Out of Ur, Leadership's blog, has been following and posting some of the highlights from the National Pastors Convention, going on this week a bit farther south of us in San Diego. So far they have posted some general session highlights with Rob Bell and Shane Claiborne. Enjoy.
This morning we sang these words as a community. It was a great reminder of the hope we have for this season:
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
Jamie and I have been talking lately about what Christmas has become. Perhaps it is remembering the past, when as kids you used to approach Christmas with a sense if wonder and awe. Perhaps it is the state of the economy. Perhaps it is something deeper...
I think what we are longing for is something more from the season - to not miss the essence of what the advent is all about by being blinded by all the season has become. It is refreshing to see things like the Advent Conspiracy.
It is a reminder that we are not alone in our hope for something better this season.
And even if some of the people who come forward have been genuinely moved to confess their sins for the fist time, are they really Christians now? It's one thing to get caught up in the excitement of a wrestling match or rock show or even a traditional sermon, but what happens the next day or the next week? Do they read the Bible, go to church, talk to a pastor? Maybe. But maybe not. The fetishization of the altar call as a single moment of victory seems to obscure the need for the hard work that it must take to bring somebody to a genuinely meaningful faith.
It's hard to believe that it has been a year since Soularize 2007 in the Bahamas. It was a such an amazing event and below is just a sample why. The videos below were taken from a round table discussion that took place one evening between Richard Rohr, Brennan Manning, and Tom Wright. The entire 30+ minute exchange was captured on videotape, but what appears below is just a segment, when each responded to a question posed by Barry Taylor on the future of the Church in a "post-everything" world. It was fascinating to see their perspectives on this issue and others. It was 30+ minutes I will not soon forget. Enjoy.
Someone gently asks: 'How do you explain all of the contradictions in the bible?'
incredulously 'What contradictions?' and hope they fall for your bluff.
If they actually list any contradictions go to step 2.
about how 'contradiction' is a difficult word to define. However, if
they offer a reasonable definition and apply it to a certain set of
biblical texts, go to step 3
Mention their thoughts are
wicked and that they must really hate all things righteous (roll your
'r'). If their face starts to harden, go to step 4.
and forcefully grab a hold of their head with both hands, and rebuke
demons of stupidity (and add generational rebellion, lust, greed and
paedophilia for good measure). Then take of your anointed 'mantle'
(i.e. your jacket), and thwack them round the abdomen as hard as is
Walk away from yet another ministry success.
say something like "Real life is full of contradictions and paradoxes.
If the Bible is not merely a collection of abstract philosophical
propositions but a collection of books written from the context of and
about real life in all its grit and joys, grim and rapture, why, then,
should there be no contradictions? Perhaps we should start judging the
Bible according to what it is, not what it never was or never claimed