Saturday, January 10, 2015


Comic Art

Artist David Yardin

Friday, January 09, 2015


Time With God

Reformation Theology reprints Calvinist hero Richard Baxter on "How to Spend the Day With God." Good reading that, but I was struck by how much it reads like Brother Lawrence's "Practice The Presence of God." Brother Lawrence - decided Roman Catholic and Richard Baxter, early American Calvinist and therefore presumably anti-Catholic, and yet both men sound remarkably similar when it comes to the daily life of being God's man.

It sets me to wondering why our theological and even polity leanings leave us so deeply divided. The result we seek is the same.

In wood working, if I wish to make a dado cut, there are dozens of ways to do so. I can use hand tools. I can use a router. I can use a table saw and if I use a table saw there are several kinds of blades or blade sets I can use. I have in the last several years done many of them and I have found that each has advantages and disadvantages. I have found it best to look at the particular wood working situation I have before me and use the technique best suited to the job.

What if we treated theology that way? If we are honest we must know that no theology is completely correct, if it were we would not be the creation, we would be the creator. Therefore, why cling to one as if it were TRUTH?

I wonder if we focus on time with God rather than theology about God things might not be radically different, and better.


Friday Humor

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Examing The Megachurch

Jeremy Lott writes a somewhat ambiguous story about megachurches. There is no conclusive paragraph from which I can draw a pull quote, it's just anecdotally descriptive. The picture it paints is pretty simple. With the denominations in decline the megachurches have sufficient mass to do what denominations used to do. Fair enough on a congregational level, but there is so much they do not do.

They don't build seminaries. They don't do sufficient gate-keeping for leadership. They don't foster communal roots anything like a local denominational congregation can. They don't provide a national perspective. Apparently the only thing they do well is grow. And yet even that looks more like metastasis than it does cohesive growth.

There is nothing wrong with a large congregation. I have seen some good ones. But a megachurch is something a bit different from say a Presbyterian church with 2000 members, and it is that difference that the issues lie.

One question - where is the model for eternity? How does the megachurch continue after the charisma of its current status wears off?


Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Do We Really Need To Do This?

Ron Edomondson looks at Jesus' recruiting methods and draws thee "tips":
  • Recruit transitional people
  • Allow the team to help recruit the team
  • Recruit people who are ready for a challenge
Now, I am just sorry, but this does not even have a introductory section that something like, "After you have determined their spiritual health and maturity...." Consider what the apostle Paul had to say about recruiting leaders:
1 Tim 3:1-13 - It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 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 (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. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
It's not that Edmondson has this wrong, it's just that there are priorities here. I have seen too many churches recruit leaders for the kinds of attributes Edmondson is discussing without first checking the attributes the Apostle discusses. The results can be a thriving organization that is church in name only.

You can cry "Well, of course, we'd do that first," all you want - but unless this stuff is set forth and laid on the table it often gets forgotten.

We really cannot afford to take "the spiritual stuff" for granted.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


"Before P&W, Christians sang hymns about God. But P&W songs are mostly sung to God."

In a post asking if the Praise and Worship music movement is good for men, David Murrow makes the statement that is the title of this post. Murrow goes on:
P&W introduced a familiarity and intimacy with God that’s absent in many hymns. God used to be out there. He was big. Powerful. Dangerous. He was our leader. But with P&W, he’s at my side. He’s close. Intimate. Safe. He’s a lover. Most people assume this shift to greater intimacy in worship has been a good thing. On many levels, it has been. But it ignores a deep need in men to experience a God of power, a God of authority and might, a God to be feared as well as loved.
I am not sure why this is about gender - women need to experience God as Lord as well.

Another point that is missing from this post is that singing to God is often about self-expression and not about God. That does not mean that genuine praise does not occur from time-to-time, it does, but more often than not we feel better because we told God what we were thinking instead of listening to God tell us what to do. That may be corollary to the point Murrow is making here, but it is very real. God is not our therapist, there to listen to us, He is our Lord and if He listens to us it is an act of unbelievable grace - only.

I think that by making this a gender thing, Murrow robs some very good arguments of a great deal of their power. All he does is add a gender element to an already hard fought battle. His points stand on their own merit and do not need gender differentiations to make them strong.

There is a time to talk to God and there is a time to be told about God. This should not be a either/or discussion.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, January 05, 2015



Ron Edmondson wonders why Christians have become so mean?:
It’s mostly online. You write something they don’t agree with, and instead of a healthy disagreement, they blast you. Right there on your Facebook wall or with a hurting comment on a blog post. Where everyone can read it. In fact, some people read it even before the one who wrote the post reads it. I’ve even had guest bloggers tell me they don’t want to post anymore because of the comments.


Why just last week — I saw a Bible study group meeting at a local coffee shop. I didn’t know any of them. I was minding my own business, but it was obvious what they were doing discussing the Bible. They had Bibles. :)

I loved it.

Then one of them became a real jerk to the girl that messed up his order.

Mean. Right there in front of his Bible study friends, me, and all the other coffee shop patrons — many who may not have been Christians. And, probably aren’t anymore motivated to be one now.
And then, in a different post, he offers some scripture about how to not be mean. Example:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)

Treat others as you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31)
Fair enough, but I think Edmondson is treating very lightly what is a very serious issue. Perhaps what I am about to say is "mean," but sometimes hard truth is mean in its substance and there is little we can do in its delivery to change its inherent "meanness."

WE have become very egalitarian in who we allow to bear the name "Christian." This has aided church growth, but I wonder if it has aided spiritual maturity. One of Edmonson's pet peeves in this department is the internet. The internet is the ultimate in egalitarianism. Anyone can set themselves up as a Christian expert. IS it any wonder that idiots sometimes run rampant over the asylum there?

In our efforts to evangelize, we have neglected spiritual development. There is such a thing as Christian maturity. It is impossible to attain, but it is a journey we all should take and a journey that some have gotten farther on with than others. It is rare to see this journey encouraged anymore and when it is progress is generally measured in hours spent reading, not changes in character that might reduce something like meanness. We offer palliatives like quick scripture quotes when what is needed is in depth mentoring and hard, hard work.

Edmondson has here put his finger on a big problem, but I think he is looking for solutions in the wrong places. The problem is not mean Christians, the problem is a church that breeds mean Christians.

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