Monthly Archives: July 2011

Coming Home

I love this video. This woman is at her college graduation, and although the moment is a happy one, there is something missing. Namely, her brother. He’s a Marine, and he was  serving in Afghanistan, and because of that, he was unable to attend her graduation.

At least that’s what she thought.

But, unbeknownst to her, the brother is behind the stage just waiting for her name to be called. And at that special moment, he comes out and the rest is magic.

There is something profound about people coming home. Continue reading Coming Home

The Wisdom of Preaching

So this one’s for all the preachers out there.

For the longest time I gravitated toward a style of preaching that I liked more than another. I liked inductive, narrative style preaching (I still do). But the flip side of this preference is that I disdained most other ways of preaching. I’m not talking about just disliking other styles. I mean I really disdained preaching that wasn’t like mine. And what’s worse, I had theological reasoning for it. And the worst of all preaching (for me) was the practical/pragmatic kind. I didn’t like the kind of preaching (or preachers) that would put this grand story of God repairing the world on the bottom shelf. it seemed like they were dumbing it down, and that was not cool with me.

One of the things that I began to notice during my first few years of ministry, is how many converts I saw from Catholicism, or people coming from Presbyterian or Methodist, or other High churches. But, and here it what really started to confuse me at the time, I also saw a lot of the friends I went to Harding with, and who I had been going to church along side of move the other direction. People who had been raised up in Churches of Christ or Baptist or Pentecostal churches started finding a home in higher church traditions.

It seemed like both High church and Low church traditions had revolving doors on them.

And as I asked my incoming and outgoing friends why they were leaving or coming and they had an interesting response. For the people coming from higher church traditions, they loved the story aspect of the sermons, and how accessible they were. They had been participating in rituals for most of their lives, but had often failed to understand the significance behind them. For the people leaving these lower traditions, they were actually drawn to the ritual of it all. The stained glass, the pomp of a person moving through liturgy that had been going on for thousands of years.  Continue reading The Wisdom of Preaching

The Next Christians and U2

So I’m on Sabbatical for the next few weeks from preaching. Leslie and I are so thankful for the wisdom of the Highland shepherds to work into every the rythymn of every year a season for rest and long term planning. We’ve spent the last few days with friends and family in Arkansas, swimming in rivers, shooting skeet and riding four wheelers…Yes I know, how very metropolitan of us.

But before this week, on the very first day of my sabbatical I got a chance to go to my first U2 concert. For over a decade I’ve listened to Bono sing about the Kingdom of God in sometimes cryptic and sometimes explicit ways. They are by far my favorite band, and Saturday night reminded me of why.

The faith of U2 has been the topic of a dozen books, and a thousand sermons. Bono has led the world in issues of justice and even said some very prophetic things to the leading powers of the world. He’s been espoused by people like Rick Warren as an authentic Jesus follower, and demonized by more conservative Christians who just couldn’t understand a “secular” rock star singing about Jesus stuff.

But that’s exactly what they are.

We live in such a superficial culture. If you ever doubt that, just TIVO the show Toddlers and Tiara’s one time. And it might be easy to try and write U2 off as one more example. But before the concert began we watched on the big screen statistics about world poverty, deaths from disease/poverty/abortion/war…which is not what you might expect before a rock concert. And yes, they were rock stars. Bono is the best showman I’ve ever seen. But it’s all connected to something larger. Continue reading The Next Christians and U2