Friday, March 27, 2009

Covenant Skunklings

hey guys,

Brian had a "God-idea" about starting an innovative group to come up with some fresh ideas and new initiatives to reach out to the younger generation. It is called the "skunk group" or the Covenant Skunklings -- I'll let him explain why. Go to this url to read his post and contribute ideas ... anyone with really GOOD ideas and faithful participation MIGHT get a trip to Boston ...

While this forum will continue to be more oriented around theological discussion, the Covenant Skunklings will be more oriented around practical ideas for outreach to youth and the young adult generation. ALL IDEAS ARE WELCOME!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Blibcal Approach to Economics?

NOTE: I found an excellent theological analysis of our current economic mess written by Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggeman, professor emeritus of Columbia Theological Seminary. I am pasting in the first part of the article below. You can access the entire article HERE.
So far as I know, the Bible says nothing explicit about subprime loans and the financial implications of such risky economic practice. There is a great deal, nonetheless, that the Bible has to say about such a crisis as we now face. I will comment in turn on a biblical perspective of an analysis of the crisis and a biblical perspective for an alternative economic practice.

While the specifics of the current market collapse are peculiarly modern, biblical perspectives are pertinent because the fundamental issues of economics are constant from ancient to contemporary time, constants such as credit and debt, loans and interest, and the endless tension between haves and have-nots.
We may identify three dimensions of the theological-moral foundations of the current economic crisis:

AUTONOMY. A sense of the isolated, self-sufficient economic individual is deeply rooted in modern rationality and comes to full expression in U.S. “individualism” that resists communitarian connectedness and imagines the individual person to be the primary unit of social reality. Such an individual is completely autonomous, owes no one anything, is accountable to no one, and can rely on no one except himself or herself.

Such a self (perceived almost exclusively as an economic self) is without restraint and is self-authorized to enact Promethean energy to organize life around one’s own needs, issues, and purposes. The autonomous, self-sufficient self takes as the proper venue for life “the market” and understands the market as a place of self-advancement at the expense of all others who are perceived either as rivals and competitors or as usable commodities.

This same autonomy is articulated in the Bible under the rubric of “the fool” who says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). The capacity to live without the gift or summons of God has immediate practical implications, for autonomy sets the fool over against the neighbor, most especially the poor neighbor. The one who says in Psalm 10:4 “There is no God” is the one who seeks out neighbors for exploitation: “They lurk that they may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net. They stoop, they crouch, and the helpless fall by their might. They think in their heart, ‘God has forgotten, He has hidden his face, he will never see it’” (Psalm 10:9-11).

.... continued at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Youth Ministry 3.0?

Scot McKnight started a discussion about youth ministry, called Youth Ministry 3.0, today along with a brief intro to a book by a guy named Marko. It seemes like an appropriate focus for discussion considering recent emails about the coming collapse (or decline?) of contemporary evangelical church.

Here is the post:

I sat down the other day with a youth pastor and asked a direct question that I've asked a number of youth leaders: "What percentage of your youth become adult, mature Christians?"

His response: "You want the truth?"

I said, "Of course."

His answer: "About 25%."

We both sat there, fumbling our coffee cups, looking at one another, nothing said and nothing to be said. In grief and wonder we searched for what we might do together to change the course of the church. His numbers are about average for evangelical churches. I wonder if some youth pastors would sit down, think for 15 minutes or so over the last few years and what has become of their youth. What "worked" and what "didn't work"? Listen to these ruggedly honest words from Mark Oestreicher:

"The way we're doing things is already not working. We're failing at our calling. And deep down, most of us know it. This is why we need an epochal shift in our assumptions, approaches, models, and methods."

The book the quote is taken from is called:

Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where We've Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dead and Gone

This post has been re-written from a different angle and moved to UNCHURCHED

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mannin' Up II

What does it mean to "be a man" and how do you get there? Is there any truth to the idea that "real men love Jesus and hate church?" If men (together with women) are called to "rule," and if Jesus is the way God accomplishes things, what does "masculine" ruling look like... and what helps men to get there?

Monday, March 2, 2009

THE SHACK: Heresy or an inspired metaphor?

hi friends, we continue to have a great discussion on masculinity in the previous thread below ... however, several people were interested in discussing the merits and the theological content of the recent best seller, The Shack. We invite you to bring the discussion to this thread.