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Showing posts from November, 2006

All or Nothing

Rick Warren is throwing a huge HIV/AIDS Conference that starts today. I'm really excited about the new attention and focus on AIDS that this will bring to Christians. But then, zealous Christians end up stealing the spotlight and the positive attention this Conference can bring by creating this tension . The problem: Barack Obama is scheduled to speak and he shouldn't be able to because, "You cannot fight one evil while justifying another." This evil is his pro-choice position. So, if you disagree on one point with a particular Christian community, you are completely disqualified from speaking or helping that group? Let's not forget that Obama is himself a Christian. This all or nothing ideology is unfortunately present in many Christian communities. It turns church into an elitist club of only the precious few who have the whole truth. Self-righteousness and self-promotion rule the day and everyone not in the group is an outsider who is seen as the enemy. I'

When Bill Gates Joins Your Church

What would you do if Bill Gates became a member of your church? Rev Magazine asked 1700 protestant churchgoers and ministers what their first priority would be if they received an unexpected financial windfall. The results are interesting: Clergy: 31% -- Building, Expanding, or Updating their Church Buildings 16% -- Increasing Community Evangelism Activities 12% -- Paying off Debt Churchgoers: 18% -- Paying Off Debt 18% -- Increasing Social Programs 17% -- Building, Expanding, or Updating their Church Buildings In both groups, church buildings are front and center because the debt churches incur is primarily from church buildings. So, 43% of clergy and 35% of churchgoers' primary monetary focus is on church buildings. I’m not totally against church buildings, but I think we need to re-focus the efforts of church renovations and new church buildings. Churches tend to be the least utilized buildings in the world. The main focus is the Sanctuary which is used once or maybe twice a wee

Emerging Truth

Ryan Bell just did an excellent four-part series over at Just Pastors . His last post was on Adventism emerging. It got me thinking about how we view and deal with truth. Our traditional understanding and usage of truth is one of the key areas that needs to emerge if we are going to be relevant in a postmodern context. What does the emerging truth look like? 1. Focused and centered in Jesus who is THE TRUTH (John 14:6). 2. Leads people to love God and humans. We use the primary hermeneutic that Jesus presents in Matthew 22:36-40 in which he declares that all the law and prophets is summarized in the command to love God and your neighbor. 3. Focused on what is true. We spend our time exploring and experiencing what is beautiful, right, and powerful about the truth. We define it in positive terms and our energy is spent on gaining a deeper understanding of what is true and not attacking nor defending against what is false. 4. Transforming and Redemptive. The truth is not a list of a

Mailer Madness -- Part 2

In the previous post , I shared the reaction from the street to the mass mailing done in San Francisco. The message from the street was that this mailing made us look like Jehovah's Witnesses, fundamentalists, and fear mongers. The reaction from the church was drastically different. In this story from the Pacific Union Recorder, we find this: When [Mark] Ferrell [Pastor of SF Central Church] met Steve Peden, evangelism coordinator of Project: Steps to Christ (, an ambitious idea emerged. Peden’s organization had just completed a mass mailing of 250,000 Steps to Christ to Washington, D.C., residents. Would something like this work in San Francisco? With the 100-year anniversary looming, this might be the perfect time for something radical. At the monthly evangelism planning session, Ferrell presented the mass mailing idea. A project of this magnitude is costly. The initial proposed budget was $262,000. “We’re not going to worry about the money,” Ferrell told the

Discussion with Alan Parker -- 4

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 This will be the final email in our series with Alan Parker. After his last response, I asked him to respond to the comments several of you made challenging his take on Postmodernism. I hope that those of you who challenged him before will read this and comment again based on what he has written. I will also only reply in the comments section and not write a separate post. Here is his response: Thanks for directing me to the responses others have posted, particularly with regard to my take on postmodernism and evangelism. There are a number of key questions to ask. Firstly, what is postmodernism? Secondly, how does the “missional church” relate to evangelism? Thirdly, how do we reach people under the age of 35? In response to the first question, I think at its most basic level postmodernism refers to anyone disillusioned with modernism. However, the most critical aspect of postmodernism is often a rejection of foundationalism, truth and authority in favor of

Mailer Madness

In a previous post , I challenged the use of mass mailings because of the negative impressions they leave with many people. I also noted that we could easily be confused with Jehovah's Witnesses. Little did I know that I would find such strong proof that this is the case. The evangelistic series I was a part of used the slogan, "What's Next?" which played on the fact that this was the 100 year anniversary of the SF earthquake. We sent out copies of The Great Controversy to virtually everyone in SF as well as pamphlets advertising the series. I came across this blog which features a group of people blogging about everyday life in San Francisco. Interestingly, someone actually posted about receiving our pamphlet in the mail and was obviously not impressed. The comments were also less than gracious. Just a sampling of what was written: "Glad you told me what it was, I assumed it was the new Watchtower." "wow, maybe it's a citywide sweep! should get