Saturday, December 03, 2011
Josue "Justiniano" Rivera
Friday, December 02, 2011
Therapy and Doctrine
Sadly, many Christians have accepted this worldview as their own, believing that their own deepest problems are therapeutic rather than theological in nature.While I agree with the idea Mohler posits here, I have to disagree with the way he gets there. Our problems are NOT "theological" in nature. They are spiritual, they have to do not with what we believe about ourselves and God but with who we are standing in front of God.
Theology is about thinking - spirituality is about me. It is one thing to know that I am a sinner, even believe that I am a sinner. It is another thing altogether to REALIZE, on a spiritual level, that I am corrupt, sinful, ugly man - to feel in the deepest part of me my sin and the ramifications thereof.
For decades I knew and could recite the story of Christ in Gethsemane - His fervent prayer, His sweating blood, the confrontation with Judas and the officials - but this past summer when I stood there, amongst trees grown from the roots of the trees Christ stood amongst, it became more than story. Tears flowed without ceasing - somewhere in those moments, the story became real and I felt, on some small scale, the pain and anguish that Jesus felt. It was overwhelming.
We must do more than know and and believe we are sinners, we mist be overwhelmed by that reality.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Why Do We Complicate The Uncomplicated?
Despite the passion many feel regarding this matter, apparently younger generations are yawning. Matt Rossano’s article, “The (Lack of) Conflict between Science and Religion in College Students” cites a Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion study that surveyed 10,000 students from 200 colleges and universities across America and yielded some surprising results.Of course they are "yawning!" The entire beef is artificial - the only way there is a serious problem is if you are an absolute Biblical literalist and there just are not that many of those.
Problems in this area arise only when people use science or religion in a proof-text sort of fashion to argue for a specific point of view they have already adopted. There has been and always will be arguments about deism and atheism, creation and happenstance. There were such arguments before science and there will be long after we think we know everything. It's become boring because everybody has figured out what I have contended for a long time - people adopt these view points for reasons of the than...reason.
So why do we complicate all this so? Because it keeps us from the real issue - what is deep in our hearts, our very essence. It allows us to hold at arms length something that intends to cut us deeper than we ever dreamed imaginable. IF we create question we cannot resolve it keeps us from ever getting to the questions that really matter.
God, please save us from ourselves.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
First Ask If It Is Necessary?
There has been a lot of discussion about how to pitch change to a pastor or church leadership who is unwilling. This can be especially difficult in a small church (50-300 congregants). Churches don’t take on new things because of lack of money, limited volunteers and staff, and sometimes a lack of understanding of what benefits the change could bring.Why can't the small church be what it wants to be? Why does the consultant have to come in and "help" it? Why is the change necessary? Is the change necessary at all or is it simply that you have a product to sell?
As a consultant myself I have made a specialty of providing services to small manufacturers, facilities generally doing less than $10M/year. Oh I have had my share of deals with publicly traded Fortune 500 types, but my bread and butter is with companies too small to show on most radars. It's a specialty becasue most people do not even know how to begin to work with such a company - they are run on entirely different principles than larger concerns. Capital expenditures and change in such places is not about the bottom line or benefits or anything else. It's about what the guy wants to do - since it is after all - his company.
Some churches want to be small. Some might even want to die a slow painful attritive death. It's there church - LET THEM!
Their vision is not God's vision, but guess what - neither is yours.
Think about it.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
How Do We Serve?
There seems to be a disconnect for most Americans between serving the community and helping individuals find their way to God through Christ. Ministry-related goals – such as teaching the Bible, introducing people to Christ, and bringing people to salvation – are infrequently viewed as a primary way to serve the community. Even among many churchgoers, contributing positively to the community is perceived to be the result of offering the right mix of public service programs.So, church is Jaycees...Kiwanis...Rotary? Is that a good thing?
I wonder if part of the problem is what we understand by a transformed life. Christians tend to focus on an inner transformation that has little to do with how we engage in the community.Well, in part we are going to do the same things as service organizations - the problem to my mind is that we are not allowing for real serious internal transformation.
In the end it's not about feeding the poor, it's about who we are when we feed the poor that makes us different than other organizations. But this bifurcation of thought allows us to hold that serious transformation at arms length. This allows church to remain "out there."
So, who are you when you do mission?
Monday, November 28, 2011
Neither Do I
I DON'T TRUST PASTORSBeen there, pretty much agree. He quotes an Elizabeth Esther from a story in the Orange County Register:
I don't trust pastors.In politics, scandal is rarely the problem - the cover-up is. That should provide a lesson for the church - a lesson that will avoid the kinds of conclusions MS Esther draws. Let's start with a simple fact; "church related devastation" is inevitable. As the cliche goes, "we are all sinners." OK now what?
I want to trust them – but I've experienced so much church-related devastation that I doubt if I can ever again believe the best about their motives, preaching or how they conduct their lives. My trust is utterly broken.
What is the essence of the gospel? - Face your sin, confess your sin, receive grace (which may still include consequences for your sin), try not to sin again, if you do repeat. Which brings me back to the cover up. Cover ups are not in that simple gospel formula. There is no "deny that it is a sin." There is no "grace removes consequence." Oh one more thing - if you hurt (not pissed off - hurt) somebody doing something you do not think is a sin, you sinned anyway. You gotta make it right with them.
And here is where distrust of pastors becomes so easy. Ted Haggard confessed and received grace, but appears to try to be circumventing the consequences. But forget the headline stuff, the same story is played on on a smaller scale in churches everywhere everyday. Anybody who has hung around for more than a few years and gotten seriously involved has a list of stories they can tell. Little thefts from some fund - sex with a parishioner in which the parishioner is shunned but the pastor keeps preaching - kickbacks on construction projects - I could go on ad nauseum.
If I saw the gospel practiced in these situation like I am told to practice it in my life, then maybe, just maybe, trust could be restored. Not asking the church for any more than it asks of me.