Wednesday, July 26, 2006

jesus franchises

i just finished watching the willowcreek leadership summitt 2003 interview with ken blanchard and john maxwell. i was really struck by a picture that ken blanchard painted. when he was asked how american pastors are doing with leadership, he responded with a charge for churches to unite and "kill the competition," by focusing on jesus. churches are like franchises promoting a product, the message of jesus. he called us to get over our club rules, regulations and rituals and work toward the same goal. (of course, the church is much more than that....all illustrations break down either quickly or somewhere down the line.)

that's always been a value and passion of mine. working with ivcf, i get to move in and out lots of different churches, denominations and christian circles. i count that a priviledge. i dream of a time when churches of an area like mine in nw indiana could unite and kill the competition. it seems possible to actually focus on proclaiming the message of jesus in a way that unites people of differences.

but that dream has been challenged recently for me. because in order to unite, that would mean that christians would all have to adopt my "united" framework. what i mean is that i believe with all my heart that there are certain things that are central to the christian faith and certain things that are periphery. if we could all just focus on the central things, we could kill the competition. but who gets to decide what's central and periphery? and is it just pride to think that i get to say what is peripheral?

lots of folks wouldn't agree on what is central and what is not. that's why the differences. and sometimes i wonder if my" dropping of peripheral things" is just pushing my framework on another. some folks i've found recently would not even agree that there are central and peripherial beliefs. for them, everything is central....and to acknowledge a periphery is to acknowledge weakness, lose respect and to become ineffective in leading people to jesus.

would jesus or paul have said "well, that's not central and i'm not sure if what i believe is right or not.... there have been so many perspectives over the years." part of me doubts that.

at the same time, humility and a biblical understanding of the human condition, even after jesus changes a person, would seem to include some doubt at all times of our own ability to get it right. i just can't believe that having an attitude of absolute correctness would be something jesus would want.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

greener grass

i've been thinking about starting a blog for awhile. so here's my first post.

so i'm the kind of guy who's always trying to make something better. that has it's good and it's bad. i like to download talks by mark driscoll. my brother in law got me listening to him. (thanks scott!). mark has a great talk on masculinity. check it out. one of his thoughts is that God has made men to be cultivators....we like to fix things and make them better and better. of course that's a generalization, but i think there's truth in it.

that's me. i can be obsessed with it. take my grass for instance. i don't think that i'm obsessed with it, but my wife says that i talk about it a lot. i just want nice grass...i want to be able to lay in the grass face-up without getting my butt dirty. it's nowhere near that yet. but i keep working on it. i don't work on it like the lady down the street...she mowes her grass like 3 times a week and hand pulls out every weed. that's cool....i just don't have that kind of time.

for me, lots of things are like my grass...i spend a lot of mental energy thinking up new ways to make things better.

i know the saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side." i think that the grass is greener about a lot of things. i'm working on striking the balance between helpful cultivation and perfectionism. i definitely still fall on the perfectionism side. one day i'll get it that jesus doesn't care about perfectionism like i sometimes do. but i don't want to miss out on something as simple as better grass or something as huge as people making a decision to follow jesus

so until i get there, i still like to work on greener grass.