Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And one more for the road (Owl City on love)

In keeping with our love theme . . .
'I was harrowed by the fact that so many people (specifically me) have a funny tendency to desire romance merely for the sake of avoiding loneliness, which ultimately means it's not about LOVE at all! Sometimes it's easy to be "blinded by the light" and forget all about what true romance is designed by God to be. When all you focus on are the warm fuzzies, a relationship can become dangerous and disastrous very quickly. So the song plays closely to the fact that I needed to pull myself out of the lights and remember what's more important than the romantic butterflies.'
 Your thoughts?  Have you seen or experienced (given or received) this kind of desire?

Six assorted quotes that made me think

Numbered for your commenting convenience.

1. "Miracles happen and people get visions for sure. But mostly God gives us a hoe and some seeds and introduces us to the miracle of work and a lot of common sense."

Stumbled on this while reading Just Do Something, a short and thought-provoking look at why we have such a lot of trouble "discerning the will of God for our lives."  (Hint: sloppy definition and theology have a lot to do with it.)

2. "Serve not to convert," says Roberts. "Serve because you are converted." 

What do you think of churches that say Christians shouldn't help out any humanitarian effort unless we're allowed to directly preach the gospel with words?  It's worthless if we don't share the gospel, is their claim, and they really seem to believe it.

3. "Clearly in the Bible spiritual leaders found ways to get people to pay attention. The prophets would use props such as plumb lines and cisterns. They would set a record for most days spent lying on one side. They would bury and dig up undergarments. They would marry women with shady reputations. Their lives often looked like something between performance art and reality TV."

This is one of the reasons why I love the Old Testament . . .

4. "Scheduling is no small matter. Attending takes time without offering quantifiable results. It requires stillness in a culture that rewards industriousness. It's inefficient in a world that considers getting things done next to godliness. A pastor who refuses to be slothful in the areas of silence and reflection stands a good chance of getting fired."

Someone referred to it as the cult of efficiency, a startling descriptor.

5. "While it may appear as though theological debate today is more polarized than ever, in fact it is perhaps as civil as it's ever been. There are still charges of heresy here and there, but at least we're no longer burning each other at the stake. There is occasional name-calling, but as Luther famously pointed out even Jesus and Paul were fond of coming up with clever names for false teachers."

There's some excellent witty repartee in the gospels between Jesus and said hypocrites and false teachers!

6. And last but not least.
"Spiritual maturity is the capacity to see God in the ordinary. And if you receive that capacity, if you become someone with eyes that can see and ears that can hear, you are given a gift.
It is life beyond boredom. Beyond amusement. Beyond attentive.
It is resurrection"

Discuss.  :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grace and consistency

So, wow, unexpected article I thought I'd share with you.  Here are some of my favorite bits. 
"First, Christian institutions should be clear about the behavioral standards they expect from employees, students, and members, and then enforce them—consistently, but judiciously. There are legal reasons for this. If Christian institutions expect society to let them make religious belief and practice a factor in their employment practices, they need to provide clear and consistent accounts of their standards. "

"Consistency and clarity are essential. Consistency means not singling out those with same-sex orientation. The same standard should apply to all. Wheaton College's Community Covenant is a good model. It says, "[F]ollowers of Jesus Christ will … uphold chastity among the unmarried (1 Cor. 6:18) and the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman (Heb. 13:4) … Scripture condemns … all … sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman." Those standards do not make a special case of homosexuality. To deviate from God's ideal is to deviate from God's ideal."

"Grace does not always, everywhere, and immediately mean wiping the slate clean."

"Grace can be tough, but it always aims at the redemption of the offender."
This is a set of topics that has been on my mind for a few years.  When I realized that there were few examples of correct church discipline, a real inconsistency in the Christian community about moral failures in leadership, and a real double standard about sexual sin in the church, I started thinking.  I'm still thinking.  What are your thoughts?  Your experience with these issues in your church?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Further thoughts on what I'm ashamed of

I wonder if this dilemma is like people searching for the perfect church.  They look around to find one that's running smoothly and healthily, and they reject any as soon as human cracks become visible to them.  Of course, all human institutions have human cracks.  The longer you're around them, the more cracks you see.  The fall tainted everything.  If you're looking for the perfect anything here on earth, you're on a fool's quest, one that is doomed to failure. 

Is it wrong for me to pull my support of an institution just because I've clearly seen how sinful, fallen, and human the institution is?  If I am unwilling to settle for anything less then perfect, unable to find anything at all, what benefit is that to anyone?  Where's the balance between wise stewardship, wisdom, sour grapes, truth, and consequences?

This is hard.  Any thoughts?