I am always interested in how people talk about their church. I am fascinated with how we talk about the kind of community that we say we have…
It gets me thinking about the concept of Kingdom (which is what Jesus would say we are supposed to be about)… or I suppose we could say influence instead. This is not as meaningful of a term for us Christians, but for those who aren’t, I suppose it does come down to influence. So I’ll use “kingdom” interchangeably with “influence.” So I ask myself, and I would love to ask those I talk to, but to avoid unnecessary offense, I refrain. What kind of kingdom are we trying to create?
There is the kingdom of our own church… done often in the name of community. Some pour money into weekly services, high tech media, and fancy buildings. We have the most interactive websites, the flashy publications, and streamlined programs. Everyone feels so good about being “there” and in the midst of the action. But if they aren’t bodies showing up at the program, are they really a part of it? We have great community because we share in this great church life, but is our church the kingdom we are trying to create? I have had this mentality and I still wrestle with it today…
Then there is national, or global kingdom… done in the name of politics and “peace.” We will have peace if everyone is Christian, or if we have Christians in power. Christianity must be defended and I must do my part by voting or supporting or whatever… To not vote is worse than anything else because it means I am not doing my part to promote a government with Christian values. See my previous post on this one! But why do we really believe that going to war or voting or being political is important? I don’t want to say that they are not important or should be ignored. More so, what is at the root of our need to push things? Are we seeking again to establish a “kingdom?”
What I really want to ask people is, “What kind of kingdom are you seeking to grow?” How is it getting out and into your city? How is it becoming more decentralized than centralized? (Not that many would really get what this means… I barely do..) These are the questions I ask myself. These are the things that I struggle with. For me, it is probably the individual kingdom that I am trying to grow… probably the worst kind. My own house, my own dog, a savings account, and on and on…
It seems everyone wants a pet but no one wants to be bothered keeping track of them, so GPS and other pet tracking devices have become quite popular lately. The Pet Finder however uses a far simpler approach, but I can’t imagine there are too many pet owners willing to use it.
A relatively small, waterproof tag is attached to your pet’s collar and when activated by an included remote, will sound an 85db audible beep you can use to locate the animal. For comparison, a gas lawnmower or shop tools are rated at about 90db, so I’m pretty sure having an 85db beeping tag hanging around your neck isn’t that pleasant. Particularly when you consider a dog’s hearing is far more sensitive than our own.
You can find the Pet Finder at GadgetsUK for about $40 and it includes 4 separate color coded tags and a special tool for attaching them to a collar.
[ Pet Finder ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]
Post from OhGizmo!
Jim Wallis comments on a new publication endorsed by a number of religious leaders called, “Come Let us Reason Together.” I haven’t read the article, and make no claims of agreeing with everything in it. While I am not one to post political stuff and really don’t have much of an agenda myself other than attempting to do what Jesus would have me do… I do really appreciate Jim’s words on this one:
… we need a better understanding of the role of faith in public life. Political appeals – even if rooted in religious convictions – must be argued on moral grounds, rather than as sectarian religious demands, so that the people (citizens), whether religious or not, may have the capacity to hear and respond. Religion must be disciplined by democracy and contribute to a better and more moral public discourse. Religious convictions must therefore be translated into moral arguments, which must win the political debate if they are to be implemented. Religious people don’t get to win just because they are religious (in a nation that is often claimed to be a Judeo-Christian country). They, like any other citizens, have to convince their fellow citizens that what they propose is best for the common good—for all of us and not just for the religious. Clearly, part of the work to be done includes teaching religious people how to make their appeals in moral language, and secular people not to fear such appeals will lead to theocracy.
We have to find a way of living the kingdom and being Jesus to each other that is not offensive but loving. Can we be Christ and live out our convictions from scripture, trusting that the Spirit of the living God will do the transforming? Do we have to start with the wielding of the “Word?”
Yesterday ended up being nothing but intensity. Breakfast… 7:00 in the morning… Darren, Bob, Ryan and I got together at the Victorian Cafe for our weekly men’s breakfast. We ended up talking post-modern and emergent theology the whole time. I can’t even get into it all here, but I must say, I spent most of the time listening and let them do all the talking. It was good, but we got quite deep for an early morning. Not to mention that I was seeing how I could get by with being cheaper than normal and didn’t order any coffee or much food.
I am excited as I have begun reading Brian McLaren‘s new book, Everything Must Change. This may be his most controversial books yet, but I think it is something that is so needed as he talks about politics, religion, social justice, and where they have gone wrong in the Continue reading Mental Gymnastics
This is something I put together for the church publication. Not the final edit… but it sums up what I am thinking about a lot of things.
My thoughts regarding my first writing for this publication center on the purpose I believe God has laid on my life for this time… and perhaps for the rest of my life even. It has been a process of letting go really… something that would not seem a logical progression as I spend an increasing amount of time in central Oregon. Shouldn’t we be growing and developing more structure and seeing more people and having more commitment and developing more leaders? This, to me, seems more like carrying more weight not less. So when I say I have been letting go, it feels like there is less structure, less people, and not the growth that I want much too desperately to have.
And yet, influence happens. Missional (the intentional “being out there… looking out there”) happens. And it is something that I have to let go of. I have to let go into the trusting, faithful, day-to-day reliance on God to use me in the face-to-face encounters of every day. This idea of influence is something that we as a Sunday night community have been praying about constantly and encouraging each other to see. Continue reading Relational Influence – being missional in Bend