Tag: religion

  • Hobby Lobby Minefields

    Hobby Lobby Minefields

    Personally, I’m thrilled with Hobby Lobby. If I1We don’t give corporations more religious liberty than real persons, right? Right?? can’t be forced to fund2Even indirectly, through third parties, or in the aggregate. something incompatible with my “sincerely held religious beliefs,” then I don’t have to fund war and killing.3Justice Ginsburg is my inspiration in this, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” Thanks to the Hobby Lobby decision, I don’t have to fund any more landmines. Major decreases in my tax bill, baby!


    • 1
      We don’t give corporations more religious liberty than real persons, right? Right??
    • 2
      Even indirectly, through third parties, or in the aggregate.
    • 3
      Justice Ginsburg is my inspiration in this, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” Thanks to the Hobby Lobby decision, I don’t have to fund any more landmines.
  • Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Understanding

    “There is a difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. The righteous are humble, the self-righteous are proud. The righteous understand doubt, the self-righteous only certainty. The righteous see the good in people, the self-righteous only the bad. The righteous leave you feeling enlarged, the self-righteous make you feel small. It is easy enough to befriend the former and avoid the latter.

    “We need moderates, that is, people who understand that there can be a clash of right and right, not just right and wrong. We need people capable of understanding cognitive pluralism, that is, that there is more than one way of looking at the world. We need people who can listen to views not their own without feeling threatened. We need people with humility.

    “That is why I ask for your understanding.”

    Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
  • Seeker Services

    Todd at The Todd Blog asks about “seeker-sensitive” churches. Here’s my answer.

    Guitar Group

    My church has a guitar group. Over the last couple years or so, its focus has changed.

    Beginner focused. When we started the group, most of us were beginning guitar players. We spent a lot of time learning guitar basics: how to strum different rhythms, how to finger a B-minor, how to play a barre chord, how to use a capo, etc. We had some more experienced guitarists show up. They never came back. I think we bored or embarrassed them (or both).

    Growth focused. As we progressed, we entered a phase where we knew all the “cowboy chords”, needing help only with the more unusual chords or strumming patterns. We’d experiment with more complex songs to keep learning. As the word got out, some beginners wanted to join the group. Initially, it was a frustrating experience for those of us who had advanced beyond beginner status. Instead of learning our new songs and expanding our skills, we’d sit around while the one or two beginners learned how to play a G chord. In response, we started a beginners group that met at the same time. A couple of the more advanced among us would teach the beginners and then we’d come together at the end to play a song that all, even the beginners, could play. We led praise sing at church every two or three months and sang at a retirement home a couple of times. We had twin goals of improving our skills and increasing the size of the group.

    Service focused. Now, we’re “better.” The guitar group leads praise sing every month so we’re more focused on learning songs for the next time. Some more experienced players have joined the group and stuck. We spend some time learning more difficult songs. We’re growing in different ways. We have a couple of bass players and we have people who sing. We do a much better job leading praise sing. We’re scheduling a couple more visits to retirement homes.

    Unfortunately, not all changes have been positive. None of us seem to have the time or inclination to teach the kids anymore. They don’t show up much anymore. And that might be okay. After all, only so many guitarist fit on the platform.

    I Thought This Was Going to be About Church…

    The phases of the guitar group could be compared with many churches. The beginner-focused phase describes churches that have only seeker services. This is not a sustaining model unless the goal is to funnel maturing Christians to other churches in the area. “Mature” Christians will find another church unless they are quickly tasked with leadership roles.

    Our second, learning and growth-focused, phase describes churches that have services for both the long-time member and seekers. While continuing to disciple maturing members, they also work to attract those with questions. I think those could be fun churches to attend.

    Our group’s third phase could describe many churches, too. Rather than focusing on growing the church, they focus on serving. Is this a healthy church model? I believe so, as long as the focus is on serving those outside. One danger is that the focuses turns inward, on “doing church.” Rather than trying to grow the church, its focus become improving the “professionalism” of the church. “Sorry, can’t lead you to Jesus, I have to practice for church next week.”

    An good book on this topic is Building a Contagious Church by Mark Mittelberg and Bill Hybels.

    What do you think? Does your church have a seeker service? Are you a seeker?

  • The Evangelism Linebacker

    “It may appear unorthodox…”

    Hat tip: Think Christian.
  • Blogging the Koran: Sura 1, “The Opening”

    The next installment of Robert Spencer’s “Blogging the Qur’an,” “Sura 1, ‘The Opening,’” is available.

  • Blogging the Koran

    Robert Spencer’s post, “Blogging the Qur’an,” looks like the start of an interesting (and long) series. I’ll be reading…

  • Books: Building a Contagious Church

    I’ve been spending a lot of time doing a lot of different things; I’m not sure I’m finishing anything…

    I recently started the book, Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It’s a very good book about communicating ideas so people will remember them. I had expected to be done reading it by now.

    Instead, before I finished it, I got sidetracked. On the way out of town this last Friday to visit my in-laws for Mothers’ Day, we stopped by Christian Supply. My daughters “needed” some more books for the trip. And since it’s a bookstore, I had to find something for myself.

    In addition to finding an NASB Bible with wide margins for taking notes, I discovered Building a Contagious Church, by Mark Mittelberg and Bill Hybels. You might not have heard of Mittelberg, but I bet you’ve heard of the Willow Creek church. Contagious Church explains how Willow Creek does evangelism or is evangelism in a step-by-step process.

    I am buying a few copies and passing them around to some people at church. Art, consider yourself warned.

    There is a companion book, Becoming a Contagious Christian, that appears aimed more at the general church membership instead of the church leadership. Although I haven’t finished Contagious Church yet, I should finish it later this week (famous last words) and recommend it.

  • Jesus Is Just Alright With Me

    Another work week is done and another weekend is here. Time to celebrate! And speaking of celebrating, how about a “nontraditional” praise chorus. ;-)

    Does the fact that this song has relevance in my spiritual life say something about me? Not that I expect to see it for special music at church… I find it speaks to me or for me in my day to day life better than an “approved” Christian song like “As the Deer.”

    Okay, now what do you think about this version?


    Pushing the limits? In what way?

  • Quote of the Day — Micah 6:8

    Quote of the Day — Micah 6:8

    He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

    Micah 6:8

    Pithy. Demanding. Liberating.

    Pithy: Micah 6:8 may be a little long to be pithlike, but for a statement of how to live one’s life, it’s hard to get much shorter or meaningful. And it makes a great song. ;-)

    Demanding: Read it again. Can I act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God? Do I? Or is it easier to demand justice except when it means I lose, more fun to celebrate that a rich socialite is going to jail, and “human nature” to rely on God only when times are tough?

    Liberating: Does God have one single path for each of us? Only one God-chosen spouse, one career, one city, etc? Or does God give incredible freedom to choose our lives, knowing there are many ways to live according to His will? I believe it’s the latter. That’s liberating.



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