17 May, 2006

Church as Service

Hailey and I are big fans of the TV show King of the Hill. When I was in college, Hailey would get home, turn on the telly and watch her 3:30 episode every day. We often said that what we appreciated about the humor was its ability to give insight while keeping you laughing. I was shown a recent episode of the Hills looking for a new church and it reminded me of the dangers of viewing church as service. Often times we get into the habit of seeing church as a product - "what can this church offer me?" we think. The reality is that church is the opportunity for service. Let me know what you think of the clip.

Da Vinci Code on the Late Late Show

If you missed the discussion on the Da Vinci Code on the Late Late Show last Sat. night, you can watch it for the next few days on the RTE web site, see http://www.rte.ie/tv/latelate/

A couple of hundred thousand Irish people would have watched it! Have a look at what they saw and listen to the arguments they heard.

God bless,
Matt (for Cormac)

07 May, 2006

Surf Trip Update

We have moved the dates of the Surf Trip to June 3rd-5th. This is to accommodate for our get together with Andrew Jones June 8th-9th (location still pending). I will have brochures available for the surf trip on Wednesday. It looks like we will have enough leaders for the trip. We are still sorting out rental issues and lessons.

One huge need: We are looking for a driver. We have been offered the use of a 15 passenger van. This would be ideal not only for transporting teens down there, but for transporting equipment. However, we need a driver who is licensed to drive such a van. Let me know if you know of anyone who is both qualified and willing.


05 May, 2006

Dancing Evangelism

In preparation for his upcoming visit, I've been reading some of Brian McLaren's writings. I'm in the middle of "A New Kind of Christian" at the moment. The book reminds me of works like Plato's Phaedrus that I studied in Rhetorical Theory back in College. Just as the Phaedrus uses dialogue between characters to discuss issues of the gods, philosophy, rhetoric and art, so McLaren addresses issues of being a Christian in a changing age through the lens of a story, or perhaps the journey, of two men. Dan and Neo (silly name, I know). The benefit of this method is that concepts and ideas are not left without context. The issues become practical rather than disembodied ideas. As I've been reading I've been marking areas in the book that challenged me and left me thinking ("thinking" in the sense that I wonder off in my brain for about 5 minutes contemplating a phrase, then snapping out of it, telling myself I'm never going to finish this book if I keep doing this). I thought I'd share one of those areas in the text. Neo and Dan are on a walk in nature, Dan is a pastor who is ready to leave the pastorate. Neo is a teacher in a local secondary school, helping Dan think through some of his reasons for leaving. At one point the topic of evangelism comes up. I love what Neo says:

"Instead of conquest, instead of a coercive rational argument or an emotionally intimidating sales pitch or an imposing crusade or an aggressive debating contest where we hope to 'win' them to Christ, I think of it like a dance. You know, in a dance, nobody wins and nobody loses, Both parties listen to the music and try to move with it. In this case, I hear the music of the gospel, and my friend doesn't, so I try to help him hear it and move with it. And like a dance, I have to ask if the other person wants to participate. There's a term for pulling someone who doesn't want to dance into a dance: assault. But if you pull someone in who wants to learn, and if you're good with the music yourself, it can be a lot of fun!" (p.62)
I love the idea of evangelism as providing opportunities for participation.