evangelicalism

Times I'm ashamed to be a Christian, part whatever

When he got home his mother (my sister) and father were waiting inside for him. My sister wept as he came into the house and asked him “what did I do wrong?” Her husband told him that “he wasn’t raised to be queer” and that he needed to be cured of his sin. They had already notified their church’s pastor and youth pastor. The church told them to send him there for a conference immediately after he got home.

My nephew got into the car and decided he didn’t need to be cured of anything. Instead, he decided he was headed to my house in Florida. He knew here that he would find love, compassion, and understanding. He knew if he went to the church he’d be ridiculed and told that he was defective and needed to be “cured”. He told me a story of how a boy in his youth group committed suicide a few years ago and in his suicide note he admitted he was gay. He had been convinced that he didn’t deserve to live since he couldn’t be cured of homosexuality. (I know that sounds crazy, but some people actually think like that.) My nephew didn’t want to be like that.

- Outed and kicked out of school

OK, I know it’s America, and they do things differently there. But still: “he knew if he went to the church he’d be ridiculed and told that he was defective.” That’s what we look like to people, and probably for good reason.

I am ashamed. Read more about Times I'm ashamed to be a Christian, part whatever


Pete Ward on selling revival as worship

Revivalism was based on the ability to ‘sell’ evangelism. In the last twenty years, however, the market for this born-again product has declined in the United States and has all but collapsed in the United Kingdom. As evangelism as event and product has waned, it has been replaced by worship as the chief activity and emphasis for Evangelical Christians… Some of the faces have changed, and festivals such as Soul Survivor have burst onto the scene, but the culture of production has remained the same. The one key difference, however, is that now revivalism is selling worship and not evangelism, and intimacy rather than conversion.

- Pete Ward, “Selling Revival as Worship”

I see that in my own experience - churches which once focused on evangelistic initiatives are reinventing themselves as glorified record producers. Hillsongs has an awful lot to answer for. Read more about Pete Ward on selling revival as worship


"Denomination"

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I like the idea of reusing and rehabilitating words that have fallen out of fashion. At a time when others are struggling to call themselves “mission partners” or “overseas workers”, at least partially to avoid the “missionary” stereotype - pith helmets, white suits and a complete lack of cultural sensitivity - I happily call myself a “missionary” precisely because I want to butt up against that stereotype and make people think.

But I’m finding it doesn’t work for all words. Take, for instance, the word “denomination”… Read more about "Denomination"


Where there is no vision...

…the people perish. At least, that’s what it says in Proverbs, (29:18) and so, despite the second part of the verse clearly reminding us that it’s talking about a vision of God, (in the Bible it’s a fair bet that most things are about God) hundreds of pastors have seen in this verse a Biblical mandate for them to construct a church Vision Statement.

Now having a Vision Statement and having a vision are two separate things - and if you want your church to have a vision of God it’s almost always better for them not to have a vision statement - but let’s leave that for the moment and have a think about what makes a good and what makes a not-so-good vision statement. Read more about Where there is no vision...


Biblical Inerrancy once again

I was about to write something about how evangelical authors (I was looking particularly at Chris Wright, in his “Mission of God”) do not take canon formation seriously, because if they did, then Chicago-inerrancy gets a bit fuzzy and then they realise they don’t have a magisterium. All die, oh the embarrassment.

And then along came this quote, which is superb: Read more about Biblical Inerrancy once again



Transparency is Accountability

I'm (thoroughly enjoying) writing an IT strategy for a large church, and one of the things I want to get across is the benefits of openness with information, whether that means blogging, Twitter, engaging in discussions and forums about church teaching. This is an idea that the leadership are apparently unhappy about, since they want to keep fairly tight hold on authority for teaching and doctrine and what gets said in the name of the church, and if people start questioning what the pastor says in his sermons then where will we be. (In other words, all that unpleasantness in 1517 didn't change a bloody thing.)