Archive for December, 2009
Posted by LT in on December 20, 2009
As far as personal websites go this one is probably one of the older ones on the block. It was over 11 years ago that I thought putting something online. At the time I was a budding web developer with my own server. I think the cost of owning a domain had finally dropped around that time. In the early days we had to pay $150 USD for a two year registration. That was back when the US dollar was worth a lot more than the Canadian dollar. Originally my website wasn’t a blog, it was a collection of articles. I did eventually develop a ramblings section where I wrote some of my own stuff. It was Jordon Cooper that inspired the transition to a blog. I have affectionately referred to Jordon as the “blog father” (spoken in your best italian mob boss accent…think godfather) as he inspired so many people around here to blog. I put a lot of work in to his blog for several years but after I got married I just didn’t have the same amount of time to pontificate on weighty issues.
I’ve been writing a lot lately but it will be for another stand-alone website like CoveringAndAuthority.com. That website has turned out very well. I get comments and email from appreciative people every month. When people search google with several relevant search terms CoveringAndAuthority.com appears in the top 10 results. That puts it exactly where I need it to reach the audience I intend to reach. There are a great many people trapped in authoritarian churches that find it much easier explore their doubts anonymously. Having the entire website dedicated to this one topic makes it much easier to find in google.
For this next project I’m reflecting on what I’d call my approach of ministry. It will encompass what I’ve learned after 6 years of participating in house churches. Much like CoveringAndAuthority.com I will attempt to reflect on things biblically. There are some people out there doing a really bang up job of bridging New Testament and church. I appreciate Alan Knox a lot, as well as some of the people he links to in his writing and reflections.
Posted by LT in on December 16, 2009
Richard Colvin is demolishing the government’s talking points right now. How did Harper win the first time? Accountable government? This is getting disgusting.
Posted by LT in on December 8, 2009
About a year and a half ago I became public with all my concerns about the American economy. The reaction at that time? “Oh this is just the media whipping people up in a frenzy.” Less than two months later all the stock markets cratered and a wave of bankruptcies threatened to take down the whole system. It has been a year and a half and the problem hasn’t been fixed. A few government bailouts eased some pressure on the banks and temporarily reflated the housing market but it had to borrow billions upon billions of dollars to do it. Even the word “borrow” isn’t so accurate as the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air and started buying up US debt. What they have done is no better than a family using their low rate credit to pay off their higher rate credit card and the bank is about to jack up the rate on it too. All they have done is bought some time and changed the implosion point from some big bank to the US government or its currency.
It is hard to know what is going to happen. The gold market thinks that we are going to see inflation. The bond market sees deflation. The problem is monetary value is something of an illusion. Someone can save up thousands of dollars in cash and hide it securely in their backyard and a bout of serious inflation can make that money worth much less than it was originally worth. A house has value as shelter but its market price can rise and drop at the whim of the market. Without maintenance it depreciates. The value of gold and silver fluctuates. Even life insurance is only as secure the companies offering it. If I had wealth I wouldn’t know where to stick it right now. The easiest investment to make it to pay down debt. Aside from that I’d seriously consider giving a lot of it away. Go back to Jesus’ adage of building up treasure in heaven. If you have a whole lot of something that you aren’t sure is going to be worth much, use it to make the world a better place. Invest in things that matter, things that have value that can be never taken away.
Posted by LT in on December 7, 2009
We listened to this for house church today. Janice is one bright lady and much of what she says is very applicable to the church. She argues effectively that as a society we have lost the value of personal responsibility and supplanted it with a much more narrow, much more immediate desire for accountability. We trend to try to fix problems by fixing systems rather than addressing the lack of personal responsibility. She fears that as we depart from a values centered ethic to mere adherence to certain organizational measurable objectives we are losing touch with the big picture.
In the church this could be reflected in our fascination with things we can measure (finances, programs, buildings, membership, attendance) and neglect the less tangible but no less essential areas of character, integrity and faithfulness. It also reflected in our myopic attention to the success of our particular organization while ignoring the state of the church in general and even our society.
Posted by LT in on December 3, 2009
Among mainstream, nondenominational megachurches, where much of American religious life takes place, “prosperity is proliferating” rapidly, says Kate Bowler, a doctoral candidate at Duke University and an expert in the gospel. Few, if any, of these churches have prosperity in their title or mission statement, but Bowler has analyzed their sermons and teachings. Of the nation’s 12 largest churches, she says, three are prosperity—Osteen’s, which dwarfs all the other megachurches; Tommy Barnett’s, in Phoenix; and T. D. Jakes’s, in Dallas. In second-tier churches—those with about 5,000 members—the prosperity gospel dominates. Overall, Bowler classifies 50 of the largest 260 churches in the U.S. as prosperity. The doctrine has become popular with Americans of every background and ethnicity; overall, Pew found that 66 percent of all Pentecostals and 43 percent of “other Christians”—a category comprising roughly half of all respondents—believe that wealth will be granted to the faithful. It’s an upbeat theology, argues Barbara Ehrenreich in her new book, Bright-Sided, that has much in common with the kind of “positive thinking” that has come to dominate America’s boardrooms and, indeed, its entire culture.