How We All Miss the Point on School Shootings

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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

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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.

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How evangelicals won a culture war and lost a generation – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs

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How evangelicals won a culture war and lost a generation – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Its remarkable to watch, the implosion and rejection of Boomer Evangelicalism by Millennials. I really need to get my butt in gear after a one year WJP hiatus because this is incredibly significant what Rachel is pointing out here but its more than just her voice. The entire World Vision fiasco reveals, as she puts it so well:

Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, “what if we get this wrong?”

I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism’s culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

The Evangelical movement has become a PAC and Millennials want nothing to do with (nor do many horrified GenXers and Boomers). Now with Joel Osteen’s lavish lifestyle and money machine has come to light, people want Jesus. They don’t want flash, they don’t want to be right over those who are wrong, they don’t want self righteous superiority or a massive concert crowd. They want Jesus. They want people who live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and are every bit uncertain, broken, and questioning as they are.

Evangelicalism is dying, much as the Mainline started in the 80s. Oddly, positions may be reversing and liturical, Sacramental, and small congregations may be our future as megaEvangelicalism starts to wither. Its a chance for us to be be community again, to be church, to be disciples. I hope those of us who lead in congregations can speak it and with our people, learn to wash feet again.

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

Sweden’s Pentecostal Megapastor Converts to Catholicism | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com

Sweden’s Pentecostal Megapastor Converts to Catholicism | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

Its been a slow trend in Evangelical circles, seeing people and leaders return to liturgical denomination and I don’t see that ending. In fact, eventhough Ulf Ekman is a Boomer, its the Millenials who are increasingly taking a pass on the evangelical models based on entertainment/passive worship. Should be interesting to see how this megachurch responds and adapts.

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The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment | Holy Soup

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The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment | Holy Soup.

Today Sunday worship was cancelled because of a snow storm and my wife got the idea that some house cleaning would be in order. In cleaning out a drawer, I found this – a roll of Kodak film. I don’t own a film camera anymore, haven’t for years. But when this popped up on my facebook feed, it seemed appropriate to share and reflect.

Kodak invented the photo industry and the digital camera, and has been destroyed by its inability to adapt to their own innovations or fulfill their true purpose. As the article states, Kodak’s leaders thought they were in the film business–instead of the imaging business. Their clutching of the traditional methodology clouded their ability to think about the real objective and outcome of their work.

The parallels with the North American Church are striking – we too are in decline and too many congregations and denominations are taking the Kodak approach. I’ll be sharing this with my vision team and congregational leaders as we look to a new year. I recommend it to other church leaders as well.

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Why Christians have lost the argument for faith before it started. | The Millennial Pastor

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Why Christians have lost the argument for faith before it started. | The Millennial Pastor.

I think this is one of the best summations of why modern day evangelicalism is faltering.

Our desire to obligate people to faith is a desire to preserve Empire, but Christians, the Body of Christ, cannot be about Empire anymore.

The Body of Christ does not obligate you, me or anyone to faith. The Body of Christ commits you, me and all creation to God.

This idea changes everything. Wanting people to believe in God is one thing, but what if Christians strived to help people to want to have faith? We would be a different Church if we tried that.

Perhaps this may be why some mainline and liturgical congregations are starting to see a resurgence of millenials, returnees and those completely new to “being church.” It is a faith response and a reaction to the four spiritual laws, sinners prayer approach. Real relationships, in community and with God,only last out of commitment, not obligation. Good stuff.

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How I Rediscovered Faith | RELEVANT Magazine

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How I Rediscovered Faith | RELEVANT Magazine.

Malcom Gladwell is one of the most fascinating writers and social observers that I read. This is a great reflection on how his journey has led him back to faith. His books Tipping Point and David and Goliath are excellent and I highly recommend them.

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5 Must-Reads on Religion and Social Media | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches

5 Must-Reads on Religion and Social Media | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches.

In recent centuries the Church seems to be behind the curve from the rest of the world. Like Wired Jesus, back in 2006 it was a top 25 religious podcast world wide, now not even a blip on the radar and fluttering in podfade. But with all the old school, chaplaincy expectations of pastors, there needs to be an ongoing shift to embrace social media as an evangelism tool. Now that should be obvious to anyone reading this but its rarely the case in most congregations even now. This is a helpful article for leaders.

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