Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The problem with relativism

"relativism cuts the ground form under conviction and precipitates a crisis of authoirty. It sidesteps the basic question "is it true?" and replaces it with "does it work?" and "how does it feel?" The effect has been to reduce truth to timelines, morality to usefulness, and personal faith to what feels good--for me". Os Guiness, Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt.

I think this quote sums up my internal problems with relativism. The end result of believing that truth is relative is nothing more than a truncated, egocentric utilitarianism. In fact, such a worldview is self-defeating because in its purest sense utilitarianism can never be egocentric. Instead of asking the question "what is best for the community", relativism asks "what is best for me?" We isolate ourselves to the point that many of our relationships are only bits of information floating on the worldwide web. Bits that can be erased at any instant if we decide that is best for us. We do not deal with other humans, we deal with the ghosts of those we pretend to interact with online. But nothing matters. Nothing can matter.

Community is the key which the church must use to open the hearts of a broken world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

More around the Galilee


Craig being craig

Fireman Bill sat down on the Hill to catch a glimpse of Jesus

Panoramic view of the sea of Galilee from the Mt. of Beatitudes. You can see the natural amphitheater that would have made the acoustics perfect for Jesus.

An olive press: insert olives, roll stone, collect oil. Easier said than done.

The church at the Mt of Beatitudes



Somewhere along this beach Jesus lovingly cooked the disciples breakfast after the resurrection. Shortly after that he pulled Peter aside and helped him forgive himself for denying Jesus. One of my favorite stories in the Bible, and one of my fav. sites in Israel.



excellently preserved synagogue

the city itself

A pillar commemorating its donation by one of John's descendants.

Inside the synagogue...basically a square room with seats in a circle so there was no "leader" per se, but a discussion oriented ministry.

The site where the pigs probably came a runnin after being filled with demons . . . few made it past the minefield I would guess. There are numerous graves in the hills behind as well as a traditional church site where the event is commemorated.

Chat acronyms

Doing my weekly cultural research today (Browsing the internet and looking at interesting articles regarding youth culture), I found a text message translator.

There are 100 acronyms translated.

25 are explicit references to illegal or immoral behavior (most of which describing sexual activity).

8 of them are references to having parents nearby.

Many of the others are most often used in these contexts, but could be normal conversation (i.e. asking if you are gay or straight). In other words, over 1/3 of the acronyms are describing a conversation you wouldn't want your folks to know you had.

Why is there even a need for them? My heart hurts.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's so special about Trinity?

Listening to Stuart McAllister today, i realized the most significant aspect of God's trinitarian nature. The Bible doesn't say that others will know we are Christians because we subscribe to a set of doctrines, but because of our love. There's the kicker. Love.

The trinity is the perfect loving relationship. In it, the persons of God always work together in self-effacing love. At any given moment, the Father, Son, or Spirit might be prominent, but they all work together and serve each other. Love seeks a counterpart.

Allah is a God of power, but cannot love because he is a distant singularity, or single entity. "He is an ontology of power." In other words, he has nobody else to love. The Father, Son, and Spirit have always been. They have always been in relationship. They have always loved. And because we are made in their image, we too can love.

They will know we are Christians because we are like God.




pouring ourselves out for others

Friday, May 9, 2008

Incredible incompetence

So I was talking to my boss the other day. I forget what the subject was, something about using his office for counseling, maybe. What it was isn't very significant. At the end of the conversation, Dave said something along the lines of "hey man, if you ever feel like you want to share something with the church and take on a Sunday, let me know". That's one of those expressions that kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

I appreciate that the leaders here want me to have authority and all.  They are doing a great job of challenging me and the rest of the church to view my position as a pastor and less as a youth guy.  The problem is, I'm comfortable with youth.  I can stand up and teach a group of students for an hour with my zipper down...trust me, I know from experience.  Adults are different.  

Some adults view me as a pastor, but most don't.  I'm pretty much the monkey boy with the red vest clanging symbols (eerily biblical, huh?).  It's an interesting dynamic 

over half of the U.S. population is under the age of 18.  Why isn't half of the church population under 18?

So dave wants me to lead another service.  I won't lie, I want me to lead another service.  My gastrointestinal reflexes do not want me to.  

The more I find out, the less I know.  Did you know that the greek word "disciple" is only used in the gospels and acts?  This is my new kick...biblical discipleship.  Christian discipleship isn't very biblical.  If we took it literally, instead of making other disciples of Jesus we would have the cajones to make disciples of ourselves.  Screwed up, messy, passionate disciples like us.  Those who need to be discipled need to see following Jesus in action.  Following is the other word used (commonly translated disciple) to describe jesus' followers.  That's the word Paul uses. 

Much like my apprehensions in leading a service, Christians are afraid that their incompetence will do more harm than good.  So we make disciples of Jesus--and they have no model of what that means. 

Kind of like throwing a kid in the river to teach her how to swim.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

another great one-thanks dick staub

In my never-ending quest to bring you the best of the Christian blogosphere, I strongly recommend you read this post by dick staub.