Saturday, January 14, 2012


Comic Art


Duncan Rouleau

Walt Simonson

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Friday, January 13, 2012


Who Does The "Granting"

DAvis Swanson wonders in pastoral authority is "earned, taken, or granted":
Pastor. In the eight years since this label first applied to me, it has been fascinating to notice who uses it and who doesn’t. The church that first entrusted the title to me was suburban, predominately white, and largely middle-aged. As a twenty-something associate pastor, I was mostly referred to by my first name. The lack of a title before my name suited me fine. At the time I was coming to grips with being a pastor and, frankly, the idea of regularly being identified as such by people ten to twenty years my senior was frightening.
I am a little dumbstruck. This guy is writing about how he feels personally about a title when he has stuck on one of the great questions that has divided the church since its inception.

Priest - Minister - Pastor - have we lost sight of the differences in these titles, where they arose from, why they are important, how they affect polity and spirituality? Are we now so self-centric that the meaning of the title matter less than how I feel about it?

Rarely have I encountered something that seemed to so well encapsulate where the church has gone wrong these days. Such a personal look at such an extraordinarily important question seems to defy the fact that God lies at the center of what we do, not us.

Academic rigor, if nothing else, forces objectivity upon us - at least it used to. How can we hope to rise above the self focus that is sin if we do not attempt such objectivity? How can the church change fro self-help dispensary to the House of God when even those that minister in God's name are mired in such navel gazing?

Am I wrong to despair?

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Friday Humor

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Thursday, January 12, 2012


Who Defines Church?

Chuch Marketing Sucks discusses social media and the use of the question to draw comment:
It’s easy to get frustrated and bored when you spend time putting together posts and they are seemingly ignored. While there are many reasons for this, the easiest way to change this is to introduce social media’s star character: The question mark.


The very first rule of social media that I put in place with the churches I work with: There should be more question marks than periods on your page.

Now of course this is a rule of thumb but people come to your page to interact, i.e the “social” in “social media.” By positioning your post with a question mark it creates that interactive environment and a door for them to walk through, a door they are more than happy to walk through.

By making sure many, even most, of your posts end with a question mark you breathe new life into your page and those managing it. Try it out for a week, start adding a question to the end of your posts. What questions get the best response and interaction for you?
That set me to thinking about how far the church has come. Once an authoritarian institution, it is no reduced to seeking approval from its congregants rather than granting them approval. I am all for democratization, but I wonder if there is not a step too far.

It must be remembered that the wisdom of God is to be counted as foolishness by the world.

Social media is valuable, but it will be a very different tool in the church than in promoting a rock band.

Thought needed here.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Making Soil

Mark Daniels looks at the parable about seeds, the sower, and soil types and concludes:
While we don't control our salvation and it's all a product of God's work in our lives, we evidently can decide whether we will be good soil or not. We can decide whether we'll be receptive to the word about Jesus. Otherwise Jesus wouldn't have bothered telling this parable!


The fruit of God's Spirit will be evidenced in the lives of those who have ears and listen. They pay heed to Jesus. They pay heed to God's Word.

Choose to be good soil!
The real beauty of the gospel is that if we do, in fact, choose to be good soil, if we listen and heed, then the Holy Spirit will honor our choice and help us be good soil. It is a choice, but the effort is not our alone.

I spend a bit of time in assisted living homes for memory impaired folks these days. I think this is where we discover how well we have done at choosing to be good soil. When we are no longer able to exercise our will, how do we behave? Are we pleasant or rude? Tolerant or ugly? There is a lot of insight into the work of the Holy Spirit in such a place.

What would you be like if you ended in such a place?

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Liturgy or Comfort Zone?

I agree with iMonk:
I’m somewhat angry about having this avalanche of industrially produced music forced on me for a dozen insufficient reasons. The way the church’s canon of singable, theologically meaningful music has been detonated in the name of anything that creates what growth oriented churches demand is stunning. We’ve been brutal in this process and we’re going to be sorry in the long run.
Three quick comments.

One, that phrase "industrially produced music" gives me great pause for it is so true. Somewhere in the last 20 years the people that figure these things out have figured out there is a "Christian market." Just like breakfast cereal that have shoved far more products into that market than there is need and generated need through slick marketing. Most of the this I could care less, that's just commerce - but it is not and never has been a substitute for things with meaning. I enjoy reading Clive Cussler, but he ain't no Herman Melville. That's kinda what seems to be happening with music in worship, we are substituting Clive Cussler for Herman Melville.

Secondly, it bothers me that we do in worship what I used to do in evangelical youth meetings. These gatherings have two distinct purposes, it's time we realized that.

Finally, consider this from elsewhere in the post:
First, off, let’s be clear. Singing is mentioned in Paul’s instructions about worship in a descriptive way and in a prescriptive way, so it’s part of worship. Second, that doesn’t mean from that point on, we can do whatever we want because it’s mentioned in the Bible.
It is only part of worship and the interchangeable use of the word "worship" for the word sing is anathema.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, January 09, 2012


And Therein Lies The Problem

MSNBC discusses the presence of "real" people in comic books. It made me sad. You see, the point of comics is to tell epic stories about epic characters - character that show us our greatest capability, and the strength to overcome our flaws. Real people are a bit different than that - many do astonishing things, but a society needs something more than astonishing.

I fell in love with comics because they called me to excellence - they took me to places I could not go and put me in circumstances beyond reality both in terms of what was, but in what could be accomplished. They were inspirational.

Now, thy appear to be current events in a pretty package. Does that really make us better?

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