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Barefootmeg
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What am I missing? I wasn't able to comment on my own blog post when I was signed into Typepad? I actually have to sign in to some OTHER SITE in order to comment here? What in the world?!!!! Yeah, that's handy for everyone else who might not want to join TypePad, but if I've already joined, why couldn't I reply? I must be missing something. Bizarre.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2011 on Giving TypePad a Dry Run at Barefootmeg's blog
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i think our cat can tell time, too. every morning a few minutes before six the cat would come in and wake me up. i thought it was funny that it was always a few minutes before my alarm went off. but then i checked the time on my clock recently and found it was behind by a few minutes. so it turns out the cat was waking me up at 6 when i was supposed to be getting up and my alarm was the one that was off by a few minutes.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2010 on My cat can tell time at Joanne Heim
lol! our pastor's wife told of an african family that started to attend their church in cali. they were told pretty clearly by one of the elders that while their visit had been pleasant, there was a church down the street that they'd probably be more comfortable in. the patriarch of the family (apparently it was a large extended family) replied, "oh, no. we're quite comfortable right here, thanks." and they stayed. i think that church ended blowing up, though. apparently this african family wasn't the only one that came and stayed. i think there were several families joining that really liked the pastor and the feel of the church. but there was a stalwart older crowd that felt like "their" church was being overrun (not only by the newcomers but by their pastor as well) and they eventually ran them all off (including the pastor).
"The Beautiful Letdown" is my favorite album. I don't know if I've heard anything from "Hello Hurricane."
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2010 on Saw Switchfoot last night... at Promises
"When asked, he’d say that the fellowship was his higher power. It was all he needed. He could trust it." I found this part particularly interesting. I think this is true of a lot of people regarding church. They put their trust in the organization rather than in the God that the organization is supposedly all about. Then something happens (a pastor has a particularly egregious "mess up", or someone in the church hurts them in some way) and suddenly all of their trust has just been blown and they're instant atheists. I've seen this happen on multiple occasions. As far as the 9th tradition goes, it seems to be saying, "the group should reflect the people therein." So rather than already having a style or feel or program that the participants have to fit into, the group should have the look and feel of those who are in it -- which I suppose would mean that everyone should also be adding their own piece to the puzzle for that to happen. And the old-timers need to be comfortable and willing to let the new-comers alter the feel of the group. I've never been to an AA meeting. I'm curious, is everyone required to participate (introduce themselves, state their issues, etc.) or can you come multiple times without ever squeaking out a word to anyone?
"I don't know where that figure came from but it is VERY inflated." I'm guessing it's some sort of average and that there are outliers (mega-church pastors, for example) that skew the data upward. The pastor of a church we attended in San Francisco (about 400 attenders at the time -- this was 8 years ago) was making well over $100,000/yr. One assistant pastor was at $80,000. And that was with a congregation in which only about 10 - 20% of the people put anything into the offering basket. (I was the treasurer for awhile so I saw all the numbers. The pastor guarded his salary like a hawk, though, and didn't want anyone in the congregation to know what he made.)
Just posted some of my own confused thoughts on church leaders here - http://dandelionwine.multiply.com/journal/item/48/Church_Leaders It's a lot more questions than answers, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on reasonable expectations.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2010 on Re-thinking Authority at Promises
Hmmm, I'm rereading some posts our pastor made awhile ago about elders. Two are sermons by John Piper and then I think he lists a bunch of verses below that. (I'm still working my way through the Piper bits.) They're here ( http://tameion.multiply.com/tag/elder ) if you're interested. A line that just jumped out at me as fitting right in with the conversation here: "In other words [Peter] is practicing what he preaches in verse 3 -- that elders lead by example not by lording it over the flock."
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2010 on Re-thinking Authority at Promises
I find myself wondering what it is that we look for in a leader. I suspect that colors our view of leading and authority. My grandmother chose her churches based on the timbre of the priest's voice. If he *sounded* authoritative (whether or not he said anything decent) then that's where she went. She wanted a deep, booming voice that made her feel like the guy was connected to God. I know that the elders at our church recently came down on our pastor because he wasn't attending the sporting events of kids in the church. They obviously want someone whose extracurricular interests mirror their own. I would also venture to say that they're looking for someone who runs the church without them having to do much of anything themselves. I would say the general understanding of leadership at the Church of the Sojourners in SF was that the leaders were to have a sense of the struggles of the members and make sure there were others coming alongside them helping and guiding them. And the leaders set the direction of the church in terms of what they'd all study -- sort of charting the social consciousness of the church. I don't know where I'm going with this except to say that I think some people prefer pastor's who are strongly in control and maybe even a little domineering because then they feel certain that things will be maintained such that their environment will be "safe." I don't think I can say this is necessarily good or bad, just that it is. As people with different personalities, we need or expect different things from those who are in leadership based upon our own needs or desires or experiences.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2010 on Re-thinking Authority at Promises
I just ended up at this post - http://www.relevantmag.com/god/church/features/18444-the-biggest-waste-of-space-in-america . I think it was through a twitter post. It got me to thinking... it's exactly things like this (feeling like "hey, we have a building, we should be using it!") that lead us away from our purpose and into all sorts of other things. On the other hand, some of these other things might be entirely within our purpose as a church. Arrrggghhh!!!! It's kinda like that razor's edge that Bonhoeffer talks about. He's referring to grace, but it seems like there's so many areas in which we need to carefully walk the line not falling to one side (wasting space that could be better used) or the other (getting so wrapped up in those other uses that we forget our original purpose). I think that's where posts/discussions like this are good. Talking with others helps us remember where that line is so we can keep walking on it.
Toggle Commented Dec 29, 2009 on Struggling with Tradition 6 at Promises
I think these have been great posts! As I read I go back and forth between thinking, "Yes! that's exactly what we need to keep in mind as a church!" to "Oh, I can see where that would work for some people, but I don't know that it would work for me." I think there are some personalities that deal well with, and even grow and thrive, in an AA type environment. I think there are other personality types that would feel really uncomfortable in that sort of situation and it would be such a distraction that they wouldn't be able to think of anything else. But just because their personality type is different, that doesn't at all meant that there's not still something the one type of person could learn from the other.
"Churches need to become fully self supporting once again" I'm confused about what you mean by that. Our church (body of believers) is fully supporting in that it (that body of believers) pays (through donations given generally during the service) for all of its expenses (our building is fully paid for at this point, but we do pay our pastor $50K/yr, there's utilities, missionaries, insurance, etc.). So would you say that that's a self supporting church? Or do you see the money as coming from somewhere else and the congregants giving to para-church organizations instead?
Toggle Commented Dec 29, 2009 on The 7th Tradition at Promises
"The first time I remember the church lending its support to anyone it was to Constantine, and we all know that proved to be disastrous." Hmmm, I would say it was the opposite. Constantine lent his support to the church. Then he essentially took it over (by being the one to call together the Council of Nicaea and presiding over it, for example). I don't know what the first thing the church lent itself too was, but I'd guess it might well have been land disputes between the Roman bishop and surrounding countryside (especially as the German barbarians came in). As the Roman government fell, the church pretty much took over a lot of the political jobs (initially as a means of caring for the people, but it rolled into the church being a political entity and not just a religious one -- which I suppose is the key to this whole thing. Getting involved in something other than the church's main goal is simply going to muddy what it is and what its purpose is.)
Toggle Commented Dec 29, 2009 on Struggling with Tradition 6 at Promises
This is a rule we need to have in our Sunday school class. We're generally fine during the service and we've even done a decent job of sticking to ourselves and God in our Bible study. But Sunday school sometimes runs off into "they're such a mess" land. Basically all learning ends the moment someone starts on one of those sorts of rants.
"I do not positions given in Scripture, only gifts to be used to serve." So where does authority come in? I think there are positions mentioned in the Bible. Authority was given for some to be apostles, for example. However, I agree with your overall concern that people should be using their gifts whether it comes with a title or not. If you have the gift of teaching, you don't have to be a teacher with a class to use that gift. There's a gal in our Bible study who's in her mid-80s. She had pneumonia and ended up in the hospital so our study group went and visited her together. As we sat around talking, she'd say things that were clearly teaching from her to us. It was really delightful because despite her painful circumstances, her gift was still bubbling up out of her. She probably didn't even think about the fact that she was teaching us, but she was. I think there are positions, but the focus shouldn't be on the positions nor on those with positions. The focus should be on the wholeness of the group such that it grows in love and unity and thereby glorifies God. Such a focus requires an understanding of and regular use of gifts. But at the same time it doesn't glorify the gifts either because they're not the point any more than positions are. The point is the health of the body such that it can give glory to God. No, actually the point is giving glory to God, and a chief means of doing that is the health of the body.
I like the AA analogy because I think most of us "get" it in a way that we're often not used to "get"ting church.
Toggle Commented Dec 13, 2009 on Tradition 1 for the church at Promises
i only get spam a few times a year and then only on my public posts. you don't have to type in a verification thingy to make a comment, but you do have to be a member of multiply -- which helps cut down on the spam considerably, plus you get the bonus of knowing who stopped by to read your blog, even if they didn't comment. and the other folks get notifications of new posts and new replies on posts (even if they haven't added a reply themselves).
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2009 on Comments and codes at Joanne Heim
I think you're over generalizing a bit. You could say, "Much of the church" or "Many churches" or even "Common church culture within America" but just going with "The church" seems a bit over reaching. There ARE lies within the church. But they're not all lies that make us act differently than we would otherwise act. One thing I love about the church we're currently knitted into is that everybody just plain is who they are. What you see is what you get. No one is wearing a mask. But I suspect we still have other types of lies in our church. Lies like, "the Westminster Confession" is a nearly infallible guide for faith and practice. (They won't admit that it's infallible, but you pretty much have to assent to it all to be in leadership so what does that tell you?) Or perhaps the bigger lie is our sense of comfort for where we're at or our discouragement about not being able to move beyond where we're at. I think a lot of the lies within the church stem from being steeped so deeply in our culture (specifically the American culture in our cases) that we can't even see where that culture is in opposition to God's reality.
When/where did you meet the Sojos/Servant King folks? Which sojos did you meet? (And how do I get your blog to tell me when there's a new reply on here?)
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2009 on Thoughts on Church buildings and waste at Promises
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Dec 7, 2009