I’ve got a lot of catch-up to do… and I’m still about a week behind in my blog reading, having spent too much time this past week wrestling with blog upgrades, updates, migrations, and fixes. Should all be a thing of the past soon, then back onto “normal.” Interesting occurrence of the week — we spent a half-hour on a Skype call, video-to-video with family friends in China. Our two girls and their two girls were tickled to see each other on the computer as we talked, and they took us on a virtual narrated tour of their flat. Cool. I remarked to my buddy later that in all the movies and television I’d seen where video telephony was commonplace, there seemed to be a lot less giggling and waving than what my own personal experience suggested. He explained that it wouldn’t look right for James Bond to be talking to M with both of them waving and giggling into the camera. I had to agree of course — thought I stipulated it may have been more in character for Lazenby or Dalton perhaps, but not Connery, Moore, or Brosnan. Alright, on to the linkage, which this week is followed by a fine selection of quotations found around the Interweb:
- Pride of place this week: a must-read story about angelic tomatoes (HT: Phil Vischer; love them veggies).
- Steve Sjogren absolutely gets it right on one of my pet peeves… Five Reasons To Pry Off The Fish Symbol from your car. He doesn’t mention the lunacy or hypocrisy of slapping a Jesus-fish on the back of a BMW or a Hummer H2. Nobody is going to be impressed… but they might be even more inclined to throw things at your vehicle. And no, you can’t call that “suffering for the gospel.”
- Grace does a great around-the-room on discipleship… not the controlling spiritually abusive movement kind, but the genuine spiritual formation kind. I get a mention in there with the one intelligent post I’ve done this week… though I’m not certain my favorite wasn’t still my Bob Dylan post.
- Two dates to mark on your calendar… May 16, 2008 and May 7, 2010. These would be the release dates for Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, respectively. The Silver Chair should be May 2011. Yeah, they’re getting them out of order, and probably not making all of them. But I’m watching for that mouse. I just surfed onto that whole thing, and from there surfed over to the petition for The Hobbit to be filmed.
- Tim Challies serves up some Tips to Read More and Read Better… as does Al Mohler. I disagree about writing all over your books — though I do agree with the principle of reading interactively. Write your notes on 3×5 cards which you use as bookmarks during your reading, with page numbers for the notes you’re making. This preserves your books in good condition, and also allows you the same habit with borrowed books… just file the 3×5 cards with the book title instead of leaving them in the book when you’re done. A reading journal would not be a bad idea either… but I like the separate slips of paper myself.
- Brian McLaren = Bran Man Relic
- Len Hjalmarson= No Man’s Hell Jar
- Alan Hirsch = Ranch Hails
- Dan Kimball = Lambkin Lad (Bald Man Ilk?)
- Robbymac = A Bomb Cry (Crabby Om?)
- Emerging Grace = Grim Cage Genre (Ranger Mice Egg?)
- Tall Skinny Kiwi = Ink Wit Lays Link (Litany Ilk Winks?)
- Mark Driscoll = Lord Irks Calm
Apparently Scot McKnight and Jordon Cooper can’t be made into an anagram, but in the interest of fair play…
- Brother Maynard = A Rhyme Torn Bard
The place I created these is an anagram of A Rearrangement Inverts
- So if you suddenly found yourself talking to Bono on the phone, would you produce any intelligent conversation-starters, on the spot?
- Gordon-Conwell Seminary is offering “Dimensions of the Faith,” an online certificate in theology. Free. (HT: Fernando Gross) This is a great leading step in a necessary area — well done; I hope it becomes wildly successful.
- “Mi casa, su church.” (Should that be “iglesia”?) Everything I need to know I learned from the emerging church* funny satire, via TSK.
- Jian Ghomeshi, whose name is easier to say than to spell, hosts Q on CBC Radio. I’m a bit late with the link, but on September 11th he had Phil Donahue on as a guest, and the interview was quite good — I learned a lot about Donahue that I didn’t know… he had some good stuff to say. The promo says, “He spent 26 continuous years on television as the host of his own daytime talk show… a show that wasn’t afraid to take on hot button issues like abortion, civil rights and anti-war protests.. and explore them in depth. Now he’s the co-director and executive producer of a documentary called ‘Body of War’.. a film that asks some real questions about the US involvement in Iraq… but on a very personal level.” The podcast is available as MP3 for those who enjoy the audio thing.
- Yann Martel (Booker Prize winner for Life of Pi) is a classy guy. He decided that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper needed some good reading material, so he’s vowed to send him a book every two weeks for as long as he’s in office. He’s posting his selections along with copies of his covering letters and any responses he receives at, appropriately, What is Stephen Harper Reading?
- Barb the Former Leader: Nothing has changed. Yet everything is different.
- John Stackhouse is not in love with Jesus… with good reason that sits well with those of us who aren’t as comfortable being all mushy about Jesus as their boyfriend.
- The Last Post from Dan at Signposts.
- David Fitch: Some Theological Links For Emerging Theologians
- After all this, we could have just checked the Googlism for: missional for a clear picture of the word. Right.
- “stirring the waters,” a parable from Makeesha Fisher.
A raft of quotes overseen lately:
God forbid that in our desire to safeguard against certain errors, we should become guilty of quenching the Spirit. We can become so assured of ourselves and so much in control of the position that we are not giving the Spirit of God an opportunity.
Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus’ costly grace. The number one leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don’t need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn’t based on their performance.
The church is the church only when it exists for others. To make a start, it should give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men [and women] of every calling what it means to live in Christ, to exist for othersâ€¦. It must not under-estimate the importance of human example (which has its origin in the humanity of Jesus and is so important in Paulâ€™s teachings); it is not abstract argument, but example, that gives its word emphasis and power.
Rather than being shocked and appalled by surveys that demonstrate our moral mediocrity, we should yawn. We’ve known this for 2,000 years. Such studies tell us nothing we don’t already know. For his unfathomable reasons, God chooses to disguise himself when he comes to this planet, and there have been few disguises better than the church, a mystifying conglomerate of sin and love.
This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the lordâ€™s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.
In conversion you are not attached primarily to an order, nor to an institution, nor a movement, nor a set of beliefs, nor a code of action â€” you are attached primarily to a Person, and secondarily to these other thingsâ€¦ You are not called to get to heaven, to do good, or to be good â€” you are called to belong to Jesus Christ. The doing good, the being good, and the getting to heaven, are the by-products of that belonging. The center of conversion is the belonging of a person to a Person.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.