I’m just not good enough.

Recently, I was reading a list of qualifications of how one knows if they are called to pastoral ministry. I was reflecting on my own life in the process and on John Broom’s post from February 15th.

Without denigrating my brother’s post (and actually using it to consider my own practices very carefully), I want to push back just a little and to hopefully think through some of these issues carefully.

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And Death Shall Have No Dominion

Dylan Thomas

This morning, as I study for my Hebrew exam, I was taking a short break and flipping through a book that a friend bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. Dylan Thomas is one of his favorite poets and I think he’ll become one of mine before too much longer.

I must admit that poetry is a language which is, despite my being a composer, continually foreign to me. I’m much more at home in the language of the textbook or other prose; and yet, as a musician, poetry calls to me. This poem certainly did.

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Here Come the Grooms

A friend of mine from seminary wrote about one reason gay marriage will be legalized in the United States.

[One] study found that 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say Christianity is appropriately described as “anti-homosexual.”

Why on earth would this emerging generation have such a perception of the church?  Perhaps we’ve earned it.  How many local churches can truly say that they have loved homosexuals in the true sense?  I’m not speaking of the popular definition of love, which is synonymous with unfettered acceptance of an active homosexual lifestyle (which is clearly contrary to the Christian lifestyle).  I’m speaking of the kind of love that welcomes sinners into a community of sinners, all desperately in need of the Gospel, all growing in grace, all mutually accountable and mutually encouraging as we all flee from sin.  Further, perhaps, after decades of preferring dictation of our moral values via legislation to the inculcation of Christian morality via observance of the great commission we’ve presented ourselves as an American political entity, rather than the bearers of the words of life.  In this we have committed a terrible sin.  Laws do not change people, the Gospel does – and we’ve settled for the former.

You can read the entire article here.

Abusive Churches and Pastors

I have had an extremely bad experience in the Church. I’ve discussed it previously here and here. In another article by Trevin Wax, a list is offered. I’d like to share it here.

How do you recognize abusive leadership? Paul requires two witnesses for a charge to be leveled against an elder (1 Tim. 5:19), probably because he knows that leaders will be charged with infelicities more than others, often unfairly. That said, abusive churches and Christian leaders characteristically

  1. Make dogmatic prescriptions in places where Scripture is silent.
  2. Rely on intelligence, humor, charm, guilt, emotions, or threats rather than on God’s Word and prayer (see Acts 6:4).
  3. Play favorites.
  4. Punish those who disagree.
  5. Employ extreme forms of communication (tempers, silent treatment).
  6. Recommend courses of action that always, somehow, improve the leader’s own situation, even at the expense of others.
  7. Speak often and quickly.
  8. Seldom do good deeds in secret.
  9. Seldom encourage.
  10. Seldom give the benefit of the doubt.
  11. Emphasize outward conformity, rather than repentance of heart.
  12. Preach, counsel, disciple, and oversee the church with lips that fail to ground everything in what Christ has done in the gospel and to give glory to God.

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The Great Debate over Homosexuality

On April 12 & 13, Ron Belgau and Justin Lee spoke at Pepperdine University on the issues of LGBT issues in a Christian context. This is an important discussion for the Church to have. We need to teach and exhort with humility and not be afraid to say what the Scripture says. The explanatory blurbs below were sent to me by Ron Belgau and were originally published in the program for the event at Pepperdine.

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Adam and Chaos

The Silence of Adam on Amazon.com

For the past few weeks, I’ve been facilitating a men’s group meeting at my church, talking about biblical masculinity while interfacing with Larry Crabb’s book The Silence of Adam. Someone just before class last night asked me what I thought of the book.

There are many things I like and many things I dislike. While I have not made it a priority as of yet to read all significant works about the topic, I have been largely unimpressed with the literature from conservative evangelical authors (or authors who are often read by conservative evangelical readers). I find a great many assertions are made but are not proven to be so from Scripture.

What I’m looking for is a careful exegesis of Scripture which yields a picture of masculinity distinct from femininity that has less to do with a counter-feminism movement and more to do with a biblical picture of what regenerated men should look like. Unfortunately, most of what is out there seems to be anecdotal and woefully lacking in sound biblical foundations.

Has anyone found a book that fits the criteria above to some extent? What did you like about it? What did it seem to lack?

A Community of Love: Or, Why an Apple Tree Doesn’t Have to Be Yelled At

I’m still here…not dead yet. Hopefully I can now hit the ground running around here at DPS. 🙂

Aaron’s post yesterday got me thinking. “Christianity is about what Christ has done, not about what we do for Him.”

Fundamentally, I agree with Aaron’s statement. When we create a religion of response divorced from receiving the grace of Christ, we fall into the ditch of works-righteousness. The other pit is cold orthodoxy, where our “right beliefs” never do result in fruit.

I think this is why the idea of producing fruit crops up from time to time in the Gospels and epistles. If the truth of the Gospel has actually broken the hard ground of our stony hearts, our practice will reflect that change. Let me explain.

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