Saturday, June 27, 2015


Comic Art


Friday, June 26, 2015


More Than SIdes

Wichita book review on the book "“Evangelical Versus Liturgical? Defying a Dichotomy” by Melanie C. Ross:
Her aim isn’t to declare a winner and a loser; neither rite is wrong, she says. Instead, she contends that both sides have something to learn and to gain from the other.
I used to think that, but now I wonder. For it to be true people have to be willing to separate God from music, the action of the Holy Spirit from the absence of liturgy and political labels from differing church experiences. In other words, people have to think about church rather than just consume and react to it.

That would require those that lead church to "do" church in a very different way. It would require them to seek to build disciples, not merely provide a product for consumption. It would require them to be content with a few committed followers. It would be risky. It would require deep and abiding faith.

People that can make these intellectual separations we are discussing are made, they do not arise spontaneously. The church has to make them in order to be populated with them. At a minimum that making activity has to be the heart of the church under all the glitz and glamor and show business of the Sunday service. Yet most churches seem to get so involved in making SUnday happen they forget the rest of the week.

And I wonder if Christ is not weeping somewhere.


Friday Humor

Thursday, June 25, 2015


No Evasion

Justn Taylor quotes Chesterton:
“You cannot evade the issue of God . . . if Christianity should happen to be true—then defending it may mean talking about anything or everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true.”
I worry about the strain of Christianity that spends so much time trying not to pay attention to stuff. Christianity is not a fence, but a filter. It does not prevent us from exploring, but it does color our perception when we do.

We explore because a) we learn more of the God we worship when we do, and b) we spread the good news about that God when we do. AS someone who has studied science more than anything else, at least formally, I can say I have learned massive amount about God in those studies. Science does not oppose religion. Some, even many, scientists do. We cannot discount studying science because of that, rather we must come to our studies prepared to sort the wheat and the chaff. We have to be smarter than those who think they are smart. We have to be more graceful than those that seek to indoctrinate us.

There is no reason to hide, there is only reason to get better.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Truer Words...

It's behind a paywall and I have no idea where this piece goes, but:
As it turns out, your success probably has little to do with you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


How To Hear God

Lynne Baab writes that if you want to hear God's voice you have to, paraphrasing, engage in spiritual disciplines. What I especially like about her discussion is the fact that she emphasizes that community matters when hearing God's voice. What I find troubling is that community matters.

Too many people burst out and claim direct revelation and then do all sorts of awful mischief in God's name. Anymore, it seems like communities, even Christian communities, are engaging in a kind of mass hysteria that is equally mischievous. Left alone, we are bound to get it wrong at some point. At bottom that is the nature of sin. But what happens when the group ethos goes horribly awry? How do we test our sense that is has gone that way?

For one thing, it is important to keep a broader perspective than you immediate community. One need to be tapped into other communities against which you can test what is going on in your own. Secondly, you should honestly test your own life. Measure it against God's standards. If you can do so honestly, then the still small voice in your head may be speaking the truth. It's not enough, but it could be enough to force you to reach out and test other communities. Here's the thing, your life will not measure up, that's not the point. The point is can you be honest with yourself that it isn't? If that is the case, then you can know what you are hearing may, in fact, be God and not your own hidden agenda.

Honesty, even with yourself takes courage. Courage is the first thing you will need if you are going to move in the a direction different from your community. It's good to test your courage in the most important ways before you head down that path.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Liturgy Done Right?

Kirsten Guidero warns those of us that love liturgy that restoring liturgy to Evangelical expression will not, of itself, make up for Evangelical shortcomings. I don't think anyone can argue with that. It seems an obvious notion to me. It seems particularly obvious when liturgy is practiced with out explanation. Liturgy has, I think, largely been rejected as Evangelical expression becasue no one really knew what was going on. I only came to love it when I learned about it, its origins and purpose and then took it for my own becasue I loved what is was supposed to be about.

Her "solution;" however, is quite lacking:
In order that we may more fully honor and walk with God, identity formation requires discussions that tease out the differences and interplay between emotions, thoughts, minds, bodies, and brains. In my view, what forms Christian identity is not espousing a priority of the body and emotions over the mind and thoughts, but the turning over of the whole self into God’s loving hands. How do we describe and promote this process?

One way to move forward would be to develop more fully Smith’s ideas on the significance of desire. I suggest that Christian formation remains elusive unless the mind-body is not only connected but also animated by desire—which of course ebbs and flows and can be directed, encouraged, or squelched by certain environments and practices. In Smith’s fictional example, a man named Alex can in his “regular and repeated immersion in the practices of Christian worship” absorb the temperament of God so that he is able to forgive his wayward son (Imagining). But this is not quite true. It is not the liturgy, Alex’s bodily behavior, or the emotion Alex feels while at worship that develops him into a forgiving person. It is rather Alex’s reception of God’s presence that allows him to receive the gift of God’s character reorienting his perspective.

Smith would argue that participation in liturgy encourages such reception, but in my experience, liturgical Christians don’t seem more likely to forgive than non-liturgical Christians. In fact, I know many Christians opposed to liturgical worship whose openness to God in their Scripture reading and congregational service has formed their desires in incredibly virtuous ways. God’s indwelling is a gift capable of being nurtured by our choices but not something automatically produced by various methods of worship.

Focusing on desire underlines our need for God to refine what drives us, including our liturgical behavior. As we allow God to expose, test, and refine our desires, we will be pushed to change how we participate in, direct and preside over, or revise and steward liturgical forms: connecting together the mind, emotions, and body and enlivening the feedback loop between liturgy and ethics. We might also discover how to live in greater union with other Christians, based on principles other than whether or not they worship liturgically. Without a commitment to these processes, the movement to promote liturgy within evangelicalism runs the risk of becoming a fad failing to produce lasting impact.
This is going to sound really flip, but in any practical sense what does that mean? I don;t think it can be argued that desire is a key, but how do we do shape that? Individually or corporately? Honestly, I don't see this as meaningful in any real way. What we do, liturgy being one of them along with what we read, how we think and so forth, shapes what we desire, so why are these things in opposition?

I think there is a good point buried in here somewhere, I just think she missed the mark trying to make it.

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