more on the bible and jesus

A couple weeks back I posted a quote from ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church which resulted in a good conversation in the comments.  Now one of the book’s co-authors, Alan Hirsch, has weighed in with some helpful commentary.  Those of you who contributed to the original comments will be interested to read what Hirsch has to say.

Thanks to Alan and the rest for an intriguing (and, in my opinion, important) conversation.

glimpses of the kingdom

glimpses-business-meeting-slide.jpgIf you are a PCC person and attended the business/vision meeting on 1/27 then you heard about a unique focus for the church in 2008. We’re calling it Glimpses of the Kingdom. The basic idea is to capture stories of how PCC people are living out their faith in very ordinary ways. We’ll be telling some of these stories on Sunday mornings. Edgar- tech genius- put together a simple web page where we can tell even more of these stories. Here’s a brief description from this page…

Our hope with Glimpses of the Kingdom is to capture some of these conversations and share them with the whole Parkview community. This is not a matter of bragging or pretending like we’ve got this whole mission thing figured out. It’s about encouraging each other, learning from each other, and imagining the possibilities. As the author of Hebrews put it, this is about considering “how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

In order to pull this thing off, we could really use every PCC person to do two things. First, check this web page once a week. Our goal is to put at least one new story up every week. The site’s url is ParkviewCommunity.com/KingdomGlimpses or you can go to the PCC homepage and click the link. Second, email us your stories. Let us know how you are pursuing God’s mission in the world. This won’t work if we aren’t telling our stories.

Hopefully Glimpses of the Kingdom will be a simple way to encourage each other and foster creativity as we live missional lives.

mark labberton on “the lima bean gospel”

christian_vision_project.jpgThis year The Christian Vision Project is asking the question, Is our gospel too small? The most recent reply come from Mark Labberton, pastor of a Presbyterian church in Berkly, CA. To answer the question Labberton asks a question of his own (my kind of guy!), Why does the gospel look to so many like a bowl of lima beans?

You ought to take 10 minutes and read the article, but let me whet your appetite with a couple of quotes.

How could it be, some believers might balk, that “the hope of the world,” the One given “the name above every name,” could ever seem bland? Well, because often the church is bland. Pale. Gullible. Pasty. Just there. The fruit of this vine appears to be lima beans. If bland is the flavor of the church, then it is presumed to be the flavor of the One the church calls Lord.

Jesus Christ, the Lord of Creation, Redemption, and Fulfillment, calls the church the salt and light of the world. Jesus seems to have had in mind a community engaged in vigorous, self-sacrificing mission that goes to great lengths to enact costly love, that inconveniences itself regularly to seek justice for the oppressed, that creatively serves the forgotten, all to portray that the kingdom of God is at hand.

There is a lot more good, thought-provoking, stuff here. You can find the entire article on The Christian Vision Project website.

mission: single|married|kids (3)

You may want to first read the introduction, part 1 and part 2 to mission: single|married|kids.

Because Maggie and I don’t have kids, I’m about to wade into waters I likely have no business being in. Oh well.

When it comes to thinking missionally about raising children there are a couple of cultural realities that can be noticed. First, our (suburban, middle class) culture places an incredibly high value on children. Many of the implications of this value are really good. There can be a tendency however for children to grow up in this environment with the idea they are the center of the universe. A slight exaggeration perhaps, but a new term was coined a couple of years ago to describe parents who contribute to this: helicopter parents.

A helicopter parent is a term for a person who pays extremely close attention to his or her child or children, particularly at educational institutions. They rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them or letting them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children’s wishes. They are so named because, like a helicopter, they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach whether their children need them or not.

Another reality to note are the small amounts of time that families spend together. Often each family member has events and commitments that keep them from being together. These may included practices (sports, music, languages), church events, schoolwork (or bringing work home for parents), and individual entertainment options. Without sounding too retro, we can probably agree that the things that make up our lives often do not bring families together.

The result of these two cultural norms is that kids can often grow up with a huge sense of self while not having much of a memory of how mom and dad interacted with life. For the Christian family this can poses some problems for pursuing the mission of God together. While we want our children to grow up as confident individuals who know their value and worth, we probably also want them to know their place within the family of God as those who are submitted to the cause of Christ. And while it is a privilege to provide our children with opportunities for great education and development, we also want to look back on significant moments when the family contributed to God’s mission together.

I’d like to suggest two questions that may be helpful when it comes to living missionally as a family. First, Is this ______ contributing to Kingdom citizenship or to our culture’s idea of what is important? While there are plenty of things that family members generally need to do apart from each other (school, work) there are others that are optional. When making these decisions, perhaps families could look for ways these activities will (or won’t) contribute to our formation as followers of Jesus.

Second, Can we do ______ together? It seems to me that some of the things we do apart from each other could actually be done together. A PCC person recently shared with me that he has been giving a homeless friend a ride to the shelter after services on Sunday. Rather than do it by himself, he has brought his young son with him. This small act has provoked questions from his son and allowed opportunities to talk about why giving this man a ride is so important. Inviting our children to participate and watch as we live out our faith is a great way to instill in them a memory of how living missionally can look.

As before, thoughts and comments are welcome. Thanks for reading.

links: belief, bono, taste, first use of “missional”

  • John Stackhouse asks whether you have to choose between your brains and beliefs? However much sophistication they affect, they must run in very narrow circles. I mean, two billion or so Christians and they think that all of them are stupid? Two billion Christians, and Dawkins and Hitchens don’t know any who are intelligent?  Update: Part 2 just went up today.
  • Bono on ending extreme poverty from the Davos meetings. Hello, my name is Bono and I’m a rockstar…sort of.
  • Andy Whitman on his sense of taste. I have friends who are connoisseurs of coffee, beer, and wine. They discuss the alluring complexities of Ethiopian dark roast and the tangy zest of Jamaica Blue Mountain. They debate the merits of Belgian Trappist beers and blonde ales. Don’t even get me started on the wine discussions.
  • Andrew Jones researches the first use of the word “missional.” Would you believe 1883?