Posts Tagged ‘ denomination ’

Centered Sets and Orthodoxy

Almost six years ago, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch published their highly influential book The Shaping of Things to Come.  Among a number of other topics, they discuss the ways churches have handled evangelism and membership for many generations.  They do so using mathematical concepts called bounded sets and centered sets – but they do it in non-math ways, so it will make sense.  Imagine a piece of paper with a bunch of random “x” marks scattered all over it.  A bounded set can be pictured as a circle drawn around a group of those “x” marks, such that some “x” marks are inside the circle and some are outside.  This is how most churches function – there are pretty clearly defined boundaries that tell us who is “in” and who is “out.”  A centered set, however, would include the entire set of “x” marks on the paper, but there […]



Our church sucks 16% less than the sucky church you go to

<unfair rant warning> I know I’m not alone in having received tons of church marketing pieces in my mailbox over the years.  Sometimes, they’re simple and elegant invitations to their Easter services, sometimes they’re loud and obnoxious and clearly trying too hard to be cool.  There’s a church in my area that sends out full color, 8×10 pieces about once every two months, with a design that looks like a magazine cover.  Pretty predictable stuff, really.  Unfortunately, these marketing pieces are almost always dishonest in some significant ways.  For example, if the marketing piece has pretty people from a number of ethnic backgrounds pictured, you can almost universally guarantee that the church is full of white people, most of whome are not photogenic. The marketing piece I’ve seen a number of times is the one I love to hate the most.  It’s the one that says, “You should check out […]



What if we started over?

Last week, in an effort to fool myself into thinking that I’m a tech geek (even though I know zero coding languages, don’t know most of the fancy acronyms, and don’t use the tools I have access to very elegantly), I watched the 80 minute video from Google’s I/O Conference, in which they rolled out their latest brainchild, Wave.  The video demonstrates some pretty cool stuff that will be game changing – like integrating e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, Twitter, wikis, collaborative projects, and entertainment.  If you’d like, you can watch it here. The video stimulated a lot of questions and thoughts in me, particularly about the implications of these technologies, and how they will be used (both well and poorly) by Christians.  But the statement from the video I keep going back to actually happens very early on (at about 5:00 or so).  The lead developer, who is doing the […]



Inerrancy and Alcohol

I’ve had some conversations lately – some of which have sparked anger in me (not toward my conversation partners, but toward institutions and power brokers in them).  I assure you, dear reader, that I am not angry as I write this – just musing here.  These conversations been around the topic of alcohol and denominations.  The thoughts these conversations have produced go a little something like this: I work for a denomination that is conservative – very conservative.  The past couple decades have witnessed a “conservative resurgence” within the denomination, which has reacted to a perceived “liberal” shift by a small handful of denominational leaders, seminary professors, and others.  The conservatives “won,” and most of the “liberals” have been driven away.  What we have now is an almost universal insistence on conservative readings of the Bible, including a stand for inerrancy.  “We” say we believe the Bible word for word, […]



Updates and Changes

At some point in the past couple of weeks, I passed the seven year mark since I started this blog.  As it turns out, I’m pretty sure that this post breaks my longest streak ever for time away from the blog.  I didn’t stop intentionally.  No good, spiritual, profound reason.  Life just got a bit intense for me, and eiter I didn’t have any words or the words I did have weren’t ready to be shared. I’m writing this post from a hotel room, just outside of Portland, where I’ve spent the past couple of days.  It’s been a very good trip for me – I’ve gotten to celebrate the official part of my completion of a Doctor of Ministry program through George Fox Seminary.  I’ve spent time with the friends who I’ve worked with for the past few years, and the school faculty and staff, who have been so […]



What to blog about when you haven't blogged lately

Despite the fact that my paycheck comes from a major Christian denomination, I don’t typically like to blog about them, er, “us.”  Partly because I shudder when using that word – us – because it means I’m complicit in a lot of things I detest.  Partly because it’s embarrassing.  Partly because I think it’s irrelevant to this blog – I’ve been blogging a heckuva lot longer than I’ve worked for the denom, so what’s it to them (er, us)? Once in a while, even when I do mention the denom, I’ll do it without naming the denom.  All the same reasons as above. Yesterday, a classmate tossed up a link on Twitter, to a news story that talked about our mutual denomination, and evangelism programs.  I literally laughed out loud at points.  Laughter was inappropriate, though, because a) it wasn’t supposed to be a funny piece, and b) I should […]



Changes afoot

When I woke up this morning, and sat down with Americano #1, I looked out my home office window to see a beautiful orange and pink and purple sunrise sky.  It’s a nice way to greet the day.  But now, just a few hours later, I’m looking out at the trees blowing in the wind in front of a dark grey, ominous canopyh, and watching the rain fall.  The speed of change in the weather reminds me of my emotional state lately – I’ve been a moody roller coaster. But that’s not what this blog post is about.  I mentioned a few days ago that I spent time at some denominational meetings last week, where some significant changes were being decided upon.  I’ve had several questions about what that means, so I’ll try to describe that briefly – anything more than brief will be boring for you and probably frustrating […]



Baptists and Gay Marriage

Juxtaposed on the Baptist Press website yesterday, Nov. 18, were two stories having to do with annual meetings of regional Southern Baptist denominational bodies.  One story had to do with the California Southern Baptist Convention, which adopted a resolution to “affirm and applaud California voters’ affirmation of traditional biblical marriage.” “[T]he California Southern Baptist Convention expresses its appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition that spearheaded the effort to restore and protect biblical, traditional marriage in California and throughout our nation,” the resolution reads. It further states that the convention “strongly encourages its churches and their members to pray for, promote and uphold the biblical model of marriage.” In contrast to this is a story of the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s annual meeting, at which Tony Campolo was a key speaker.  While he’s not a Southern Baptist himself, and the story mentions nothing of the response to his remarks, […]



Jim & Casper Go To College

In keeping with my “blogging a week after stuff happens” schedule, I wanted to mention the annual fall conference for the network of collegiate ministries I work with.  We had college students from all over Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho, descending on the nearly non-existent town of Antelope, Oregon.  Actually, it’s more accurate to say that you go to the nearly non-existent town of Antelope, Oregon, and then you go another 15 miles down dirt roads into the wilderness.  It’s way way out of the way . . . apparently it’s a perfect place for a cult compound, if you’re an Indian guru.  But it’s also a great place for a Young Life Retreat Center. We had the pleasure of being joined at this conference by my friends Jim Henderson and Matt Casper, co-authors of the book Jim & Casper Go To Church.  If you haven’t heard about it, here’s […]



This is not a blog post

I’m posting here only to say that I’ve returned after nearly a week away – quite an eventful week, too.  There are plenty of topics to cover, but it’d be best if I broke them down into distinct posts, so for the sake of organizing my thoughts, here are a few of the things I’ll be updating – our latest inter::mission happenings, a collegiate conference featuring Jim Henderson and Matt Casper, a denominational convention which likely spells change for me and my work, and a few miscellaneous tidbits here and there. Before I get to all that, the more important thing for me to note is that it’s my beautiful bride’s birthday today!  She is an incredibly smart, hard-working, multi-talented woman, and I love her madly.  She just keeps getting better and better all the time in many ways.  So, happy birthday Michelle.  Thanks for sharing your life with me.