"When you begin to think outside the box, you often become some other "leaders" lousy follower. That usually costs something" (Andy Rayner)

"Our guardian angels are bored." (Mike Foster)

It's where I feel I'm at these days. “In the second half of life, it is good just to be a part of the general dance. We do not have to stand out, make defining moves, or be better than anyone else on the dance floor. Life is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition” (Falling Upward. Richard Rohr.120).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Experts At Church

“I'm extremely concerned that we've become experts at the activities of church - to the point that we can do them without God. No matter what our favorite emphasis might be: worship, the gifts, making disciples, the lost, the poor, social justice, liturgy, unity, theology.... There's one thing that’s vastly more important than all of those activities combined – it’s Him. Intimate relationship with Him; with the Father who is rich in mercy and loves us with a great and lavish love.”

~ Tom Zawacki Charlottetown  Prince Edward Island  Vineyard Church

Why We Fail at Prayer

"Many of us fail at prayer beacuse we see prayer as a place to be good, rather than as a place to be honest."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sorrows

Sorrow, by Sleep At Last

It feels like falling.
It feels like rain.
Like losing my balance
Again and again.
It once was so easy;
Breathe in, breathe out.
But at the foot of this mountain,
I only see clouds.

I feel out of focus,
Or at least indisposed
As this strange weather pattern
Inside me takes hold.
Each brave step forward,
I take three steps behind.
It's mind over matter -
Matter over mind.

Slowly, then all at once.
A single loose thread
And it all comes undone.

Where there is light,
A shadow appears.
The cause and effect
When life interferes.
The same rule applies
To goodness and grief;
For in our great sorrow
We learn what joy means.

I don't want to fight, I don't want to fight it.
I don't want to fight, I don't want to fight it.
I don't want to fight, I don't want to fight it.
But I will learn to fight, I will learn to fight,
'Til this pendulum finds equilibrium.

Slowly, then all at once.
The dark clouds depart,
And the damage is done.
So pardon the dust
While this all settles in.
With a broken heart,
Transformation begins.

Steady

"I'm  only steady on my knees"

Sleeping at Last - Son (lyrics)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pilgrimage To Set A New Course


"Pilgrimage can grow from all kinds of motives: need for rest, realization that something about your faith has grown dull or stale, a transition, trying to process a major crisis, longing for healing or resolution, inexplicable attraction to a particular sojourn, desire for more intense prayer, yearning to explore and better understand your beliefs, wanting to review your life or set a new course."

~ Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking

Pain or Christians Who Convince Us God Us Not That Good

publication of “A Grief Observed,” which Lewis wrote after his wife’s death. God’s megaphone didn’t just rouse Lewis, it nearly shattered him. In writing about his bereavement, Lewis described what it was like to go to God “when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” He added: “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’ ”

There is also, for me at least, consolation in the conviction that we are part of an unfolding drama with a purpose. At any particular moment in time I may not have a clue as to what that precise purpose is, but I believe, as a matter of faith, that the story has an author, that difficult chapters need not be defining chapters and that even the broken areas of our lives can be redeemed."

(After Great Pain, Where Is God? Peter Wehner)

Monday, March 20, 2017

We Need A Three Miles-Per-Hour God

"Theologian Kosuke Koyama presses this notion of appropriate speed even further. He suggests that some things God can teach us only very slowly, at the pace of walking, the speed of life. He marvels that Israelites needed forty years of trekking through the desert. They learned "the word of God in the wilderness as they walked three miles an hour” with “the three mile an hour God.""

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Driving Pains....

"Think of commuting or fighting traffic (No wonder that walk-
ing the Camino caused many to reexamine their occupations.) The
soul-killing boredom of driving is evidenced by the popularity of using
cell phones or personal entertainment devices while underway. Driving
is an activity that is almost always merely a means to an end."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Not Knowing You

"Pauses, breaks, and respites have disappeared.
The norm of multitasking leaves us unaware of what goes on within or around us."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Relationship Between.... Atoms And People

"The energy in the universe is not in the planets, or in the protons or neutrons, but in the relationship between them. Not in the particles but in the space between them. Not in the cells of organisms but in the way the cells feed and give feedback to one another. Not in any precise definition of the three persons of the Trinity as much as in the relationship between the Three! This is where all the power for infinite renewal is at work: The loving relationship between them. The infinite love between them. The dance itself. In other words, it is an entirely relational universe. If, at any time, we try to stop this flow moving through us, with us, and in us, we fall into the true state of sin—and it is truly a state more than a momentary behavior."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Walking to See

"I also know that my watch moves more slowly when I am on foot. Walking affects not just space and distance but also time itself. In our high-speed way of living - which we intriguingly call 'driven' - we miss many things."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Holy Walking

"If saunter really does stem from 'Saint Terre' then by using my own two feet I am learning to honor and cherish the holiness of place - many places in fact"

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Friday, March 17, 2017

The World Through A Windscreen.

The first day that I began hiking the Bruce Trail, the route was enormously rewarding and the scenery breathtaking. Large, old trees powered overhead. I marveled at gargantuan limestone boulders that threatend to break off and plummet down high cliffs. I was awed by lovely glades. What struck me even more than the beauty of these vistas is that they were within a mile or two of where I lived in my teenage years. They were there all along, but I had never seen them; my movements and views were confined to an automobile. I saw nature through screens.....

Ironically, I could spend hours captivated at home by glittering TV images of nature but did not bother to walk a mile or two to engage the bountiful beauty in our own backyard"

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

We Can't Even Schedule Time For Life

"There are obviously serious things awry in our lives. We are frantic, frenetic and frazzled. People sleep less and work more. Too many acquaintances I care about are addicted to computer games or Internet pornography. Families eat together less and less. Folks gobble down food on the run. Churches have difficulty scheduling the simplest, most basic events.
I do not rest easy with how I live my life. I suspect that our cultures steadily increasing interest in spirituality has a lot to do with the fact that many of us function in ways that are personally and ecologically unsustainable."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

We'll Not Find God When We Move Either

" I am challenged in this regard by a fellow resident of Indiana, essayist Scott Russell Sanders, to take more seriously the merit of "staying put." Our unsettled way of life detracks from our ability to honor any place. If we do not learn how to detect God standing still, we'll not find God when we're moving around either.
Thus one of the three central Benedictine vows is stability, the promise to remain committed to a single place and its community for the rest of one's life, trusting that God will speak and convert even - and perhaps especially - when the place no longer easily entertains. Once I was struggling in my work as a pastor and felt tempted to find easier work without the complications of congregational life. Henry Newman encourage me to stay instead and, it his words go deeper.

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking:A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

People Unaware Of My Dreams.

"Before my sojourn I spoke often with many acquaintances about my plans. Frequently, friends had never heard of the Camino. I tried comparing it to the Appalachian Trail, but some were  unaware of that too. I realized that places that most engaged me and loom large in my imagination are off the radar screens for many."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Paying Insufficient Attention

"Some folks seemed credulous at times with their potpourri of ideas about reincarnation, auras, harmonic convergence, crystals, energy and Karma. Still, these were seekers who thirsted and longed for God. I ruefully recognized that I had paid insufficient attention to such folks before, not just on the Camino.
I am not alone. The church as a whole is often largely absent to such folks......

On the whole there is a larger missed opportunity. Is there not a way for the church -"not just along the Camino but elsewhere as well - to welcome such seekers? Can we not respond to this yearning with hospitable listening and conversation? On the Camino many pilgrims ask themselves the most basic and most important questions: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? Am i significant? Is how I behaved important? How ought I to live? Is there a reason for hope? These are existential matters, the very concerns that Christians profess to know something about.:

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Listening More - Declaring Less rapidly

"That's simple and respectful companionship with others got me to listen. Meals, rest stops and walking provided opportunity for long, leisurely conversation. There was no hurry to get things resolved; we had plenty of time to explore. As a professor - and formally a preacher - I spent much time proclaiming the right way to think or theologize, but here I was called into a different, more attentive mode.
I had a chance to see folks as complex and authentic human beings, true neighbors and fellow strugglers, not some stereotype that is easy for me to dismiss. They too, as Philo of Alexandria's Council reminds us, we're fighting their own great  battles."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking:A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

Leave Me Alone Christian

"Our withering evangelism successes prove it.  80 percent of people simply don’t care what we believe and wish to be left alone; 10 per cent of people do care what we believe and hate it enough to boycott and raise hell.  And the other 10 per cent?  That’s us – the Christians.  And we haven’t even bottomed out yet insofar as the slide from orthodoxy is concerned."

Stephen McAlpine

No Debate

"Theological colleges continue to send out eager young Christians into the fray armed with apologetic weapons and arguments that presuppose debates about issues that the secular culture has already determined are not open to debate."

Stephen McAlpine

How to Talk About Jesus?

" I found many pilgrims to be people of reflection in virtue....
People I meant wanted to live in ways that contributed to the well-being of others. They were all willing to settle for selfish materialism or consumerism. They were convinced that there is "something more," that matters of the spirit are vital. I often experienced compassion and care: in hospitality, shared meals, companionship and concern for my well-being. Folks freely shared counsel and food, water and support.

Folks felt strongly about considering themselves pilgrims, authentic ones at that. They were comfortable on this route of Christian significance. They reveled in church art, architecture, history, rituals and symbols. Many visited each church building that was open, attendant Mass whenever it was available and appreciate it the pilgrims blessings that were occasionally offered by local priests as we passed through their towns. Yet they also complained of the institutional Church: its wealth and power, dogma and hypocrisy.  Sadly, almost to a person, they were disbelieving when I talked about Christian nonviolence, a central idea for Mennonites, for people I met, the militarism of George W. Bush is now the face of Christianity. Some without professing Christian faith carried Bibles. And most seem passionate about admiring Jesus. I came to understand that the best way to talk about my faith was to speak of following Jesus, certainly a good metaphor for any pilgrimage."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

Christians Reject Non-violence

"Sadly, almost to a person, they were disbelieving when I talked about Christian non-violence, a central idea for Mennonites; for people I met, the militarism of George W. Bush is now the face of Christianity."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along The Camino de Santiago)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sleeping With God....

"Now let’s try to convince you that this being whom we call God is, in fact, loving. We haven’t had very good success at this, right? In my decades of priesthood, I’ve observed that the vast majority of Christians are afraid of God. In my now broad and worldwide experience, I do not find most Christians to be naturally more loving than those of other faiths. We just think we are! It’s rather disappointing to find this out, but it’s inevitable if you’re basically relating to this God out of fear and if your religion is, by and large, fire insurance just in case the whole thing turns out to be real. You’re not really in this dance. You haven’t crawled into bed to sleep between your divine Parents."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Best Way To Tell God Off

"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability... Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God!

(Francois Fenelon (1651-1715), Spiritual Letters of Archbishop Fenelon. Letters to men, London)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tell Me Stories Not Verses

"We live in a ulture that is not telling us to give me the versus of Jesus. It's telling is, crying for us to tell the stories of Jesus."

Leonard Sweet

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mini Communion

"The celebration of the Lord's Supper in a Christian home in the first century and in a cathedral in the twentieth century cannot be more different, they bear no relationship to each other."

(Dr. William Barclay)

Worthiness Games.....

"The religion, spirituality, and politics of worthiness games, belonging barriers, and achievement rewards will never be the cure: these are in fact part of the dis-ease. But God’s joyous unveiling as Trinity can melt even the most hardened constrictions, illuminating the way toward a fourfold re-union of Spirit, self, society, and sense of space."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Private Back Decks.

"Most of us live privately and individualistically, isolated and cut off from one another. Instead of front porches for visiting with neighbors and passersby, our backyard decks are sheltered behind fences.
We no longer stroll on sidewalks, with opportunity to chat with pedestrians, homeowners and shopkeepers; rather cars move into and out of garages with automatic doors. As we drive, we keep windows closed; all the better to enjoy heat or air conditioning, music, or cell
phone diversion. In the meantime we grow impatient with folks who
drive slowly or hesitate a second too long at stoplights. Then we do not wish a Buen Camino! but honk horns or display certain fingers instead. No doubt many of us face challenges, but often we're not aware of what others undergo, with no sense of appreciation for their great struggles."

(Arthur Paul Boers. The Way is Made by Walking)

Resisting Hierarchy

"Pilgrimages resist hierarchy and structure; folks temporarily suspend regular roles. Simplified dress codes, strenuous challenges and pared-down lifestyles, in the context of a supportive community, all contribute to what anthropologist call "liminality." This describes a betwixt-and-between state that can help convert people from one way of life to another."

~ Arthur Paul Boers.  The Way is Made by Walking

Friday, March 10, 2017

Chtistus Victor

"The Christus Victor model has rightly been recommended as a fruitful resource for believels’ church theologizing. Yet the emphases of Christus Victor have been presented as opposed to those of the classical creeds. Through an examination of patristic writers (chiefly Justin Martyr and Irenaeus), who both advocated Christus Victor and affimed many creed-like staments, this essay argues that these two resources need not be incompatible.
It then outlines more positive ways in which believers' church theologians can appropriate the creeds. Finally, this  shows how Christus Victor, as conceived by Justin and lrenaeus, involved not only the social and ethical dimensions that believers’ church theologians stress, but personal and spiritual ones as well.....

Since Christus Victor can be appropriated without setting it sharply
against the creeds, let us consider this motifs content. Most basically,
Christus Victor depicts Jesus' atoning work as a conflict between the
forces of God and the forces of evil. Jesus opposes the latter during his
life, is apparently conquered by them in his death, but triumphs over
them through his resurrection. Weaver traces this conflict through Jesus'
ministry. He stresses good news to the poor and love for enemies as
basic features of God's reign; and Jesus' rejection of Satan's approach to
power in the wilderness and at Peter's confession as flash points of the
struggle (281-83). In such a motif, Jesus, God's reign, and later the
Church clearly stand over against the forces that otherwise rule the
world.....

Thursday, March 9, 2017

People Can't See God Through Our Religious Fog Shit

"People can’t see God clearly because
we keep creating fog banks of failed
legalism, self—focused religion,
definitions of holiness that extract us
from the real world, and fear of our
new neighbors because they are not
like us. We are not friends of the
world, which makes us very unlike
Jesus—the one we purport to follow."

(Hugh Halter. Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgement)

Disconnected Pain

"Because I’m convinced that beneath the ugly manifestations of our present evils—political corruption, ecological devastation, warring against one another, hating each other based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation—the greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now is our profound and painful sense of disconnection. Disconnection from God, certainly, but also from ourselves (our bodies), from each other, and from our world."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

God Works Even When We Don't Notice or Participate

"Yes, God is saving the world, and God goes on working even though we fail to notice, fail to enjoy, fail to pass on, and fail to fully live our one and only life. We become like the small god we have too often worshipped, and thus spectators at our own funeral."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

Jesus is near!

"But the victorious minority, unintimidated by the cultural patterns of the lockstepping majority, live and celebrate as though Jesus were near—near in time, near in place—the witness of our motives, our speech, and our behavior. As indeed he is.

(Brennan Manning. The Signature Of Jesus)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What if the cross was more than Substitution?

We have made the cross about us...

"In 1931 Aulén published his seminal work Christus Victor: An Histori-
cal Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of the Atonement. The majority
of theological treatises written nearly eighty years ago are long forgotten.
They may remain on library shelves, but they are usually regarded as
outdated and irrelevant. By contrast, Aulén's work continues to wield
influence in theological scholarship. It has been hailed as a "modern
classic"2 and one of the most influential theological works of the twen-
tieth century,3 challenging the paradigms, metaphors, and terminology
that modern theologians use to engage the doctrine of atonement on both
historical and systematic levels.4 Aulén establishes a dichotomy, pitting
the so-called classic idea of atonement against the "Latin" idea, of which
he is highly critical. He argues that the classic idea of atonement, con-
sistent with the New Testament and the majority of the Church Fathers,
was eclipsed over time by the Latin theory that began with Tertullian and
came to fruition in Anselm.5 Aulén claims that the core tenet of the clas-
sic theory is Christ's victory over the devil—a drama where atonement
is viewed as a "divine conflict and victory."6 He points out that the clas-
sic theory presupposes atonement is "from above"; it is a work of God
himself in Christ defeating the evil powers and reconciling the world to
himself. By contrast, the Latin theory does away with this dramatic imag-
ery and views atonement as Christ making satisfaction to God by paying
the debt incurred by human sin. Aulén charges that this view is "from
below" because it stresses the human side of atonement. Man, united
with the divine nature, makes payment to the One to whom satisfaction
is owed. Here, the understanding of Christ's atoning death is a payment
to an offended deity, while the idea of victory over the devil is relegated
to secondary importance or left out completely."

(CHRISTUS VICTOR MOTIFS
IN THE SOTERIOLOGY OF
THOMAS AQUINAS)
Jonathan Morgan

God, The Great Threatner

"Instead of the idea of Trinity being an abstruse conundrum, it could well end up being the answer to the foundational problem of Western religion. Instead of God being the Eternal Threatener, we have God as the Ultimate Participant— in everything— both the good and the painful."

~ Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Even Truth Can't be Widely Accepted Until Next Generation

"In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn popularized the word “paradigm shift.”15 He made clear that even in the scientific field, a paradigm shift is tantamount to what religion often calls “major conversion.”And it is equally rare in both science and religion! Any genuine transformation of worldview asks for such a major switch from the track we’re familiar with that often those who hold the old paradigm must actually die off before a new paradigm can gain traction and wide acceptance."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

The Trinity Dance

"The very mystical Cappadocian Fathers of fourth-century eastern Turkey eventually developed some highly sophisticated thinking on what we soon called the Trinity.....
Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three—a circle dance of love. And God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself. Now hold on to this. This is not some new, trendy theology from America. This is about as traditional as you can get."

(Richard Rohr. The Divine Dance)

I Said Amen Amen...


When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, Your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.
Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

(Adrian Plass)

Sunday performance for a group of people that may or may not want to actually follow Jesus

"..... many of the failures we’ve experienced both personally and in ministry have come from a very unnatural environment we call consumer church. It costs too much and therefore puts incredible pressure on us to prop up the system to keep our livelihood going. It’s made heroes only of those who could speak eloquently or lead a large multitude into a shallow pool, but we’ve died in the process. As we got sucked into the vortex of putting on the Sunday performance for a group of people that may or may not want to actually follow Jesus , we shot arrows into our own souls and stopped following him ourselves. Everything we did was under the guise of the language of discipleship, but in the end we can barely recall actual moments of being a disciple ourselves."

Hugh Halter

Out Of the Box

"..... some of life’s greatest stories come from men and woman willing to think and live outside the box. But you should never expect someone to pay your bills to do it. Denominations won’t take the risk, churches won’t get behind them........ So if you want to live outside the box, be ready to fund it by yourself...."

~Hugh Halter. BiVo

$2 Discipleship

“Well, here’s the bottom line,” I said. Your present budget is $6 million a year for 3000 people. You have on average five adults come to faith a year, so your CPC is about $1.2 million. The expansion you’re considering will cost another $12 million and seat another 1200 so that would account for another three to four people, but it would push your CPC up to about $2 million per head.” The room was quiet. One elder asked us, “So, what is your CPC at Adullam?” Matt and I looked at each other, Matt did a little figuring and then said, “Two bucks.”

(Hugh Halter. BiVo)

The Sermon Farce

"I was taught in seminary that I was unworthy to stand behind the pulpit unless I studied the scripture in the Greek for at least forty hours a week! I remember hearing that and raising my hand, saying, “Excuse me, doctor, I work as a house painter about thirty to forty hours a week. So if I add another forty hours for sermon prep, it doesn’t seem to leave much room for . . . well . . . anything!” He replied, “Well, son, maybe you’re not called to lead a church.” Because of my naivety and because I believed him about the importance of the sermon, I did both. On our first church plant, I averaged 100 hours of “work” a week, and my wife didn’t like me, my kids thought I was always cranky, and I was withering away into a shell of who I was. But I was championing the cause of “good news”! What a farce!
The reality of adult learning is that the average adult listening to us only retains about five to ten percent of the content we’ve worked so hard to prepare, and by the time they unload the kids at McDonalds an hour after church, they’ve pretty much forgotten most of what we said. And yet, week after week, we make mammon of our time, thinking that the sermon is the center of disciple-making. But it’s not even close! Adults learn primarily through sensory experience, not cognitive downloads, and the acceptance of this fact should unhinge us from this weekly grind that bears so little fruit. Look, I’m a Bible guy and believe in the power that lies within every syllable. I also believe that we should handle the word of God correctly and make sure we deliver our teaching with accuracy and skill. But I also believe a sermon should be considered one of the ways we teach, not the only way. Understanding this will not only help you focus your time on other disciplines and experiences that will grow disciples, but it will also allow you to find a better balance for your own life..... Spiritual authority no longer comes through our proficiency. It comes through our lives. People follow people because they respect how we live, not because of what we say."

~ Hugh Halter. BiVo

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Always Carry The Girl....

"There is a story told of two months in Japan, traveling together down a muddy Road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a Bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on girl," said Tanzan and at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging Temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
"We monks don't go near females," he told his Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

~Simon Tugwell. Prayer

When Jesus Can't Speak

"So often we are too full of what we think should be happening to us in our spiritual formation to notice what God is actually teaching us."

~Simon Tugwell. Prayer.

Make Em Feel Guilty From The Pulpit?

" God will know how to draw glory even from our faults. Not to be downcast after committing a fault is one of the marks of true sanctity."
~Dom Augustin Guillerand

Assured Lightning Strike

"It is a curious fact that all the very old sequoias had lost their heads by lightning strokes. "All things come to him who waits." But of all living things, sequoia is perhaps the only one able to wait long enough to make sure of being struck by lightning."

John Muir. Yosemite

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Church carpet can go to hell......

."We know of a senior pastor of a church in our area who, after refurbishing the facilities with fresh paint and new carpet, stood before the congregation with a cup of coffee. To the shock and sighs of the congregation, he then intentionally poured its contents directly onto the new carpet, creating a dark puddle and a permanent stain, He said to the church that the carpet can go to hell but he didn't want the kids in the neighborhood to have to. The
people outside the walls are far more important than the carpet inside of them.
They left the stain as a permanent reminder that the mission is not in the building, but outside in the streets." (Church Transfusion: Neil Cole)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Became My Enemy

"Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. The Way we combat evil is by making sure that people get what they have coming to them. An eye for an eye. You attack me and I’ll attack you. Fair is fair. And there were times in my own life when I’ve been so hurt that I was sure retaliation would make me feel better. But inevitably, when I can’t harm the people who harmed me, I just end up harming the people who love me. So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it.
In the end, if We’re not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy and on some level even become them."
(Nadia Bolz-Weber. Pastrix: The Cranky Beautiful Faith of A Sinner & Saint.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Waste Your Time Talking About Christianity

"I was in Washington, DC, last year with
a man who has been a chaplain to world
leaders. As we talked over dinner, all he
did was talk about Jesus. At one point,
he got so impassioned, he put down his
fork, which had a beautiful piece of prime
beef on the end of it, pointed his rickety
old finger at me, and said, “Don’t waste
any more time talking about Christianity,
or church, or Christians—just tell people
about Jesus!" Then he shared a story
about Billy Graham. He said that one
day Billy came in to meet him, and he
asked Billy, “What, after all these years
of incredible ministry, would you have
done differently?” Apparently Billy got re-
ally emotional and said, “I would have
talked about Jesus more.” Billy went on
to expound about how he had spent his
entire life trying to get the whole world to
become Christians, and now he realized
that was a mistake.

Like so many of us, Billy realized
that converting people to Christianity was
never on Jesus’s agenda, and so it really
shouldn’t be on ours. He never intended
to start another world religion. He never
intended to create Christian nations or
wipe out other world religions and con-
quer in the name of Christianity. Jesus
simply came to show any person how to
be in relationship with the one true God,
without any religion!"

(Hugh Halter. FLESH)