Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
could it be that our modern, Western interpretation of Christian living is detrimental to physical and emotional health? consider the two different perspectives below.
yoga: the discipline of training which strengthens muscles; develops increased self-awareness of body, mind and mood; helps prevent stress-related injuries; and reduces blood pressure.
yoga: "The practice of yoga, with its various postures and exercises, [supposedly] leads man to self-liberation and god-realization. The purpose of all yoga is to unite man with the Cosmic Consciousness, or that spark of divinity that each [supposedly] possesses...Consequently, it is obvious that yoga is not simply an exercise program of physical fitness, but yoga is unchristian because it teaches people to seek God and peace by their own works, to look within themselves to find God, and to study Hindu writings rather than the Holy Bible." [from http://www.illinoislutheranconference.org/the-illinois-lutheran-conference/july---2003---august.lwp/july---2003---august.htm]
the above site's defininition of holistic medicine: "Holistic health fails to recognize sin as the cause for all of man's ills, and fails to recognize the Lord God as the only true healer of man's physical and spiritual sicknesses. It is also true that much of the traditional medical community also does not recognize man's sin as the root cause of ill health, nor does it recognize the true God as the Great Physician."
this "Christian world view" (all-or-nothing, black-and-white approach to creation and humanity) is the great failing of Christianity. Yes, there is good and evil. But most of the time, untangling the knot takes the discipline of discernment.
discernment? but hey, if the average church-goer accepted the challenge to be discerning, what role would the preacher play?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
this great Vacation Bible School program will energize your volunteers and bring in lots of new children and their families
another strategy: DIRE CONSEQUENCES "The administrator outlines the tragic events—shatttered lives of those served, supplier businesses closed, and so on—that would accompany the reductions."
if we don't continue supporting this outreach mission, think of the lost souls who may never ever again have the opportunity to know Jesus
well i'll be. until today, i considered that behavior to be out-and-out lies and deceptions.
the secular world of public budgeting and finance strategies were also being employed in the loftier world of church budgeting and finance committees! who knew?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
this second group (first group finished in July) is very different from the first. as i have reverted much to my old skepticism regarding Christians and the church, it is interesting to note the following differences between this group and the last:
the story of their calling At the first session we tape each preacher as he or she delivers a 2-3 (usually ends up being 3-5) minute talk on how they came to be "called to ministry." The first group (Group A) almost all had a sob story about being good kids gone bad, or painful child- and adulthoods, which led them to become preachers. *yawn* emotional manipulation at its worst, and i think most of them have told their stories for so long they now believe themselves.
Today's session: all but one were called to preaching against their will. they fought and struggled for varying amounts of time before finally giving in to the inexorable pull of what they identified as God's will. What was interesting about this was, each had their own story of what they were doing at the exact moment they recognized this seed God had planted within them.
Perhaps I am gullible, but these stories had a power, impact, and believability that the first group's stories did not.
eagerness: The first group seemed to feel that being sent to this course was a punitive measure dealt them by the District Superintendant. Lord knows (and if He doesn't, their respective congregations surely must have known) that there was nothing punitive about it: This crew sorely needed the exposure to an opportunity to improve their communication skills. It's not about Bible knowledge. Rather, it's about your ability to connect with the audience. Sorry, all you hardliners out there, but just spouting scripture from the pulpit doesn't cut it with most of your congregants or visitors.
Today's group was positively eager to learn how to be better at sharing their passion for God with their congregants. They seemed to feel that attendance at this seminar was vital to who they are and who they wish to be.
Jesus vs Doctrine: The first group loved John Wesley and Methodism as much as they loved Jesus. Or so their conversations seeemed to indicate.
Today's group: Haven't heard anything from them yet about John Wesley. The came to Methodism from several different Christian doctrinal backgrounds, most of them fairly conservative. It will be interesing to see where they fall on "Wesley-ism" vs Christianity.
Monday, September 04, 2006
as an adult, i have explored some of my father's family and occaisionally write to a few aunts. there was a period of time when i was almost desparate to know who these people were and how i could find a place in their connectedness.
so when an aunt showed me her little blue book of family members a few years ago, i almost cried when she showed me that she had indeed penned the names and birthdates of me and my siblings when we were born.
when we were born!
we were thought of! included! remembered! inscribed in permanant ink, even!
i felt as though we were the stray puzzle piece that had finally been matched to the puzzle. i felt like an orphan who had suddenly discovered that not only did she have a family, but that she mattered to that family.
is that how it is for people who feel a strong connection to God? is that how it is meant to feel?