Things I Think
1. The corporate world basically consists of three parts…management, employees, and consumers.
The objective is numeric and financial growth.
Management works to protect their position and reap the profits, employees work at the whim of management, and consumers are valued as long as they are buying the product.
Employees and consumers are viewed as replaceable commodities.
The NT church on the other hand is always defined as a family or a body.
We are brothers and sisters adopted by the Father and we are necessary parts of a bigger body that does not function properly without each member.
The corporations care about the product before the people and in the church the people are the product of God.
The models are utterly incompatible.
That, my friends, is why the corporate model of American evangelicalism cannot help but be a stench in the nostrils of God.
2. I think there’s something to aromatherapy…the smell of cedar comforts me and the scent of patchouli oil makes me want to assault somebody…
3. The framers of the Constitution believed in separating power among the branches of government so there would be checks and balances against tyranny. How ironic is it that some of the pastors I see railing against the President most loudly would never allow a similar arrangement in their churches…
4. “That’s the cowardly act governments do. That’s why they attack whistle blowers instead of attacking the problem the whistle blower told them about. That’s the pathology: to kill the messenger instead of listening to the message. ” Charles Bowden.
5. The Jews used to pray thanks to God that they weren’t “a dog, a Samaritan, or a woman”. The church has done a relatively good job of redeeming the dogs and the Samaritans… the attitude towards women still needs a lot of work.
6. Any organization that has disciplinary structures for the laity and not the leaders is either a cult or a business. It can’t be a church.
7. Here’s an easy IQ test. If you really think David Barton is a credible historian, yours isn’t high enough.
8. I believe the creation of art is a spiritual gift…
9. I get a lot of books sent to me by publishers in hopes of a positive review here on the blog. I don’t get past a couple chapters on most of them, as at some point “banal” became a Christian virtue…
10. It is purely sin that those abused by the church are judged by their response to the abuse, not by the fact that they were abused in the first place…
In response to #1, ……….businesses are shareholder centered and profit driven or they will fail. That’s just the way it is. Churches on the hand are Christ centered and relationship driven……… or they will fail. In local churches where Christ sits on the throne, He will not allow them to fail. He is faithful.
In terms of church discipline for church leaders on #6 , the Holy Spirit through Paul gave the local church a specific process to deal with elder/pastoral discipline in 1Tim 5:19-20. Again if the local church is a Christ exalting body, where Christ sits on the throne, this heartbreaking process will be carried out if necessary, though it must always be carried out with agape love and with the intent to restore. If a local church is truly a Christ exalting community………..then there are no waivers from accountability for elders. The authority bestowed on an elder makes a man more accountable………. not shield us from accountability.
#10 -Right on. Should it be any surprise to men who are supposed to be shepherds that sometimes wounded sheep behave badly.
Good thoughts, Michael! #1, 3, & 6. I’ve had lengthy discussions with our church leaders about making sure these types of things related to corporate and celebrity ministry do not define who we are and what we do. I’ve been pleased with the responses thus far.
Our elders’ meetings are truly a time spent in prayer, seeking God’s will in all matters. There are no yes men, but we all love our pastor dearly. There have been a couple times when we advised against something or suggested alternatives, and our ideas held weight with our pastor. Thus far, it has been a wonderful working arrangement.
#8 – i believe the ability to create is a God-given gift, but the discipline of creating so often leads to arrogance – is that spiritual?
but this is a great spot on list today, amening as i read
1. True. Church should not be run like a business. It is so ingrained now that it is hard to avoid, at least to some degree.
2. While I don’t find patchouli to be a pleasant odor, it immediately sends me back in time to music festivals I attended as a teeneager. Good memories.
3. I’m not sure the US government is the best model for a church, either. Truthfully though, from a guy who has mostly identified as a Democrat, Obama has been a mess.
4. Yeah. Good quote.
5. I don’t know that that’s true at all. Women seem to have pretty good standing in American church, at least in relation to other parts of the world.
6. In theory, congregational polity solves all these woes. It doesn’t really, but in theory, yeah.
7. I haven’t spent any time thinking about David Barton at all.
8. I don’t think I agree. Too many people in church see the artists as some sort of spiritual leader, when maybe they are just a good singer.
9. Yeah, not a lot of good reading out there.
10. If you are thinking about who I am thinking about, then I disagree. Having some vague hurt in the past does not allow you to go after people in a criminal way.
Oh, and it was discovered early on that one of our leaders was physically abusing his wife. We took swift action, not just to discipline him and make ourselves look good. He was immediately removed from the elder board, his wife and children were given a safe place to stay, we called the police, and we have provided Godly women to walk alongside the abused wife. The man was arrested and spent a couple nights in jail. We have offered counsel to both. She has accepted, he has not. Go figure!
#8 How do distinguish between talent and gift, or do we?
@6…that’s how it should be done.
Now, excommunicate him until he repents.
I commend your church on this…too many simply side with the male.
I think a talent is a gift….
Not all spiritual gifts lead to leadership.
Francisco got a first… 🙂
Well said,my friend.
Someone tweeted this over the weekend:
“Let your ministry move forward at God’s pace, otherwise you may get a profile too heavy for your character to bear.”
We seem to have an entire industry based around growing a ministry as fast as possible, regardless of what God might have intended for it.
No wonder we seem to have so many men with large ministries whose character collapses under its weight.
You just nailed it…
“Not all spiritual gifts lead to leadership.”
This is true, though musicians are often looked at by the church with some sort of ownership, whereas a mechanic can just be a mechanic. Ya know?
dswoager is right on.
regarding women in the church, I notice that when women are overtly left out of leadership roles and pointed to the proverbial back seats, they covertly lead and influence matters.
are the books sent you primarily aimed at the christian consumer or a broader audience?
aroma therapy? ahh, the smell of grilling ribeyes…
Here is the source of this quote: “Let your ministry move forward at God’s pace, otherwise you may get a profile too heavy for your character to bear.”
Thanks Dennis. I found the article, but I didn’t have the time to give it a good once over to see if it was worth sharing as a whole. I hate to admit it, but twitter is very occasionally useful.
I just have had one too many women call me who were “put in there place” which was someplace where they wouldn’t be able to afford a lawyer when they were traded in for the next one.
Most of the books I get are for the “Christian” market…
I once found myself in one of those big Christian bookstores and I wandered up and down the aisles with money in my pocket to burn and I could not find one thing to buy. They had no patristics section and the Bibles were full of commentary that I don’t agree with. (They had plain Bibles but I already have one of those.) I never saw so much twaddle located under one roof in my life.
Michael, my wife and I are together today in spite of the smell of patchoulli. I love her, but she can be a dirty hippie sometimes. 🙂
The smell of patchouli puts me into some kind of fugue state, I think.
Xenia, I personally find it funny that there is a strip mall near my house that contains both a used book store and a Christian book store, where the used book store has an exceedingly better Christian book section.
I have yet to come across a toy “armor of God” at the used book store though… so…
It is purely sin that those abused by the church are judged by their response to the abuse, not by the fact that they were abused in the first place…<<<
This is true if it is really abuse.
As I've said before, I have known many people who screamed "abuse!" but when you heard both sides of the story you realize that they just didn't get their own way.
I have known far more abused pastors than abused parishioners.
My son saved up $30 for The Armour of God toy when he was about 4. It was one of his favorites. Still uses the sword.
I don’t think he had any clue there was a biblical theme. 🙂
dswoager, you are so right!
Testing out new avatar….
David Barton presents a version of American history that many people desperately want to believe is true. Even intelligent people can can fall for this.
Ahhh…so much to agree upon here. Re: number 8, I am not sure if artistry is a spiritual gift, but I believe that some forms of artistry are underutilized and unwelcome in the church. Not talking about the ability to sing or play an acoustic guitar, but other forms of artistry not visible in the church. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to have someone creating a mug out of clay or painting a picture during the singing, but how about having some fellowship groups focused upon artistry and using those gifts to glorify God?
“The framers of the Constitution believed in separating power among the branches of government so there would be checks and balances against tyranny. How ironic is it that some of the pastors I see railing against the President most loudly would never allow a similar arrangement in their churches…”
YES! Extremely ironic, great point.
Most of the conservative Moses Model type pastors rail against Obama…then act worse then he does when it comes to totalitarianism and lack of checks and balances.
Talk about hypocrisy.
“Any organization that has disciplinary structures for the laity and not the leaders is either a cult or a business. It can’t be a church.”
Both in many cases.
Michael, I would concur regarding art/creativity as they reflect the nature of God. The church has become rather utilitarian in regards to the arts and as you already pointed out regarding books/writing, christians are willing to settle for much less quality without qualms. The Church used to be the patron of the arts in music, literature, painting, sculpture, etc., but has clearly lost much of its appreciation for them.
must respectfully disagree on your #8
It is pure craftsmanship and discipline, rewarded by hours and hours of daily practice, creating muscle memory, learning to see, to hear, to silence the inner critic and persevere, to pick up techniques by watching, trying, failing and pushing through.
The late Andre Crouch made a big thing of asking God to give him “the gift of music”, and in his personal story he refers to his passion for music in that way, but its just NOT reality, any more than there is “an anointing” which falls on someone to skillfully do what he or she has never attempted. It’s pure mythology.
…all to say that as creatives, we must work hard and be humble if anyone appreciates the quality of our work which makes them think, or feel inspired.
#28 – what a wonderful idea! … makes me think of a childhood friend whose mother went to her churches weekly quilting bees – just Christian women together at a task, making a quilt for the missionaries… wouldn’t work today, of course
All I know is that I have practiced the guitar for many, many hours. And I do not sound like Marc Seal.
I’m re -reading through all the works of Charles Bowden…at the expense of reading any “Christian” books that are unrelated to my teaching that week.
I may read Faulkner next or maybe McCarthy…anything but the drivel that fills my mailbox weekly.
There is a sense of guilt in this as I hear the voices of the sanctified calling me out for all the death and swearing and sex I’m reading about.
Oddly enough, there’s more of each in the Bible than in what I’m reading, but such details are the justifications of the barely saved like me.
I simply can’t abide reading one more book that I feel like I should put on a white shirt and tie to read,…one more book that talks of sin and grace in the abstract, one more book that talks about such things as if by hearsay.
We’ve gutted the faith of dirt and pain and color and texture and any faith that doesn’t know bleeding is a lie.
I’m not stable, but I’m free… 🙂
Michael, read Dostoevsky!
I’m not sure I’m smart enough…but I will try.
I agree with Xenia… finished Brothers Karamazov a little while back, made me feel the way you are feeling about my “Christian” reading.
Neo @ 34 – “many, many hours” every day? That may factor into the difference 😉
The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery with a lot of satisfying conversations about God. You will like it!
I’ll put it on my Kindle…it will be up next.
Feel like you could pull the Grand Inquisitor chapter out of the context and make it required reading for anyone… but then people might think they don’t need to read the whole book.
I agree with Xenia, Michael re: Brothers Karamazov! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and will find it much easier reading than you imagine.
“It is purely sin that those abused by the church are judged by their response to the abuse, not by the fact that they were abused in the first place…”
It’s all b.s. by the church and a typical smokescreen.
They expect Perfect Victims and that’s not reality. Much of the time the abusers actions (Sowing and Reaping) produce a broken person who is not a happy camper about church and church leaders any longer.
Once that trust has been violated, it’s hard to get it back.
The church (and I use that term loosely b/c there is no real “church”…it’s a bunch of free-agents and 9,000 to 30,000 plus sects all doing their own thing and claiming no responsibility unless they are railing against the govt. or the culture or another sect) doesn’t really care. It’s every man and woman for themselves.
Learned that lesson, which is fine. I’m capable of fighting my own battle even if the so-called “church” isn’t really a church by any biblical standard at all…which further cements my belief that the bible isn’t really God…and most churches don’t really take it all in and they don’t take it that seriously, not in practice.
Like with most human things…it’s a proposition of picking and choosing and pastors and churches often twist it into whatever suits their purposes.
I still believe in God despite all of that, I just don’t believe in leaders and churches…while recognizing the other half of the equation…there are many good folks in church who do good things…but it isn’t b/c of the leaders or the church. God seems to accomplish “good” IN SPITE OF vs. “because of” humans.
All humans are capable of good and evil…and none are “specially anointed”
By “satisfying conversations about God” I mean disconcerting dialogues like the famous Grand Inquisitor speech.
Dswoager beat me to it 🙂
Anne…there was a season.
3 and 6 are right on the money.
“I’m capable of fighting my own battle”
So the enemy/devil doesn’t twist my words 🙂
That is in the context of I really think God told me to fight the battle I’m fighting…and while the enemy has big church leaders and big money behind him…I’ve got God 😉
…and that’s all I need 🙂
….well, God, and just this ashtray.
Just this ashtray, and the paddle game, that’s all I need.
OK, just God, this ashtray, the paddle game and the remote control.
…and these matches.
Just God, this ashtray, the paddle game, the remote control…and these matches.
That’s all I need! 🙂
The Jerk, ladies and gentlemens.
I was trying to remember the source…I actually watched and enjoyed that movie.
I remember we weren’t allowed to go see that movie with friends b/c it was “of the devil!”…meanwhile it was OK for us to be abused….but don’t go see “The Jerk!” or you’re going to hell….and of course those friends seeing that movie were probably going to hell as well…
I love the Jerk, one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Best Steve Martin flick of all-time.
I’ve seen that movie like 1000 times. Always at about 3am on some random cable channel.
The most difficult thing about Russian literature is keeping all the names straight because every name has many variations. I ran into the problem at my Russian parish. I think most English translations of the Bros K has a glossary for the cast of characters.
I dug the faith healer movie he did. Can’t remember the name.
And of course, 3 amigos.
That’s one challenge…the other is that I just don’t read fiction.
It has never appealed to me.
However, I’m willing to try this …
Josh the one where captain Kirk plays Alyosha?
“I’ve seen that movie like 1000 times. Always at about 3am on some random cable channel.”
Ha! Same here LOL.
And…I get sucked into it every time.
“Someone’s shooting at the cans! Stay away from those cans!!!!”
ROTLMAO…gets me every time.
Whoops wrong movie
if you’re going to read dostoevsky, go with Crime and Punishment… 😉
Three Amigos is a classic! Probably my second favorite Steve Martin flick.
“Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?”
The ladies at my church do quilting all year around – they sell them at auction and send the monies to missions.
Speaking of things that dont work any longer, we used to make braille Bibles at our church up until a year or so ago – but braille I guess has gone the way of the buggy whip – so now we have converted all of the equipment to print Large Print Bibles
“if you’re going to read dostoevsky, go with Crime and Punishment”
Crime and Punishment is one of the best novels ever.
Really dives into the human psyche and human condition.
…except that he kills a pawnbroker 🙂
This pawnbroker fights back and I have as many scruples as most preachers 😉
3 Amigos is one of my all time favorite movies. Steve is my least favorite of the three. I at some point sang both my kids to sleep with the “DEAR little buttercup” song fropm the bar.
…and stay away from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina… 😉
Wasn’t his pawnbroker an old woman, too? 😉
“Wasn’t his pawnbroker an old woman, too?”
What are you trying to say Fil???? 🙂
Anna K is sort of an extended romance novel but unlike most modern romances, adultery is shown for what it really is: shallow and selfish. But one time thru Anna K was enough whereas I have read the Bros K many times and am getting the itch to read it again.
Unlike Dr. Zhivago which romantizes adultery.
Anyone read that novel about a preacher who abuses his kids, two of his blood sons have a several years long incestuous homosexual relationship, one of his sons says he was molested by the preacher and bunch of people and employees from his church say he was misusing the funds he collected for Jesus…and the parent church he is a part of never did anything about it all?
Ya, me neither. Sounds too far-fetched. Who could write that sort of fiction? Never could happen…
Xenia, you deleted the words ‘tedious’ and ‘over-rated’ when you said Anna K is a sort of extended romance novel… 😉 Once was more than enough for me…except I could say I read it. Bros. K I’ve started numerous times, but echoes of Anna K haunted me.
“two of his blood sons have a several years long incestuous homosexual relationship,”
Ya, Josh, “oh my” the situation is very very bad and all roads point to the preacher who claims he is righteous and clean as the wind-driven snow…despite the fact he describes in his own words in his book how he “lived a double life” when he was a drug dealer and drug smuggler before he supposedly got saved.
But, hey, go Jesus! It’s no big deal, it’s all a ‘private family matter’ and a personal vendetta or something like that and of course the devil is behind all of this to take down “the ministry of the Lord!” etc.
When this is all done, and I am taking it the distance before a jury…this story will demonstrate how bad things can be behind the scenes despite the public sham appearance of any pastor and any church organization.
It will also demonstrate how little integrity and credibility church “organizations” can have…as much of the info was presented directly to the main Leader/Guru after attempts to confront many many issues were stone-walled at the local level.
I’m happy the situation has unfolded the way it has b/c it will force me to do what I believe God told me to do from the very moment I felt I was supposed to stand up and do something.
Bob is locked into his own process now…and there will be discovery and there will be many witnesses called to testify and we will present a lot of evidence…some stuff that I haven’t ever addressed publicly but Bob knows what he’s done and so do people connected to him who should be quite nervous about what’s going to come out.
I wasn’t looking for it but found a YouTube of your brother Bob jr speaking some strange things (in bleeped language )about members of his church.
Have you seen it?
Regarding David Barton. Calling him a historian is like calling Doc Holliday a surgeon. He has a degree in Religious Education. How this man became a authority on history amongst the American Evangelical community is beyond me.
He’s a buffoon, a fraud, and a charlatan.
LOL, I read War and Peace by Tolstoy and when I was finished with the 1000 plus pages of the book, I had no idea what I just read. But that was twenty years ago. Maybe I’m more enlightened now.
Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov are both amazing novels. His novels have not successfully been adapted into film (even Kurosawa felt he wasn’t up to the task). The only sideways adaptation of some of Dostoevsky’s ideas about human nature and society that I think I’ve seen would, ironically, be Nolan’s Batman trilogy. You have people from various walks of life debating what the true nature of a just society and a proper citizen should be and you have a couple of memorable personalities committing a series of more or less infamous crimes … that’s pretty much a Dostoevsky novel right there. 😀 I tend to see Joker as Smerdyakov/Ivan and Two-Face as Mitya.
There’s actually a remarkably short manga adaptation of C&P by Osama Tezuka, too, if people want a manga version of Dostoevsky.
…just when one thinks he has a bead on the Hatchet, he bumps up the ante…
Poor Driscoll never had a chance. 😉
I read Tolsky’s “Worn Piece” at only 400 pages…it started out “They were simply the worst of times.”
“The late Andre Crouch made a big thing of asking God to give him “the gift of music”, and in his personal story he refers to his passion for music in that way, but its just NOT reality, any more than there is “an anointing” which falls on someone to skillfully do what he or she has never attempted. It’s pure mythology.”
Very thought provoking comment.
I wondered about Samson.
With his head on the lap of Delilah, he wakes up with his head shaved by her, and “wist not” that the Lord had lifted from him in a sense.
He no longer had his supernatural strength from God.
I wondered if that was a sort of an anointing that came on Samson from God and then lifted off of him when the Lord departed from him.
Just wrapping my head around your statement; still thinking about it.
hope all is well, good conversation lots to think about. Hope all is well.
I’ve always thought that that first few verses of Exodus 31 were a description of God giving spiritual gifts of artistic talent.
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. 6 And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10 and the finely worked garments,[a] the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.”
Nonnie’s verses affirm that talents are God-given for His purposes … i think every positive capability and potential that man has is God-designed – dunno
praying for all tonight… been blessed by so many posts today… may Xenia’s priest’s family be confident and at peace with his home going… may those in pain have the blessed relief of restorative sleep tonight – God keep