May 282015
 

14Interview_Matt_Chandler_0801_609298189I’ve often hoped that just one time before I die that a celebrity pastor caught in sin or abusive behavior would publicly repent.

Then I would think it will happen when pigs fly.

Pigs have flown.

Christianity Today has an extensive report;

“Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, a multisite church based near Dallas, said elders there had been “domineering” in their approach to church discipline in a handful of cases.

That was wrong and unchristian, said Chandler, who also leads the Acts29 church planting network.

“We have sinned against some people—and we are owning that before God and specifically before the people we have hurt,” he told CT in a phone interview.

“Our desire is always to be loving and caring. It is clear that we have not communicated—in multiple cases now—the gentleness, compassion, and patience that our elders are called to walk in.”

The full text of the apology is here…

Let me tell you what is so different about this.

The church names the sins they have committed without any deflection.

They apologized to the one offended by name.

They recognize that the system in place lent itself to abuse and are considering change.

They didn’t share shame or blame with the victim.

They are speaking with humility and compassion.

They are truly owning what they did.

This…is how it’s supposed to be done.

I’ve waited a very long time to see it.

My guess is that other stories of abuse are forthcoming, but this is still the template for repentance.

I choose to believe they are sincere…I choose to believe the best of Chandler and pray that he just modeled how to lead in front of us all.

May 282015
 

37467Brian Brodersen finds himself in a bit of a dust up over how he answered the question “can I attend my LGBT friend’s marriage?”

His answer is “maybe” and gives a reasonable, biblical, reason for his answer.

Because he didn’t say “no” in black and white with large block letters, many are upset with him.

Throw in the fact that there are five (soft) critiques of CC eschatology and dispensationalism on the site and you have some very unhappy traditionalists.

The amusing thing from my perspective is that all these articles allow the old school CCite to believe as they always have…just with some thought and grace towards those who may disagree.

From where I sit outside the camp, it’s a very healthy and needed wind of change blowing gently through the movement.

In Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel only one guy was allowed to think…and everyone else was “allowed” to agree.

In Brodersen’s world it appears that others are assumed to be capable of sentience as well.

Disagreement with him seems to be fine… the thought police will not be sent to take your dove, shave half your beard, and pull your pants down as you walk out of the movement.

He’s not writing as the doctrinal end all, he’s writing as a fellow elder.

He has to be aware that many want him deposed as the figurehead of the movement, but I’m not sure he cares.

He seems to be far more invested in pastoring his church and other pastors than being the flag bearer for the dove.

This is a deeply divided group (despite what some claim) and he’s allowing everyone to find their own place in it.

He seems willing to allow the hard core traditionalists to go their own way (Philadelphia) without rancor.

There are more against him than for him, but I don’t think he’s counting votes.

To be honest, the more I watch him, the more I like him.

It takes tremendous courage to be yourself…

Elsewhere…

Great stuff as always from Matt Redmond…

More on the Village Church situation…

I’ll be out more than in for awhile…did something to my back and my front doesn’t feel much better…

If you’ve considered supporting the work through our Amazon links or donations, now would be a good time.

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

 

May 262015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

May 262015
 

article-1379342-0BBA24E000000578-567_468x355McDonalds is having a midlife crisis.

They just aren’t sure who they are anymore.

To me, the Golden Arches represent Big Mac’s, Egg McMuffins, Quarter Pounders, and decent fries.

If you’re feeling exotic, they have a “filet o’ fish”.

Worked for me…and millions of others, for a long time.

It evidently isn’t working for them, as they change the menu almost monthly.

For a while, it was all about bacon.

Bacon on everything.

That is kind of a natural fast food thing, so it didn’t bother me much.

Then, it was jalepenos.

Jalepenos on everything…with bacon too, if you want.

I hate jalepenos, but if you like them, good on you.

Now, it’s all about guacamole.

Guacamole on everything…with bacon and jalepenos if you want.

I loathe avocados…I’m convinced that they are some form of snot that when hardened, becomes tofu.

I digress.

My point is that this business seems to have completely forgotten what made them successful in the first place.

I think they read Facebook every week to see what food is being talked about and they immediately add it to the menu.

I’m concerned that the next item you can order with your bacon jalepeno guacamole burger will be a “cleansing flush”.

Those seem real popular these days…

I can solve all of Mickey D’s problems.

Dump all this nonsense and go back to the old menu while offering breakfast all day.

You knew I had to bring this around to the church…

The church keeps throwing things up against the wall hoping something will stick and sell.

It looks ridiculous in doing so.

We need to do what we have always been called to do…while offering the grace of God all day.

The old path is still the best path…

 

May 262015
 

timthumb.phpThe Internet Monk and Matt Redmond look at the situation with Matt Chandler and the Village Church…

Sarah on fireflies and struggles…

The United Methodists affirm homosexuality…

The pattern among fallen pastors…

Three reasons for Christians to engage in science…

What your body knows about God…

The Pope gets it sometimes…

Was the Holy Spirit present before Pentecost?

Is vice more interesting than virtue?

Can we lose our justification?

Getting over embarrassment over the supernatural…

How to talk about homosexuality…

Calling for total transparency for churches…

Repainting hell…

On infant baptism…

Wheres my pile of stones?

Is God really, good? Did He create hell? An Orthodox perspective.

May 252015
 

countrychurch-2““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.””

(Romans 3:10–18 ESV)

I have made my name in this world by speaking loudly and often of others mens sins.

This is the spiritual equivalent of making your name walking the high wire over Niagra after a few drinks.

Eventually, you’re going to fall.

When you fall those brothers in arms who have cheered you on will turn those arms upon you and it will be next man up for the wire.

We speak of the evil that men do while offering little insight to our own…there are few mirrors in my home.

There is none righteous…

The ones spoken of want forgiveness without repentance, we prefer judgment without grace.

No, not one…

I feel my foot slipping.

I have not told the whole story…

The board in the foyer tells us that last weeks attendance was 53 and the offering was $104.00.

This week will be about the same.

The pastor stands at the door and acknowledges his flock as they leave…if they were walking the other way it would look more like lunch time in a rest home than a church.

He preached again with passion and that passion was lost on people who gave passion up many years before.

He spoke of being a soul winner though any souls that have been won have apparently gone elsewhere for a new home.

His wife taught Sunday School as she does every week, though the only children there are her own.

Both wife and children look like they could use a break from each other.

They will not get one.

The pastor watches the last car leave the gravel driveway, locks the door, and hurries home for lunch.

He  has to work the swing shift at the Wal Mart tonight.

This is how it goes week after week, year after year.

That is the life of the average American pastor.

He has no money, no retirement plan, no hope for earthly ease in this life.

His special messages are for funerals, not conferences,… and it won’t be many more funerals until the church is closed.

He chooses to stay and do the funerals anyway.

He is blamed for the sins of men he’s never met and never will.

Those guys don’t do funerals.

They don’t shop at Wal Mart.

This is the only story that will ever be written about him and I can’t remember his name.

I’ll get back on the wire when I do…

 

May 252015
 

images1. One more change in our national identity is showing in how we celebrate Memorial Day. Younger (under 50) people don’t have the heroic wars of early in this century as a reference…they have wars of debatable cause and worth as their historic referent.

 

Whatever we think of those wars we should fully support the men and women who fought and died in them as service to their country.

2. I had no idea what a “Duggar” was before last week… I could have profitably gone longer without that knowledge.

3. In the internet age there is no longer anything close to a “local” or “private” dispute. My guess is that we will all suffer from that fact more than we profit from it.

4. The meme that the church is dying is load of happy horsestuff. The church is not dying, it’s changing… and those changes are (for the most part) for the better. In an institution that’s a couple of millennia old, spring cleaning can take some time.

5. If your God doesn’t care about justice and righteousness, your God is the devil.

6. It is interesting to me that we are living in an era when we’re redefining both our national identity and that of the church. What troubles me is that we seem to be doing so while ignoring all but one demographic of both…thus depriving ourselves of the wisdom and history to make excellent decisions.

7. I used to think that having “official” membership in churches was one answer to some of the abuse issues in the church. Matt Chandler and the Village Church are chopping up that notion pretty well..

8. I think patriotism is becoming a relic of former generations… and I’m not sure how to think about that.

9. If you really believed that we were in the last days of the last days…what would you change?

10. Stay safe and celebrate responsibly… :-)

May 232015
 

thumbnail.aspx_“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

We hear the story of the wind at Pentecost,

Holy wind that dismantles what was,

Holy wind that evokes what is to be,

Holy wind that overrides barriers and causes communication,

Holy wind that signals your rule even among us.

We are dazzled, but then – reverting to type –

We wonder how to harness the wind,

how to manage the wind by our technology,

how to turn the wind to our usefulness,

how to make ourselves managers of the wind

Partly we do not believe such as odd tale

because we are not religious freaks;

Partly we resist such a story,

because it surges beyond our categories;

Partly we had imagined you to be more ordered

and reliable than that.

So we listen, depart, and return to our ordered existence:

we depart with only a little curiosity

But not yielding;

we return to how it was before,

unconvinced but wistful, slightly praying for wind,

craving for newness,

wishing to have it all available to us.

We pray toward the wind and wait, unconvinced but wistful.

Walter Brueggemann Prayers for a Privileged People

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