Saturday, June 13, 2015
Friday, June 12, 2015
When most Christians think of ecumenism, visible unity immediately comes to mind. Most of the effort to realize this goal has been between those occupying liturgical and sacramental traditions. The first steps were to try and move beyond anathemas of the past, and this has had some success. The fractures within Protestantism, coupled with other developments such as the move to allow women bishops in the Church of England, however, suggest that the movement toward visible unity is in stasis. While it remains an important goal, it seems farther removed than ever.From a purely tactical standpoint, our enemy in culture is exploiting our divisions. Never has theis been more plainly illustrated than in the defeat of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election. The problems with Mormon theology not withstanding they are of a common witness into culture. Yet the Obama's campaign exploited the theological division and his election victory embolden our opposition int he culture wars.
Common witness represents a genuine form of visible unity. Grounded in a common baptism and spirituality, such a witness is an extension of the good news that the triune God invites humanity to experience divine love and friendship with God and one another. All ecclesial traditions currently hold that the Christian life is about a transformational journey. From the dawning of grace in the soul to final union with God, this journey always occurs as members of the people of God who sojourn together toward glory.
All ecclesial traditions further hold that baptism marks the entrance into the people of God who are called to be a God’s new race in the world. Christian existence is the common mission to proclaim the Incarnate Son in the power of the Spirit who extend their shared life with the Father to a world mired in the disease of sin. The communion of saints who make up the City of God is a genuine visible fellowship that becomes the extension of triune life in the world. Just because this “mere” fellowship is not yet a complete realization of visible unity does not mean that there is no communion.
Finally, all Christians should work toward a common Christian culture. The church calendar provides the skeletal outline of this approach insofar as it reminds Christians of a heritage composed of many saints and martyrs from the full diversity of the City of God. It also provides a common space to celebrate historic Christianity in a way that calls all Christians to draw from the riches of the churches. Imagine for a moment a world in which Christians celebrated one another and worked together at the local level. Such a witness might just be the prophetic word needed for this time.
We have to do better or we will continue to lose.
common witness culture wars ecumenism
Thursday, June 11, 2015
No and No Again
Does Jesus Need You to Make Him Famous?The title to this post pretty well sums up her answer, and I agree with it. She concludes:
Could be that those people who’ve been saved by one ringing hammer and some bent nails and two beams of wood carrying the exploding heart of a willing servant might not know much about building something as flimsy as a platform—and a whole lot more about building a Kingdom.I do have to say, I have a problem with her choice of the word "Kingdom." That's the word Jesus used, but He used it in specific contrast to the kingdoms of His time. Jesus should rule media, but in way that contrasts with those that currently rule media as much as His Kingdom contrasts with the kingdoms of His day.
We, as Christians, should not shun media, we should tame it. It is a thing that defines kings instead of a tool of kings. It should be our tool.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Leadership By Example
If we want evangelistic people, we must model that as leaders. You can’t lead what you won’t live.So true, so true. But this also applies on a meta-level. If we want people to be mature Christians we have to model it. Christianity is really designed to be a mentoring system, not a large programatic one.
Many Christians love evangelism as long as somebody else is doing it. It’s kind of a recurring theme that people want to talk about it or even bemoan the lack of evangelism, but they themselves, are unengaged in the activity. I believe that the vast majority of people have probably never shared their faith and called on someone to trust and follow Christ. And the numbers support that may be the case.
Here's an example. I am typing this on a brand new computer - it look and behaves like a tablet, but it is a fully functional computer. I refused to believe the commercials, I have seen excessive claims so many time. I assumed hyperbole. It wasn't until I laid my hands on one and got to interact with it, that IO began to think this thing was worth the cash.
That's true with most things that make really fantastic claims. We need more than the claim. So, if you are promising me abundant life, I need to see abundant life. Pretty simply. IF evangelism and maturity are not happening, it's because the evidence is not there.
discipleship evangelism examples mentoring
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Crowds and Churches
Having a large church does not matter unless people are being discipled and growing with a purpose, said Rick Warren during a Hispanic pastor's conference, LiderVision, in Los Angeles Friday.'Nuff Said. Although I am not sure "a process" is the answer.
Warren, whose Saddleback Church boasts nearly 25,000 people, says having a mass following only counts if the church pastor has the right purpose and process and if they are the right person to lead.
"I'm not impressed with crowds, because a crowd is not a church. I'm not against crowds but you only turn them into a church if you have a process," he said.
church crowd reality
Monday, June 08, 2015
Get Used To Being In The Minority
The time I've spent learning about the culture here in Utah, and specifically learning about the LDS church has opened my eyes to my own faith and how I perceive myself in the grand picture of global religion. For the last 15 years of my life, I've been an active part of American evangelical culture. It's a culture that can take pride in having the moral and theological high ground, extend its political might to influence policy, and seem to make a living out of drawing lines in the sand.That's a really great point, but there is an ancillary point that needs to be made. The isolation she speaks of has lead, I believe to us losing our presumed cultural advantage. Her feeling int he minority in Utah will be a feeling tat most of us will experience throughout the nation. It may not be in contrast to the LDS, it may be in contrast to "spirituality," or even certain well drifted off the path mainline denomination, but it'll be.
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of beauty and goodness within the American evangelical church, too. But it has its issues. We're quick to dismiss other faiths in their entirety, insisting if they don't follow Jesus, we have nothing to learn from them. As a religious majority, we can afford to be isolationist and individualistic. In other settings, like my home in Utah, it doesn't work as much anymore.
I've learned that I've been conditioned to see people of different religions as "other" rather than looking for the similarities in our humanity. People of other faiths have always been projects to me, something to fix, and I'd find reasons to be around them specifically because they weren't believers and maybe, just maybe, I could get them to see and know Jesus like I did. Being a part of the dominating narrative afforded me that mentality.
We've become so "me" focused, we ask so much what church can offer us that we have forgotten that church, as the bridesmaid of Christ, is here to fix the world, not just us. And so the world does not care about us because we do not care about the world.
church the world