Saturday, August 22, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
Forgetting One Important Thing
Developing real and genuine leadership is a lot more than finding someone to fill a slot in an org chart. It's a lot more than trying to get someone to put a team together to get some job you have assigned them. Leaders generate ideas, have visions, contribute to the overall direction of the organization. Leaders are not merely tool for grand leaders. You do not wind them up and send them out like a machine.
You want to utilize teh potential in your congregation that is not participating. Set it free.
church freedom leaders
Thursday, August 20, 2015
I’m not suggesting that the Greek verb hypotassō should be translated in this way. But I am saying that we will grasp the practical meaning of Ephesians 5:21 if we understand it to say, “Follow the leadership of one another, out of reverence for Christ.”Growing as a Christian is an art, not a science. It is something that can only be apprenticed, not taught. It is not so much a matter of ideas as a matter of an approach to everything and a way of life. What Mark is driving at here makes a lot of sense.
But my life is littered with people to whom I tried to apprentice myself that the proved not to be up to the task. I think we are indeed supposed to submit to leadership, but that also means we have to be leaders worthy of it. Too often, more often than not, we are not.
This is, I believe, the great failing of the church today.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Historically, schisms have been rather public, bloody things. This was clearly the case when the church split between East and West. Even though some hope of reconciliation was on the table at various points, excommunications had been traded, Crusades had happened, and everybody knew the two or three theological disputes that needed settling. Roughly the same thing could be said of the split between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Following a number of bloody wars, mutual persecutions, and martyrdoms, the results were different communions, confessional documents, and other marks of separation.I think it is more schismatic than this contends. There is now a generally accepted schism between Evangelicalism and mainline protestantism. Yes, there remain evangelical strains in the mainline, but for the most part there is a differentiation. Though it should be argued that the Evangelicals while conservative, are often not orthodox.
In their recent book Deep Church Rising: The Third Schism and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy, Andrew Walker and Robin Parry argue that, unbeknownst to many, the Western church is in the midst of a third great schism. Unlike the last two, though, the split hasn't resulted in a clear line between new denominations and old ones, but runs right through the various churches of the West. On one side stand those who affirm a broadly supernaturalist Christian orthodoxy embodied in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. And on the other, you find those who can at best recite the creeds with their fingers crossed. Having embraced the various presuppositions of Enlightenment and postmodern thinking, they are skeptical of supernatural claims and often doubt the very idea of objective truth.
Set against the backdrop of Western consumerism, our “secular age,” and evangelical tendencies toward thinner understandings of the church, Walker and Parry are worried about a widespread loss of the gospel within the Christian community. Taking a cue from C. S. Lewis, the authors propose a vision for recovering what they call “Deep Church,” meaning a thick orthodoxy of belief and practice woven together from the wisdom of our past. They want to help us recuperate from a bad case of “gospel amnesia” by renewing interest in the church’s historical journey.
I agree that an understanding of church history helps in this deal a great deal. But here is the essential question - how? How do we get people to pay attention? I know of churches that had excellent, and entertaining, teachers offer courses on church history to have no one show. There is something deeper at play.
Somehow, job one for the church is to bring people out of themselves and their own perspective. That's not an intellectual issue. That is a spiritual and psychological issue. I think it has to be attacked in other than the traditional worship service/Sunday School format. How do we go about it?
church history church problems spiritual illness
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Do Not Take God For Granted
The supernatural becomes natural for the believer. But to those who persist in unbelief, the love of God remains a mystery. (see Acts 28:24) And the Lord's plan of salvation remains distant and confusing.The more I know of God, the more I know of my state as a sinner and the more I understand, truly, what Christ did for me the more my friendship with Christ is not one of familiarity, but respect. There is nothing natural in the supernatural and if we act like it is, we lose perspective on the "already, not yet" and just live in the already - a state the feeds our own sinful desires.
We are indeed privileged to call Jesus "friend," but that in no ways implies equality or undue familiarity.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Not What You Think
This simple injunction reveals a radically different vision of community than anything that would have been known in the first century A.D. It also differs from the way most of us think about our relationships and institutions. Whatever it means to submit to one another or to subordinate ourselves to each other, this is not something we do or aspire to do. Many of us want to get ahead, to be in charge, to lead, to command. We don’t want to submit. Others of us take for granted that we’ll always be under the thumb of “the Man.” We can’t imagine a community of genuine mutual submission where all members are committed to subordinating themselves to one another."Genuine mutual submission." That I will accept, but it is so rare. Too often those you are in community with tend to take advantage of such submission, as I am sure I have, even if unwittingly, in the past. The questions is always how to react when abused by Christian community.
I have seen it happen too many times. Demands for submission that are really abusive, submission that is other that mutual, submission that feeds the power mad desires of one party. I long for such genuine mutual submission, yet I find it so difficult to come by. And each time it goes wrong, trust in the next time becomes so much harder.
In this way, the church is its own worst enemy. There is no way to overcome it, it is a result of our being yet sinners. If only the church could bring itself to confront this issue with humility and directness.
church confession submission trust