Saturday, January 12, 2008


Comic Art


Arvell Jones

Carmine Infantino

John Byrne

Jack Kirby

Jim Starlin

Technorati Tags:, , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Friday, January 11, 2008


God Save Us From Ourselves

Look at this picture. What do you think these people are praying for? Maybe some more people in the pews? I know I would be in a situation like this.

Note how only two of them are sitting even remotely close to each other, and so far back from the pulpit as to allow the words to pass over their head unnoticed. You can almost feel the need for community and relationship in that picture. With a picture like that, you have just got to love this congregation's
efforts to build the flock.
The telltale pause after you answer the phone usually means you’re about to hear a fuzzy, pre-recorded message offering unbeatable deals on satellite TV or trumpeting the virtues of a political candidate.

But for about 800 people every day in West Virginia, the message — delivered in a warm, friendly voice — offers a different deal: salvation.

“We want to tell you how you can have heaven and know it, and cause true revival in America," the voice says.

The 90-second message gives Bible quotes and an invitation to pray, and concludes: “God bless you is my prayer." You can also leave a message after the beep.
And to think, God went to all the trouble to INCARNATE and die for us when He could have just phoned it in. Silly God.

I trust the absurdity to this is sufficient that I need say nothing else.

This gives whole new dimension to the idea of total depravity.

Excuse me, I have a lot of praying to do.

Technorati Tags:, , , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


Friday Humor - Extremely Poor Taste Division

God save me from my own sense of humor. This reduced me to tears. I warn you now, this is very disgusting, but it is funny.

Technorati Tags:, , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Thursday, January 10, 2008


The "Death" Of The PC(USA)

Bruce Reyes-Chow recently penned a fascinating piece on what is "wrong with the PC(USA). He outlines a thesis:
Our churches are dying in body and spirit because we have no institutional capacity to handle the complexities of being church in the shifting worldview from modern to postmodern.
Now, interestingly, I objected to that thesis because I do not think the church is supposed to shift its worldview, it defines worldview. But, if you think about it, the church has to defend its worldview in light of a changing prevalent worldview, which, when I read his sub-points, I think is the issue. We have enjoyed a period in which our worldview was the culturally predominant worldview, that is changing. Here are his subpoints

Interesting points all, but I would express them a bit differently.The first three points are things I talk about all the time - we need transformation (peace in the midst of chaos is something only a transformed individual can experience) - idolatry (Hey - it is all about who or what we worship) - choosing the institution over the reason for the institution (I am betting my regulars are bored with reading about that).

It is that last point I find a little troubling. In some very real sense, I agree with that point. For example, I am not at all convinced there is an absolute truth on the question of paedobaptism, I am not going to judge someone on their stance or lack there of on that issue - that is one of the "many truths" about knowing Christ.

But along the path of "many minor truths," is a large and readily confusable fork that leads down the path of "no objective truth." The real problem is maintaining the metanarrative while allowing for the minor narrative to vary - that is the point where fracture occurs. What defines the metanarrative? How do you enforce the metanarrative without taking that awful ugly side trip?

It seems to me like if you don't take the "no objective truth path," you end up on the "dogmatic jerk" path.

Which, if you think about it, takes us back to the first point. Transformed people can maintain these important distinctions.

Technorati Tags:, ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


Illuminated Scripture

Technorati Tags:,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Pastors and Competition

This Out Of Ur post raises some really important questions.
Welch [ed note: Jack Welch former GE CEO] says the fundamental problem is that nonprofit people just can't adjust to the competition.


1. Do pastors with a competitive background—perhaps having significant sports or business experience—lead with a greater focus on numbers in the church? And is this an asset or something to be cautious about? Does this explain the difference between pastors who shepherd and pastors who lead?


2. Some pastors fantasize that if their church career doesn't work out they can simply grab a job in the business world. But is that true? Is Jack Welch right when he says most leaders in the non-profit sector couldn't hack it in the business world and should choose something softer?


3. Does Welch's impression of non-profits manifest itself in our congregations when members (perhaps with a business background) get frustrated by the committees and lowest common denominator decision-making?


4. Welch points out the challenge of leading people without money as an incentive. What does that leave the pastor in his leadership arsenal? How do we motivate, and does this make a pastor’s relational skills the critical factor?
I have reprinted all of these question because I think they are excellent ones worthy of attention but they are not where I want to focus this post. I want to aim this discussion of pastors and competition in a slightly different direction.

Competition is a health and maturity building circumstance. In a competitive situation we must improve or lose. The problem that this post outlines is that pastors made to compete on the "churchy" level improve at business stuff, but is that really the point of church?

The question from this in my mind is "How do we harness some force, any force, to drive pastors towards continual improvement on the things that matter?" There simply is no such force in the Evangelical movement because most of those churches are independent, there is no accountability.

Denominations have accountability structures, but largely punt anymore on using them effectively.

The answer lies, in my opinion, with lay leadership. As lay leaders, we must hold the clergy to account. This places on us as lay leaders a significant burden. Here are some of them in bullet format

I could probably list more if I thought about it, but I think you get the idea.

1 Pet 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for {God's} own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Technorati Tags:, , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Old, Busted, and Bizarre

If you have no faith in God and no faith in man you end up like this guy that wrote on the BBC a while back.
We are now in "overshoot"; our numbers and levels of consumption having exceeded the Earth's capacity to sustain us for the long-term.

And as we remain in overshoot, we further erode the Earth's ability to support us.
Does anybody remember Paul Ehrlich, who predicted the demise of humanity on similar grounds would have been complete a couple of decades ago? I am truly amazed that an idea so old and disproven still sees the light of day, but there it is. The fascinating question in all of this is why the traction?

When you don't believe in God and the man is entirely mechanistic, hopelessness is the natural result. It is unavoidable and predictable. What is amazing is that this hopelessness persists in the face of the facts. It is proof of the old maxim that if you don't believe in God, you will believe in anything.

And the biggest problem is that this form of nihilism is creeping into the church. When I read over and over and over again about the need for environmental stewardship, it all seems to be crisis mode stuff, not hopeful stuff.

I am struck by the dance between form and substance. We argue continually in the church that it is the substance that matters and that the form is secondary, we can alter it to suit the circumstances. And yet, as we have abandoned the old forms the things that lie at the very root of what it means to be the church are eroding. Or, did the ideals erode first and the substance only follow?

In the end, I don't know for sure which is why the battle has to be fought on all fronts simultaneously. Bonnie has recently argued for the importance of sacrament. She did so partially in response to a post I did on environmental expressions of the social gospel. She adds to my argument that transformation is necessary, by pointing out the importance of sacramental practice in transformation. She is right. We need form and we need substance.

Otherwise, we will just be hopeless....

Technorati Tags:, , , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


Kitty Kartoons

Related Tags: , , ,

Monday, January 07, 2008


Overlaying Theology and Gender

Beliefnet ran a piece about why Orthodoxy seems to be drawing men while other denominations are not. There is some really interesting insight there, but there are right ways and wrong ways to look at it.

As presented, the story just buys into cultural stereotypes too much. It reads way tto much like the point is for church to adapt itself to us rather than we who need to adapt ourselves to church. But then, that is how other churches got themselves in this feminization mess to begin with. As women gained power in the church, the church changed to suit them.

This is one of the problems very inherent with making a church marketing responsive. Whether the metrics we use are gender based, socio-economically based, race based, or whatever, when the church focuses on those metrics instead of God's saving Truth, it is going to get lost.

I got in a lot of trouble some years ago for stepping all over a woman in church that carried on for a while about how a teacher's theology was "too masculine." I no longer go to that church.

God's truth is without gender, race, or socio-economic status. Because we are individuals, each of us will respond to and act differently in light of God's truth, but the truth remains unchanged. The church's job is to proclaim that truth, AND provide a community in which all individual can respond to that truth in accordance with their unique circumstance.

If we start defining the market groups, we become automatically exclusive of those that do not belong to that group.

Doesn't seem smart to me....

Technorati Tags:, , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Sermons and Lessons

He is always short and to the point in his "Sunday Sermons" - but he is always right on. Today I give you Scotwise.

Technorati Tags:, ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory