Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday reads

Hey folks!  Today was an exhausting Sunday for us.  I had one of those good long naps that brought back memories of childhood Sundays.  I always thought my parents were really strange for taking midday naps on Sunday, but now I get it!  Whew, did I need ever that rest!  I  pray that your Sunday was been restful and rejuvenating.  It is my hope that you have been encouraged and strengthened in Christ, not only in your church gathering but in your own devotional time with the Lord. 

Here are some blog posts I've enjoyed "chewing on". I've included some excerpts, but definitely check out the full posts! 

Exactly one year ago, today, I left a twenty-five year pastorate and the professional ministry. The move came after a two year struggle of conscience where I tried to do what Wolfgang Simpson describes as “trying to cross the river without getting your feet wet.” After a year of reflection I offer to you the seven worst/best things I did as a conventional church pastor.

1. Took a full-time salary. Until I left the ministry I had no idea how corrupting a compensation package is to the church. It changes the way you think about yourself and changes the way people view you. You become a sort of professional Christian that floats above the unwashed masses of laity. It affects your decision-making almost every day. The Trinity becomes Father, Son and Holy Cash Flow. [.....]
-The 7 Worst (& 7 best) Things I did as a Pastor in a Traditional Church Ministry

In the previous blog post Longcuts, I shared that the expression of faith in simple, organic and missional paradigms of Christianity require intentionality on your part. Nothing is done for you. Your the initiator of the level of intimacy you want with God. Not only the initiator, but also responsible for your own maturity. Maturity is not easily or quickly attained, so the quicker we start on this journey the better. God expects us to mature, and Paul exhorts the Ephesians and us, in Ephesians 4:14-16 with, "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature".

Children have everything done for them. We don't expect anything different, and neither do they. Of course, we want them to mature, to become more and more responsible for themselves in all areas. We move them into adulthood. We call this maturity. That is one of our main purposes as parents and adults in their lives.

Unfortunately, we don't have this same mindset in much of the church. The defining of maturity seems illusive, like a target we never hit or sure of where and what it is. We claim we are training, teaching, leading, etc. people into maturity, and yet they never seem to reach it! All through the process we communicate messages like: "you need me for your spiritual growth", or " without my leadership, you and everything else will fall apart", or "your not ready yet, and I'll be the one to know when you are".
-Longcuts , and the following post, Time to Grow Up

This is my hypothesis.  These parents aren’t trying to train their children to obey, they are trying to control chaos.  Their discipline is based on the amount of chaos they can handle at a given time.  Deliberate disobedience is far less of a concern.  Therefore the child learns to monitor their parent’s mood and the situation closely knowing that the things they can get away with are not dependent so much on them and their behavior as on their parents and the environment.  This is a disaster for kids.  It makes the parents patience and tolerance the real trigger for discipline instead of the child’s behavior.  It trains kids less how to obey and more how to manipulate a situation.  This leads the child to routinely push his or her parents to the edge since they have been systematically trained to find that edge of tolerance and keep their parents there continuously.  How exhausting for the parents.  How destructive for the children.  And when they see an obedient child their reaction is, “I wish my child had that temperament”.  So they blame their child when they have spent years training their children to behave in this manner.  There’s a much better, easier way.
- Controlling Chaos VS Obedience Training for Young Children

The author of this post so clearly puts into words what I love about being part of a simple home church that seeks to "do life" together. I truly love the people we meet with and am always looking forward to fellowshipping with them again.  The Spirit bonds us together as we share our heart and our struggles, teach, rebuke, and pray for one another, as well as join together and lift our hands in worship and praise to God.

- Read: I've Got Your Back

One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ character is His radical inclusivity. When Jesus walked this earth, He despised the spirit of separatism, elitism, and self-righteousness (Mark 9:38-40). And He still does today (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).

Augustine’s famous line still holds true: “In essential, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

These essentials of the faith embody what C. S. Lewis called Mere Christianity—“the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” (An earlier version of the same idea was put forth by Vincent of Lerins: “Christianity is what has been held always, everywhere, and by all.”)

In this post, I’d like to make a few observations about the “non-essentials.”

To put it in a sentence: If the perfect interpretation of the Bible were the standard for Christian fellowship, then I would have had to disfellowship myself twenty years ago! I’m still learning, thank God, and my interpretations of Scripture are maturing. None of us has a corner on the truth. And if a person thinks they do, they’re deluded. In the words of Paul, “We know in part” (1 Cor. 13:9).

I have to wonder what will happen when Jesus returns. I can imagine all the Christians who specialized in “perfect doctrine” passing out after they discover who made it into the kingdom. Angels will be running around all over the place with smelling salts to wake them up!

The church of Jesus Christ is one. But we are called to maintain and guard the unity of that oneness (Eph. 4:2–3).
 - Rethinking Christian Unity

Love and Blessings in Christ,

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