Friday, August 31, 2012

props> preaching>performance >participation

Nice, articulate, succinct  article  from Church in a Circle on "How media shaped the church:"

Historical eras of church shift:  props> preaching>performance >participation.

" how pornography may be changing human nature itself"

The Problem With Porn: Author Martin Amis on how pornography may be changing human nature  itself.  Martin Amis doesn’t attack pornography on moral or religious grounds. But the British author is deeply troubled by what he sees as the insidious effect porn is having not just on sexuality but on human nature itself.  In an interview with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Amis says the ubiquity of explicit material serves only to extend the distance between sex and love and thereby changes what he calls “the style of the whole operation.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

comment publishing policy

See the post accompanying this pic:

worst church sign yet


monkey-brained preachers

Great post by Church in a Circle  below.  
I googled for an image to accompany this post, and found this (credit)

The medium is the message: preaching in church leads to preaching as outreach

Over 20 years ago, scientists discovered “mirror neurons” in monkey’s brains, that were activated both when a monkey performed an action itself or when it watched another monkey do the same thing. These brain cells allow us to learn by watching others. It’s how babies learn, and we never stop learning through imitation. In fact, it may be the most powerful way we learn in life – by imitating what others model for us. Modeling behaviour is far more effective than talking about it.
Think about the implications of this for a moment. In many churches, you will find that the pastor and main speakers are talented and attractive people who are persuasive, gifted communicators. They put some effort into looking decent before they get on stage. They present a well-prepared message which answers the big questions of life with great confidence and a clever turn of phrase. They don’t hesitate or mumble or admit they just don’t know, and because of the lecture-style, monologue format, they don’t brook any argument.
This then, is the message to the congregation; if you are going to be effective in communicating God’s message to others, you have to perform like this too. You have to have all the answers, you need to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you have to lecture at people and not listen to their beliefs and arguments … oh, and it helps if you’re good looking and confident, too.
If you demonstrate “evangelism” as a one-way monologue, you encourage the listeners to go out and monologue at their friends and family without allowing discussion and differing viewpoints.What are we thinking? How much untold damage are we doing to people’s relationships with their unchurched family and friends, when we implicitly encourage them to “evangelise” by preaching at others in a one-way communication style that disrespects the other person? This approach is bound to cause relational damage throughout this person’s life, and certainly won’t be an effective form of sharing God’s message of love and acceptance.
When we teach people in a circle, showing respect for each other and listening to each other; being open and honest and caring, being vulnerable and making mistakes and accepting each other, we encourage them to treat others outside of the church in the same way. We equip and empower God’s people to effectively communicate with the world around them in a manner which reflects Christ and his care and compassion and respect for others. The medium is the message. Lecturing as teaching leads to lecturing as outreach. However, respectful discussion and interaction as teaching will lead to respectful interaction as outreach – which is more powerful, more honest, and far more effective.  -LINK,Church in a Circle

the five amazing daughters of Zelophehad

Why have more people heard of the "Prayer of Jabez" than the "five  amazing daughters of Zelophehad"?

Chris Lenshyn  at Anabaptistly blogs on them.

Gotta love a post that ends with this:

What are the structures in place that prevent the tangible love of God to be incarnate (present) in your particular time and place? 


A Lesson in Innovation: The Daughters of Zelophehad

"large worship gatherings can be chemically addictive"

When Worship is Wrong 
A new study finds large worship gatherings can be chemically addictive, and why it is a serious problem for the church. -Out of Ur, link

two words you should never use.

  • "There are two words you should never use. One of them is 'swell,' and one of them is 'lousy'."
  •  "Well, what are the words?"
  •  "Tell us the lousy one first!"............................. 3:11ff:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"I’m their pastor? I don’t even know who they are.”

 This story:

I was at a street corner, I’m getting into my car and a car honked. These college-aged girls were looking over and waving. I’m looking up and I’m like “I don’t know who they are.” Then the light turns green and they yell in unison “you’re our pastor!” as they’re driving away. I’m just like, “I’m their pastor? I don’t even know who they are.” A pastor who shepherds knows their sheep, knows if one is missing.hen I started looking into what is theologically a pastor. It's only written once in the New Testament, the book of Ephesians. It wasn't even a title or an office. It was a spiritual gift of shepherding. And I'm just like "you know, I don't want to mislead people in our church to have them feel like I'm their pastor simply because they come and listen to me teach on a Sunday." There's people in this church that are really pastoring, according to what the Bible says what pastoring is. It's got to be relational, if one sheep is missing, [see] how they're doing. So I just stopped using that term; I don't know if there's anyone on our staff that uses it anymore. It's not that we don't shepherd [or] pastor but we just stopped using the title as to try to really function what I believe is more biblically without that title and to allow people who have pastoring gifts to be exercising those and feel just as valid and important as the person who gets up." -context, Link:The difference between Pastor as a gifting and Pastor as a title/position

reminds me of my story:

Not long ago, a woman...obviously from a previous (and much larger) church I pastored... came up to me in a store, "Hey, Pastor Dave! Long time, no see! Your sermons absolutely changed my life!" I was thrilled and honored; but I didn't have the heart to tell her the whole truth: Not only did I have no idea of who she was; she had no inkling that I would not know. We both knew we had never had a face-to-face conversation; that was not the issue. But in a larger church (too large for the senior pastor to know everyone's name), there is the "Johnny Carson" syndrome at work. Carson was swamped by people whenever he went out in public who called him by first name; after all he was in their bedroom every night (via "The Tonight Show"). The false intimacy that dogs media stars can be even more damaging in the church context. I could tell the woman would be crushed if I admitted I had no idea who she was...most likely a quiet there-every-Sunday "22nd pew" saint; but I had no memory of ever seeing her. The default church culture automatically attributes omniscience to the senior pastor (He or she will not only know my name, but know when/where I am in the hospital, etc.) . Of course this is impossible with thousands, even hundreds of attenders; but as skewed and doomed as this expectation is, it is originally based on a basic biblical truth: shepherds are supposed to know their sheep; even call them by name. Jesus flatly calls any other kind a thief. - Full article here

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pacifist Pentecostals and Violent Debate


Monday, August 06, 2012

actual video of the God Particle at a Jewish wedding

Amir D. Aczel: "I use the behavior of people at a festive Jewish wedding to explain the action of the Higgs Field--the field that carries the action of the Higgs boson recently discovered by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Massive objects are like the bride and bridegroom, their movements are slowed down, while a photon (a massless particle) does not feel the action of the Higgs Field and moves without resistance." By Amir D. Aczel

Brian Greene inerviewed by Amir.Acze (Hidden Reality)

Saturday, August 04, 2012

George Friedman :The Next Decade

Eugene Peterson videos: Jonah, Pastors and Vocational Spirituality

Elie Wiesel: alone as God is alone

Elie Wiesel:

In the beginning, man is alone.  Alone, as God is alone.  As he opens his eyes, he does not ask: Who am I?  he asks: Who are you?  In the  beginning, man oriented himself solely to God--and all of creation defined itself in relation to man.  Before man, things were there, but did not really exist; under his gaze, they began to be.  Before man, time flowed, but it  acquired its true dimension  only as it penetrated man's consciousness.

Adam, the first being to have a name, to experience joy, surprise and agony; the first man to live both his life and his death; the first creature to discover bot the attraction and danger of secrets and knowledge.

To evoke Adam is to evoke the awesome mystery of the beginning, which we are forbidden to do, at least in public.  Ein dorshim, maase breshit bishnayam, says the Talmud.  The secret of creation may  be dwelled upon only when one is alone--as Adam is alone.  It is a subject which transcends language and understanding.  He who delves into it risks finding himself  cut off from the present and remaining isolated and silenced forever.

And yet, Adam is part of us to the extent that man recognizes that he is both  point of departure and fulfillment.  He knows where he his heading  but not whence he comes.  Yet he would like to know:  teh past intrigues him more than death.  He is obsessed more by Adam than by the Messiah.  Adam frightens him, and his fear resists the most glowing of hopes.  -Messengers of God, pp. 3-4

Friday, August 03, 2012

what's worse than blindness and more evil than the devil?

What's worse than blindness and more evil than the devil?

The answer is...

well, I'll reveal that in a minute.. way of two scriptures on the Top Ten Most Misunderstood Texts lists
(BTW, ask Keltic Ken about his Top ten Misheard lyrics list).

1)The debate over what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was is easily solved.

The candidates  you usually hear are:

But if we get over our verse-itis, and simply read the  2 Corinthians 12 text in context and contexture, it's pretty obvious.

Actually, this hilarious  SpongeBob cartoon comes close:

If you read any standard academic commentary, you'll find it.

What can be worse that an illness?

                    a religious person.

A false believer/teacher, a persecutor,  a heretic, an infiltrator of the Body.

Follow the word "thorn" ....or phrase "thorn  in the side/flesh,"   which is used in scripture exclusively of people  (Kind of like how today we call someone  a "pain in the neck," no one thinks we're talking about a literal neck pain):

  • Numbers 33:50-55 (which also talks about religious people as "pricks," at least in the comment (:
  • Joshua 23:11-13
  • Judges 2:2-3
  •  Ezekiel 28:24 

"Messenger of Satan"?  "Messenger" is a person, when not translated "angel."
And Paul' s context is obviously satanically-inspired "deceitful religious workers":

12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such persons are false apostles, deceitful religious workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel/messenger of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.  -ch 10

                                          And don't get me started on this next one.


2)How many times have you heard that  John 10:10 teaches that"the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy"??

True as the statement is that  devil does these three things..

The devil is nowhere mentioned in that chapter's content and context.

Could it be that there is something more evil (in a sense) than the devil?

A religious person.

Just a basic look at the context of John 10 will reveal clearly who the thief is:

Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “ We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “ If you were blind, you would have no sin; but [f]since you say, ‘ We see,’ your sin remains.

 Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

More "misundertaken" texts from The Top Ten list?