Saturday, November 15, 2008

Community Code of Conduct

From Jim Wallis's blog - pretty good ground rules for discourse in any setting - church, politics, work, community...
  • I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the community, especially toward those with whom I disagree—even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)
  • I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)
  • I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Third Places

The concept of 'Third Places' is one of the topics of conversation over on the Facebook group The Missional Conversation in Churches of Christ....

Frost suggests that people generally live out their lives between three distinct places: Home, Work and a third place. For many Christians, their third place is church and church activities. (He goes on to suggest a deep interconnectedness between this reality and the decline of the church.) While many Christians spend their free time engaged in religious activities with religious people, most everyone else has traditionally found their third place in spaces like bowling alleys, pool halls, mothers' groups, local pubs, and beauty shops.

Identifying the third places of your community will tell you a lot about the people we are seeking to reach. Furthermore, it identifies for us the places our churches must go if we are to reach them. People don't have time for a fourth place. That is what the church isn't getting.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Barclay on the Gospel

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
-- Matthew 9:10-13 (NIV)

The social gospel is not an addendum to the gospel; it is the gospel. If we read the Gospels, it becomes clear that it was not what Jesus said about God that got him into trouble (but) his treatment of men and women, his way of being friendly with outcasts with whom no respectable Jew would have anything to do. It has always been fairly safe to talk about God; it is when we start to talk about men that the trouble starts. And yet the fact remains that there is no conceivable way of proving that we love God other than by loving men. And there is no conceivable way of proving that we love men than by doing something for those who most need help.
... William Barclay

Monday, November 03, 2008

Occasional Quote

The two great features of Protestant theology are its doctrines of justification by faith and the law as the rule of life. This is a synthesis of New Testament grace and Old Testament ethics. With this synthesis, Protestants have solved the problem of finding a gracious God, but they have not solved the problem of finding gracious neighbors. They can fellowship with God because he is gracious; but they find it difficult to fellowship with one another, because they are not so gracious.

... Robert D. Brinsmead