Random Links (perhaps)

kinnon —  August 28, 2006 — 2 Comments

Darryl Dash quotes Eugene Peterson

A huge religious marketplace has been set up in North America to meet the needs and fantasies of people like us. There are conferences and gatherings custom-designed to give us the lift we need. Books and video seminars promise to let us in to the Christian “secret” of whatever we feel is lacking in our life: financial security, well-behaved children, weight-loss, exotic sex, travel to holy sites, exciting worship, celebrity teachers. The people who promote these goods and services all smile a lot and are good looking. They are obviously not bored.

Michael Spencer, the iMonk advises some of us to take a break from the church.

The current church growth, church guilt, megachurch wannabe mentality is damaging thousands and Christians. It’s messing up families and stealing years of time that isn’t coming back. It’s fostering codependency with sick church leaders who need help themselves.

God isn’t impressed. He didn’t sign on to this, and he isn’t requiring you to live like this.

David Fitch on his presentation to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

I believe that evangelical church in its attempt to reach those without the gospel has accommodated itself to the languages of individualism, the habits of consumer capitalism, and the organizational forces of American business. We could do this because we have viewed salvation as largely an individualist transaction instead of the participation of God’s people in the cosmological salvation of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We could do this because we placed such faith in secular discourses like modern science and business technique (apologetics, business principles of leadership). In the process we have organized church life around the busy lives of Americans living the dreams of capitalism and democracy that leave little time for mission, community and worship. I fear the “church” for evangelicals has in George Hunsberger’s words, “become the distributor of religious goods and services.” As a result, I fear we evangelicals are becoming less and less noticeable and barely distinguishable as a people from the rest of our society who live as if God does not exist.

Ed Brenegar reviews Al Roxburgh’s The Sky is Falling

From my perspective as a consultant to churches, becoming more missional is the only hope that many churches have of surviving another generation. I believe it is that significant a movement. That doesn’t mean that it is an easy thing to make the transition to being a missional church. Only that it is probably the only rationale that gives reason for the continued operation for many churches.

Roxburgh translates a fair amount of academic research about cultural, social, organizational and ecclesiastical change into a very digestible feast of insight for pastors and church leaders. It is the kind of book that a Session should read together. Its value is in providing a perspective that gives a basis for understanding why conditions in many churches are so difficult.

Stephen Prothero in Christianity Today on a series of books from Oxford University Press – the Seven Deadly Sins:

What is missing from these books—and from contemporary American culture—is a sense that something is missing from this world. With the notable exception of Thurman’s Anger, there is little awareness here of the incompleteness and unsatisfactoriness that Augustine took for evidence of another life, and that saints from Mary to Mother Teresa have taken as a charge to make this life conform to our imaginings of the next. Quoting Baudelaire, O’Connor once wrote that “the devil’s greatest wile …is to convince us that he does not exist.” If so, this is a wily series indeed. [HT: Touchstone Mag]

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Random Links (perhaps)

  1. In the midst of the stress of completing a difficult project, you see something that is very much worth the rest of us seeing. It reminds me of what Blaise Pascal said about happiness. Here’s a portion the rest can be found at the link at the end.

    “If man were happy, the less he were diverted the happier he would be, like the saints and God.
    Yes: but is a man not happy who can find delight in diversion?
    No: because it comes from somewhere else, from outside; so he is dependent, and always liable to be disturbed by a thousand and one accidents, which inevitably cause distress.

    Being unable to cure death, wretchedness, and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things.

    Despite these afflictions man wants to be happy, only wants to be happy, and cannot help wanting to be happy.

    But how shall he go about it? The best thing would be to make himself immortal, but as he cannot do that, he has decided to stop himself thinking about it.”

    link to edbrenegar.typepad.com


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  1. The Presbyterian Polis - Connecting Churches to Churches - August 28, 2006

    Pascal on Happiness

    Bill Kinnon’s random collection of links(Thanks Bill for the inclusion.) prompted me to think about Blaise Pascal and his comments on happiness. Pascal was a mathematician and scientist in 17th century France who had a dramatic conversation to Christia…

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