Saturday, August 25, 2012
John Romita Sr. & Jr.
Friday, August 24, 2012
We Need Grace - Even For That
"The grace to surrender to being found"...that's it!You have to love the recursion there - we need grace to receive grace.
I would add that we need grace to even realize that we need grace to receive grace. I could go on like this for a while....
The Christian walk is a recursive process. It does not terminate.
Sometimes I think that is THE lesson of faith - no lesson is ever really learned - there is just another level to it.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Youth Ministry and The State Of The Church
Did the modern youth ministry movement create the Emerging Church? That’s the question Tony Jones addresses in a recent blog post. While presenting a paper at an academic conference, Jones fielded questions from professors of youth ministry primarily from evangelical colleges and seminaries.Gee, I've been saying that for a long time - and saying as someone that formerly ministered to youth.
Jones said to them, “You all have strong feelings about the emerging church movement, most of them negative. Well, you are directly responsible for the emerging church movement.”
He went on to describe how contemporary youth ministry shuns the “accoutrements of power (vestments, titles, special roles and rites). Instead, youth are encouraged to engage all of the practices of the community equally.” In other words, the rejection of structural authority and the focus on a flat structure of relational authority which has marked the Emerging Church Movement was learned in youth groups. Jones noted how many ECM leaders first had lengthy youth ministry experience within evangelical churches: Tim Keel, Doug Pagitt, Dan Kimball, Tim Condor, and Chris Seay.
To the youth ministry professors who may have a negative view of the Emerging Church, Jones said, “You taught them relational youth ministry, so what kind of churches did you expect them to plant?”
What do you think of Tony Jones’ premise that evangelical youth ministry created the Emerging Church? I think he’s on to something important here–namely that ecclesiology is taught (explicitly but primarily implicitly) well before adulthood. Kids form their understanding of church very early, and it stays with them into adulthood.
It's broader. As culture generally refuses to grow up, so too is the church.
You want to talk about cultural engagement? What if the church served as the force in our culture that brought back maturity? What if we led instead of followed?
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The other day a friend and I were discussing the rising tide of “gospel-centrality” among evangelicals. More and more voices are telling us that the gospel is not something we move on from in order to grow as Christians; instead, it should always remain the throbbing center of our lives and churches.And now I just want to scream, "WHY DO WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THE WORD 'GOSPEL'!?!?!?" "Deeper" or "away from" depending only on how we define the word "gospel."
But, my friend asked me, what about Hebrews 6:1-2? “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
In other words, the author of Hebrews doesn’t move on from the gospel; he moves deeper into the gospel. He doesn’t leave the gospel behind, but instead claws his way into more and more of its riches.
So then, at least for the author of Hebrews, leaving behind elementary teachings doesn’t mean leaving behind the gospel. Instead, it means diving into the deep end instead of splashing around in the shallows.
The point of the author of Hebrews is that the salvation experience is merely the beginning of the Christian journey - not its entirety. I don;t care what words you put around it - that's what he is driving at.
And you know what I think - I think that spending time arguing the semantics around that idea is a way of avoiding the idea itself. "Oh no - I can't move on to that - I still have to figure this out!"
Hogwash - lay down and Jesus feet and get busy.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Best Post I've Read In A While!
I just came across this fascinating article by a Christian engineer, Jace Yarbrough, about “why we don’t have more engineers.” The shortage of good engineers has been the subject of intense effort for decades, yet the supply has stubbornly refused to increase. In addition to two factors that are already widely appreciated—engineering is intrinsically difficult so few can do it, and it is relatively impervious to artificial grade inflation; and engineering schools are often unnecessarily unwelcoming toward many students who could become engineers—Yarbrough offers a third. Few people want to be engineers, he suggests, because engineering means exploiting God’s creation for humanity’s selfish ends.When was the last time you read anything praising science and engineering from a Christian perspective?
Let’s be clear: God loves engineering. When he made the human race, he declared one and only one explicit purpose for human life: to have a transformative impact on the environment. (Well, okay, and to reproduce.)
What does the “cultural mandate” amount to in this context? I think you could express it this way: “You see this beautiful little garden you’re in? Okay, now, you see all that huge desolate wasteland of wilderness out there? Go make all of that like this.”
The purpose of human life is to have an impact on the environment. God loves engineering.
As I have said many times, science is the study of God by studying His creation, Engineering is acting on the creative impulse in us that is God's image. Like anything else, sin can pervert these things - but these things are not, of their own accord sinful.
Now here's a thought - if the church taught this view of science and engineering do you think more young people might consider studying and careers in those fields? Further do you think those young people might be able to resolve some of the issues that science and engineering do create?
Monday, August 20, 2012
Why Do We Ask Questions Only God Should?
On What Basis Will God Judge Those Who Have Never Heard?Can I be honest? - I am appalled at the very question. Who are we to ask God how He is going to judge anything? I mean really! The question itself attempts to put us in God's place. Think about it - if we understand God's judgement on these matters then we are in some sense God.
This is not meant to be an "It's a mystery - get over it" dismissal of the question. Rather it is an effort to illustrate that mysteries are part of being a creature, not the creator.
Contentment with that which we cannot understand is part of what it means to submit to God. Increasingly I think it is the point where we transition from spiritual childhood to spiritual adolescence - when we stop trying to figure out God and instead just lay down in front of him.
Do you think your dog worries about why you picked him and not some other mutt at the pound? Nope, he just takes the food you give him and enjoys lying at your feet.
Yeah, I know, we are smarter than dogs. But we are not smarter than God.
Give God Your Weakness
Have you ever felt like the disciples felt? Have you ever wondered if Jesus cared? Has the thought crossed your mind that Jesus may not even be aware of your current situation? Have you thought, “Jesus, I see my problems, don’t you?” Or maybe, if you are honest, have felt something like, “Jesus, don’t you care?”I hear what is being said here, but I wonder. For one it is much easier to admit stuff to God than to myself. And for the other it is very easy to give my weakness to God and then to sit back and wallow in it.
Of course, our spiritual piety would never allow us to admit our weakness in this area fully. Could I as a pastor really admit that I doubted His love? Could you? Yet if I am honest, sometimes from my perspective, it appears that Jesus is nowhere to be found and I am left all alone to wallow in my sorrows. Just saying….
I think the best thing we can possibly do in those situations is to be like the disciples and admit our frailty to God. When we get gut honest with Him about our insufficiencies, perhaps He will be willing to do what only He can do.
Simple confession is never enough. It is like that quick "sorry" that you don't really mean.
Edmondson is here talking about the storms on the Galilee and Jesus calming it. The disciples went to Him in abject terror.
Yes we should give God our weakness, but not in analytical from our strength sort of way, but from the midst of actually being weak. We don't let ourselves dwell in our weakness very often. Maybe that is a place to start.