A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Seven Habits of Lazy Leaders:

Ron Edmonson is spot on!:
1. Assuming the answer without asking hard questions.

2. Not delegating.

3. Giving up after the first try.

4. Not investing in younger leaders.

5. Settling for mediocre performance.

6. Not explaining why.

7. Avoiding conflict.
Ron fills in the details of each one at Ministry Matters. Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easter: Something New from What Has Already Been Done

from the Biologos blog:
Will the universe have an Easter of its own? Will the present world be transformed someday into a new heaven and earth, in which the lamb will lie down with the lion and there will be no more death? This is the very thought with which Ted Peters concludes his essay: "The primary reason for defending the concept of creatio ex nihilo in concert with creatio continua is that the primordial experience of God doing something new leads us in this direction. The Hebrew prophets promised that God would do something new in Israel. The New Testament promises us that God will yet do something new for the cosmos on the model of what God has already done for Jesus on Easter, namely, establish a new creation."

To see what this has to do with cosmology, read on…

No Shirt, No Shoes, NO PANTS, No Service: The Problem with Arguments from Silence

Carol and I walked into a restaurant the other night. On the door was a sign that all of us typically see at public establishments: "No shirt, no shoes, no service." I jokingly said to my wife, "So, I suppose it's OK to come here without pants." My family has learned over the years to ignore my strange sense of humor.

But I think this little anecdote, in which you likely have no interest, does lead to an interesting point. The obvious reason such signs do not include the issue of wearing pants is because swirling around in our culture is the belief that it is not OK to fail to wear pants in public; and we are reminded of this every time we read or hear of someone who decides to transgress that boundary and is summarily arrested. In other words, these signs are silent on failing to wear pants because no warning is necessary. The same is true in that the "no shirt," admonition is not directly addressed to men, because they are the ones who would be the transgressors, since it is acceptable in certain contexts for men not to wear shirts in public (e.g. the beach) but never for women. The long and short of this is that it is context that makes sense of that sign on the restaurant door-- what is said and what is left unsaid. It would be silly to conclude that because the sign does not specifically mention the wearing of pants that the proprietors of the restaurant are OK with customers coming into their establishment naked from the waist down, except for their feet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Liberals, Conservatives, and Progressives, Oh My! #3: A Third Way

My thoughts in this blogpost can be heard in an interview I did with Rev. Drew McIntyre, who blogs at Via Media Methodists. I thank him for the invitation. When I meet young pastors like Drew, I have hope for the future of United Methodism.

The interview starts somewhat after 17:00, but I encourage you to listen to the entire podcast as Drew and his compadres talk about the book, Finding Our Way: Love and Law in the United Methodist Church (they are giving away free copies-- listen for details), and also an entertaining discussion on breakfast cereal.

This latest edition of the WesleyCast can be heard here.
NOTE: You may need to download iTunes (it's free) to listen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Extraordinary Kingdom, Ordinary Stories: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The proclamation of the Word depends, not only upon the preacher, but upon the hearer. There will be those who will reject the truth being proclaimed no matter how poetic the preacher and how convincing the argument. Others will receive the word gladly, only to allow the cares and frustrations of daily life to choke off the excitement.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Methodist Blogs Weekly Links of Note

This week's noteworthy posts from the Methoblogosphere:

Dan Dick: "Antagonisn't"

Steve Heyduck: "Pest Control and Evangelism"

John Ed Mathison: "Apologies for Miscommunication"

Erik Marshall: "Do You Care About Your Vision? Then Sell It"

Andy Stoddard: "How to Endure"

Drew McIntyre: "Heroism, Martyrdom, and Suicide: Thoughts on Self-Immolation"

Ken L. Hagler: "Continuing to Open Our Eyes to Disabilities in the Church"

Scriptures and Prayer for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Genesis 28:10-19

Epistle: Romans 8:12-25

Gospel: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Faithful God, you care for us with compassion and firmness, urging us to grow in love for you. Through Christ, may we hear more deeply your call to be rooted in your way. Amen.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Are the Glory Days of Publishing Long Gone?

from Philip Yancey (HT: Scot McKnight):
"The changes in publishing, especially Christian publishing, stood out sharply to me when I stopped in at the largest annual Christian book convention in June. At one time 15,000 attended that trade show, a convention so large that only a handful of cities could accommodate it. Now less than 4,000 attend, and in Atlanta it occupied a corner of the huge convention center. A couple hundred delegates attended a luncheon in which I participated on a panel with Ravi Zacharias and Ryan Dobson; ten years ago the same luncheon would have filled a thousand-seat banquet hall. Though name authors had book signings, the only lines I saw were for two stars of Duck Dynasty."

"Book publishing is going through massive changes. Almost every month bookstore sales fall below the total from last year … and the year before. Of the 5,000 Christian bookstores in the U.S. open in the 1970s, barely half that number have survived. What happened?"
You can read what happened here.

Saturday at the Cinema: The History of the Universe in Eighteen Minutes