Saturday, July 12, 2014


Comic Art


Friday, July 11, 2014


Of Babies and Bathwater

@ First Thoughts B.D. McClay mourns over how many have an opinion on Calvinism without really knowing it:
Calvinists get a bad rap, but how many of the critics really understand him? James R. Rogers points out how few of us read the Institutes or bother to think seriously about Calvin
How often that is true with so much in life, particularly in the media driven, sound bite consuming, hero's journey watching age. All messages are reduced - there is no depth, no context, no meaning. Things of vital importance are reduced to an easily consumable bite, swallowed whole and judgement rendered.

I did this as a youth, I know better now.

Why this cultural trend exists I understand completely, but why the church caters to it rather than fight against it I do not understand. Is not the essence of our mission to make disciples? Would not disciples be people that drink deeply of wisdom? Is Christianity not by definition counter-culture?

What most troubles me about this trend ; however, is the divisions it as rendered into the fabric of Christianity. We now dismiss our brethren on the basis of a sound bite understanding of who they are and what they believe. Such does nothing but limit our effectiveness at influencing the culture. We defeat ourselves.


Friday Entertainment

I am loathe to say anything nice about Ohio State, but this is pretty good.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Objective Standards

Over @ iMonk Damaris Zehner looks at his church hopping past and discusses why he has ended up Catholic. He has a list of "essential" in a church:
  • Worship is liturgical, focused on God and not on my experience, and preserves some of the mystery and holiness appropriate to the meeting of humankind with God.
  • There is a historical foundation that encompasses all the centuries of Christianity.  I’m not saying I have to approve of or rejoice in all of that history, but it needs to be acknowledged in an act of simple human intelligence and out of respect for our fathers and mothers in the faith.
  • I look for orthodoxy of belief.  This is a hard one to define, and I’m aware that I have biases and blind spots.  But the creeds, the centrality of the Bible, and the Vincentian canon (quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, or what is believed everywhere, always, and by everyone) form a good starting place.  True orthodoxy should, it seems to me, also involve some mystery and discomfort.  If it doesn’t, then I’m probably worshiping a self-sized god.
  • I want to be preserved from cults of personality and random changes of belief and practice.
  • I want a combination of sound and silence, company and loneliness – and I want to be free from being forced into extrovert-designed, group-think worship behavior.
That strikes me as a pretty awesome list. The things I like best are that it is not about "my experience" and that its not about "group-think." As I have watched the worship wars, the discussion always tends to be about what people want instead of what is best, or scriptural or any other external standard. "It works for me is not an argument, it's an argument stopper. How can any individual deny another individuals personal experience? I cannot possibly have a data point about what goes on in your head.

I grow weary of such discussion. It ignores so many basic facts of the faith - that our desires are perverse due to our sinful state - that we are to count others as more important than ourselves - that God is our aim, not some sort of "self-actualization." These ideas are unpopular, but I don;t really care - they are truth.


Illuminated Meditation

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014


The Value of Lamentation

John C Holbert on Lamentations:
When the hopes of ease and comfort and success are snatched away in economic chaos, terroristic plots, and personal health challenges, faith can be compromised and difficult and questioned. The reality of Lamentations presents us with our own realities and offers genuine and truthful resources for tackling these huge questions once again.
There have been several times in my life when I have turned to Lamentations. It is, in a sense, a dose of anguished reality. It illustrates for us that even our biblical heroes struggled It is, for lack of a better word - therapeutic.

But it does not stop there. It offers hope and steadfastness. It clings to God when God does not appear to be clinging to us (Of course He is, it is our perception that is the issue.)

God does not want us to squelch our disappointment - He merely wants us to offer it to Him.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


Good Work

Tom Nelson on Exodus 31:2-3:
The name Bezalel is not a name that first comes to our mind when we think of biblical characters. On a familiarity scale, Bezalel is about as obscure as one can get. Yet God himself plucks Bezalel from obscurity and presents his impressive work resume to Moses as a candidate for lead craftsman and builder of the tabernacle. Bezalel was the right guy for the job.


Not all of us have this dramatic and decisive vocational calling, but this story illustrates two important truths for our vocational callings we dare not miss. First, we have been designed by God with different bents and abilities for our contribution in the world. We are fit well for a particular kind of work, and as good vocational stewards we should seek out a good fit if at all possible. Second, we must remember like Bezalel we, too, are supernaturally empowered for the work God has called us to do.
Sort of puts a whole new light on going to work every day - doesn't it? "Callings" not only happen to church work. Life is better when you remember that.


KItty Kartoons

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Monday, July 07, 2014


What If?

Todd Rhoades wonders what it would be like if Jesus were in charge of small groups:
What should our DISCIPLESHIP or SPIRITUAL FORMATION process look like?

How would Jesus do it differently that we/you are doing it now?

Is it possible to disciple like Jesus did? How would you go about doing it?
Rhoades is riffing off a blog post that offers some suggestions:
It’s all about relationships....

His curriculum was story based with real life application....

Invested in the core leaders....

Put his foot down....

Spent one-on-one time with God.
Hmmmm. I think I could write a book about all this. It is about relationships, but not what you think. It is not about whining about your problems, it is about learning new things from the other. It is not group therapy or "symmetrical relationships" where no one is better than anyone else. It's mentoring where there is someone that you can learn from - some one who has better control of their stuff that you have of yours and you can learn from that.

As to, "story based with real life application." I grow tired of that - not everything is direct cause and effect. Part of becoming God's man or woman is to change how we think so that in new and unanticipated "real life situations" we act as Christ acted. How we think about things affects how we act, but sometimes indirectly. We need to develop our minds and our thinking as a part of growing towards maturity. Sometimes we learn for the sake of learning. It may not have direct application to the way we act this minute, but it will alter how we think and perceive things. It will serve to transform us at our very core.

If it was not for the fact that I have been in some very effective small groups in my life I would declare them a dodge. A way for pastors and leaders to avoid doing anything but "the show." They can be good, but when they are they are going to be radically different than anything anybody is talking about in these posts.

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