Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion- Prop Edition

I have a new article up on Ministry Matters- You're a Prop, and that's OK.

I'm responding to a recent episode of the Homebrewed Christianity podcast in which a former pastor says that one of the downsides of this vocation is that "you are a prop" in many events like weddings and funerals that are supposed to be sacred and worshipful.

My contention is that even if people are requesting the presence of a clergy-person for the "wrong" reasons, it still gives the pastor the opportunity to have significant interaction with people they would not normally get to relate to. A pastor may start off as a prop, but they can make the most of the opportunity with the right attitude.

I wrote the article a few weeks ago. It just posted today, but given a recent video of a priest who went off on a wedding photographer (the editor thankfully did a last minute link to the video in the article), the timing works out great!

Read the article and comment here or on Ministry Matters if you're so inclined. If you like it, please share it with others who might be interested. Thanks for reading!

Regarding the pastor in this video, the time to have such conversations with the photographer and or/ videographer is before the ceremony, but for all we know he may have and they didn't respect his request, or he may not have had the chance to. I've never had this problem, and I like to think I might have handled it a little bit differently, but I applaud him for pushing back and claiming his authority!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11

Anyone alive and old enough to be conscious of what was happening remembers where they were on September 11, 2001, when they heard that we were being attacked. For Generation X the Millennial Generation (I am a member of both since 1980 is the overlap), 9/11 is what Pearl Harbor was for the Greatest Generation and JFK's assassination was for the Baby Boomers.

I was a junior in college, eating cereal in a bedroom I shared with two other guys in my fraternity house. I was a couple years into my first youth ministry job, so I spent quite a bit of time processing the events with middle and high schoolers as well as my college peers.

Preachers have to come up with ten to fifteen minutes of new material every single week, so how I process and reflect on many issues usually ends up in sermons in one way or another. How I have reflected on 9/11 and the many issues it brings up is no exception, so instead of writing a lengthy post, I will simply share two messages where I share some of these reflections.

The first one, "The Renewed Creation" was part of a series on Romans. The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks happened to be on a Sunday, and the events were at the forefront of everyone's mind that morning. We reflected how God's sanctifying grace draws us out of being primarily self centered into reflecting on God's other-centered love.

The second message, "Terror and Resurrection", was shared the Sunday following the Boston Marathon bombings. That week also saw the manhunt that killed one of the bombers playing out on live TV, and a huge chemical plant explosion in Texas. The senselessness of violence and death was very much on everyone's minds, much like on 9/11. We reflected on how, in the face of terror and senseless violence, followers of Jesus witness to the God who enters into our suffering and breaks the power of death, claiming "Resurrection" as the last word.

How do you remember the events of twelve years ago today? Where were you that day? How have your memories changed over time?

Monday, September 02, 2013

got questions? The Bible

We've begun a new series of messages at Arlington called "got questions?"

Over the summer, people submitted questions they have about God, church, faith, etc. Each week, we're taking one question (or a group of closely related questions) and addressing it. Most of the questions people submitted are of such depth that we can't claim to answer them, but we hope that in our reflecting together, we'll be challenged to grow and hopefully come away with better questions than we started with.

We got a lot of good questions about the Bible. What is it? How did this collection of books come to be? What do we make of it? What is this whole "taking it literally" thing about and is that the only faithful way to read it? (spoiler alert- NO!!!)

The audio of the message is below. You can listen here, on our website, or subscribe in iTunes.

A few minutes in, we reference a video whose audio had to be cut out because of copyright restrictions. "Our friend, Chuck" is Chuck Knows Church, and the episode about the Bible is below, as well.

As always, questions and comments are welcome as long as they are respectful and on topic.