Friday, May 16, 2008

Things to Check Out

My friend, Jeremy Smith at Hacking Christianity has posted on what he is reading, and a few videos to watch. In this same spirit, I would like give you a few things I have been reading or looking at online, and have you check them out for yourself.

Of course, check out Hacking Christianity for a wide variety of interesting observations. Don't forget to watch the video of them moving the 100 year old church. Pretty interesting!

Adam Hamilton is senior pastor at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and author of several wonderful books, including my favorite, "Selling Swimsuits in the Artic" which is about evangelism. He writes a blog called Seeing Gray. His recent post And Jesus Went to a Quiet Place to Pray talks about getting away to spend some quality time with God, but it also talks about the "process" preachers go through to come up with sermons. I like they way he gets ideas for sermon planning from the people of his congregation. Here is a quote from his post:
Over the next month I will invite our staff, our leaders and our congregation to share with me their thoughts and reflections on what our congregation most needs by way of sermons to deepen their faith, to bring healing and help for their lives and to be equipped to live for Christ. At the end of June I’ll spend a week in Colorado praying, reading and meditating on the scriptures before outlining possible sermon series for the next two years.

I believe this is important, and I will see about the best way to implement such an idea. Until I formally implement this, feel free to give me feedback by email.

Also on preaching is my friend, David Mercer's, blog Deep Calls to Deep. David is a UM pastor soon to be moving, but hopefully will continue his blogging in his new location. His post on The Myth of Certainty really punctuates how ignorance is truly bliss. Here is a quote from his post:

People don’t like their preachers to be uncertain. They don’t want to hear my verbal meandering where I say, “on the one hand we have this view… then on the other hand there’s this thought.” Many people come to church to hear what they’re supposed to think and do. They want answers stated in snappy phrases that remove all doubt and uncertainty.
I think we have a responsibility to seek to know more, but more knowledge often means more wrestling; and therefore, more work. We like things in neat nice packages and wish our pastor's would put it all together for us. Sorry folks, we wrestle just like you. Which is why, I will be implementing Adam Hamilton's suggestion above - to find out where we need to struggle through the questions together.

There is a blog I have stumbled across entitled beauty and depravity by Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle. In the age old gender struggle, he weighs in and in order to fully appreciate the male side of this check out his post Ultimate Fighting Jesus. I loved reading his post on his conversation with Rob Bell. Here is a quote from the blog:

Rob Bell is bluntly, one of the most visible and influential figures of Christianity in the 21st century. He is arguably the face of the emerging Evangelical Christianity in North America. It must be both a burden and blessing and I’m interested how he will use the platform of his visibility to distribute and share that power and influence.

For women and on a lesser level, people of color, it’s an uphill journey. It just is. And if you have to ask…you just don’t understand. And on this uphill journey, it’s uplifting when those who have power can acknowledge and advocate for those on this uphill journey.

Rob Bell, is the senior pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church, author and is well known for his NOOMA videos.

Of course, the really funny gender struggle post on Eugene Cho's blog is 10 Reasons Why Men Should Not be Ordained for Ministry. This is of course, in conversation with the top arguments given on why women should not do thus and such. It's a hoot and worth the read.

Of course, I have to keep track of my favorite author - CurtissAnn Matlock. She writes delightful books about women and life in a small fictional town called "Valentine, OK." She has a blog entitled Pressing On which talks about a variety of topics, writing, living gluten-free (she is a Celiac), and life in general. Of course, I keep up with her blogs not because she is my favorite author, but because she is my friend. One of her blogs in particular is near and dear to my heart, Blessed Bread. It is about how her pastor included her in communion.

Of course, I check out Scribbit almost everyday. It isn't about theology or posted by someone I already know, it is something I actually stumbled across and have been going back to check it out. It is about parenthood, family, and life in general in Alaska. My favorite was a guest blog by her husband entitled Driving Miss Gracie: Teaching My Teen to Drive. Apparently in Alaska a 14-year old can get their learner's permit. YIKES! Glad I live in good 'ol Oklahoma. But it is a delightful recounting of what those of us with driving children have all been through.

These are but a few and will keep you busy for a bit.

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