As I hinted yesterday, there's been a bit of controversy in a few blogs lately. You can see some of the aftermath at Real Live Preacher - 90 comments and counting on his decision to remove his last essay. Controversy on blogs is hardly newsworthy. There are a few reasons I care in this case. One of them is that I think I sent one of the people over who reacted a bit harshly to RLP's first post, so I feel a bit responsible. This isn't the first time either. When people start to get hurt, I start to care. I don't think this controversy deserves too much time. But I do have a couple of thoughts, one today, and one (I hope) tomorrow. Two thoughts is pretty good for me. ;) Some people seem to think that the stricter view always wins. I've seen this in a few places this past week: don't do this and don't do that and you're okay. Do these things (watch movies with certain language, use certain language, support a certain political party, even talk honestly about something that happened accidentally) and you're clearly ungodly, maybe even not a Christian. I just happened to be teaching on Colossians 2 yesterday, the latter part of the chapter. It turns out that this was exactly the problem Paul was addressing. The stricter party was trying to impose their views on the others. They looked a lot holier, and their standards are a lot stricter. In most churches, these would be the heroes. But not to Paul. "Don't let anyone judge you...don't let anyone disqualify you." Paul had some pretty harsh things to say to those who impose their standards of Christian morality ("Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!") on others in the chapter. That sure makes me think. This isn't a license to do anything. It is a statement of freedom, though. If you've been set free, don't ever let anyone - no matter how well-intentioned - shackle you with their rules, which lack any value and only lead to pride. You've been set free. Don't ever look back.

Ron Martoia's Vortex Download

Vortex Mental Download is just the eclectic injection you need on a monthly basis. This random resource download is meant to help you ask the right questions and even to learn how to ask the right questions about the questions you are asking. How often are you spending time hunting mice when you could be slaying elephants? How much energy do you spend trying to buttress you weakness instead of building on islands of health and strength? What are the hot theological issues you are feeling a bit ill equipped to process all alone? How do you reflect upon these theological issues and make adjustments in your practice as a leader? What emerging trends will impact the context of your organization? These are the questions of leadership. But there are a whole host of issues critical to all people not just leaders. Like the question or personal purpose, or core values, the challenges of growing in emotional intelligence and how that lays a foundation for relationship. What are the key 4 things all kids should leave the home with by the time they are 18 and moving on? What is the process that we go through to see transformation happen in our lives? How are habits formed, bad ones broken and new ones reformed? These issues and tons more are applicable to everyone.
Both editions (personal and leadership) are now available.

Joel Osteen

Arthur asks:
I've been thinking about this all weekend. Don't know Joel Osteen. May I ask why it is such a crisis for him to be the most popular preacher in America?
It's not my style to do exposes of other preachers. Just as well, because Michael Spencer has done it for us. He believes (rightfully, I think) that we should be concerned. Backing up a bit: I believe one of our major tasks over the next decade will be to re-articulate the Gospel, not just at a theological level, but at the level of every church. Can't help but get excited about that.


So RLP has taken down the post I linked to. Supposedly some found it offensive. Curiosity got the best of me, so I found the original post in a cache and read the comments. I was shocked. Some people (two, actually) found the post inappropriate in ways that I couldn't have imagined. I don't think it's exaggerating to say they read into the post things that weren't there. It's been a bad week. This is the third friend who's been hurt by this type of thing. I'm speechless. More to come... Update: Michael Spencer nails it in the comments:
It was one of your best and that is saying a lot. Put it back up. Luther would look at these critics, take a drink, belch loudly and laugh at them. You're nicer than Luther, but you get the point.