Monthly Archives: November 2007

Random Amusing Things

These things might be really fun … absolutely worthless, but fun.

The newest toy recall from China.

This is pretty creative.

Fifteen ways to tie your sneakers!

For those who have no friends, this might be an answer.

Creative guys with too much time on their hands?

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Grasshopper … It’s About Character

Deadly Viper Character Assassins is a book that reminds us that character is always under attack. It is not long, it is not deep, it is not particularly Christian (though the authors, Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite are believers). It is creative and thought-provoking, using martial arts metaphors to discuss some of the assassins out there just waiting to take out anyone who is not being careful to protect their character. Men and women both could find this an interesting little book but I think it will resonate most with men. (For those CBC guys that struggle to read a book a year, you could get through this one in an airplane ride!) This is the kind of book that begs to be used by a couple of guys willing to be authentic and honest with one another – discussing how they might deal with these enemies as Christian men.

Are you prepared for the assassin of Boom Chicka Wah Wah? How about the Bling Bling assassin? I’m pretty sure you have encountered them – probably more than once. I hope you won. Most of us can tell the very moment when we made a choice that compromised our integrity or character even before it ever became known to others. Deady Viper is a brief encouragement to watch for those moments and choices before they take us out.


I’ll Bet that You Have Run Into This

I think that we will be reading a great deal more about the tensions between older and younger workers. This piece originally aired on CBS 60 Minutes and seems to capture much of the story-one that I mentioned last Spring in a post on Generation Me by Jean Twenge. I’m certainly hoping that, for those of us in the ministry, our mutual love for Jesus might help us through the inevitable frustrations. It certainly will demand that we all figure out how to live like Jesus with each other.

I’m pretty sure that fathers and grandfathers of baby boomers (like me) probably had struggles with our different styles of working and viewing life as well.


More Man Stuff

Painful Because It Is True is a reflection by David Kotter on one of Dave Barry’s essays. I’m sure that many men will be able to think of some poor guy like this. I’m just as sure that most of the women married to those guys will be able to point to at least one. 

In another blogpost, Kotter also points to the Popular Mechanics list of 25 skills every man should know. Like Kotter, I have a few deficiencies. And like Kotter I think there might be a more comprehensive set of skills that men should know – including some key spiritual competencies. Anybody courageous enough to post a comment with your recommendations for the top 25 skills for Christian men? Thanks to Mr. Kotter for posting the PM list for us:

  1. Patch a radiator hose
  2. Protect your computer
  3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
  4. Frame a wall
  5. Retouch digital photos
  6. Back up a trailer
  7. Build a campfire
  8. Fix a dead outlet
  9. Navigate with a map and compass
  10. Use a torque wrench
  11. Sharpen a knife
  12. Perform CPR
  13. Filet a fish
  14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
  15. Get a car unstuck
  16. Back up data
  17. Paint a room
  18. Mix concrete
  19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
  20. Change oil and filter
  21. Hook up an HDTV
  22. Bleed brakes
  23. Paddle a canoe
  24. Fix a bike flat
  25. Extend your wireless network

After you post your thoughts browse the rest of the CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) site – there is some great stuff there including their statement on domestic abuse. This issue seems to be among the most difficult ones pastors and Christian counselors face. It is worth revisiting this statement. 

This post gives a few insights into how CBMW’s readers responded.


Uniquely Cool

JJ

How cool is it to have your kids do what you do … even better.

Jenny (aka JJ) is on home visit from her ministry in the United Kingdom and taught the Junior High girls at Crossroads this morning. It was one incredible feeling to see her connecting with these kids. And with the High School kids a bit later. Since I worked with both of these age groups it was great to listen for a while as she connected with them.


Shopping for God

The author of Shopping for God: How Christianity Went From in Your Heart to In Your Face is a self-proclaimed  apatheist.  Which makes James Twitchell’s comments and insights on the church interesting – especially when he is writing about the very churches that are “committed” to reaching guys like him. Twitchell is professor of English and advertising at the University of Florida and is also the author of Branded Nation. He is not anti-church, nor anti-Jesus. For the most part he is sympathetic to believers, and non-condescending or abrasive about our beliefs. He is a great student of marketing which is really what is behind his study of what he thinks is one of the great marketing stories of (at least American) history – the church! He tends to look at the American church from the view point of a consumer who gets the marketing/branding stuff, and winds up saying much of what Christian “critics” have been saying from the inside (e.g., Os Guiness, John MacArthur, Michael Horton). His chapters on the megachurch are perceptive and church leaders of growing churches might want to take some time to consider the validity and veracity of his conclusions. Some of those comments:

When megas talk about themselves, the terms used are often emerging church, discovery church, purpose-driven church, full-service church, or simply faith community. These terms give a sense that cultural accommodation is going on, a sense of conjunction not with the world beyond but with the here and now. In fact, the word religious is often dropped in favor of spiritual. Megas are visionary, all right, but the vision is of the world around. They are evangelical, all right, but the crusading zeal is more to increase the gate than to spread the Word. Doctrine takes second place to filling up the house….

The megachurch resettles the language of the human potential movement to refer to itself as a refuge or safe place, almost as if it cold post yellow signs of a baby same in mommy’s hands. This new church is a shelterfor the battered (or those who consider themselves to be), not in the ancient sense of being beaten by sin, but in the modern sense of being wounded by life.

The genius of the megachurch is that it has copycatted the language of therapy and applied it to itself without the least hint of vulgarity. This is a place to get in touch not with the eternal ineffable but with the daily effable. That’s why it’s in business all week long. From pastor to parishioner, this is a church in the business of coping, adapting to modern life, finding you place here/now, not there/then.

First you deal with getting on with this life, then with getting on to heaven. just look at the list of Willow Creek sermons for the last decade (they are listed on the church’s web page), and you’ll see an almost chicken-soup-for-the-soma-not-soul inventory of subject matter. Adjustment is key: adjusting to your children, to marriage, and job, to a spouse having an affair, to apathy, to abortion, to debt, to divorce, to drugs, to competition, to being lonely, to not measuring up, to repetition, to sloppiness, to lust, to anger, to being passed by, to racism, to growing older, and well, to just about everything that you would prefer not to speak about in public. Especially if you are male.

Look still closer, and you’ll see that the megachurch has adapted the language of addiction therapy and the 12-step method of recovery. Hurt is the power of Satan, Jesus is the power of positive thinking. Bad habits are misplaced addiction, and addiction is a disease, yes, but one that can be overcome in steps. You are tired of being weak; you go here to be strong (pp.241-243)

His comments won’t reflect the values and practice of all mega-churches. He may reflect the foolishness of the world in trying to understand Christian church practice and its biblical roots, he certainly highlights the foolishness of the church in trying to be like the world.


Warning … Satire

It has been an unusual week for me … both at church and at home. Not a bad week, just unusual. But there has been little time to consider posting. But I’ve had a few links I’ve been considering but a bit hesitant to post since they are based on satire – and there are some people that truly don’t get it – which means there may be a few offended folks in my vast readership. But I have to do something to distract from the Seahawks choking. Maybe the best thing about satire is that it can’t help but make you think. The unfortunate thing is that some think these sites are “true.”  

Lark News has been around for quite a while. The lead article for November is an interesting concept … and an apt illustration of satire. Just about everyone would agree that it is God that brings results, but amazingly there are churches that are pretty close to considering “pay-for-performance” – really.

Glen Schaumloeffel sent me the link to TBNN (Team Tominthebox News Network). Before you dismiss this as being a bit “too over-the-top” you might want to take a trip to your local christian retail outlet; or just listen to couple of emergent postmodernists chat for a while. I liked the post about Krakozhia. I hope no one tries this church growth plan! Remember, we’re talking satire here, though they do some serious posts as well.

Finally, there’s The Church You Know a seriously satirical video site with a couple of kickers. I may not appreciate everything here, but it sure makes you think, even when they go a bit beyond where we may feel comfortable (e.g., this post?). And some are pretty pointed, like this one on pastors.

Douglas Wilson has a lot to say about godly satire. Doug does a lot with the genre, but this post is seriously helpful.