George Barna on “The Crisis of Confidence in the Church”

I enjoy Barna’s updates; they tend to be informative and thought-provoking. This quote in particular got me thinking:

A leader can only sustain forward movement if he/she has the confidence of the people being led into battle. Now, if a church is simply providing a safe comfort station for hurting people, that’s one thing. But if a church is intent upon facilitating a moral and spiritual revolution, recognizing that doing so is a declaration of war on current cultural preferences and values, the loss of confidence is a devastating setback.

(Read the whole post here.)

Has your experience led you to agree with this? Do people have less confidence in the church? And if so, what do you think should be done about it?

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For Real?

Let me take a stab at answering my own question here…

One thing it definitely will take is for people to open their eyes to the reality of the lives being led by some of the people involved.

I completely understand that nobody wants to think ill of their loved ones, and certainly nobody wants to speak ill of the dead.  But I have to wonder at the sentiments expressed by some when these tragic events happen.  Grief is good and right. Every man that falls is someone’s beloved – son, brother, husband, father, etc…  But people often cross the line from appropriate expressions of mourning to complete distortions of reality.

It is one thing to respect the grief of those who have lost loved ones, and avoid demonizing the slain.

It is another thing entirely to disrespect the community at large by deifying the often immoral, illegal, and ungodly acts perpetrated by these men in life.

It’s not an easy thing to say, but sometimes somebody has to just say it.

On a related note, it doesn’t help when family and friends turn a blind eye to those actions while the person is still alive.  The active involvement of the community is vital to combatting the escalating violence that is plaguing our precious home.

Woe to those who call good evil, and evil good… – Isaiah 5:20


Repost: What Will It Take?

Given the sad and tragic events of the past week, it seems appropriate to resubmit this blog’s most popular post for consideration.  Updated and contextualized, the question must still be asked: What will it take?

– – – – –

Yet another family is shattered [this week] by the loss of one of our young men to the senselessness of gunplay [not to mention the numerous others that are rocked by the shooting injuries of their loved ones].  Bermuda looks back on the increase of violence over the last decade, the last year, the last month, [the last week]… and she weeps.

Or does she?

Pulling our eyes from the harsh scene of escalation, we reluctantly survey the current landscape, and we marvel.  Our community, so quick to meet any challenge and so resilient in the face of adversity, is characterized by apparent indifference and impotent fear in the face of this most recent and pressing internal crisis.  Rather than allowing our courage to climb to new heights in order to combat the ever rising violence, we instead are plumbing depths of apathy.

As the song says…

Our eyes are dry

Our faith is old

Our hearts are hard

Our prayers are cold

We ask – What will it take?

What will it take for our young men to realize the foolishness of throwing away their own lives, and heartlessly destroying the lives of others, for nothing?

What will it take for our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, to refuse to shelter and blindly support those that are tearing apart our community and endangering even the innocent?

What will it take for all of us to work together to remedy the social and political ills that have driven our young men and their families to this point of desperation, however unjustified?

WHAT WILL IT TAKE???

Sadly, we listen to the voice of experience and history as she whispers in our ear.  We tenaciously hold onto the hope that she is wrong, even as we begin to acknowledge to ourselves the grim reality of what she says to us.

We pray to God that we will be spared the desperate times that always seem to lead to desperate measures.  We pray that we will not see our young children, our dedicated mothers, our aged parents, mown down by gunfire before we are moved to action.  We pray that communities will not be forced to the brink of destruction before determining to stand up and speak out.

My condolences to the family and friends of [Troy “Yankee” Rawlins], and all those who have lost loved ones to this senselessness. [Prayers also for the swift recovery of the injured.]


Notes in the Margin

Have you ever picked up an old book that was previously owned by somebody else?  Maybe in a library, or a used book store?  I notice two things pretty consistently whenever I do — almost without fail, the book is highlighted. Underlined. Notes in the margin.  And almost without fail, those markings stop after the first few chapters. Sometimes pages.

I can just picture it… the excitement of a new book (yes, it is exciting), the determination to read it through.  And not just read it, but mark it up and get the most out of it.  Then, as time marches on, reality tends to set in, along with apathy and diminished enthusiasm.  It’s no longer so important to make notes, so long as I read.  But do I really need to read… what’s on TV?

Maybe I’m just rambling because school just started, I have a raft of new books that I’m marking up, and I’m having doubts about my ability to remain consistent… but then again that’s life for so many of us so much of the time, isn’t it?  We jump into a new enterprise with the best of intentions and the noblest of aspirations, only to succumb to the steady grind of busy-ness and circumstance that seems determined to crush our goals and dreams, whether trivial or tremendous.

So, what to do about it?

Well, first of all — read a book. Secondly, make up your mind that whatever you attempt in life you’re not just going to start, but also finish.  And that you won’t just finish, but finish well.  And keep after it, no matter what.


Back to School

It’s hard to believe that we are here at the beginning of another school year.  Looking back on all that’s happened in the past few months, I’m brimming over with excitement for the upcoming challenge.

Opening chapel was awesome.  In particular, the flag ceremony really gets me.  Hearing the Great Commission in so many different languages, and seeing the flags of the various nations, is humbling, exciting, and challenging all at once.

This term we’re doing several classes – Minor Prophets, Epistles of James & Peter, Epistles of Colossians & Ephesians, Sacrificial System.  Also, Bridget is doing a Women’s Ministry track, and I’m doing a Congregational Ministry track.  I’m also doing an extra course to try and cut down on my load later.  We’ll see how that goes.

This year is probably going to go by in a whirlwind – the last one sure did.  One thing we definitely need prayers about is what we will be doing once we leave here in another year’s time. Of course, Bermuda is the ultimate destination – but the path to get back isn’t necessarily a straight one.  So, as always, prayers are appreciated.

Love,

d&b


An Interesting Read on “Situational Modesty”

Read something interesting today.  Here’s an excerpt:

Situational modesty says that a woman can dictate the situation and control the eyes and minds of the male population. When she is on the prowl, only the person she wishes to snare can see her as sexy. All other eyes must close. It says that she can wear barely any clothes when she goes to McDonalds on a late night run and since she has no intent to be sexy, no man should see her in that way. Her body can be uncovered at a beach, but since she is only there to swim, all men must ignore her, except for the handsome guys who are available. Men must realize her intentions and see her as she desires, just because she says so.

Of course, this is one of the things I’ve said from time to time.  In view of some of the names I’ve been called, it’s nice to have a woman’s perspective on the issue.

You can read the whole article here.


That Time Again

Just watched the plane take my son away… again. Never gets any easier, but God is still good. Joseph and Moses were both separated from their fathers – so was Jesus, for that matter -but look how God worked out all those situations.

It’s not easy, but it’s bearable.

“Though he slay me yet will I trust him.”