MemeStarter, Mwwaahaahaahaahaaaa…..

openbible.jpg For lack of anything better, I’m starting a meme… but hopefully an interesting one that’s not too hard to handle. Rules are simple: name your favorite book of the Bible, and explain why. Link back here and tag 5-ish people. Jump in with a comment below if you don’t have a blog, or to point back to your entries.

Naturally, I’ll dive in first.

Favorite book: John’s Gospel.

I developed a love of the book in my senior year of Bible College, when I took the course in John taught by a part-time prof who was, incidentally, one of the “youth” way back when my parents were the youth leaders in the church where I grew up. But that part was long ago and not relevant to this discussion…

Small Group Ministry vs. Church… What IS Church?

stbernard_chapel.jpg I’m thinking about small group ministries that so many churches offer these days. Many seem to be based on good principles of mutual care, and some are based around the idea that the small group or cell is the basic building-block of the church. At one time I might have said that a church without a small group ministry is missing out on a critical element of church life. In my CLB, we were all about small groups, at least in the earlier days (they became more mechanized than organic nearer the end). I remember a lot of the cell church material as well, and the attempts at hybridizing the purer forms of cell church and the megachurch mentality. I wonder now if a church with a small group ministry isn’t sometimes an oxymoronic expression of community, an attempt to replicate in smaller units the thing that’s fundamentally missing from the larger context… but since it’s fundamentally a program, its makeup cuts across the formation of organic relationship and true community.

Bibles & Translation

openbibles.jpg The iMonk has a Recommendation and Review: Ten Reasons to Love The ESV Literary Study Bible. Notable here is the fact that this edition strips the chapter and verse divisions as well as the cross-reference notes, and offers study notes from a literary perspective, unusual in a study Bible of any type. Intrigued, I am.

At a recent Emergent Gathering, Mike Clawson received a Bible in a new format, a TNIV edition from IBS, the The Books of the Bible — basically a TNIV without the chapter and verse divisions, no cross-references or paragraph headings. Just the books, set in paragraphs as they would originally have been read. He quotes from the preface, “When verses are treated as intentional units (as their numbering suggests they should be), they encourage the Bible to be read as a giant reference book, perhaps as a collection of rules or as a series of propositions.” Hell-lo! This note from the preface cuts to the heart of the way some of us have used the Bible… by referring to it as a “sword,” we somehow got the idea that we were supposed to hurt people with it.