I get new urban legends sent to my reader everyday and this one shocked the tar out of me. It isn’t often, in fact I don’t think I have ever seen my hometown online. Unless I looked it up.
In the interest of improving my quality of life and reducing the commercialism of Christmas I found this list last year and I wanted to post it to remind myself as well as give ideas to others.
These are just thoughts that may not be long enough to get an entire post to themselves, but are things I wanted to get written down.
At risk of sounding like a “review” of a church I wanted to talk about the church we attended over the weekend. Sunday night a few of us went downtown in Columbus to visit Veritas Community Church Heather and I have been looking at becoming involved with the acts29network for some time. I am even thinking about going down to their training camp in February. When we found out they finally had a church plant in Columbus we decided to check it out.
We found out way through the Victorian village to the church, it was in a beautiful area, all the old houses had been rehabbed during the real estate boom and it looked great. The church was an older building (it is currently sharing with another church) and it was interesting to be in a real sanctuary, complete with stained glass and pew bibles, instead of a modern theater setting.
One of the advantages I noticed right away was since they were new, the church was planted in October, no one knew anyone and so everyone felt free to introduce themselves. We met and talked with several people, many of them there for the first time. There hasn’t been enough time for unhealthy cliques to begin. I don’t know that I have ever felt so welcomed into a church before.
All in all I was very happy to have attended and amazed that I enjoyed the “worship” so much. To me the “worship” portion of a church service is normally what I tolerate to get to the point. The songs were focused on the work of Christ and his gospel, without having the song list in front of me I don’t know how to describe it but I can say I never once felt like I wanted Jesus to be my boyfriend as I was singing. I really felt like we were worshiping God for the work done by Jesus Christ as our savior.
They also did responsive reading which took me back to a time in the Lutheran tradition which I quite enjoyed.
I think we will be returning to and we will be praying about what God wants us to do.
How can you know someone you that you know nothing about? It has recently become the avant-garde thing to do to once again proclaim no creed but Christ and to know God outside of church, doctrine or creed. But my question is how do you do that?
I was one of the few people I know who were really discipled. Don Nonnenman took me under his wing and he taught me what he felt was important, then I spent two years in Bible College, and 8 years as a heavily active member of the church that sponsored the college. I still feel woefully uninformed when it comes to orthodox thoughts on Christianity. I learned a lot of about word of faith practices and how to “work the Word” for all that it is worth but very little about the core beliefs that make Christianity what it is.
Having not grown up in church I was never subject to Catechism or even much more than a very basic Sunday school experience. Heather and I have spent some time reviewing Catechisms for ourselves and our girls so that they will know what to believe and why as they grow up. Just from an anecdotal evidence I see very little proof that those young people who have grown up in church know much more about Christianity than those who have not been to church before.
Christian Smiths book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers interviews thousands of young people from many different church backgrounds and he discovered that many of our church kids follow what he describes as therapeutic moralistic deism and not orthodox Christianity. Could this be because we have gotten away from tougher deeper teaching to in order to be attractive to consumer driven seekers? I am not sure but I believe it must be considered.
In her new book “Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It
” Julia Duin (pronounced dean) talks about the new reformed churches that are a growing number of churches that are gaining popularity. Churches like Mars Hill in Seattle is taking on tough questions and would never be accused of being seeker sensitive. Pastor Mark Driscoll pulls no punches with his devotion to the Gospel which he admits is an offense to most who hear it. He uses all the larger words of the Bible that many shy away from for the fear of sounding to religious.
The question becomes whether or not Christianity will be able to separate itself from any general spirituality that surrounds it. Although on paper we may be able to I don’t know of those who call themselves Christians can articulate the difference.
It is all about the Gospel.
Last week at our house church I heard probably the greatest message on sex and marriage I have ever heard. The reason was because it went past pop psychology to the gospel and how our fallen nature affects our marriages. The Gospel should always be at the center of our lives, ministries, marriages and blogs.
The message was by Mark Driscoll and I will embed it here in the post if you would like to see it and I suggest you do…
The trouble with many marriages including my own is that we never plan for sin. We have a financial plan, a plan for raising our children, and plans for our vacation but not a plan for sin. I am a sinner, I am evil by nature and I married a sinner who is evil by nature, that doesn’t make for a sinless marriage. Pastor Mark Driscoll calls us to account for that in our marriages.
I am a shamefully proud person and it is very difficult for me to admit I am wrong. I will argue points I don’t even agree with just to ‘win’ the argument at times. This has hindered me in many relationships but consistently with my wife. After hearing from God on the details of this issue we are working on it together but we must consider the fact that we are fallen people and we will hurt one another.
One of the parts of the message that really touched me was when Mark’s wife joined him for the Q&A at the end and he asked the question if he deserved to be forgiven by her when he sins. The answer is no, forgiveness is mercy and grace which is by nature not deserved. The issues is not that we deserve to be forgiven by God or our spouses but that we forgive because God forgives.
I really hope and pray that Heather and I can live the gospel out more and more in our marriage so that our girls can truly understand the majesty of the glory of God.
I suppose I am one of the few people who would hurry to get a book before the movies comes out when they have no intention of seeing the movie. But when I discovered that the new movie Blindness is based on a noble prize winning book I decided to branch outside of my normal reading patters and give it a try.
The author employs some very interesting methods in his writing the first of which is his grammatical form. There are very few paragraph breaks and little punctuation outside of commas and periods, which makes the conversations in the story very difficult to follow until you get used to it.
Additionally, none of the characters use proper names but are simply described by some feature of their personality, appearance or their relation ship to another character. I felt very little attachment to the characters as a whole and there was very little development of them.
The book does have at least one scene of a graphic sexual nature that I was not comfortable with and wish I could have skipped because it added little to the story but nevertheless I feel compelled to warn anyone who may be tempted or offended by such a scene. To be honest I wish I wouldn’t have read this scene for the images that came to my mind.
I am sure that the author was attempting to make some great moral or philosophical point when he wrote this book but he doesn’t make it very clear the story is barely coherent or interesting and doesn’t have a good ending.
I thought a Nobel Prize winning book would be better. It seems when I step outside of my normal reading patters I discover why they are my normal reading patterns.
I have refrained from discussing politics as much as possible because I am attempting to focus more on the gospel but I have to ask. Why do we allow the Government so much power in our lives?
About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:
‘A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.’
‘A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.’
¡From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’
‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years’
‘During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage’
Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:
Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29
Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13..2 Republicans: 2.1
Professor Olson adds: ‘In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare….’ Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the ‘complacency and apathy’ phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the ‘governmental dependency’ phase.
Every year since this blog has been up it seems like I have a large number of readers at the very beginning of the year only to have the numbers drop back down to average by February or March. I assume that is because every year I attempt to read the Bible all the way through and encourage others to do so as well. People come by to see how things are going and check the schedule only to fall off the bandwagon like so many other resolutions.
Again this year I am going to be reading the Bible, I haven’t decided on a schedule as of yet but I would like to know what would help you meet the goal of reading God’s word? I could do a newsletter/mailing list of encouragement, or set up a forum to discuss what we are reading, a podcast of the daily reading? I am willing to try anything if it will help people read God’s word.
I think it is important for everyone to read and understand the Bible, how else will we know what God said versus what we have always thought. It is the primary way God speaks to us, and most of us, including myself ignore it far too much.
Let me know if you are interested in partaking or helping this year.
Drop a comment and let me know what you think.