Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. Following Jesus does not appear to me to be a life of “never do this.” Sex is permitted, adultery is forbidden. Drink is permitted, drunkenness is not . Jesus told the disciples to get a sword and pursue peace. Lying is clearly wrong unless you are Rahab protecting the spies. We want clean and neat categories (and leaders). But the Scriptures will not allow it.

2. The beach is basically people lying around in very colorful underwear.

3. Criticizing Joel Osteen is the theological equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. I assume this is part of the reason why there are so many high-profile pastors going after him. There is no risk. He is outside of their theological camp. The risk comes when you don’t just step away from men like Driscoll but publicly rebuke just as you promoted.

4. I’ve been listening to The Avett Brothers this week. I’d never really given them much of a chance but they kept showing up in a Pandora station and their songs kinda stay with you throughout the day till you have to listen to them again. I was afraid their being likable in their music was gonna leave me disappointed once I got to “know” through interviews, etc. But really, they are as likable as any group of musicians I’ve ever been exposed to.

5. We went to the beach over the weekend and all that time with Bethany makes it hard to go back to work. Not just because of vocational frustration but because of the time away.

6. The world is round. And so is pizza. This is a profound truth worth thinking on for a season.

7. It is hard to believe in a calling to the pastorate if one does not receive a call from a church. If you never make it past the initial phone conversation repeatedly, maybe, just maybe, the calling does not exist. It’s not proof, but it’s a word that should be listened to.

8. If you believe that porn objectifies women and turns them into sexual objects, what do you believe about action movies and video games full of violence? Are any of these helping anyone to love their enemy?

9. Compliments used to make criticism more palatable are darkness disguised as light.

10. There is an otherness to Jesus we have rejected.

12 thoughts on “Random Thoughts for the Weekend

  1. rsaenz September 5, 2014 / 8:44 am

    9. Compliments used to make criticism more palatable are darkness disguised as light.

    Would you elaborate on this? It’s an approach I use quite often, for several reasons.

    Requiring myself to sandwich criticism in positive observations helps me to keep the criticism in proper perspective. It also tells the one being criticized that my negative thoughts about them are limited. And it makes it clearer that my criticism is not simply an attack, hopefully opening up the hearer to hearing what I have to say, rather than just reacting defensively.

    John Alexander (Your Money or Your Life, The Secular Squeeze, Being Church) recommends this approach, in fact he presents it as a sort of spiritual practice for living in community, suggesting that we require ourselves to say five positive things about someone for every criticism.

    • mattbredmond September 7, 2014 / 6:20 am

      It’s not genuine is the problem. My guess is this is a managerial technique Christians have co-opted. This is not to say there are not times when a person needs to hear compliments and critiques together. Let’s just not bait and switch them.

      • rsaenz September 7, 2014 / 8:00 am

        Well, it’s a technique, and like all techniques it can be abused by employing it manipulatively rather than lovingly. But I think it can be employed lovingly as well. One good way to demonstrate that we have the good of the other person at heart is to make clear that we can see the good as well as the bad. And it can also help the critic to be more loving, i.e. if they can’t see the good as well as the bad, perhaps the more loving thing would be to stay silent.

      • mattbredmond September 7, 2014 / 8:11 am

        If the compliment is “used” to make the criticism more palatable then it is not loving at all. Let’s not use compliments.

    • rsaenz September 7, 2014 / 8:43 am

      Perhaps criticism should be reserved for books. Although I agree with the principle behind the criticism sandwich, I’m hard pressed to recall an occasion when I actually discussed someone’s shortcomings with them–even my kids! There are other, better ways, just not easy ones.

      • mattbredmond September 7, 2014 / 10:16 am

        I think that’s very true. It’s not easy. In fact very hard.

  2. Andrew September 5, 2014 / 8:58 am

    Pandora loves the avett brothers. I had similar fears as you, I had free tickets to see them live in Brooklyn, and my greatest fear was seeing skinny jeaned hipsters hold up swaying lighters when they sang “I and love and you” (in particular the part when they say Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in)…was very pleasantly surprised, they are super talented and entertaining. Plus they’re southern boys.

  3. lgmcintosh September 6, 2014 / 7:53 am

    Thank you for these thoughts, Matt. I agree with everything, but I thought of something funny.. honestly I don’t know where it is, or if I imagined it. But in regards to no. 9., compliments, I am not sure, but, I believe there is a proverb that says something like, ….never compliment your neighbor early in the morning, or they may take it as a curse!….I am going to try to find it.

    But isn’t that funny? It goes with what you were saying. I used to read the proverbs at the foot of my bed every morning. There are some really funny ones…like the one I have to use with Momma sometimes..”it’s better to sit on the corner of a roof, than share a house with a quarrelsome wife!” Haha!

    Thank you for your posts, they help me grow in my walk.
    Lynn McIntosh
    Roswell, GA

  4. Becky September 6, 2014 / 8:01 pm

    I’d love your thoughts on that last one…

    • mattbredmond September 7, 2014 / 6:28 am

      We rightly like the otherness of Jesus when it comes to his justifying work on the cross. We need that otherness since he is the only One Who can save us from our sins. But his otherness when it come to our sanctification is rejected. If sanctification is the process by which we are made holy. And Jesus is the holiest one who ever lived, we should look at his life and learn holiness. But his otherness – his being altogether outside of our expectations is rejected. We want well-adjusted, respectable, starched shirt leaders. And we want to be that.

      • Becky September 7, 2014 / 7:29 am

        Thank you, Matt.

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