Last night my wife and I were discussing the problems of the Middle East and specifically the Muslim on Muslim attacks in Pakistan and Iraq. If the Islamic world would like to see the world turn completely to Islam, aren’t the Sunni/Shia conflicts a form of self-sabotage? A getting caught up in a smaller goal (supremacy of a sect or tribe)?
Then I thought of the boys I worked for in a juvenile jail. They would have only 3 months to serve but instead of toeing the line for the 90 days, they often fought and stayed for 2 years because they couldn’t give up paying another back for a misdeed.
This isn’t just a problem of the Middle East. We all settle for lesser things that actually work against our larger goals. We want to do well in school but we watch TV instead of studying. We want to lose weight but eat a bunch of cookies. We want to save for a house but buy lunch out and a Starbucks every day and wonder where our money goes. Of course, self sabotage is a part of every addiction.
Why do we fail to maintain our focus on the greater goals? We lose focus? We don’t really want the greater goal? The immediate goal gives us what we want now while the greater goal doesn’t pay in the now?
Plum Island Beach today as we are with friends in the Newbury area of Massachusetts. Tomorrow we’ll be in Maine and I’ll have the kayak in the lake if the weather is good.
Last Sunday night I attended a function at Epiphany Fellowship which meets at 16th and Diamond in N. Philly (a very economically depressed area near Temple U.). FYI, their web-page today was extremely slow in loading. Anyway, the function was a kick-off for the campaign to raise enough money to buy the building they now rent. This is a covenant community seeking to connect with the Hip Hop generation and reclaim every area of life for Christ by focusing on Christo-centrism, Commitment, Community, Communion, and Culturally Relevant Ministry.
Please consider giving your prayers and dollars to help them in their endeavor. Pray for co-pastors Eric Mason and Duce Branch (who is part of Cross Movement). Pray for their protection, courage, and commitment to the glory of God in all things.
oHere’s a ad I got from our VP for student advancement asking if I would post a note here. Since they pay my salary and since Todd Mangum, the teacher, is fabulous I’m happy to do so. If interested in learning more about missional theology, consider…
Your First Course at Biblical Seminary Could Be The Course That Gives “Feet” to Theology:
Missional Theology 1
Instructor: Biblical’s own Dr. Todd Mangum (www.biblical.edu)
This link will take you to the syllabus:
Or see our website (www.biblical.edu) and click on “equip”
Limited cyber-seating. Register Today: 800-235-4021 Ext 106
Q: Can I use this course in my program at another seminary?
A: Very likely…please contact us for more information
I’ve been blogging on Volf’s End of Memory book. In chapter 3 he states that this generation is obsessed with memorializing events. Hardly had the smoke cleared from NYC before people began debating how to erect a memorial “when we could not possibly have had enough time to absorb the impact of the disaster and reflect on its meaning!” (40). Volf thinks there are two principle causes: Continue reading
Last week we had Andy Crouch (columnist for Christianity Today and project director for Christian Vision Project) at Biblical talking to us about the relationship between church and culture. It was a good presentation so I want to give some of his thoughts here (but mind you, my interpretations of what he said):
His descriptors of culture: It is urban, affluent (even the poor are shaped by America’s affluence), post christian, and thin (intellectually and relationally).
Question? The church is in culture but is she transforming or being transformed? Should it see its job as transforming culture?
Since the 19th century, the church has had these postures toward culture:
1. Condemning culture (the suspicion of christians of increasing worldliness)
2. Critiquing culture (a la Francis Schaeffer, take in culture but critique it)
3. Copying culture (the rise of the christian rock music scene)
4. Consuming culture (just use it, no critique)
#2-4 are what we call cultural engagement. Each one may be short-sighted. Andy suggested that these are all good gestures but not good postures or stances for the church. There are things we should condemn, things we should critique, things we may want to copy, and things we may want to just consume. However, he called us to look at the creation mandate for guidance on a different posture: Cultivate and Create. Adam was called to cultivate the garden and to create by naming the animals as he saw fit. (I’ve written on this as well so it was neat to see him say something similar). Our posture, says Andy, should be one of cultivating culture and creating culture. He showed us a short video from the Christian vision project of an artist in NYC (and two prominent pastors) talking about doing both cultivation and creation after 9/11.
Good things to think about…