Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Power of Praying Child

Yes, I ripped off the title.

For a long time, Kinsey has not been a praying little girl. I don't know why, but it's something that she hasn't wanted to do very much. We had this whole litany that we did at night every night that she would recite for a while, but just didn't want to that much.

Recently though, she's started a little bit more. We're switching off at bedtime as to who says the prayer that night and hers are pretty rote at this point repeating a lot of the litany that we came up with a while back.

It is so lovely to hear her pray though. It's one of my favorite times of the night (even though I've generally just told a 10 minute version of Jack and the Beanstalk) and it's a time that I cherish.

What about you parents out there? How are you teaching your kids to pray?

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Last Word by N.T. Wright Pt 2

Well, I just finished The Last Word by N.T. Wright. Literally. And I will admit that the last part of this book was much more understandable than I felt that the first section was.

When I wrote last week, I was in Wright's historical overview of Biblical interpretation (very brief). I was knee deep in the Enlightenment period and immediately after that, Wright gets into postmodernism. In that, he makes a really interesting critique of postmodernism. He basically says that the problem with postmodernism is that it deconstructs without reconstructing. It basically is a narcissistic nihilism that allows someone to construe and mistconstrue Scripture, making it dance on its hind legs while balancing a ball on its nose.

What Wright does is offer a new framework for dealing with Scripture and its authority, which just to remind people is that Scripture only has authority in how it reveals God's Word.
  • A totally contextual reading of Scripture
    In this, Wright brings out the idea of Scripture being written in a context and that it's our responsibility as students of the Word to familiarize ourselves with it.

  • A liturgically grounded reading of Scripture
    Wright is a big fan of reading Scripture aloud in worship services. He makes a point though, that the reading shouldn't merely be "aural wallpaper." But truly a part of life blood of the service. He has stressed the importance of having good readers and not simply reciters. He also recommends the Lectio Divina as a way to experience this kind of liturgical reading. I would also highly recommend Sacred Space as a way to experience this too.

  • A privately studied reading of Scripture
    Wright obviously feels that private study is a very valuable way to experience Scripture. In fact, I would agree with this and say that this is one of the most valuable ways to do this.

  • A reading of Scripture refreshed by Appropriate Scholarship
    Wright recommends studying Scripture along with scholarly works that help with the understanding of Scripture. I can also recommend this as a great way to enhance the understanding of Scripture. I found a lot of works that have helped me with my studies of Philippians and Luke.

  • A reading of Scripture taught be the Church's Accredited leaders
    And here's where I say, "Ehhhhhh... maybe." Wright puts out the idea that in addition to all the other ways, people should look at accredited church leaders as means to understand the Scripture more fully. I think my cautiousness on this is based on my "low church" setting, where the leaders are brought out from the congregation and Wright operates in a "high church" setting where the leaders of the church are thought be in direcctly spiritual line from the apostles and a more specialized dispensation from the Holy Spirit. I can understand that and can say that I've had the privilege of sitting at the feet of some very wise men and women, who have taught me a lot. I guess from my egalitarian mindset I struggle with that and don't know exactly how all of that works. I guess some people do have more aptitude on this (as I believe Wright has), but I wonder about who does the accrediting.
This is a really good book and I think that it's one that people interested Scripture should take a look at. Like I said, I'm not sure I understand all of it, but it's certainly caused me to think.

btw, I will be out of town all next week (skiing!!!!), so no blogging, but hopefully lots of reading.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Politics and Christianity

I love politics. I really do. I love watching people jockey for a job that I wouldn't want if someone held a bazooka to areas unmentionable. I really like watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. I like watching CNN and FoxNews (in very small doses). I like thinking about the midterm elections and whether the 2008 election will be Clinton-Kerry vs. Rice-McCain or something else.

However, Christians in politics is a a big connundrum. To me, for a Christian to enter politics makes me wonder if that person has decided that God's way of doing things doesn't work. They have decided that their duty to the Kingdom of God is to pursue power in the way that this world defines it: through power.

Of course, I realize that a lot of good has been done in this world based on Christians being in positions of power. Whether or not you believe that the Emancipation Proclamation did any actual good or not (it only released slaves in areas that had seceded and were not under Union control), the idea of what it represented was a foundational piece of moving toward racial equality. So it's impossible to say that having Christians in politics is totally a bad thing.

I guess the point that I'm thinking about is that the Kingdom of God is not about laws. It's not about forcing people to do something against their will. Jesus never begged anyone to follow him. He presented who he was, the cost of following, and then if someone walked away, Jesus let them go. He didn't force people into doing something. And laws are all about forcing people into doing things.

To take the race issue up again, Affirmative Action has been an effective program in giving minorities opportunities to get jobs and education that had been closed to them. But did it change the minds and hearts of all the majority, the Caucasians? No, of course not. It even hardened them in some cases. Laws can cause people to act a certain way or to acquiesce to certain actions, but it cannot force a racist to love someone they are prejudiced against. Only the Spirit of God can do that.

Politics is about power, seeking it, gaining it, hanging onto it. And power will disappear and change and take new forms in new parties and new countries. But the Kingdom of God is an eternal Kingdom, one that has survived persecution, popularity, being in power, Crusades, wars, exploration, new countries, and marginalization. May we seek the Kingdom that is about changing hearts and not the one that is about forcing actions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Post Restorationist Radio Episode 4: Salvation and the Kingdom

Episode 4 of the Post Restorationist podcast is now available.

In this one, Adam and I discuss what it means to be saved and what our resposibility is in being saved. Both of us agree that being saved is not simply about being saved and then trying to make sure you don't sin in order to get into heaven.

We hope you get something out of it and look forward to conversing with you about this subject.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is Sheryl's birthday. I won't tell you which one, but she can if she wants to. I think it's typical on blogs for the significant other to devote the blog to the person having a birthday. Now, I love my wife a lot, so I warn you ahead of time, this isn't going to be some gruff manly exposition.

Sheryl and I dated for two weeks our sophomore years at Lipscomb. In fact, we started dating on her birthday of her sophomore year. I know that because there was a Star Wars marathon at one of the dorms (yes, we hooked up at a Star Wars marathon). I walked her back to her dorm and kissed her and we started dating.

Until she dumped me two weeks later.

She said then that she wasn't ready for me. She hasn't changed her story much in the 14 years since then, except to say that the time I wore a tye-dye shirt and torn jeans to meet her mom pretty much sealed the deal at that point.

We stayed acquaintances over the next two years, until the day that I had finished student teaching and she was finishing an exam and we literally ran into each other in the basement of the Burton building at Lipscomb. We said hi and asked how each other were. I asked if she had some time and wanted to get something to drink at the student center, so we did. We ended up talking for an hour or so (I still have the cup btw) and I got a call later that night from a girl I went to high school with who was Sheryl's roommate inviting me to a graduation picnic the next day. I found out only last year that that was Sheryl's doing. And we hooked up there.

Since that was the end of the school year and I was graduating and didn't know where I was going to end up and Sheryl had one more year of school left, we ended it with the idea that we really liked each other and wanted to see how things would play out. She was going to be down about every three weeks that summer for weddings and such so we'd see each other then and one weekend in July, I'd drive up to Indiana to see her.

Where she dumped me.

I'm still not sure where that one came from. And I was even more confused the next weekend when she was down and she hugged me and acted like nothing had happened.

Well, that August she moved back down and I had gotten a job teaching in Metro Nashville and that was it. We were married in June of 1996 and haven't looked back since.

Sheryl is one of those totally complimentary people that I hate to use the Jerry Maguire cliche about how she "completes me," but she really does. We've done amazing things in our 12 years together: been to London twice, been to New York, bought a house, had a beautiful daughter. I've had five jobs, lost two of them, and we've been so close to having no money that one summer we literally had 5 dollars in our account before our school money came through.

Sheryl is a beautiful woman that helps me in my walk with God everyday. She's organized, lovely, funny, patient, and watches science fiction with me. What else could I ask for from a woman?

So, happy birthday a day early, baby. I love you with every fiber of my being and can't wait for the next years of our lives together.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Last Word by N.T. Wright

Ok, there's really no excuse for why I haven't finished this book. I'm 70 pages into it and it's only 140 pages long, but the thing about it is that it's a tough read.

N.T. Wright is an amazing thinker and writer and I've really gotten a lot out of the ideas he's presented and talked about. Particularly, when I heard the subject of The Last Word, I got very excited about reading it, because one of my interests is Scripture and how we interact with it. So I was very excited when Brad Crisler lent it to me (thanks, Brad [and update your blog!]).

Wright starts off the book by talking about the authority contained in Scripture and his basic intention is that Scripture is only authoritative in that it contains the Word of God. Now, if you're like me, that is a tough distinction to wrap your head around. Wright has address this subject earlier in a paper called "How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?" which you can find at www.ntwrightpage.com among other great papers and lectures. I guess being raised Church of Christ and being taught (and still believing to some extent) that the Bible IS the Word of God, to try and make a distinction between the two is just a tough leap to make. I'm still trying to work through it.

The rest of the book so far has been a VERY brief historical overview of how Scripture has been used, both through the Old Testament, New Testament, and in the post Testamental times. I'm up through the Reformation now and one of the things that I've appreciated about what Wright is doing is explaining how some terms have different meanings now than they did when they were first used. For instance, in the past, "literal" meant the actual words and their actual meaning, so when Jesus said, "This is my body," he meant that the bread he was breaking was his actual body (hence, the theology of transubstantiation), as opposed to how it's traditionally understood (by most Protestants, anyway), that Jesus was speaking metaphorically as we do now when we call the bread his body and the wine/unfermented grape juice his blood.

At any rate, I'm enjoying this book, even though I'm finding it tough to power through. Hopefully, I'll have it finished by next week and can discuss it a little more fully. And then I can borrow Paul: In Fresh Perspective from Brad next... in addition to all the other books I have and want to read like...
And I might need to squeeze a novel or so in there, just to keep my brain from exploding.

Friday, February 17, 2006

All Fish Go to Heaven

Kinsey's fish Dennis died the other day.

Now this was not Kinsey's first experience with death. My mom and dad had a dog that had to be put to sleep that Kinsey really loved. Sheryl and I debated what to tell her and we decided to go ahead and tell her the truth about Tyler. She seemed to take it pretty well, although she missed him the next couple of times she went over to their house. When Dennis died on Tuesday, Kinsey was sad for a little while, but also looking forward to a new fish.

She did ask about whether she would see him in Heaven, and one of the things I've decided to do is be as honest theologically with her as possible, so I paused.

You see, in my reading of certain passages of Scripture and authors like NT Wright, my views on life and the afterlife have taken a bit of a turn. You see, there are passages like Romans 8:18-25 that talks about Creation groaning and waiting "in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed" that have changed my perspective. A passage like Revelation 21:1-4 talk about the city of God coming down out of Heaven and God making His dwelling among men has helped in this as well.

The turn in my thought is this. For a long time, I accepted the idea of the Rapture and Jesus returning to take his people away: Left Behind theology for lack of a better term. As I've started looking through the Scriptures, I'm not sure that's the best way to look at things. The Bible seems to say that creation and earth will be a part of the coming Kingdom of God. Now, I will admit that my thinking on this is not fully formed and that I'm treading into some dangerous ground by putting this up, but hey, it's a blog.

This does not deny the idea of a place after death. N.T. Wright says a couple of things that I really like on this subject. 1) "Heaven is important but it's not the end of the world." 2) "The concern is not so much life after death. It's life after life after death." You see, the real subject of all of this is the resurrection at the end of time. And what does that mean for eternity? Again, I'm not sure, but it certainly seems like the earth or better, the new heaven and new earth are going to be a part of that. And that creation will realize the fruit of her groaning and fulfill the promise that God set forth in Genesis. We've got to remember that in the Genesis creation narrative (the first one), God never calls the creation "perfect" or "complete." He calls it "good" and "very good." That to me seems to imply an incompleteness that would seem to come later.

So when Kinsey asked me if she would see Dennis in Heaven, I paused. I don't know if she will see him there, but I do believe Creation will be a part of the new Creation, of the Ressurection. Whether or not that actual fish will be there or not, I'm not sure. What I told her was that Heaven was going to be an amazing place because we'll be with God. And that yes, maybe we'll see Dennis there, but I really didn't know.

Thankfully, she accepted this and I didn't have to go into my eschatalogical theology, like I did here.

Adam Ellis has done some really interesting writing on this that you can read here. Oh and one other recommendation: David Carden wrote a really great parable called The King's Stew that I highly recommend taking a look at.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Post Restorationist Radio Episode 3: Fellowship

Episode 3 of Post Restorationist Radio is online now. In this one, Adam and I talk about fellowship, and specifically how do people from a post restorationist context fellowship and be in community with people who aren't, specifically the more traditional members of the churches of Christ.

We also used an article by Joe Beam called "What is Happening to Us?" as a jumping off point, as well as this image:

It's a good discussion and we hope some of you will give it a listen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

From the eyes of a child

One of the best things about having a child is the ability to see things through his or her eyes. This has become amazingly apparent to me with the move of Otter Creek from the Granny White location to the new one on Franklin Road.

If you've read my blog, you know that the move has really hit me in ways that I didn't know it would. However, seeing the whole move through Kinsey's eyes has really put it into some perspective. While that is a place that will always mean a lot to me, I doubt that Kinsey will have very strong memories of the Granny White building. I do wonder if the memories that I have Granny White building will be similar to ones that she'll have about the Franklin Road one. And if I find deep theological meaning in stained glass (yes, I can), to her it's just a building and a stage she can jump off of.

I also remember when I lost my job. Kinsey was 11 months old and while that was truly one of the most depressing times of my life (I worked at O'Charley's), I could still look at her and think about the fact that she would have no memory of it.

Children are a gift, not simply for their presence, but for the perspective they give us.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Superman: Red Son

In spending the last few weeks talking about what Brian McLaren's The Secret Message of Jesus, I thought I would continue that thread by talking about some other things that I've been reading or have read recently or watching. Basically my entertainment consumption.

And for a left turn from the typical spiritual books, I offer Superman: Red Son.

I'm not typically a comic book fan, but I am a superhero fan. I really enjoyed the first two Superman movies, Batman Begins, and the Spider-Man movies. Not just for the action, but the character studies of such people and how they can exist in our world.

I'm also a fan of "What if?" stories. I really like thinking about other possibilities of how things could have worked out. What if the Nazis had won WWII? What if the South had won the Civil War? What if Mohammed had never left the monastery he stayed in? What if George Washington had sued for peace instead of continuing to fight?

The story of Red Son is particularly intriuging to me, because it postulates what might have happened if Superman landed on earth 12 hours earlier and landed in the Ukraine instead of Kansas. As a result, Superman becomes someone who fights for truth, justice, and the Soviet way. All of the typical characters from the Superman mythology appear: Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, Braniac, Bizarro, etc. Also making an appearance in various forms are Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Green Lantern, noting of course that they all appear in a skewed manner because of Superman landing in the Ukraine.

I won't spoil any of the plot twists of the story, because I found them interesting and some of you might want to find them out for yourselves. What I did find really intruiging was the positive look it took at Communism. Even though Superman was working for Stalin, he was still an altruistic figure (Superman, not Stalin [whose name coincidentally enough means "Man of Steel" in Russian]). The trick was how the absolute power Superman obtains even corrupts him and he has to decide whether to succumb to a desire to force people to accept his "peaceful" rule or to let them make the decision for themselves. It really highlighted some of the things I read in McLaren, talking about how the Kingdom of God is one of the heart and forcing people into certain actions doesn't change their hearts, just their actions.

At any rate, I really enjoyed this graphic novel and if you've got similar interests, you might dig it up in a library somewhere or spend a couple of hours in a Barnes and Noble with it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Root of All Kinds of Evil

A few months back, I came to a striking realization. When Paul said that the love of money was the root of all kinds of evil (thanks for the edit, Karen), he was right. But love of money is a symptom of a deeper problem that has plagued the human race from the beginning: selfishness. I've realized this because I've essentially a very selfish person and as I've thought about my own self-absorbtion (does doing that make me even more self-absorbed?), it just struck me that if we take all of the problems of this world, selfishness is the root of all of them.

For instance, let's take the 7 classic "deadly sins" (some of you might have to try and remember the Brad Pitt-Morgan Freeman move Se7en)

  • Anger - Sinful anger is generally generated because someone's desirers aren't being met and they get angry and lash out as a result of it
  • Gluttony - This one is generally associated with food, but it also has to do with overindulgence of anything. I think about this one as when I try to fill the hole in my life for God with anything else (food, relationships, stuff, etc.)
  • Sloth - Selfishness seems to work into this one by someone being more concerned for their own rest than for the work that needs to be done.
  • Greed - Simply wanting more than I need for myself, whether money or influence
  • Envy - This is usually what leads to greed. Seeing that someone has a nicer car or a better life or whatever.
  • Pride - Hopefully, this narcissitic attitude speaks for itself.
  • Lust - Specifically in the classical sense, the sexual desire. Now, obviously I'm not someone who thinks that sexual desire in and of itself is wrong, but the way that sex is used currently is one of the most heinous warpings of one of the most beautiful expressions of love and closeness. I fear that for many people, even many married people, sex has become an instrument of self gratification. A mutual masturbation experience just with another person as the instrument, not the closest that a man and woman can be and desiring pleasure for the other.
There are two solutions to the problem of selfishness that I see.
  • Agape love - the self-sacrificing mindset that leads someone to think "not only of your own interests, but also to the interests of others." This is the attitude that Jesus lived by and is so counterintuitive to our grasping, acquisitive culture that people who truly practice this are and should be looked on as freaks.
  • Contentment - do this and we'll be looked on as freaks as well. Can you imagine a people who said, "Even though I have a job that affords me a lot of money, the house I have is big enough for my family. I don't need any more," or "well, my car is ten years old and it's paid for and yes, it has some mechanical issues, but nothing major. I'll drive it for a while"? Can you imagine how peace-filled someone like that could be? What would it mean for an entire group of people to exist like that? In my mind, it would mean those people are followers of Christ.
I truly believe that selfishness is the cause and root of the problems of this world and if we take seriously the words of Scripture, we would take seriously the part that talks about "dying to ourselves." We would make every effort to divest ourselves of our petty selfishness that sucks us into ourselves, and not looking at a world that desperately needs people to be more concerned for it than for themselves.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Episode 2 of the Post Restorationist Radio Podcast

Adam Ellis and I uploaded Episode 2 of the Post Restorationist Radio podcast last night. In it, we talk about about community, belonging, and membership in a local congregation. That part of the discussion was really interesting to me, because Adam and I come from completely different backgrounds on that with him as the son of a minister and a youth minister himself and therefore being very transient in his church membership and I having belonged to basically 2 churches my entire life, Otter Creek from birth to 14, Belmont from 16-20, and then Otter Creek again from 20 to now.

I was also made aware that not everyone who reads my blog is familar with what exactly a podcast is or how it works. You could look at Wikipedia's site for it, but even that seemed overly complex. So here's my try.

A podcast is an audio or video file (audio, in the case of Post Restorationist Radio) that you can either download directly from a site or through an aggregator like iTunes. If you use iTunes and an iPod together, once you listen to the entire podcast and sync with your computer the next one will download. Basically a podcast is a personal online talk radio station, much like blogging is a personal online journal.

I hope that helps people get a grasp on what we're trying to do. It's been fun so far and I hope all of you who have listened to it so far have gotten something out of it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I Love My Daughter

Today as I was getting into my van to leave for work at 6:55AM, I happened to look over to the front door and saw Sheryl and Kinsey there in their nightgowns. I took one look at Kinsey and she was crying. And I knew why.

She hadn't gotten to say goodbye to me.

She doesn't usually, because she's asleep, but this morning she got up, went into our bedroom, saw that I wasn't there and started crying for me. They ran to the front door and saw me about to leave. I ran out of my van and went to give them both kisses and then left. I felt bad for Sheryl to have to get up so early, but I have to admit: I love my Kinsey Kisses.

Podcast will be up tomorrow, if you're wondering; we had some technical difficulties.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Beautiful Day

If you've been reading me for a while, you know that I use Tuesdays to talk about family things that I'm experiencing. I'll do that today, but instead of Sheryl, Kinsey, and Connor, I'm going to talk about the last Sunday at the Granny White location of the Otter Creek Church of Christ (complete with pictures).

Brandon and the Praise Team rehearsing "If These Walls Could Speak"

Set up for the final day

Before 1st Service. Except for Zoe Sunday, we never have this many people before 8:45.

Praise Team

The final Birthday Sunday at Granny White

England Friends

The Lord Bless You and Keep You at the end of 2nd Service

I took this one at 12:30 Sunday afternoon, as I was leaving. I heard that by 4 PM the letters were down.

It was beautiful and Brandon did a great job putting together the service with an eye to our past and thinking toward the future. I won't really go into all of it, but I'll link to what other people have said.

Jennifer Thompson
Malia Carden
David Carden
Judy Thomas
Brandon Scott Thomas
Elizabeth Milom
Katey Earles
Tony Arnold
Justin Mundie

There might be more, but that's all I can find through comments and Technorati. If I find others throughout today, I'll enter them here.

Like I said, it was a beautiful and I was honored to be asked to be a part of it, even though I almost lost it in first service during the prayer. I made it through the rest of first service pretty well, and got through the prayer fine in second service, although seeing Lesley Cromer wipe her eyes made me look away from her. However, during the Amens of "The Lord Bless You and Keep You," I couldn't sing at all and really did start to cry quite a bit. It's so weird to feel so close to a structure but I associate people with that building so strongly that I almost feel like I'm leaving a piece of Buddy Arnold and John Crothers and my grandparents behind. I know that I'm not and that their DNA is tied into Otter Creek no matter where we are, but it's just a funny feeling. It'll be weird to look up front and not see the stage where I got married and the baptistry where I was baptized.

And so that chapter of my church life is closed. I thank God for it and I thank Him for the future He's bringing Otter Creek into.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Appendicies and Final Thoughts: The Secret Message of Jesus

Appendix A: The Prayer of the Kingdom
McLaren does a mediation and commentary on the Lord's Prayer, going through each phrase and looking at it in the message of the Kingdom that he has been portraying through the book. He obviously uses "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" as the hingepoint of the discussion. He puts a really, REALLY strong political context onto the whole prayer, particularly the "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that I'm not sure I agree with.

Appendix B: Why Didn't We Get It Sooner?
I really liked this look at some of the ways McLaren thinks that the centrality of the Kingdom to Jesus' message (and hence the Christian message) got lost. He places a lot of the blame squarely at the feet of Christianity being endorsed by Constantine and that when Christianity became the religion of the government, it lost the ability to honestly critique the government that was giving it its place in society. There's obviously a lot more to it than that, but this was a really interesting part of the book.

Appendix C: Plotting Goodness
This was good too. McLaren gave some good pointers about ways people can get involved. A lot of it iinvolves conversation with people and then moving from that to action in the world. A concept I really like.

Final Thoughts:
This really is a good book. As I said, four weeks ago(!), I'm planning on using a lot of the information and ideas presented in this in the Kingdom class I'm going to teach this summer, particularly the Sermon on the Mount ideologies.

McLaren really does a good job of highlighting the centrality of the Kingdom to the message of Jesus and the message of the Scripture. This is a really important topic for Christians to think about and put into practice, whether they read this book or not. But this book is an excellent resource to mull over and to find out what you agree with and disagree with and I really appreciate the opportunity to get my hands on it early.

Friday, February 03, 2006

New Building... New Worship?

Disclaimer: The following post does not necessarily represent the views of any of the elders, ministers, or other people at Otter Creek. Even though I am a paid employee of the church, I am speaking as a grunt, a layperson.

Sunday is the last day for the Otter Creek Church of Christ in the current building that we've been in for the last 55 years, that my great-grandfather was the first preacher in, that my dad grew up in, that I was baptized in, that I was married in, that my daughter was dedicated in. And while I'm sad to lose the physical place of those memories, I'm excited about the new building and the possiblities that come out of that.

I'm also a little apprehensive. One of the possibilities that come out this move is a much larger facility and more techy toys to play with. Are these inherently bad things? No. However, how they get used is where the rubber meets that road. I worry that this move will make us change our worship in such a way that will make it more attractive to non Christians, simply to be attractive to non Christians. To make it slickly produced. To make it high end. And to me the attractional model of worship can lead, doesn't always, but can lead to an environment where the focus is put on the people worshipping rather than the God being worshipped.

Now, I'll be honest. I don't mind a well-produced worship experience. I've helped produce some (whether they were well produced is for someone else to decide). However, I do have this fear that if every one of our worship services become big production the focus is going to become on the events themselves. That's one of the reasons Shaun Grove's Event Driven Church post from a couple of weeks ago resonated with me so strongly.

I want Otter Creek to be an attractive place for people to come. I want people to feel warmth and comfort there, and to be challenged to live lives for Jesus. Is having a "well-produced worship experience" mutually exclusive with this? Maybe not. In fact, probably not. But we have to have guards on our hearts and mindsets constantly.

What this means is that I will have to trust my ministers and elders. I'll have to trust my friends Tim and Brandon and Doug and Scott to find the balance. Will they always get it right? No, no more than I do and will. I do hope that we don't get too caught up in a new place and realize that the building is simply a tool for serving God and serving people. It's as much a shell for the body of Christ as the Granny White Building is.

btw, thanks for everyone that listened into the podcast. We're planning on doing another one next week and seeing how things go from there. If there's a specific topic you'd like to hear discussed or have a thought about it, please leave a comment either here or on the podcast page.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Post Restoration Radio Podcast

Well, I've gone and done it. With Adam Ellis, we've created a new podcast called Post Restoration Radio. The subtitle is A Podcast for those who don't go to THAT kind of church of Christ.

We did our first one last night and we wanted to get it out there for people to hear. We really would like to hear reactions, thoughts, and suggestions for topics of conversation. We hope you'll give it a shot.

Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro