May 12th, 2010

BIG PICTURE: The real world started to creep in a bit more today. I heard from no less than 6 different people…nothing outside the box, but it just pushes inward a bit. It required “resistance”. I’m actually really trying to keep a low profile. If it doesn’t get better, I may have to modify my cell phone use; just turn it off or something. I feel the intimacy with God gained on the hike slipping, fading as it usually does. It’s not bad, not even sad really, but inevitable. The drive for a theme is s till there, but less potent today, displaced by the hard work of class stuff. Still…there’s something about the simple life, about applying patient endurance, about doing less and being more. The class on counseling talked about how to address people suffering from anxiety and depression, and the book underscores the fact that today’s western society with it’s insane pace, expectations, materialism and busyness is at the core. Shouldn’t the church be a place that’s different? I mean at it’s center, isn’t that where we should look different from the world around us? How? I have no desire to leave AC3 and start a commune. I DO have desire to find ways to live out the Christ centered values I read in the N.T. hope, peace, fruit of the Spirit, etc. The funny thing is that if anything, many of the leaders at AC3 would agree with it…but it’s like we haven’t recognized how difficult it will be to swim against that tide. It’s like realizing you’ve hiked 10 miles in the wrong direction, and you know you’ve got to turn around and cover that ground again. It feels like we’re too “weary” to make a radical change…yet it’s kind of happening anyway. Oh well. Patience.

CLASS WORK: O.T. Theology continues to be a root canal. Today we looked at the roots of the concept of “election” in the OT. It IS interesting to see how the Calvinist/Armenian argument can be traced back to Genesis. I find myself still solidly in the Armenian camp, but also respecting the Calvinist view a bit more these days. However – the idea that God’s sovereignty and my free will can’t somehow co-exist seems to be the real enemy to His immensity, not one argument or the other. We will have to be prepared to address these issues as time goes on and more and more people will be drawn either to the liberal left philosophies of inclusionism, or to hyper-right wing reformed theology. I’m really beginning to hate “isms”.

I’m realizing what a generalist the pastor of a local church has to be. Prepared for the 1:00 AM call from the hospital, or have to deal with relapsed alcoholic. But the drug counselor isn’t going to be dealing with existential angst or someone’s feelings that God can’t forgive them. The pastor has to be a like a millwright for humans: able to address any broken piece of machinery with a simple set of tools and creativity.

READ/RITE/REFLECT; MBE: The author lead a church in Woodinville. It has the same tenor as other books selling a formula, but it’s not “soaked” in it. I get the sense the guy really just wants to share what he’s learned, that he’s authentically excited about it. The fact that it’s printed on the cheap by his own publishing company helps make it seem legit. If Zondervan or Multnomah or somebody like that were behind it, I might be more skeptical. So the Intro and first chapter really underscore what we already know and what I’m currently advocating for. It can summarized in three big points:

1)         The church needs money to do the stuff we’re called to do.

2)         We can’t depend on regular giving to fund big initiatives (we can barley depend on them to keep the doors open some months!. Even BIG gifts are unreliable.

3)         Generation Y people are looking for socially conscious ways to work, and generation Y Christians are looking for ways to BE the church outside the 4 walls.

Some key sentences I highlighted:

Churches stop trying to do new things because they get caught in the “let’s be practical syndrome.” Yikes. We’re there. Still licking our wounds from All In.

“know what you’re called to do before you launch an MBE model.”

“find complimentary relationships between business and mission.”

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