Archive for April 2008

A Note to all my Facebook friends

Several months ago, I jumped on the social networking bandwagon that is Twitter.  For those of you who don’t know, Twitter is sort of a cross between a blog and a Facebook status update.  Except, it’s more like a Facebook status update on crack, only more addictive.  Also, you only get 140 characters to express yourself.  Many Twitterers post updates (or “tweets”) more often than they blink. In order to streamline my digital life a little, I turned on a widget in Facebook that goes out and finds my most recent Twitter update, and turns it into my latest Facebook status update.  In so doing, though, on Facebook, it adds the words “is twittering” to the front of all my updates.  So it looks like this: “Steve is twittering: Can’t seem to find socks that match my Hanna Montana t-shirt,” or: “Steve is twittering: People challenge my masculinity for spending […]



Church, seminary, future

Following on the recently exploded series of posts from around the blogosphere, some of us at The Purple Door were having a conversation yesterday.  Should young people avoid going to seminary now, if their degrees will ultimately be unmarketable and unhelpful in the pseudo-real world?  My answer: maybe, maybe not. There are (and always have been) good reasons and bad reasons to go to seminary.  First some bad reasons.  Don’t go to seminary if all you’re doing is trying to get your credentials for a professional ministry job.  Don’t go to seminary because you lack self-confidence and feel the need to have earned your place in ministry.  Don’t go to seminary in order to fix yourself.  Don’t go to seminary so that you can nail down all of your theological and doctrinal positions, so you won’t have to worry about that stuff once you’re done.  That’ll do for a starter […]



Timely words

We live in a society where debt, which used to be regarded as somewhat sordid and shameful, is glitzy and glamorous, with advertisements telling us that when you own a Mastercard ‘You’ve got the whole world in your hands,’ or alternatively that Visa ‘makes the world go round.’  Both of them make claims for Mammon which, at the theoretical level, conflict directly with the claims of Jesus, and which, in practice, are very obviously lies; and yet millions believe them, and live by them.  At the global level, the problem of debt is notorious and acute, creating misery for millions while it generations millions for a tiny minority . . . I fail to see why the churches as a whole could not, as a matter of preaching the gospel of the crucified and risen Jesus, join together in naming the idol Mammon for what he is, and celebrating the […]



Church, Money, Future . . . still going

In case you’ve missed the last two posts, there’s a good conversation going, and it’s snowballing.  More voices have been added, and I have it on good authority that there’s more coming. For now, check out the contributions by: Lindsay Daniel So Kevin Rains It seems to me that these conversations are both new and old.  They’re new in the sense that those of us that have come out of mainstream evangelicalism never had to ask these questions, because the structures of Christendom were still working well enough to ensure some job security, but now they’re not.  They’re old in the sense that there have always been churches and pastors serving on the margins and outside the boundaries of the empire, and have never had the luxury of job security in the first place. Keep pushing, prodding and thinking creatively about all this.  There is reason for Hope, and our […]



The Conversation Rolls and Grows

Oh my, things have gotten all viral up in here. After my last post on Church, Money, Future in the empire, which links to some others starting conversations about the impending recession and whatevertheheck the church and pastors are supposed to do with all of that, some others have joined the fray. Man, there are some wise words being written . . . it’s actually a little bit overwhelming at this point. I feel like I need to go hide out and meditate on some of this for a while, just to let it sink in. A couple folks have added some thoughts off-line as well, but for now, you can check out the following for their two cents: Aaron Klinefelter Mark Van Steenwyk Kimberly Knoll (Hooray for a female voice! Other ladies should feel free to join in.) Alan Creech Glenn Johnson



Church, Money, Future in the empire

Well now, we’ve got us a good conversation going . . . Chris Marshall connects some of the dots between the financial crisis that seems to be hitting the U.S. and the degree to which that reality will affect pastors and the church.  How will this impact churches and mortgages and credit lines that can’t be fed? As builders pass on who are the committed givers what is left? 1/2 of boomers are there to give and the other 1/2 are driven past their financial margins with consumerism and can’t help. Gen X and Millenials have very little value in long term comittments, are all about instant gratification and consumerism is their native language. Jason adds to Chris’ thoughts with some of his own.  It’s true. We’ve got to start thinking long term about some of this. The trends do not seem to say that we can fend this off […]



Idealism and Shame

There have been some quite lively discussions going on in various blogs I track  lately.  Mostly over gender issues in the church.  I have my own set of opinions about the role of women in ministry/church/world, and my own set of opinions about what masculinity and femininity looks like.  Everybody does.  But one of the sentences I’ve heard a few times in the conversations is, “This isn’t an issue of interpretation, this is an issue of justice.”  I agree with that statement, and frankly, I think we’re only beginning to even understand how to frame our conversations and our responses about this . . . but . . . Unfortunately, that statement isn’t the only one I agree with.  You see, I’ve also been reading some headlines, articles, and blogs on the growing food crisis around the  world.  This, too, is a hugely important issue, and one that is about […]



Such a prude

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Can't we all just get along for Christ's sake? Uhhhh, apparently not

Nothing makes Jesus look good quite like a good old fist fight in his name.  Especially when that fist fight takes place inside a church.  Especially when that fist fight inside a church is between clergy members.  Especially when that fist fight inside a church between clergy members is at the Jerusalem church celebrated as Jesus’ own burial place.  Especially when that fist fight inside a church between clergy members inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre takes place on the Orthodox Palm Sunday.  But hey, apparently this isn’t anything new.  The BBC reports that, “Brawls are not uncommon at the church, which is uneasily shared by various Christian denominations.” Did someone not get the memo?



Another inter::mission update

Last night we enjoyed another terrific teach-in at The Purple Door, as part of our ongoing inter::mission project.  Every time I go home from one of these nights, I get more excited about the things we’ve been able to do in our first year, and how things are coming together more and more. Our guest for the evening was Tali Hairston, who is the director of the John Perkins Center at Seattle Pacific University.  He led SPU in developing the center about four years ago, and has done some truly exciting things there that have made the university (and Seattle) a better place.  My appreciation for that school went up a lot last night, and I already thought pretty highly of it.  You can read an archived story of the development of the John Perkins Center here. Tali told the story of John Perkins and how he developed the Christian […]