Saturday, June 30, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
All About Discipline
Interesting advice, largely good, but much of it has nothing to do with spirituality, and that concerns me, deeply.
A spiritual leader must lead first spiritually and only secondly as an institution. Many of the disciplines he cites are necessary for institutional leadership, but are they necessary for development of one owns spirituality?
I have know way too many pastors that spent too much time writing sermons and note enough time steering the organization, and vice versa. What I am really interested in is a pastor through whom Christ shines, unquestionably. The disciplines that lead to that are what a church leader needs to practice.
I cannot help but think that if such a pastor were out there, the rest of this stuff would just sort of fall in place about him.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I wonder if the idea behind meekness might be what John the Baptist meant when he said, “I must decrease in order for Christ to increase”. Putting Christ first, other’s second, myself third. Meekness isn’t the same as weakness. We can be strong and yet meek. We can even be powerful and remain meek. Meekness is more of an attitude and a response to others than it is a position or status in life. Imagine the Savior Jesus, Creator of the world, strong enough to calm a raging storm, yet humble enough to wash His disciple’s feet…that’s meekness.That's good stuff except for one thing - Meekness, proper meekness, is very attractive to our culture. People are starved for someone, anyone that genuinely loves them - and humility and meekness does that.
I realize that placing other’s interests ahead of my own may not appeal to our intellect, our schooling, or a “keen business sense”. It isn’t attractive to our culture. Meekness will require us to accept instruction and counsel from Him and from others, rather than always having the answers. It will force us to submit to authority and not to explode when others dare challenge our position or role.
See, so much of what passes for love and affection these days is really just "reward for accepting me." In other words, if you like me, I'll be nice to you. It's a transaction, not an expression of character.
Genuine humility and meekness does not hold itself in such high regard that it needs affirmation before it is willing to grant it - such affirmation is an expression of the humility and meekness - that's part of what it means to put someone else's interests ahead of your own.
There are not many people like that in the world, but those that are, are very popular.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
OH NO! Not That
On October 19, a high-ranking official in the Southern Baptist Convention named resurgent Calvinism as the “top challenge” facing the congregation for the foreseeable future—quite a statement, especially when considering what an outside observer might imagine to be the usual suspects (social issues, religious liberty, or theological disagreements with other faiths). Yet, though this internal rift began quietly, it has been the subject of a number of recent books, including the new pair “For Calvinism” and “Against Calvinism”, written by Michael Horton and Roger E. Olson, respectively. The proliferation of introductory primers like these seem to testify to the growing awareness of this debate, and the effort to get older-style evangelical leaders to ‘wake up’ to this ‘threat’ seems to be shifting into a higher gear.Apparently the problem is not Calvinism itself, but the subversive manner in which it arrives:
But are these young adherents and newly-minted academics and clergy simply calling for a renewed seriousness and a ‘return to the sources’ in their faith? Or is Olson right that there is something subversive in this project, especially in the way it has been carried out? Does the Calvinist resurgence owe much to pastors keeping quiet about their commitments, then “coming out of the closet” on their congregations, as he alleges?Or maybe, just maybe these leaders figure out that what has passed for Evangelicalism of late is empty and void, and LEARNED something new to fill the void? That's not subversion, that's growth.
Of course, that's the problem with much of Evangelicalism, growth (others than in the number of butts in the pew, if there are still pews involved) is not a priority - now it is even subversive.
Why is this even a battle? We worship a God of infinite resources - INFINITE! We can do all of this.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Its' really not funny - the video is shot in a church obviously somewhere in a low income zone - probably Appalachia - with an educational level somewhere slightly above kindergarten. These people need help, not ridicule.
They're doing the best they can to worship God. Do we do God any favors by offering ridicule?
Monday, June 25, 2012
Okay, here is where I (as a representative of my Church, God help us all) set myself up as an Aunt Sally for you lovely, lovely people out there to throw sticks at. Anything and everything that has ever annoyed, or currently is annoying, you about the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – here’s your chance to get it off your chest. Don’t worry about political correctness or holding it all in or even common courtesy (to an extent – nothing too vicious that will cause the moderators to ban your backside until the Second Coming, please!). I won’t be offended by anything up to and including “Your cult is not a Christian church, you’re all pagan goddess-worshipping idolaters and you’re going to burn in Hell along with your father the Devil and his servant the Anti-Christ, or as you call him, the Pope”.Obviously, she is trying to be cute here, but this is something vitally important.
Think about this. The mainlines are dying, maybe dead on their feet already. Evangelicalism is morphing into something less than recognizably Christian. How is Christianity in American going to survive? It seems like only the Catholics and the Orthodox have the institutional fortitude to withstand the onslaught of modernity.
The other institutionally strong church in the nation is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are changing, in our direction, pretty doggone fast.
Who know what the future holds, but I do know it is time to look outside my boundaries for clues. This effort at iMonk is worth my attention.