Saturday, January 25, 2014
Friday, January 24, 2014
Growing Old or Growing Up?
It struck me the other day that one of the reasons I have returned to mainline religion is because it’s so, well, adult.I must say I share this sentiment. It is as if in an effort to make sure the next generation "gets it" we have become them. Rather than call them forward, we have regressed backwards. We have sought to reclaim our youth when we should be inviting them to adulthood.
Contrary to what I hear around me so often, I want my grandfather’s church.
I know, I know… there are characteristics of that old, traditional church that are not desirable: many had a narrow, parochial spirit, many were characterized by pervasive judgmental attitudes. They could be exclusive, racist, uncreative, and stuck in their ways. This I readily admit and abhor. A congregation that replaces a living, thriving, growing tradition with anemic or dead traditionalism is of no interest to me.
But I want a church where I know and feel that the adults are in charge, where wisdom trumps enthusiasm, where historical perspective is considered, where depth is valued as much as breadth, where stories have shaped us for generations.
I understand the attraction of youth and enthusiasm and energy. We need young leaders too, but let them be those who have older mentors to guide them and recommend them, not brash entrepreneurs who come with all the answers and stake out territory on their own. As I said before, I want the adults to be in charge. [emphasis added]
How utterly selfish of us - not them, us. We have abrogated our responsibility to lead them. We have grown old, but we have not grown up.
We have much to confess.
adulthood confession youth
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Wait For It!
And there are times when the kingdom doesn’t grow as we pray and hope: Husbands, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, and grandchildren for whom we’ve prayed and with whom we’ve shared our invitations to get to know Jesus for years still don’t believe.Amen to that. The world tells me one thing, but I know another - God is at work and He does not break His word. At the root of patience is faith. God please give me more.
The society in which we live has become so arrogant, so materialistic, and so far from God that many Christians--conservative, liberal, mainline, evangelical, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox--have, in practical terms, given up on God altogether.
Instead of lamenting the sorry state of the world and of our congregations, we need to stir ourselves to prayer and to witnessing for Christ.
We need to be about the great commission, to make disciples, to teach people all that Jesus has commanded, to baptize people in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, knowing that no matter how puny the kingdom may seem to our faulty, sin-tinged, earthbound eyes, Christ is with us always and He is still doing new things in the lives of those who trust His Word.
Jesus is telling us in this little parable [ed note: comparing the Kingdom to a mustard seed]: “Church, Christians, don’t lose patience!”
We who follow Christ have a simple task: To keep speaking the Word about Jesus Christ.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The Source of Joy
God blog:Our joy in God is bound up with our trust in God. The two cannot be separated — not ever. Trust is the backbone of joy. And joy is the outflow of trust in one who is fully Trustworthy.I know this to be true in my own life. There is; however, a tendency to turn this into a materialistic formulation. If I trust I will have the things that make me happy. I'll have money because I waited on God for it. My wife will be cured of cancer because we trusted in God's healing. But that is a false formulation.
The connection and the transaction here happen on a supernatural, not a natural level. Deep trust in God brings deep joy in spite of our material circumstance. This is true simply because the more we trust god , the less the material matters. I am not trying to be some hippified super-spiritualist here, rather I am attempting to say that the more we trust in God, the less our joy is dependent on the material. Our joy is in God Himself, not in the things that He can give us.
And that speaks to the nature of genuine trust. We do not trust in God because He reliable gives us what we need. We trust in God because he is GOD! That alone is sufficient and the more we trust, the more we learn that.
Is your trust in what God gives or in God?
depth joy trust
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Easter church “holds the belief that new & resurrected life in Christ looks a certain way and lives by certain standards.” It may be a conservative congregation that has strict doctrinal or behavioral standards or a progressive church that implicitly forces conformity to particular social justice perspectives.Nike concludes with questions:
The Good Friday church functions as a hospital for the wounded. They “make room for our woundedness … they also allow us to remain there.” She notes that they often focus their ministry on a particular demographic or specialize in responding to particular needs and devote themselves to tending the injuries of those broken by life.
The Pentecost church “witnesses to our worst wounds and our best actualizations, and it echoes the Spirit’s unending call to fuller life in Christ.” They regularly challenge people to refuse to settle for the outward righteousness that may pervade the Easter church or the wallowing in woundedness that may characterize those in the Good Friday congregation.
Each type of church tends to attract people with similar perspectives, and there are strengths and weaknesses in all of them. Although she has clearly set this paradigm up to favor the “Pentecost” church, she notes that even this church culture can be provincial and make others feel unwelcome.
Though her categories are obviously broad, do you think she makes helpful observations about the way communities of faith generally approach, define, and live out their beliefs?I think that delineating distinctions that should not exist, and especially asking about the strengths and weaknesses of each is a problem. The church is about Good Friday and Easter and Pentecost and Christmas and Lent and, and, and. Of course, some are always good at one part of something and some are betters at other parts. However, at some point there also has to be a unity and strategic coordination.
If so, what examples have you seen of these basic types of churches? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in each approach?
Imagine an education where we decide that a child is good an language and never teach them any math at all. They would end up traveling the worlds, talking to everyone but never balancing their checkbook. People need to be exposed to the great breadth of the Christian experience. They need to understand the stunning and TOTAL vision that God has for the world. Yes, we may all occupy only a small, even infinitesimal part of that vision, but we need to know that God has something grand and wonderful in mind.
People need to see all of it, because though someone may be naturally affiliated with but a part of it, they may be the person that forges the synthesis of two parts.
We are God's tools for His recreation of reality. When we limit and categorize ourselves too much we limit God. That;s a shame.
Monday, January 20, 2014
It's Not That You Care - It's How You Care
Creation itself inspires us and calls us to care. Many people have had their most profound spiritual experience in nature. As we behold the power and love of God in a mountain range, a sunset, or in the timelessness of the ocean, we can’t help but be moved. But creation also includes humans – our families, communities, and created landscapes. God created all things of Heaven and Earth and God is our inspiration to care for both wild places and our own cities and backyards.Good start - there is some balance there.
Psalm 24 states that “the Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Humans simply hold the Earth in trust for God.Fair enough - though I would dispute this theologically - not sure we "hold it in trust," I think we are simply part of creation.
At the heart of sustainability is the goal of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In a world of finite resources,...OK - now we have a sovereignty problem. "Finite resources?!" What about "Ask and you shall receive." As Christians our resources stem not from earth but from God. There is nothing finite about God.
Justice means that in addition to providing aid to our neighbors, we are called to change societal systems that cause poverty, injustice, and environmental damage in the first place. It goes beyond helping to meet physical needs to creating a society with laws and policies that allow the needs of all Earth’s inhabitants to be met.And now we have descended into pure liberal trope. To go this far one must believe that there is no final judgement and God just accepts everyone as they are, no strings, no questions, no sin.
And then there are very complicated technical questions here. What is environmental damage and what is not. What if we use resources to create greater resources? This thing, which started saying people are a part of the created order has brought itself to a point where virtually all we do is destroy.
Look, there is nothing wrong with thinking about the environment - but it has to be serious and deeply and knowledgeably thoughtful. Any Christian will agree we should care about our stewardship of the abundance God has given us - But how you do that is complex and cannot be brought down to simple sound bites.
Christians Earth Day environment