Monday, December 27, 2004

more on technology that I can't do without

Inspired by Tim Bednar's post on I began to consider the technology that I can't do without.

Firefox defintely makes my list as the browser of choice; for tabbed browsing and live bookmarks which act kinda like a News aggregator
Feeddemon is the aggregator I use to keep up with the blogosphere.
Final Cut Express is the video editing program that makes me look like a pro (from what I have been told) at a fraction of the cost.
Flickr is what I use to share family photos as well as minstry stuff.
I am a total novice at web design, I get my help from HTML Code Tutorial

Anyway, those are the tools I am using most often right now. As an aside, with the exception of Final Cut, all were brought to my attention by other members of the blogging community.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

question for B. McLaren

Below is the text of an email I sent to Brian McLaren regarding some of his views on the bible

First, let me say your thoughts and writings have greatly helped and encouraged me in my walk with God. Thanks.
Now a question, in chapter 10 of a Generous Orthodoxy you state " helps turn the bible back into what it is, not a look-it-up encyclopedia of timeless moral truths, but the unfolding narrative of God at work in a violent, sinful world, calling people, beginning with Abraham, into a new way of life." Why is it an either/or situation? Isn't it possible for the bible to both communicate "timeless moral truths" and "unfold the narrative of God?" I ask these questions because the first half of the statement feels so uncomfortable and dangerous? while the second half of your statement resonates so clearly with me.
Yes, let's get back to God's story. But wouldn't participation in God's story now mean a radical realignment of the way we create our stories? In other words, to participate in God's story the way he intended wouldn't there have to be some guidelines or "timeless moral truths?"
I understand, in the context of the chapter, you were speaking of the atrocities that parts of the Old Testament so graphically depict. What of the rest of the OT? What of Jesus' own words regarding our treatment of those around us? Aren't those "timeless moral truths" to be discovered?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Trip to the mall....I mean megachurch

I found this article via a link on Church Marketing Sucks.

I am torn on this whole megachurch thing.
On the one hand, the article makes me cringe. The Christian subculture is creating consumers not disciples. The megachurch comparison to a shopping mall was confirmed by architects referenced in the article stating that it is the desired effect to create a mall-like feel in a megeachurch. The enormous offering of offerings for attenders to choose from conjures up visions of walking down the hall of our local mall until I find the store-front that caught my attention and happened to meet my particular need. There is even a food court type eating area. Programs to be consumed, atmosphere to be consumed, consumables to be consumed.

On the other hand...I have seen God move and work through and in megachurches. I have and contine to attend conferences at Megachurches. Each time I am moved, challenged, and encouraged.

What the guys at Church Marketing Sucks point out and what resonated with me as I read the article was
"...the perspective alone is what's interesting. In a sense, this is what church looks like to the ousider. One of the hardest things for churches to do is understand what it's like for a newcomer."

My concerns return from the big picture to the smaller picture. What do newcomers think, see and feel when they enter our doors for the first time? Do they see another subset of the consumers gobbling up their particular favorite flavor? Or do they see the hands of Christ reaching out to welcome them wherever they might be coming from.

Monday, November 29, 2004

More ramblings on evolution and stuff

So I have had few more thoughts stirred up by Mr McLaren's book. 1) The closed minds of those who insisted the earth was the center of the universe could easily be compared to those of us who want no talk of evolution playing a role in human development. Galileo was brought before the inquisition for challenging the authority of the chuch and its position on the Ptolemic model of the universe. Today the inquisition doesn't happen in Rome behind closed doors. It happens in coffee shops, at elder meetings, and in the foyer in between services.
2) This past Sunday morning our church was running a booksale of all the stuff from our now defunct library. One of the titles on the free table was the Lie of Evolution. So I flipped it over to take a gander at the back cover. It spoke of propehices relating to the end times in which lies will be passed off as the truth. "And evolution is one of those lies." (It was in bold and a bigger font on the book cover) Okay, how many times in history has someone said or written those words to the detriment of what we now consider to be matters of common sense? ( slavery, heliocentric universe) I'm sure that when the end does come there will be a substitution of lies for truths. But what made me grimmace even more was the illustration I just happened to flip to. The drawing depicted two stacks of books. On the left, the foundational book was creationism. (I don't remember the titles of the books on top of it) On the right, the foundational book was evolutionism. I do remember the titles of the books on top of it: abortion, pornography, homosexuality. The point, I guess, is if you believe in evolution that means you must be a gay porn-addict who thinks it's okay to kill unborn children. I know I am being overly simplistic. I do realize that the philosophy behind evolution, that we are here by chance, removes some of the moral constraints that the philosophy of creationism carries with it. But I couldn't help but think what some of my non-christian friends might think of such of picture. 3) Why have Darwin and his ideas become such sacred cows of science? How many scientific theories are still out there from the mid 1800s that we still cling to and defend so aggresively? (Theories, not things that have been proven beyond a shadow of doubt) I don't claim to be any kind of expert just someone trying to figure out what all this stuff means about God and about me. Don't his theories have pretty big gaps in them? Aren't they absent of a viable hypothesis regarding the beginning of it all? Didn't he questions them all at the end of his life? (Or is that one just Christian urban myth)

So what? I don't know. So what am I left with?

Just because an idea goes against an accepted norm (not a given truth) does not automatically make it heresy. ("Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. ")

It is better that I treat someone or some group of people and their opinions with respect than it is for me to make an air-tight, in-your-face argument to defend my position.

Questions are good. I believe God is big enough to handle our questions. I believe science should be too.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Big Bang, Darwin and the Bible

I just finished Brian McLaren's book The Story We Find Ourselves In. The book tells God's story anew through the fictional narrative of a group of friends at various stages of their spiritual journeys. I found myself nodding and underlining at much of this retelling of the greatest story of ever told. McLaren takes apart many of the underlying assumptions and filters which usually guide our understanding of "biblical concepts;" the concept of Eden as perfect (in the Greek sense of the word) to name but one.
The one that I found most challenging however, was the notion that evolution may be one of God's greatest creations. At some level, I guess I always thought that there was some kind of happy medium between the strict fundamentalist "God created the world in seven literal (24 hour) days" school of thought and the whole big bang deal. But it was like I was reading the idea for the first time. At first I was offended and angered "Of course that can't be right. It has to be one or the other, either the bible is right or Darwin is wrong..." Even writing this now feels a little awkward. Can I even hint at agreeing at the notion that Darwin discovered one of God's greatest miracles?
What would such an admission on my part mean ? Is it sell-out? A cop-out? It doesn't feel like either of those. Copping-out and selling-out usually equate to following the path of least resistance. This route allows for resistance from all sides.
Father, I pray that my mind might be open and that you would grant me discernment to know what I need to know and not obsess about the rest.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bumbling Forward

Bumbling Forward is a do-over of what I began in Bumbling out of the dark. Out of the Dark, being my first try at blogging, had its share of ups and downs. (More downs than ups if truth be told). I made several technical mistakes which successfully took much of the fun out of writing. I also set out thinking I had weighty and lofty thoughts to capture on numerous topics. Unfortunately, as it turned out, I didn't have all that much to say, and very little of that was weighty or important. is try #2