Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF

I have a few posts rolling around in my head. If I can ever capture them, I'll be able to have something on here between TGIF posts. I know, some of you are thinking, "Just give us the links. We don't care about the rest." :) Anyway, here's this week's links:

A poem and dedication. Here is a contest for writers. Paul Luikart has some words of warning. A good question from Amy. Dan Kimball writes about what is important. All the answers aren't in the lecture. Can we be too God-centered? Here's a post about the TNLLB. Here's a new term: Christianism.

These are some interesting album covers (HT: Brother Maynard). Greg Boyd reviews the Patriot's Bible. The truth about the swine flu. Tim Hill on restoration.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

TGIF

Summer is getting closer. There are only eight days left in the school year, and I think all the students (and teachers) are ready for a break. We planted a garden this week. We're trying to grow tomatoes, beans, and pomegranates. We'll see how that goes. In a couple of weeks, we're flying out to California to see Jennie.

Here's the interesting stuff:

Amy thinks you should be you. Molly is looking forward to summer (a big Amen to that). Are American Christians selfish? Good question. This is good. Funny video, especially at the 1:39 mark. iMonk is mulling over some book ideas. Do you trust the abbreviated Jesus?

Next Reformation discusses evangelism methods. Scot McNight has a good series on Justification and New Perspective. Part 1 is here. Good thoughts from John Frye. Jonathan Brink on dealing with evil. Do you know the answer to this question? Hurricanes and change. More disturbing news from the franchise church front. What if the church was invisible?

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

TGIF or S

Friday, Saturday, who's counting? This was a crazy week. We did the annual testing this week and the schedule was nuts. But we survived.

There's a lot of interesting things going on out there in Blogdom. Here is this week's sampling:

Good thoughts about celebrating holidays in church. Called by God? Does Jesus need a new PR campaign? No risk = crap (HT: Brother Maynard). A couple of good posts by Bob Hyatt, here and here. Have you ever thought about what it might look like if Starbucks marketed like a church? (HT: Jake Belder) Dan Edelen gives out a rare More Cowbell Award. Open mic at the IM Cafe.

iMonk on Jesus' version of community. Scot McKnight is doing a series on the Kingdom Gospel. Part 1 is here. John Frye on the Dali-ization of the Gospel and Bible. The fine print. Are you awake? If you're keeping up with Rabbi Encounters (and you should be) Rob Woodrum has another page up.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just Thinkin'...

In Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw write, "Rather than placing our hope in a transnational church that embodies God's kingdom, we assume America is God's hope for the world, even when it doesn't look like Christ."

The church in general has gotten itself caught up in the American Dream, where bigger is better and more is just not enough. I'm sure most of us have heard sermons or statements equating being American with being Christian. As we enter the "patriotic season (Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4), there will be more of that thing in churches across the land. We seem to be as worried, if not more worried, about threats to our American way of life than about those who are less well of than we are. The current economic crisis has many Christians as scared as those who do not follow Jesus.

Evangelical leaders bemoan the decline in the number of people who identify themselves as Christian, and the decline in church attendance. The fear is that America will lose its identity as a "Christian nation." We act as if the world will go completely all to hell if America doesn't remain as powerful as it has been in the past.

Could it be that God is bringing us through these tough times to teach us that our hope is not to be in capitalism (or any other economic system), but is to be in God alone? Maybe we need to be less concerned with the American Dream and more concerned with God's dream.

Could it be that God is allowing the church in America to decline while the church in other countries thrives to show us that He is not an American god, but is the God who calls all people everywhere to repent and look to Jesus for salvation. The center of Christianity is no longer in the West. It is now in Africa and the East. Millions of people are coming into the Kingdom, and i many places they are doing so without the influence of Americans.

Don't get me wrong. I love America. It's the land of my birth, and home to my ancestors for 250 years. I believe that this country has been especially blessed by God, but I don't believe that it 's because we've been better than anyone else. I also believe that God governs in the affairs of men and nations, and that He raises up countries for certain purposes. I don't think this country is going to disintegrate into a bunch of smaller countries, but I am wondering if America's time has come and gone.

Maybe it's time we pledge our allegiance to the King and His Kingdom.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Do You See the World?

There are two basic ways that we, as Christians in America can see the world. The first view is that the world is an evil place, full of enemies of our faith who are out to destroy us. The second view is that the world belongs to our Father and we can see his work in it, moving to a final restoration of creation.

The first view sees a culture war as essential to our survival. The prevailing emotion is fear, fear that the enemies of God will deny us the freedoms to practice our faith, fear that the Church will be destroyed and our way of life will be no more.

While it may be true that persecution may come to us in this country (and I don't mean losing tax exemptions), that does not mean that our ability to follow Jesus will be hindered. The early Christians faced terrible persecution, yet their faithfulness in following Christ changed their world. Christians today in China, India, Africa, and many other places faithfully practice their faith in the face of intense persecution. I doubt that they are worried about a culture war.

The Church is the Bride of Christ. Does anyone really think that Jesus is going to let anyone destroy his beloved? The Church in America is declining, but that doesn't mean that the body of Christ as a whole is in trouble. Remember that Jesus said that the very gates of Hell would not stand against his Church. I wonder if the decline in the American way of life is really what some of the culture warriors are worried about.

I prefer the view of the world that sees it as the creation of God. It is a flawed creation, but it is one in which the Father is working and one which he will restore. God is in control, and what he wants to happen will happen. While we here in America may go through some rough times because of our faith, we are children of a Father who loves us more than we can fathom. That alone should give us hope.

In the midst of all the junk, this is still our Father's world.

Friday, May 8, 2009

TGIF

This week has gone by slowly. All week I've been thinking it's a day ahead of what it really is. So, I hope this is Friday. :) Our middle school track team competed in the conference meet this week. I drove the bus so I was able to watch the meet for free. I love the atmosphere of a big meet, and watching all the events brought back some good memories of my track doings back in the day.

Enjoy these links:

Good post over on Scot McKnight's blog. This is excellent, as is this story about one of the greatest coaches ever (HT: Scot Mcknight). A Former Leader writes about New York and discipleship. The point is Jesus. Jonathan Brink on the missional/attractional debate. John Fonville's quote of the week.

If you're out in the Los Angeles area, you may be able to hook up with Josh. He's good people. iMonk reviews Andrew Marin's new book. You may identify with this. I did. Messy Bibles. Here is a good question. Grace reviews The Furious Longing of God.

May your weekend be filled with grace and blessing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

TGIF

This has been an interesting week. I spent each day at another middle school hanging out with a student who was transferring from the school I work at. The administration at the new school wanted someone to shadow him so the transition would be smooth, and I was sent over to do that until they could hire someone else. It was a nice change of pace, but I'll be glad to be back at my regular work on Monday.

Here's what everyone is waiting for:

Krochet Kids (no that's not a spelling error). Servolution. Bob Hyatt thinks we should slow down. Is there a legalistic spirit within you? iMonk is doing some spring cleaning, and is trying to become a complementarian. Brian McLaren on America as a Christian nation. (HT: Scot McKnight). Evangelicals on torture. John Armstrong on other victims of Columbine.

Jeff McQ writes on God and secrets, and his brain is aching. You know you want one of these. The most interesting bookstores in the world (HT: Brother Maynard).

Hope you enjoy these links. Have a great weekend!

Weekend Wanderings

It's heating up a bit here in the sunny South. The last couple of days we've been going around our county and the county directly so...