Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Typical Christian Outreach

Some churches are good at reaching out to the world with acts of social justice, but very few do this outreach without strings attached. We tend to think that we also need to share the "gospel," but fail to realize that this act of justice actually IS the gospel, not just some presentation of the 'Four Spiritual Laws' or the 'Romans Road.' May we be people who act compassionately and generously just because it blesses the world not just so that we might have a chance at evangelizing.

HT: The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus

Monday, March 22, 2010

The "Paralysis of Polarity"

I just read a helpful blog post from a pastor here in Seattle named Richard Dahlstrom. Enjoy these thoughts on the "Paralysis of Polarity":

"Sunday afternoon watching the best Ice Hockey game ever (and I’ve seen many), I posted a tongue and cheek comment on my facebook page, indicating that Canada had both the gold medal and health care. The comments that ensued were a reminder that Christians are as deeply divided and entrenched on this issue as everyone else. We’re red Christians and blue Christians – big government Christians, and small government Christians, and we’re good at pushing each other’s buttons. I’m pretty certain though, when the comments were done being posted, nobody had changed their minds, or changed anyone else’s mind either. Perhaps the only thing that happened was a little bit of grace and charity was lost. All this leaves me wondering if there’s value in the dialogues between blue and red Christians. I think there can be, but only to the extent we hold these truths to be self-evident:"

A Growing Awareness of Me

"Whatever I don’t like in somebody else is something I don’t like in myself. I’ll go to the bank on that every time."

~O'Donnell Day

HT: Hilary Golden

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Brief Update on Me

I've been trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging regularly lately, but have not told you all much about what is going on in my life. So I thought I would share a couple quick details. This semester has been incredibly busy and hard as I had 5 classes up until a few weeks ago, but still have 4 classes each week...and one of them is Greek. Last semester I only had 3 classes each week, so this has been a tough term. I can see the end of the tunnel, however, as the end of spring semester is April 14, followed by a 2 week break. That break will be much needed, and then the summer semester to follow will be much more relaxed than my current term.

During the break between terms I will be spending one of the weekends in Washington D.C. at a pastor's conference. The conference is called TransFORM and is for "pastors, prospective "church planters," or anyone simply interested in finding out more about transformational missional communities of practice." I am incredibly excited about the opportunity. The speakers include Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins, and Tim Conder. I will be going with 3 of my closest friends in the world, so that will be amazing. I have also only ever been to D.C. once, so I am looking forward to taking in a few days as a tourist.

This evening Mandy and I are leaving Seattle for the weekend, heading to Coeur d'Alene, ID, where we are meeting my parents and spending time with some other family members. It will be great to spend time with my parents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and grandmother. I am also excited about this trip because my parents are bringing me my new MacBook that I had sent to them. I have been anxious about getting my new laptop since ordering it a few weeks ago, so tonight is the night.

Well, I think that is all for now. Talk to you all soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 3

I thought this post might be the conclusion of this series, but it may not be after all. Here are 2 more videos about hell for you to watch. The next few posts on hell will be my own thoughts. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go down that path on here, but I think I will. Hell is such a controversial subject that I find myself vulnerable and exposed when sharing my opinion. Hopefully you are gracious people. Look for those posts in the near future.

Mark Driscoll on Hell

Greg Boyd on Hell

HT: Out of Ur

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 2

Here is part 2 of the series on hell as promised. Enjoy 2 more videos on the difficult subject.

Tim Keller on Hell

Erwin McManus on Hell

HT: Out of Ur

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Hell (of a) Series...Pt. 1

The website Out of Ur recently did a series on hell where they included six different videos from six different theologians with thoughts on the controversial subject. I found each video interesting at worst, and helpful at best, so I thought I would share these theological snippets with you. I definitely find myself resonating with a few of these speakers more than the rest (if you know me and my theology you may be able to figure out which ones), but this does seem like a fair representation of many sides of this issue. I will divide this series into three different posts, offering two videos for each post. I will be listing the videos in the order that Out of Ur listed them, so these are in no specific order and are not necessarily listed based on my agreement with the opinion. Enjoy!

Bishop N.T. Wright's Thoughts on Hell

John Piper's Thoughts on Hell

HT: Modern Worship

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God as Anti-Puppet

Beautiful thoughts from Eugene Peterson in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction...again:

"God presents himself to us in the history of Jesus Christ as a servant: with that before us it is easy to assume the role of master and begin ordering him around. But God is not a servant to be called into action when we are too tired to do something ourselves, not an expert to be called on when we find we are ill equipped to handle a specialized problem in living. Paul Scherer writes scathingly of people who lobby around in the courts of the almighty for special favors, plucking at his sleeve, pestering him with requests. God is not a buddy we occasionally ask to join us at our convenience or for our diversion. God did not become a servant so that we could order him around but so that we could join him in a redemptive life." (emphasis mine)

Do I even need to say that the bold section is stinking amazing? I doubt it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Framework for Life

"Worship gives us a workable structure for life...How do we get that framework? Christians go to worship. Week by week we enter the place compactly built, 'to which the tribes ascend,' and get a working definition for life: the way God created us, the way he leads us. We know where we stand."
-Eugene Peterson
I agree. But the way I have always worshipped has failed to give me much of a framework for living life in the world. If anything, my worship experiences have sheltered me in the illusion of safety and security, making me timid about engaging the 'dangerous' world. If anything, my worship experiences having given me a new set of language that makes me incapable of conversing with the very people I am called to 'neighbor.'

If worship is meant to give us a 'framework' for life, then just singing a few songs and hearing a little message does not seem as important. Community seems of primary importance if we are to engage our world communally: communal meals, communal scripture reading and interpretation, conversation and dialogue around issues in our world, etc. Notice that all of the traditional elements of worship are still present, but each is undergirded with a focus on relationship and community.

Diversity in worship and fellowship also becomes immensely important if worship is to be a sort of role-play for how we might act in our diverse world. We must recognize the obvious diversity of our world and commit to being people who will bridge gaps and break down walls of separation. We come together in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, education, etc., and offer one another grace and peace as a means of preparing ourselves to offer grace and peace to our world.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Worst Worship Ever

I came across this video of worship today and was laughing from the first second. Train-wreck...so weird!

HT: Jesus Needs New PR