Saturday, June 04, 2011
Freddie Williams II
Friday, June 03, 2011
You HAVE To Ask
But it brings up a point that I've heard leveled against large church pastors quite a few times. They thrive on the ego and money and glory of having a large church.There are some points on which I have to disagree. The odds of ANY business reaching "mega" levels of success are pretty small - the church is not unique that way. In fact, I would bet tat if you measure success by making a living rather than hitting the lotto, churches success rate is a bit better than other types - the food service business for example has an awful failure rate.
Knowing a fair number of megachurch pastors, I can say that this is just not the truth. That's not to say that there isn't a large degree of ego thrown in the mix in some situations... but really no more than I see if a pastor of any sized church.
Truthfully, the notion of anyone getting into the 'megachurch business' is ludicrous. With 300,000 churches in America, very few ever reach megachurch size. Those aren't very good odds from a business standpoint.
Besides... there are a lot of much easier ways to make a buck. Much easier.
Secondly, the "ease" of a job is a relative thing. Depending on one's particular set of abilities what is an easy job for one person is hard for another and vice-versa.
In other words, absent his personal assurances, Tod offers no evidence against the premise. And that is my biggest problem with the whole enterprise - the lack of checks and balances. That lack is also why the suspicion is out there to begin with.
ONe of the major roles on institution is to provide mechanisms by which such suspicions, and realities can be avoided. In a sinful world, without such institution checks and balances, the corruption is inevitable. Heck it even happens with the checks and balances, but without them the probably is much, much higher.
That is not accusation, that is fact. The question is justified.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
There Are No "Good" Idols
The rejection of traditional religion in these quarters has created a vacuum unlikely to go unfilled; human nature seems to demand a search for order and meaning, and nowadays there is no shortage of options on the menu of belief. Some searchers syncretize Judeo-Christian theology with Eastern or New Age spiritualism. Others seek through science the ultimate answers of our origins, or dream of high-tech transcendence by merging with machines — either approach depending not on rationalism alone but on a faith in the goodness of what rationalism can offer.I think that is exactly right and it puts several thoughts into my mind.
For some individuals and societies, the role of religion seems increasingly to be filled by environmentalism.
The first is the wisdom of the prohibition against idolatry throughout scripture. Evan as Christians we seems to make idols of only portions of the package (worship, church growth, emotional well-being....) This is one of those "Thou Shalt not's" that is really a positive. YOU SHALL FOCUS ON THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.
The second thought that occurs to me is that the apologetic that is inherent in all this. Without Christianity, there is a void we seek to fill. That void is a very powerful apologetic.
Finally, there is the idea that we let very good stuff become our idols. Worship is good, provided we do not make an idol of it. Creation Care is good, provided we do not make an idol of it. When we become enthusiastic about something, anything, we must guard against the temptation to make an idol of it.
So what are the idols in our lives?
Related Tags: Illuminated Hymn
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Things to Avoid
7 Warning Signs You May Be a Controlling LeaderThey are:
People start apologizing prior to approaching you with a new idea..The thing speaks for itself, I think, but I would add one other symptom. If you have a hard time recruiting leadership (not middle management mind you - leadership) you are probably a controlling leader. That one about "fear of others" is a deep, deep hint.
You don’t really know how people feel about you, but you assume they all approve of your leadership…
You assume you are always right…
You enjoy keeping others with less information than you have…
You think you should be involved in making all the decisions…
You fear others being in control of a project…
You ARE the final word on every decision…
You know what is really troubling, is when the church breeds only followers, there is no one else to carry the gospel forward. That's pretty sad.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
There is Substance In That Style
When the gospel is reduced to being an item of information, the effect is the almost complete exorcism of God’s word from the church; and a concomitant deconstruction of her Liturgy. Essential to the objective gospel of forgiveness is that God’s word has as its natural context the Liturgy of the church. Outside of an orienting liturgical reference, God’s word and gospel cannot be rightly comprehended.That quite well capture something I have been driving at on the blog for a long time - the fact that we tend to treat the gospel as if it is information. I want to present the difference in slightly different words.
. . . A result of word of God as mere information is that congregations devolve into loosely associated gatherings without substantive unity. The question of whether to join a particular congregation becomes not so much, whether the gospel is purely preached and the sacraments rightly administered, but an array of other, tertiary, and personal concerns (“How friendly is the congregation?”, “Do they conduct optional contemporary and ‘traditional’ Services?”, “Is the music uplifting?, “Are there children activities? ”).
But the gospel in its catholic understanding is more than informational factoid of sin forgiven for Christ’s sake. Instead the gospel comprehends the Word as power of God (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18) which is spirit and life (Jn. 6:63). By the Word, forgiveness is not obtained in an abstract, disembodied, self-serve way; but delivered as the cleansing, healing, enlivening activity of God in the flesh of Christ for his people gathered by his word and ministered in sacramental presence.
Information is something I obtain, control, and use. It is mine. But the good news of Jesus is something very different - it consumes me - I do not consume it. It is out of my control and runs rampant through my life changing me in ways that I cannot comprehend, let alone desire. That is, if I truly open myself up to it.
Chaplain Mike discusses this idea in the context of the "worship wars," and I tend to agreed with him, it's not style we are changing, it's substance. It may keep the plate full and the organization running, but is it true to the call of the church?
Of course, the Holy Spirit can act in any circumstance so we do see Him at work in the new worship context, but here is the essential question for me. We change we build numbers, but genuine faith becomes rare in the large numbers context. How is that different than churches simply being rare because believers are rare?
Moreover, I wonder what would happen if the real believers could congregate without the dilution? Twelve changed the world.