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Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2007 at 1:14 am

This Just In!

in a repentant and surprisingly faith affirming statement on monday, former falcons’ quarterback michael vick testified that:

“i will redeem myself…i have to.”

“through this situation,” vick continued, “i have found Jesus.”

what vick failed to mention during this press conference is Jesus is either:

1. his new mexican pit bull supplier (remember, vick once referred to himself as “ron mexico”)

2. the pet name vick is giving his former business partner and future cell mate in block 34e

3. or the most badass dog in all of honduras. record: 126-0 with 35 confirmed kills

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In Uncategorized on August 15, 2007 at 12:29 pm

spiritual disciplines of the office life

this morning as i wound my way into work i found myself thinking about the spiritual disciplines that enable me to sustain, and somedays even succeed at, my job. after logging seven months at my current work site, i’d have to say that steering well clear of office drama is the most important spiritual discipline i practice in the workplace. i don’t know about your work site, but ours is always filled with more gossip, petty rivalries and punctured egos than you could stir with a stick.

although i’m not always able to steer clear of the aforementioned career carcinogens most days i’m able to eschew the drama and stay focused on serving my clients and company well. don’t get me wrong, i don’t consider myself superior to my coworkers nor do i think i’m too good to delve into the daily dramatic fray. i’ve simply realized that repeating my friend andrew’s occupational decree – “i don’t do drama.” – has saved my sanity on a number of occasions and continues to make my current position viable.

what spiritual disciplines of the office life keep you alive?

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2007 at 4:34 pm

robert putnam discovers what evangelical church planters have known all along

in sunday’s edition of the boston globe* there was an article entitled the downside of diversity that focused on robert putnam’s recent research. putnam is a social researcher and activist who has spent a number of years studying american’s patterns of civic engagement. in bowling alone**, putnam’s most well known work, he identified and discussed the growing social dislocation and subsequent isolation of individual americans.

in putnam’s most recent surveys has found that ethnically diverse american communities have lower rates of civic engagement and interaction. interestingly, he has found that in these diverse communities individuals tend to not only distance themselves from individuals of other backgrounds, but also live increasingly separate lives from others of their own ethnicity. for putnam, who is deeply committed to the ideal of civic engagement, these findings are quite disturbing. as the article mentions, putnam is afraid the results of his research will alienate him from other social progressives and encourage the xenophobic tendencies of many anti-immigration activists and others on the far right of the political spectrum.

for my part, i found the study interesting because it appears to confirm a long held assumption in church planting circles that is known as the homogeneous unit principle. simply stated, the homogeneous unit principle asserts that since mono-cultural church plants grow faster than ethnically diverse christian communities – i read a short study on this years ago and this assertion seems to be true – churches should focus their ministry upon on one ethnic group. when i was first taught this principle in a church planting class at soybean bible college by a well-known mega-church leader i was shocked that the church growth movement would advocate an approach that appears to completely ignore the clear teachings of st. paul in ephesians and romans. in the previous epistle, paul identifies the “mystery” of the gospel as the fact that Christ has torn down the barrier wall between jew and gentile in order to create a new community. on account of st. paul’s teaching i was disturbed by this principle and mentioned my concerns to my teacher. i am sorry to report that my teacher’s response was quite simple: whether you like it or not the practice of the homogenous unit principle is a practical way to encourage church growth so we should apply this principle to church planting.

ugh.

while i don’t disagree with the fact that mono-cultural churches grow more quickly than multi-ethnic christian communities*** and have little doubt that putnam’s disturbing findings correlate closely to our national reality i do not think that we should forego diversity in our communities or forsake our hopes for fully integrated church communities simply because such initiatives are difficult. surely Christ’s abolishment of the wall of hostility and the better angels of our participatory democracy suggest that we should continue to invest ourselves in the difficult work of diversity and so embrace dr. king’s dream as our own.

* if you live in massachusetts and consistently read the other major daily, you’re incredibly stupid. you heard it here first…
** yeah, i haven’t read it either.
***if you disagree take a minute and think about the number of well-known, non-pentecostal mega-churches whose attendance mirrors the diversity of their communities at large.

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2007 at 4:47 pm

overheard: on not transforming the culture

yesterday’s edition of christianity today online featured an article entitled, on not transforming the culture by mark galli, the senior managing editor of CT. when i first read this article, i found it intriguing because it seems to call evangelicals away from a niebuhrian focus on transforming culture towards a more individualistic focus upon discipling individuals and setting up the church as an institution that is contra culture.

i think that galli’s work is interesting insofar as it reminds us that “transforming the world” is an end rather than an effective means of Christian work. however, i’m afraid that his argument oversimplifies the diverse idea of mission that is presented in the NT and his apparent elevation of the individual over the system is both historically evangelical and problematic. i have more to say about this, but i have to go teach a class.

please take a few moments to read the article, chew on the quote below and join the conversation.

“We are certainly responsible for going to the ends of the earth and making disciples from people of every nation. There is plenty in Scripture about doing justice and loving mercy and feeding the hungry and caring for the widow and orphan. But I find little or nothing about us having the task of transforming the culture.

We fall into this rhetoric because we know the problems we face are huge and we feel so small. We worry that if we don’t boldly proclaim that we can “change the world,” everybody will give up before we even begin. We all face the common temptation of Adam and Eve. We want to feel significant. We want to feel like we’re players. We want to make a difference in the world. And only by imagining that we can change the world do we think our actions have any meaning.”

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2007 at 1:33 am

historically inaccurate, but funny


historically accurate and funny

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

words of wisdom, quotable quotes

when i received a personal update email from a close friend this morning, i was amazed by the following quote. i would like to say more, but i really need to get to work:

“I have been thinking about the fact that we idolize ministry among the “marginalized.” We want to minister to these folks because that’s who Jesus was especially concerned about… but even in our churches we want them on the margins. We don’t want to give them the microphone… at least not for more than a quick 2-5 minute testimony. The rest of the time we want someone “educated,” “balanced” and “together” up front, keeping order. But real ministry among the “marginalized” makes you marginalized! It is messy and unruly and uneducated and emotional and gutsy and shabby and embarrassing. It’s hard to be in fellowship with those who are hard-core, right wing republican / homophobic and loud about it! Ugh! What do we do? Stay and give? Stay and be embarrassed and frustrated?”

thoughts?

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2007 at 5:49 pm

musing…

last night i and a couple of my closest had an opportunity to catch bill mallonee at club passim in harvard square. by all accounts it was a remarkable evening filled with unexpectedly delicious vegan pizza, an extended set of heartbreakers by bill and a chance to catch up with bill and his lovely wife muriah rose.
there are so many things i could say about bill and his music, but since i’ve got an appointment in five i’ll settle for this one. after spending years engaged in an important conversation about deconstructing and reconstructing church bill’s music and life constantly remind me of the need to keep deconstructing myself. for it is only when i shine the lights through the cracks and coax my inadequacies into consciousness that i am prepared to receive the heart-wrenching, wholly undeserved, reconstructive grace of Christ. in sum, bill constantly reminds me that mortifying truth is always preferable to half-concealed hypocrisy.

i love the way that man lives the gospel and am certainly better for his (however limited) companionship on this journey.

now, back to building all things up.

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2007 at 7:09 pm

musing

as i mentioned to my friend aaron and a couple of others this week, in regards to worship i am beginning to suspect that most Christ followers have very little interest in collaboratively creating the content of Christian teaching or shaping the liturgy of the church every week. since we live in a society wherein we are constantly engaged in the process of self-creation (see: myspace, blogging, fake breasts) i do not find it surprising that that relatively few people are interested in open source teaching approaches or truly interactive worship. rather, when they come to worship they simply want to hear the word, receive the sacrament and, perhaps, participate in the sharing/fellowship of their faith.

what is more, i really think this ok. while i really appreciate innovative services in which the teachings are dialogical, the worship is improvisational and the fellowship is quirky and unpredictable, i’m not sure that’s where i want to live. i would rather focus on cultivating the creativity that springs out of order and regularly practicing the traditions/disciplines of the faith in hopes that the tried and true paths will lead us towards something of enduring worth.

anyway, that’s what i’m thinking at the moment. does that sound traditionalist or what?

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2007 at 4:30 pm

discuss


the thought of rosie o’donnell joining the cast of friday night lights is as despicable as:

1) fred thompson’s pro-life record

2) lindsay lohan’s “wild amputee” sex scene

3) rush limbaugh anchoring all things considered

4) michael vick, spca volunteer

5) joel osteen

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