Some of my readers have too much time on their hands. 🙂 While I do appreciate some of you sending me interesting materials for my blog such as funny videos, interesting articles, other blogs to check out, and topics you’d like for me to address, I also get a few readers that send me stuff…about me.
Seriously. I know that I have stuff I need to work out in my life and I’m constantly trying to live in the tension of “I must decrease and He must increase” but I am no megalomania. I don’t need folks to send me stuff about what others are saying about me, my ministry, blog, sermons, articles, blah…
A post with Fabio as the lead image is worth reading.
In response to my post yesterday about the pending death of the TNIV version of the Scriptures, one of my readers, Joe Louthan, contributed a comment that I thought was worth posting as a separate post and he was gracious to let me share it today. I very much appreciated the tone and manner he shares both his thoughts and presents some straightforward questions so I am obviously asking my readers and commenters to do your usual thing and engage in thoughtful, engaging, and civil engagement.
Here’s his comment:
To you, Eugene and those from the gender neutrality/inclusive camp, may I ask this:
I received my share of taunts, slurs, beat downs, and bullying – particularly in elementary and middle school. But when I hear my kids come home and speak of some taunts or bullying, I can’t help it: I get enraged. It pains me immensely.
And so when I read this news from the NY Times about two young 11 year old boys – Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera – who hung themselves because of “gay” taunts at their schools, I was enraged. There’s couple issues here: bullying and specifically, the bullying and abuse specifically targeted to gay and lesbian students.
What does it all mean?
And if we have 11 year old kids committing suicide, we have to ask the question: Are we doing enough to protect kids and punish those that bully?
Locally, (as I’m sure nationally), there are pastors and others leading, organizing, and encouraging parents to not send their teenagers to schools on (the now passed) Day of Silence – a peaceful demonstration representing the silence many gay and lesbian students feel they must maintain to avoid harassment and bullying at school.
What is the message we are conveying? Can’t this be an opportunity for parents – while one honor their personal convictions – for a teaching moment to their kids?
So, while Christians and churches should certainly have the right to exercise their freedom with their views, all Christians and churches should be enraged at the bullying and verbal, emotional, and at times, physical violence against our gay youth.
But one of the joys of planting and pastoring Quest Church is that it’s one of the most unique and diverse communities I have been a part of. This isn’t meant to be a slam against homogeneous churches. In fact, I believe that every community is multicultural on some level – [Hint: think beyond race.] While I miss (very much) the uniqueness of my experiences in Korean-American churches – food, generations, languages, etc. (and still am involved in KA/Asian communities), I now understand why God called Minhee and I to venture out from our homogeneous suburban church into the city to plant Quest and Q Cafe.
While we have a long way to go, we’re thankful that Quest is growing as a multicultural, multigenerational, and urban faith community – with a desire to be an incarnational presence both in the city of Seattle and the larger world – teaching and living out the Gospel of Christ.
Questions: What are ways that you encourage your community to grow in diversity, community, and uniqueness?
These are my encouragements to fellow leaders and pastors:
Know the diversity of your community. Simply, do you know their stories? They may “look” the same but they represent different ‘cultures’ – if not ethnicities. We all have diverse stories. If you know their stories, are you making their stories known? FWIW, this is my story.
Nevertheless, have a vision of the larger Kingdom and the “future Church” and consider what it looks like to take “one step closer…” Even if your church community isn’t ethnically diverse, how are you personally building friendships and encouraging your congregants to live in friendship with neighbors and the larger community? How is your church serving “other” churches and communities – especially those that don’t look like yours? You don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and think that “worshipping together” is the only expression. Think outside of Sundays and outside the building box.
Be committed to the truth that each person is uniquely created in the image of God. Consider the lessons learned from the story of Susan Boyle of Britain’s Got Talent and meditate on this quote from C. S. Lewis in The Weight Of Glory.
Some of you may have already seen this article entitled The Coming Evangelical Collapse [@Christian Science Monitor]. There are certainly some good things for ruminations, discussions, and considerations but like many things written for the purposes of drawing attention, it makes some grandiose statements.
I’d love to hear from you regarding your thoughts and commentary about the article [below]. Do you agree? Disagree? What stood out to you?
And if you believe the Western church is in trouble, here’s the million dollar question: Why and what can be done?
Is Christianity in trouble? It really depends on how you look at the situation. I have shared for some time that we live and have lived in a Post-Christendom Western world for a long time. But because we dominate the resources of the world including information, we think we still remain the cradle of all things vibrant Christianity. Having spent some time in other countries and pastoring two years in Korea in the ’90s, the Western world is NOT the center of the world. I’m not trying to diminish the work of the Church in the West as it’s clear that it’s still influential but the Gospel is flourishing in many places outside the Western world especially in places around Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Furthermore, while Christianity – in its various forms – are struggling in the Western world, we should also point out that it’s not the case in every situation. For example, ethnic churches, on the most part, are still flourishing in the West…
So, are we in the midst of a collapse or a spiritual recession in the West? Well, these are certainly challenging times but just like the current economic recession, I see this as an opportunity for the “evangelical church” to re-discover their identity and grow deeper in our mission. What I’m saying is that decline and talks of death aren’t necessarily bad things since sometimes, those very things will wake us up. And perhaps through ‘death,’ we see the possibility of life anew.
In fact, perhaps this collapse ought or needs to take place in order for us to discover ourselves once more from all that which have lured us away from our identity: both as individuals and as a larger community.