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Accidental Worship Heresies

mistake (200x300)aYou know that moment when the words leave your mouth and there’s nothing you can do to get them back? You’re not alone.

In a post over at The Village Church, Michael Bleeker shares what happened when he asked worship leaders to tweet stories of their “accidental worship heresies,” things they’ve either said or sang in a worship service that didn’t exactly come out the way they intended. And it’s an impressive list.

Among my personal favorites:

  • Misquoted Col. 3:16 as, “psalms, hymns and spiritual thongs” while officiating one of my best friend’s wedding. (I don’t even want to think about what a “spiritual thong” would be.)
  • “I thy great father and thou my true son,” during Be Thou My Vision. (For some reason, I don’t think the church has ever officially declared it a heresy to claim to be God’s father.)
  • “I’d rather have silver than Jesus or gold.” (Now that’s just silly. Who would rather have silver than gold?) Continue Reading…

Flotsam and jetsam (9/18)


Good Reads

  • Why a theologian can never retire: one of the frustrations of the job I have had is you are never sure that you have done it well. To be a theologian comes with a kind of ambiguity that means you are unsure whether what you have done is theology, not to mention whether it is theology done well. Nor can you ever be sure, even if you think you have done theology well, that is the end of the matter. To do theology well means you have a sense that you are never finished. (Stanley Hauerwas)
  • Can Faith Ever Be Rational? The implication seemed to be that faith cannot be based on reason and, perhaps, that faith can never be rational. But is this right? Might faith be rational under some conditions? Could faith be warranted as an attitude one should (sometimes) adopt in guiding actions and beliefs? (NPR)
  • Francis at the six-month mark seems a force of nature: A pope is expected to be the CEO of a global religious organization, a political heavyweight, an intellectual giant, and a media rock star, not to mention a living saint….Yet at his six-month mark, which falls today, Pope Francis is drawing better reviews on those five scores than anyone might reasonably have anticipated. (National Catholic Reporter)

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Evangelicalism and Its Pathologies

Everyone carries with them the seeds of their own destruction. Growing up, my parents warned us that our family DNA conveyed dangers like alcoholism, heart disease, and skin cancer. Regardless of whether these dangers came through genetics, family dynamics, or some combination of the two, I didn’t ask for them. Of course, I also received tremendous gifts from my heritage, too many to count. But today we’re focusing on the dark side. So let’s stay negative.

Movements, like individuals, carry their destruction with them as well: genetic traits embedded in their institutional DNA from the beginning, which, left unwatched or unchecked, will eventually lead them into their own pit of despair.

DNA (550x356)

Evangelicalism is no different. Like all movements, it received at its birth both tremendous strengths and potentially debilitating weaknesses. And its history has been marked by the highs of the former and the depressing lows of the latter.

I was reminded of this during a fascinating presentation by Tim Larsen, one of my new colleagues at Wheaton College. Larsen unpacked the history of evangelicalism and its pathologies in four simple stages, as history that, as he said in the presentation, is brought to you by the letter “D.”

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The 12 Kinds of Procrastinators

I am definitely a Sidetracker, though The Cleaner makes an appearance pretty regularly as well. (Click to embiggen.)

procrastinators (550x1002)

Flotsam and jetsam (9/16)


Good Reads

  • Don’t Knock Beauty: If we lose our desire for beauty, it will only serve to diminish our desire for our beautiful God. The balance, I suppose, is learning to long for the beauty that matches his character and reflects his beauty. And then, once we find it, we give praise to the one who gives beauty to all that is beautiful.
  • Liberated from Ideological Captivity: Ideologies are dangerous. They carry power and distort thinking and vision. Racism, sexism and tribalism have no place in gospel-centric theopraxis.
  • Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy: The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security. The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY. Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.

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A Prayer for Sunday (Anne Bradstreet)

anne bradstreet Living in colonial America in the mid-17th century, Anne Bradstreet was a prominent poet and author, and she was the first woman to be published in the British colonies of North America. As we would expect from an author living in Puritan New England, her writings are full of theological themes and allusions. But she is also famous for stressing the value of women and the important role they play in society.

Anne Bradstreet died on September 16, 1672. In honor of her amazing life and ministry, this morning’s prayer comes from her.

As spring the winter does succeed,
And leaves the naked trees do dress,
The earth all black is clothed in green;
At sunshine each their joy express.
My sun’s returned with healing wings.
My soul and body do rejoice;
My heart exults and praises sings
To You who heard my wailing voice.
My winter’s past, my storms are gone,
And former clouds now seem all fled;
But, if they must eclipse again,
I’ll run where I was amply fed.
I have a shelter from the storm,
A shadow from the fainting heat;
I have access unto Your throne
You who are God so wondrous great.

Saturday Morning Fun….A Modern Monty Python Trailer

What would it look like if you made a trailer for Monty Python and the Holy Grail to make it look like a modern action/adventure? Something pretty epic.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/13)

What I imagine cats are doing when we're not looking.

What I imagine cats are doing when we’re not looking.

Good Reads

  • A Scientific Guide to Effectively Saying No: Learning how to say no is one of the most useful skills you can develop, especially when it comes to living a more productive and healthy life. Saying no to unnecessary commitments can give you the time you need to recover and rejuvenate. Saying no to daily distractions can give you the space you need to focus on what is important to you. And saying no to temptation can help you stay on track and achieve your health goals. (Lifehacker)
  • Trapped: The Church Vocation Issue We Don’t Talk About: There are thousands of ministers out there who no longer wish to be ministers. They no longer want to work in churches. They don’t want to do it anymore. But they don’t know how to leave. They don’t have anywhere to go. They don’t know what to do. (The High Calling)

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Don’t Store Your Treasures in Holey Buckets (The Art of Taking Notes, part 1)

My mind is weird. I can remember when Augustine was born, but not where I put my keys. I know my wife’s birthday, her social security number, and the phone number she had when we were in high school, but for the life of me I can’t remember what she wants for Christmas or what I’m supposed to be doing around the house this weekend.

leaky bucket (300x262)I’d like to believe that my mind is a steel trap. But it’s more like a sieve.

You can see how that might cause problems in a relationship. But it’s particularly a challenge for students. You’re investing tremendous time and money in what you’re learning. The information you gain is a treasure. Where are you going to keep it? Maybe your brain is better than mine: you never forget anything and you can just keep all that valuable information in your head. If so, count your blessings, and I hate you.

But if your brain is more like a bucket with a bunch of big holes punched through the bottom, you probably need a different plan. Otherwise, you can pour into your brain all the information you want, but most of it is just going to leak out all over your shoes and make a mess on the floor

So what are you going to do to make sure that you retain all of that precious information? Easy. Store it somewhere else.

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8 Things You May Not Know about Busyness in America (infographic)

Actually, if you’ve been paying attention, you probably know most of these already. But this is still a useful infographic for presenting eight things that we should all keep in mind about our “busy” lives.

Crazy-Busy-Infographic-1 (550x2993)