Any of us who have known the weight of legalistic versions of the faith know how refreshing it can be to experience faith free of those bonds. We might also know how easy it can be, as the pendulum swings away from legalism, to wander into a more libertine version of the faith. Different ends of the spectrum, but both are their own type of bondage; both distort Christian liberty as God would have us know it. Personally, I’m convinced that the anchor that keeps us centered is a commitment to scriptural authority. If that slips, then not only can our theology go sideways, but our morality as well.
Check out this post from Chad Holtz, who speaks about this with compassion and autobiographical candor.
This week has been a non-sermon-prepping week, which freed up some space to do some other writing. I find that more and more I love these spaces in my schedule where I can give longer chunks of time and mental space to writing than I ordinarily do. Increasingly, I find they are part of how God has wired me to connect with him.
To that end . . . for my fellow writers (including fellow preaching types) check out this post on Kathleen Norris’ incorporation of Benedictine spirituality into her writing. Rich stuff. Plus, it comes from a blog called “Flunking Sainthood.” Why didn’t I think of that clever name??
In case you missed it: some great pearls of church planting wisdom from Aaron Damiani.
I’ll speak for all of us in pastor-land when I say one of our greatest fears is that our kids will grow up to hate God or his church. While the former sometimes happens, the latter happens often enough to be cliché.
Check out this Ed Stetzer piece entitled 5 Ways to Teach Your Children to Hate the Ministry. Here are his 5 points:
1. Put the ministry before your family.
2. Tell them how much is expected from them as a pastor’s kid.
3. Tell them about church conflicts as often as possible.
4. Look godlier at church than when you are at home.
5. Act more like a live-in full time pastor at home than a parent.
Are church planters arrogant and impatient? No! Well, maybe. Great article in Christianity Today on some of the ahem, qualities, that church planters often bring to the table, and how they can both help and harm us.
What do you think fellow church planters? Does the shoe fit?
The article has a great section on multiplying churches as well, a passion of mine. Favorite line:
“But we are learning that the end game in coaching a church planter is not the day the church launches or survives its first year. The end game for coaching is when the church is established and multiplying. Then the church planter joins the ranks of the assessors, trainers, and coaches. The movement continues.”
Scot McKnight is the man. Great article on publishing and “platform.”
“I get hundreds of books sent to me each year, many of them by people with a sizable platform, and I can say without reservation that the bigger the platform the less the author has to say (not always, but often). Big platform authors are guaranteed sales. They’re not guaranteed good content. I get books on my desk from no-name authors that have much better content than big-name authors.”
Blessed are the un-famous . . .
I get the occasional question from pastors and others on how one goes about writing a book, and what to do if by the grace of God a publisher actually wants to scoop up said book and run with it. It’s a tricky business for sure, and if one is a pastor and writes books there are some particular weirdnesses that come along with that combo. Kevin deYoung has a great post on navigating those weirdnesses. Main points posted below, full article here.
1. Writing for others is a privilege.
2. Writing should be in service of others.
3. Writing should be kept in proportion.
4. Writing should be kept in perspective.
5. Writing should be overseen with accountability.
6. Writing should be done by the person whose name is on the cover.
7. Writing should be done humbly.
One of my frustrations with the new generation of churches (of which ours is a part) is the coupling of (a) the denouncement of the last generation of churches for being uncritically beholden to the political right, whilst (b) simultaneously we ourselves are far too often uncritically beholden to the political left. For many of our churches, I’m not sure we’ve so much gotten free from the unhealthy political alliances of yesterday so much as simply exchanged one set of masters for another.
And when I scratch a little deeper, I realize I’m frustrated with myself too, because I’m not always sure just what healthy engagement should look like. I feel strongly that we are to create a church culture where we are able to biblically address social ills which concern both right and left – not because they are right or left but because they are biblical concerns – yet without necessarily endorsing (baptizing?) either side’s set of political solutions to those problems. My problem is that this is so often easier said than done.
A friend sent me some nice encouragement along these lines, and with it, this hopeful and insightful article by Russell Moore. Enjoy . . .
“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.”
Challenging, moving piece on a topic near and dear to our hearts: church where people actually do life together.
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer explained it well: "It is the fellowship of the Cross to experience the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian." You cannot have intimacy with Christ and remain aloof from his body. We cannot worship God the Father and still assert—in word or deed—"I am not my brother’s keeper."
Full article here.