Saturday, August 31, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
Take It To Heart
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37I find it striking that Edmondson closes the post with:
Perhaps you should choose one or two of these, write them down somewhere you’ll see it often, and commit it to memory.Frankly they are all verses the memorization of which I would expect to be a qualification for leadership. True enough we all need constant reminding of these lessons, but this is presented to matter-of-factly, that I wonder if Edmondson's perception of immaturity in church leadership has an even lower bar than mine.
I reflect often on the phenomena in this nation of someone calling themselves preacher, hanging out a shingle and viola' we have a church. It's not the lack of education that concerns me, I know many a self-appointed pastor that is a much better person that the highly educated ordained types I usually traffic with. It is the lack of character testing that bothers me.
The world has always had its Elmer Gantry types, it always will. But it used to be that we sorted them out pretty rapidly. But no more.
That is, I think a mark at our lack of cultural influence. Our culture lacks the ability to sort the good ones from that bad ones. The secular assume all are shysters, and we are so desperate for the next superstar preacher that we just look the other way at personal peccadilloes and throw money in the plate.
The church needs to become intentional about trying to figure out how to reclaim the culture. And by that I do not mean music and art and so forth, though that is part of it. No I mean something even deeper - the part of us that music and art inform and reform. Even if Christian theology never dominated this nation, Christian thought once did. It is to this that we need to return and it is to this that we should devote ourselves.
church depth leadership mission
Thursday, August 29, 2013
I recently interviewed more than twenty pastors who had been in ministry for at least 25 years. All of these men were over 55 years old. A few of them were retired, but most of them were still active in full-time vocational ministry. ...
Lack of practical training for local church ministry. "I was not prepared for 80 percent of my day-to-day ministry after I graduated from seminary. ...
Overly concerned about critics. ...
Failure to exercise faith. ...
Not enough time with family. ...
Failure to understand basic business and finance issues. ...
Failure to share ministry. "Let me shoot straight. I had two complexes. The first was the
Superman complex. ... My second complex was the conflict avoider complex. ...
Failure to make friends. ...I have heard all of those so many times - to the point that they are almost cliche'. I think that fact proves a real point - people who want to be pastors don't listen. They have been told and told these things are issues for the profession and yet the issues are repeated by every pastor that ever gets a job. I would interpret this to mean that pastors re basically people that think they know more than anybody else, including people that have been pastors before them.
One could call that problem a lack of humility. It seems that when we look for pastors these days we look at education but not character. It seems that when we train pastors these days we educate them, but we d not form them. (OK this latter is true about most education.)
The good pastors I have known either came equipped with character, or they learned it really quickly while still doing assistant and associate work. The not-so-good ones either never learned or learned unquickly and forced their lack of maturity on an entire congregation.
This lies at the heart of why I can never trust a pastor a priori. I think most peope have a hard time trusting Christian leadership a priori.
I wonder how different the world might be if that simple fact were different?
maturiy pastors trust
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Maybe Its Because We Are?
His example in this case:
I would like to say that, when I became a Christian, I quit making mistakes. I quit sinning. I quit being “prone to wander,” but the truth is I still fail. More than I’d like to. And the beauty of that song and the honesty of that last verse meant a lot to me.
So what verse was the worship leader changing?
His argument? He wasn’t “prone to wander or prone to leave.”
At this point in the conversation, I realized he was not like me.
Or “That’s not my wife, that’s my sister!” Abraham.
He was changing the lyrics to something like, “Prone to worship, prone to praise.”Rarely have I run across an example that better encapsulates why I generally object to "contemporary worship." Even in those services that still include some, albeit strange, liturgical form of confession, what is confessed just misses the mark. "Lord forgive me for not being happy and praising you enough this week." Seems we have reduced Christianity to a form of organic mood alteration.
WE ARE WHAT NEEDS ALTERING! And such alterations will not occur if we are unwilling to face what is wrong with us. We are in fact extraordinarily fake when we pretend like "I accepted Jesus and now life is good."
Is it any wonder the nation grows coarser and we grow more alienated? We pretend things are good instead of endure the hard work of letting God actually make them good.
christian confession fake
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
"The Spiritual Voice"
One thing that I have noticed about young evangelicals is the way that they (or should I say, ‘we’, as I am among the ranks) talk normally and the way that they talk about ‘spiritual’ (or gospel, as some might say) topics varies in vocabulary and tone.
What saddens me about ‘catch-all words’ like ‘accountability’ and ‘guarding your heart’ is that they lose meaning and become meaningless assumptions. This has happened with the word ‘gospel’ in some circles. When you attach gospel to everything somewhat spiritual, unless the word gospel has been truly meditated on and expounded, can become flaccid when passed down.If I could take what he is talking about and a bunch of other cultural phenomena and sum it up, I would say that what we tend to do is create a counter-culture instead of redeem the existing culture.
That's a real problem in our nation that is increasingly fractured into a disparate group of micro-cultures. There are micro-cultures for everything from TV shows to music to etc. They are not things you build a culture around - they are the products of culture, but anymore they are the definition of culture.
And so, by playing this game we lessen what Christianity really is. Christianity can redeem each of those micro-cultures and more - becasue Christianity redeems each individual in each micro-culture.
You don't cosplay being a Christian.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The Importance of Dad
Seriously, what initiatives do you know of where the church is addressing the fatherless issue?He set this by linking to some staggering stats - some examples:
Data from three waves of the Fragile Families Study (N= 2,111) was used to examine the prevalence and effects of mothers’ relationship changes between birth and age 3 on their children’s well being. Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Living in a single-mother household is equivalent to experiencing 5.25 partnership transitions.
Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. Source: Harper, Cynthia C. and Sara S. McLanahan. “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.
Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree. Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.Edmondson has a point, what does the church do? We embrace the broken family, but do we work to repair it? Do we provide some sort of father "stop gap?" In divorce cases, do we hod the parties accountable in child rearing?
I realize the church doesn't do much accountability when it comes to sex and family at all anymore - that might mean someone does not come to church. But maybe we ought to?
church dads family