A Morning Peacock of Links (5/2)

Teaching Kids the Gospel: A Conversation with J.D. Greear

Trevin Wax chats with J.D. Greear about children’s ministry (CM), CM curriculum, and having the right focus on things. Here are some nuggets from Greear’s responses:

…When kids are young, you just need to put stuff in them so that when you shake them, they just throw up Bible.

…I will continue to learn from various biblical examples. One of the things I tell some of our teachers is—”Don’t try to be more gospel-centered than the Bible.” And don’t play the gospel-centered card on Jesus. You know, He had it down. He knew what it was like to be gospel-centered. You can follow His lead.

The Gospel & Immigration

Matthew Soerens and Daniel Darling’s first in a series of articles discussing immigration and how the church, being biblically informed, should approach the issue:

A sampling of political opinion, on all sides of the issue, reflects a failure on the part of many evangelicals to articulate a gospel-centered approach both to immigration policy and to immigrants themselves. A recent survey from the Pew Forum on Faith and Public Life suggests that just 12 percent of white evangelicals see this issue primarily through the lens of their faith. We think this presents a golden opportunity for pastors to reframe the debate from a missiological standpoint.

…In this first article, we plan to address the attitudes that should shape our discussion of immigration. In a subsequent article, we plan on discussing some practical ways for pastors to address the issues that affect ministry.

…Without a biblical lens, we may come to view immigrants as a threat and an invasion, rather than as a missional opportunity. In doing so, we lose credibility with our immigrant neighbors when, while proclaiming Christ’s love to them, we also communicate (intentionally or otherwise) that we dislike them and wish they were not part of our communities. As Russell Moore notes, “It’s horrifying to hear those identified with the gospel speak, whatever their position on the issues, with mean-spirited disdain for the immigrants themselves.”

The Gospel According to Disney

The Disney gospel encourages narcissism. It suggests that our main problem is we don’t celebrate ourselves enough, so others don’t realize how special we are. This positive message is actually cruel, for the poor fellow who follows their advice, “In everything you do, celebrate you!”, won’t be married long. And he won’t have many friends.

Mr. Promised He Would Call & Mr. Inconsistent

Ruthie Dean on two types of “Mr. Right Now”s women should avoid en route to meeting “Mr. Right”. Her next post will discuss Mr. Late Night & Mr. Last Minute.

Fired for Family: A Grandfather’s Legacy of Ethics and Values

Sometimes I forget how hard our grandparents’ generation had it and how hard they had to work to survive. In that regard, I wish I had a chance to meet and talk with my paternal grandfather (who passed away before I was born). He and my grandmother raised 8 children while living on a farm in rural South Korea. Just like the author, I think we all have at least a couple of stories about our own grandparents. But if that’s not the case, I’m sure our parents have plenty of them they’d love to share with us:

Standing amongst family, friends, and finger food typically served at funeral visitations, I engaged in the usual handshake-hug-“thanks for coming” routine. Obviously saddened by the loss of my grandfather, I sipped the last bit of the terrible church coffee, choked down a triangle of a pimento cheese sandwich (no doubt a staple at Southern funerals) and felt the hand of one of my lifelong best friends on my shoulder. He said, “Hey, man…my uncle just told me about what your grandfather did when he was at the steel plant. Incredible, really. He’s a legend around here for that, you know? That just doesn’t happen anymore.”

Not knowing the story, I asked my dad about it later, and it turned out to be the most incredibly inspiring story about a man who faced down fear, loss, and rejection simply to do the right thing. It just so happened to be my grandfather’s story.

The Minority Report: When Youth Pastors Should Go to Prison

Youth/Family Pastor Drew Dixon on the fake kidnapping/abduction recently staged by Glad Tidings Church on its youth group to teach them about “what Christian missionaries are subjected to in other parts of the world”.

First off, there’s no way you can teach anyone anything about persecution through stunts like these, unless you’re talking about in-church persecution. Dixon writes:

…I believe such actions actually fail to teach us anything about persecution. True religious persecution is not something that can be simulated–attempting to do so only cheapens our understanding of persecution and does little to prepare us for it.

Biblically speaking, the way one prepares for persecution is to be “sober-minded and watchful” and setting our “hope fully on the grace that will be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). The only preparation that will do any young Christian any good, is to meditate on the gospel, to look to Christ–the “author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

In response to all this hoopla, Glad Tiding’s Pastor John Lanza ACTUALLY said that in the future, “‘I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value,’ he said, ‘but I would find a way to inform the parents (beforehand)'”. In reaction to Lanza’s comments, I fully agree with Dixon’s and Joe Carter’s thoughts:

John Lanza, pastor of Good Tidings Church said that they would make sure to notify parents first before doing something like this again but they want to keep “the shock value” because the lesson is too important. For the sake of this young girl and for the sake of the gospel, I hope Pastor Lanza experiences enough legal trouble to reconsider his stance. (Dixon)

Is it necessary to point out that staging a fake kidnapping and terrorizing children is something that should never, ever, ever be done? Apparently so. Even after facing felony charges Pastor John Lanza says that in the future ‘I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value, but I would find a way to inform the parents (beforehand)'” (Carter)

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