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)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Refugee Children and the Border Crisis: Some Questions for the Nation Called Church

There is much tragedy, poverty, and violence in this world; and all too often it is visited upon the world's children. The complexity of the border crisis in America's southwest defies easy answers, but the immediate question in front of us that I want to think through in this post is what to do with the some 70,000 children who are now in the United States, many of them here to unite with their families, many of them having experienced in their home countries not only extreme poverty, but also violence and rape and pressure at the hands of drug cartels to begin using drugs and then selling them to other children. As a father of four, now grown, children, it is painful to think of so many of these young lives affected and scarred by such evil-- and yes, the perpetrators are evil-- let's call it for what it is. More children are on the way. Who can blame them for wanting to come?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scriptures and Prayer for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Genesis 29:15-28

Epistle: Romans 8:26-39

Gospel: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
O sovereign God, in Jesus Christ you set your holy reign upon this earth and within your people. So let its coming be like the mustard seed that grows into greatness, and like the leaven that mixes with the grain until the whole becomes greater, to the praise of the triune God, who lives forevermore. Amen.

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.