(Warning – A lot of links today)
We are all fallible human beings. We should take care not to dismiss the negatives as we extol the positives of those we look back to in history:
Remembering the past is good and biblical. That’s why the Word repeatedly calls us to remember God’s great acts of deliverance, such as the Exodus and the Cross. That’s also why the pastor of Hebrews warns his congregation to remember the faithless Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years (Heb. 3:16-19). Remembering bolsters our faith in God even as it cautions us against disobedience by reminding us of the consequences.
But nostalgia is the enemy of faith. By lamenting the good ‘ole days, nostalgia tempts us to forsake the present day as beyond the scope of God’s redemption, out of reach from his intervention. And hagiography is the handmaiden to nostalgia. When we venerate the saints of yesteryear as titans of faithfulness, without paying proper attention to their sins, we elevate them to a status only God possesses. As they increase in our memory, God must decrease. Even Jesus seems unfit to tie their sandals.
While pertaining to the First Great Awakening, these are characteristics we could surely use in the Church today:
Horatius Bonar, writing the preface to John Gillies’ Accounts of Revival regarding the leaders of the First Great Awakening, proposed that men useful to the Holy Spirit for revival stand out in these nine ways…
Pastor Nick Bogardus (Mars Hill OC) on less-than-REAL preaching. Shock value, controversy and “noise” is one thing when it’s on talk radio, it’s another thing all together in the body of Christ. Nick Bogardus takes an insightful look at words that divide, why these words may be spoken, and how it effects all of us:
Want to know the easiest way to build a platform these days? Set yourself up as the antithesis to a person or position of influence. Be the contrarian or critic who rides the coattails. It’s easier to be known for what you’re against than what you are for.
Many of the most prominent bloggers sell advertising and more subtly, and I think more influentially, are not just “bloggers” but also speakers and authors. (Even more, those decrying evangelical celebrities have un-ironic speaking request links on their front page.) Their ability to make a living is based on site traffic and conference invitations, and they build their reputations—and traffic—by walking over others.
The problem is, those people we’re against? They are usually people who are near to us—not close, but near…
Again, another factual aspect of an ongoing crisis that we’re all aware of. I think the following excerpt captures the cause and effect aspect of this crisis:
Almost all of the rise in nonmarital births has occurred among couples living together, which in the United State, are more than twice as likely to dissolve than marriages.
I’ve never been a waiter and never will be, but this was a fascinating article on the evolving duties of waiters. The industry is moving away from cookie-cutter approaches towards an emphasis on table and people reading. Worth a read:
What does Availability vs. Accessibility mean? The article looks at this dichotomy from a Pastor’s POV, although I figure this applies to those in business and large organizations as well:
…Most congregants sympathize with a pastor’s busy schedule. They are also busy. They understand pastors are not always available, but they do want to feel connected to their church leaders. Congregants want to feel like their leaders are accessible to them.
Allow me to make a distinction between leadership availability and leadership accessibility.
– Leadership availability: Always on hand in one place. Nearby, in person.
– Leadership accessibility: Easily reachable with several lines of communication.
The original Taken starring Liam Neeson:
In early 1864, Spotswood Rice, a former slave from Missouri, enlisted in the Union Army. Later that year, he came through his former home with 1,600 other soldiers. When he was still on the way, he sent this confident and angry letter ahead to his former owner, Kittey Diggs (who would not relinquish possession of Rice’s daughter…