Are Christians Scheming Swindlers? – Bible Study and the Christian Life

bible

Are Christians Scheming Swindlers? – Bible Study and the Christian Life.

Another fascinating article that I want to come back to and say more. However, this Kierkegaard quote sums it up.

Søren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher, commented on this disconnect between belief and practice, “The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?”3

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5 reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church. | Church in a Circle

5 reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church. | Church in a Circle.

Its an ongoing trend that I need to ponder more.

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The Most Disturbing Trend Happening in Your Church in 2015 – Trending Christian Blog

bench

The Most Disturbing Trend Happening in Your Church in 2015 – Trending Christian Blog.

Specifically, in the last 2 years, I have see one common thread become a common rope. Its presence is now ubiquitous; every church I talk with mentions this problem…. I have never seen a problem discussed this commonly amid a diversity of church sizes and denominational affiliations.

“What is this one trend? It’s that your most committed people will attend worship services less frequently than ever in 2015. [Emphasis added.]

“What does this mean? Simply that people who use[d] to attend 4 times a month may only attend 3 times a month. Members who used to come twice a month will only come once a month.”

It is making weekly worship attendance a less relevant figure as you may have the same number of active people in other aspects of congregational life but in weekly worship, you now see up to 20% less people in the pews than three years ago.

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When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families” . . . | achurchforstarvingartists

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When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families” . . . | achurchforstarvingartists.

For those who still follow Wired Jesus, recent months have involved several hacks of the site since “the big one” of a year ago. I’m planning on a relaunch in May/June of Wired Jesus 2.0, complete with podcast and postings.

In the meantime, now that the malware problems seems to be settled, I will play around with WordPress and post articles that I want to remember and are worth sharing to other pastors and people who desire a future for the North American Church, knowing its not going to look like the last forty years.

This article is spot on. Not only has the pastor profile dream wish of “someone who can bring in young families” unrealistic, it really never has been because the reasoning is wrong. Why do you want young families? How does that square with the Great Commission? It doesn’t work in dying mainline congregations that are aging out of existence. It doesn’t work on the pomo dream church that is dying as a monogenerational phase. Frankly, it doesn’t work in the megachurch world, which is losing membership as well.

Word of advice. Congregations looking for new pastors would be well served by reading this article and taking it to heart, particularly the following paragraphs. If you want a future for ministry that serves Jesus, you have to commit to living in the future, not in your past, and not even in your present concerns and complaints. Be the church for broken people like Jesus lived where you now live and know that you are going to have to die – die to what you are now, the baggage you are still determined to carry, the control you still want to have. That has to go to the cross if you want a pastor who will walk with you to resurrection rather than congregational savior that can’t live up to your dying expectations.

Words to ponder for Lent indeed.

Young families are great. Old families are great. Families made up of child-free couples are great. Families of single people are great. Imagine if every church simply wanted A Pastor Who Could Bring In Broken People. Now that’s a church.

Also, the days are gone when Young Families were present in worship every Sunday. The statistics are in about how the definition of “regular worship” has changed since the 1950s. (“Regular” used to mean weekly. Now it means once or twice a month.)

Instead of seeking a Pastor who can bring in those vaunted Young Families, we need to call a Pastor who knows how to shift congregational culture. The culture in which we live and move and have our being has changed, but we are killing ourselves trying to maintain a dated congregational culture.

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Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 2 | john pavlovitz

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 2 | john pavlovitz.

And here we go.

We’re so weary of feeling like nothing more than a religious agenda; an argument to win, a point to make, a cause to defend, a soul to save.

We want to be more than a notch on your Salvation belt; another number to pad your Twitter posts and end-of-year stat sheets.

We need to be more than altar call props, who are applauded and high-fived down the aisle, and then forgotten once the song ends.

We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us…

… even if we are the problem.

Posted in American Culture, Church Marketing, Face Palm - When Failure Happens, Fundamentalism - Preserving 19th Century America For the Future, Generations - Guttenbergers vs. Googlers, Non-Denominational, Postmodern Perspectives, Worship | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 1 | john pavlovitz

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 1 | john pavlovitz.

We’re the ones walking away.
We want to matter to you.
We want you to hear us before you debate us.

Show us that your love and your God are real.

Church, give us a reason to stay.

Fascinating. I’m watching for part 2.

Posted in American Culture, Church Marketing, Face Palm - When Failure Happens, Fundamentalism - Preserving 19th Century America For the Future, Postmodern Perspectives, Will the Real God Please Stand Up? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How We All Miss the Point on School Shootings

shooting

How We All Miss the Point on School Shootings.

The whole issue of guns, violence, and schools is, if you pardon the word, explosive. In society and among faith leaders, how we should respond to such evil is a quick route to arguments and social positions. Another Lutheran pastor I know posted this article and I agree with what is said here – in the end, this is a mental health issue, a relational issue, one that touches the heart of the Christian faith – theodicy. Mental illness and evil have often been tied together and I think its easier to rail against the symptoms – gun availability, gender issues, bullying, etc… but never really deal with the killers in the way this article does. Challenging.

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Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services – ThomRainer.com

church

Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services – ThomRainer.com.

Very interesting study, although I would like to dig into the details more. If it is accurate, then it doesn’t bode well for midsize congregation like mine who now have to grow to 400+ weekly worshippers. If you are are worshipping under 100, you are dead by this assessment.

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“Gays,” the “American Church,” and 2 Severed Relationships – Jer Swigart

“Gays,” the “American Church,” and 2 Severed Relationships – Jer Swigart.

There is a fascinating conversation emerging among Evangelicals, an increasingly Millenial/GenX rejection of Boomer evangelicalism that is resulting in a rethinking of the viability of Protestant Christianity in its North American form. Triggered most recently by the World Vision fiasco, Jer is on target in highlighting the growing generational rift over faith and Bible and human sexuality. This is a well thought out piece that is pointing to debate that is going to destroy denominations and those that survive, a generational shift in leadership marked with Boomer piety, liberal or fundamentalist, that will not go easily into the night.

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How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work? – Brian Zahnd

How Does “Dying For Our Sins” Work? – Brian Zahnd.

On this end of Holy Week, we as Christians speak of the power of the cross and the meaning of Jesus’ death. This is an excellent reflection on the death of Jesus, God Incarnate, and why his death and resurrection matter.

Posted in Death and Dying, Jesus the Christ, Pastor Stuff, Postmodern Perspectives, Suffering - When Bad Things Happen to Anyone, Will the Real God Please Stand Up? | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment