Monday, May 29, 2006

A Connor Picture

Well, Connor is 3 days old now, and we're expriencing all the joys and pains of such a time. I might blog about this later (not in detail), but having a son has convinced me that circumcision really is some sort of test of faith.

The first night at home was pretty rough, but Sheryl's mom graciously spent last night with us and Sheryl and I were able to get some sleep. Kinsey is doing great and just loving on him as much as she can. Sheryl and I are both still trying to give her some one-on-one attention, but I think she understands that things are quite different now.

Here's a picture so that you can make your own determinations on whether Connor and I look alike. We don't think he's going to have my nose, but everything else looks pretty close, especially the Spock ears.

Have a great holiday. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

Announcing John Connor Wilson

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday, but there's no internet access at the hospital. Amazingly enough.

But here's the scoop: John Connor Wilson was born at 5:41 pm CDT. He will be called "Connor," consigning him to the same fate as me, i.e. having to tell people all the time that he goes by "Connor" and not "John." He was 8 lbs, 9 ounces and 21 inches long and looked great on all the tests. Sheryl did great as well and Kinsey is infatuated with him.

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, and here are some pictures...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To Connor:

Connor, I don't know how long the Web is going to last. By the time you're grown, you might have neural implants or some other such thing, but I did want to write this to you before you were born.

Your mom and sister and I are so excited to finally get to meet you. For nine months we've been feeling you move around inside your mom and we're about to get to hold you for real. There is so much in this world that we're excited to show you. Parks and zoos and car rides and all of that kind of stuff. Even Kinsey wants to show you some things and maybe you can take care of bugs for her.

Life is a lot of fun, and the great thing about it is sharing it with someone else. You've got me and Mom and Kinsey, but you've also got grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that you'll get to be with. But you'll also have so many friends at church. Friends that we've shared special parts of our life with, like a trip to England or worshipping together. Or just playing around. People that love you even before they've met you. These people are as much a gift to you from God as you are to us. Cherish them.

You and I are going to have a lot of fun together, buddy. We're going to see things and do things and be things that neither of us can imagine. I have prayed for you so much and now those prayers are going to come true. I will continue that Jesus will hold you safe every day of your life and that everyday you grow to be more and more like him.

I love you.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Monday

4 days at most to Connor. Here's a picture of his ultrasound from last week...

Not much to blog on today, but I will plug myself and say that I had an article published at Allelon. It's my Poetry of the Trinity piece from last May, so if you're a long time reader, you'll have read it before, but it's always kind of cool to get published.

Have a great week.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Is Church Part of the Problem?

Having been an English teacher, I'm very concientious about words. When I read the Bible, I'm careful to look at the words that someone uses. When I listen to politicians or entertainers or my wife, I listen to the words that they use and even more often, the words that they don't use. It's called diction.

Some of you may have noticed an attempt on my part over the last few weeks, when I write about church that I've started to not use the word "church" when talking about individual congregations. This is a conscious effort on my part. I've become more and more convinced that the church is a much wider body of believers than I've previously thought about. I've considered church to be those people that I meet with on Sundays and Wednesdays, but now I've started to try and use the word "congregation" when talking about the individual congregations. Church is the body of Christ worldwide, but we also enact being part of the church through the times of community that we have within the individual congregations. It might be a minor point, but words have power (even if meaning can be debated or obscured) and I think the word "church" is a powerful one.

So, here are the questions that I'd like to hear from people on today: In what ways does the way that church is currently practiced in your individual congregations (because I believe that church is defined as a communal experience [you can worship God individually, but that's private devotion, not church]) help or hinder you in becoming a better follower of Jesus? Is the way church is practiced in your congregation more hindering than helpful or more helpful than hindering? Possibly an even more important question is whether the point of communal worship and teaching is to become a better follower of Christ. Is it?

I realize that I'm asking a bunch of questions here, but I think that how we practice church in our congregations is critical to our formation into the image of Christ and I'm starting to wonder if how we do that is a help or a hindrance in that pursuit. Is sitting in a large room staring at the back of someone's head conducive to that?

Thanks for helping me work through this.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How the Church Has Done the Marketing for the Da Vinci Code

Did you know that there was a movie based on the book The Da Vinci Code coming out? Probably. There have been previews on the television and in the theaters. There was a game on Google (pretty fun, actually).

But if none of that had actually happened, people would know that this movie was coming out. How? Because a lot of churches are marketing for it too. Many, many churches are having "Discussing the Da Vinci Code" (like Otter Creek) or "Debunking the Da Vinci Code" or the like. You can find how many churches are addressing it here.

Here's the thing. I really understand why churches are doing this. I think that there is a lot (from what I've heard; I haven't read the book yet) of material that could really be disturbing to people. The idea that Jesus could have been married and fathered a child is an issue that really bothers people. And so congregations are equipping their members by educating them about it, but they are also doing a ton of leg work for the studios on this. They are keeping Da Vinci in the forefront of people's minds and constantly reminding people that it's coming out. So there's this weird balancing act that goes on.

I like what Brian McLaren has said in an interview about the movie and book:

What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?

Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?

And here's the deal in my mind. I think the real reason people are bothered by Da Vinci Code is the same reason that Christians fight so hard on the evolution/creationism/intelligent design argument. Those things are the micro versions of the macro issue, which is how trustworthy is the Bible. For many people their entire faith is based on truth as revealed through Scripture and any challenge to the authority of Scripture is a challenge to their faith. And so, you get court cases about teaching creationism (only the Christian kind?) and you get churches educating about a movie and doing the marketing for the studios.

And the funny thing is that it doesn't look like the movie is going to be very good.

Dull even.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Daddy-Daughter Day

I took the day off yesterday to take Kinsey on a field trip to the Nashville Zoo. I got to watch her hang out with some of her friends and her teachers and we walked around everything and got to see giraffes, elephants, tigers, snakes, fish and just a whole slew of animals. It rained and it was cold, but being able to watch Kinsey play and interact with all of her friends was just so much fun to watch. She's still a bit bossy at times, but for the most part, just a sweet little girl.

We went home and I had to do some more work on the Malibu (shortening a radiator hose that I put on a couple of weeks ago) and then Kinsey and I watched The Incredibles together. So much fun. I then had to run out to Wal-Mart to get some more coolant and I went ahead and left Kinsey with Sheryl, but about a half mile down the road, my phone rang and Sheryl told me that Kinsey was upset because I had left. She had got it into her head that she was going with me. So I turned around to get her. Something similar happened last week. I got a call at work and Sheryl put Kinsey on the line. She was sobbing and said, "I miss you, Daddy. Why are you at work?" I tried to reassure her, but it's in moments like that that my daddy heart just feels like it's going to explode. To be so wanted, to be so loved.

I know we're probably going to go through a rough time when Connor's born (hopefully very soon), but she's always going to be my little girl and I will always remember days like yesterday.

In Connor news, Sheryl did have the ultrasound on Friday. Everything looks good. So good, in fact that the doctor said that unless Connor came on his own earlier, he wasn't going to induce until May 25. Urgh. Sheryl is ready to go NOW. But the womb is the safest place for him (and it's DEFINITELY a him), so he'll come when he comes. Thanks for the prayers and the thoughts.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kingdom Class Preparation

Not too much time to blog today.

However, I am re-reading Lee Camp's Mere Discipleship in preparation for the class on the Kingdom of God that I'm teaching this summer as I will be doing with Brian McLaren's The Secret Message of Jesus, but probably not before the class starts in June. I'm also looking at how the Kingdom was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, as well as brushing up on the intertestamental times, because I'm convinced that people's expectations about the Kingdom in Jesus' time were greatly influenced by the Maccabees and the Hasmonean dynasty.

But more on all of that some other time. Hope you have a good Monday.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Ethic of Love

A couple of things...

Sheryl has an ultrasound today to see how Connor is doing. Please be praying that everything goes well.

Episode 10 of the Post Restorationist Radio podcast is now available and it's on Evangelism. Adam and I stress the idea of relationship as the key in a post Christian context and how convincing doesn't really work for most people anymore.

I've also started a new podcast called Teaching the Kingdom. I'm preparing for a class this summer where I'm going to be talking about the Kingdom. I'm planning on recording them, much like I'm recording Lee Camp's class on the Atonement. I gave the talk at Otter Creek's Evening Prayers service this last Sunday, the text of which I'm posting here today. However, if you want to actually HEAR it, I've posted it at the Teaching the Kingdom site.

Anyway, for some context, the Scriptures that I based the talk on Wednesday night are Leviticus 19: 2, 9-18; Revelation 19: 1, 4-9; and John 13:31-35.

Do some of you remember the old devo song, "Love, Love, Love/ The Gospel in one word is Love/ Love your neighbor as yourself/ Love, love, love." And then we would go on and sing about how the one word was peace, and then other words, which always made me wonder: If the Gospel in one word was love, why the others too?

I say that as kind of a joke, but the Scriptures tonight really drove home the power of that one word: Love. And what I see as I look at these passages is that story of God's love and how we should love each other, from the past, to the present, and as Revelation shows us, past the future. And we see in here that when Jesus preached about love for each other was not new to him. Its basis lay in the Hebrew Covenant, in the Torah, in the Law. When Jesus talks about fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, this is what he means.

We serve and follow a God that loved us enough to offer Jesus for us. We serve and follow a God who passionately pursues us, who when He sees us returning to Him, cares nothing for His own propriety, but like the father in the story of the lost son, runs to us. If that is the love and grace and mercy and compassion that God shows us, how can we not reflect that same love back to Him and out to others?

We see in these Scriptures the love that we are called to live out. How we should treat those around us. How we should interact with our brothers and sisters. How we will show our love for God. And it is this love that should be the dominant force in our lives. It is this love that compels us to follow God, to follow the crucified and risen Christ. It is the story that we see in Scripture. We are called to be a loving people.

But as I think about that, I think about how easy it becomes to marginalize that call to love. For instance, we look at the Leviticus passage, and we see direct application to a situation today. When it says to leave the last bunch of grapes and those that fall on the ground to the poor and foreigners living among us, does that not speak a prophetic word to how we should treat the foreigner in this country?

And when Jesus calls us to love each other, doesn't that speak directly to how we interact with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ? Especially when we disagree? What if we disagree about worship styles? What if we disagree about church organization?

You see, it's very easy to follow Jesus when the personal cost is nonexistent or when it doesn't call me to alter my thinking or worse, my actions in certain areas. When I can come to church on Sundays (or Wednesdays, if I'm really holy), get my God points taken care of for the week, it's an easy thing to call myself a Christian. I mean, why not? I can still do pretty much what I want.

But it's in the hard stuff that we really have to decide if following Jesus is worth the cost that it can take from us. What do I do when Jesus' call to love interferes with what I want to do or what makes me comfortable? What does it mean when it calls me to love the convict at the maximum security prison? The homosexual? The legalist?

The call of God is a call to ethic of love. It is a call for us as the followers of Christ to die to ourselves. And the truth is that it is an impossible call. We cannot do it by ourselves. When Christ calls for us to love our neighbors as ourselves, it is something that we have to work hard at doing. It's something that we have to say, "I am going to love my neighbor." And guess what, even in making that decision, we are still going to fail. We're going to fall short of God's call in Leviticus to be holy. And so we must die to ourselves. We must daily, perhaps more often than that, put to death the old person, the sinful person. Our commitment to follow Christ is the commitment to not live according to what we want at the expense of those around us. It is a call to love those around us, to seek what is best for them.

And here is the promise of resurrection. Here is the promise of the Easter season that we celebrate at this time of year. When we die to ourselves, we are raised up in Christ. Water baptism might be a singular event for most of us, but the baptism of life into Christ is a constant ongoing process. We have to die to ourselves, knowing the promise that we will be raised up in Christ, given the power of the Holy Spirit to do the will of Christ, that is to be known for our love! That is what life to its fullest is! We are not called to be saved and then sit on our hands and wait for Heaven, mourning the fact that we didn't die immediately after our baptism, hoping to get other people to join our Heaven-waiting club. That is not the life that Jesus called us to. He called us to be out and about in the towns and cities and countrysides sharing the good news of the Kingdom, that God's reign has come and we are invited to participate in it. That is what we have been called to. How sad is it that people can associate Christianity with hatred. How sad is it that Christians are more known for what we stand against than who we stand for.

We have a calling to love, to share the love of God. May God give us the strength to die to ourselves in order to live that love out to a world that desperately needs it. May we exemplify that love to a church that desperately needs to be reminded of it. And tonight, may we seek to show that love to each other, people who desperately seek it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Fake Test Key

A couple of weeks ago, I told the story of how I called a misbehaving kid's mom in class and had him tell her what he'd done. Today, the story of the fake test key.

One thing I told my kids on the first day of class was that I really liked all of them (almost true), but that I only trusted them as far as I could see them and sometimes not that far. You see, what American educational culture has done is put a focus and emphasis on the grades made as representative of the learning. Hence, an A is supposed to designate that you've mastered 93 to 100% of the material and so on down the line.

Well, what kids have figured out is that colleges don't really care about the knowledge as much as they care about the grades, so if your grade is an A, but you really only know 75% of the stuff, it's the A that matters. Hence, cheating, or slightly worse, studying only for the test and then immediately forgetting the material (much as I did in my year of French in college [sorry, Dr. Prill]).

I saw one of my jobs as a teacher to try and fight this tendency as much as possible, so I did everything I could to stop cheating. All books had to be in the bags at test and quiz time. I was not a teacher that graded papers or read the paper while the kids were testing; I watched those kids while they tested. They used cover sheets. I called the names of kids whose eyes I saw wandering (even though I knew that they, like me, might just be seeing where their neighbors were on the test compared to themselves [although I had a bit of the wandering eye for cheating in high school too]). I even tried to make my tests as nonobjective as possible. In other words, not multiple choice, matching, or the like. Most of mine were essay or short answer. However, I did have to do those multiple choice questions sometimes and here's where the story starts.

I knew I had some people in a class that would cheat at most opportunities. So, one day I devised a scheme. We had a multiple choice test on a certain topic and before the class came in, I made out my key as usual. And then I hit on the idea. So I made a fake key. Now, making a fake key is not easy. You can't miss the obvious questions, unless the kids are simply looking at the answers. So I probably missed 12 out of the 20 questions on the test. I then set it beside my desk and carefully stepped on it. I wanted it to look like it had dropped off my desk and I had stepped on it on my way out without noticing it.

When I came time for class to start, I was deliberately a couple of minutes late, and as I came up to the door, I heard, "There he is!" "Hurry" and I knew it had worked.

Well, the kids worked through the test and since all of them were there that day, we checked it in class. As I started giving the answers, I could see confusion on the faces of some of the kids. The answers weren't coming out like they thought they were. At the end, I told the kids what I had done and while they were initially a bit upset, when I explained that the point of the exercise was to show them the importance of studying and that if they had studied, they would have recognized those answers were wrong, I think they understood.

Next time: how I invented a nonexistent plot line in a test about a novel.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Father's Day

Wherein Phil once again removes all doubt as to his true uncoolosity.

I've talked before on this blog about my love for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, so I won't go into how I loved the 1978 series as a child or how the writing and acting are so well done. Except for what I just did. Anyway...

Back when I was in 8th grade, I fell in with a circle of friends who were Trekkies. Again, I know this isn't much of a surprise to most of you, but they were my buds and we hung out together. Through some of our talks, I learned about this show from Britain called Doctor Who, at that point starring Tom Baker as the Doctor. It was showing on PBS here in the States, so I'd check it out on Saturday nights. I thought it was kind of neat and gave me something to talk about with my friends on Monday. It didn't inspire the same kind of rabid obsession in me as some other things did, but I enjoyed it.

Well, much like BSG, Doctor Who has made a return to the small screen. And much like the original that I watched, it hasn't blown me away. I've loved Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and let's face it: Billie Piper as the Companion Rose Tyler is just very attractive.

However, nice time travel and space travel plots are nothing without characters you can care about good stories and Friday, April 28th gave one of those in Father's Day. I won't give a detailed plot summary here; you can read the recap for that. Let's just say that I don't get teary-eyed at much that I watch, but when I watched this I had tears streaming down my face and I immediately had to go up to Kinsey's room and give her a hug in her sleep. In a story that could be a typical meet your family in the past one, Rose saves her dad from a accidental death that of course opens a hole in the space-time continuum. But it's in talking with him that she gets her idealized thoughts about him shattered and then in the sacrifice he makes, she loves him more than she thought possible. It was a great hour of TV. And while I can't recommend everyone watch it (it is very weird and very British), those who like that kind of thing will find it close to Star Trek Deep Space 9's The Visitor.

Tomorrow? The story of the fake test key.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Unease Isolation"

Every now and then I'll go onto Google and see what people are saying about some things. For instance, "Otter Creek" and "Change Agents" is always fun. But I also will search for things I'm reading. In this case, I searched "Mere Discipleship" and "Lee Camp" and got a really interesting review of it, called Overcoming Unease Isolation with Mere Discipleship.

There are several good quotes in it, including
If I could contribute to the making of a clichĂ©, Lee Camp’s new book, Mere Discipleship is a red pill on offer to us in this flood of blue pills which stock the shelves of so many Christian book stores. “Mere Discipleship” trusts God enough to ask hard questions. Lee Camp makes theologian John H. Yoder and the Anabaptist witness to the Christianity lived by the early Christians accessible to those whose theological reading never ventures passed Phillip Yancey and who think “Anna Baptist” is a woman’s name.

However, the other really interesting quote is this one:
The Christian book market is constantly flooded with material that leaves people neither shaken nor stirred; books that do little more than dress up our confined consumerist lifestyles of comfort and conformity in Christian clothing (even cool Christian clothing) in the interest of being “relevant”. I encounter countless people who share what I’ve come to diagnose as Unease Isolation. Unease Isolation symptoms (or Angst Isolation in its more severe cases) often include feeling like you are the only one in a sea of worshipping people who feels something isn’t right. They feel like the Christ they encountered in their initial conversion called and empowered them for something more than ‘doing church’ whether it is doing mega-church or doing alternative-cafĂ©-church. They feel Christ called and empowered them to BE church.
I really like all of this quote but I especially like the coining of the term "unease isolation." That feeling that you wonder if you're the only one who has questions about the way things are. And that's a lonely place to be, especially if you were raised in a tradition where questioning is not encourage. If you were raised in a tradition that purported to have faith and Christianity figured out. If those things were figured out, why would you ask questions? Why would you raise issues? You wouldn't, because then you might lose your circle of friends or even worse, your family, your blood relatives, might "disfellowship" you (perhaps one of the ugliest terms in Christianity).

But here's the beauty thing and this is why I love blogs and the web. Through this blog, I have come across people I don't even know that have the same concerns, even people I worship with every Sunday! Through it, I've "met" Scott Freeman, a preacher in Michigan going through a personal transformation. I've "met" Thomas Stewart, just a guy in Mississippi trying to be a faithful follower. I've made one of the closest friends I think I have these days in Adam Ellis, a guy who has seriously affected my faith in ways that I can't even imagine.

And many others of you that I don't have time or space to mention.

I've heard someone somewhere describe blogging as an outpost of the Kingdom of God on the web and it truly, truly is. Here we can encourage and edify and walk with and pray for people that we may never meet face to face this side of the new heaven and new earth. But in this way that feeling of "unease isolation" isn't really isolation any more. We may still be uneasy or have angst, but we're really not alone.

Truly in this brave new world of technology and mental teleportation to all sides of the world (because isn't that what the web truly does?), the little things in life haven't changed. A kind word here, a blessing there, the sharing of a previously unspoken idea, whether it's done face to face or through cyberspace.

God has provided us a community of faith that extends beyond the boundaries that we could have imagined 15 years ago. Praise Him for His glorious provision.

"We read to know we are not alone." (C.S Lewis)

"We write to let others know they are not alone." (Me)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Looking into a Mirror

Special post today.

Sometimes it takes someone else to hold a mirror to you to make you look into it. I generally consider the early Simpsons episodes to have some of the best commentary of church culture, but I've found another one now. Courtesy of Michael Bells, in Ontario, I present King of the Hill.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One Month Away...

It hit me on Saturday that Sheryl and I are one month (hopefully less, for Sheryl's sake!) away from Connor's birth. It seems so strange because in a lot of ways, this pregnancy has felt like it took a lot longer than Kinsey's. But the truth is, a lot has happened.

For one, it took us quite a bit longer to get pregnant this time than with Kinsey, so we'd been thinking about it for a while. Then, we had the England trip which occupied a lot of the time. Getting back from England, we took a little break from things and then at the end of November, we started hearing rumors of Otter Creek possibly moving buildings. And then Christmas. And then the move was on, but it was happening at the end of February. Then, it was moved up a month and we were meeting in the gym for a month. And then, we moved into the Sanctuary. And when all of that calmed down is when Sheryl and I really started to get cranking on getting Connor's room ready with cleaning carpets, painting the room, painting stripes on the room, moving furniture, putting in a closet system, and putting together the crib again. It's been a very full 9 months.

Of course putting the crib together again would be a lot easier if I could only remember what I did with all the bolts and screws that I took out of it when I took it apart for Kinsey. So, after a week of looking for them, I had to call Simmons and order all the individual widgets and stuff. I would say that I'll remember what I do with them for the next time, but, Lord willing, Connor is it for us.

Some of you might be wondering how Sheryl is doing with the pregnancy. She's in pretty much constant pain. Not like whimpering and crying all the time, but she just FEELS everything she does. Walking up and down stairs. Standing up. Sitting down. Even in bed at night, any time she moves she wakes up. She is ready to not be pregnant anymore. And I don't blame her. Pregnancy is reason #24 of 389 I'm glad to be a guy (Makeup - #8, Pantyhose - #272)

However, I am envious of her for one reason. She gets to feel Connor inside her all the time. Of all the crap that goes along with being pregnant, that's the one thing I wish I could feel. Sure, I get to feel him move through her abdomen, but to actually feel his life growing inside her, to feel him rolling around, to feel him step on her bladder... well, not that one. But it's a very exciting time and as jealous as I am that she's able to feel him, I know that I'm only a month away from holding him myself.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church

I was lent The Present Future by Doug Sanders, the Director of Ministries at Otter Creek, after I read about it on the web somewhere. I'm always interested in books about the church, also known as ecclesiology. I'm at a point right now where I'm very interested in how a congregation is practicing the action of helping its members become disciples. Now, a lot of what I read in this book was not unfamiliar to me from all the other reading I've done in the last cople of years, but this book is definitely written for church leaders.

So, the six tough questions. Well, first off, they're not really questions, although the tough questions are within the chapter itself. They're new realities that the author, Reggie McNeal has identified. McNeal, by the way, is the director of leadership development for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
  1. New Reality Number One - The Collapse of the Church Culture
    Tough Question: How do we convert from Churchianity to Christianity?
    Totally on board with this one. One of the ideas that McNeal talks about here is that churches have become more like clubs than outposts of the Kingdom of God, which leads to...

  2. New Reality Number Two - The Shift from Church Growth to Kingdom Growth
    Tough Question: How do we transform our community? (How do we hit the streets with the Gospel?)
    Again, totally on board with this too. It's been amazing to me the way that thinking has grown in this area.

  3. New Reality Number Three - A New Reformation: Releasing God's People
    Tough Question: How do we turn members into Missionaries?
    This is where the missional stuff really started. The idea here is that if people change from being club members to being missionaries, what does that mean for the church, specifically does that mean fewer programs at the church building and more in the community?

  4. New Reality Number Four - The Return to Spiritual Formation
    Tough Question: How do we develop followers of Jesus?
    Here's the great irony of the new thinking to me. On one hand, a lot of the new thinking is very communal in its nature and rightfully so. However, there's a very introspective aspect to it and this is something that congregations need to address. It's a very interesting ideology, but it's amazing how this is playing out. There was a lot in this chapter about learning and shifting away from a classroom model.

  5. New Reality Number Five - The Shift from Planning to Preparation
    Tough Question: How do we prepare for the future?
    Here's where the book started to lose me. This is when it got into vision and values and that kind of thing doesn't interest me very much. I realize that some people have to prepare and think about those things, but that's just not my bag (baby).

  6. New Reality Number Six - The Rise of Apostolic Leadership
    Tough Question: How do we develop leaders for the Christian movement?
    Again, another section that really seems to be geared more toward congregation leaders, rather than laypeople like me. I think people will find some value about new models for leadership interesting, but just not me.
I think this is a pretty good book for current church congregation leaders. It envelops a lot of the new thinking about church and people who might not read Brian McLaren or some of the other emerging church thinkers. Not a bad read.
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