Sunday, September 30, 2007
Where are they?
In the 21st century, mega-churches are increasingly characterizing the North American evangelical landscape. First Baptist Churches in Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas all claim memberships larger than 20,000 as do Prestonwood Baptist Church, Second Baptist Houston, Bellevue Baptist in Cordova, Tennessee, and Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. But not all is healthy in these large mega-churches that can typically only account for one-third of their members on any given Sunday. For too many, church membership has become a spectator sport rather than a vital part of daily life.
A story is told in Kenya of a prominent pastor from the United States who visited Nairobi and was introduced to the Kenyan church leadership as ‘pastor of one of the largest churches in America, with more than 20,000 members. Each week more than 8,000 attend his preaching.’ Visibly moved, the Kenyan leader led his brothers to pray for the American pastor who could not find more than half of his church members on Sunday morning!
-- David Garrison, Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Are you sorry?
Of all the silly sentences produced by American pop culture, my personal choice for silliest is Erich Segal’s, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” (Who but a Yale professor could have written something so dumb?) “Love means always being prepared to say you are sorry,” is far sounder advice to newlyweds.-- Jonathan Rosenblumread more
Monday, September 24, 2007
creationism & Christianity
I want to remove the stumbling block to the Gospel message that is being created by a dogmatic presentation of Creationism. Not the belief in a young earth and creation without evolution per se, but the “either/or” teaching that comes with it. I am not here to argue for an old earth or evolution, necessarily, but against the false dichotomy that so often comes along with Creationism. More and more people are being taught that an old earth/evolution and Christianity are wholly inconsistent and that if you believe one, you can not really believe the other. Such a blanket statement puts two very distinct groups in crisis and I am convinced that souls are being lost to the Kingdom as a result. This may sound a bit over-dramatic, but I have seen too many people distracted from the Gospel message by this issue.- - The Submerging Influence -- Read more . . .
Sunday, September 23, 2007
. . . each tree is known by its own fruit.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Rest in peace, Fr. Thomas Roznowski OSB
Fr. Thomas blessing bikers at Blue Cloud Abbey last year.
Father Thomas passed away last Tuesday. I will miss him very much. I will miss his kindness -- his practical approach to theological issues -- his openness -- his acceptance that ALL who believe in Christ are members of His church.
May his memory be blessed!
You can read more about Father Thomas' life on the Blue Cloud Abbey's web site.
Friday, September 21, 2007
A quiet mind is the best cure for a low mood.
* * *
Quiet is listening without judgment.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It’s swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. There’s no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism. -- Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, on a systematic purge of religious books and materials at federal prisons.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
God loves you as you are!
God loves us as we are, not as we should be, for we will never be as we should be.
-- David Busby
Saturday, September 15, 2007
When we have been deeply hurt by another person, it is nearly impossible not to have hostile thoughts, feelings of anger or hatred, and even a desire to take revenge. All of this often happens spontaneously, without much inner control. We simply find ourselves brooding about what we are going to say or do to pay back the person who has hurt us. To choose blessings instead of curses in such a situation asks for an enormous leap of faith. It calls for a willingness to go beyond all our urges to get even and to choose a life-giving response.
Sometimes this seems impossible. Still, whenever we move beyond our wounded selves and claim our God-given selves, we give life not just to ourselves but also to the ones who have offended us.henrinouwen.org
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
what's in your closet?
If you have two cloaks in your cupboard, you have someone else's cloak.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
doubt is not a threat
The 16th century writer Michel de Montaigne lived in a world of religious war, just as we do. And he understood, as we must, that complete religious certainty is, in fact, the real blasphemy. As he put it, "We cannot worthily conceive the grandeur of those sublime and divine promises, if we can conceive them at all; to imagine them worthily, we must imagine them unimaginable, ineffable and incomprehensible, and completely different from those of our miserable experience. 'Eye cannot see,' says St. Paul, 'neither can it have entered into the heart of man, the happiness which God hath prepared for them that love him.'"
In that type of faith, doubt is not a threat. If we have never doubted, how can we say we have really believed? True belief is not about blind submission. It is about open-eyed acceptance, and acceptance requires persistent distance from the truth, and that distance is doubt. Doubt, in other words, can feed faith, rather than destroy it. And it forces us, even while believing, to recognize our fundamental duty with respect to God's truth: humility. We do not know. Which is why we believe.
- The Conservative Soul
Monday, September 10, 2007
seeking God in prison
It is going to be more difficult. Prisons are in the process of purging religious texts under the assumption that they may incite violence & terrorism. Read more.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
something to think about
This morning, at Beaver Lake Lutheran, Pastor Charlie Brown asked us to reflect on these questions to help us find our calling:
1. What have you given Jesus lately?
2. What could you be giving him that you aren't?
3. If you were to put Jesus first, how would it change your life? -- what would you start doing? -- what would you stop doing?
Saturday, September 08, 2007
doubt & faith
Everyone is familiar with Mother Teresa; all of us admired her dedication as she exemplified the Sermon on the Mount; all of us believed that she must be a woman of great faith without doubts. But doubt she did:
"Where is my faith? Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. ... If there be God — please forgive me... Such deep longing for God ... repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal... What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."
- read more of Mother Teresa and her correspondence.
Friday, September 07, 2007
I've been bogged down with work and other demands on my time this week -- so, the following quote from Rick Warren hit home:
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is get some sleep.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
They . . . weave the spider's web;
Their webs cannot serve as clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.Isaiah 59:5-6