Saturday, March 29, 2008

Favorite books?

I'll toss out a possible topic for discussion.
What has been your favorite book of the last two or three years? Let's say that it does not have to be theologically or religiously oriented -- it could be humor, novel, historical, devotional or any other genre. I have several books in mind that have had a formative influence on my thinking. I'm not sure yet which one I would pick as my favorite. I'll get back to you on that.

A secondary question might be which genre is your favorite? I am currently a fan of macro-historical books dealing with early modern European empires. Probably my favorite was C.R. Boxer's "Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415-1825" (1969). It is only 100 pages long and written in simple English but brilliantly covers four centuries of European colonialism.

here are a couple of more questions:
-What book have you read twice, and might read again?
-What book do you have on your shelf to read that you are most looking forward to?
-Have you ever paid more than 50$ for a book?
-Do you have any written notes or summaries of books that you might share with others?

Remember Brian's suggestion that we keep our comments to 500 words or less...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I think most of us agree that we are experiencing a cultural tsunami that is having a profound effect on the church. Alan Hirsch in his book, “The Forgotten Ways”, says that the church is in a state of “liminality”. Liminality is an “in-between, marginal state in relation to the surrounding society, a place that could involve significant danger and disorientation…” (p. 220).
The question we face is how will we as “church leaders” respond to the place we find ourselves in? Critiquing the present state of the church comes naturally to many of us. Could I suggest that we move beyond criticism, beyond deconstruction, and attempt to voice a constructive vision for where we are headed, for where God might be leading us?
Hirsch goes on to say, that, “holding a definite sense of vision (a preferred future) and mission informs and alters how people think and how they will behave in the present. Viewed this way, the future is a means to alter behavior… One does not creep up on a big future. Rather, the future is boldly declared in a vision and serves as the catalyst for all that follows.” (p. 233)
Can we dream the future? What is God’s dream for His Bride as she hurtles toward mid-term of the “new” Century? Can we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe wisdom, discernment, vision and direction about where God wants us to go? Which way is the wind blowing? What does He desire the “church of the future” to look like? How does He want us to function, to “be” his Body in the earth? How can we concretely be the light of the world and the life of the world as we continue into the 21st Century? Be concrete. Be specific.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Liturgical or digitized? Ancient or future? Cutting edge or 'old faithful'? Mainly individual or expressly communal? A function that determines its own form, or a given form that functions in particular ways?

I've put the post title and its first line in question form, as a way of getting after what our current questions might be about worship: what is worship? Why is it important, and how is it important? What does it mean to be a "21st-century worshipper" or a "21st-century worshipping community" and how is that different from previous centuries? And of course the "or" in the first group of questions is a red herring, but perhaps a provocative one...