Blurred Lines: Miley Cyrus and Jesus

With the world abuzz about Miley Cyrus, her tongue and her twerking, I’ve been thinking about all the Blurred Lines between who she is, what she does and what people are saying about both.

Miley Cyrus

By this point, I could start linking pieces in response to her VMA performance (about 515 million results on Google) and it would go on and on and on and on and on and on — for just about ever.

If the saying is true, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,”
then Miley has excellent PR.

She is the toast and roast of the nation, the topic on every radio station and any day now, the cover of every magazine at the check out counter. Suffice it to say, we’re going to see a whole lot more of her bootie. This one’s come a long way from Butterfly Fly Away, from Break Out to her upcoming BANGERS.

I’m having a hard time getting upset with her, though.

Sure, her stage show offends and repulses and all that, but entertainment is a consumer driven business. We have kind of created this new Miley Cyrus.

We adored her when she was Hannah Montana, that pre-pubescent do-gooder who was so popular, she nearly became a Billionaire. The problem is that Hannah Montana grew up. She isn’t a pre-pubescent do-gooder anymore. Remember when that happened to you?

The point is, Miley is a young woman growing up in a really strange, almost artificial, world where her feedback loop includes us. Standing around being a twenty year old isn’t going to keep her on top in the business that you and I have created. Let’s face it, in 2013, a girl’s gotta twerk.

I think that Miley is doing what young adults do, exploring the blurred lines between who they used to be and who they are going to be. Since I write from a “churched” perspective, I feel that it’s alright for me to say:

Now is the time for the Churched to shut up and draw close.

No one is confused as to the content of her material. We don’t need to comment. We need to do what Jesus would do and draw close. The woman at the well lived life in the blurred lines between who the culture demanded a woman be and who she was, broken down by multiple failed relationships, probably at the hand of some loser men that used her and kicked her to the curb. Jesus drew close. Yeah, he told her who she was, but that was only so that she could move on and become who she was going to be. He got all up in her blurred lines.

Blaming an entertainer for being entertaining (even over the top) is like the Romans blaming gladiators for the Coliseum. To do so is to misunderstand entertainment as a completely consumer driven model.

Miley is growing up with her fans.

This should tell us something. I think she’s brilliantly keeping pace with her fan base. They are growing up, too. They are asking the same questions, surfing the same waters. Miley is staying relevant with them.

Are we?

One of the really unfortunate and debilitating modernist hold outs is our need to make people stay the way they were when we first started to appreciate them. How many times in the church do we get angry with the youth because they aren’t acting like the children they used to be when they were in our Sunday School classes? As children grow up, be honest, we stuff them into smaller and smaller boxes – in an effort to make them…what? More like us.

And so we lose the twenty year olds, because you can’t become twenty in a box.

We have some things to learn from Miley.

1. When people grow up it’s messy, complicated and uncomfortable. It can even be unattractive. We can worry and sigh. We can blog and talk about it on our Youtube channels. But at the end of the day, we miss everything that way. I thought that grace was the art of drawing close to the unattractive things. What happened to that?

Jesus is the Kahuna of Blurred Lines. Not Robin Thicke’s version, but real gray areas where grace can make a real difference. Jesus was not afraid of blurry, he walked into it, he created it. The story of Levi is a case study on Jesus blurring the line so that someone could become who they were meant to be.

When young people have questions about who they are, somebody has to answer them, to lead them. In this case it’s the machine behind Miley, telling her that a foam finger is good idea.

I think that if Jesus was at the VMAs he would have run it down like this:

Jesus: ‘Sup Miley?

Miley: ‘Sup?

Jesus: That was really interesting. What was your favorite part?

Miley: I don’t know. My swim suit was too tight and the guy in the Teddy Bear is a real perv. What was yours?

Jesus: I liked the part when you were the most yourself.

Miley: When was that?

Jesus: Exactly.

Miley: Are you mad at me?

Jesus: I’m crazy about you. Not so much about the foam finger, though.

Miley: I know, but they gave it to me and I thought that if I didn’t use it being all crazy, it would just look stupid.

Jesus: (smiles)

Miley: It was stupid.

Jesus: Hey! Want to go grab a $500 latte and talk about the dreams that make your guts twist all up? Hope that keeps you awake at night?

Miley: I can’t, I have this…thing.

Jesus: Cool. I’ll be here tomorrow and the day after that. Just remember, the person you are tonight, that’s who you are closest to becoming.

Miley: Everybody expects me to be somebody…

Jesus: Exactly.

2. The Gospel used to be shocking and offensive. Every so often, maybe it’s good to be shocked and offended, so that we remember that the meaning of the message we submit our lives to needs to twerk the soul, more than a little bit.

Like all of us, Miley is on a journey. She needs encouragement and love that is safe and intelligent. And that makes her no different than the girl her age that lives next door. Or the one you work with. Or the one you sit next to on the bus. Or your waitress. Or your students.

Jesus raced into blurred lines. Not to affirm them, or condemn them for that matter, but to provoke a move toward a grace filled, redeemed and restored future.

I think we ought to do the same.

After all, we know everything there is to know about standing on the sidelines and criticizing.

How’s that been working for ya?

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Does The Church Need New Wineskins?

How many Presbyterians does it take to change a lightbulb?
Two.
One to turn the bulb and Wait! Change? Who said anything about change?

WhenYourChurchNeedsNewWineskins

It’s 2013 and fair to say that there are somethings that are yearning to be made new.

Jesus said, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” [Lk 5:38-39]

You can’t get aged, mature and delicious wine, without making new wine first. And in the ancient world, when new wine was made, it had to be poured into a wine skin that was was freshly made. During the fermentation process, the gases that are produced push against the wineskin. An old wine skin, brittle and dry, would burst apart spilling the wine and destroying the skin. A new skin, in contrast, is pliable enough to expand and strong enough to resist stretching too much.

The Church needs to embrace new wineskins, new paradigms.

In your opinion, what are the paradigms that need to be retired? What are the new paradigms that need to be embraced? What new life does the Church need poured into it?

Give me a list, there’s a sermon that needs your input!

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The Gospel Of Jude: You Gotta Fight

Jude You Gotta Fight

And We’re Back With More From The Jude Series

This is one of my favorite writings in Scripture. When I was newly Christian, at the tender age of 22, I read Jude’s letter (because it was short and after reading it I could say that I read a whole book in the Bible). It was this sentence that made turn it up to eleven in the world of my new faith: “You Gotta Fight!”

Jude 1:3(b)

I feel compelled to make my letter to you an earnest appeal to put up a real fight for the faith which has been once and for all committed to those who belong to Christ” J.B. Phillips translation

Jude was going to write about salvation, which I looked at here, but he needed to do something else…punch some church folk in the gut. Notice Jude directs this to “those who belong to Christ.”

Some things need to be fought for.
The faith we have inherited all these two thousand years later is one of them.

How would I define faith as Jude is talking about it? I would say that it’s (1) the teaching and instruction we find in Scripture, (2) the life we live in the newness of the Holy spirit and (3) the tradition that we receive from the hands of such a great cloud of witnesses. Stick that in a blender and you have a faith worth fighting for.

Jude reminds us that we need to stand up for these things.

I’m tired of the Bible being held under such unyielding suspicion, while at the same time, the ‘wisdom’ of our culture is accepted completely uncritically.

That’s what I would say if I were to take Jude’s words seriously.

Judeo-Christian belief relies on the witness and authority of Scripture. To hold it in such absolute and perpetual suspicion, i.e “The Bible doesn’t mean what I don’t want it to mean,” is to embrace a whole other worldview that shoves Jesus to the bleachers and puts “I” at the center. We have wrestled with scripture for thousands of years. Whatever TMZ is reporting today, will be yesterday’s news before lunchtime. Not sure our eggs are safe in that basket.

I’m tired of the Church suffering such uncharitable scrutiny by the same people that actually make the church the church, as if Jesus’ body were made of bricks and not them.

I would probably say that, too, if Jude got me worked up enough to actually take a stand.

Yep, the Church has done some absolutely abominable things. Yep, we have done it in the name of Jesus. Yep, we still do it. ‘Cause there are some pigeon-snap people everywhere. But the New Testament is really clear that in the Church there are both types of Churchians: the ones who are obedient to the Lordship of Jesus and those who are obedient to no other lordship but their own.

The ones who are obedient to Jesus have done some awesome notable and deeply selfless things (see Hospitals, Universities, Charities, Books, Compassion, Generosity, Kindness). Do Christians have the title to those things? No…not any more. But there was a time. If you follow the leaves down to the roots, at some point, you’ll find Jesus. (for a great read, and I mean great, check out Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg).

There are some things that are worth fighting for. I believe that Scripture and the Church are two of God’s greatest gifts to the world and as much as they have the potential to be weaponized, that’s not why they were given. There’s more to them than we can handle. Jesus is up in the Word and the Church like Prince in Purple. They are worth standing up for, worth laying down my life for. Totally.

Just thought I’d fight for something for a moment. Sometimes you gotta fight, even if it’s for your right to party!

What would you stand up and fight for?

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How Church Can Change One Pivot At A Time

Recently, I’ve really been enjoying the Pivot series from Fast Company.
It’s a series highlighting companies that have successfully used a vision implementation tool called

Every organization needs strong vision. I happen to lead a church, which is an organization, and is not an exception. Tony Morgan wrote an article for churchleaders.com that makes this a clear example for why some churches are absolutely stuck. I agree with him on this. If you are unclear on your vision then, you are stuck.

I have wrestled with vision.
I have wrestled to articulate it.
I have wrestled with how to understand it once articulated.

In a church, the mission is so clear: “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.

That’s the mission.

It’s really that simple. The mission of the church is to teach the Gospel to the world as we encounter it.

How we do that? That’s vision. How do you articulate it?
How do you practice the vision, you articulate? That’s the difficult part.
And that’s where the Pivot is so crucial.

There are many a staff member, board member who want the vision nail down in ink and stone before agreeing to embark upon a new journey. That’s great. It’s responsible. It’s prudent. It’s one HUGE reason why the vision won’t succeed.

Vision demands a mechanism that allows for change: subtle adjustments that redirect, refocus and reengage. That’s the Pivot.
Here are Four challenges to an organization that embraces vision with plenty of Pivot.

1. Vision that embraces the Pivot has to be flexible.
A Pivot isn’t a do-ever, it’s a correction.
It’s like playing piano, hitting the wrong key, starting a measure back and hitting the right key.
Sometimes you don’t know the wrong note until you hit it.
Flexible tune.
Flexible keys.
Flexible fingers.

2. Vision that embraces the Pivot has to be patient.
A Pivot can’t happen on command.
It’s a response to failure, drag and missing the proposed target.
It takes time to realize that a Pivot is what’s needed.
Right about the time people are getting upset, that’s a Pivot opportunity.

3. Vision that embraces the Pivot has to have an ‘active’ vocabulary.
When change happens, sometimes it’s hard to describe what’s happening.
And why it’s happening.
Leaders ought to be able to say “It’s a Pivot!”
And then use active language to describe what the Pivot will accomplish.
Then, they must be able to paint the Pivot with inspiring adjectives and verbs.

4. Vision that embraces the Pivot requires humility.
The Pivot is self defined by change, response to missing the mark.
You wouldn’t be pivoting is you had hit the target with your first try.
The truth is: No one does.
Success is a product of change and re-adjustments.
Humility enables an organization to embrace change without embracing defeat.

this is what success looks like

I wrote about this earlier in a post called “Vision Like A Torpedo

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How To Lead Change Like A Seagull

This post will not be about A Flock Of Seagulls.

Only one gull.

As the new pastor of an historic church, a lot of my work involves integrating change into a pre-existing system that didn’t need me to get where it is today. Be that as it may, it’s my call to move us forward, take risks, and what that means is…Change.

SeagullNot to be confused with “NEW” and “IMPROVED,” change is natural for a system, a family system in the case of a church. People grow and change every day; cells divide and multiply, hairs gray, babies are born, people pass away, new music becomes the vogue, old music becomes intolerable…and that’s just one Sunday!

So how do you lead change when it feels like your flying straight into the wind?

Like a seagull.

Recently, my family went to our favorite Malibu Beach spot. While I was staring at the great expanse of God’s creation, I saw a great illustration of how moving forward into the wind is possible.

Seagull anotherSeagulls don’t fly directly into the wind, they fly forward, but at an angle, using the wind (resistance) and move forward in slow deliberate strides. Watching them, it looks like any second they’re going to tumble backwards about 100 miles per hour. Leadership can make you feel like all you’re doing is moving backwards the harder you try to push forward. When vision means change, resistance can will pop up like a mighty tempest. Flying straight into that, more than likely, is not the best means to gain ground.

When you’re going against the grain, forward progress made slowly or in some small amount is good forward progress.

So what does flying at angle look like?

1) Let people know what you are thinking
If you have time, let the people whom change will affect know it’s coming and most importantly, why it’s coming. Resistance decreases as listening to and understanding others increases. Try and paint a picture that your people can see. Seeing things helps us feel more confident in what is coming. Listen to concerns and criticisms. Ask yourself, “Is there any truth in that criticism?” Think about who is saying it and why they might be being critical. Is it fear and panic? Is it wisdom and experience?

2) Have lots of conversations
Making space for questions is crucial. Have you thought of what potential questions will come up? Why might those questions be the ones people ask? Have you thought about how you will answer? Think about how to make change without communicating that things are changing because everyone has been doing it wrong. To make change effectively, you need to win people over to it. Try to make each conversation an opportunity to invite someone over to the “change team.”

3) Trust yourself
If you are in a position to make change, chances are, it’s because someone brought you on to do just that. You have the Vision, you have the support…you have to find the confidence to do what you are supposed to do. To do that, you have to trust yourself. Create space for thinking and reflection. Create space to writing and stepping outside of the box, Whatever you have to do to get more and more clear about what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you are going to lead it.

How might you explain the change to a 2nd grader? To an Alien from Nexus 7? To you favorite sports star in an elevator? To the kindergarten bully? How would you draw it? How would you sing it?

Think on these things until Wednesday where I’ll finish this post with a word picture from the wise Don Riddell: Vision Like A Torpedo.

Please drop me a comment!

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Wired Wednesday: The Church Is Leaking

Picking a voice from around the web world, I’m engaging a post by John Byron from his blog The Biblical World.

The Church is leaking.

Of course, that statement has nothing to do with plumbing, unless you call the water of the church, young people. Citing Barna and Leadership Journal, Byron states that six out of ten young people will leave the church for an extended period of time, some of which will never return.

According to Leadership Journal, here are six reasons (quoted from Byron’s blog):

Isolationism. One-fourth of 18- to 29-year-olds say church demonizes everything outside church, including the music, movies, culture, and technology that define their generation.

Shallowness. One-third call church boring, about one-fourth say faith is irrelevant and Bible teaching is unclear. One-fifth say God is absent from their church experience.

Anti-science. Up to one-third say the church is out of step on scientific developments and debate.

Sex. The church is perceived as simplistic and judgmental. For a fifth or more, a “just say no” philosophy is insufficient in a techno-porno world. Young Christian singles are as sexually active as their non-churched friends, and many say they feel judged.

Exclusivity. Three in 10 young people feel the church is too exclusive in this pluralistic and multi-cultural age. And the same number feel forced to choose between their faith and their friends.

Doubters. The church is not a safe place to express doubts say over one-third of young people, and one-fourth have serious doubts they’d like to discuss.

In an excellent post by Chris Brooks on the Wayfarer’s Blog, Brooks notes an incompatibility between youth programs and later young adult communities. Citing a USA Today article, Brooks notes, “70 percent of Protestants between the ages of 18 and 30 drop out of church before age 23.”

“The problem arises from the inadequacy of preparing young Christians for life beyond youth group,” writes David Kinnaman, co-author of unChristian. He points to research findings showing that, “The university setting does not usually cause the disconnect; it exposes the shallow-faith problem of many young disciples.”

I submit that this trend has been the rule for quite a long time and as these young adult become…er, adults, they…, well, they hold a grudge.

And why wouldn’t they hold a grudge?

Ferris is right, “Life moves pretty fast.”

Why would anyone want to be a part of a system that settles into the complaints experienced above?

Those statistics, if empirically true, are an invitation for the church to…well, to not suck

Jesus pushes the mission of God forward through the church. We are a body that is designed to make The Fast and The Furious look like Thomas the Train Engine! The mission of the Church is an adventure epic in scale and heart arrestingly dangerous. How on earth have we become isolated, shallow, anti-intellectual, exclusive, sexually ambivalent doubt haters?

At the church I pastor, Glendale Presbyterian Church (in Glendale, Ca), we are journeying through the Gospel of John; moving through The Year of Living Dangerously. We are taking on the challenge of Jesus, finding his rhythm in the world and playing along.

The Church may be leaking, but the Gospel is in the business of pipe replacement.
Wherever it is, the drip won’t drop for long.

What do you think?

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Demons and other people who think differently than I do


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

I don’t tend to stray into the politiverse, and this post won’t be any different. Since Hell is definitely on our minds, I offer this to pyre of recent discussion. I haven’t read Coulter’s new book and won’t read it. So this isn’t a review. This isn’t even a guess as to what’s inside the cover of Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.

We ought to be careful who we label demons, and why we are labeling them. Do we mean little impish things with horns and bad breath? Or are we doing something more sinister than the image itself: trying to control the emotional and imaginative response of the listener by suggesting an image that evokes fear? Is all this about provoking fear? I think it is.

When people think differently than we do, or I do, we tend to resort to the kind of mythology that creates a hero and a monster, like Theseus and the Minotaur. In Coulter’s case, we have Demons and, I suspect, the rival Angels. The problems with this are many, especially for those of us who follow Jesus (which we’ll come to in a moment). For one, this is an explicitly religious metaphor. Demons serve Satan and Angels serve God. While drawing from these characters of the Bible displays at least a handle on flannel board theology, it dangerously strips all humans of their ability to think, not just the ‘liberal mob.’ Angels carried the messages of God, they are not known for original thought. Demons, I suppose, are the same with Satan. They carry out the will of the one they serve. Both, in Scripture are rather horrific, but neither are famous for their independent will or thought.

The problem with developing a culture of fear in politics, faith or anything else for that matter is that it creates an uncritical and unthinking audience. Humans become machines for which fear becomes the fuel, souls become shields and reason becomes an afterthought.

Furthermore, who wants to have anything to do with demons? We want to avoid them at all costs. By painting a group of people as ‘demonic,’ it creates a new class of untouchable, a new group of unclean, a new dehumanized ghetto (Nazi much?)…a new Samaria. When a man asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded by naming a group of people who were the hated of the hated. The Samaritans were the ones whom the Hebrews prayed that God would pour out his wrath upon, and I imagine they were willing to help. But Jesus instructed him, as he does us today, to enter into the world of the Samaritan and give life saving, life honoring love. Jesus didn’t call the Samaritan woman at the well a demon, he offered her living water. He didn’t change her ‘party affiliation’, he transformed her from the inside out.

Last week, I watched this talk given at the Mighty Waters Conference at Fuller Theological Seminary. The preacher is Brenda Salter McNeil and her words are astounding. I think she addresses this fear culture with grace and obedient thunder. The speaking starts at 9:00 (Mark Labberton and Fuller President Richard Mouw are in that first nine minutes.

MW Session 2 Day 2 from Fuller Seminary on Vimeo.

Today, the Church needs the courage to speak out on behalf of those whom pop authors label as demons. The Church is called into the new Samaria. The Church has one choice, to see all people as people that Christ loves and wants to welcome in the eternal Kingdom of God. It means that words like them and they and those people and this mob or that mob become distant memories of a language that did not speak with intelligence or authority.

There is a new word: Us. When we speak Us, no one is a demon. When we speak Us, worlds change, children thrive and names become a blessing. When we speak Us, the Kingdom draws closer, Jesus is glorified and the Spirit moves without limitation.

So what’s it going to be? Courage or fear? Us or just another tired and abrasive version of them?

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tongues of fire: what do they say?

When the day of pentecost [the fifty great days] had come, they were all gathered together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” [Acts 2:1-4]

It’s a simple matter to regard something as good news and then keep it to yourself.

In our culture where the cult of the individual is so deeply ingrained, it almost make sense to do so. We have this innate craving to be more important than the person next to us. We desire to be the most human, the best human, the most not-the-least person alive. Secret knowledge can give us an edge up…or at least it feels like that.

The pentecost story is not a Western, 21st century story.

The pentecost story reveals a different reality, a communal one, a dominant one, a reciprocal one. A group of believers are gathered together waiting for something they can’t get their heads around. After a long dry blustery season of anticipation, they belong together in their anxiety and in the belief. While the Holy Spirit could have come to them while they were on their own, while they “found God in the forest” or while they read blogs until they felt like they’d “been to church,” they were together and that’s when it happened.

Remember in the Scripture where the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and then “began to plan speaking tours and publishing schedules?” Of course not, after the Spirit filled them, they couldn’t even understand each other. The Holy Spirit was communicating a new message: The Power of God is for everyone [Acts 1:8]. The power of God was meant to move beyond language, beyond race and beyond culture. The power of God could be spoken about with mutual understanding, not individual. The power of God was, at last, untethered to a central ethnicity.

This RSA animated talk has something interesting to say about Pentecost. ay particular attention to what Steven Pinker says about Dominant, Communal and Reciprocal relationships. Also, look at how he summarizes the difference between individual and mutual knowledge.

The Holy Spirit inserts a “divine” category into the triad of relationships.
The divine is all three at the same time.
With the disciples filled with the Spirit of God, there is a:

Communal relationship with the Dominant [John 16:13-15]
Dominant relationship within the Communal [1 Cor 12:12-13]
Reciprocal relationship within the Communal [Eph 4:4-6]
Reciprocal relationship through the Dominant [Ro 8:14-17]

If we look at Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, we find Peter saying, “I know that you know that we know what you know.” The Spirit imparts mutual knowledge, not individual. Look at what Paul writes regarding speaking in tongues, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue [1 Cor 14:14-8-19].”

Pentecost is a season where, as people of the Way, we celebrate the power of God moving from the cosmic to common, supernatural to natural. It’s not a message to be kept, but one to be lived with dynamic intensity.

How are you partnering with the Spirit of God?
How is your witness like a tongue of fire, remarkable and obvious?
Do you feel like you are filled with the power of the Spirit of the Lord? [Mic 3:8]

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Let’s Get The Bible Out Of Church —->

Now before you start yelling, let me assure you, I don’t mean what you think I mean.

I am a Presbyterian, which means that the title of this post is all about prayer, exegesis and metaphor (or a cozy illustration). Yesterday, at the church where I am Pastor, our staff prayer time went off the grid. Instead of sitting in the chapel lifting up our praises, confessions and intersessions, we went on a prayer walk.

Prayer

We took to the streets. A small mob of professional Presbyterians walked the mean streets of Glendale (that’s G-Town) and prayed for what we saw. Frankly, this was a very enlightening experience just seeing what was around us and I am completely ashamed that this was the first time that I’ve done it in the ten months since me and my family arrived.

We prayed for the apartments and businesses. We prayed for the people walking, driving and the homeless dude parked on the bus stop bench. We prayed that God would break our hearts for what breaks his, that we would see our neighborhood, our community the way that he does. We prayed for ways to minister to people of Glendale where they are. It was thoroughly exhilarating! Prayer in action. Did I mention that we’re Presbyterian?

Exegesis

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce…and work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I send you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” (full text Jer 29:4-14)

God loves cities. He loves our city. There’s something about the people in Glendale that made God plant our church here. Even back when we broke ground 125 years ago, he was in love with the people in our community today. We think that we should love them, too. It’s just…plain and simply…we don’t know how. We don’t know what to do or who to do it for. SO, we thought prayer would be a good place to start. If the welfare of Glendale will determine our welfare, the way that God’s people in Babylon determined the welfare of that empire, then we want to contribute the greatest witness to Glendale possible. So, for now…we walk.

Metaphor

Let’s Get The Bible Out Of Church.

I guess I am being literal. The Word can’t stay imprisoned in Bible Studies and pews. It can’t be confined to a sanctuary or pastor’s study. It has life and power. It is sharper than any double edged sword. It is God and the word of God spoken to us. The Bible has feet and needs to run. I think that the Bible belongs outside the church. For much of my life in the church we talk about ‘going deeper’ and ‘getting closer to Christ.’ Is it possible that by smaller, more specialized classrooms we are ‘going deeper’ but that’s just down and there’s noone down there? Is it possible that the smarter our brains get we don’t actually get any ‘closer to Christ’ than back when we were…dumber?

Let’s get the Bible out of Church. Let’s share the power and glory of the word. Instead of growing deeper, let’s grow wider! Let’s grow wide to grow deep. As Tim Keller says, “Work the Gospel out in your own city to work the Gospel in to your own heart.”

We know the results of ‘deep,’ but to be honest, I’m a little inexperienced with ‘wide.’

What about you?

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