Epic Knowledge

Understanding God in our fallen state is like trying to…Piece together a rubix cube when you’re color blind or

2.  Climb Everest without arms

3.   Examine the ocean with a rubber raft and a magnifying glass

4.  Run a marathon without legs

5.  Drive without a steering wheel, brakes, and the gas pedal

6.  Text with no fingers or toes or elbows

7.  Doing your taxes (for me I don’t need to add anything to that one)

That is why when Paul pens to the Ephesian church that they “may be able to COMPREHEND with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height and to KNOW the love of Christ which passeth knowledge…”

It is Epic.

Selah

Ephesians 3:17-18

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Grandma Nooma: the other side

So is the traditional church style exempt from generational examination?  Here we go.

After the article Nooma Grandma was posted I received a barrage of emails with a similar theme:  The progressive/modern/postmodern/emergent style churches are not the only ones guilty of limited age connection.  I agree.

Churches who have bucked and at times criticized the emergent, postmodern, or progressive movements have seen success in retaining an older demographic.  How have they faired among the youth?

Not much better than the former has with the older generation.  Go to a self proclaimed “Old Fashion” church and what will you see?   Is there a vibrant community of all-aged worshippers?  Unfortunately many times there is not.

Now I mistakenly did not qualifying in the article Nooma Grandma and I will not repeat that mistake.  So here is the qualifier:  Not every church that considers itself traditional has failed at reaching 20 and 30 somethings.  (Not every progressive church has failed in the mature member category.)

However there must be some admission that traditional models have struggled to reach younger generations.  The amount of 20 and 30 somethings in traditional churches is dropping.  Some would be quick to blame the young generation for abandoning the faith.  But you have to wonder, has the traditional church abandoned a generation?

Has traditionalism, dare I say fundamentalism, had short comings in its abilities to reach a generation that interacts socially through entirely new medias? Are the internet, Facebook, and TV only instruments of the world and the Devil or can they be used for the kingdom?  ( I know my Dad’s years on television were helpful to many)

Truly the problem runs both ways.  Regardless of the predominant style/methodology of your church, concessions should be made to accommodate all members or potential members of the body of Christ.  As a church leader or member you have the opportunity to accommodate or separate.  Too often traditional Churches have raced to the later.

At times accommodating is considered sinful.  Some churches refuse to change graphics, update the auditorium, talk to people because they have buckles on their shoes (true story) but, love suffers long and is kind, it is not easily provoked and does not think evil.

I am not talking about sacrificing doctrine, forgetting the old paths, becoming theologically liberal.   I am talking about style and methodology. Whether traditional or contemporary every church has a style.  And that style must be constructed to be Biblically appropriate while crossing generational barriers.

Grandma can be cool with Nooma if grandma will watch with an open mind.

Do you feel your church has succeeded in bridging the age gap?  Any ideas on how this can be done?

Is the Gym like Iraq?

You can try to dress it up but the gym is a big box full of sweaty people, wearing sweaty clothes, on sweaty machines, that are on sweaty carpet all facing sweaty walls that are holding in the sweaty air. And this place is supposed to improve my health?  Why not stick my nose at the end of the car exhaust inhale and get it over with?

The gym: I will be going the rest of this week if I can stomach it. Good luck to me.

As I pump iron I noticed these ridiculous pictures of people I have no desire to look like. I am just trying to get a little tone and stave off obesity. Meanwhile I am looking at super muscle woman whose biceps are larger than my calf muscles. Sweaty still surrounds me.

If the gym were a country I am sure it would be Iraq. It makes people sweat, women are given separate areas from men, and there is always that guy with the mustache that thinks he runs the place. (yes I realize that Sadaam no longer runs Iraq but that still hasn’t changed the mustache guy at the gym.)

To those of you that have resolved to keep the “temple” in better shape in 2011 my thoughts are with you.

Snow, Cold and Romans 12

 

A Thai Perspective

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Project Thailand Video from Philip Bassham on Vimeo.

It’s great to think that this love is available to everyone. My prayers are with my friend Philip as he takes Jesus, His love and His message, to Thailand.

Nooma Grandma

In a recent conversation about church trends I was challenged by a friend’s comments. “Are we reaching the non-young ones?” My words; his thought.

Although emergent and postmodern church leaders have had measurable success in attracting unchurched twenty and thirty somethings they have largely marginalized themselves by age. He commented that having attended Mars Hill there were a limited number of middle aged or elderly. We both agreed that a visual poll conducted on a one time visit is hardly scientific but, I think there might be something to this. Have modern church leaders appealed only to younger minds and limited their scope of ministry?
Last month the influentially famous Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church made a change. (My grandmother used to attend when Dr. Kennedy was there) Rather than separating its members by worship preferences (traditional and contemporary) they blended their service to facilitate community. The styles of both the old and the young were compromised for the sake of coming together.

Pastor Tullian Tchividjian said in a recent blog article, “Following the lead of the advertising world, many churches and worship services target specific age groups to the exclusion of others. They forget that, according to the Bible, the church is an all-age community, and instead they organize themselves around distinctives dividing the generations…”

Amidst my questions of the modern swings of postmodernism I ask myself, why not the old ones? Have we left them behind? I further wonder if there is a difference between saying, “I have a passion to reach this generation” and “I have a passion to reach this particular race.” Though the later would be offensive the former is applauded. The boundary crossing church has become a thing of popularity but is the boundary of age too unfashionable to cross?

Would nooma be as cool with grandma?

Your thoughts and comments are much appreciated…

Stylized

Am I the only one surprised that it is currently fashionable to wear jeans with holes in them? I find myself unusually fixated with the idea that society has accepted this absurd notion of fashion. Could we get a more real life example of the children’s tale “The emperor’s new clothes”?
Really!? Holes in the clothing before you ever wear them? Clothes you buy new but look old? It’s not that I have a moral objection to them. There were people in the Bible with holes in their clothes. Just remember they were poor people. Yeah that’s right, Poor. I went there. In the ultimate quest for fashionable originality we have reduced ourselves to the appearance of poverty. We all look cool but we all look poor.
Do I have a pair of these jeans with holes? Absolutely! I have several and I am wearing a pair as I write this. I like jeans with holes in them. I won’t in 3 years. At that time I will be wearing tight jeans reflecting on how ridiculous the holes in these jeans were. The holey jeans will be as ridiculous as the baggy jeans that were so popular in the 90’s. Because let’s be honest holes are out and tight jeans are in. AAAHHG! It’s tough to keep up.

Fashion changes. Styles change. And unfortunately I feel the current generation is all too familiar with this change. You can’t keep a computer, pair of jeans, or shoes for more than a few years. Updating is constantly with us. My fear is that we are too quick to update our religion as well.
I find an incessant need within some members of the church to be at the cutting edge of the newest and coolest movement, wave, or modern thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they are searching. I’m just afraid for some that Jesus is not enough. He needs a side of whatever-is-cool-right-now.
I believe in change. Progress demands us to change. But are all these new ideas progress in the church? Or is it new for the sake of new? (or perhaps new for the sake of selling a book or album) Are we so used to changing the style in our jeans that we have to spice up our God too? Hey, I’m just asking. While progress may dictate change the message of Jesus needs neither progress nor change. It cannot be improved upon. It won’t get more exciting and it cannot be more relevant.
I hope that your search for Jesus continues with sincerity, relevance, and novelty. But if your theology changes for the same reasons as your jeans I suspect sooner or later you will find some holes.