Archive for March, 2003

How many pastors struggle in silence?

How many pastors struggle in silence?

According to recent statistics 30% of pastors regularly view pornography online. From what I know about the typical situation the pastor is trapped in cycle of guilt and frustration as they try to break free from their addiction. However they are too afraid to come forward and admit they have a problem because they know it could be the end of their career.



The church is not very forgiving of certain kinds of sin, especially in their leaders. I wonder how many of our leaders are trapped. On one side is their addiction to porn. On the other is fear. Fear of losing their job. Fear of the shame associated with moral failure in ministry. Fear of wasting the time and resources they spent getting qualified to do their job.



To me there seems to be an inherent flaw in the system. There seems to be an absurd amount of isolation at the leadership level and some unrealistic expectations. I know that addictions of any kind are serious. Porn, sex, gambling, whatever… If the church is an agent of grace, redemption and reconciliation why aren’t facing the porn issue with love and restoration in mind? It seems as though once one of our lofty leader’s falls we have nothing catch them with apart from shame and contempt.

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Blogging, Monologue and Dialogue

Blogging, Monologue and Dialogue

Blogging has set many free to interact with people from all across the world. It’s given us the opportunity to dialogue. I find the time I spend online very encouraging. I’m reading and responding to real life sermons. Conversation over the Internet can be a bit limiting but it sure beats listening to someone exegete abstract principles divorced from story and context (a typical sermon).



Is the evangelical church’s love affair with the venerable sermon more about control than exhortation, encouragement or education? Only those qualified to speak are allowed to. Perhaps, in the dog days of summer when half the staff are on vacation they will let a bible school educated, non-vocational minister give their take on things. Deep down people get the impression that they aren’t qualified to speak to anyone.



I’ve encouraged a number of people to blog and there first reaction is Who am I to have my own website? I’m just a person. I don’t have anything to say”. It’s sad how so many people feel that they have no ability and no responsibility to share in community.



If sermons are about challenge and teaching then they are a miserable failure. Studies show monologue is a very poor communication medium. The people in church are woefully biblically illiterate. Christians differ little from the general populace in regards to their moral behavior. Why do we place the sermon as the central point of our gatherings when it is so incredibly ineffective?



For much of my Christian life I’ve wanted to dialogue with people. I get frustrated because in church there is almost no opportunity to do it. The program often usurps dialogue in small groups. Sunday school is dictated by teaching. However the biggest hindrance to in depth dialogue is that almost no one knows how to do it! Even when you get the opportunity to talk we end up talking about things that don’t matter like hockey or movies.



Blogging is changing this. Regular people, people without Seminary education are talking. They are learning how to write. They are learning how to interact. It’s life changing and empowering.



Can you find church” online. I think you can. Is it all that church can be? No. Graphics and text are one medium, touch is another, and the spoken word is another. Faith community needs to be multi-medium. Church life is often one medium one way. No text, no touch or Spirit. An imbalance in online/offline relationships can be destructive, just as destructive as imbalance of monologue/dialogue.

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The Ethics of Colonialism

The Ethics of Colonialism

I started a new series in the Issues and Ethics course. We are examining the ethics of colonialism. Colonialism is the process by which European empires establish colonies and eventually subjugate indigenous populations. The 2nd year class recently returned from a short missions trip to a handful of reserves in Northern Saskatchewan. While we discussed the situation on the reserve the tone was very somber. I think some members of the class have been deeply moved by what they saw. They saw poverty of every kind. Social, spiritual, emotional, financial etc… Hopelessness. Many aboriginals have internalized the unfair bias of white society. They hate themselves because they believe the lies the white dominant culture feeds them.



I grew up believing that Canadians were the good guys. We are universally liked around the world. We spend proportionally high amounts on international aid. We aren’t the United States. In this situation it really looks like we are the bad guys. I will concede that in many situations the First Nations haven’t helped themselves but colonists were the beginning of the problems they face.



I think the mostly deeply disturbing aspect of the situation is internalized colonialism. Many native people hate themselves, hate their identity, and hate their culture. They have bought in to the ethnocentric lies of the dominant western culture. Treating people like crap is one thing, but making people believe they are crap is much worse.

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Am I Pomo?

Am I Pomo?

TheHeresy.com is probably considered post modern website. I’m not sure if I appreciate the label. Modernity does bug me. I like to deconstruct. I’m more sensitive to the importance of language. I think that truth is hard to know. I guess by default that makes me pomo.



There are a few fallacies floating around. The first is that modernism, and the ministries churches still swimming in it are dead and completely irrelevant. Last I checked lives are still being changed at ministry I work at. Last time I checked, my life is still being changed by modern” people. Let’s face some facts, modernity isn’t dead. In fact pre-modern cultures aren’t dead. In Saskatchewan we have colonies of Hutterites that have survived for hundreds of years despite their isolation.



There is something more important than cultural relevance. As the verse reads on the top of this site, the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. If we aren’t empowered by God it won’t matter how we package our message or set up our ministries. I don’t like modernity because a purely rational approach to God ignores the emotional and spiritual aspects of our relationship with Him. It cuts us off from God’s power and we are left fruitless.



Among the post-modern set there is a certain annoying smugness. There is a perception that unless a ministry is high tech, young, urban, artistic and ultra creative it is completely irrelevant. As a pomo” Christian I don’t care much about video projectors or digital media integrated in to radical liturgies. I don’t resonate with ancient/future or 12 other pomo buzz words. I want to see people healed and redeemed. I want to see community a believers less confined by judgment and condemnation. I want to see leaders who truly believe in the priesthood of all believers. I want people to be real with each other. I want God to be pleased with how his agents are representing Him.



TheHeresy.com does reflect post-modern thought but it also reflects prophetic, Charismatic, Anabaptist, evangelical and even modern thought. It’s an odd combination but it is who I am. I think above all else its important to be real and pursue faithfulness in life and ministry.

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Root of sin in the heart of Canada?

Root of sin in the heart of Canada?

Finally, after many weeks of seeking the Lord, I simply asked, Holy Spirit, what is the root sin in the heart of America?” Several days passed by and to my surprise the words Native American Indians” began to resound in my heart. As I began to meditate on these words, something tremendous started to happen.



Deep down on the inside of me I began to be burdened with grief. At first I had no idea why. I had no reason to grieve. I was deeply moved during periods of intercession to groaning, travailing (at times as in birth), weeping and actually mourning in the Spirit. For the next several weeks I was overwhelmed by an almost unbearable sense of loss, as through I had just lost a loved one. My heart was broken when I began to sense what must be the enormous depth of God’s grief over the unchecked, unrepented sins of our forefathers and the devastation done to the Indians. It seemed as through I felt only a tiny portion of His sorry, but even that was all I could bear.



During this encounter the Lord opened my eyes and my heart and I began to understand with a deep bitterness of soul that generations past did not deal kindly with Indian people according to God’s law of love and justice. It seemed the Lord showed me that the unchecked, unrepented sins of our forefathers have created a spiritual blockage hindering the move of God in our nation.



Centuries of humiliation and injustice have made them the most isolated, forgotten and deprived minority group in America. History show there was a selfish, violent clash between our fathers and the Indians. As I prayed, the Holy Spirit made me aware that our ancestors were an aggressive people who overcame the less powerful Indian Nations with malice, anger, wrath, hatred, lying, covenant-breaking, deceit, fraud and trickery—all fueled by greed and self-righteous bigotry. Violence and abuse were repeated countless times to the degradation, destitution and wholesale destruction of Indian culture and people. Whole tribes were shattered and lost forever. Men who, with no fear of God before their eyes, shamelessly and without mercy exercised brutal power them to satisfy their own sinful desires.

David Tavernier, 1993.

Taken from One Church Many Tribes by Richard Twiss.

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