Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm Over This Band.

Donald Miller, who has a new book coming out soon, writes a funny post on his blog. It is easily worth 3 minutes of your time! What are you over?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Church Product

Follows is a great quote from Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death on the state of advertising and our cultures appetite for personal value.

What the advertiser needs to know is not what is right about the product but what is wrong about the buyer. And so, the balance of business expenditures shifts from product research to market research. The television commercial has oriented business away from making products of value and toward making consumers feel valuable, which means that the business of business has now become pseudo-therapy.

A re-phrase of the quote as it concerns pastors and churches may, at times, be both an accurate and alarming statement of many of today's churches.

What the pastor needs to know is not what is right about the product, but what is wrong about the buyer. And so, the balance of church expenditures shifts from product research to market research. The television commercial has oriented church away from proclaiming products of value and toward making church people feel valuable, which means that the business of church has now become pseudo-therapy.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Jesus the Advocate

I forgot to post my last Abbotsford Times column...I'll get it for you sometime soon. Anyhow, a version of the following article hit newsstands today. Enjoy friends.

The creation story, as told in the book of Genesis, tells of how male and female were uniquely created and shaped by God’s hand to enjoy four significant relationships with God, others, ourselves, and the environment. Unfortunately, all four of these relationships have been about as stable as an unchaperoned junior-high prom date. A quick survey of any news media outlet will easily confirm the truth of these broken relationships as Abbotsfordians are forced to deal with gangsters, brownish chicken air, urban sprawl, domestic abuse, homelessness, and hypocrites of every stripe.

The first relationship we are meant to enjoy is with God who we are to trust, love, honour, and serve as King. This requires our humble submission to His rule and reign, doing what any good servant would: report for duty, demonstrate loyalty, wait for direction, and complete the task.

Secondly, our relationship with others is meant to be that of mutual respect ruled by an ethic of love. This is why the picture of humanity painted at the end of the Bible is one of every language, nation, gender, and race joining together to worship God around His thrown. With Abbotsford being the third most ethnically diverse city in the nation, behind Toronto and Vancouver, it would seem natural to look around at the City’s diversity for a sneak peak of what Heavens’ languages, culture, and restaurants might sound, feel, and taste like.

Thirdly, mankind’s relationship with himself is to be that of a sound mind in which we can think, feel, and act in ways that are good and beneficial for all other relationships. This is why counsellors, self-help gurus, and Dr. Phil are in such demand as people hope for a renewed mind, emotion, and will.

Fourth, the Biblical view of creation is not that we worship nature as god or goddess as some do, nor that we strip mine, dump chemicals in our streams, or recklessly drive gas-guzzlers to the corner store when we could just as easily have walked. Our relationship with the earth is meant to be one of gardening and tending to, as good custodians of something created for our pleasure, enjoyment, and sustenance. For every tree-hugging-organic-wearing-bicycle-riding-recycling-hippie in a 1970’s diesel van, this should come as great comfort to you.

God’s response to these four broken relationships is both of anger and sadness. Anger that we destroy or allow to be destroyed our environment, our selves, our human relationships, and our relationship with God, and sadness over the results. Further, if pollution, addictions, social and economic injustice, or people’s separation from God angers or sadness you, you are agreeing with and, to an extent, feeling the heart of God. For most caring, socially responsible, environmentalist atheists, agnostics, and neo-pagans, this might come as quite a shock. You, whether you realize or care to admit it, agree with God’s anger and sadness over sin, evil, and injustice.

Finally, one of Jesus’ names and functions is that of Advocate. Jesus, the Advocator, is advocating for clean drinking water, sustainable cities, and places for fawns to frolic. Jesus, the Advocator, is advocating for the renewing of our minds and is pleased with the mental health’s field of work. Jesus, the Advocator, is advocating for the good and ongoing relationships of all people regardless of skin color, creed, age, gender, language, or opinion. And Jesus, the Advocator, pulls double shifts as the Mediator mending the broken relationship between man and his creator, the God of the Bible.