Showing posts from June, 2011

Making disciples means not playing nice with idols

It's Global Thursday. (Don't know what that is? Look here.) Global Thursday is a day each week to be reminded of God's mission and our part in it. That is also the main topic of the current sermon series at Sanctuary. In my preparations for those sermons, I have been greatly helped by Old Testament scholar Chris Wright. His book The Mission of God has been a powerful influence among church leaders since its release in 2006. It has been a great help to me.
The Missional Church Network has posted a video clip in which Wright talks about the importance of confronting idols and making disciples. It's a good reminder for us. 
In a nutshell: be a disciple and make disciples. If you are a leader in the church, when people show themselves to be disciples, invite them into more responsibility. If they have leadership gifts of one sort or another, do whatever you can to give them opportunities to use their gifts. No matter who you are, be honest about the idols that are a threat t…

Some ideas on how technology can be used in the Christian life

While we're talking about the relationship between technology and the Christian life, I thought it would be good to present multiple sides of the story. In my last post, I referred to an article that points out the challenges of electronic media and encourages us to invest in written texts and face-to-face living. Today's post addresses electronic media from the other side -- if electronic media are here to stay and most of us are using them, then how can they be leveraged to be vehicles of the great commandment to "love one another"?

Such is the focus of a recent blog post by Lynne Baab, author of Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual Age. The post is on Intervarsity Press' Online Pulpit, a resource connecting IVP authors to pastors and church leaders. In her post, Baab argues that Christians need to be better equipped in using electronic media to pursue meaningful relationships. She has three recommendations:

1. Provide opportunities to talk about the most…

Technology, the church, and the incarnation

How much should church rely on technology to get its message across? A lot of churches are doing everything they can to leverage technology. Sometimes you get the feeling that churches are in a race to see who can push the technological envelope the farthest. Often the use of technology goes unquestioned. "If we can, we should" is the apparent assumption. After all, we live in an electronic age.

Not so fast, says Read Mercer Schuchardt, associate professor of media ecology at Wheaton College. Schuchardt has written an article in the current issue of Leadership Journal that challenges popular assumptions and makes us think twice about how we use technology in church.

First some facts and observations put forward by Schuchardt:

The average American spends 8 hours a day interacting with or consuming the products of electronic media. (Actually I think that number might be a bit on the low side.)Our electronic culture has made "disincarnate man" seem normal. Disincarnate…

Mother Teresa on prayer, the poor, and spreading the presence of Jesus

I am a huge Mother Teresa fan because she was able to combine a deep spirituality with untiring service to the poor. Here is a snippet from her on prayer:
Be full of prayer. It is a beautiful gift. Pray for our poor to make use of their poverty to grow in holiness -- so pray with them and for them and pray always for yourself that you may grow in that holiness for which Our Lord has created you. It is now necessary to make it our own so that we really, really love prayer, so that we may spread His love, His compassion, His presence wherever we go.Some things I notice in these comments:

We commonly hear two approaches with regard to the poor. First is the "spiritual" approach: we should strive to save people's souls, as the soul is more important than one's socioeconomic status. Western missions has often taken on this strategy. Second is the economic approach: more recently Western missions has focused increased energy on the alleviation of poverty and breaking cycles …

Technology and the family

Do you have a love-hate relationship with technology? I want to have access to email, web sites, text messages, phone calls, and Facebook. Yet it's not healthy to be completely accessible all the time. I want to use technology (after all, I am blogging right now), but I seek -- and often find myself breaking -- proper boundaries. I want to have it both ways.

In my home we have an ongoing love-hate relationship with technology. Our kids could be on various kinds of screens almost every waking moment. Often they use more than one screen at a time. I often wonder whether their time couldn't be used more productively. The ubiquitous presence of screens can't be good. And yet technology is not entirely bad either. Again it is a matter of what technology is being used for and where the boundaries are.

Scot McKnight has written a thought-provoking blog post discussing the Barna Group's recent report on technology and the family. McKnight highlights these findings from Barna: