Monthly Archives: May 2008

Prayer Request

Popping back in to ask for prayers for one of my best friends (and Element’s technical director), John. He’s going in tomorrow morning for a biopsy.

May the God of all healing make the results negative.

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Happy Birthday, Macy!

Our eldest princess turns 7 today. She loves her family, music, art, and best of all, Jesus. Her mother and I are just as proud of her as we can be.

Wow. Time is going by way too fast. This is what Macy looked like in 2003, the year I started blogging:

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Indiana Jonesing

Pre-kids, I was an insatiable film buff. I was my university paper’s film critic for three years, and I published film criticism in academic journals. But I think that last time I wrote an actual full-length movie review was back when I was writing for Cinema Veritas, WORLD Magazine’s film blog (which doesn’t even exist any more). After a long hiatus, I felt inspired today.Last night I went with some Element peeps to catch the new Indiana Jones flick. My review is here.

Have you seen it yet? What’d you think?

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It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine

I spoke about the “end times” and the rapture and all that at Element last Sunday night. It was part of our Coffee Shop Theology series, in which topics/questions were submitted and voted on by our community. It’s been a long time since I spent any energy exploring end times stuff, but in my younger days it greatly animated me. The Thinklings themselves sort of started as a discussion group for a book called The Sign by Robert Van Kampen, about the so-called “pre-wrath rapture” of the church.

But I’ve long been burnt out on that whole scene. You know how new Calvinists enter the cage phase? I went through a rapture cage phase, the time after I abandoned pretribulationism and became absolutely geeked out on what I was learning.

As the old Calvinist joke’s punchline goes, “Whew. Glad that’s over.”

I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful that the end times began when Jesus cried out “It is finished” from the cross, that his bodily resurrection was a down payment on my future, and that someday I will be changed. That’s a gospel-driven end times. That’s an end times that excites me like no number of charts and diagrams and newspaper-wielding speculations ever could.

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Monking Around

The iMonk weighs in on Missional Street Cred, and it’s a fantastic post, this part especially:

There are three kinds of credibility that evangelicals should examine very closely these days. Those are the credibility that comes from your web presence, your conference presence and your ability to get published.

These three things do not mean you know what you are doing on the ground, that you have any cred when it comes to building missional community or that anyone should listen to you. They don’t mean you are telling the truth or should even be speaking.

They mean you have a platform. That’s it. Beyond that, someone should look deeper.

I get emails all the time from dudes asking me for advice and/or input on all kinds of things related to churches and ministry, and while I do my best to respond (because, clearly, I have an opinion on just about everything), I always try to provide the credibility caveat. “This is what my ministry looks like, this is how long we’ve been doing it. I’m not an expert, I’m still figuring this stuff out, blah blah blah.”

Having a blog, even a well written one full of strong and clear opinions, doesn’t make anyone an expert.

In addition, the things that Michael is urging at this post (“Look deeper”) appears to me to be the very thing Mark Driscoll was touching on. The comments of Driscoll’s that have received some negative, if muted, reaction strike me as saying essentially the same thing: A …

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There Will Be (Bad) Blood

In which a church planter says to a former pastor, “I! Drink! Your! Milkshake!”

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Seen this yet?

Some not so random thoughts:

1. Again, if you treat your church like a business, you will treat other churches like your competition.Similarly, if you treat congregants like property, you’ll think they’re being stolen if they leave.

2. It’s credibility straining to me that Young isn’t acknowledging that the very system of doing church he’s a proponent of and a part of is very largely responsible for the thing he’s decrying.

3. If a large group of people left my church and all went to one place, it would seem to me it would be cause for reflection. Am I doing something wrong? Are they not being fed or led? Are they not growing here? If they aren’t, I can’t blame them or anybody else for their leaving. I should blame myself. If that’s not the case, then their leaving is a good thing. Why would you want disgruntled, divisive people to stay?

4. This sort of problem is why many churches today insert non-compete clauses in departing pastors’ contracts.

5. If your church is ginormous, why not plant some churches? Wouldn’t that help curb the “pirate” problem? Then you’re being pro-active and positive and a part of a new work, rather than fearful and reactionary and always trying to make sure nobody breaks rank.

6. I imagine that most of these alleged pirates are young guys with young families. Their wives have close friendships in …

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Five For Friday: Weird Movies I Loved When I Was a Kid

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia.

Here are five weird flicks that hardly anyone remembers but that enthralled my childhood self:

1. The Monster Squad This one just came out on DVD and hundreds of thirty year old nerds rejoiced.

2. The QuestNo, not the Jean Claude Van Damme movie, although this one is just as bad. It’s Henry Thomas in some weird Australian movie about a legendary lake monster (that — spoiler alert — turns out to be an old bulldozer or something affected by magnetic forces in the area). Yeah. It’s awesome.

3. The ExplorersEthan Hawke. River Phoenix. Anyone remember this? It made me want to build a space ship in my garage.

4. “The Red Room Riddle”This was an ABC Saturday “O.G. Readmore” afternoon movie that scared the bejeebers out of me. I’ve actually caught portions of it on YouTube.

5. Invasion of the Body SnatchersThis is the 1978 remake with Donald Sutherland. Super creepy. I just rented this from NetFlix recently to do some reminiscing and it still freaks me out.

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Missional Motive, Impact, Effectiveness

Bill Kinnon asks the million dollar question:

I confess that I’m really not interested in hearing theories anymore. I want to know how the missonal profundities emanating from the particular guru are applied in their own lives – right now. Not last year, last century or last millenium. But. Right now.

“Where are you plugged into a local expression of a missional community? How does that impact what you are sharing with us?”

Jesus lived what he taught the disciples. We should have no less expectation of those who want to disciple us.

On a similar note, just as I’d weaned myself off of my addiction to Mark Driscoll he apparently goes and says something really good and provocative:

And all the nonsense of emerging, and Emergent, and new monastic communities, and, you know, all of these various kinds of ridiculous conversations — I’ll tell you as one on the inside, they don’t have converts. The silly little myth, the naked emperor is this: they will tell you it’s all about being in culture to reach lost people, and they’re not.

A few folks are bristling at those remarks, and I admit I don’t have the context for them, but I think he may be on to something. In fact, I read David Fitch’s good and helpful rebuttal and don’t find it much of a rebuttal at all, but a clarification that is nicely compatible with what Mark appears to be saying.

Mark Driscoll is saying: “Lots of people, frequently the most vocal …

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No Words

No blogging today.

Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman’s family.

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The Brilliance of Jesus

Oh, now here is something we tend to overlook or, if we even consider, fail to invest in: that is that Jesus, being God in the flesh, was the smartest man who ever lived. Does Jesus ever show up on anybody’s list of the greatest thinkers of history? Gurus, perhaps. Sages, maybe. The world may think him “wise” in some Confucian sense. We think of him as an idealist, as an enlightened man, as a revolutionary. But generally speaking, we also tend to regard him as naïve or simple. Like Friedrich Nietzshce, we tend to think, “If he had lived to my age he would have repudiated his doctrine.”

The world does not regard Jesus as savvy or practical, and if we within the Church will be honest with ourselves, we must admit that our frequent failures to obey his commands stem essentially from our practical disbelief that he could really be right about the way to think and act. But if we really believe Jesus was who he said he was, we know we have recorded in Scripture and at our reading convenience, the greatest human mind of all time.

How vast is the wisdom of Christ? As vast as the resources of almighty God. Revisit that exciting post-resurrection scene from the road to Emmaus in Luke’s Gospel and remind yourself how all-encompassing Jesus’ knowledge is (and how all-illuminating our knowledge of Jesus can be).

Jesus comes on these guys unawares and basically reveals the Bible to them. He illuminates Scripture …

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