Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Impossible Night

New post up at Galya's Tale.

And, for your post-Christmas musings, this is a devotional I gave at church at our Christmas Eve service with a few edits for the blog format.
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We hear so often about how Christmas is a silent night, a holy night. I'd like to add another adjective to our thinking of Christmas: impossible night. We have a God who is so big that he plays in the realm of the impossible.

We see this when He demands of us the impossible. Jesus told people to "go and sin no more." (Jn. 5:14, 8:11) Not, go and sin less. Sin no more. Impossible. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church." (Eph. 5:25) "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) God asks of us the impossible, we fail, we sin - we separate from God because we can't do the impossible.

But God can. All things, it says in Matthew 19 when speaking of salvation (something impossible for us to achieve on our own), are possible with God.

The Bible starts with this very thing: In the beginning God created. God was there when time began and created. How? By the impossible task of creation through speaking. I can't get my daughters to turn off the lights in their room with my words, but God said, "let there be light." AND THERE WAS LIGHT! Not just a 50w bulb here; there was LIGHT. From His voice! The Psalmist says God breathed out stars and gathers the waters of the seas into jars. (Ps. 33:6-7) And this is just the start. God is so big he deals in the realm of the impossible.

And so it's no surprise that Christmas is an impossible night. Let's turn to John 1, starting in verse 10:

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Impossibly, God the creator entered into His creation at Christmas (well, technically, at Jesus' conception.) The world was made through him (Jesus), and He became flesh and made his dwelling among us. As our pastor, Jason, reminded us this morning [12/20 sermon], God did not just drop in for a visit. He was born into our world. He became one of us. God became a man: impossible. He was born to a virgin. Impossible. He came that we might be saved. Impossible.

Impossible for man, but with God all things are possible. Angels appeared to shepherds. Angels appeared to Mary & Joseph. Sages from far away read Jesus' birth in the stars. The creator God of the universe who is big enough to breathe out stars became a baby, wrapped in laid in the humblest of mangers. Proclaimed by angels, worshipped by shepherds and foreigners - Jesus entered His creation, became Immanuel: God with us. He made it possible for us to become born again, something which again is impossible - without God. A little baby displayed the glory of God. The smallest of infants demonstrated, through His impossible birth and through the bigness of who this baby was, the immensity of God's grace, His mercy, His love.

This is why Christmas is a reason to worship, to celebrate, to be in awe of this GREAT BIG GOD who came for us who deals in the (what is for us) impossible in impossible ways – that’s the message of Christmas and it’s what we rejoice in at Christmas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Update on Galyna

Galyna update posted too...

Values of the Church 2: Unity Part Two

In the last post we started looking at what unity is (and isn't.) Unity is a high value, extremely important to Jesus. Unity is to be concerned with mission and purpose. Unity is not, though, uniformity or unanimity. God created us as individuals. So while unity is a value of the community of Jesus followers we call the church, it is not necessary that unity be expressed through a robotic uniformity, or expressed without some level of disagreement about particulars. As my wife says, "if we're all the same, why do I need you?"

We can find some sense of clarity about unity when we look at marriage. In the marriage relationship we give of ourselves for the greater good of the marriage -- but we never lose our distinctive identities. The picture this presents demonstrates a unity between two individuals which is instructive for those of us in the church.

In both the church and a marriage unity keeps things on the right track. A marriage of unity grows deeper and stronger. On the other hand, disunity stalls or reverses growth. I can't grow closer to my wife if I'm walking a different direction from her.

Why is disunity such a problem? Frankly, it's because disunity is always a matter of flipping the Kingdom upside down. The church - as with all our relationships - is to be characterized by humility and looking to the betterment of others above yourself. In disunity we find instead pride, arrogance, self-concern. People don't humbly serve others by trying to force their way. Disunity brings about the exact opposite of what we're looking for.

In marriage, this manifests itself in selfishness, adultery, secrets, mistrust and/or anger. When spouses have competing goals and purposes for the marriage, the relationship cannot move forward. This is one reason that Paul instructs us to "be careful of marrying those who don't follow Jesus. Relational disunity causes pain, and relational unity is so very difficult when you don't share that common mission and purpose. When we're talking about marriage, we're talking the most intimate of human relationships - ideally. Disunity disrupts the ideal and breaks it.

In the church, disunity manifests itself in judgmentalism, gossip, slander, disobedience and/or deceit. We look at others and judge them not as spiritual as us. We disobey our leaders when we don't like the way they lead. We gossip about and slander those in the church when we don't see eye to eye. And we try to deceive the world that this is all okay.

There are so very few valid reasons to separate fellowship with other believers, or to fight amongst ourselves, and yet we do this all. the. time. And this disunity is so very wrong. It ruins our witness, breaks our relationships and makes it impossible to follow Christ. Yes, I said it is impossible. I didn't say it merely "made the mission more difficult." As soon as we turn our eyes off what we're here for (i.e., Jesus) then are no longer following Him. And you can't keep your eyes where they need to be while simultaneously disrupting the unity of the church.

Next time in this space, God willing, will be the third part of the unity topic where we touch on those "few valid reasons" for disunity. As a tease, disunity is never the goal, but when it arises over valid things it is to be used for restoration to unity. When it arises over the small things, it needs a good stamping out.

God bless -
Ron

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 11-17-2009 Edition

More recent randomness, just because I can.

Really, who just doesn't appreciate a good cloud now and then? I prefer mine spinning but there are other cool pix on this site.
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Ever had one of these days?

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Can they kill off spam too?
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Just another reason to avoid Twitter.
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That's so sad.
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Come one, come all - if you're local, come watch the Northern 'burbs' blogger's eldest daughter in Santa Claus, a community theater play. Don't find yourself regretting missing the launch of a wonderful new career!
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Finally, some people have too much time on their hands, but you know I'd do this if I had too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Values of the Church 2: Unity

The last post in this series introduced to our discussion the notion of values. We all have values, and we use those values when making decisions. Some value money and possessions, then decide to work hard to obtain same. Some value family, others value solitude. You can tell the values of someone by the decisions he or she makes. Regardless of what one says, what one values is what guides most decision making.

So in looking at the church, we've looked at what the church is, and what the church is to do. Now we're looking at the values which inform the remainder of our conversation about the "how" questions of the church. The first value is love: we need to do all things with love for our brothers and sisters in the family of God. Today we are moving on to unity.

Unity is, according to the dictionary (dot com version) "the state of being one; oneness". Scripturally speaking, unity is being "of one mind" regarding our mission. Unity was so important to Jesus that it was on His prayer list even when He was mere hours from crucifixion. He taught that "a house divided will not stand." A lack of unity is nearly as damaging to the church as a lack of love. Unity is a very high value, and when we discard it we always (not sometimes, not occassionally - always) harm the church.

In the essence of clarity, sometimes we better understand what something is by contrasting it to what something is not. There are two things which unity is not, although these are often confused with unity.

The first thing unity is not is unanimity. We do not ever have to agree on all aspects of life, or even faith, to be part of the church. People will have different views on some of the methods and forms used within a church to spread the Gospel. We all bring different experiences, wisdom, knowledge and talent to the table, and this is a good thing. For many, if the church is not unanimous in a given pursuit, that is proof that the Spirit is not in the work, and therefore it should not be pursued. This is a false ideal, and a very real danger as an idol. There are myriad reasons why not everyone may fully agree with a given decision, many of which are valid. Holding up the movement of the church in the name of "seeking unanimity" is something against which we should stand firm guard.

The second thing unity isn't is uniformity. God is a creative God who made us individuals for a reason. When we demand other Christians worship the same way, singing the same songs, praying the same prayers, reading the same books by the same Christian gurus...this is a denial of what God created us to be. We have different gifts, personalities and circumstances. God gave them to us for the use of the church, not to be stifled by the church. To see what happens when we raise uniformity to a value, look no further than the example of the Pharisees who sought to judge Jesus because he did not follow their rules.

In unity we need to be all behind the mission of the church. We all need to know and understand why God has instituted the church on earth, and we all need to be passionate about doing the things Jesus commanded His church to do (i.e., love God, love people and make disciples.) But we all, being unified in our direction and passion, are made unique individuals who are gifted to best take part in different ways. As long as the main things of mission and purpose are the main things, a lack of uniformity and unanimity in the small things is actually a way to celebrate God's created diversity.

The next post, probably as long as this one, will continue the discussion on unity, touching on why disunity is such a problem. After that we'll touch briefly on the hills to die on, or where disunity can be permissible. (Foreshadowing - disunity can be okay in a few circumstances, and with a distinct purpose of restoration to unity.)

Until then -

God bless!

Ron

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 9-22-2009 Edition

Okay, some randomness is called for as I get back to this blogging thing.
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Guess I need to update my blogroll. I have a number of friends on the Web, from Leah in India to college buddy Keith in Ohio. Also, a bunch of folks from church: Rachel, Dustin, Mandy, Allison, Andrew, Adam and Shannon. I'm partial to that last one, as it's my wife's blog of nature observations and meditations. You'll notice she shares my family trait of infrequent blogging.
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Long-time readers know I'm agnostic on AGW. The biggest problem I have is the general hypocrisy of those who live high on the energy hog while calling for others to sacrifice. I won't mention names. But I appreciate Julia Stiles' advocacy. (If you want to know my other reasons for remaining agnostic on AGW, ask in the comments. I don't want to get into it here.)
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Ukraine's Got Talent? Yes, yes it does. Way powerful.
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Last but not least, new post up at Galya's Tale.

God bless,
Ron

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog...

...for an update to another blog! Just posted a note about Galyna's surgery over at Galya's Tale. During the next couple of days I should have some time to continue the church series, as well as (perhaps) pontificate about a couple of other things rolling around my noggin of late.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Galyna Update

I've posted the latest on Galyna over at Galya's Tale. Stop over if you want to see what's going on with the latest addition to our clan.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 6/17/2009 Edition

Heh. Haven't been here in three months. Since someone (cough)Rachel(cough) missed me, I'll try to do better. While I'm working on the unity part of the current/long-running/slowly-developing series, here are some items I found noteworthy on the 'net, or in the blogosphere of late.
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I think I've been fairly clear and consistent in my concern for life. I'm unashamedly for speaking out on behalf of those with no voice of their own (yet): the unborn. This doesn't mean I'm at all unsympathetic to women facing difficult circumstances. This story, for instance, is easy to understand from the woman's point of view. My concern is there's precious little regarding the child's point of view. Related to the topic, albeit with a bit more skewer to the tone: this post.
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Fun!
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They don't really think this is the solution do they?
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Speaking of sports solutions, I don't really see the problem with inter-league baseball, but I do like the idea offered up here. I think it'd be fun to watch pitchers hit here in an AL park.
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Interesting concept. Not sure I'd want to put my fund management prowess out there, but then again I don't manage a fund. In this economy, not planning to start doing so either.
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I would have expected this to have happened in Wisconsin, not NJ.
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Behold the power of technology?
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Have a great week...I'll get to the unity stuff soon, I promise. I just won't tell you what "soon" means:)

God bless -
Ron

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Values of the Church

I've looked at the "who" and the "why" questions related to church. The answers to these questions are the foundation that sets us up to start talking about the "how" and "what" questions. How do we do church? How are we to behave? What are we to do?

I think these are where we start getting controversial. It's generally accepted that the Church is made up of those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior (although there are disputes about exactly what that means), and it's commonly held that we are commanded to make disciples. What gets tricky is how we go about doing this.

Since these can be treacherous waters, I'll lay out the foundational values which will guide my thinking. The first, and greatest, of these values is - of course - love. I'll talk about this one today.

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us the greatest commandments sum up all of the law. That is, if we follow these two commandments, we are obeying the law. The commandments? Love God, love people. Jesus says in this passage that, "[a]ll the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Wait, you might say. Don't these commandments apply to everyone, not specifically the church? Great question; glad you asked. Yes! These commandments apply to everyone. However, the church is a subset of "everyone." If everyone is to follow these commandments, then certainly the Church must.

In fact, the church is to be known for love, especially for each other. What this tells me is that most of the discussions we have about church fail immediately when they descend to a non-loving way of communicating. Regardless of our feelings on the best way to "do church" we must never, ever lose sight of the fact that we are to love our fellow believers. This precludes such things as ad hominem attacks, rumor, gossip, slander, hate and deceit from ever entering our discourse.

So when talking about how to do church, value #1 is to do so in a loving manner. And "doing church" is also to be done in a loving manner. If a church is doing something that is not loving, that church is doing something it ought not do.

Above all else, love.

There are other values to which I'll move next. Unity, freedom and selflessness are the ones that come to mind. Any values you think should drive the discussion? Chime in (lovingly!) in the comments below.

God bless,
Ron

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

God is Great, God is Good...

"God is great,

God is good,

let us thank Him for our food,

by His hand we must be fed,

give us Lord our daily bread.

Amen."

Author unknown


Over the course of our relationship, my wife and I have attended a few Steven Curtis Chapman concerts. At each he talked about how it is important to know that God is great and God is good.

The simple prayer above, variations of which are myriad, starts with two very profound statements, rightly pointed out by Chapman. We often conflate the two, but really they are distinct.

God is great. God is powerful, mighty, able to save. God is above our complete understanding, and had to reveal Himself so that we could even have a partial (albeit sufficient!) understanding.

God is good. He loves, He is gracious, He works even the bad things out for good. He is holy, just and righteous; God is purely and definitively good.

Being great is one thing. But if God were not also good, we would serve a tyrant who would oppress His creation. It is good that God is, well, good, but if He were not also great His best intentions wouldn't be able to overcome the evil in the world. Were God not both good and great we'd be faced with a God who's a monster, or a God who's impotent in the face of evil.

In scripture this past week I've seen both attributes described within a few pages. Starting in Job, we see God's greatness. In Job 40-41, as in other places in this ode to God's greatness and sovereignty, God challenges Job by explicitly reminding Job of how far above Job God really is. (As an aside, I like seeing how people react when faced with the reality of God. In this case, Job responds appropriately in chapter 42, that is with humility.)

Turning a few pages over, in Psalm 16, we read, "I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." This is a psalm of rejoicing and steadfastness because God is good: faithful, providing, with us. (Aside here: David responds to God's goodness with joy, peace, praise and assurance. Again, a model response.)

God is great and sovereign, and we are in no position to judge Him. We can question Him for understanding; David did this in the Psalms. But we are not able to judge Him. But we need not judge Him, because He is good. He is good, He is great - and this leads to Him being trustworthy.

We can trust Him because He is good and able to do things to work things for good. You can't trust someone who doesn't have your best in mind (i.e., who isn't good) or who, despite wanting to, can't help (i.e., who isn't great.)

Let this be an encouragement in this time of financial strife, political discord and myriad other social ills. We have someone to whom we can go, someone who is both good enough to, and able to, bring good from even the direst circumstances.

God bless,
Ron

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Preach It Bro'

I'm a PK, a pastor's kid. It's an ... interesting thing, with an interesting set of pressures. I wouldn't change it for the world, but it wasn't an easy thing to deal with at times.

For this reason I have a great deal of empathy and care for the families of pastors. Few things in church life break my heart, or are harder to deal with, than when a pastor's family has to go through some form of turmoil, whatever that may be. On the board at our church I've found discussion and decisions regarding our pastoral staff the most difficult to deal with objectively. I always picture the staff member's kids or spouse.

In general, I think that churches need to pay better attention to the pastor's family. Don't put unrealistic expectations on the kids, don't demand so much of your pastor he has no time for his family, don't expect the pastor's wife to be his ministry assistant or Sunday School attendant and pay him enough to keep his family well.

These are some of my soap box items on which I'll gladly expound for any interested. Maybe I'll even write about them more here someday. But I want to step off my soap box and point you, today, to another PK.

Nathan Stewart attends Anchor Point Community Church in lovely Duluth. He recently shared his experience in his first sermon at Anchor Point, and I think I am none too biased to say it is a very powerful story. It is powerful to me not because of my relationship to him - Nathan is my younger brother - but because it is a redemption story; it's a tale of a life that should not be turning into a life that so very much is. Set aside 45 minutes and take a listen here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Mission

Last time I talked about what the church is. There's a difference between the big-C universal body of believers in Christ, to use the common analogy, and the little-c local church. There is a difference between the two, which I'll get to, but as a general rule the local church has the same mission and purpose of the Church writ large.

But what is that mission? This question divides churches almost as often as does the question of what carpet to install in the sanctuary, or what color to paint the kindergarten room. It's an important one, and in answering the "mega" question, needs to be addressed. The Church's/church's mission is the foundation on what the rest of the series will tackle.

A mission, or purpose, is what gives an organization its reason to exist. It answers the "why" much as my first post answered the "who." It is often cast in terms of vision (i.e., what we see ourselves becoming) or mission statements. Many businesses use such statements to focus employee efforts, and set themselves apart in the minds of the community or marketplace. Teams will work long hours to define the "why" question for organizations of all stripes.

For the church, though, the mission has been defined for us. Jesus Himself gave it to us when He returned to Heaven. The mission of the church, quite simply, is to make disciples. This Great Commission is what Jesus left us on earth to do.

English translations often make the Great Commission look like we have a multi-part mission: go, make disciples, baptize, teach. This is slightly misleading, though, as the focus of the Greek is specifically on "going, and making disciples."* The real sense of the Great Commission is, to paraphrase, "go and make disciples by baptizing and teaching." It isn't to "go, make disciples, baptize and teach." It's a minor distinction, but it's important because there are some who believe the mission of the chuch can be subdivided into four categories, and we are fulfilling it if we are only teaching (or being taught.) Or if we are baptizing those who come to us, but we don't "go" to reach others. That is, some act as though the Great Commission isn't about leaving our comfort zones and reaching out to people who have yet to become disciples.

There are those who may argue that the mission of the church can be expanded to include helping the poor, or to corporate worship. One might say the church is for fellowship and communal learning or growth. And these are certainly good things, things which churches should do. But they are not the mission of the Church. If all church was meant for was fellowship, say, God would call us to Heaven as soon as we believed in Jesus. We could have all the fellowship we need there.

No, we are left here as representatives of God's kingdom explicitly to go and make disciples. Everything else (baptizing, teaching, fellowship, service, giving) is a part of disciple making. They are the "how" and the "what" - but not the "why." This does not make these things unimportant. That would be like saying the mission of the baseball team is to score runs, but practice and strategy don't matter. The "how" and "what" are vital questions, and to those we turn next.

The mission of the church, the "why" we are here: because Jesus gave us the job of going forth to make disciples. That is why the Church, and why churches, exist.

God bless,
Ron

*Yes, I realize the Greek is such that some say the only verb is "make disciples." I think the Wallace quote on the post I linked to addresses that sufficiently that I hold the two-verb view. More here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is This Church Thing?

Having been properly chastised (thanks Rachel!) for creating this series sans flow, I humbly move forward with my thoughts on church. This is the start of my view of ecclesiology. There are others, and if you have differing views please chime in with a comment.

Having taken on the task of going through the question of megachurches, I find myself needing to start back a bit before getting to the specifics of all things mega. Before getting into the size of a church, I need to cover my view of what the Church is, what it is tasked to do and how we should "do church." This should lead to an inevitably clear view of how I see megachurches before I even get to the question, but that's fine. Really, the mega-question as I posed it is about how we should "do church" and what a Christian church really should be and do.

So let's start at the very beginning. (A very good place to start!) (Or so I've heard.) The beginnings of the Church, in my mind, are found in Matthew where Jesus tells Simon that he (Simon) will be called Peter, and will be the one on whom His (Jesus') Church is built. The Church is the movement that began when Jesus gave Peter a mission.

(Sidebar: Interestingly, the mission wasn't given to Peter until later on. When Jesus first tells Peter that Peter's going to be the one on whom the Church would be built, He didn't start laying out the tasks and vision. In fact, the first thing Jesus says after breaking the news is "not to tell anyone that he was the Christ." This is counter to what the mission of the church would end up being, but the time for the mission wasn't right. There's a lesson in leadership here: give people a vision for what they'll do, and then prepare them for it. Jesus laid out a vision for His Church, then spent the last days of His life instructing the Apostles for how to fulfill that vision. After the preparation time, before He was to return to Heaven, Jesus finally gave them their mission statement. I think those of us in leadership roles, whatever they may be, can learn from this example: vision, preparation, mission. Mix up the order you can end up with confusion.)

Zoom ahead a while, and we see the beginning of the movement that Jesus said was coming. In Acts 2 we see the first church sermon, as it were, on the day of Pentecost. And the first church started with Peter and the Apostles seeing "about three thousand ... added to their number that day." The Church was, and is, those who respond to the Gospel, accepting "in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of [their] sins." (Acts 2:38.)

Paul, in many places but notably in I Corinthians 12 identifies the Church as the "body of Christ" of which all those who were baptized by one spirit into relationship with each other. The Church is also described as the bride of Christ, and a priesthood. There are other biblical (and some extra-biblical, or non-biblical) metaphors used to describe the church as well.

What it boils down to, to me, is that the Church is made up of anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior regardless of culture, gender, race, age or social status. This definition is probably too broad for many fundamentalists (or my fellow evangelicals) as I do not lay forth a specific set of criteria on which to judge whether someone fully accepts "the minimum" standards required to be called Christian. It's probably too limiting to others who may think that Jesus need not be Lord and/or Savior to be relevant to one's life. I realize this. I could try to define the core beliefs necessary to call oneself a Christian and remain true to the name, but that is out of the scope of this topic. Suffice it to say, I would draw the line to the right of center, so to speak, in light of passages like Acts 4:12 and Matthew 7:14-23. But I'm not getting into soteriology here.

So if the Church is, in essence, all believers, why so many churches? I'll end this post on the distinction between the (big-C) Church and a (little-c) church, and will flesh this out in following posts regarding how we "do church." There is the Church, the universal "body of Christ" made up of all those who believe in and follow Jesus. A church, on the other hand, is a localized or regional sub-set of the overall Church. We can't gather all Christians worldwide into one place, so naturally we meet in smaller groups based on some set of criteria: geography, doctrine, methods, modes, styles, personalities, denominational affiliations, relationships, preferences, etc. And these criteria, unfortunately, do more to divide us than they should. Hence the series. So these differences that break up the Church into many churches will be paid much attention in coming posts. And note, not all differences are bad or divisive. Some are good and appropriate. We just need to act better when handling the differences.

This post, as usual, is long enough. Next time up? What is the Church's mission. After that comes the discussion how that mission should be handled when so many of us have different ideas of how to do church, culminating in the mega-part of this topic.

God bless,
Ron

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back to it?

Okay, so my off-again, off-again series on the mega-church question is back on. At least for the near future, though part of me wants to do this so I can get back to posting infrequently about other things!

I introduced the question back in '07* as I was getting irritated (yes, level-headed me gets irritated at times) by the way some Christians were piling on churches. Forget unity and the wisdom of handling disagreements private, we Christians are seemingly better at attacking each other than we are at loving each other. Which considering how we should be known is kinda sad.

So that was the motivation. Since that time, I've done more thinking and talking about what makes up a church, and the purposes of the local church. Much of that was driven by some things heard as an elder at my church. It's been revealing hearing from some their views on church. We don't talk much about our ecclesiology, and that is to our detriment I think. When we're not reminded of our purpose, we tend to drift. And little is more important than unity when things like vision and purpose are involved. (Please note: I will NOT talk about specifics from my church as I'm not abusing my position there for blog fodder; the things I'll talk about may be of interest to other attenders, but my point is to the American Evangelical church writ large, not my church specifically. The place to work through our own particular brand of issues - and all churches have them - is within our church.)

I guess that means some of what I'll go into over the next few posts may not be exactly what I'd planned when I first floated the idea of talking through church. It also means I'm open to comments or questions about church in general, not so much just about mega churches.

As a refresher, here are the first few posts from last spring's launch of the series. I'll be back soon with the first actual question and (my shot at an) answer to get us started.

The Mega-Why?
A Megachurch Question - Part New
The Mega Question

God bless,
Ron

*Four posts in over a year, and little actual discussion of the question. I'm thinking this might be the longest running, yet least fruitful blog series ever. Oops!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blogging for Choices

Interesting. Today is something called "Blog for Choice" day. Last year's was so "successful" that even a 'net savvy person and multiple-blog reader like me didn't hear of it until this year. Being a giving guy, I'd like to help them out and add one more post to this year's flurry, one that will raise the profile of this "cause" by the at least 3-4 people who visit the Northern 'Burbs Blog.

The question posed by Blog for Choice:
What is your top pro-choice hope for President-elect Obama (he'll be President Obama by the time Blog for Choice Day rolls around!) and/or the new Congress.


My top pro-choice hope is that this nation's leadership will provide for millions of unborn children the opportunity to make choices by letting them live instead of snuffing out their lives before they get to make any choices at all.

That is, I'd like them to call the "pro-choice" movement on its rhetorical bluff and point to the fact that this "choice" to abort is about stealing the right to make choices from the unborn. An aborted baby can never choose anything.

No society permits all choices. You can't legally choose to steal or sell meth in this country to cite two examples. Choice is only a virtue when the thing chosen is virtuous. Abortion isn't virtuous. We need to stop the canard that only pro-abortion folks care about choice.

I care about choice too, but I care about good choices and providing the environment for people to make their own choices (up until those choices are immoral, or when the choices impact others negatively - like abortion does.) When we take someone's life before that person even has a chance to make his or her first choice...well that is about as anti-choice as you can get.

On this anniversary of one of the worst decisions ever made, let's remember that we should be standing against oppression of which abortion is the worst sort. In taking away the life of the unborn, we're also taking away choice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trippin' 'Round the Sphere: 1/15/09 Edition

Yes, I'm bringing back the most sought-after and heavily requested feature of this blog!

But before I do that, I'll post this.

Not to cross-promote too heavily, I have a new post up at Galya's Tale.
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Also in the "cross-promotion" business, the church has done a site redesign. Let me know what you think.
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My wife is applying for a new job. If you are, please withdraw your applications forthwith as this is really her dream job. Seriously.
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What is wrong with people? Oh yeah...this.
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On the other hand...yeay.
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Other families who did the Ukrainian adoption thing: the Jones-Kressins, some other 'Sotans with a great blog name, the Lambeths and a story about Katya. We don't know any of these families, but their stories were fun to read while we were doing the adoption thing. Oh, and I can't forget Bob and Gail - it was their daughter that put us in touch with Angelina through a shared visit to Donetsk Christian University two years ago.
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TTFN -

Ron