Recently the Facebook Page of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s (IVCF) Media Ministry, TwentyOneHundred Productions, conjectured as to what might happen if Christian email/letter sign-offs were movie titles. You’ll find a total of four movie posters at the January 20th post at this link.
…Today’s links and the ones at PARSE are identical.
- Counterpoint: Is the Church Too Feminine? – The thesis of several recent books is challenged: “As I walk into church, I am welcomed by a man who hands me a bulletin. I am ushered to my seat by a man. I look through the bulletin in my hand and read the names of men on the elder board and men serving as pastors. I am welcomed by a man who gives the announcements. I stand and worship, led by a band of mostly men. We sing songs that are mostly written by men. I sit down and listen to a man preach a sermon and give illustrations from his own, male, life. He reads scripture from a Bible that was translated by men. This translation speaks primarily to men through its masculine pronouns. The sermon usually centers around a man in the Bible. This male pastor leads me in prayer to a God he calls father.” Of course, the women make the coffee.
- When the Hate Mail Arrives – “As a pastor you will make decisions that, inevitably, will be disliked by someone. Or maybe you did something, and you had no idea that it would hurt or offend a church member. Here’s the kicker—Lord willing, you did this with the best of intentions. You never meant it to harm or offend anyone. And yet, it did. So what’s next? Do what you can to figure out if you hurt or offended someone unnecessarily (maybe your timing was poor, or your tone was not good); or if you are dealing with prickly or sensitive person. Then seek reconciliation.” Six things to consider when that note lands on your desk.
- Praying for the Competition – For many years my wife and I attended a church that would, as part of their prayer time, remember one of the other churches in the community, including praying for the pastor by name. [M]any local churches are tempted to conduct themselves as if they didn’t know any other local evangelical churches existed around them. Or, if they acknowledge them, they are chasing ‘end-of-the-year bonuses’ by competing with and beating out other churches in ministry. ” Five reasons to remember the congregations down the road and around the block.
- Rick Warren We Know, But Who Are You? – It’s hard to imagine that there is a Christian publisher who doesn’t have at least one title currently under the microscope of critics, bloggers, discernment ministries, or even the mainstream media. Rick Warren’s name appears on the cover of The Daniel Plan (Zondervan) but so also do two coauthors about whom we know very little. “Let us get right to the point: The three doctors who have put together a 52-week health program for Saddleback congregants are absolute advocates and proponents of not just eastern-style meditation but actual eastern meditation and much, much more…”
- Features Found in Flourishing Congregations – First and foremost…okay, I’ll stop the alliteration. This is from Joel Thiessen at Ambrose University in Canada: “Flourishing congregations have a clear sense of who they are – where they come from, where they are now, and where they are going. They often learn from other churches along the way, yet they understand their uniqueness and do not strive to be like the others… As part of knowing themselves, thriving churches involve many people and voices in the self-identity conversation – these are not solely concentrated among pastoral staff and board members. Leaders take time to listen to members in the congregation and to act upon the feedback that they receive, prioritizing clear, concise, and timely communication. The culmination of these variables are people who identify and buy-in to the congregation’s identity…”
- Many Years After the Baby Baptism – The relatives are gathered and everything is all celebratory, but where is the church when the boy or girl is diving deep into adolescence? “You might as well get ready now, Church, because when those years arrive you will have to struggle just to have your voice heard above all the callings that claim his attention and tempt his loyalty… He’ll look at your life, Church, and he’ll question whether you conform your views and values to the God of Jesus Christ or whether you’ve sketched an idol in your own unthreatening image. He probably won’t put it in those words, Church, or any words at all for that matter, but trust me he’ll be thinking it.”
- When Your College Sons and Daughters Want to Work in Missions – “We haven’t been with them much of the time while they’re in college, and the truth is, many of us don’t hear a lot from them while they’re gone. If they’ve grown, parents don’t necessarily hear about it. Add to that, most of us had to work hard and pay a lot of money for them to get their degree. Even if unconsciously, many parents are expecting some sort of return on that costly investment. Then there’s the impression we get from their lives on social media . . . a lot of coffee pics, sports, and of course, selfies. And now all of a sudden, they have a passion for the unreached? Yes, some parents are skeptical…”
- Imparting Theology to Your Children – “Teaching your kids can feel daunting. But teaching your kids theology can feel downright terrifying. Some feel overwhelmed with time issues. They just don’t see how they can fit something else into their day. Others may not feel as if they have adequate theological training. They feel uncomfortable instructing their kids beyond, “Jesus loves you.” How can you weave theological teaching into their daily lives, without necessarily setting them down for an in-depth family sermon…?”
- Now the Progressives Have a Conference – It happens in September in John Piper’s backyard, Minneapolis, MN. The main forces behind it are Nadia Bolz-Weber and Rachel Held Evans. They say “It’s not a women’s conference,” but the speakers all are. “This fall we are gathering together a group of women whose stories make us want to be Christians, women who inspire and challenge us and remind us that, yes, this thing is real. Our hope is to engage in a 3-day conversation with 11 amazing practitioners: Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Lutherans, reformed, Presbyterian, white, African American, Indian, Latino, gay straight and transgender women who remind us that God is indeed doing a new thing.” They really don’t need to publicize this, they should get enough airtime from people condemning it.
We found today’s T-shirt at Zazzle.com, where anyone with an idea can manufacture all types of products. Click the image for more info.