Archive for September, 2005

AnewkindofConversation.com is up

AnewkindofConversation.com is up


The first two posts are “What is ‘Postmodernism” by Bruce Ellen Benson and Spiritual Formation in a Postmodern Context by Brian McLaren.

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This is why the church is dying in North America

This is why the church is dying in North America


The recent cover story in Charisma magazine addresses the decline of evangelicalism in the United States..  The author is evangelist Ron Luce and he is very concerned about the current generation of teenagers.  He points to the following statistics found “The Bridger Generation” by Thom S. Rainer. 

65% of those born between 1910 and 1946 are evangelical.
35% of those born between 1946 and 1964 are evangelical.
15% of those born between 1965 and 1976 are evangelical.
4% of those born after 77 are projected to be evangelical.

To counter this Luce proposes a 3 phase strategy.

Phase 1
Massive awareness campaign to inspire more adults to get involved in reach teens
The book Battle Cry for a Generation and associated study guide has been released.
September has been designated Youth Emphasis Month and 9/11 is National Youth Sunday.  Eventually rally 100,000 churches to commit to rescuing this generation.

Phase 2
Equip youth pastors and workers
Double the size of each youth group every years for the next 5 years
Learn knew ways to disciple teens
Resources: books, planning guides, discipleship materials are available through battlecry.com
Battle Cry Leadership Summit events

Phase 3
Capture the hearts of teens
Isolate them from negative influences (media, music, movies, cultural pressure)
Stage mass events and weekend long meetings such as Acquire the Fire youth conferences, Dare 2 Share conferences and Battle Cry stadium events.

If you want to ensure the destruction of your movement or organization keep applying the same answers to old questions even though they don’t work.  Here is a list of the old answers.

Youth Ministry: 
A few years ago Mike Yaconelli, founder of a company devoted to providing resources for youth ministry, admitted that youth ministry has been failure.  The older kids get the less interested in youth ministry they become until they graduate and then 80% of them don’t come back to church.

Resources:
Each year we produce thousands upon thousands of books, resource materials, magazines, music and each year the church declines a bit further.  In previous times the church had much more impact with much less. 

Large scale events:
I know a number of men who went to promise keeper events and came back pumped but really couldn’t articulate what they had learned or how they had changed.  In a few weeks the excitement wears off and we are back to normal.

Isolation from media:
I don’t think anyone would deny the influence media has upon us but our problem is sin not culture.  One can hide in a log cabin deep in the Canadian rockies and still have a desperately sinful heart. 

I think the main reason why evangelicalism is in decline is because the current brand we have is rotten.  Our gospel is “accept what Christ has done and go to church” when it should be “give up your life and follow Christ.”  I’m not implying that we are saved by anything other than faith but I believe faith means turning over your present life to Christ and trusting Him with it. 

Evangelicalism is dying because you don’t have to follow Christ to be evangelical anymore. 

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2 students drove to the superdome in a Hyundai

2 students drove to the superdome in a Hyundai


I just don’t know what to say. 2 guys drove their car to the Superdome in and took people out.  They say it would have taken 20 minutes to do the same thing with a bus.  The magnitude of the incompetence in this situation is incalcuable.

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Sin and Katrina

Sin and Katrina


In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina different religious groups are
calling this a judgment from God. I have no idea whether God reached in
to the atmosphere and formed a deadly storm with which he could punish
New Orleans or the United States. However I believe the suffering is
the consequence of sin.

It is a sin to ignore impact of pollution on global weather systems.
It is a sin to appoint unqualified friends to critical roles in government
It is a sin to abandon the poor
It is a sin to exploit human suffering for political gain
It is a sin to put one’s needs first regardless of the needs of others
It is a sin to not prepare for disaster
It is a sin to lie in order to side step accountability

I think George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst
president of the last 100 years but he is just a small part of this
mess. Those levees were inadquate in the Clinton years and for many
years before him. Your average North American is also at fault. We are
the ones buying the SUV’s and polluting the environment. If there was
political will to care for the poor we would. If we didn’t live in
ignorance we wouldn’t tempt politicians to stage photo-ops in the midst
of human suffering. We like to blame our politicians for their obvious
shortcomings but more often than not our leaders reflect us rather than
lead us.

We are like children when facing the consequences of our
wrongdoing.  We blame. The Repubangelicals are already blaming the
homosexuals and Hollywood. Liberals are blaming Bush. Republicans are
blaming state and civic officials to take the heat off of bush. In the
midst of this we are missing the message.

As a society we need to change. We need to put aside our greed and
laziness and change the way we live. We need to learn how to live in
harmony with the environment rather than turn it against us. We need to
care again about our government and become marginally educated so we
aren’t swayed by cheap stunts and shallow rhetoric. We need to value
all human beings.

17 Comments

Come see Stanley Hauerwas in Regina

Come see Stanley Hauerwas in Regina


The Sacrifice of War and the Christian Sacrifice
Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 7:30pm

Auditorium, Education Building, University of Regina
Parking available in the studen areas of lots 3, 14, and 17.

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Authenticating the message

Authenticating the message


One of the questions Charismatics and post-Charismatics ask themselves is: “Why don’t we walk with more supernatural power?”  The reason why we ask that question is because we think it is one of the fundamental problems with the church in western society.  I would say that the primary problem for the church in our context isn’t the lack of mission, poor contextualization or stifling church structure.  I admit that those three issues are substantial and should not be ignored. 

The assumption here is that if we were more supernaturally empowered those who follow Christ would reflect divine character and miracles would connect people with God.  One purpose of miracles is to authenticate the gospel message.  If you come bearing the message of God sometimes God will do something miraculous to provide evidence that you are speaking a true message.

One of the reasons why we walk in so little power is that the message has changed.  The gospel message commonly preached has been reduced to a heaven switch.  Accept this and you are saved if not you burn.  Lost is the idea that following Christ involves laying aside your life to follow the living Christ. 

1Cor 1:22-24 NRSV
 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

The message ought not to accommodate people or meet their felt needs or be attractive.  The gospel message should seem like foolishness but carry divine power and wisdom.

This is where propositional truth fails Christianity.  The heart of Christianity is divine absurdity.  The foundation of the Christian life is the person of Christ not rational truth.   That isn’t to say universal truth doesn’t exist or that we can’t know it but it can never be the foundation for our relationship with God. 

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Resonate Journal is up

Resonate Journal is up


I contributed my first podcast!  Check it out here.

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