Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just Sayin'

Everyone who has a public forum should be given the common curtesy of explaining further, their words and actions.
Who in their right mind would want to be deprived of that privilege for themselves?

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 

Perhaps the majority of debate is directly connected to this very curse.

Think: How Pastors Kill Wonder


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Manna, not Bacon

I am concerned about the emphasis that the Reformed Church has with knowledge. Didn’t the apostle Paul say something about this?

Was there ever a prophet or an apostle who chided his audience for not knowing enough? I think the charges always had something to do with faithful living and lifestyle. And yes, we need to be informed as to how to walk before the Lord but how much info did ‘Joe Israel’ need to accomplish this back in the days of the patriarchs and kings?

As I read the Old Testament, it looks like it was basically:
Ø Don’t move landmarks
Ø Treat strangers well
Ø Bacon is taboo
Ø Attend worship
Ø If you take a vow you can grow your hair long
Ø Remember, there is a greater than Moses coming

What with Jesus saying (in contradistinction to the teaching of the Pharisees) that His yoke was easy and His burden was light…how much do Christians need to know to please the Lord?  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Economies by Wendell Berry

Some time ago, in a conversation with Wes Jackson in which we were laboring to define the causes of the modern ruination of farm land, we finally got around to the money economy. I said that an economy based on energy would be more benign because it would be more comprehensive.
         Wes would not agree, “An energy economy still wouldn’t be comprehensive enough.”
         “Well, I said, “then what kind of economy would be comprehensive enough?”
         He hesitated a moment, and then grinning, said, “The Kingdom of God.”
         I assume that Wes used that term because he found it, after that point in our conversation, indispensable; I assume so because, in my pondering over its occurrence at that point, I found it indispensable myself.
         (Berry then draws a conclusion about the subject of conversation he and his friend were having regarding farmland)
         …the thing that troubles us about the industrial economy is exactly that it is not comprehensible enough; that, moreover, it tends to destroy what it does not comprehend, and that it is dependent upon much that it does not comprehend.
         In attempting to criticize such an economy, we naturally pose against it an economy that does not leave anything out, and we can say without presuming too much that the first principle of the Kingdom of God is that it includes everything; in it, the fall of every sparrow is a significant event.
         We are in it whether we know it or not and whether we wish to be or not. Another principle, both ecological and traditional, is that everything in the Kingdom of God is joined both to it and everything else that is in it; that is to say, the kingdom of God is orderly.

         Berry continues:

         …we live within order and…this order is both greater and more intricate than we can know. The difficulty of our predicament then is made clear… (And here he continues his thought regarding economies and how they affect farmland) Though we cannot produce a complete or adequate description of this order, severe penalties are in store for us if we presume upon it or violate it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Right Place/Right Time

Martha = the Priest and Levite/Mary = the Good Samaritan

Reading Luke 10: 25-42 it seems that in the flow of Jesus teaching there is a direct mash-up of the two stories in regard to ‘knowing’ the Word and knowing what the Word would have you ‘naturally’ do.  The emphasis of Jesus’ teaching is in producing the right action.

The Priest, the Levite, and Martha are busy ‘doing’ what they are use to. The Samaritan and Mary are obviously out-of-place and therefore, at the right place at the right time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Friends & Family Plan

Some 40 years ago there was a poll taken that revealed where the vast majority of church members had come from: 87% of those attending worship were there because a friend or family member had invited them.

At the time of this survey, I was involved with a series of churches that gave approximately 95% of their time and effort to door-to-door evangelism or to promoting a rewards based invitation to Sunday morning attendance where either the church member who brings the most visitors or all the visitors, or both the inviter and the invited, get a prize of some kind.

As I shared this incongruity between poll and practice recently with a friend, I wondered aloud what the churches at the time of that statistic should have done. They probably should have, first, shut down all those silly efforts to attract crowds. Secondly, they should have reveled in the fact that the stats show how organic/relational church growth is still the ticket. And finally, if the people in their congregation were not inviting others to worship then the problem is internal and perhaps if that were fixed, then the church would grow, naturally.  

Reanimating the Church

It has been difficult to read Ed Catmull’s book, CREATIVITY INC. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand In the Way of True Inspiration, without thinking constantly about the work of the ministry and the training of ministers. It doesn’t help that Catmull uses covenantal language and utilizes biblical ideas throughout his disclosure of Pixar Animation’s successes and success.

Seeing how a CEO has discovered basic understanding of the Imago Dei and embraced a secular version of Boaz’s approach to his ‘employees’ is remarkable. Catmull’s philosophy is full of discipleship, forgiveness, mercy, edification, loving your neighbor, praise, speaking into one another’s life…the list goes on. I have rarely seen such an honest and vibrant approach in the Church.