A Summary of Popular Responses to Donald Miller’s Posts About Church

A Summary of Popular Responses to Donald Miller’s Posts About Church

Last week Donald Miller posted some thoughts regarding his reasons for “not going to church very often.”  His firstpost, “I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere” primarily discussed his lack of connection to lecture and music, scholastic and entertainment based models for worship services and other programs.  His second post, “Why I Don’t Go to Church Very Often, A Follow Up Post“, went into more detail about those issues and others. Continue reading

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Initial Thoughts on this Phil, GQ, and A&E thing:

I have been keenly aware in every job I have ever had that I could be suspended, fired, or forced to resign for “saying what I think.” I haven’t always liked this reality, and I’ve been known at times to push the boundaries. However, I have never considered my employer’s right to terminate me for such behavior a “violation of free speech.” My guess is that if you have ever been employed, you are aware of this as well—and I think we all really want it to work that way.

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The Prophets & an Emotional God

The Prophets & an Emotional God

I recently began a re-reading of Abraham Heschel’s classic work, The Prophets, as part of personal research on the idea of “the weakness of God”.  I first read Heschel as part of a undergrad class on the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures.  The class was very small, consisting of only four or five of us.  Through reading Heschel’s work and our personal, in-depth, and lengthy discussions, I was captivated and forever changed by the image of the prophet as one who wrestles with the “divine pathos”, the very suffering of God.

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“You Probably Don’t Know Their Names” by Paul S. Williams

Good thoughts by Paul S. Williams on ministers who, without fame or grand recognition, serve their congregations:

Nowadays we are so fixated on celebrity ministers that we have eyes for little else. But there are so many more who look so much like Jesus. We do not see them because we are not paying attention. We are too busy attending to the voice of ambition, seeking the successful and famous.

What’s nice to remember is that this does represent the majority of those who work in pastoral/church ministry both here and throughout the world.  Many of them work “real jobs” other than church work.  They have never written a book.  They have never been invited to speak at a conference.  They are likely not sources for the wide array of highly touted  models claiming to have the keys to “ministry effectiveness”.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Schiffman on Purity As Separation

Schiffman on Purity As Separation

Lawrence Schiffman has posted a series of brief articles on perceptions and mis-perceptions of Jewish purity laws of Second Temple Judaism.  If you want to gain better understanding of Gospel texts dealing with clean and unclean, these posts may give you some insight from a Jewish perspective.

[UPDATE: I also see that Dr. Schiffman has another, earlier, four-part series, also dealing with ritual purity in Second Temple Judaism: Body and Soul, Purity and Impurity.]

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“The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being.”

“The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being.”

The powerful story and images about (then) 18-year-old Keshia Thomas in 1996, who at risk to her own safety protected a white supremacist from a violent crowd:

…in a flash, the crowd went from controlled protestors to an angry mob, hitting the man with sticks and kicking him as he lay on the ground. In that moment, Thomas separated herself from the mob and threw herself on the man to protect him.

Read the entire article here.

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“Platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology”—Nate Pyle

“Platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology”—Nate Pyle

This post by Nate Pyle, “Confronting the Lie:  God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle“, is so incredibly good.  Please stop what you are doing and go read it right now.  Here’s a snippet:

Not only am I okay asking those [difficult] questions, but I think there is something holy and sacred in being courageous enough to ask them.  Don’t be fooled, those questions are only to be asked by the courageous.  It is easy to spout trite Christian platitudes designed to make people feel better with bumper-sticker theology.  But insipid axioms do little in the face of the actual brokenness of the world.  It is more courageous to ask the hard questions of God and wait for him to answer than it is to find hope on the side of coffee mug.  Asking those questions requires courage because, in the end, it is very likely they will not be answered.

Read the entire post here.

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God, Jesus, Pacifists, Pansies, & A Girl From Pakistan: Thoughts on Mark Driscoll’s Recent Article

God, Jesus, Pacifists, Pansies, & A Girl From Pakistan:  Thoughts on Mark Driscoll’s Recent Article

I dare Mark Driscoll to call this young lady a “pansy”.

Mark Driscoll’s article, “Is God a Pacifist?“, has spurred a lot of online discussion and debate—and rightly so, because his article raises (and glosses-over) several complex and difficult topics.

In my own understanding of Jesus’ teachings, his life, and the practices of the early church, I lean heavily towards pacifism.  However, I know that if my family were threatened with violence, my response could be anything but peaceful or lacking in violence.   Beyond this inner and (thankfully) theoretical struggle of “what would I do?”, my initial thoughts after reading Driscoll’s post  were these (though not in the order I felt them):

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