Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Heaven Is the Face

Back in the day, I was big fan of Steven Curtis Chapman. As I got older and away from college, I tended to move away from the evangelical Christianity of my youth towards mainline Protestant Christianity, and that meant listened to a lot less contemporary Christian music.

But even though I don't listen to it as much anymore, I still do every so often. Chapman is one of those singers I've enjoyed even if I don't always agree with his theology.

His latest single is a song that was written in the aftermath of losing his daughter in a freak accident a year ago. Below is a slideshow of this new song called "Heaven Is the Face" where he sings that heaven is not always so far away.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Where Am I Going? Hell If I Know.

This summer, I started a morning prayer time before worship. As church things go, it was moderately successful, especially for the summer.

I've been wondering if I want to continue it into the fall and I have this gut sense to keep on going, but I want to do it a bit differently. I really want it to be a time of coming before God in prayer and silence. I want some time where people can simply experience God.

I've been thinking about using a variety of materials that are out there, especially from the emergent community. I'm thinking of using the Missio Dei Breviary for some Sundays, maybe the Emergent Psalter on other Sundays, and definitely the Painted Prayerbook.

Of course, I am doing this in typical aspie fashion: just doing it.

I can't logically explain why I'm doing this, just that I see a need for it and well, this might seem selfish, but I need it. I need a time to be quiet and enter mystery.

Now comes the hard part: getting people interested in participating. I'm not that good in drawing people to events (my lack of a charismatic personality).

Well, if God is leading me to this, then maybe I will leave that to God.

Feel free to share any ideas!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

We All Fall Down

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports this morning that the pastor of a new church start in the Southern suburbs of the Twin Cities was arrested in a prostitution ring.

Looking at the church website, one can see that this church tends to be on the more evangelical side, which I can imagine will cause some schadenfreude among my fellow mainline Protestants. In fact I have already heard about how "these churches" are the ones that condemn gay folks and then turn around and are involved in sex scandals.

Others might make fun of this pastor, but I won't.

Maybe it's because I came from an evangelical background, I dunno, but I don't think this is an occasion to gloat. Nothing on the church website seems to say anything anti-gay, and even if it did, I am thinking more about the hurt this has caused than about laughing about the downfall of a conservative Christian.

I think about the family of the pastor that has to deal with all of this. I think about this new church community, including those who might be new to the Christian faith, who have had their faith damaged because of this. Sexual scandals involving pastors tend to have a damaging effect on faith communities, and these people need our prayers, NOT our laughter.

I also have to add that in the years since I've been a pastor, I have been aware of people who got into situations where they slipped up sexually. It affects everyone, be they liberal or conservative. There is a reason that middle judicatories have boundary training- to make people aware of situations where pastors might be compromised. Being in such a position of power makes us susceptible to breaking boundaries.

To make fun of this is to not love others and is plainly un-Christian.