Thursday, July 31, 2008

The "Warren Debates"

I find this interesting on a number of levels; the first being that the candidates actually are doing it. I like Warren. And I think he did a good job with this interview (although he dodged some questions, I'm not sure I would have not tried to do the same thing).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are there gender differences?

Hey, if you got a second, hop on over to my friend KT's blog and take a gander. I would like to know what my readers think. Feel free to comment on her blog, or you can comment on mine...

For Kevin

On the streets of Victoria, BC.

And yes, he was playing his own theme song.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I follow...

Note from author: Upon re-reading this post, I'm struck with how poorly it is written. If poor writing offends you, please stop reading. Thanks.

So I was reading 1 Corinthians chapter 3 this morning and a new question hit me. (Don't you love it when you are reading something you have read a couple of dozen times and something new pops out at you?)

Now, be prepared, this is not profound. It's embarrassingly obvious. I'm sure that most of you have seen this in this passage before (this really IS a job for "Captain Obvious!")... but in all honestly, I don't think I have thought of this much before (although I have a similar note written in my bible, so it is not a new thought, but it hit me harder this morning).

Question: Who do you follow?

What identity do you get from being associated that person? What is their role in your life?

This all came from chapter 3:21: "No more boasting about people! All things are yours..."

My job being what it is, I get a lot of people who want to meet with me. Most of the time, they really don't need theological insight or seminary level training.... they really need someone to listen, reflect back to them, and challenge them to come up with options. And, I believe this is certainly less so at Central than some other congregations, but there is something about meeting with "the pastor" that just makes people feel important.

I had two separate conversations last week about campus ministries, one with a student and another with a former student. They were saying how there is an obvious pecking order in campus ministries. It is a big deal who you are being "discipled by" in terms of their "rank" in the ministry. "Wow, I'm being discipled by ___________ -- the ministry leader!"

And what this passage as a whole is saying is, "Rubbish!" (And for those of you who know Greek, or have heard me teach on that word, you know what I'm saying.)

This passage is saying that this is very destructive and produces division in the church.

And division is, according to scripture... very, very, very bad.

(A quick aside: in most churches, if you describe someone as "worldly," what does that mean? If you read this chapter, how does Paul define someone who is "worldly and immature?")

Paul says that the important thing is not a relationship with (seemingly) powerful people, but a connection with Christ. That in Christ, we have all the identity we need.

Now, this does not mean we don't need pastors, ministry leaders, etc (at least I hope this is not what this means). And it does not mean that those people are not due certain honor or hearing because of their position (this concept is also biblical and is often overlooked in our attempt to be against the "institutional church" -- whatever the rubbish that is..). But it does mean that I should not get my identity simply because I'm associated with a certain person.

Wow. I do that. If you peel back my public life and peer into my darkness, I sometimes struggle with this very thing. Mind you, I'm MUCH better at this now than 10 years ago. In my better moments, I'm even above this... repelled by this. But isn't this a temptation for us? To get identity from our association with others? Our standing?

There is more to this... but I want to know if this hits a nerve... so I will stop here for now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm back

Well, we are back from our cruise. It was fun, restful... and a great way to celebrate an anniversary. And yes, Alaska is as beautiful as you imagine.

I'm posting pictures over on my Flickr account. I don't have internet at home for some reason, so I'm doing it when I get a bit of time during the day. They will unfold over the coming week or so.

I have a lot I would like to blog about this trip. I'm hoping when my internet gets fixed, I can do that. I will simply start by saying this: I'm glad my life is such that when I'm on vacation, on a cruise ship, touring Alaska, I can honestly say at the end of the trip, "Yea, this was wonderful, but I miss my life back home." I have a great family, job, friends, church...

All in all, I'm feeling pretty blessed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My heart will go on...

I will be gone for a week. Think of me when you watch the Titanic (I'm sure this is on everyone's agenda for the week). Laura and I are celebrating our 15 year anniversary with a cruise to Alaska. Rest. Hopefully lots of wildlife. Should be a good time.

Enjoy your week and hope to see you all soon.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Worship Music

I hope I'm not violating confidence, but these are two actual letters written from individuals complaining about song selection and music.

One letter said:

"I am no music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday's new hymn - if you can call it that - sounded like a sentimental love ballad one would expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you insist on exposing us to rubbish like this - in God's house! - don't be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need."

Another letter said:

"What is wrong with the inspiring hymns with which we grew up? When I go to church, it is to worship God, not to be distracted with learning a new hymn. Last Sunday's was particularly unnerving. The tune was un-singable and the new harmonies were quite distorting."

By the way, the first letter was written in 1863 and the song they were concerned about was the hymn, "Just As I Am". The second letter was written in 1890 and about the hymn, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".

It's a good thing people stopped complaining about music.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My new preaching style

I've been thinking that my preaching has been a little dull lately [insert smart comments].

I need a new style.

Something with flash.

Something that will hold people's attention.