On Tradition

Quote

Jaroslav Pelikan on Tradition:

Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.

The Irony Of Relevance

A pastor friend of mine recently gave me a copy of chapter five of Oz Guinness’s 1993 Dining With The Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts With Modernity. I have to tell you that, 20 years later, it’s obvious to me that this book was hitting on something really, really important. The church growth movement of his day, with all of its auditorium filling relevance was a flirtation with modernity, and the proof is in the product.

This particular chapter is talking about the ironies of the pursuit of relevance. The major irony that Guinness is pointing too? Evangelical and Fundamentalist churches will become (looking beyond 1993) the most worldly of all Christian traditions because of their eagerness to accommodate cultural expectations in the name of growing churches. In this way, today’s Evangelicals are not that different from yesterday’s liberals. As I’ve written before, selling out to the spirit of the age leads to no where good. Liberalism is dying, and Evangelicalism will not be far behind because we are playing the same game. Liberals sold out to high brow and academic cultural expectation, and Evangelicalism has sold out to pop culture expectations. We are losing our identity as a movement, our kids are not maintaining faith in Christ, and we desperately need reformation. I don’t mean to continually sound like an alarmist, but… Continue reading

Screens and Such

My family and I just spent a couple of nights on the Clarion River here in Pennsylvania. It was relaxing and beautiful. I spent part of yesterday morning paddling six miles down the river. The best part, I left my lap top at home, Wifi was limited, and there was no cell service. We had a land line, and some really slow satellite internet which made doing anything on a phone slowly painful. And you know what? We lived through it.

I’m as bad about this as anyone, but my whole life is filled with screens. I have two screens on my desk. I have a big one in my living room, one in the basement, one on the desk at home, and I carry one in my pocket. I have notifications telling me the second someone comments on the blog (OK, this one doesn’t happen very often), and the instant I receive an email, I get beep, buzz, and banner. (This one happens a lot.)

Continue reading

Pastors Get To Do Fun Stuff

Before my role as an associate pastor, I served for three years as youth pastor. Before that, I volunteered with youth, and was part-time youth minister for a combined 9 years. The truth is, I never felt like I fit in as a youth pastor. After a few years of full-time ministry, I ran out of gas, but I’ve never lost concern for youth, and I love how they want to have tough conversations.

Last night, I had the privilege of teaching our catechism class of 7th and 8th graders. I loved it. I got to walk to them through the history and theology of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed. They were smart and inquisitive. The conversation roamed far and wide, they asked great questions, and we got to laugh a little too. Imagine that, actually having fun talking about theology! They thought it would be funny to pronounce anathemas on people during the announcement time of our worship service. “Attention! This morning we pronounce anathema against Johnny Smith!”

It was fun to teach a bunch of kids who really want to know and understand what they believe and church history too. I hope they never lose that. I hope I never lose that.

The Magnificence Of The Beard

Last October, for the first time ever, I grew a full beard. It took an eternity of 6 weeks before I stopped looking like a mangy dog. The itching was almost unbearable in week two, but I manned up and got through it. My chin is more gray than last time I had a goatee, but only on half of it. I call it my “sideways skunk.”

BeardsSome of my observations of the beard… Continue reading

Book Recommendation: “The Jesus Storybook Bible”

storybookbibleToday, I’m venturing where I’ve never gone before. I’m going to recommend a children’s book to you. Since my kids were born, we’ve looked for good Bible story books to read to them. There are dozens of them in print. Dozens. Some are better than others.

Up till now, there is one really old school book I like, Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, first published in 1939. We have a copy from the 1960′s. It’s still in print, which is a testament to how good it is. I like this book because it is a good paraphrase of the stories. While lots of kids’ books skip over the unpleasant Bible stories, this one talks about many of them in terms appropriate for kids. I’ve never liked “sanitized” Bibles. I think they set a bad precedent for kids as we teach them how to read the Bible.

Continue reading