Saturday, September 14, 2013


Comic Art

 When I was a kid, discovering comic books, there was a mini-phenomena know as "Rainbow Batman." Simple enough - it was bat stories in which Batman has to wear costumes of many colors. The covers were just shocking on the newsstands - the market was very kiddie and so it worked. I looked at mine ovr and over and over until it was no more. It was cool. Nowadays that stuff is considered the nadir of Batman's existence. OR so I had been lead to believe. That is until I ran across the clip from the kid oriented "The Brave and The Bold" animated bat-series on TV.

Behold, everything old has become new again!
Too much fun NOT to share.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Looking Forward

Chaplain Mike tackles one of the innumeable pieces about hwo the church of the future will look:
One advantage to getting a bit older is that you see fads and trends not only emerge but also re-emerge in the church. Greg Smith’s “vision” for the church in 2010 sounds basically the same as things I’ve been hearing in certain circles since the 1970′s


The only truly new realities Smith factors in are big changes in the way we use technology and the pragmatic realization that churches cannot go on funding ministries in the ways we’ve been doing it for the past couple of generations. Otherwise, I find most of this simply to be recycled church renewal material, repackaged for a new era.

Michael Spencer used to say often: “ I believe the way forward for [the church] is the way back to the roots of the broader, deeper, more ancient, more ecumenical church, not forward into more of what [churches] have been doing the last 50 years.”

Greg Smith is not showing us that way here. While I do believe we need to think carefully about such things as the place of technology in our churches, the challenge of funding ministries in a post-Christian society, and the way we balance individual and institutional life, in my opinion we need less of this “forward” thinking and more faithful incorporation of practices of the church that have stood the test of time. Most of all we need to focus on the present grunt work that needs to happen day in and day out, doing the actual work of the church in the midst of our congregations and out in our communities.

The thing that bothers me about the Smith piece to which Chaplain Mike refers, and all such "follow the trends" articles - is just that, they follow trends. It seems to me that the church is not supposed to follow, but to lead.

Think about it - the church converted the Roman Empire and moved it from Rome to Constantinople. The church made Europe as we know it today. The church, in many guises founded America. The church shaped the world.

Now it seems as though we sit at the feet of Bill Gates and whathisname that founded Facebook and try to figure out how to fit into their world.

That, dear friends is a crisis of faith, pure and simple. We do not shape the world because we do not believe we can.

God, grant us the faith to believe we can change the world.


Friday Humor

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Worth Pursuit

iMonk, it must be remembered exists largely to proclaim the death of Evangelicalism. However, contributor Jeff Dunn, worried that the death may actually be upon us has declared some ideas to save it:
  • Those in charge need to stop being leaders and become pastors.
  • Grow smaller, not larger.
  • Learn to think.
  • Close down the God Shop.
  • Give up on the culture wars.
I, like Dunn, think there are things worth saving here, and I was really groovin' with this post until that last item. While I agree the culture wars are not the raison d'etre of the church, they are important. Evangelicalism does not need to give up the culture wars, they just need to get smart about them. And then the real issue dawned on me. Note how I said "the church" a couple of sentences ago. The problem is, Evangelicalism is not really a church - it's congregations. Even Evangelical churches inside denominations work to hide and minimize their affiliations.

Are they the people of God? Of course, so what do I mean when I say "they are not a church?" I think they lack two key elements. The first is accountability. The average Evangelical congregation, and specially its pastor, is accountable to no one outside of itself. That is simply dangerous, and more misses one of the essential points of Christ's ministry - it's not about us.

The second thing they lack is an effort to unite the world under the banner of Christ. Virtually all Evangelical churches are trying to split from something. They left another congregation they did not agree with, or as stated earlier, they are trying to pretend they are not really Denomination X. This too, misses one of ht e essential ministries of Christ.

The real answer on how to save Evangelicalism lies on it returning to its roots as a movement, not a church. The movement can save the best of what it has to offer.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Lead Well

Ron Edmondson on 7 Warnings for Aspiring Leaders":What you “settle for” becomes the culture.
  • Mediocrity isn’t created. It’s accepted.
  • Your actions determine their reactions.
  • Don’t assume they agree because they haven’t said anything.
  • You’ll never get there just “thinking about it”.
  • If you’re the leader, they are likely waiting on you to lead or release the right to lead.
  • What the team values becomes apparent by your actions, not your words, no matter how well spoken they might be.
What do all of those have in common? - they are really about other people. Leadership is not a call for you to be something - it is a call for you to do something FOR someone else. That should make you think about the call - a lot.

It's not about being in charge. It's not about getting to tell others what to do. It's not about having the spotlight or being the star. It;s about helping the people that really do the stuff, do the stuff.

So, do you think you are supposed to lead or not?



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Tuesday, September 10, 2013


They Should Be Broken For Ourselves

Christine Sine @ Godspace:
God pierce our hearts with your love,
Break them open into greater capacity,
Break them open,
That we might hold more of the world’s suffering and joy,
That we might share more of the world’s despair and hope.
Lord break our hearts,
As we stand in the gap between what is and what could be,
Break our hearts open to a largeness that holds the possibility of a better future for all the world’s people.

This sat wrong with me somehow. It's not that I don;t want to help or pray for the poor - it's more the us/them paradigm this seems to establish. Yes, here in American we have plenty, and yes and yes again there are parts of the world where the poverty is overwhelming. But America is poor too - certainly not materially, but in oh so many other ways.

There is a feeling of the prayer of the pharisee about the women with the one coin to this prayer. We cannot let our material well-being blind us to the poverty of our lives. If our hearts are truly broken open to greater capacity, will we not mourn our own sin as much as their poverty? Will we not want to save ourselves from our own issues as much as save others from their material ones?

In point of fact, is this prayer not really a confession? If you must pray such a thing are you not admitting that you are inadequate in your caring? And if we are confessing, should we not be a bit more prostrate?

I fear praying to share the world's despair - I have so much in my own life.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, September 09, 2013


More Than Music

Mark Roberts:
Praise is something we do, not only with our lips and our instruments, but also with our whole lives. You may recall that a few months ago we examined Ephesians 1:12, which says that we exist "for the praise of God's glory" (see 9/28/2012 and following). We are alive for the purpose of praising God. But this does not mean we ought to put down our work and hurry to a worship service. On the contrary, we can and should praise God in all we do, including our work. So, if you happen to be a drummer, then by all means drum for God's glory. And if you happen to be a lawyer, then practice law for God's glory. And if you're a teacher, then teach for God's glory. And if you're a contractor, or a mother, or a banker, or a window washer, or…do it all for God's glory.

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