reflecting on a Multi-Faceted Gospel

One book I thought I would have read by now is Scot McKnight’s A Community Called Atonement and this CT article entitled, “A Multi-Faceted Gospel” reminded me that I need to read it soon.

Here are some exerts:

“…Plurality does not equal pluralism. The ancient creeds, echoing 1 Corinthians 15, say that for our sake Jesus was crucified, buried, and on the third day rose again. God’s people have been reflecting on these declarations ever since. We will never exhaust their implications, whether expressed as “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” or “I once was lost, but now am found.”

(this one is my favorite) – “Evangelicals needn’t be afraid of new approaches to the gospel—the church has been coming up with them for centuries. We managed to get through 1,900 years of Christian history without the Four Spiritual Laws and the bridge diagram. The formula of “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior” is also fairly recent. And what worked in the post–World War II context might not be appropriate in the early 21st century. Many people today have different questions, assumptions, and concerns.”

“Hence, we need variety and creativity in our gospel witness. A chorus of voices from N. T. Wright and Dallas Willard to Allen Wakabayashi and Brian McLaren calls us to rediscover the kingdom of God. Scot McKnight tells a story about the restoration of cracked eikons (image-bearers). ”


For full article, click here

'We Just Weren't Sure How To Deal With It'

* Innitially when I had heard about the Ted Haggard scandal, I dismissed it because I think we need to be careful how we treat our fallen (Haggard, Gibson, etc)
I am not really sure why I am blogging about the Haggard situation other then I want to partcipate in the conversation with other bloggers I respect.

I find myself agreeing a lot with Todd and I had seen this headline on a different site and had the same reaction. Now, I am not excusing Haggard in any way, nor am I really that emabarrassed by this scandal (our focus is on Christ, not on feeble men. Thus such situations are inevitable), but I am a little surprised by his “friends”. How do you not try to intervene? Not to avoid scandal but to serve and help your brother. Some of the comments on the link are pretty intereseting too.

From Todd Rhoades Monday Morning Insight
“I’ve tried to give a real balanced approach to the Ted Haggard situation; calling people to not to speculate (particularly about Ted’s wife) during this situation. But this caught me a little off-guard; and I’ve seen no one else (other than a Time Magazine blogger) even notice this comment. Over the weekend, the head of the Traditional Values Coalition, Rev. Louis Sheldon, said that “a lot” of people knew about Haggard’s homosexuality “for a while” but just “weren’t sure just how to deal with it”…

I’m not trying to speculate; but I don’t want to ignore Sheldon’s comments either. You see, if “a lot of people” knew about this and did nothing; and have a much deeper situation on our hands.

In his comments to the newspaper, “The Jewish Week”, Sheldon casually mentions the Haggard ordeal amid a bunch of other questions on the election, morals, etc. According to the paper:

Months before a male prostitute publicly revealed Haggard’s secret relationship with him, and the reverend’s drug use as well, “Ted and I had a discussion,” explained Sheldon, who said Haggard gave him a telltale signal then: “He said homosexuality is genetic. I said, no it isn’t. But I just knew he was covering up. They need to say that.”

Sheldon’s words sound vague to me. Haggard gave him a ‘telltale’ sign and knew he was covering up. That sounds to me a little different than Ted admitting he is gay (which he still hasn’t admitted). And who are the “a lot” who Sheldon says knew about Haggard’s homosexuality? And why openly admit that, ‘yeah, I knew about it’ but didn’t do anything about it… especially when you’re the head of a ‘traditional values’ coalition? It makes no sense.

When will we stop shooting ourselves in the foot?

An Interview with Erwin McManus

found on the Monday Morning Insight blog.
An Interview with Erwin McManus

What does it mean to be a spiritual leader in the world of Hollywood? Erwin McManus declares Los Angeles as the capital of the future. As the leader behind Mosaic, he has a lot of profound thoughts about the role of the church, creativity, and risk-taking for the Christian in today’s culture. In this insightful interview with Infuze Magazine, McManus shares more about the role of creativity, why the church lacks innovators, and gives us the details of his upcoming book..

Matt: You’re in arguably the creative center of the world. What is it like to be a pastor there?

Erwin: Wow. It is a different world. I guess I don’t think of myself as a pastor in this setting. I think being a human who lives a life that others might be interested in and attracted to and having a journey that others feel is authentic and really connects to God. That’s really why I’m here. I’m trying to live out the life that Jesus talks about, hopefully in a context where people will go, “Maybe this is real.”

Okay, I agree with you. But obviously your expression of that looks different in Los Angeles than it does in other places like the east coast…

Oh yes. Dramatically. One of the differences, obviously, on the east coast is you’re still dealing with a very European or Western paradigm for people who don’t believe. On the west coast, we have 80 plus nationalities at Mosaic and most of those are under 28 years old. So, it’s a whole different kind of postmodernism.

So when I hear a lot of even the Emergent conversation about postmodernism, it’s not at all what we’re dealing with. We’re not dealing with people who are angry with Christianity because they’ve never been exposed to it. We’re not dealing with people who are trying to look back. A lot of midwestern or east coast postmodernism is trying to look back to an Eastern Orthodox or Catholicism and we have people who come out of Buddhism, Hinduism and Roman Catholicism. So a highly ritualistic approach to religion left them empty.

So it’s an entirely different conversation. They’ve given up on organized religion. For them, a lot of the classicly postmodern things would be still very organized religion. I think it’s organized religion for Christians figuring out how to create community for themselves.

So I realized several years ago when I was in conversations about what it means to be post-modern, what it means to be non-modern, it’s an entirely different world. I’m dealing with people who are actually very spiritual. They’re deeply spiritual. I think L.A. is a very mystical city. Creativity moves you toward mysticism.

How do you tap into that?

One of the great challenges is that people don’t really care what I know or believe or have been trained to teach. It’s very intuitive. They decide whether you’ve actually met God, even when they don’t believe. They are people who end up going, “I think this person is in an experience living in a dimension that I’m interested in. I’m unsure if it exists but I’m willing to stay long enough to find out.”

Which is such a dramatic shift from the rest of the nation…

Oh, yeah! That’s why I feel like sometimes I’m in a different country. I don’t feel like I’m in the United States anymore. And I think that’s why, honestly, people get nervous about Mosaic and about me because we’re so mystical. We’re not trying to figure out what is a cool, cultural American way of getting people to act Christianly. We’re basically saying that the invisible is reality. At your core, you are spirit and everything is understood out of this context.

If you go to our podcast, I don’t know if you know that we have a podcast, my last three talks have been on suffering, Hell, and sexual orientation. We actually deal with pretty intense subjects. This is not a place where we avoid things.

Do you feel like people think that about Mosaic?

No, I think that most traditional churches avoid the important issues. They act like they deal with the important issues, but they’re answering questions that noone is asking. They say things in such definitive ways where we all go, “Yes, that’s right.”

I think one of the differences is that Christian churches focus on what the Bible says. That’s all they have to do. It doesn’t matter if they’re reformed, emergent or whatever it is, they focus on what it says. We focus on why. We say, “If this is really God speaking to us, then it has to make sense. It has to give us a holistic view of the universe. It has to have an integrated relational core where everything begins to come together.”

So there’s a sense where we focus on not being simplistic, but being simple. We look for the elegance in truth. Because I’m dominantly dealing with people who do not see the Bible as their authority. So if I get up there and say, “Well, the Bible says this,” I’m sunk instantly.

The Walmart Factor for Churches

I like this guy. He consistently faciliates good disucussions. Read on if you are interested in church growth.

By Todd Hertz
Here’s one that will get you thinking. I live in the midwest. Typical small town. I remember years back when Walmart came to town. It’s a battle that has taken place in communities all over the country. Small local merchants tremble. How will we be able to compete? I’ve recently watched with interest in my small town when the new, improved SUPERWalmart opened (they tore the old one down). Now, in our town, we can purchase FOOD at our Walmart as well. This made the local grocery store chain across the street change the way they do business. They remodeled their store. The spent a ton of money on advertising telling everyone in our town that they’ve lowered their prices on thousands of items. We want your business, they said. And it almost came across at times as begging… please don’t go there, please keep shopping here. The end result in our community is that we now have two stores, and lower grocery prices.

Well, yesterday I was reading over at Don Chapman’s Worship Ideas blog; and he asks what will happen if the Walmart Factor ever hits your small town. Of course, he’s talking about the multi-site movement that is finding more and more larger megachurches branching out and opening new locations all over the place. How will your church respond when and if it happens in your town? Don asks…

What will happen if [or when] Rick Warren [Todd’s insert… RW probably isn’t a good example for MMI readers! Let’s say Ed Young instead!] plants a church in your town? Suddenly, I’ll bet the battles over the color of your carpet, or whether you do enough hymns will matter that much in the face of fierce competition by a megachurch on the move.

Which church do you think your average visitor would rather go to: a church that allows off-pitch Aunt Sally to sing solos, or a mega church with standards? [By the way, you don’t have to be a megachurch to have standards.]

In other words, churches, get over your dumb, ingrown habits and start getting serious about your mission. Or you’re going to go out of business.

I think Don has a point… the status quo for churches in your community may be changing. I know that Don’s remarks will probably spark alot of controversy… but before you start tapping on your comment keys, consider what he’s saying. He’s saying (not to put words in his mouth) that competition may be coming to your area. My thought is… is that such a bad thing? If more people are coming to Christ in your community, is that a bad thing? If another church moves in across town and causes your church (and others) to make changes so that your communities’churches are more effective; aren’t there really two (or more) more effective churches in your community rather than one that isn’t effective?

Isn’t that ultimately great for the Kingdom?

What are your thoughts…?


In Praise of this Mega Church

Awesome! I am not against the mega-church model though I have my criticisms and concerns (as I do of every model and style of church including ours).

This church sent out letters explaining the purpose of the local body of believers assembled in what we call “church”. Be a part of it or find some place else to “worship” (or in this case, “sit”). Contrary to popular opinion, “church” is not entertainment for the religious.

But this is great. This is Biblical. This is a church that understands its calling and removing all that is detracting from its purpose. Can’t say enough.