apathy, or a lack of humility, or perhaps a lack of observable spiritual conviction among the Western Church. But what he said in response to this inquiry literally rocked my world and I have never been the same since.

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Todd Hunter that day.

"I think America is largely inoculated against the Gospel now, against what it believes the Gospel is all about," said Hunter. "I don’t believe the Gospel is about saying a prayer and then when you die you get to go to heaven. I think the true Gospel is about the in-breaking of the kingdom into your life today. The Gospel is not, ‘Jesus paid the price for my sins so I go to heaven when I die,’ or at least it’s not the Gospel that Jesus announced. The Gospel that Jesus announced is the good news of the present availability of the kingdom through Him. When we only think of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice, then His life and teaching and modeling just totally go out the window. Discipleship then becomes optional," Hunter argued. "But, if the Gospel is the good news that you can enter the kingdom and receive a different kind of life now, then you’ve got a basis for discipleship, or ‘follower-ship.’
(NOTE: You can read this entire interview by searching "Todd Hunter" over at www.keithgiles.com).

It was this single concept, the Gospel of the Kingdom, that radically influenced the most significant spiritual re-education of my life in every area of my personal theology.
It's the whole reason I continue to write and blog and publish articles and (soon) books on the subject of discipleship to Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Once you begin to understand the the Gospel is about living in the Kingdom of God here and now, everything else about the Christian life begins to fall into place. Scriptures begin to take on more robust and personal meaning. Humility becomese essential to your spiritual life. Jesus becomes your lifeline to this incredible way of living. Your entry into the Kingdom of God begins right now.

This is Good News. This is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and it's the only Gospel Jesus ever preached.
*"CONSUMPTION, EXPRESSION, IDENTITY" sort of a Part 3 article to the discussion of the Christian Subculture and our tendency to find identity in the products we purchase.
Online now over at www.ginkworld.net

*DESTROY THE CHRISTIAN SUBCULTURE! -Part 1 : Online Friday, Oct 19th at www.theooze.com

*"NUT IN THE SHELL" is my new blogspace for talking about sci-fi, comics, and whatever else comes to mind. Drop by at http://nutintheshell.blogspot.com

I'll be preaching this Sunday at Soul Survivor Church in Costa Mesa, California on the subject of missional life. Come join us at 11am for worship and lively discussion about what it means to be a missionary in your actual life.
Come join us at:
Soul Survivor Church
1870 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
-Directly underneath the Edwards Cinema, on the corner of Harbor and 19th



Thursday, October 11, 2007


NOTE: Part 1 of this series appeared on my [Subversive Underground] Newsletter last month and will also run online at TheOoze.com starting October 19th. This is a continuation of that first article based on a recent email exchange I had with someone who disagreed with my militant tone of voice and the concept that the Christian Subculture was evil.


I think, at the core, my argument is essentially that it's anti-Christian for there to be any sort of "subculture" at all. In itself, the current Christian subculture is a direct contradiction to the words of Jesus and the teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians.

Jesus prayed: "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."(John 17:15) It was never God's intention to take us out of the world we live in. Why have we decided that it's ok to take ourselves out of the world? Paul the Apostle also agreed on this point when he wrote, "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world." (1 Cor 5:9-10)

Basically, I want to ask you to consider, "Why is there a Christian subculture at all?" What is the root of that? What is the fruit of that subculture? Does this subculture help us to love people as Jesus commanded? Is it helping or hindering the Kingdom? I would argue that the subculture only hurts the message of Christ. It creates an "Us vs Them" mentality which is something that Jesus was absolutely not in favor of. Jesus was radically inclusive, not exclusive.

I am not directing my dislike of the Christian Subculture towards my brothers and sisters in Christ. It's the "safe and comfortable world" we've created that I hate. I hate that false concept of retreating from the culture instead of living in the world God made and bringing the Gospel to people who need it. This is why I believe the subculture is evil, because it prevents you and I, God's chosen agents of change, from actually being in relationship and dialog and friendship with other human beings He loves and that Jesus died for.

Anything that amuses us as Christians and locks us into an illusion of safety and comfort, pacifies us with Christian-branded trinkets and prevents us, out of fear, from actually being in loving relationship with those outside the Church is evil.

We have Christians making inroads into all fields of endeavor right now. Look at Sophina Brown from the TV series Shark. Look at Dallas Willard, USC Dept. Chair of Psychology. Look at Astrophysicist Hugh Ross. Look at artists like Lynn Aldridge, or Tim Hawkinson. Look at U2. Look at Jay Bakker from Revolution. Look at films like "Bruce, Almighty" and music like "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West.

These are all great examples of artists I applaud because they have escaped the false reality of the Christian subculture and have made an impact outside of the man-made Christian bubble. If they stayed in the christian subculture they would have zero impact.

So, to simplify it:
Staying in the subculture = No impact.
Jesus Commands = Be Salt and Light.
Therefore: Anything that hinders us from being Salt & Light is bad.

My concern is that this so-called "Christian" subculture actually contradicts the message of Jesus.

Just for background, I used to work at a Christian bookstore (5 years), and I worked for six years in the Christian Music Industry. I know about the world I am critiquing. Again, it's not the people who are evil. It's the system we've created which generates money in the name of fear. We retreat from the world we were born into, and called to have an impact on, and we create our own Christian-version of the world which is sanitized and drained of power, impact, relevance and meaning.

It's because I love Jesus and I want to see His Kingdom advance that I have to condemn this subculture of christian consumerism and bumper sticker sloganeering. One local Christian University has emphasized engaging the culture by learning to speak their language. Since most of our cultural language derives from advertising, the result was tons of "Jesus Junk" as Christians tried to speak the cultural language. This again is the problem. We've made the Gospel something that can be reduced to a slogan or a bumper sticker--It's not.

I'm days away from publishing a book about how this commercialization of the Gospel has damaged real evangelism. We need to stop trying to "sell" Jesus to people. It doesn’t work and it's sick. The Gospel is not for sale, and we need to stop treating the message of Jesus as a cute, clever, or slick advertising slogan.

In my previous article I argued that there is no "Sacred" or "Secular" division in the actual world, only the artificial reality we have created in our little subculture. My friend responded to this assertion by quoting Matthew 7:6 and and saying, "Jesus Himself told us 'not to give dogs to give dogs what is sacred…' (therefore) He recognized that there is a sacred element to life."

I disagree. The text actually says, "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Let's be very clear: I don't argue that there is nothing "Holy" in my article, instead I argue against a man-made subculture that identifies certain styles of music, art, clothing, media, etc. as being "Holy" when only God is Holy. I believe that when we market the Gospel and Christianize beer ads, etc. we're breaking this command of Jesus in Matthew 7:6.

What Jesus is urging us to do in this passage is not to cheapen what is Holy. How does your Lord's Gymn t-shirt accomplish this? This passage could be paraphrased as: "Do not persist in offering what is Holy or of value to those who have no appreciation for it, because your gift will not only become contaminated and be despised, your generous efforts could also be rebuffed and perhaps even openly attacked." Welcome to the Christian Subculture.

My friend goes on to say "I can understand your frustration. There's no doubt that parts of the Christian cultural experience are outdated, and miss the mark. I realize this almost every Saturday when I sit in church and feel bored at the lyrics in the songs we sing."

Again, this entirely misses the point. The problem is not your lack of entertainment or stimulation. This is a symptom of the problem I am trying to point out in my article. We have become consumers of Christian subculture. We judge the worship service based on how well we were entertained. Worship is for God, not for us. There's no such thing as a "bad" worship service. You and I may not go home saying we enjoyed the sermon or that the band "rocked", but worship is for God's heart and His ears, not ours. We need to stop seeing things through the lens of consumption. This is why the subculture is evil. It has created consumers instead of worshippers.

Finally, my friend suggested that "(what) we need (is) a fresh breath of creativity that will spark real change. This is how art changes the world."

No, creativity is not enough. Art, the Gospel, our lives, can change the world when we start actually listening to the Holy Spirit and engaging the culture (the "real" culture) with our art, and our lives. If we only create art that is acceptable to a specific audience (the christian subculture) we will never impact the culture at large (those outside the church).

How can I create art that only speaks to and entertains Christians and expect that art to have any impact whatsoever on the World outside the Church? It can't. If it can, show me a few examples of such art. I can only see examples of art that offends the Christian Subculture having an impact on speaking Truth to the World at large; i.e.- "Piss Christ", "Kanye West's song 'Jesus Walks'", "Bruce, Almighty", "Signs", "U2", etc.

The dialog I had with this individual centered mostly on the idea of art and how artists of faith can have an impact on the culture. We talked at length about whether or not the Christian subculture was good or bad for the sake of art. Honestly, I believe that any artist's work would be liberated if it could be created outside of a subcultural context.

If we could see the world, those without Christ, as our audience, then we can begin to speak to them through our art. When you create art with a subculture in mind, which will only accept a narrow range of pre-determined content, (crosses, rainbows, doves, bunnies, etc.), you're not only limiting your art and your expression of Truth, you're preventing those outside the Church from joining the conversation.

So, if you only create art for the Christian subculture, we seasoned Christians may appreciate it and nod along to the inside jokes, but what impact does this have on the world we actually live in? I would argue it has no impact whatsoever.

If your desire is to create art for the select few who already "get it", then I guess you're art would be exactly on target. But, if you had the desire to impact the world around you with your art, it would have to take risks, it would have to offend the subculture if necessary, it would have to exist independantly of the subcultural audience.

My personal passion is to see artists of faith engage in an out of the box (out of the subculture) creative process that leans heavily on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and dares to destroy conventions that restrain the Truth.

The only reason I continue to write about this subject is because I believe artists of faith would be set free to accomplish amazing things for the Kingdom if they were less aware of the Christian subculture and more in tune with simply communicating Truth.

My militant approach in that first article was calculated and was designed to shake people up and force them to engage the issue. I am purposely militant in my language in order to communicate the urgency I feel and the importance of this topic.

Consider this: If Martin Luther had exercised grace, peace, patience and kindness with the Catholic Church of his day you and I would be paying indulgences to priests and there would be no Protestant Reformation. Sometimes we have to speak out strongly against things that are wrong.

To me, the retreat of God's people from the culture is wrong. I am speaking out against it. I am speaking out in order to encourage action.

Good art should also provoke us to action and point out areas where we need to change.

At least, that's my opinion.

[end of part 2]

Check out the awesome cover art for my first book, "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?" by artist Scott Laumann right here: http://www.keithgiles.com/


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


NOTE: This is the 100th issue of [Subversive Underground]. I can't believe how this e-newsletter has grown. Watch for an exciting announcement in the next few weeks regarding a special offer only available to you, my faithful subscribers. Until then, on with this week's article…and thanks for reading. - kg

By Keith Giles

Last week I wrote about how overwhelmed I felt when considering my lack of resources available to adequately minister to prostitutes here in Orange County. While I see the need to reach out and express the compassion of Jesus to these young girls, I am paralyzed by my lack of real, substantial ability to provide counseling, shelter, or drug and alcohol treatment for them. I can see the incredible level of need here, but I am overcome by my own weakness.

Last Sunday at house church, God really spoke to me through several of our "Mission" family members regarding this. "Maybe all they need from us is a hug, or a few dollars for food? We can do that," said Liz. "It's really about being faithful in the mundane, everyday things that matters," said Leigh. "I think just being willing to step out and make ourselves available to God is what matters most," said Marlys.

One by one people around the circle began to encourage one another, and me, about how we simply need to obediently step forward and allow God to minister through us as necessary.

Slowly I started to see what God was doing. It was right in front of me all along, actually. As everyone continued to share I realized that this was exactly what God had been showing me for years now. Real ministry takes place outside our comfort zones. When we step out in our weakness we discover God's power because His power is made perfect in weakness. Slowly but surely I started to understand what God's heart was for me in this situation.

Last week, after I wrote the article about feeling overwhelmed by my lack of resources ("Mary's Prayer"), I attended an event in Torrance, California where the speaker shared a passage from Matthew chapter 14 and nailed me in my seat. The passage he read involved the feeding of the five thousand. When the Disciples saw the mulititudes were hungry they asked Jesus to send the people away. Jesus responded by asking them to feed the people, knowing full well that they did not have the resources necessary to do so. Next he asked the disciples to show him what they had, and although it wasn't nearly enough to feed five thousand hungry people, he instructed them to do one simple thing- "Bring it to me".

As I read that passage I could clearly see the parrallels to my own situation. I could see that there were girls trapped in a lifestyle of prostitution. I could see that my resources were impossibly weak. But Jesus was asking me to look at what I do have; Hands, feet, time, prayers, a smile, a few dollars, and a willing heart. He's asking me to give these meager resources to Him.

"Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds." - Matthew 14:19

Jesus took what little the disciples gave to him and he blessed it. He broke it, and he gave it back to the disciples so that they could feed the people.

For me this means we need to take the first simple, basic step of going out to the streets where these girls are and finding ways to simply bless them and pray for them and demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to them. If we give it to Jesus, he will bless it and give it back to us so that we can provide what these girls really hunger for inside.

As our group continued to talk about this last Sunday, and as we prayed together about taking these first tentative steps toward serving these girls, I realized that all God was calling me to do was to go out there and be an ambassador of Christ to these girls.

What upset me early on in my discovery of this mission field was the total lack of Christian presence in this dark place. "Wouldn't Jesus be out here with these girls?" I asked. Yes, he would. And if we go out there and make ourselves available to them, as the hands and feet, and face and smile of Jesus, at least there will be a representative of The Body of Christ in that place. At least then no one could look at this mission field and lament the lack of servants willing to stand in the darkness and hold up their small flame of faith.

So, we will go out. We will take those first small steps of faith. We will at least give to Jesus what little we have, and admittedly it is very little, and we will wait to see what he does with it. We may not see a large number of conversions from this. We may not ever see a single girl turn from this lifestyle and escape this darkness. But the simple act of obedience to go and to serve and to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth is reward enough.

*"Judge Not" at TheOoze.com
*"Better Than Me" at Ginkworld.net


(From the article)
"Kinnaman says non-Christians' biggest complaints about the faith are not immediately theological: Jesus and the Bible get relatively good marks. Rather, he sees resentment as focused on perceived Christian attitudes. Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too "anti-homosexual," and nearly as many perceived it as "hypocritical" and "judgmental." Seventy-five percent found it "too involved in politics."
(More in link above)

House Church Resource Online:

This web site is a service to the explosive house church/organic church movement throughout the world. Today, over 112 million Christians worldwide do not attend a traditional church. Every year, one million Christians leave the institutional church in the United States. Presently, the number of adult Christians meeting in house church/organic churches in the USA is five million. This number is growing by the day. That is where this site comes in.

DO SOMETHINGhttp://www.just4one.org/My friend Greg Russinger is one of the co-founders of this new non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty, exposing human trafficking and assisting orphans around the globe.Don't just sit there. Get involved now.You CAN make a difference!