Saturday, October 06, 2012
J Scott Campbell
David Lafuente Garcia
Friday, October 05, 2012
But Chesterton Said
We need a Steve Jobs of religion. Someone (or ones) who can invent not a new religion but, rather, a new way of being religious. Like Mr. Jobs’s creations, this new way would be straightforward and unencumbered and absolutely intuitive. Most important, it would be highly interactive. I imagine a religious space that celebrates doubt, encourages experimentation and allows one to utter the word God without embarrassment. A religious operating system for the Nones among us. And for all of us.I seem to remember G.K. Chesterton said:
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.We don't need new - we need right
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Passing On History
Although he did not match the sheer brilliance of his predecessor Jonathan Edwards (what successor has?), Hodge's greatest contributions were cogently representing the faith in his fifty-six years of teaching, his training of more than three thousand seminary students (no professor of any kind taught more graduate students in the 19th century), and writing theological books read by millions.In an age when academia seems to be solely focused on "advancing knowledge," I find it quite refreshing to discuss academia's other deep purpose - preserving knowledge.
I find Hodge's example particularly useful and encouraging: no one can really aspire to match the intellectual skills of a Jonathan Edwards, but all Christian thinkers can seek to pass on the historic faith to congregations, students, and readers in their place and time. Charles Hodge, in that sense, is one of the heroes of American Christian history.
Particularly when it comes to religion a study so ancient as to almost defy description, how much advancement is possible. We are talking a very mature field of study here. But academia still must make sure that people understand the work that has been done, before it disappears and has to be rediscoverd all over again.
This is not merely an academic pursuit, but a spiritual one. If we discover everything for ourselves, faith becomes about us. But if we sit at the feet of those that have gone before and learn from them, faith becomes about God - not us.
After all - it is about God.
Related Tags: Illuminated Manuscript
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
There is a difference between repentance and remorse. Remorse is being sorry you got caught. For example, if you were to rob a bank, get away with it for awhile, and then are arrested, you are remorseful. Why? Because you got caught.Repentance is not the road to forgiveness, it is the road to change.
Judas Iscariot was remorseful about his betrayal of Jesus. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew what he did was wrong. And if he was repentant, he still could have turned to Jesus.
We all feel guilty from time to time, and that results in remorse - but real repentance is a different matter. How willing are you to look at yourself squarely and say "God I need to be different - please make it so."
Like the de-dragoning of Eustace, it is going to hurt. Be prepared.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Returning To Being The Church
The first is the navigation of a post-seeker context. When I use this term, I do not mean that "seekers" no longer exist. (The Spirit is still at work to enliven the hearts of people and draw them to their need for Christ.) Rather, churches that once targeted seekers are finding that portions of subsequent generations do not have any religious memory at all--and it is harder to appeal to their seeking. They are the "Nones" - those who, when asked about religious affiliation, check "none." In a post-seeker context, churches will have to create new models to lead their people to engage their neighbors who might not find appealing an invitation to church.I had an entirely different thought about the phrase "post-seeker context" when I read it. My thought was the church needs to figure out what to do with seekers, once they are no longer seekers. It is not enough merely to turn them into "finders" - out searching for new seekers to bring to church. That strikes me as shark-like.
A shark is an eating machine - it eats to find more to eat.
But people are more than animal - we develop art, engineering - culture. To simply build a church to continually feed itself denies our higher nature, it in fact denies the image of God in which we were created.
Sharks grow physically - like seeker-sensitive churches often do. But people and Christians grow in more ways than just size. When we grow just in size we become obese.
Monday, October 01, 2012
Related Tags: In Memoriam
Not What, But How
It’s true. Change Sucks. Ask some of the members of The Church At Carrollton, who are none too happy about change.Rhoades conclusion?
Since Pastor Greg Drake came five years ago, some things have changed. As noted in a news story, some people are ticked. Royally ticked, actually.
Here are the things cited that have changed:
1. The church name (it used to be Abilene Baptist Church)
2. No more ‘hymn book singing’
3. Removal of the piano and organ
4. Printed words to songs are now “replaced by a screen”
5. Several pews were removed
6. Some stained glass was partially covered.
7. Shut down Sunday School classes (these classes met for SS, then left before the service started)
8. Walking away from the SBC
The result? A lawsuit in county court questioning the legal ownership of the church entity, going back to the original deed in 1876.
I hope that I don’t become like this when I’m older.Change is not the problem here - it is how the change is done that is the problem. When people have spent literally a lifetime building and sustaining a church and someone new comes in and tells them their time is done - that's the problem. Such people should be honored, not trampled.
I hope that if/when I walk away from a church and it’s leadership, it’s about something much more important that hymnbooks, pews, stained glass and the like.
I pray that I don’t end up a bitter, angry, hopeless man as I get older.
But yet I have seen it time and again, youth comes in, determines the old folks irrelevant and simply casts them to the side. They do not even bother to ask the old folks why they like it the way it is, or is their a way to make the change easier for them - just out with the old, in with the new.
There is something really wrong with this sort of thing and simply to write it off to cantankerous oldness in to miss the point. I can promise you that if it gets to a lawsuit, the cantankerousness is with more than the old folks. That bus runs both ways.
Somewhere grace and respect for the elderly is missing, which tells me there is a lot more that is missing that meets the eye.
What I hope I never become is a person that forgets that those older than me have things to offer and that they worked and sacrificed to give me what I have now and that I should honor them for that.