Saturday, November 02, 2013


Comic Art


Friday, November 01, 2013


Single Stupidity

In a discussion that could only happen on the more-or-less fundamentalist side of things Christian Post asks:

Should Single People Be Eligible to Lead a Church?

As someone who stayed single until relatively late in life, but who was elected an elder in the Presbyterian Church while still single, I was ready to dive in with both feet defending the roles of single people in leadership. But then I ran across this concluding paragraph:
Taber points out that Jesus was single and concludes in his blog, "The church assumes that the wife will lead the women, or the children, or play the piano. I find none of these things listed as qualifications for leaders in the Scriptures.

"Don't you think it is about time that the church addresses the issue of single leaders? Isn't it about time we stopped running our churches based on things that are not biblical? I do!"
Whoa! "Not Biblical?" I think indeed marital status is a qualification for leadership IN THE BIBLE.
1 Tim 3:2-7 - An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. [emphasis added]
By golly, I think that qualifies as in the bible. As is a similar verse in Titus. So, this guy is probably disqualified from leadership, not based on marital status, but ignorance.

This guys argument was all wrapped in in appropriate sexual conduct about which he is missing the point. I can testify that marriage adds to one a certain maturity, and that I think that maturity makes the best leaders. Now, there are other ways to obtain that maturity, though it is difficult outside of marriage for it must come relationally and people generally are not willing to form relational bonds other than marriage that have the requisite commitment, but it can happen.

It also should be pointed out that to justify single leaders, given the scripture that were here quoted, so exegesis is needed to justify it - not where I want to go with this post. Where I want to go is the shoddy "not Biblical" argument. Really, any congregation that hires this guy is not looking for a preacher that knows the Bible.


Friday Humor

Thursday, October 31, 2013


A Call To All

Mark Daniels shares a Facebook post from a friend:
"Always be patient with others. You never know what's going on in their lives.

"Today the lady in front of me at the drug store couldn't figure out how to use the pay by credit feature on the pin pad. Then she forgot to buy something so she needed another transaction. I'm in no big hurry - but admittedly, I thought inside 'Let's go.'

"After the 2nd transaction, the lady said 'Thank you for being patient. My brother just passed. I have to write the obituary today. I don't know where my mind is.'

"I smiled and said 'Let this be the least of your worries.'

"Thanks God for the reminder to slow down and be grateful for the time I have. I'm on my way now to share lunch with my father, 215 miles away.

"Enjoy today friends. And slow down for others. You never know what's going on in their lives."
Amen and Amen


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


No Zombies Allowed

Ron Edmondson:
Perhaps I’m unrealistic…maybe I expect too much from people. I’ve been told that before, but I think we need more than just warm bodies. Even in volunteer positions. In fact, may I push the issue a little further. I think we need warm bodies who are passionate about living out their purpose and willing to fill their positions with vigor.

We don’t just need a warm body in our preschool ministry. We need a warm body who loves preschoolers to the glory of God.

We need a warm body in our parking lot who sees their job as critical to a visitors first experience with a church.

We need warm bodies who will share the love of Christ during the week, at the coffee shop and in the work place, just as well as they warm the sanctuary chair on Sunday mornings.

We need warm bodies who will lead small groups and teach Sunday schools that are committed, enthusiastic and well-prepared each week to disciple people to become growing followers of Jesus Christ.

You get my point. We need warm bodies…but not warm bodies who are simply warm bodies.

Who knows? Perhaps if we raise the bar of expectations we will get people who better meet our expectations.
Let me add something to Edmondson's thoughts here. Are "warm bodies" developing? Are they getting better at what they do, or are they simply fulfilling a role? When we recruit a "wamr body" are we not putting the church and its needs in front of them are their needs? we all NEED to serve - true enough, but don't we need to serve where we have been called and equipped to serve? Isn;t that part of our development as Christians and servants of God?

But if we just fill a slot in a ministry roster are we developing as men and women of God? No really - set aside the rhetoric about serving the church is serving God, etc. Think about it for just a minute. What is being perpetuate by filling slots with "warm bodies?" Is it the Christian life or is it the ministry?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Chaplain Mike:
As the conversation proceeded, Fitch felt led to say, “Maybe the best thing we can do is nothing.” What was he thinking? Here is the reasoning behind his suggestion:
  • Focusing on projects turns people into objects.
  • This takes lots of effort and resources.
  • It ends up making us feel better about ourselves, but it also reinforces and perpetuates less than desirable structures.
  • Thus we end up colonizing people and serving them from positions of power.
  • Nothing really changes.
There is more wisdom here than most people want to consider. DOING is a means of control. But Christians are called to let God control. That point about feeling better about ourselves is devastating - Ministry is about the other, not ourselves. Sometimes ministry is supposed to be uncomfortable and difficult and unrewarding, but we do it anyway, for the sake of the other.

If you probe this really deeply, you come to realize that the point about objectifying people may be the most important one. After all, wasn't one of the problems with "The Law" that it objectified just a bit too much, certainly as practiced by religious authority of Christs time. Isn't the objectification of the individual the bottom line difference between the legal approach of the Old Testament and the incarnational approach of the New?

"So," people will ask, "what then is the purpose of the church, the institution? Aren't institutions supposed to do something?" Yes, they are, but in some cases they exists merely to preserve and shelter and develop. I think the church is meant to preserve the learning and wisdom of the centuries - shelter Christians from a stormy world and develop them to deal with the world, which includes - doing things in it.

Think about it.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, October 28, 2013


"The Call"

Todd Rhoades quotes "A Pilgrim's Progress" blog:
When we look in the bible, we see nothing about pastors receiving salaries. The term "pastor" is rarely used ("elder" is much more common). None of the pastors or elders were part of a separate class (the clergy), and none received salaries that exempted them from regular work. Elders were spiritually mature members of the church in a city who came from that city and worked jobs in that city.

Some professional pastors might respond to the title of this post by saying that they are certain God has called them to be a pastor. My question to them is, "How do you know that?" I've never heard a satisfactory answer to that question.

We know from scripture that God has gifted His children in various ways to serve His church. Some men have many pastoral gifts. God undoubtedly desires that they use these gifts to help others grow in Christian maturity. God's plan is that older, godly men will shepherd others in the body in the process of edification (of course, God actually uses everyone in the church for this process to one degree or another).

Many men who today are professional pastors have missed the mark on what God desires that they do. While God likely wants them to be a part of His shepherding model that we see in the bible, professional pastors have instead latched onto a man-created tradition. That tradition is the common model of today: the salaried expert from outside the body who is brought in to "do ministry."

So, are all tens of thousands of professional pastors wrong about what God wants them to be doing? The answer: Yes.

This may at first seem incredibly arrogant on my part. After all, how could they all be wrong? If I was simply using my own wisdom is coming to this conclusion, then it would be arrogant. However, that is not the case. Rather, I'm looking at what God has shown us about the life of His church in the bible. God's plan nowhere includes professional pastors.

Are the professional pastors, then, wrong about everything? Of course not. They probably engage in various types of shepherding activities that please God.

However, are they wrong about God calling them to be professionals? Yes. There is no room for it in biblical church life.
OK, I think our friend here is missing all the places in scripture where a letter writer thanks a congregation for its financial support, or Pauls discussion about how he is making a living, etc. Clearly there is room in scripture for financial support of those in ministry.

But I have also always made the point that there is no room in the Bible that I can find for a compensatory relationship. That is to say, the provision of services, even pastoral services with a defined monetary compensation. Such a relationship brings with it all sorts of issues, from the squelching of others int eh community perhaps equally gifted, but not receiving compensation to the handling of those that "under perform."

I do believe the the proper attitudes of gifting as opposed to compensating can be maintained in the compensation model that is forced upon us by commercial law. But only if we are willing to stare the problems in the face.

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