Daily Archives: August 15, 2008

08 Campaign Goes to Church

Pastor Rick Warren wil moderate a civil forum tomorrow featuring both major party candidates for the U.S. Presidency. It is a historic event that will focus on social issues, the worldview and leadership style of the two candidates. In some ways I am looking forward to hear what both men have to say. I am worried it will be nothing but a big photo op where each candidate will strive for “unity” instead of truth. As a journalist, I am frankly not sure that Rick Warren will ask tough questions. But I hope that I will be proven wrong.

Check out the discussion at http://saddlebackcivilforum.com/index.html

“Church Is Dead”

Emergent thinker Tony Jones wrote in The New Christians, “In the 20th century, it’s not God who’s dead. It’s the church. Or at least conventional forms of church.”

Jones’ new book is one of the resources that I have to read for an upcoming class this fall on missional evangelism. I don’t know where I stand on the whole Emergent movement. I am not ready to castigate postmodernism like many fundamentalists. But at the same time I do believe that some things are too sacred to toy with just so that we can be relevant. I don’t always trust new things. And I find something comforting about ancient traditions, practices and theology.

What I do know is that Jones hit on an important point. I agree that conventional forms of doing church are suffering a disconnect with both God and people. I don’t know if denominations and institutional Christianity is dead. But it certainly is in flux.

Let’s be clear here. Jones is not saying that The Church is dead. No that would be brash even for him. The Church belongs to Jesus. And He is eternal life. It will never die. The Church extends beyond the building and even the people. It is the body of Christ throughout the world. It is the most powerful force on the planet because its life comes from Jesus. But that doesn’t mean that our ways of doing church and being the church reflect God’s intent. Sometimes we got it right for a while but stray from God’s best. There are times and seasons in history. Things change, and our methods and practices may need to change with it.

Here are some questions that I will seek to answer over the next semester as I wrestle with how best to do church and be The Church.

1.) Is institutional Christianity dead? What can churches do to respond to the current angst and disconnect that has taken place for many Christians?

2.) How does the church process through the tug-of-war between liberal and conservatives interests?

3.) Is it the methods or the theology that need to be rescued?

4.) Why are so many people leaving institutional churches for home churches or small groups? Will this trend change as some people become disillusioned by these new expressions of faith?

5.) Is the real problem church or something deep within us? Maybe our expectations are off? Maybe our abandonment to God needs work.

Awestruck by God

Have you ever looked at the sky or a mountain scene and been blown away by the grandeur of what you saw? I know that I sure have. I will never forget standing at artist point between Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. The view is incredible. Here is a sample of what I mean…

Mount Baker Artist Point

Mount Baker Artist Point

Mountains are gigantic. They seem to transcend time and remind us of the power pent up under the surface. We feel so small compared to these behemoths.

But that is nothing compared to the majesty and might of God. Scripture tells us that God measures the universe within the span of His hand. That’s one big hand.

Pastor Tim from the Hanger spoke at The Mix last night. He delivered the essence of the Gospel in a very raw and in-your-face fashion. It was awesome. He said one of the big problems is that we don’t understand how incredible the cross really is. We think that a mountain scene shows us the power of God when the most incredible thing that God has ever done is send Jesus to die on the cross. While God speaking all things into existence is amazing, it is far less stunning than Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

It is the cross that has restored a broken relationship and redeemed creation. It is the cross that reveals the depth of God’s love. When people asked for a sign, Jesus said that no sign will be given them except his death and resurrection. The cross is the pinnacle of human history. It is mas grande!

No mountain. No ocean. No prehistoric dinosaur bone should seem more significant. It is the empty tomb where we find everlasting life.

Are you awestruck by Jesus? I know that I sometimes let the Gospel lose its impact. I become deceived by material things and fail to keep the cross in its proper perspective. There is nothing bigger than a God who gave it all to save me and you.

Jesus' death on the cross is mas grande!
Jesus

 This is love…