Archive for March, 2009

Unexpected Currents

March 25th, 2009 No comments

Have you ever spent any time in the ocean?

My in-laws have a house in southern Orange County. Whenever we visit, we go down to the same beach near their home. So we stake out a place on the beach and then we go out into the surf to swim and splash around.

I enjoy bobbing in the surf. I love the feeling when a wave comes along and lifts me up like I don’t weigh a thing. Then I’ll look over and see everyone else it lifts up and I’ll get a sense of the ocean’s size and power. Then a wave will flip me over and rub me into the sand and gravel just as easily, and that part isn’t so much fun. But it’s not so bad either, so I stay out there until the next wave comes along and keep doing it two, three, four, five times.

Read more…

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Read and Comment

March 19th, 2009 No comments

From Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy:

The “real” world has little room for a God of sparrows and children. To it, Jesus can only seem “otherworldly” — a good-hearted person out of touch with reality. Yes, it must be admitted that he is influential, but only because he affirms what weak-minded and fainthearted individuals fantasize in the face of a brutal world. He is like a cheerleader who continues to shout, “We are going to win,” though the score is 98 to 3 against us in the last minute of the game.

When this cheerleading approach to the “real world” triumphs among those who profess Christ, they may then have faith in faith but will have little faith in God. For God and his world are just not “real” to them. They may believe in believing but not be able to rely on God — like many in our current culture who love love but in practice are unable to love real people. They may believe in prayer, think it quite a good thing, but be unable to pray believing and so will rarely, if ever, pray at all.

(On pp. 90-91.)

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08B Update

March 10th, 2009 No comments

Unofficially, the vote at Presbytery today on Amendment 08B was 42/53/2. That is to say, 42 in favor, 53 against, and 2 recommending no action.

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March 10th, 2009 No comments

Here’s what I said at Presbytery today.

When I began the process of discerning my call to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, the leaders of my church encouraged me to participate in a discernment group. So one evening I sad down with a group of people to discuss with me, in detail, all the things I was experiencing as my sense of call. It was very helpful to me in deciding to pursue my call to the ministry, along with the ongoing care I received from my Presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry. Over the next several years, as I went through seminary, I was encouraged by the knowledge that I was not in it myself. I knew that while anyone could be wrong in discerning God’s call, at least I was not alone.

It was about 17 years ago that I first became a Christian through the ministry of a PC(USA) church. During that period, I admit I have not always been paying attention, but my impression is that we, as a denomination, have been debating ordination standards as long as I have been following Christ.

My question today is whether, during these many years, we have already discerned God’s leading. I wonder if we have already heard God’s call through our own deliberations as a denomination. Through the witness of our brothers and sisters in other denominations here in North America. And especially through the witness of the world church.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Just this morning, I was reading about Joshua and Caleb. I read how they argued as a minority against the other 10 men who had spied out the land with them. So I might be wrong. But as I reflect on my own experience of communal discernment, I wonder if we, by continuing to revisit the question of ordination standards, are less like Caleb and Joshua, and more like Gideon. Are we continuing to cast a fleece on the ground to discern God’s leading? And if we are, how many more time must we cast it?

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Morongo Basin Leadership Prayer Breakfast

March 7th, 2009 No comments

I’m looking forward to the Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Friday. The speaker is Mark Joseph. All I know about him is what Google tells me. I got this bio from his column at the Huffington Post:

Mark Joseph is a multi-media producer, columnist and author. His books include Pop Goes Religion, Faith, God & Rock ‘n’ Roll , and The Rock & Roll Rebellion. His latest book is Sarah Barracuda: The Rise Of Sarah Palin. His writings have appeared in publications like Billboard Magazine, Beliefnet, Christianity Today, The Jewish Press, Fox, NRO, and others.

The event is at 7:30 a.m. at the Community Center in Joshua Tree. It is sponsored by the Morongo Basin Evangelical Pastor’s Fellowship.

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Spring Forward? But It’s Still Winter!

March 7th, 2009 No comments

Yecch. Daylight Savings Time begins earlier than ever this year. (They haven’t changed it again, it’s just that the second Sunday of March occurs 6 days earlier this year.)

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