A Counter Cultural Event

We had a church wide camp out this week.  It was only Friday and Saturday, but I am exhausted.  It was a fantastic event.  It was a counter cultural event.

The church has not helped the family in regard to dealing with the modern social ill called the generational gap.  We take our youth and often put a young, inexperienced person and put them in charge of being a “youth pastor” (I believe I can trace the “worship wars” of the past 30 years to this mistake).  This just isolates the youth more from the experience and wisdom of interacting and fellowshipping with more mature (we hope) believers.

There were no age restriction for this camp out.  We had all generations show up.  There was still the tendency for the kids to try and get off by themselves.  There were still times of tension due to the need for some sense of authority, but over all, it was a great experience of beginning to build bridges without our own church family.  This worked for us (a small church) and it might be  something you might consider.

Texas Parks are awesome and well supervised.   The whole outing cost us (including food) less than $300 for a gathering of around 5o people.  There we many opportunities to talk about Jesus with parents who came but were not yet Christians or church members.  This made the event an outreach as well.

The opinions on the blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of individuals or entities I am affiliated with.

Pornography (Pronia-evil+graphia-symbols)

If you have used the internet, you have most like been exposed to pornography.  It is everywhere.  It is an epidemic.  It is a sign of just how far America has fallen.  The SEC problems with porn are, as one journalist put it, “just the tip of the iceberg”.

It is time to understand that the internet is a public passageway just as are highways and sidewalks.  People travel on the internet to engage other people.  What would happen if a billboard on a major highway was used to advertise a pornographic movie?  In most states this would be criminal.  It is not a issue of freedom of speech.  It is an issue of the public’s right to not have to see material deemed morally offensive.

It is time for law makers to understand our times have changed and to protect the public from internet porn.  No, it cannot be outlawed, but it can be made criminal to allow images to be viewed outside of a paid-for-private site.  As it is now, you can unwittingly type in a harmless word and be shown images that you (if you are a moral person) wish you would not have seen.

I would hope that our CLC would help lead in this fight, but as for now they are too busy riding bicycles thinking they are feeding the hungry.

If the church does not start learning to stand strong (not politically manipulated) and speak out against this addictive evil, then it will only grow and grow.

The opinions on this blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any individuals or entities I am affiliated with.

It can ONLY come through the Spirit

*This blog was intended for here but put on Samurai by mistake.

I have been putting a lot of time into the study of spiritual formation and our Baptist heritage.  I have been doing this in response to Dr. Rick Davis’ call for a ministerial guild.

I have come to the conclusion that in our current culture, the task of spiritual formation is the most important work and the hardest work we engage in.  As has been said in an earlier blog, the only way a Baptist church can function as our faith heritage believes a church should operate, is to develop a theologically literate community. However, in a culture that worship the dollars as deity, the value of becoming a practicing priest doesn’t have that much of an appeal.

I have become a hard (and often harsh) critic of our Baptist conventions.  They have become more work programs (and not very effective work programs) for individuals who either forgot their calling or were never called to minster in the first place.  If it were not for the responsibility I feel toward the generations coming after us, it would be easy to wash one’s hands and walk away.

No, for the church in the West to recover we will need to find a way to link with one another through the work of spiritual formation more than through our historic denominational connections.  It will be the priesthood (more specifically the vocationally called  within the priesthood of the believers) that will carry the light in these dark days.

In the middle ages when the Christian faith face the challenge of a corrupt church and a hostile world, communities developed to help the faith remain focus and to preserve the spiritual knowledge passed down from the apostles who had been taught by Jesus.  These communities not only preserved the faith, they helped to thrive.

I am working with a few others who believe like I do that we are entering a time of radical change in the church.   The Western church is in a nose dive and the entertainment driven, market focused churches will not have the strength or the will to face what the church is going to face.  By using technology and ancient practices that have proven timeless in developing disciples perhaps a new connection, a new community of faith can be developed.

Preachers, a Necessary Evil

In a day of too few heroes and way to many wannabees, those called to be servants of our Lord are facing a new era in the way the call to ministry is viewed.

Many churches are beginning to look at a pastor as simply a necessary evil.  The value of a theological education is put right beside brushing ones teeth and getting an annual prostrate exam.  More and more churches are looking for cheaper hired help or else have their own unintentional interim plan (even if they used an intentional interim control program).

Why has this happened?

1) The Pressler-Patterson destruction of the SBC.

2) The response to the takeover by the morally bankrupt fundamentalism of the left who were in power and beginning to enjoy the perks.

3) The CEO mindset offered by the Ken Hall-Charles Wade alliance (this was the case in Texas).

4) The scandals, power plays, and general misbehavior on both sides.

5) The dumbing down of the laity (brought on by preachers lowing expectations and focusing on numbers)

I am sure there are many other factors, but the fact is, preacher, whether you realize it or not you are viewed as a hired hand.

The only way I know to overcome this, is to remember who we are.  We do no help church by accommodating their drift toward the world.  If you have been called, you do have a divine connection that is needed and without which people do suffer.

The “professional”ministry is dying.  The attraction of the material is waining with the drop off in offerings.  Soon the wannabees and their material and psychological needs will have to find a new route because their just is not enough money or organization positions for them to occupy (I whole bunch of BGCT bureaucrats have tried to jump ship, but the churches will not pay them what the convention did and the churches will not put up with their lies and laziness)’

Those who are called understand we will live with affliction.  It is what strengthens our endurance.  This endurance (as the Scripture makes clear) will the most valuable possession in the world in the last days.   We have a treasure the secular world cannot create nor market.  Those of us who are called need to gather into guild where we can find acceptance, understanding, and fellowship for the days ahead.  It will not come from the lunch bunches and their political maneuverings and wink-wink morality.  It will not come from the wannabees who view each other as stepping stones.  It can only come when our calling and our cadre’ are joined into a cloud of witnesses.  God is not through yet, in fact the greatest challenge is just beginning.

The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any individuals or entities I am affiliated with.

What do you Do?

What do you do preacher, when the crowds grow smaller and smaller?  What do you do when the money given is less and less?  What do you do when folks will not change and look at you more as a hired hand than the one who stand for their souls?

It will do no good to get angry, God upset enough for all pastors everywhere.  It will not help to side into depression, for this is exactly where to enemy wants you.

It is time for those of us who remember our calling, remember our mission, our passion, to find each other and join together for mutual support.  Not to talk about what church member did what or to see to produce a false bravado of nickels, noses, and happily never after that will not come till Jesus returns.

No, we need to gather to times of prayer, of sharing insights and abilities, and of meeting with those who are not there for themselves but because really do like you.

Another thing that is very helpful.  In ever church and community there is a righteous remnant who will love and support you no matter what.  Don’t let the church proper know who these folks are or else they too will share in your sufferings, but maintain time with them and for them, they will bless your soul.

Hang tough friend.  The times they are a changing.  Perhaps our role is to clean up the mess before the doors are closed.  Perhaps we are the instruments of preparation from the new and enthusiastic will break forth.  Whatever the future, now is the time to hold tightest to our faith.  Amen.