Pastors complaining about congregations

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together:
A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men. When a person becomes alienated from a Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to see whether the trouble is not due to his own wish dream that should be shattered by God; and if this be the case, let him thank God for leading him into this predicament. But if not, let him nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him to what he is committed to do, and thank God.

The Blogging Church

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Just saw an ad for this book:

Brian Bailey makes two things crystal clear in this book: if you've got a church, then you need to spread your story. And if you need to spread your story, blogs are now an essential tool. Time to pay attention!”--Seth Godin, author, Small Is the New Big

The Blogging Church offers church leaders a field manual for using the social phenomenon of blogs to connect people and build communities in a whole new way. Inside you will find the why, what, and how of blogging in the local church...

The book includes contributions from five of the most popular bloggers in the world—Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Kathy Sierra, Guy Kawasaki, and Merlin Mann, as well as interviews with blogging pastors such as Mark Driscoll, Craig Groeschel, Tony Morgan, Perry Noble, Greg Surratt, Mark Batterson, and many more.

Interesting!

Bird brain

At the gym where I work out, there's a red cardinal on the other side of the glass by the treadmills and elliptical machines. It's been there for days, and it does nothing but try to fly through the window. Persistent, but not very smart. I was thinking about how small a brain this bird must have to spend its days doing this. Then I wondered what the bird must think of the people it watches every day on our side of the glass, frantically sweating on treadmills that don't go anywhere... I decided to think about something else.

What can we give to people?

This post is from the defunct blog "Dying Church"

Brad Hightower asks if we're offering people the church or the kingdom:

What the church offers is programs and teaching. In other words, the church offers people church. The real problem with the church in America is that we convert people to church and not the kingdom. BUT if we in the home church, simple church, organic church simply convert people to daily, authentic church as opposed to weekly superficial church, we are merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titantic. The problem with the mainstream church, and I believe the mainstream church is on its death bed in America, is that church life does not necessitate authentic spirituality and does not model the life in the kingdom. Life in the kingdom is living daily filled with the power of presence of Jesus Christ through the daily imitation of Jesus Christ in community...

We do not baptize people into the Church, we baptize people into Christ. We are offering people a daily relationship with the living risen Jesus Christ. Jesus is alive. Jesus is powerful. Jesus delivers. Nothing short of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit will deliver those around us.

The whole post is worth reading and re-reading.

via

Rethinking the gospel

Ron Martoia, author of Static, understands what happens when someone challenges our understanding of the gospel.

I confess that the first time I grappled with these concepts, I had a hard time. I felt there must be some mistake, that the people introducing me to these concepts must surely be misguided...

I know my experience is not unusual, because I have helped others take the same journey. In talking about this topic for the past several years, I have found that people have a lot of emotional investment in making sure that what they have believed in the past is in fact correct. I have seen person after person first get defensive, and then courageously examine and explore the archives of experience that are informing their definitions. Then they begin the process of exploring whether this thing they have never heard before is perhaps a better, richer, more nuanced, more beautiful, more complete and engaging way to tell the story.

Ron suggests something that, in theory, most evangelicals should agree with: that we should let the Bible define the gospel. The problem is that we have been taught things about the gospel that are extrabiblical, but we're not always aware of this. Words like gospel and repentance start to carry extrabiblical meanings, which we read back into the biblical text.

The language we use is loaded with baggage—namely, that many times our own understanding of the concepts we are trying to communicate is flawed, incomplete, or downright wrong. This may be hard to swallow, but frankly, it's true.

Take, for instance, the gospel. Ron suggests:

We have reduced the gospel and abbreviated the story. We have decided that "the gospel" is all about getting people a seat in the heavenly stadium. But what if tickets on the fifty-yard line in heaven are at best a by-product of the gospel and the newsflash is something quite different? Is it possible that the breaking headline has a lot more backstory to it than we've been letting on?

What Ron is really suggesting is something I really value: that we recapture a theocentric gospel, which helps us locate our part in a "still-unfolding story" and understand that our "personal stories have meaning and value in a larger narrative framework."

Years ago, J.I. Packer wrote, "To recover the old, authentic, biblical gospel, and to bring our preaching and practice back into line with it, is perhaps our most pressing present need." I agree. For those of us who are ready to take up this challenge, Static is a challenging read that leads us to ask exactly the right questions that can lead to real transformation.

Find out more about Static at Amazon.com | Amazon.ca.