Monday, May 5, 2014

I Feel Like I'm In a Time Warp

Yeah, I grew up in Adventism so I have heard all of the argumentation on various issues. Issues like Jewelry and makeup...Issues like going to the movies. What is interesting is that folks still like to argue over issues like that movies when so many folks not only attend movies, but the ones who don't simply bring it into their homes.

But that isn't my point. My point is that whenever these issues come up, we end up with an argument between two sides that I have heard before. No I have heard it many times. I know what the conservative is gonna say. He been saying the same thing since rap sessions when we were in high school. And I know what the so called liberal is gonna say. Ditto.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Health Message?

Like many, I am fighting the expanding of the bulge. It is time to get serious as the clock continues to tick on my life. However, it seems that proponents of Adventist health either are like the one pictured in the cartoon, or they seem to go off the deep end. Certainly there are exceptions, but why are the sensible proponets of this message so quiet?

Worship Police

It seems that everybody wants to tell you how to worship. They are either telling you to sit down and shut up, or they are telling you that you are ungrateful to God if you don't stand up and shout.

Spreading The Gospel

You ever run into one of these folks. They think that "telling you off" is synonymous with "preaching the Gospel?

Church Hopping in the 21st Century

Remember the old days, once you found out your pastor wasn't going to preach you would simply go to another church. Oh those old days. Today, now church comes to you. When your pastor is out of town, guess what, you don't have to sit lisening to Elder Long Winded tell you everything he has studied since the last time he got up.

Neither do you have to go drive 55 more minutes to get to the other church where you don't really want to hear him or you would be attending there already. And finally, you don't have to miss church altogether. Now you can turn on the internet and see top preachers from all over the country.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Groups In The Church

The Entertained Spectators - They want to get something out of church. They often show up and leave right after church. They don't generally attend prayer meeting or any other part of the church. They are the ones that go from church to church looking for the best music where they can be "fed."

Many of our attempts to reach the "unchurched" only end up attracting the "spectators." They don't want to invest their time into the church. They don't generally cause problems in the church because they are not there.

They simply sit,listen, and leave.

The Clock-Punchers - These show up to church to "do their duty." Many will pay their tithe either because of fear of social estrangement or fear of retribution. They dn't want to go to hell so they show up.

Just like the worker who punches the clock to get paid, they punch the clock to get to heaven. like the entertained, they aren't in the church really, but they do have one request, A Short Service. They have to get back to their daily lives.

The clock Punchers and the Entertained can have battles over worship at times, but in reality neither are a part of the community.

The "Working Saved" - These are the people who are always at church. The church is "theirs." Their mother paid for the land that the church sits on. They are fifth generation members of the church and are sick of the landslide down that the church is taking. They stand in the way of all kinds of innovations. New is wrong! There aren't many of them, but they pay most of the tithe and hold most of the offices.

The Youngsters - They are battling the working saved as they attmempt to move the church in a new "hip" way. Often "hip" is simply moving the church forward. They grab ahold of all the lateest innovations. They read all the books by the church growth crowd. They attempt to move the church forward. They attempt to silence the working saved and

The Disciples are about ministry. They don't care who gets to sit up front or who gets the accolades. They are growing in their relationship to God. They see the battle between the youngsters and the working saved as irrelevant to the real work of being Christ in the world. They question the whole idea of church being entertainment. In fact they wonder when christian growth will matter as much as attendance in the church records.

In a little while, God will have a remnant of disciples that will take the church from being simply a place to entertain spectators or inform the working saved, but to be a place of healing and growth so that the word will be true and a witness will come forth. In a little while...

A Christianity Beyond Fear Or Hope

Robert Wieland, in the book Grace on Trial, writes about three motivations that are often empoyed in seeking to gain converts to Christianity. These are:

1) Pie in The Sky - Don't you want the streets of gold and to live forever?

2) Fear of Hell - You don't want to go to hell? Whether hell is an ever burning reality (as most evangelicals teach) or a punishment that will burn out (as Adventists and some evangelicals teach), both use the scare tactic that was used by Jonathan Edwards in his classic sermon "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God."

3) God Will Hook You Up Here And Now - Pay your tithe or plant your seed and watch God hook you up with blessings.

These are the basic approaches that all of us use. Fear of death, hope for heaven, or hope for a better life down here.

Ultimately all three of these are based in what can I get? The larger question is can any of these three motivations keep us?

When our life decends into a hell that looks like Job's life, will the false promise of God hooking us up with "things" down here stand up?

When the enticing temptation of immediate gratification comes before us, can either a fear of hell or a hope for heaven keep us from sin?

Weiland attempts to break through these motivations by positing the Cross. When one looks at the cross in its fullness, according to Weiland's theology, one cannot help but be transformed as one was willing to "go to hell" or "say goodbye to life forever" to save all of humanity.

This reality does not use hope of heaven or threatenings of hell to change us. Simply a look at the cross and "by beholding we become changed."

If this is true, then we need to look at the cross again. How does the cross eclicit this kind of love response?

And finally, is this love something that can guide us to a higher place than the hoep of heaven, fear of hell, or seeking the hookup?