Thursday’s Random Thoughts

We have created a paradigm of happiness v. joy in evangelicalism with no real biblical precedent. To the point of not being able to think about these “things’ anyway else.

I wonder what music was playing in the heavens when God brought Eve to Adam.

I long for the start of baseball season the way my kids long for Christmas.

It can crush your soul if you are expected in your job to do to others what you would not want done to you.

I’m afraid Downton Abbey is veering towards a ramp with a shark on the other side.

I’d rather be listening to Townes van Zandt.

Seven years ago, Bethany and I were in the middle of week of living in a hospital room with a newborn Knox who would stop breathing while sleeping. Last night he did 100 jumping jacks in front of me.

I’m tired of grasping at book sales.

Back on the 16th of May, 1990 I saw Townes Van Zandt open for the Cowboy Junkies on the Caution Horses tour. The *show* was at Sloss Furnace and I wish I’d paid a little more attention.

I’m stepping away from the edges of social media for awhile. I’ll still do some blogging.

The Lawsuit Against SGM and “Waiting for the Other Side of the Story”

Just a short note here on the now amended lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries, CJ Mahaney, et al.

I have seen a few people caution those asking questions about SGM to wait for the “other side of the story.” This is not always a bad idea. And sometimes it is absolutely necessary. But most of the people I know who are asking questions are not concerned about the other side of the story so much wondering why the neo-Calvinist superstructure will not even acknowledge there is even a story.

The response I keep getting is, “Why did I not know anything about this?” The guilt of those named in the lawsuit against SGM is not the whole matter here. One of the great concerns is the lack of acknowledgement and comment on the very existence of it. To the point that many people are in the dark.

A lot of folks have trusted SGM and its leaders with their souls. Worship leaders have used their music. SGM has been held up as an example of church health. Mahaney wrote the book on humility. And families devoured their materials on family and parenting. Asking questions makes sense.

No one would have thought it strange for an alumni of Penn State to ask questions about the Sandusky affair.

But let’s be honest, something is horribly wrong within SGM and has been for a long time. No one waited this long to deem Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and the rest of Penn State as guilty of similar crimes.

Not even the neo-Calvinists.

If this were someone whose theology we did not like, say Joel Osteen…we would not wait to say anything.  With bated breath, we would not wait.

 

Thursday’s Random Thoughts

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1. Just updated my résumé with details of the skills I possess to make a killer iTunes playlist.

2. The King of the Universe wielded his power and influence by saving the least of these. The current evangelical superstructure writes them off as bloggers.

3. Got to hear Bill Mallonee sing his songs and tell his stories last night on the crest of the mountain I live on, with the fog gathering around us close.

4. Sometimes I wish my kids would just stop bugging me…for food, drink, and clothing.

5. Very thankful for our local church. It’s been good for us in ways I could not imagine.

6. If you would rather go to work than have a snow day, we cannot be friends.

7. The Calvinist, because of his belief in the sovereignty of God, should be the most kind and loving person in the room. Most of the time we’re the jerk.

8. All of you *are* looking for me a better-paying non-sales job, right? Right?

9. I’ve had bacon cheeseburgers so much lately, I’m even getting tired of them. Just kidding, I’d lose all self-respect if that happened.

10. Social media is now the standard way we show our adulation for the celebrity, until they screw up, and then we mock them mercilessly. Christians are no exception.

About the Amended Complaint Filed Against SGM

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:4

The following are news reports regarding the Amended Complaint filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries, CJ Mahaney, Covenant Life Church and School, other churches and leaders within SGM. I will update as needed

The San Francisco Chronicle

Christianity Today

WJLA

The Washington Post

The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

The details are here at a long-running site for those who have come out of SGM for various reasons. They have been roundly criticized and written off while keeping the issue of sexual abuse at the forefront for years. Do not read this if you are at all squeamish about sexual abuse. THE LINK IS NOT SAFE TO OPEN AT WORK.

Why do I care about this? I’ve been asked before. And it’s been assumed my motives were less than pure – that I wanted to bring down the powerful simply because they were powerful.

I think the better question to ask is why so many don’t seem to care? I think it is because we are too invested in the celebrity preachers of the day. I think it is because we know if our heroes fall, we fall a little (maybe a lot) with them. And there are power structures we thought were pure and holy…maybe they were artifice.

Why should I care about what it is going with SGM? If you and I don’t, who will? Is not our call to care for the orphan and the widow a call to care for those who are victims of sexual abuse?

Why do I care? I have not been the victim of sexual abuse. I have not been harmed by SGM. But I have been the victim of a powerful and influential church-planting organization that showed no concern for me, my family, or the church I was then serving, when their man ran away. That story is yet to be told here. Though various stories are out there.

So I do understand what it is to trust a group of men, put some faith in them, and then be tragically disappointed. That’s part of why I care.

I care because we have a King who came in weakness to save those who were weak, hurting, sick and sore.

If we, the subjects of this King don’t care, who will?

Some Thoughts on Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration

Just a few off the cuff thoughts…

Update: It is disingenuous for Christians to be upset at others calling them “anti-gay” while comparing them to those who beheaded John the Baptist.

1. This is not the Spanish Inquisition. There are no martyrs here.

2. To call someone someone anti-gay because he thinks homosexuality is wrong defies all logic. This assumes that how you feel about someone’s sexuality is penultimate in all relationships. Which is simply not true for Christians or for most people. To be anti-gay means you want to harm them, not that you disagree with them.

3. I’m right, he was not disinvited so much as he decided to not do it under pressure? There is a huge difference in the two. Maybe not so much in his heart – meaning his heart was “pure” regardless. But in the effect, there is a huge difference. I do not think less of him because of this, it’s just different.

4.With all due respect to Dr. Moore and all those who think this confirms a “de facto established church,” that seems to be a little overblown and not helpful. Pastors can still preach however they wish on Sunday. When a very liberal group goes up in arms because a socially conservative preacher is praying at the inauguration of a very liberal president, it just isn’t shocking. By the same token, I would not expect a very conservative president to have a socially liberal pastor pray at his/her inauguration.

5. Spiritual grandstanding will not convert anyone or convince them of our love. It is totally out of step with the New Testament picture of believers. It assumes a position of power and influence ignoring the grace and mercy we have received and the life of love we have been called to. I am sure the Christians suffering under Nero would be impressed with us.

6. Even if they take away the preacher’s “right” to preach that homosexuality is wrong, nothing changes. Jesus still sits upon his throne. We are still his happy subjects. Love is still the law. The preacher of the gospel still preaches the same message.

Thursday’s Random Thoughts

 

1. BCS National Championships make me miss baseball.

2. What I wish the the lady at Barnes & Noble had said – “No, we don’t have that book but we can order it and it will take about as long to get here as when you were a kid and you ordered something off a cereal box.”

3. By definition a short book is supposed to be short. It would be unnatural for a short book to be long.

4. Meals without Five Guys are lame.

5. Look, I know I’m not a great banker and people wonder why I’m there, but there’s no need for HR to put me in the X-Files.

6. Hope punches through the clouds knowing the stars still shine.

7. I know I’m supposed to be comforted by more important things, but when I walk in and my son is playing with my old Millennium Falcon…wait, I have something in my eye…

8. At work, the ladies can just wear slacks and a blouse. I’m thinking about forming a union to demand that we get to wear slacks and blouses too!

9. The business world is a weird, weird place by the way. And I feel like a stranger in a strange land.

10. Honestly? I hoped for money. Instead I get to hear all these stories about being helped by what I’ve written and it’s of incalculable worth.

Info and Answers on The God of the Mundane

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1. First, I need to thank all of you. The God of the Mundane was written because so many of you, my readers, read that initial post and for some reason kept reading. For a book with no formal endorsements, the book has done far better than we expected at this point. No one is gonna get rich, but we’ve been nothing but encouraged by the reception. Your promotion and enthusiasm is a huge part of that.

2. A number of folks have asked why I haven’t blogged in a while. The answer is complicated but I guess you can just scratch it up to me not wanting to. Life’s been busy and the release of the book coupled with the strangeness of working in a bank while all this going on wears me out. But starting with this here post I’ll try and get a post or two out a week.

3. Reception to the book has been almost universally positive. (Everyone else is either ignorant of it’s existence or ignoring it altogether. I’ll take it.) But one criticism I’ve heard is that the book is not long enough. My only response is – a short book should always be short.

4. A quiet life is not a silent life.

5. One reader of the book asked a great question, “Can one yearn to connect with others w/o yearning to gain some sort of fame or praise?” I think they can. But the question is loaded with lots of implications for me right now. Rich Mullins once said, “Applause is addictive.” It’s true. I feel it down to the depths of my own soul. But there is a person connected to those hands clapping. A person with a story full of joys and concerns and failures and fears and triumphs. The key, I guess, is to put my shoulder into the applause and push through it till I’m thankful, not just for the gift of applause but that the book has helped them. And then try and listen to as many of those stories as possible.

6. The book was released a month ago today. And I’ve enjoyed just about every moment. But the two weeks before it was available I was a nervous wreck. I don’t always sleep well anyway. The banking job, you know. But those two weeks, I really struggled. The one thing grounding me was our collision course with membership to a church we had been visiting. The sermons and sacrament did far more for me than anything. I lacked sleep but I needed peace.

7. A friend of mine was surprised to see his name mentioned in the acknowledgements. How could I not acknowledge him and so many others? This book was written in the company of friends, discussing the blog posts and dreaming with them and them encouraging me and laughing with me and at me and thank God, keeping me humble. Their affection for the book makes it worth it.

8. I did not formally acknowledge the Radical movement or Francis Chan or DWYL with a purpose. These are just our generation’s manifestations of a timeless temptation. But most people have picked up the book’s attention to their general direction. My hope is this book will have some staying power and will be relevant in 25 years. I really wanted to “plant a sequoia” per Wendall Berry’s advice.

9. You just cannot imagine the addictive tug of always checking your ranking on Amazon.

10. There have been a lot of great moments over the past month. But on evening, my oldest brother Bobby and my sis-in-law, gave me a singular gift, a framed copy of the book. And it wasn’t just any copy. You see, my Dad can no longer read books, because his sight is so bad he has to listen to them. The one in the frame was the one my mom read from to my dad. Their love of books and love of me joined together. It is pictured above.