Saturday, May 17, 2014


Comic Art


Friday, May 16, 2014


Reasonable Point, But "Bullying" Overused

Justin Taylor links to a Sam Storms post about pastors that domineer over their congregations commenting on I Peter 5:1-3. Fine material, only problem is both posts are titled "Pastoral Bullies."

Friends, for very practical reasons we cannot participate in the societal efforts to define down the term "bully." The pastors these posts discuss are jerks, bad pastors, but they are not "bullies." When I was a kid, bullies were the ones that BEAT YOU UP for your lunch money. The kids that called you names, were pushy, rude and otherwise sought to dominate the room were a$$holes, but they were NOT bullies. Bullying involves the use of physical violence, rhetorical violence is wrong and bad but it is not bullying.

Why must we resist this defining down? It's simple, the effort to define down the term is aimed directly at us, as Christians. It is a tool of the more liberal elements of our society to define the Christian declaration of homosexual practice as wrong as an evil in itself. There are many people that are jerks when it comes to confronting homosexuals. Not my point. My point is they are jerks, not bullies.

Taylor and Storms are here fueling a fire that can only burn us in the end.


Friday Humor

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Defining Cliche'

Out of Ur posts an infographic designed to be funny saying:
Never before have so many design cliches combined for such upbeat and positive glory.
That got me thinking about cliches. Google defines it as:
a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.
Which is very odd and certainly not the definition I learned in school, which is more in line with Wikipedia:
A cliché or cliche (UK /ˈkliːʃeɪ/ or US /klɪˈʃeɪ/) is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning, or effect, and even, to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.
I think Paul Pastor at Ur is using the Google meaning, that whole bit about "lack of creativity."

I have always thought Christianity was very much about cliche. Things are robbed of meaning because of overuse mostly because we stop listening to them, not because their essential truth has changed. That means one should be able to restate the truth in a non-cliche fashion. In graphic design it is just trite. And that dear friends is one of the problems. There is a reason the icons of Orthodoxy are written, not drawn. The object is not to make good art, although that often happens - the object is to tell a truth.

Too often in our modern expression of our faith we work so hard to be original and attractive that we forget that our real goal is to communicate truth. That means that as much as it is good to master the visual arts, they are limited in how much truth they can communicate - words are not so limited. We must master words first.


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Find a Role

Ed Stetzer is trying to help pastors define their roles:
You, as the pastor, are not ultimately responsible for the church. While you do have some, only King Jesus bears the final responsibility.
That's healthy. He talks about a church plant he once did:
I actually got up one Sunday and "resigned." (Yep, I used air quotes.) I told my congregation that I was going to resign as the sole shepherd and caregiver of the church.

I apologized for not creating proper boundaries and explained that I was restructuring. Using some very 90's language (which wasn't too terrible because it was the 90's), I explained that I was going to move into a "rancher" role, while appointing "shepherds" who worked there. It was a big step of growth, both for the church and myself.
Now, the Presbyterian in me is repulsed by the "appointed" part, but I'll let that slide for a bigger issue.

What does "rancher" role mean. It is not enough for him to merely appoint the shepherds - he has to make and maintain them. The pastoral role in the modern church is not merely pastoral, nor it it merely executive - it is a combination of the two. The sweet spot is far less about finding a role and far more about finding the sweet spot between all the roles. - which means giving away some of each role as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014



Todd Rhoades:
I have this theory.

The nicer the toilet paper, the better the church.

It works for hotels.
That sort of turned me sour. I reached for my Bible:
2 Cor 8:2b - ...their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
My first thought was, "Do you think people really care about toilet paper if they come to a place where there is "abundance of joy"?

The answer is, of course,"NO." But that scripture kept ringing in my head - it is about generosity. It is about giving even when impoverished. And then I found out why I was put off by Rhoades post. He was proposing good TP as a marketing gimmick - comparing it to hotels. We should have good TP, but we do so out of generosity, not desire for more members.

Maybe that is the source of my entire issue with church marketing - there is an avarice to it that is unbecoming the Church. We seek to give away what we have, not add to.

After all, we have Christ. That means we have everything.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, May 12, 2014



Ron Edmundson:
I’ve seen leaders… whether pastors, politicians or in business…try to take people places…even worthy places…and believe people would follow because they are popular as a leader. But, people didn’t follow…because the leader hadn’t developed enough trust. Misunderstanding this can dramatically damage a leader’s performance. (This is especially true for newer leaders.)

Many leaders assume they are trusted because they are popular, but that is many times not the case. The leader may be very popular, but that doesn’t always translate into trust.
Popularity is easy to build - trust is not. This is one of the things that bothers me about worrying about things like church names and service times and other "surface" considerations. They take a lot of a church's time and energy but they do little to genuinely contribute to the growth of the church and the congregation.

Serious growth comes on levels far deeper than such things designed to make a church popular. And if it is really happening on those deeper levels, the surface stuff just does not matter. Christ did not need the accouterments of popularity, the force of his personality and the truth of his words was sufficient to draw large crowds. From this the church grew.

We keep asking the wrong questions. We keep seeking to be popular like a TV show when we should be seeking to be trustworthy.

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