Not Comfortable With Driscoll

I was given a book by Mark Driscoll recently, Confessions of a Reformission Rev. I plan to read it soon. But I must say that I was once a big fan of this hard hitting preacher guy. I liked his smash you in the face style, his anti-Pharisaical approach. He enjoys a beer with the best of ’em! In fact in a recent article in the NY Times one member of Driscoll’s congregation was quoted as saying ; Driscoll’s theology “changed how I view women,” Conklin says. He quit going to strip clubs and now refuses to tattoo others with his old specialty, pinup girls (though he still wears two on one arm, souvenirs from earlier, godless days). Mars Hill [Driscoll’s Church] counts four of the city’s top tattoo artists among its members (and many of their clientele). While other churches left people like Conklin feeling alienated, Mars Hill has made them its missionaries.

But, a lot of Driscoll’s stuff leaves me feeling that he has taken a picture of Jesus as a soft limp wristed boy band lover and simply reversed it rather than corrected it. He has made Jesus out to be a macho footy loving, head kicking, violent ‘dude’ who quite frankly I would rather not want to meet. The end result of making your view of Jesus as a head kicker is a theology and an ecclesiology that looks like this;

Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

Hmmm, not happy with that Jan!

The NY Times article finishes with;

Others say that Driscoll’s ego and taste for controversy will be Mars Hill’s Achilles’ heel. Lately he has made a concerted effort to tone down his language, and he insists that he has delegated much authority, but the heart of his message has not changed. Driscoll is still the one who gazes down upon Mars Hill’s seven congregations most Sundays, his sermons broadcast from the main campus to jumbo-size projection screens around the city. At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage — until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view.



Sydney Anglican Youth Ministry Conference

I am heading over to Sydney to meet with the Youth Vision Australia crew next week. We thought that we may as well take in a conference whilst there.
The Sydney Anglican youth department (YouthWorks) are running this Theology of Youth Ministry conference. It looks quite the academic style conference you would expect from the Sydney Anglicans. The week before the conference, all the speakers notes come out in a PDF.

This one caught my attention. The speaker is Graham Stanton, Principal of the Youth Works Bible college. His topic? All Things to All People? The Incarnation and Relational Youth Ministry.

In his notes are the following thoughts and reflections on a book by English Youth Minister and Author Pete Ward;

This incarnational approach (also referred to as ‘relational outreach’) follows five
basic stages: contact, extended contact, proclamation, nurture and church. The aim is
to move young people who are well outside the social group of the existing church to
see them established in their own church, one where the gospel is contextualised
within their own culture. The process seeks to establish a relationship (contact:
‘going to places where [young people] naturally “hung out”’ p.47), and develop that
relationship (extended contact: ‘moves a relationship physically away from the point
of contact’, with the youth worker ‘signalling that [the young people] are significant
to him’ and the youth are ‘expressing an acceptance of the youth minister’, p.53).
The aim of this relationship building is to move to a significant new stage when the
youth worker looks for opportunities to proclaim the gospel message. The
importance of contact and extended contact as pre-cursors to this stage is summed up
in the imperative (attributed to Jim Rayburn, founder of Young Life) that youth
workers ‘earn the right to speak’ (p.60).
Once young people make a response to the gospel the focus of the ministry moves to
nurture and church. Notable in Ward’s approach is that this work of discipleship
needs to be done outside existing church groups. Ward notes, ‘we are hoping that the
faith can become real within their own subcultural setting’ (p.63). The final outcome
will be a new church where the gospel is ‘contextualised amongst a group of people
who were not previously part of the Church. The hope is that Jesus can become real
within the subculture which these people share’ (p.18).

(italics mine)

Wow! Sounds like a Forge conference to me! Not sure the S.Anglican crew would recognize it as such, but boy, some of the stuff being suggested looks like something from Neil Coles Organic Church or as I said, a speaker at a Forge gig. Well they say there is nothing new under the sun, and if God is making moves to disrupt the way we have done church and church planting for a while who says it will not be coming out from all sorts of places, in fact it would be arrogant of me to ever think Forge or even the emerging church in general has some right to claim ideas such as the above as their own – they are starting to leak out in all sorts of odd places! Must be God 🙂

Another Gem From David Timms

Our group (The Joondalup Thing) has many ongoing conversations. In fact one thing I love about our group is the ongoing nature and feel of the group between our more formal (?) gatherings. I would be a rich man if I got a dollar for every email sent during the week between our small group of friends. This week 2 themes have been thrown around at least by a small handful of us.
1. Is God a sexist? (Gender struggles)
2. Do we ‘bring people’ to something, an event a meeting to hear a preacher to meet the pastor? (Is our event any more or less sacred than when I go to my neighbours for coffee?)

David Timms who speaks into our group often via his weekly writings speaks well into some of the issues in this weeks thoughts.

“The Reformation principle of ‘the priesthood of all believers’ … teaches us that ‘the plow boy and the milk maid’ can do priestly work.
But even more profoundly it teaches us that the plow boy in his plowing and the milk maid in her milking are in fact doing priestly work.”
~ Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, p.266.

Our Priestly Calling

The debate over women in ministry, the practice of only clergy baptizing converts, and the inordinate reverence attributed to the ordained, generally ignores the priesthood of all believers. Gender struggles, class distinctions, and specialist ministries create strange complications for this simple kingdom truth.

More than that, misunderstanding our vocation—our calling—robs us of the rich life Christ intended. Whoever submits to the Lordship of Christ and commits themself by faith to Him has a priestly calling.

The folk who officiate at our worship services and read Scripture at weddings and funerals play a valuable role among us. But if we insist that they alone are “ministers” or “priests” we deny our privilege and neglect our responsibility.

The implications reach far beyond this short reflection, but I suggest at least the following few points to consider.

First, the priesthood of all believers—biblically speaking—has no hierarchy among the believers and no distinctions between young and old, male and female, race, class, or heritage.

Second, the world is our sanctuary for ministry—not a building on Third and Main Streets that we open on Sunday mornings.

Third, it’s not that we sometimes do priestly things (pray, preach, or pastor) but everything we do becomes sacred. Whether we’re balancing budgets for large corporations or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, cooking meals or manufacturing ball-bearings—whatever we do in word or deed is now done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17)

Fourth, every one of us, at all times, in all places, with all people, function as priests. This is the dream of God. “And I shall make them a kingdom of priests.” (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10) That means we constantly highlight the Presence of Christ among us, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Just as the ancient Jewish priests gathered around the Holy of Holies and helped the people connect with God, so do we, whether we’re driving trucks, tutoring school children, or selling insurance.

We are priests in our work and as we work. If we can grasp the glorious significance of this truth, it will dramatically change our view of ourselves and those around us. The Lord has not called us to occasional sacred tasks. Instead, He desires to sanctify every task in our lives, from writing to wood-working, from plumbing to praying.

The artificial barriers between paid and unpaid kingdom-servants hinders our appropriation of this truth. Every follower of Christ brings the holy place to the world. May we do so more this week and grow in this grace.


Hot Topic

I had one of those conversations you have that you reflect on later and think, “I never thought those people actually existed who believe that”. It just goes to show how ignorant I am!
A pastor at the COCWA/Baptist ministers retreat this week made the comment over dinner, “I can’t believe there are God loving Christians out there that believe in the global warming conspiracy!”
I was dumbfounded, this guy is an awesome guy, down to earth, fun to be with – but … woooo!
I could only respond with, “Well I can’t believe there are Christ following people out there that don’t believe in global warming and wont act on any kind of creation care and responsibility for the planet God gave us stewardship over!”

Well that made for a quiet moment in what had been a great dinner conversation to that point 🙂

Well we both put out our case strongly and went our separate ways in good relationship, but I continue to be alarmed!
Of all the people in the world that should be at the forfront of environmental action and concern it should be God fearing bible believing Christ followers!
Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, but either way why not join a TEAR open forum and discussion panel on the 29th May.

Hot Gospel For A Warming Planet

I am involved with a TEAR group that spends it’s time considering the Kingdom issues around global warming and creation care. We desire to educate and inform believers of the importance of creation care and the ramification on our planet if something is not done at many levels (personal, community and political) about our warming planet.
This is our first open gathering;

Stuff We Use

Have you ever considered that caring for our planet is one of your values?
What about reducing your waste (no not your waist!!)?
Recycling? Using less?
Living in smaller communities, closer to home?
Considering the lives of the people who produce the stuff we consume in our western culture?
Do you consider ‘Creation Care’ a part of your stewardship?

Are these some of your values?

Then you will enjoy and maybe even be challenged by this teaching clip. (Which is being Temperamental today)

It kind of says it all, sit down take a few minutes. I think kids should watch it too, I guess tweenagers upwards.

Here is a great (or not so great) quote, quoted in the video by the commentator, it was said by Victor Lebeau, a leading post war economist-

“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption … we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating rate.”

Hirsch on Bonhoeffer…on Dischipleship

going troppo! the way of obedience

By Alan Hirsch on the forgotten ways

Bonhoeffer believed that the only way to truly comprehend the revelation of God in scripture is by approaching it with the pre-commitment to obey it. For those interested in weird theological terms, he calls this ‘tropological exegesis’ or simply ‘tropology’. Bonhoeffer can therefore speak of discipleship as a ‘problem of exegesis’ and goes on to say, “By eliminating simple obedience on principle, we drift into an unevangelical interpretation of the Bible.” So, if we never obey God we can never understand or follow him. Simply believing right doctrine is not enough. As followers of Jesus, we have to start obeying long before we know and understand much of Him whom we obey. More than that, if we take obedience out of the equation, we cannot even hope to truly understand the bible. Calvin can claim that true knowledge of God is born out of obedience, and to obey takes us to the path of action, of praxis, of goodness…


Again, Al has written some challenging stuff here on his blog (thought he was having some time off after teaching, obviously his brain still works in his down times!!) I love Bonhoeffer and particularly his comments on discipleship and obedience. This stuff gets to the heart of it!

This is Odd!

About to be taken in the Rapture and don’t have time to pack, much less say goodbye to loved ones who’ll be “Left Behind”? Well, now you can say those goodbyes in advance with a Rapture Letter.

As the site says:

“I have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven.”

Now I wonder how a computer program can detect the Rapture…

Found it here.

Great Discussion on Consumerism

Mark sent me a link to a good panel discussion on consumerism in reference to my post below, the guys on the panel were;

John Ortberg, teaching pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Northern California, and author of many books, including The Life You’ve Always Wanted (Zondervan, 2002).

Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, and author of Preaching Reimagined (Zondervan, 2005).

Efrem Smith, pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and author of The Hip-Hop Church (IVP, 2006).

Will Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the author of several books, including Pastor: A Reader for Ordained Ministry (Abingdon, 2002).

Here is how it finishes, I like this –

On the positive side, we can also help people experience the joy of generosity. One of the coolest messages I ever heard on giving was by Shane Claiborne, who is part of a community that advocates for poor and homeless folks in Philadelphia.

When I was in Chicago, he spoke to one of our services. And at the end he said, “When I’m done here tonight, I’m going to go be with some homeless folks in Chicago, and a lot of them don’t have shoes. And they need shoes. So I’m just asking anybody who’s willing, take your shoes off, bring them up here, and I’ll take them into the city.”

There ended up being 1,500 pairs of shoes left after the service, and people went home in their socks.

Smith: Generosity is one antidote to consumerism. And instead of just talking about money, I try to talk about it in the context of a bigger issue, which is stewardship. We cheapen stewardship by making stewardship just about money. It’s time, talent, treasure and temple. In that context, I try to talk about stewardship as much as I possibly can.

Some preachers say it’s easier to preach about money than about entertainment. How do you speak to the spiritual issues related to amusing ourselves?
Ortberg: If Jesus was preaching today, one of the forms of fasting he might talk about would be fasting from media. So about once a year or so, I’ll challenge people to go for a week without watching TV or DVDs and just see what happens. Because a really good way to find out the role that something plays in your life is to abstain from it for a while.

The word boredom has come into common usage only in the last 150 years. Ancient Greeks had no word for boredom. Ironically, when people didn’t have all the sources of stimulation that we have become dependent on, they didn’t have the experience of boredom. It’s like we have these internal mental muscles, the ability to focus attention, which has just gotten enormously weak.

So sometimes I talk about how good it is to not be dependent on outside stimulation to have a rich inner life. People want that.

Source here.

Who Will Go To Heaven?

I often ponder who I will meet in heaven. Gandhi? Mother Theresa? The Local Jehovah’s Witness? The nice lady who loves everyone who lives down the road? Pat Robertson? Bill Hybles? My Nanna? Will I actually be there to meet them all?
Now I know the righteous amongst us will answer “Oh it’s not for you to know these things Scott, God judges these issues, you just need to worry about being faithful”
Hmmm – Good. But I often have discussions with people about folks (like Gandhi for example) who follow the teachings of Christ, the lifestyle of Christ and so on, but would never call them self a Christian. They may even say “I follow Christ”, but also follow other teachings and philosophies and even gods.
Below is a quote from a guy who is an atheist, well maybe agnostic, but he is reading the New Testament with an open mind simple out of curiosity…will I meet him in heaven?

“I may (and have) gained value from this exercise thus far and will probably see more. But I don’t deign to call myself “Christian”. Frankly I doubt I could live up to that title. I don’t pray, I don’t go to church and I don’t talk about Christ in my “normal” life. I cuss, I drink and I hate Pat Robertson (although I do love Tammy Baker). I appreciate and honor the ideals of Jesus Christ. How could you not? Respect, love and appreciation are ideas anyone should uphold. But I don’t take them lightly and I feel they ultimately are things people should create and discover from within.”