Month: June 2006

On the way back …

Thanks to Charlie I should have my Tablet to near normal sometime tomorrow. I will post my second installment of my Ed (Stetzer) posts.

Living Into My New Reputation … Ed post #1

Denominational employment creates certain discomfort. Many think some move from the pastorate or staff of a local church to denominational posts to flee the “glass house.” Several friends have had or do serve denominational entities or institutions. Two of those men no longer do; a third does so with a bit more freedom than most.

Denominational leaders do not avoid the “glass house.” Instead those looking in tend to offer greater scrutiny than ordinary church members looking in on his or her pastor or staff. Maybe the accountability is greater due to the notion of greater responsibility. I am not sure a denominational “head” comes under greater accountability than a pastor.

However, some ascend the “heights” and assume their position of leadership carries immediate and immense trust by those they now serve.

I met Ed Stettzer Monday evening of the Annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. We (Me, Patty, Paul and Vera) were waiting for the beginning of the Young Leader meeting. Paul pointed out Ed and we took the step to introduce oursevles.

Ed learned where I served. He suggested I was one of the bloggers who had written some about him in evidently inglorious terms. I shared with Ed that I do not even recall ever making a reference to Ed Stetzer in a blog post much less writing anything considered less than encouraging about him.

He then wondered if I was “jvpastor.” I told him I was not. He suggested someone should talk to “jvpastor.” The inference was dissatisfaction over some things written. I do not believe jvpastor had ever written anything negative about Ed Stetzer. Ed then remembered. He said jvpastor had angered half ot the people with whom he worked. [The issue related to jvpastor’s concern over a video produced by NAMB to support the ’05 Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions. A concern with which I agreed.] I told Ed I was tired of young guys being disallowed a voice. I told him I would not “sit” on Jason. Working out thoughts and feelings is one of the benefits of writing. And, Jason actually e-mailed and talked with Bob Reccord about the matter. In fact, Dr. Reccord called Jason at home to discuss the issue. Just because they disagreed does not mean Jason should not be able to express his opinion.

After the conversation I thought about the whole issue that prompted Jason’s posts for which he is now infamous/famous with some. Jason was calling for accountability and the need to think through our “presentations.” This did not sit well then and unfortunately it must still be a sensitive subject.

Patty and I attended the SBC in part to see how the issue of accoutnability mgith be worked out. It we be next year before this question may be fully answered.

High profile leadership positions do not come with inherent trust. They do not provide a free pass from accountability.

I cannot think of one reason for which I might criticize Ed Stetzer. His “emerging church” taxonomy may be a good tool to consider current issues but also may be used to rigidly to “classify” people unfairly. But, as a missiologist, Ed is trying to get a handle on what church planters face and how they may be influenced by new “movements.”

Ed’s response to meeting us seemed to radiate a defensive climate created by recent actions by Trustee Boards, Agency Heads and Entity Presidentws. So, in somehat a playful way, I will be posting from time to time on Ed Stetzer. I do this so Ed might have a repreive from negative posts, unless I fall into the slippery slope myself. So as Ed Google’s his name from time to time to see who is writing what, maybe he will find something thoughtful and maybe humorous. Here’s to hoping this post may rise to the top of the famous search engine.

Great to meet you Ed!

[Written a few weeks ago but with computer difficulties is only now being added.]

If pushing the wrong button was not enough …

A couple of weeks ago while attempting to update my blog, I inadvertently deleted part of my “main index” template. The result was disastrous. I had to rebuild and am still needing to make some additional updates. In the meantime I began to experience some trouble with the HP Tablet PC TC1100. Patty and I arrived in Greensboro on last Sunday. Monday when I attempted to startup the Tablet PC I got an imminent hard drive failure message. Yes, she crashed.

Here I sit at home attempting to get hte Tablet back up to snuff. I have yet to blog my thoughts about the SBC, meeting Ed Stetzer and sharing the convention experience with Paul and Vera. I will eventually get to that. Right now my eyes are bleary from the process.

I leave for youth camp Monday morning. I will not need the Tablet. but, I do hope to have it up and going soon. Charlie told me that if I fail at it this evening, he would take care of it for me while I am gone. Great to know IT guys who know more than me.

Blessings on your Sunday … yours too Ed!

(My reference to Ed Stetzer will be explained in a subsequent post. But while you await that interesting exchange, keep looking back for a post about meeting Ed Stetzer,)

Friends, encouragers … brothers … Happy Birthday …

Younger brothers always remind you of at least one thing – YOU are OLDER! We really cannot point fingers at the way we are losing our hair. Two of us cannot talk to the third about “weight gain.” All of us share the same last name. We have not lived near one another in quite a long time. On separate occasions both of my younger brothers lived with Patty and me. Paul while in Seminary. Trent during a summer while in college. Since those two occasions, the closest we have lived to one another has been about 30 minutes. Now, Trent lives some twelve hours north and east and Paul about two hours northeast.

Over the years we have shared a number of experiences. We have had to address the occasional elephant in the room when we did not see eye to eye but were unsure how to broach the subject for fear of hurting the other’s feelings. The passage of time have given us both the shared understanding of our differing perspectives and even more how they seem to coalesce as we get older. We really are great friends. We talk often and yet sometimes not often enough. We all wish Trent, Sandra, Amanda and Emalee were much closer.

Trent, my youngest brother, celebrated his birthday nearly a month ago; just a few days after my own. He is not yet near the magical 40 but closer than he would care to admit. He often reminds me the nearer he gets to a given age, the further I have moved from that same age. I try to find some way to make seven years less of a stretch. But alas, as he hits 40 I will be nearer 50 than 40. And, he will remind me should I get to carried away with my chides. I do wish he were less than a half days drive. Maybe someday.

Paul us much nearer my age. Yet, to hear him speak of it you would think we are “light years” apart. Tomorrow is his “big” day. He will fish, may play golf and certainly remind me his is enjoying life without internet and cell phone on one of the calmest lakes in southwest Missouri. We toured Seminary together. We share the same vocation so from time to time we commiserate regarding the ebbs and flows (euphemism for ups and downs) inherent in what we do as pastors. Much has been made of tomorrow – 6/6/06. Since we are not into those kinds of dates, it is not a day to be feared but rather a day to be celebrated.

If he and Trent could read this message today or tomorrow, I would tell Trent to out-fish and out-golf his much older brother. I would tell Paul, have a great day – Happy Birthday!

Setting DaVinci Wright …

Johnny and I shared a conversation this morning as we were preparing for The Lord’s Supper, Communion. He expressed one of my sentiments regarding the variety of opinions about the Da Vinci Code. He remarked, “If the movie gets people to consider who Jesus really is, we should not fear the movie.” Certainly Johnny is suggesting the movie as a basis for conversation about who Jesus is. I agree, if it gets us talking about Jesus, good.

I know the concern some will miscontrue fiction as fact. Stephen Shields has done a good job of compiling internest resources to refute the fiction purported to be fact. One may easily uncover the fact the premise of the book is not only disputed but some consider Brown to have coopted someone elses intellectual property.

Some find it hard that a Southern Baptist abides N.T. Wright. He is maligned by many in the Truly Reformed camps ( Baptist and otherwise). I agree with Alastair Roberts that the stream coming out of the Reformation cuts a wider swath than most acknowledge (I cannot get to the link for his article, “N.T. Wright and Reformation Readings of Romans”)

I happened onto an article by N.T. Wright, Decoding the Da Vinci Code, in the Seattle Pacific Universtiy Magazine, Response. I found the following humorous if not helpful,

It is a well-known feature of todayâ??Ã?ôs culture that some people canâ??Ã?ôt tell fact from fiction. Stories abound of people who believe the characters in soap operas to be real, including tales of thousands of baby clothes being sent to radio stations after one of the fictitious characters has given birth, and of actors being attacked in the street by people angry about the bad behavior of their screen character. Within a would-be Christian subculture the same thing becomes sinister, as when millions who read the Left Behind series really do believe not only in the â??Ã?úraptureâ??Ã?ù as a central element of their theology but in the sociopolitical ideologies powerfully reinforced by that series. In a sense, Dan Brown represents the mirror image of LaHaye and Jenkins, reproducing in fictionalized form some of the myths of the postmodern world as LaHaye and Jenkins reproduce in fictionalized form some of the myths of the fundamentalist right.

And for those who wonder about Wright’s commitment to the gospel he notes,

In particular, the resurrection of Jesus was central to early Christianity, though youâ??Ã?ôd never know that, either, from Dan Brown or from the many other writers who perpetrate the modern myth in its various forms. And Jesusâ??Ã?ô death was consequently interpreted, from extremely early in the Christian movement, as (a) the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures, (b) the defeat of all rival spiritual powers, and (c) the means of forgiveness of sins. Early Christianity was not primarily a movement which showed, or taught, how one might live a better life; that came as the corollary of the main emphasis, which was that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had fulfilled his age-old purposes, had dealt with the powers of evil, and had launched his project of new creation upon the world. The early Christian gospel, which was then written up in the four canonical Gospels, was the good news, not that a new teaching about hidden wisdom had appeared, enabling those who tapped into it to improve the quality of their lives here or even hereafter, but that something had happened through which the evil which had infected the world had been overthrown and a new creation launched, and that all human beings were invited to become part of that project by becoming renewed themselves.

The article is worth the read on a number of levels.