Thursday, December 30, 2010

Group Shot

Why I Will Never Be That Guy

We are at Xtreme Winter with a group of middle school students and based on what I always see when I come to big events like this, I am always reminded of who I am and who(what) I am not.

I am a normal disciple of Christ trying to love people and show them the grand story of life found in the gospel. I am not the "cool, trendy, hip generational minister" who tries to act younger than he really is. Let me give you a few reasons why I am NOT that guy and Lord willing never will be...

1. I don't own a Member's Only jacket (anymore).
2. I don't wear scarf's tied around my neck like a girl.
3. I don't talk like I am stoned when I am preaching. (Ro-ads scene from Black Sheep)
4. I don't own a v-neck shirt that I would wear except as an undershirt.
5. I don't want to own a pair of skinny jeans, the very thought is frightening.
6. I don' have any hair, which sadly means I can't straighten it or wear it hanging in one eye like a wispy eye patch.
7. I don't have a short, catchy last name.
8. I don't have a Mac, I don't even have a decent iPod.
9. I don't drink froo-froo coffee drinks, at least not often. In fact, the older I get the more I prefer my coffee black.
10. I wear worn out ball caps, not $20 hats from American Eagle.
11. I need multiple sets of earplugs for Christian concerts.
12. I don't put much stock into emotionally induced altar calls.

Well, at least I can take comfort in knowing that most transformation in ministry takes place in the routine and ordinariness of life. Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit is bigger than me or the trendy speaker guy I will never become.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recent Books

I have read several books recently that I wanted to post about, but just haven't had the time.

Bill Leonard's recent book, The Challenge of Being Baptist is a insightful look at Baptist life of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Leonard is an acknowledged moderate within Baptist life and currently serves as Dean of Wake Forest University Divinity School. Leonard's command of Baptist history gives him insight into how best to articulate the challenge(s) of being Baptist. The subtitle of the book really captures the essence of his writing, "Owning A Scandalous Past And An Uncertain Future." "Being Baptist is messy, controversial, and divisive. Like the gospel" (51).
In writing about hermeneutics(interpretation of scripture) in Baptist life he writes, "Biblical hermeneutics is neither a simple nor primarily academic pursuit. It is a dangerous necessity undertaken implicitly or explicitly by every Baptist congregation and individual. Biblical hermeneutics sent Baptists to jail and to the mission field. Certain hermeneutics also sent them to the slave auctions. Interpreting the text is terribly dangerous then and now" (72).

N.T. Wright has republished a book of sermons entitled, Small Faith, Great God. It is like most of his work that I have read an engaging book, rich with scripture, theology, and good stories...sadly much of what he says is part of a larger thesis or presentation and not usually distilled to a pithy saying or phrase. It was a book I read during and just after having a former student suddenly die, so it was a source of great hope and encouragement for me. It challenged me to look beyond my own circumstances and life and see the sovereign God, the creator of the universe who lovingly cares for me and provides for his people in ways that we can't even begin to comprehend.

Both books are short, insightful reads.

Christmas Choir

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's Going On?

No, that's not a reference to the Marvin Gaye classic, although that's a great song. There have been several stories in the media lately about celebrities and their "mistakes". It begs the larger question of what's going on in our world, our culture...our churches?

We seem to cast blame on everyone else around us instead of taking responsibility for our choices and actions. Isn't it easier to let someone else take the fall for something you did rather than admitting that you broke that expensive lamp? We need to be reminded that we are responsible for our own actions. We need to be reminded that when we look at what's wrong with the world, that we are included in the world.

G.K. Chesterton was reputed to write the following to the editor in response to a request by the London Times for an essay on the topic, “What’s Wrong with the World,”
          Dear Sir:
          In response to your article, ‘What’s wrong with the world’
          – I am.
          Yours truly,
          G.K. Chesterton.

Taken from