Grits, Theology, Mission, and Life


Caution “rant” ahead
January 15, 2008, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

At Hope we have used Outreach.com for several pieces of promotional material. They provide churches without a design department the opportunity to have some of the benefits of modern day graphic design. 

BUT, when I receive their recent mailer containing Easter materials I almost fell off my chair.  Check out this postcard that you can send out to your community to encourage them to come to church.

All About You Logo

Here’s the suggested text for the back of the postcard:

The “Me Generation”, MySpace, iPods, Internet sites that instantly recognize your login and preferences—in this day and age the focus seems to be on Self. And, sometimes we question whether that’s a good thing. But, on an Easter long ago, even God made it all about you. Jesus came to earth out of a great love—for you. Join us this Easter at (Church Name) as we make it all about you—in the very best of ways.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! What in the world??
I would feel much better if it was posted as a joke, BUT its not!

You don’t need to be a theological genius to figure out that Easter is not about YOU!  Yes, I understand God came, lived, died, and rose again but He did it for HIS GLORY not for some self focused “all about you” promotion!! 

At least this one is joke!!

 

This probably won’t make me “boycott” outreach.  We may purchase something from them in the future.  But for now I am saddened by what we are holding up as legit theology.  And worse yet seek to use that to promote people coming to church. 

RANT – over

O.K. – breath, breath.



Communication above the buzz
December 18, 2007, 9:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the most difficult things I do as a pastor/leader is try to communicate. Trying to get across meaning in a culture where there is never quiet and information is flying out you faster then MLB pitch is hard (o.k. its almost impossible). In most preaching circles the use of powerpoint has become commonplace to try to combat the problem. However it is a tool that can be used or abused. And it can help communication but it can also inhibit communication. Also, we rarely think about it but the tools that we use to communicate can shape the way & what we communicate. And it is not always for the better. Check out this video for a comedic portrayal of all of these issues!

I readily admit that I have committed some of these errors myself!

Since we are on the topic of web video. This was a fascinating storyabout the current state of our culture and how web video is now apart of it. I would love to hear from you if you think youtube style video has legs and will continue to grow or it has run its course as a fade. And what might it look for for churches and ministries use that for kingdom purposes. Post a comment and let me know.



Debate me
December 6, 2007, 10:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I shouldn’t be surprised that politics moves at the same speed as the rest of our culture.  It has been about a week since the republican debate but I am sure that you haven’t seen a new story or highlight from it since the weekend.  It seems the winds of culture blow and so what we want is the now.

But, after thinking about it for a little bit I have a few comments on the debate and what I think it says about our culture.  So I writing this even though its yesterday’s news.

First – the format
I have to admit I turned on the debate not because I was deeply invested in the candidates, their positions, or even the future of our country.  I initially tuned in because I wanted to be entertained.  After Mitt Romney and an animated snowman got into a verbal war I wanted to see if it would continue.  But I guess it got too hot because the snowman was no where to be seen.  I think the fact that youtube has become a force in culture and politics is interesting.  We want democracy and want it as pure and direct as possible but I have to admit the fact that everyone can speak doesn’t necessarily raise the level of discourse.  I am glad that a few have exhausted their 15 minutes of fame.

Second – the questioners
I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that living in Huntsville that it’s not LA.  LA is seen by some as the “left” coast.  Outside of New York it is the place where all things debase are seen to originate.  However, I would submit that because of confluence of cultures there are more similarities then most acknowledge.  Case in point: There was a question about what will these candidates do to repair our reputation in the Muslim world.  It was asked by a Muslim woman.  From where you ask? from LA – no, from New York – no, from Atlanta – no, from Dearborn – no.  She was from Huntsville, AL.  While we may have southern roots, be in a baptist burned over district, and have suburban family values we are not monolithic, all-white, all-christian as we think.  The sooner we see and understand this diversity the more our eyes can be opened to what God may want to do in and through us in this place!

Also, we don’t have to bring God into the election or public life –  He’s already in the middle of it.  I am fearful too at times to speak about God but what continues to make me see our post-modern times as one of opportunity is that God is being brought into the public, open discussion – like presidential politics (and movies – check out this great article).  It seems like it is no longer “off-limits”.  While, I don’t think that post-modern “spirituality” is Biblical Christianity there is a path, an opening to begin the conversations.

Final – our response
I really don’t like talking about politics.  Not because I don’t have a view or I am a mushy republican.  But because I fear that sometimes we create fences to the gospel.  I don’t want my politics to be a hindrance to people understanding that the righteous creator God of the universe stands as their enemy outside of the substitutionary gift of Christ.  It has little to do if I have an R or D behind my name in the voting booth.  One thing that this year will bring is an increase in side taking.  But I am praying that we can communicate that R or D side taking is not a requirement of the gospel.



To continue or not to continue . . . that is the question.
November 7, 2007, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , ,

Well, it has been ultra-slow around this blog lately.  Due to the development and launch of the church site have done no writing here at grits-n-mission.  I have however written a couple of things over at the church website.  And now included in the site is audio from all the james and jonah series.  Way cool!

Now the question is rather to keep this blog or not.  I have considered keeping it and developing it some directions that may not fit with the churchwebsite.  (don’t worry – nothing weird or heretical but more theoritcal and rants).  But knowing the time that I need to commit to that site, church, preaching, family, etc.  I just don’t know if I would get back here.  Some possible topics that have been bopping around in my head for a while would a comparison of the “Jesus people movement” of the 60’s with the “Emergent” movement of the 00’s.  Another thing is the current lack of married couple on this sessions “Amazing Race”.  And a review of some books that I have been reading recently.  If any of those sound interesting please let me know via comments.  If not there is a good chance I am shutting this down. 

Also, I am considering recending my SEC neutral status.  Since AL is now home, sorry CA – it may be time.  BTW: I could be persuaded on this one to go in specific directions.  And gifts and/or tickets would aid in the decision. 

Andy



The deafening silence
October 16, 2007, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Life

UPDATE: THE WEBSITE IS LIVE NOW!!

CHECK IT OUT @ WWW.HOPECHURCH-MADISON.COM 

Welcome back!

If you are reading this you are loyal reader and for that I am thankful.  The blog has been silent for several weeks for many different reason which include digital fasting, sickness, impromptu vacationing, and several other things screaming for my attention.

One of those things has been the development of the new Hope Church website.  We have not officially launched YET (Hopefully very soon!).  But because you are loyal readers (or lurkers) you can get a preview by going to www.hopechurch-madison.com/drupal .  When it is up it will be a great place for people both in and outside of hope to keep up on what is going on around here.  Feel free to leave a comment here.  I am interested on your feedback!

In the next few days I will post for something other then a “hello” but for now. . .  Thanks for sticking around!



Turn the lights behind you . . .
September 24, 2007, 10:03 am
Filed under: Theology

The pace of our lives and the blast of communication that comes our way in any one week is amazing.  The amount of information that available to us on our tv screens, on the internet, through our cell phones, and just generally being transmitted in the air around us is overwhelming. 

With that in mind, I am turning off or at least down for the next week.  This week is our church’s week of prayer and fasting.  It is a week set aside to seek God in prayer and in time meditating on His word.  Fasting is a biblical concept that is simply denying yourself something for a spiritual purpose.  For some it is food.  For others it is media.  For others its internet surfing.  For others it might some delight or enjoyment that they normally engage in.  But to not do whatever it is and to set that time aside for a pursuit of God through prayer and through His word is an excellent thing. 

So in that spirit, this blog is going dark for the next week.  I realize that this may kill traffic (we turned over 1000 hits not that long ago) but so be it.  It is worth it.  I want to encourage you to do that same.  Just turn it off.  It will be there when you get back and if its not what of significance did you really lose? 

So if you are last one out please turn the lights off.

 Andy



Jonah reduex
September 17, 2007, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Theology

On Sunday I mentioned some of the research that has been done into the “modern Jonah” story.  At least from the perspective of the articles author it seems to be a bit of a “fish” story.