Friday, August 10, 2007

overheard: on not transforming the culture

yesterday's edition of christianity today online featured an article entitled, on not transforming the culture by mark galli, the senior managing editor of CT. when i first read this article, i found it intriguing because it seems to call evangelicals away from a niebuhrian focus on transforming culture towards a more individualistic focus upon discipling individuals and setting up the church as an institution that is contra culture.

i think that galli's work is interesting insofar as it reminds us that "transforming the world" is an end rather than an effective means of Christian work. however, i'm afraid that his argument oversimplifies the diverse idea of mission that is presented in the NT and his apparent elevation of the individual over the system is both historically evangelical and problematic. i have more to say about this, but i have to go teach a class.

please take a few moments to read the article, chew on the quote below and join the conversation.

"We are certainly responsible for going to the ends of the earth and making disciples from people of every nation. There is plenty in Scripture about doing justice and loving mercy and feeding the hungry and caring for the widow and orphan. But I find little or nothing about us having the task of transforming the culture.

We fall into this rhetoric because we know the problems we face are huge and we feel so small. We worry that if we don't boldly proclaim that we can "change the world," everybody will give up before we even begin. We all face the common temptation of Adam and Eve. We want to feel significant. We want to feel like we're players. We want to make a difference in the world. And only by imagining that we can change the world do we think our actions have any meaning."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

historically inaccurate, but funny

historically accurate and funny

Monday, August 06, 2007

words of wisdom, quotable quotes

when i received a personal update email from a close friend this morning, i was amazed by the following quote. i would like to say more, but i really need to get to work:

"I have been thinking about the fact that we idolize ministry among the "marginalized." We want to minister to these folks because that's who Jesus was especially concerned about... but even in our churches we want them on the margins. We don't want to give them the microphone... at least not for more than a quick 2-5 minute testimony. The rest of the time we want someone "educated," "balanced" and "together" up front, keeping order. But real ministry among the "marginalized" makes you marginalized! It is messy and unruly and uneducated and emotional and gutsy and shabby and embarrassing. It's hard to be in fellowship with those who are hard-core, right wing republican / homophobic and loud about it! Ugh! What do we do? Stay and give? Stay and be embarrassed and frustrated?"


last night i and a couple of my closest had an opportunity to catch bill mallonee at club passim in harvard square. by all accounts it was a remarkable evening filled with unexpectedly delicious vegan pizza, an extended set of heartbreakers by bill and a chance to catch up with bill and his lovely wife muriah rose.
there are so many things i could say about bill and his music, but since i've got an appointment in five i'll settle for this one. after spending years engaged in an important conversation about deconstructing and reconstructing church bill's music and life constantly remind me of the need to keep deconstructing myself. for it is only when i shine the lights through the cracks and coax my inadequacies into consciousness that i am prepared to receive the heart-wrenching, wholly undeserved, reconstructive grace of Christ. in sum, bill constantly reminds me that mortifying truth is always preferable to half-concealed hypocrisy.

i love the way that man lives the gospel and am certainly better for his (however limited) companionship on this journey.

now, back to building all things up.