I have to... HAVE TO... post this...
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
First, from The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak, this, and then from Master Chris Elrod (TM), this.
'S'all I have time for right now. At my day-job-to-support-my-habit, filling out paperwork so that I can hopefully get paid. And then get formula & diapers. Both of which it turns out are worth several orders of magnitude of their equivalent weight in gold. And cost as much.
And are worth it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
'S'been a while, so to break the monotony of no posting, here's some pics of my baby boy.
While I was working at my day-job-to-support-my-habit, my lovely and gracious wife, taking the Bible's admonition to "train up a child in the way he should go" took our son to an exhibition hockey game with the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings were signing autographs... you know; sweaters (...that'd be "jerseys" for the un-hockey-ed masses who might not otherwise know), sticks, books...
My boy was born with a club foot. As part of the treatment, he wore a cast for the first five weeks of his life. My wife, when she got to the head of the line for autograph signing, handed our boy over so the players could sign his cast.
This pic is of Tomas Holmstrom penning his John Hancock on my boy's cast.
Five other wings, including Ozzie and Lilja also got their names immortalized on my boy's cast.
After the signing, wife and son enjoyed the exhibition game.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Over yonder on the WordPress mirror of this blog, I've been interacting with an ECMmer regarding Chris Elrod's recent series of blogposts. Said ECM individual mentioned that Chris' writings were entertaining but confused the important issue of the "pre-easter jesus" and the "post-easter jesus" - the PreEJ being the historical Jesus, and the PostEJ being the mythical Jesus.
Among the other things that ECM Mike stated, was this:
It appears that the real core of our disagreement can be traced to a different understanding of the word “myth”.
I’m using the word to mean a story which reveals a truth, but is told through grand symbolic language rather than simply transmitting historical facts. Myth is not a synonym for false. All myths have some history and/or truth behind them and their symbolism brings that truth to life.
This is something I've heard more and more from the (liberal wing of the) Emerging/Emergent Church Movement - the idea of "true myth."
Here's my question: If the Gospels (and the rest of the Bible - say, Genesis, for example...) are to be regarded as mythical, and that myth is now "not really true but really true in a real sense that has truth but isn't really true unless you have the super-secret decoder ring..." How is that any different from, say, the claims of Asatru?
Compare ECM Mike's quote on myth to Asatru's explanation of myth.
First, ECM Mike's quote on myth:
I’m using the word to mean a story which reveals a truth, but is told through grand symbolic language rather than simply transmitting historical facts. Myth is not a synonym for false. All myths have some history and/or truth behind them and their symbolism brings that truth to life.
Now, Asatru's quote on myth:
The myths are stories about the Gods and Goddesses of Asatru. We believe they are ways of stating spiritual truths. That is, we would say they contain truths about the nature of divinity, our own nature, and the relationship between the two. We do not contend that the myths are literally true, as history. Rather, myth can be thought of as "the dream of the race" or "that which never happened, but is always true."
What is the real, substantive difference? If the Bible is only myth (even "true myth") then why is it any better than Asatru's Poetic and Prose Edda? Why is it any better a guide than the Sri Guru Granth Sahib of Sikhism? Or the Upanishads?
If the Bible (whether the whole thing, or the Gospels, or Genesis) is merely myth (even "true myth") then what possible reason is there to believe that Jesus is God and therefore your only Savior - why is that position any better than the Astatruar's devotion to the Aesir and Vanir?
Guys: IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCE.
I have to get ready for tentmaking. More later.
Monday, November 26, 2007
...Elrod, that is.
And by "love," I mean that only if you're Biblically conservative.
Theological "moderates" and those leaning even further leftward aren't going to be too happy with his latest blogposts.
Which means, he's my new hero.
Check 'em so far:
- Love Doesn't Win, which I referred to in my previous blogpost
- Jesus Wasn't A Social Worker, and
- The Mythical Jesus
All I can say is: OH, MY...
I'm ruining the last blogpost for you (go over and read it anyway), but this quote is absolutely priceless:
The Mythical Jesus came not to be a Savior…but some kind of ancient Mother Teresa…with a little Al Sharpton thrown in for good measure. He didn’t like the rich…or the Republicans…or war…or church…or corporate worship…or pretty people…or absolute Truth. He only came to hang out with prostitutes, homeless people, sick people, rebels and liberal people…and shunned everyone else. He staged protests against the Roman Empire, loved to pray in labyrinths and only read Scripture in the confines of a communal home environment with zero accountability. He questioned all that His Father stood for and only asked questions without ever giving answers…in order not to offend anyone. He was a pacifist that never got angry and practiced tolerance…except with those that disagreed with Him. He used a lot of big words to describe what He did…words that nobody else understood…but made Him look cool. He also spent a lot of time drinking beer and talking about all the stuff He was going to do different.
The Biblical Jesus…was none of the above!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Chris Elrod of Compass Point Church, has some interesting and timely things to say RE: the whole "Love Wins" thing that we see a ton of here on the Lakeshore, being as we are in Rob "Jesus' Dad Was Larry" Bell's backyard.
My favorite quote from Chris's blogpost:
Christ said…”I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Love wasn’t mentioned. God can love us a bunch…but that love won’t get us into Heaven. We can love God a bunch…but that love won’t get us into Heaven. We can love people a bunch…but that love won’t get them into Heaven. Only true repentance of our sinful nature and total acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Savior will get us into Heaven. There is no other way. It is not love that wins…it is solely the knowledge and total acceptance of truth that wins.
Good stuff - read it.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I'd like to ask both of my readers for y'all's prayers for my family this coming week.
We are in the process of trying to adopt a wonderful baby boy, whose birth mom made a series of particularly unwise decisions while she was thirteen years old leading up to, nine months afterwards, Masen's birth - which was about ten weeks ago.
Birth dad, who just got out of jail for the statutory rape of birth mom, is fighting the adoption.
He failed to appear for a deposition last week, his last chance for that is Monday. Then he has his hearings before a judge on Wednesday, and then again (if needed) on Friday.
So this is going to be a very stressful week in the Macon household - "D-Week". We will find out, by the end of this week, whether or not we can proceed with the adoption... or have to give Masen up.
To add to it all, I'm not even at home at the moment; I'm in High Point, NC, for "tentmaking," to pay the bills (oh, those lawyer bills...)
So, I'd really covet y'all's prayers...
Yesterday sure was a full day. That morning, I was in High Point, NC, finishing up teaching a class on CNC programming for my day-job-to-support-my-habit. That evening...
My lovely and gracious wife called me from the courthouse as I was heading home from the airport in Grand Rapids to pick up my guitar and head back to GR to fill the pulpit for a brother in that city (which works, since their mmidweek study is on Wednesday, while ours is on Thursday). It seems the whole court proceeding took all of 15 minutes. The longest part of it was the judge's explanation of his ruling.
He ordered the termination of birth dad, which means after 21 days (the time frame for appeals), we can proceed with formal placement.
Thank you, all of you who prayed...
Friday, November 02, 2007
Okay, looks like I've gone and kicked myslef up a hornet's nest.
For all of my readers (the both of you), to bring y'all up-to-date:
- I put up a blogpost commenting on one of the more amusing ongoing discussions over on the super-increasingly-aptly-titled open source theology blog.
- Andrew Perriman, moderator of said blog and author extraordinaire, responded here.
- I responded back.
- He responded to my response.
- I responded back.
- He responded to my response to his response.
- After a few rounds of the same, John Doyle responded...
- I responded...
- Andrew responded...
- ...and after several more rounds, John posted his summary of the discussion thus far...
- and on it goes.
Now all my readers (you both, over there) are up-to-speed on the fracas thus far.
To summarize my summary above: The issue really boils down to a question of authority.
In other words, what is the basis for truth? If you jettison inerrancy, you are left with... well, nothing.
Andrew is maintaining that his "trust is not in the supposed perfection of a text but in the God who is revealed through the testimony of the text, through the historical experience of the community." My contention is... no, he's not. If that was in fact true, he'd agree with the doctrine of the supposed perfection of a text, since the Church Universal has always believed that (to varying degrees, it is to be admitted) - the point of contention really being a matter of whether or not that Perfect (read: "Inerrant") Text is self-illuminating, or whether there must also be magisterial authority vested in a separate entity (i.e., the Church). But the perfection of the Text itself is not in question, within the context of the "historical experience of the community."
Either way, sola scriptura or sola ecclesia, the (liberal wing of) the ECM evaporates. What the (liberal wing of) the ECM really believes is solo mio.
But that's just my opinion. Which along with $.50... oh, nevermind...
Anybody else care to weigh in...?
HOLY cow, have I (apparently) stirred up the proverbial hornet's nest with the "Perfect Example of Pomo Epistemology" post over on the Wordpress mirror of this blog...
It appears that some ruffles have been feathered, and that rather severely...
Thursday, November 01, 2007
...that is, the subject of theological refinement: though this goes more to the issue of a refinement of praxis (as in, getting back to actually believing what you teach and acting as if it were really true), this blogpost by Corby of Stephens is well worth the read.
Though it is a bit long.
And there are no candles.
Okay, so maybe not.
I am, of course, in the title of this blogpost obliquely referencing The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak. Heh. Get it?
One of the subjects that often arises on said blog heretofore aforementioned before previously above, as well as on simplemindedpreacher, is whether or not the Calvary Chapel movement will fracture, should the Lord tarry and Chuck go to his reward.
To put just a bit of perspective on this, I give you a rather good article by the Chalcedon Foundation regarding a very similar issue regarding the UMC.
Change is good, as well as theological refining, so long as we change and theologically refine towards greater Biblical fidelity, and not further away from it.
We honor our roots and history, while at the same time refraining from the urge to ossify.
The discussions on both blogs (the previous two, not the latter) is (generally) good and needful. We take the best of what has been delivered to us by our forebears, while continuing to strive to be Bereans.
Again, taking a cue from the oft-pretentious, semi-narcissistic blog-offerings from many in the ECM (like "Phriday is Phor Photos", where the ECMmer shows his sensitive, arts-and-croissants side)...
...I give you a list of articles I've been reading recently which have piqued my interest, in no particular order whatsoever, and likely of no lasting value, either.
- This article about the need for space settlements to mitigate human nature and make war a thing of the past (yep; worked real well when the Old World colonized the New, now didn't it...? Just can't outrun that darned sin nature, no matter how far we run...)
- One about a new drug to delete bad memories. I dunno, I'm with Captain Kirk on this one; it's our experiences - good and bad - which make us what we are...
- And in the "Resistance Is Futile" department, it appears that Windows Vista is the mark of the Beast - or, at least, Medium-Sized Brother...
- GREEEEEAAAAAAAAT article by the Persecuted Church Weblog, "But Is It Biblical?"
- Brian MacLaren's online annotation of a CT article. Yes, he's gracious. But to quote the premise of the previous article, "but is he Biblical...?" Again - as with just about everything else in the ECM, self-rebutting...
- A rebuttal by LiftPort about the subject of making a space elevator - very similar to the "Beanstalk" of 2300AD
- Interesting concept of a steam-powerd car
- Babylon 5 The Lost Tales trailer has been posted
- More tantalizing stuff on Quantum Teleportation
- Some neat tricks to teach Windows XP
- Linux Journal discusses Open Source 2.0
- A possible solution to the black hole information loss paradox
- Seven Benefits to being a Bivocational Pastor
So, there you have it. Rock on.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This offering from our friends at the ever, ever-increasingly appropriately named "Open Source Theology" blog (an ECM group-blog) is a stellar example of the state of Emergent-type epistemology. I believe the opening paragraph says it all:
In 10 principles for reading the Bible in a postmodern context, Andrew proposes that contributors to an emerging post-evangelical theology adopt Principle 2 - "Let’s pretend it’s not inerrant." He suggests that we "set aside claims to the predetermined inerrancy and sanctity of the Bible, at least insofar as such claims force upon us standards of truthfulness that conflict with criteria of thought that we are not prepared to abandon in other areas of discourse (scientific, historical, literary, social, etc.)." Adopting Principle 2 "allows us to read the Bible as the unbeliever reads it; it helps to defamiliarise the Bible for us, which will be an essential aspect of the deconstruction process…" In the Genesis 1 as True Myth post we’ve been trying to make literal sense of the Biblical creation narratives. What if instead we were to read Genesis 1-3 in light of Principle2?
As with everything else I've reat from OST, the post requires no rebuttal; it's self-rebutting.
...and some ECMmers wonder why us iggnit' nukkle-draggin konsirvuhtivs get the willies when reading their stuff...
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Just watching one of my absolute most favoritest channels, getting ready to go to "tentmaking" to make some $$$ to pay off the publica-- er, that is, the lawyers handling baby Masen's case...
...anyway, the show The Universe was on, a re-run, actually... and I heard a dude who was being interviewed about E.T. say, in response to the apparently insurmountable problem posed by the Fermi Paradox RE: the quest to find other intelligent life "out there". Basically, astronomers have long postulated that the statistical probability of intellilgent civilizations having arisen on worlds orbiting other suns is high enough to be a near-certainty, yet we haven't seen a single shred of evidence of E.T.'s existence - which is troubling to Fox Mulder and others like him.
Anyway, this is, as I'd said, a re-run; I'd seen this episode before. And I'd heard the last time, this one quote that really sparked some thought:
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
- Tom Spilker, JPL
I find that absolutely fascinating... because it really illustrates, I think, the maxim, "he who does not believe in God, it does not mean he will not believe anything - it means instead he will believe... anything."
The same dudes who make statements like the "absence of evidence" regarding E.T. usually nod in rapt agreement with Ricky Dawkins when he makes the converse statement regarding theism.
Lay aside the fact, for the moment, that the evidence for God's existence is truly overwhelming - so much so that it's almost nonsensical to even type that statement out, it's so self-evident. Why does the axiom, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" work for the search for Starman, but not in discussing the subject of God, I wonder...?
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
This podcast is not from the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Calvary Chapel cabal who meanly dislike a certain Purposefully Driven Pastor and other such things... it's not even from Chucky Missler, Roger Oakland, or any of the other individuals many love to... not love so much. It's from (drum roll, please) the Chalcedon Foundation, a group of stark raving pinko-Commie Calvinists who very much believe in "engaging culture" (just not in the way that the ECM likes to think of "cultural engagement").
Being a Calvary Chapel dude, I don't have a lot of sympathy for Chalcedon's positions (primarily their ecclesiology, soteriology, or eschatology); but I like listening to this podcast. It's good to listen to those you don't agree with - keeps you sharp and helps prevent you from ossifying in an intellectual cul-de-sac. So I subscribe to the Chalcedon podcast (as well as some others I don't agree with on much - like Driscoll, some Bell, etc.).
So I found it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally fascinating to hear Chalcedon's take on these things...
...I wonder how long it's going to be before the ones who got down on Ken Graves for his off-the-cuff, not-very-charitable, yet-not-really-that-far-off-base-it-turns-out verbal backslap upside Reverend "Syria's A Great Nation!" 40-Days Dude's head two Murrieta Conferences ago start lighting into Chalcedon...?
Let me make a prediction: They won't. Chalcedon's not as easy a target as Calvary Chapel because - let's be honest - they're not that interesting..
Monday, September 03, 2007
Okay, so I've been a bit slack on the blog for the last few weeks.
I wanted to let all my readers (both of you) know why.
Early this year, a thirteen-year-old girl on the other side of the state made a series of less-than-wise decisions... and nine months later, she gave birth to a healthy - a screamin' healthy - baby boy.
Back up a few months.
My lovely and gracious wife and I have had a heart for adoption since before we were married. We've gone through the process of adoption seven times for eleven children, but each time the doors had been closed, for a wide variety of reasons.
Early this year, my lovely and gracious wife was sharing at a ladies' retreat for a Calvary Chapel from the other side of the state. She has a great relationship with several of the ladies from that fellowship, and after her session, she was sitting with two ladies in particular; one of them shared that her grand-daughter, whom she had legal custody over and whom she had been raising since she was an infant, was pregnant. She (the girl) could not raise her child, and she (the grandmother) could not raise her great-grand-daughter. Long story short, my lovely and gracious wife was asked to pray about adopting the boy (by this time, I think, they already knew his gender).
I had just accepted a new position with a new company as a contract "adjunct faculty" educator, which created a substantial fiscal hiccup - plus now needing to obtain my own health insurance, withhold my own taxes, etc. So we were not in a financial position to adopt.
I say that, because about that time I read an ECMmer's blog whini---er, I mean, "complaining" about how "hypocritical" it was that us eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil evangelicals are so against infanticide, yet weren't so big on adoption (as if the lack of the latter justifies the horrific prevalence of the former). Which is a calumny, regardless; major, culturally insensitive, un-hip, we-don't-care-about-the-poor-and-yet-care-waaaaay-too-much-about-individual-salvation-in-spite-of-what-Pope-N.T.-Wright-Hath-Decreed-yea-verily evangelical organizations like Focus on the Family (an organization in very low esteem among many in the ECM) are strong champions of adoption - darn that confusing-the-issue-with-facts thing that us non-ECMmers meanly like to do, darn us to heck...
Turns out, it's a rather expensive proposition to adopt a child.
And no, in situations like ours, there are precious little resources which are available to help offset that.
Which is patently ridiculous; when going through the process of adoption, everybody's got to get their pound of flesh. And by "pound of flesh" I of course mean "several thousand unnecessary dollars".
The organization that we wound up doing our homestudy with, which is one of the most respected, gave us a huge break at only $2600.
For a homestudy.
For the uninitiated, that's when some lady who's got a social studies degree comes in to your house, asks you two or three dozen questions, looks around for a few seconds, goes back to her office, and writes up a mostly accurate report which is then sent to your lawyer.
All for the low-low price of $2600.
I am a pastor. A bivocational pastor. If you do the pastor thing right, you pro'lly don't have $2600 lying around just waiting to be spent. ;D
Then the lawyers need to get their chunk of pie. Turns out, that for a lawyer to stand around at court all day, chit-chat with other lawyers about various cases, golf courses, the weather, and the latest smack RE: Dancing With The Stars - anything but actually go into court and do something - is quite taxing on a man's system - but nothing that $200/hour can't help ameliorate (BTW, it turns out that that price is a huge break on our lawyer's normal charge, too).
But that's just the beginning.
I am wondering, more and more as each day passes, why on God's green earth this has to be so expensive?
Especially since all the liberals cry and wail at how big meanie conservatives want to bring us back to the seventeen hundreds and not let women kill their children, and then won't take care of the unwanted little products of conception that subsequently have the temerity to be born and wreck our previously idyllic lives. And what with how many "I'm-not-really-a-liberal" liberals, who love a Marxist - er, that is, an über-powerful, centralized, Messianic State, who spare no verbage whacking us iggnit' konsurvetivz for standing against abortion, waste no effort in trying to make adoption a more accessible option.
Regardless of the extremely high cost, my lovely and gracious wife didn't have to pray long to hear the prompting of the Spirit and step out in faith to see what the Lord might want to do.
The story of what God then did still blows my mind. Long story short, through the amazing generosity of our church family (local and extended), we were able to get together the funds for the homestudy. I'll post my lovely and gracious wife's synopsis of what the Lord did at a later date.
So, fast forward to last week, August 23rd. Baby Masen Elijah was born, just after eight in the evening. Poor lad was born with a club foot - his foot bends inward and up at a greater than 90-degree angle, so for the first two months of his life he's going to get a new cast every week (I keep telling people that he's had a skiing accident - you should see the looks I get... tee hee hee...). But he's such a blessing, such a cute little guy... we just got him a little bitty Red Wings outfit... next week, I'm going to see if we can't find tiny little skates for him...
...but what all that means is that what little disposable time I've had... is now gone. Gloriously, wondrously gone.
In fact, my little alarm clock is resting quiescently next to me on our loveseat while I plunk out this here blogpost.
Soooooo, that's why I haven't posted anything for some time. Even though there's lots to post on:
- A pastor that I've respected for some time has been almost completely seduced by the Dark Side and embraced evolution and the "True Myth" hypothesis of the opening chapters of Genesis...
- My increasing suspicion that the Calvinist and Arminian views of salvation aren't quite as antithetical as the "Me, Smart Calvinist, you, stupid semi-pelagian" would like for us to believe...
- What the ECM actually gets right...
- Taking a cue from Steve McCoy's recent spate of blogposts RE: his own Southern Baptist Convention, detailing "Why I Hate Us" and "Why I Love Us" (sort of a "here's what I really don't like about the SBC" and a "here's what I really love about the SBC" kind of blogpost series), something along those lines about Calvary Chapel (even though Dan Fusco has sort of trumped me on that one, I have a somewhat/slightly different take on the issues at hand)...
- Some insights RE: the Seven Letters of Revelation, since that's what we're going through on Sundays at Calvary Chapel on the Lakeshore...
Now, by the way, for both my readers... on the subject of my boy, my beautiful baby boy... couple of prayer requests:
- There's still some rather substantial legal hurdles that we have to clear before Masen becomes a Macon. Irritating, unnecessary drama-type hurdles.
- Masen's contracted conjunctivitis over the weekend - probably getting it at church this last Sunday (his first at CC Lakeshore).
- ...and of course, pray that his foot heals completely.
Thanks, y'all... now I need to stand Masen Watch tonight so that my lovely and gracious wife can get some sleep.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
This is great. Much as I wax narcoleptic at the repetitively redundant phrase, "Gospel-Driven Church," which is just as redundant as "Born-Again Christian" (is there any other kind...?), this post of new theses for the modern church is utterly, utterly priceless. I'm printing them out and putting them in our church bulletin over the next few Sundays (which is rather apropos, given that we're going through the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches)...
BTW... kudos to y'all who got the oblique reference to the seminal Depeche Mode single, in this blogpost's title, there.
Also, kudos to Mike Newnham, who I borrowed/stole this from - he posted on it first.
I say "kudos" because I haven't a clue what "HT" is supposed to mean. I've been trying to figure that out after seeing it on blog after blog after blog...
- Here There...?
- Hot Tuesday...?
- High Tower...?
- Hyper Thread...?
- Hren and Thtimpy...?
- Hoopie Thloopie...?
...hence, "kudos", which definition I know.
My personal favorites from the list:
10. If the entirety of your churchy desires consists of filling a seat to experience a good service, you are not a congregant in a church but a consumer at a concert.
11. What you win people with is what you win them to.
Win people with flash, spectacle, presentation, etc., and that’s what you win them to. Don’t be surprised if, like all consumers and what attracts them, they eventually get tired and move on to the next attraction. Don’t be surprised if, provided they remain, they continually request more, better, higher . . . (Mike: Boy, ain't that the truth...)
17. A church’s success should be neither entirely nor primarily measured by its attendance. Also, a church’s growth should not be entirely or primarily measured numerically. (Mike: The author qualifies this in the next thesis so that you "Church Fruitfulness Is Nickels And Noses" types who are begining to infec--er, enter the Calvary Movement don't get too bent out-of-shape...)
Good stuff. Read the post.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Okay... Bob Hyatt, ECM pastor and blogger, has - along with most of the rest of ECM-dom, has taken umbrage at a recent series of mock "motivational" posters poking fun at the ECM by the Team Pyro guys (who have fairly substantial problems of their own - namely, they're open, out-of-the-closet, stark raving pinko Commie Calvinists). Most of the ECM's response to Team Pyro's stuff has, quite frankly, proven their point.
One particular poster that Bob came up with in response, however, is positively priceless.
Don't that just say it all?
tee hee hee... makes me giggle...
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Read this blogpost by an ECM church planter regarding the increasingly pretentious overuse in ECM circles (and Evangelicalism in general) of the wildly popular, hep-cat-yo-dog-g*money Dilbertism, "missional."
He's dead right.
The term has long since lost its meaning - much like the term "evangelical" - or even "Gospel".
True discipleship - which is not an option for men & women who name the Name of the King - demands living out what you say you believe in the highways and byways of life - which is really what the original thrust of the term "missional" was supposed to recapture (as far as I, as an ECM outsider, can tell).
Anyway, good post.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
This is a good article for us bivoc (or, in my case, trivoc) pastors.
Bivocs may never gain the celebrity status of some in the church - especially us microchurch pastors (I'm using that term as a tongue-in-cheek counterpoint to the whole "megachurch" thing, not in it's technical meaning which tends to be heavily related to the "house church" movement). But each is given a measure of grace for the calling to which he's called; and sometimes, those of us who don't have the external perks and ego strokes of larger, more "successful" ministries need encouragement to keep faithfully plowing the fields we've been given, as faithful stewards.
So... here you go; read the article.
You'll thank me later.
This is an interesting commentary on the thorny issues facing couples in the internet age that had never really been an issue before.
Kinda good for a chuckle.
The opening paragraph sets the hook, while effectively summarizing the article, all at the same time:
Joint bank account? Check. Merging the MP3 collection? Hold on a minute. Couples are struggling with just how much to combine the digital aspects of their lives. Why spouses are bickering over shared email accounts and his-and-hers blogs.
Now, I can partly understand this, sorta. My lovely and gracious wife likes Country music. I feel rather strongly that Country is a product of the Fall. So we keep our MP3 collections... ah... quite separate.
...but I wonder how long it'll be before we see some enterprising, relevant, culturally savvy pastor teaching a hep-cat-yo-dog-g*money series on this...
Come to think of it, I wonder how long it'll take until some of the new breed of "Calvary-Lite" dudes take up the torch and start a really clever teaching series on the subject, further abandoning the verse-by-verse expositional teaching Distinctive of the Cavlary Chapel Movement...?
Interesting, amusing article, nonetheless...
Friday, August 03, 2007
Tuesday, I asked who y'all thought a Statement of Purposes and Principles came from. The dudes over at the Wordpress mirror of this blog were basically split between #4 (an Emerging Community) and #5 (None of the Above).
And the reason why I asked the pop quiz question, is because it sure does sound absolutely indistinguishable from an Emergent kind of drivel--er, that is, Statement of Purposes and Principles. I'd say, "Doctrinal Satement," but that's too bourgeoisie and consumerist to be ECMmish.
But no, those who guessed "None of the Above" are - absolutely correct.
The Statement of Purposes and Principles comes from a local Unitarian Universalist congregation.
In case you don't recognize the term "Unitarian Universalist," I give you some of the latest stuff from their website:
- Exploring Pagan Paths
- Unitarian Universalist Philosophy - Note that, other than two statements, this is absolutely indistinguishable from something from MacLaren et al...
- Great, great stuff for encouraging earth-based spirtualists - because, darn it all, Pagans are People Too.
Mike Foster, a church planter in Cincinnati with the Acts 29 network, has posted a great blogpost which is in essence an "essay report," comparing Schaeffer and Athanasius.
One quote from Foster that makes me now want to read the essay for myself...
We all could stand to take a lesson from Schaeffer. Being faithful to Christ means standing for the gospel and standing against any diminishing of that gospel. This means we might have to take issue with some or even most of the thinking of popular theologians and pastors such as Rob Bell, Doug Wilson, and N.T. Wright among others. This, of course, will get us toss aside and labeled as “picky and intolerant” by many of our peers. Nonetheless, we mustn’t be impressed and draw into the compromise of a Christianity that is often drunk on the worship of Christian celebrity.
I couldn't agree more.
Very timely, too; I was just involved in a brief discussion of "New Perspectivism" (which I am distinctly unimpressed with)... the leading light of which would be none other than N.T. Wright...
You've seen the commercials:
Tragically Hip Emergent-type Dude: Hi, I'm a Mac.
Über-geek in a suit: And I'm a PC.
Emergent Mac Dude: Hey, PC, did you know that I'm way cooler-er than you and nobody likes you because you're a dweeb?
Now, I say that all tongue-in-cheek. I readily admit that the Mac platform is, and always has been, inherently superior. The kernel of the OS is UNIX; can't go wrong there. The software "just works." It's very stable. And the canard that "there's just more out there for the PC" is exactly that. Especially with the new Intel-based Macs which can run the Evil Empire's OS and software better than Wintel boxes can.
Macs are better than PCs.
If I didn't have to take out a second mortgage on my small yet tiny house to buy one, I would.
But since I can't, I can get the next best thing (which many would argue is actually the actual best thing, since it's open source - I am sympathetic to that argument). Linux is a UNIX-like OS which is also über-stable, and has the advantage of having an entire cornucopia of options for windowing managers, desktop environments, and far broader hardware support (which can also be its Achilles' Heel, given the closed-system approach of Macs, which contribute greatly to the systems' stability, but I partially digress).
The Linux distro that I use is Mandriva... but I'm likely going to be making the leap to Ubuntu shortly.
In the mean time, my Bloglines feed notified me that Slashdot has announced that the KDE Group has released a beta version of their K Desktop Environment - which is my favorite (I'm no huge fan of GNOME). In many ways, I like KDE better than the MacOS interface - way better.
So, this is hugely good news for me.
It's like CHRISTmas... in August...
Thursday, August 02, 2007
This is great news for road warriors - and pastors who fly to the Left Coast once a year for the annual conference/partaking of the Third Ordinance the Lord left for His Church (double-double animal style at In-n-Out).
The Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak is back.
Mike Newnham has his critics, and his supporters. Technically, I suppose, I don't really fall into either camp; but whatever else you think of the ministry of PP/TBOWWDNS, it did (and, apparently, will again) give many a voice and a place to be ministered to that they would otherwise not have had. Like anything else touched by man (including Calvary Chapel), it was considerably less than perfect. But amongst the sometime endless stream of (...must...not...say...bitter...) ah... perturbed venting, real ministry did take place. Just reading the comments of the likes of Ritchie, Rolph, and Fong (sounds like a '70's band) was worth the time to fire up my Bloglines feed.
As I've stated before: This is the internet. You can't silence critics easily. So it's best to learn from them - we've learned that, Mike's learned that, and we've all been bettered thereby.
I'm very interested to see how PP2.0 shapes up.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
While pondering the previous Pop Quiz, take a gander at the collected Position Papers written by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa over the years. Balanced, fair-minded, and clear.
Yet one more reason I love the Calvary Chapel movement.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
While doing my light reading, unwinging from tentmaking, I ran across this "Statement of Purposes and Principles":
We covenant to affirm and promote:
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Now, here's the quiz part: Is this the mission statement of:
- A theologically conservative, evangelical Christian church
- A Pentecostal prayer group
- A "fightin' fundie" fellowship
- An Emerging Community
- None of the above
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Okay, so being (Lord willing, temporarily) trivocational and getting ready to (hopefully) adopt a little man-child who's about to be born here at the end of August has been very... taxing. And time-consuming. So none of my usually laconic blogposts.
However, while getting ready to dive into the Revelation tomorrow (...so should I be like many of the new "Calvary-Lite" ECM-types that are beginning to enter the Calvary movement and give it a pretentious über-relevant "series" name... like "Visions!" or something...? Hmmmmmm...), I opened my Bloglines feed and found a link to a series of utterly, absolutely, ridiculously funny and apropos "motivational" posters for the ECM from the Team Pyro dudes.
(You can find the originals here.)
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Alrighty, then... looks like Vee from the Living Journey blog went and "tagged" me.
And I mean that "ergh" in the most godly, joyful way possible. I just have no idea how to answer these sorts of things...
Sooooooo... the "tag" goes as thus:
The rules are as follows … I have to post 8 things about myself that no-ones knows about. And then tag 8 fellow bloggers.
I can do the first part, if I try reeeeeeally hard, but as for the second... don't know if I'll be able to pull that off - 'cept to start by back-tagging Vee, which I'm certain breaks not only the rules of tag but also likely would initiate some sort of recursive causality thing which would violate several principles of quantum fluctuation... so we'll skip that part.
So, to my List Of Eight (...sounds so very The Postman-ish...)
- I was a painfully introverted and quiet child - right up until puberty. Then, all testosterone broke loose.
- I was raised a New Ager (i.e., Episcopalian), converted to Nichiren Buddhism during my teen years, slipped into general agnosticism, then outright cynicism - then surrendered to Jesus.
- I actually have two "tentmaking" jobs - one as an engineer/CNC programmer, and one as an instructor for CAD/CAM software and CNC operation. And I'm a pastor. Makes for some reeeeeeeeeeeeally long days/weeks. Like this last one.
- I have never understood pastors who say they "need a break." Need a break from what, exactly? To me, that's like needing a break from being a husband, or a father. I don't get it.
- I am a huge procrastinator. Or at least, I will be tomorrow. I don't have the energy to procrastinate today.
- The whole "three-zat-shot" thing is really unrealistic. I mean, seriously.
- I think Dominik Hasek is a great goalie. He needs a shock-collar to keep him in the crease, but he's a great goalie. However, my favorite goalie isn't a Wing; he's a Devil.
- My wife - my lovely and gracious wife - can cook. Consequently, though I was a size 32 waist on our wedding day, I am now... ah... larger. Ahem. However, I couldn't care less; she still lets me stay here in our small yet tiny house. However, I still spend about a half hour on the death machine about three times a week because high blood pressure runs - nay, gallops in my family. Plus, I get to listen to MP3s of Bible studies from other guys, covering the chapters we'll be covering on the following Thursday or Sunday. Also, I really love it when I stop.
Soooo, that's it.
Lame, I know, but there you go.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
You have to see it to believe it...
(Thanks, Vee, for the heads-up on the formatting issue...)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It seems to be the hep-cat-yo-dog-g*money-cool thing to do, if you want to be culturally relevant and all Emerging and all that deconstructive jazz, to periodically post a somewhat pretentious cataolog of stuff... and name it something along the lines of "Music Monday," or "Phriday is for Photos," or "Wednesday is for Wookies," or something along those lines.
Sorry, dudes; couldn't come up with anything snazzy to rhyme with "Tuesday." Doh.
But, in the interest of keeping up with the ECM Joneses, and given that it's been a while since my normally loquacious self has posted anything (I have a really good excuse - but more on that later), here's a smattering of blogposts and newsitems which have caught my attention over the span of the last few weeks, in no particular order...
- The Phonics Preacher is back. Good-natured humor aimed at the now-somewhat-defunct Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak whose actual happens to sound awfully similar to "Phonics Preacher" and refers to a self-immolating bird of mythical origin.
- Clipped from my Blazer browser on my greatly-beloved Palm T|X, this article, which is both a sign of the times and heart-rending.
- Great wiki on Presuppositionalism (I am personally very sympathetic to aspects of the presup apologetic)
- An article about a strange alien world composed of "hot ice"
- I may have posted this one before, but it's worth repeat-posting: the return to popularity of steady-state cosmology - or at least an open-ended, non-cyclical Big-Bangish one. Now this eschatology is really defeatist...
- Hello, John; meet Jacobius - interesting blogpost on the tension betwixt God's sovereignty and man's free moral agency
- Johnny Mac on the subject of the Age of Accountability
- A Scientific American article trying desperately to answer the great question, if evolution is true, why are humans the only primates who've lost their body hair?
- Breathrough Brings "Star Trek" Type Teleport A Step Closer - using one of the more fascinating, "spooky vagaries of particle physics, quantum entanglement.
- Yet another article by our friends at the ever-increasingly appropriately entitdled open source theology blog, God as Hypothesis? Let me summarize it for you: Propositional truth is not germane to faith. This is Kierkegaardian existentialism all over again [see here and here]
- James White on Greg Stafford's intellectual gymnastics to get around the clear implication from Scripture that Jesus is Very God of Very God. Useful in dealing with your friendly neighborhood JW.
- Bob Hyatt answers "team pyro" RE: his "from the inside" critiques of the ECM (and links to several good blogposts of his examining some of the theologically less sound elements of the ECM - a movement he identifies with)
- An article on money matters by a pastor of Calvary Church, the local "big boy on the block" congregationally-speaking...
- Great post by the Linux Journal examining whether or not we should fight for the Ogg Vorbis media file format
- An article by a sci-fi writer examining why humanity will "never" colonize the stars
- Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager - great tips on buying a Dell and getting good service out of the deal. Note: This article garnered the author a "cease-and-desist" order; if you want to read it, read it soon before/in case it's taken down...
- Physicists are closer than ever to discovering/proving the existence of the Higgs Boson - the so-called "God particle"
- simplemindedpreacher has a great blogpost on what constitutes a "successful ministry"
- Mike Newnham examines the Phoe-- er, the Blog Of Which We Do Not Speak's recent sunset on the blogging scene here, here, and here. An ex-PP'er comments here.
- On the subject of TBOWWDNS, the From the Ashes blog continues a series on their purpose with an article entitled, Our DNA: Part 2 - Community
- ...and finally, those wily Baptists have put up a great bunch of articles of interest to and in support of bivocational pastors, of which I am one.
Well, that's it for now, kids. It's late, I have to drive in to Grand Rapids tomorrow for Day Two of my new "day job to support my habit."
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
The conference has ended... and now the digesting of what we've received begins. Someone I spoke with at Murrieta described the conference as "drinking from a fire hose." Very good description. But that's why God created DVDs... so that I can unpack the conference over the coming weeks and months.
This has, without question, been the best conference I've been to.
Tom Hough (Calvary Chapel Riverside in Grand Rapids) and I were scheduled to fly back to the Glorious West Coast of Michigan from LAX on the red-eye, so on the way back up I-15 I finally got to stop and partake of the third ordinance the Lord left for His Church - double-double animal style at In-N-Out. Oh, the joy, the unbridled, succulent joy...
Prior to heading up the highway to Los Angeles, however, we spent a few hours at the Barnes & Noble for much-needed Venti Breves at the in-store St. Arbuck's and jump up on wi-fi to check e-mail, upload more pics from the conference, and do some studying for Sunday (we're going to be in the second half of I John 2...) While sipping gingerly on my über-hot breve, and loading in my Jon Courson Application Commentary on the Whole Bible into Libronix, Tom got to speak with and minister to a few people looking for some Bibles, and I briefly got to interact with a young lady who was there doing... something. I never quite got it... I think she was just hanging out. But anyway, the window sign fell on her head, I got it back up, and we were then ready to head out the door... and the Lord impressed on my heart to ask her if there was anything we could pray for her for, and if she would please pray for us for traveling mercies. She seemed understandably taken a bit aback by that... asked us to pray that she "makes it," and promised to pray for us. (I remember from my first pastor's conference that Jon Courson said that he treated the people up there in his neck of the woods as if they already were Christians - so he'd go into for instance the local gas station, and ask the dude behind the counter to pray for him & such, and how that really impacted people; I've always liked that, while also understanding the need to bring the reality of eternity to bear in peoples' lives, which necessitates a clear Gospel presentation. But I've always liked the heart behind Jon's thing there...).
So, long story short, please pray for Miss Unnamed Prayer Request from St. Arbuck's.
The flight was (unsurprisingly) delayed; we got on at almost one a.m. Friday morning LA time... I sat next to a young Hasidic couple who - also unsurprisingly - weren't open to talking. I mean, not at all. I said "Hi!" in my characteristically shy manner, to which I received something just shy of a blank stare... and the whole attempting to interact thing sort of slid sideways from there. ::sigh:: Oh, well...
I can still pray for them, eh?
I didn't get any sleep on the plane (long, boring, and mostly pointless story) ; landed at GR "International" Airport just after 9am Michigan time... and somehow managed to remain awake long enough to make the forty minute drive over to the Lakeshore... and back to my wife. Woke up to the news that one of the key families in the church here have welcomed home their strapping young newborn manchild, so we headed over to congratulate them and drop off a meal prepared for them by another family in the fellowship. Then, when I got home, I discovered that another dude in the fellowship had crawled under our small yet tiny house while I was out in CA and hooked up the power for the dishwasher we'd gotten several months ago (but I hadn't hooked up myself yet because... well... I'm lazy, and I hate bugs) - thanks, Matt!
The people here at CC Lakeshore rock.
Now I'm back home, catching up on e-mails, uploading this blogpost, catching up on my Bloglines feeds (looks like the From the Ashes dudes as well as Mike Newnham have commented on the conference, as well as of course simplemindedpreacher, Chuck Nestor, and Corby of Stephens), watching the latest Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis episodes before heading off to my first full night's rest in... well, a long time...
Posted by mike macon at 6/08/2007 11:05:00 PM
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Looks like the Ducks went and took Lord Stanley's Cup to the Left Coast.
Well, here's looking at next year, eh?
And to my Canadian pastor buddy, Glen of Nudd... I'm looking forward to seeing my boy Darren McCarty in action again... I miss his smiling face...
...as usual. Per Slashdot,
The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced that it will actively support placeshifting by signing an agreement with SlingBox-maker Sling Media. The agreement will allow the company's "Clip+Sling" technologyto share both live and recorded NHL programming over the Internet.
You can read Slashdot's writeup here.
While walking through the mall here at Temecula ("The Promenade"... made me think of Deep Space Nine the whole time... such a geek...) we made our way to the C28 store. We were there because someone had given out some "pastor discount" cards at the coffee shop there on the Conference Center for it, and since we have just about a day to kill before our red-eye flight out back to the Glorious West Coast of Michigan, we stopped there to buy things for our wives. While in there, we got chatting with the manager on duty, a sister named Denise.
At least, I think that's the spelling.
Long story short, she prayed for my wife (who suffers from tremendous back pain) and for the possibility of adoption that may or may not pan out in the next few months for us, and we prayed for her for selling her cabin and getting a good home in Temecula for her and her kids.
So, I post this here to ask y'all to please pray for Denise.
...that's pretty much all I can say. "Oh, my."
You need to get Bob Coy's message. You need to. Call Calvary Distribution and get it.
There is, at every conference, one message specifically which I discover that I am there for. This was it. Damien's the night prior was awesome, and that afterglow... Coy's message hit it out of the park for me.
The bottom line: What if I (God) never add one more person to your church? Will you still be faithful? Will you love on those "few" sheep of Mine that I've given you to shepherd faithfully, and strive to make them the best loved, best fed sheep you can by My grace?
I'll be unpacking that message, and the Holy Spirit's very strong message through prophecy given at the afterglow the night prior, for the next six months at least.
Also, I've uploaded most of the photos from the conference here.
As is typical, the speakers, and the word the Lord is speaking through the speakers - just keep getting better, rising to the coming crescendo tomorrow (today, as I type this).
- Tom Stipe... incredible warning, timely exhortation. Don't be tripped up in the last lap - finish your race well. Awesome.
- Greg Laurie's teaching on Excelling in Bringing Glory to God, which includes the twin ideas of being Kingdom-minded and staying true to the Word, was absolutely on-target.
- Chuck Smith's message on communion... you could have heard a pin drop. Guys: there is a reason why this man is so greatly loved, why he has an entire army of Jonathans around him. This session pulls the veil back just a bit so that you can see why. I felt like I was on holy ground when he shared about his mother's passing into glory. I will not cheapen it by describing it further; you must get the DVD of this session.
- Ricky Ryan's session was timely, exhortative, and characteristically energetic.
- But the day's directed teaching closed out with Damien Kyle - but of course. Who else could? His message on Excelling in Love was... life-changing. Then he led directly into the afterglow, which was... indescribable. The absolute most precious, most Spirit-led, most encouraging and convicting afterglow I have ever been privileged to participate in. I will be digesting what was ministered to me in that afterglow for the next year.
And of course, Chad and the SMP crew kidnapped me and dragged me to some Mexican-ish restaurant for dinner - the cads. The food was incredible, and the encouragement from Bill Ritchie was I think absolutely spot-on, candid, and needed.
Bit of advice: If Chad offers to drive you anywhere, the correct answer is to run. Traffic laws are apparently very optional over yonder on the East Coast, there...
Raul Reis' message on purity nailed us (me) to the wall, then Don McClure's message... nailed us (me) to the wall. I think I was but one of hundreds who walked out of the sanctuary and immediately called our wives and told them not only do we love them, not only do we miss them, but "thank you for putting up with me you're so awesome you're pretty I'm ugly you smell good I smell bad you're the greatest I'm a doofus... etc."
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Okay, the speakers just keep getting better. The devotional this morning by Rich Chaffin was awesome. And it just went uphill from there. Guzik's study on "Excelling in the Integrity of the Church" was classic Guzik - right on target, right between the eyes, no verbiage wasted, no points spared. Raul Ries nailed us to the wall on purity, and then Don McClure brought it home in his session, "Excelling as a Husband".
If you haven't been able to come to the conference, get the MP3s.
For the dudes on the Lakeshore - we'll be watching these together over the next several weeks.
This has been an incredible conference so far - and Day 2 isn't even over yet.
As usual, I look forward to this time of year every year - and I dread it. I dread it because I hate being apart from my lovely and gracious wife for the week-and-a-half around this time (she leaves a half week before I do to go minister at a yearly ladies' retreat with our pastor's church). But I look forward to it because:
- I get to meet and reconnect with some brothers that I don't get to see except for this one time each year, from all over the globe
- I love the teaching
- I love the ministry time between sessions
- I love re-connecting with the pulse of the movement that we're a part of.
Usually, I don't come to the conferences primarily for the teaching - I can always get the DVDs after-the-fact for a lot cheaper and watch them at my own pace. The teachings are awesome, but coming two-thirds the way across the continent just for that is not cost-effective. Rather, I get the most from the conferences from the interactions I have with my brothers-in-arms at the meals, before the sessions, after the sessions, in the hot pools...
But I tell you; every year I'm blown away at what the Lord says through the speakers - something that I think is enhanced by being there.
I was going to comment on the notes I've taken about the conference sessions, buuuuuuuut... Chad Mhyre, the simplemindedpreacher has beat me to the punch - and has done a much better job of it than I was going to.
So, here's his notes for the first day's sessions:
- Chuck Smith - Excelling in the Message of the Cross
- Joe Focht - Excelling in the Wisdom of God
- Bill Ritchie - Excelling in Building Up the Body of Christ
I am so looking forward to Day 2.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
...and by "outward bound," I of course mean, "stuck in Grand Rapids."
One of the joys of modern travel is flight delays - and the domino affect thereof, which includes flight cancellations. I think I stood in line at the ticket counter when my flight out to O'Hare was canceled, in order to get another flight (which might still get canceled) about three times a s long as the flight to Chicago lasts to begin with.
However, I got to meet some interesting people in line - including Art, Jr., who's flying out to New Jersey to be with his 80+ year-old father who's very ill. He didn't have a phone to make a flight change, so I lent him mine, and thereby got to know him a bit. I told him that I'd remember to pray for his pop, Art, Sr., so I'm posting this both to remind me later to follow up on that promise, and to ask all my readers (you know... both of you...) to pray for Art, too.
This has got to be an awesome conference that God's got planned, here; lots of spiritual warfare and plain old obstacles leading up to this, here... I'm tired, exhausted, and otherwise worn out already, and I haven't even left Michigan yet; but I'm also excited to see what the Lord's going to do.
Friday, June 01, 2007
The Phoenix Preacher blog was taken down last week. There seems to have been an underhanded deal that went down which forced Mike Newnham to remove the blog. Whatever your thoughts are regarding PP, that was just low. Whoever is involved should be slapped upside the head with the right hand of fellowship.
Again, I'll state: I did not personally care much for a lot of what went on over at PP. The dialog often rose to the level of histrionics with several... ahhhh... angry people (...must...not...say...bitter...) people venting, spleen letting, etc. (One poster posted under the name CCVictim... oy, vey...)
HOWEVER, there was a lot of actual ministry that went on, too. There were, sadly, some legitimately hurt people who found the PP online community, and found healing.
And - again, sadly - there were some dastardly deeds done in the name of Calvary Chapel that were addressed ::cough:: Mike Kestler and the CSN debacle ::cough, cough::, and real issues that needed to be and were slogged through. NO man is above scrutiny, and no church... and no movement. It has been said, "Keep your friends close... and your enemies closer." Your critics are often in reality your best friends - they much more readily see your blind spots and, if you're listening, can alert you to them so that you can prayerfully address them.
I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Chuck Smith/Jon Courson/Joe Focht/Mike MacIntosh/Damian Kyle groupie. I have Romaine's visage tatooed on my right bicep.
Okay, perhaps not that last one there.
But you get the point.
I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Distinctives boy all the way. I want to name my first child - whether a boy or girl - "Paul Smith Macon." Or "Chuck Damien Macon." Or do the whole Catholic thing and give the poor kid a billion middle names... something like "Chuck Jon Joe Mike Damian Macon."
I make no apologies for the fact that we're distinctively pretrib premil. I make no apologies for the fact that we teach verse-by-verse through the Bible, or for our system of church polity (the much-ballyhooed "Moses Model"), or the fact that we are neither a denomination, nor are we against denominations as such... etc.
But no movement is perfect; we can examine ourselves, and we can accept and receive "outside" scrutiny, listen to those who disagree with us, and pray through what is said without a knee-jerk reaction that tends to short-circuit what the Spirit might be saying to us. And so, ultimately, PP served a very useful (if often irritating) function.
Besides: This is the internet. You cannot silence your critics. Shut down one blog, and ten more will pop up to take it's place.
Enter: Under The Cross. This seems to be the nascent reforming of the PP community online.
Whatever else your opinion might have been about PP, this at least seems true:
The Phoenix riseth.
Two blogposts I read this morning that are link-worthy:
- Brave Men by Travis Johnson
- Offensive Language by Andrew Jones aka "Tall Skinny Kiwi", an ECMmer. NB: I disagree somewhat powerfully with TSK's conclusions... but the post is worthy of careful, prayerful consideration anyway. If you read it (and I warn you - it does contain some objectionable verbiage), don't just react - think. If - like me - you find yourself disagreeing with the Altitudinous Underfed New Zealander, at least know why.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Three things I've read today that I find real innnerrrresssstin'...
- Pulpit Magazine - Assurance. Great article on the assurance of salvation.
- ScienceDaily - Cosmologists Predict A Static Universe In 3 Trillion Years. The return of the Steady State Cosmology model. Oy, vey...
- Travis Johnson - Tagged: a word about our volunteers. This I think is probably the first time I've probably been "tagged." Okay, say something nice about volunteers... ah... they rock. Our entire staff - myself included - are volunteer here at CC on the Lakeshore. And by "entire staff" I of course mean "both of us."
...okay... now what...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Joe Farah smacks back at Hanegraaff RE: the utterly insane contention that America's support of Israel causes terrorism.
And eating Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups (TM) causes global warming.
Anyway, good op-ed...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Wings played a mighty impressive third period there.
Unfortuntately, it takes a full 60 minutes of good play to win a game. You really can't expect to pull off a win when you don't show up for the first 40 minutes.
Especially in the Playoffs.
Especially-specially in a do-or-die Game 6 situation.
Well, the Tigers are doing well, and then there's the Pistons.
...here's to next year.
What with how so many within and without the ECM are jettisoning the doctrine of the Blessed Hope and placing eschatology on the shelf as de facto "disposable doctrine" in favor of a social gosp-- er, I mean, "social justice"... ahem... I found this article regarding social involvement within a dispensational framework to be very interesting.
Yes, yes, I know. Tommy Ice is the devil. Blah blah blah.
Read the article. It's spot-on.
This is another great one.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Calvary pastor Charles Nestor has a book review on Johnny Mac's book The Truth War here.
I absolutely love this quote:
What I don't understand is why people would rather spend so much time trying to be relevant by being ambiguious and doubting rather than being relevant and creative with the life-changing, powerful truth of God and His word.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Next I want to examine the points that Mike Newnham brings up as to the "new movement" he yearns for.
But first, two things:
- I at the outset want to point out I don't think that the CC Movement is calcified, cracking, inflexible, or Spirit-choked. In general.
- I don't think that the Spirit stops moving. Pedantic point, to be sure, and I'm certain Mike didn't mean otherwise, but I want to make clear that I believe that right at the outset.
I like his list of things that are "keepers" with regard to Calvary Chapel.
- A complete commitment to the Bible as God's inspired word.
- A commitment to worship.
- A commitment to evangelism.
I believe that the two primary, sine qua non essentials that universally define Calvary Chapel - what we are known for - are:
- The primacy of the expositional, Genesis-to-Maps, verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible.
- Yes, I know that some guys don't do the V-B-V thing, and I know that Chuck teaches topicals. But the topicals are couched within the larger context of the Sunday night V-B-V teaching and, to be quite honest, Chuck (and CC by extension) aren't known for our brilliant topicals, but for our unswerving commitment to the whole "line upon line" thing.
- One of the reasons I really don't understand why anybody would even want to be identified with Calvary Chapel who eschews the V-B-V thing in favor of the "this month, we're doing a series on ______________________!" thing in the stead thereof. But I digress.
- A balanced view of the Gifts of the Spirit.
- Mike doesn't think afterglows in the back room are sufficient. Let me categorically state - I agree with him. However, administering the whole "decently and in order" thing in churches the size of Costa Mesa necessitates the whole "afterglow" thing - and hence a practice that arose out of practical necessity becoming a CC hadith followed by many protégés without questioning why and understanding the original reasons behind it - and thus after questioning, taking away the principles rather than simply copying.
- Here on the glorious West Coast of Michigan, we do the afterglow thing every Sunday night at our prayer meeting. Our fellowship here is orders of non-magnitude tiner than Costa Mesa - I would venture to say, smaller than Costa Mesa's men's room. So it's easier to administer. Plus, nobody shows up to the prayer meeting (no food), so it's real easy for me & my lovely and gracious wife to go get our Azusa Street freak on. But, whatever works...
Quick interlude, on the whole subject of Sunni CCs. The Murrieta Pastor's Conference is coming up in June - an event I look forward to every year. Not primarily for the teaching, which is always great - but let's face it, I can always get the DVDs - but for the fellowship with brothers-in-arms that I don't get to see but once a year. Most of the ministry to me happens between the sessions and during the glutto-- er, that is, "eating".
But it was really funny the first two years to see all these dudes from the Midwest walking around with Hawaiian shirts on.
Chuck wears Hawaiians.
I minister in Michigan. We don't have too many flights to the Islands from the Muskegon airport or Gerald R. Ford International Airport (which can be called "international" because some flights go to Canada - the Maple Leaf State). In tongue-in-cheek semi-protest, I purposefully didn't wear Hawaiians while out in Murrieta, instead wearing a Red Wings sweater (that'd be "jersey" for those of y'all in the south - like Indiana) or a Mossy Oak RealTree (TM) shirt under a flannel outer or something.
...but I've now taken to wearing Hawaiians, too.
Largely because, let's face it - nothing's funnier than to watch a furry fat guy sweat in SoCal because he pridefully won't follow the crowd - and Hawaiians are a lot cooler to wear.
So to be consistent, I've started wearing Hawaiians here in Michigan.
To be fair, it's really opened a lot of conversations up here, and I get to brag on our "simple hippie noncomplicated you don't have to wear shoes if'n yer don't warna" church.
Back to the point.
Which brings us to the point where I'm going to begin some disagreeing with Mike's points.
4. Freedom in non-essentials.
To break fellowship or disqualify someone from ministry based on their eschatology is senseless beyond belief.
To exclude people based on where they stand on the line that runs between Calvinism and Arminianism is equally inane.
I'm tempted to go all John Kerry here and say "I agree... and I disagree...," but in the final analysis, I really don't agree.
First, as I pointed out in an earlier blogpost examining Mark "Blankety-Blank" Driscoll's treatment of the issue of Calvary Chapel and eschatology, I reject the idea that CC breaks fellowship with someone based on their eschatology. We had Jacob Prasch recently speak at a pastor's conference - and I could be wrong, but I don't think he's a dyed-in-the-wool dispie. This is not a litmus test issue for fellowship.
Now, for ministry...? Yeah, I'll grant that. Much like the dudes at Chalcedon are really committed to postmillennialism and will disqualify a dispie from ministry in a Chalcedon-affiliated church (like Messiah's Congregation in New York - Steve Schlissel's church). Hey - pretrib premil is a universally recognized aspect of Calvary Chapel - you know that going in.
I look at it like the issue of baptism. I wouldn't expect to be welcomed into ministry with opened arms in a (consistent) Presbyterian church if I started preaching credobaptism and against paedobaptism.
And baptism is (arguably) a much less central issue than is one's eschatology.
Unless, of course, you're into Covenant Theology, in which case it becomes the outward, visible sign of the covenant.
ADD... ADD... ADD...
Back on track.
So, I don't apologize for insisting that, if someone's going to be identified as representative of the official, hands-laid-on-by-the-elders ministry of Calvary Chapel, that they'd be copasetic with the doctrinal particulars - including eschatology.
We're not alone in that, by the way. The Christian and Missionary Alliance is unapologetically pretrib, too. And they're an honest-to-gum denomination.
To quote the great philosopher of old: D'OH!!!
Now, as to the Calvinism-Arminianism thing (BTW - for some of my compadres - it's "Arminian," not "Arminianist" or "Armenian." An "Armenian" is a dude from a landlocked country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Rousas J. Rushdoony's forebears hail from thence.
I have no idea what an "Arminianist" is.)
But as to the whole Calvinism-Arminianism thing... with all due respect, "Yadda, yadda, yadda." And I mean that respectfully.
I am decidedly non-Calvinist. As a non-Calvinist, I am forever barred from partaking of the joys and privileges of the Acts 29 Network, no matter how much I'm diggin' on Driscoll, simply because I don't burn incence on any of the five altars of the Dordrecht Divines.
I'm quite certain that I wouldn't be looked at twice for a ministry position with John Piper's "Desiring God" organization, or his Bethlehem Baptist Church.
In fact, I'm almost certain that there are distinctly Reformed (read: Calvinist) denominations - whole slews of them.
- The Christian Reformed Church
- The Protestant Reformed Church
- The Reformed Church in America
- A veritable plethora of Reformed Baptist Churches
To say nothing of the sundry an assorted Presbyterian churches.
Sooooooooo... are they allowed to discriminate on the basis of soteriology, but we aren't...?
Look: personally, I don't care if anybody's come down with a mild case of Calvinism, so long as they take plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and don't operate heavy equipment until they're sure how the Genevan system will affect them. Many people lead long, productive lives after testing Tim-Keller-positive. To me, it's like the whole Emerging thing; the milder cases are actually quite innocuous. Amusing, cute, but overall innocuous.
And in fact, Calvinism wasn't a big deal in Calvary Chapel until sometime in the late '80's, early '90's, when some young bucks got hit by a bad case of the Westminster Catechism went all Rambo over the...ah...doctrines of grace...and somewhat ungraciously began pummelling all us mindless semi-Pelagian heretics over the head with their copies of A.W. Pink.
Or so I'm told. I wasn't there. I was still doing my best to finish out High School with something approaching a passing grade. Erckh.
But I believe it was an older, wiser Calvary pastor on the PP blog which pointed out that what ruined it for the rest of the Augustinians in the movement was that these few "didn't adorn the doctrine well."
So, now it's an issue.
Bottom-line (and I have to bottom-line this one, because the puck's about to drop), we aren't a denomination, nor are we opposed to deno-- drat. Sorry. It comes so easy...
...but seriously; we're not a denomination. "We" are a group of independent fellowships who voluntarily choose to identify with the vision, philosophy of ministry, and principles that God has given us through the example set by Chuck Smith. As such, Chuck has the right to define what that looks like - and he's delegated that to CCOF.
And the parameters of what that looks like are the Distinctives.
Gotta go - I need to have a few moments of prayer and fasting for my Wings so that they take a 2-1 series lead tonight on the Ducks' ice. Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, oh, please...