Category Archive: Latest from the MethoBlogoSphere

Sep 17 2014

Mercy Not Sacrifice: Do you deserve to be crucified for your sin?

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/MercyNotSacrifice/~3/LKf4oFS5xfA/


This past weekend, Brian Zahnd and Michael Brown held a debate on the penal substitution atonement theory. While I tend to be on Brian’s side of the debate, I’m not willing to throw penal substitution completely out of the window. The concept of penal substitution has a whole lot of slippage within it. There’s a stark [Read More...]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/do-you-deserve-to-be-crucified-for-your-sin/

Sep 17 2014

Thoughts From The Heart On The Left: “The Value Of Your Ministry”

Original post at http://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/the-value-of-your-ministry/


Meditation for 21 September 2014, the 15th Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)

Exodus 16: 2 – 16, Philippians 1: 21 – 30, Matthew 20: 1 – 16

Sometimes we need to see the Scriptures in a totally new manner, or at least not view them in the way we have perhaps always done it. That, I hope, is the case with this particular post.

As you can see from the title, this has to do with the ministry of the church. When we think of a particular church’s ministry, it is often in terms of the congregation and the needs of the congregation first. The needs of the community in which the church resides are, perhaps, often overlooked, or thought to be the same as the congregation’s needs and wants.

Sometimes, this will work; often times I don’t think it does. My first impression of Rick Warren and his “Purpose Driven Church” model was that the church administration assessed the needs and interests of the congregation and got those people with common needs and interests together and called that a ministry. Now, if your church has the numbers to do this, it might work.

But, and I made this point when it was first presented to me, if your church is anything like the ones that I have worked with in the past, the numbers aren’t there and they never will be.

This has nothing to do with the perceived state of the church today. Some churches are in places where the population as a whole is not changing and is probably going down. Churches in such areas as these have to, by necessity, operate with an entirely different model. And churches such as these need our support more than we perhaps realize, simply so that the people in those congregations don’t think that they are being forgotten.

But there are churches in areas where the numbers speak of growth and promise, yet the ministries of those churches are adapted to the congregation and not the community. These are the churches in trouble. And that is an area that we really need to look at. A church whose ministries are inward and have turned a blind eye to the community outside the walls of the sanctuary is a dying church.

But I am looking at something else at this time. Much of our publication discussion of the ministry of the church has been of two types, one informal and one, naturally, formal. The informal ministry emphasizes our willingness or unwillingness to let the Spirit rule the Law. For some, the Law is everything and, thus, that which is against the Law cannot be allowed.

But there are those (and for the sake of clarity, I believe I am in that group) who feel that the Spirit supersedes the Law and we must often do that which is in conflict with the Law. I fear that this informal ministry will, in the next couple of years, be formalized and become part of the corporate ministry of the church and the denomination.

The formal ministry of the church, at the local, denominational, and general levels, is that by which the church is identified. As part of the corporate structure, the formal ministry is the current measure of the vitality of the church. This is what the church says it is going to do. But there is another view of the ministry, not the corporate view but the individual view.

And I think that we need to see the ministry of the church more from the individual view than from the corporate view. This view starts by asking each member, “What are your ministries? What do you do, individually, that shows others who Christ is and brings them to a point where they can accept Christ?” If your life has been given to Christ, then all ministries are of the same value and that value is, perhaps, priceless (yes, I know, it is part of a 21st century cliché but it fits the Gospel reading).

But if you are like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, angry that God has taken you away from the security of your slavery in Egypt, what value do you place on your ministry? What if you are one of the workers who has put in the long hours and ended up wit the same pay as those who worked less? What value do you place on your ministry? If you feel that your efforts deserve greater rewards, then perhaps your ministry really has no value.

The problem today is not necessarily our corporate ministries but rather the value that we place on them. Many corporate ministries today focus on the needs of the congregation rather than the needs of the community. And individually, we are more interested in what we get out of the ministry than what others might.

As I read the passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians for this Sunday, I could not help but think about all the time and effort that he, Paul, put into his work. And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he was getting frustrated with the work (and at least one suggestion that the “thorn in his side” was a wife wondering when he was going to get a “real” job).

And maybe Paul did have the right to complain. How many times did he have to leave a town because he angered the power structure? Did the results that he achieved justify the time and effort he put in? Keep in mind that most of the time, the letters that he was dictating and mailing to the churches dealt with problems that had arose in the church. Is what Paul gained truly measurable by the bottom line demanded in the corporate and self-centered individual ministries of today?

What is the value of your ministry? Are you expecting more than what you put in? Or will your efforts offer someone new a hope or opportunity that they might not have received otherwise?

The hardest thing we have to do is finding out what our ministry is. Figuring out how to accomplish it becomes pretty easy. We start by committing our lives and our souls to Christ and then we work to help others do the same. The value of our ministry will perhaps never be known, except to those who are touched.


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/the-value-of-your-ministry/

Sep 17 2014

Begin Again: Connecting to the Earth through Poetry: No Martyrs in Nature

Original post at http://beguineagain.com/2014/09/17/connecting-to-the-earth-through-poetry-no-martyrs-in-nature/


Please enjoy this guest offering from Rachael Eve Maddox. Rachael is a fantastic life coach. You can find her here. What would our poetry be if the words did not have the connection to the earth that we can experience?

by Rachael Eve Maddox

“The tongue is the organ of taste
and also the organ of speech,”
said John O’Donohue

What is the flavor
of the words we don’t say?
What is the taste of repression?
What is the sensation
of freedom
of tongue?

I’ve watched a thousand butterflies
explode from the back of my throat
out the tips of my teeth
into the quilt of sky and trees

I’ve felt the gong
inside my lungs
the gong of emptiness
the gong of emptied-it-all out
the rippling quiet joy

and I’ve tasted the hunger of holding back
the withheld lion’s claw
waiting for some antelope to surrender
feed my hallow courage

I’ve learned there are no martyrs in nature–
Who would sacrifice its life to feed my fear?

I must hunger
for the taste of my own depths!
I must hunt myself down
puncture my silence–
bleed

https://soundcloud.com/rachaelmaddox/no-martyrs-in-nature

Here at BeguineAgain.com, we will focus on the climate throughout the week as it leads to the People’s Climate March on September 21st.

by Paula Bailey (CC BY-NC-ND)

by Paula Bailey
(CC BY-NC-ND)


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/connecting-to-the-earth-through-poetry-no-martyrs-in-nature/

Sep 17 2014

Going on to Perfection...: Rhythms and Routines

Original post at http://mellanella.blogspot.com/2014/09/rhythms-and-routines.html


I've been "back" from sabbatical for over a week now. Re-entry has been difficult and more than a bit draining! I've been trying to work through this fog that I've been calling "sabbatical brain." Basically it covers the multitude of tiny errors I've made as I've readjusted to reality. The largest culprit? Forgetting to look at my calendar before scheduling events. Having nothing to do and nowhere to be for seven weeks has shifted my default response to any invitation to "Sure! That works great!"

So that's been my response so far to pretty much any invitation and at least I've had the presence of mind to decide I should put it into my calendar...at which point I discover that I probably should have checked my calendar first before responding. Back on the job for not even a week and I've nearly double-scheduled myself three times. I clearly have to get back into the habit of checking my calendar.

But that isn't what I wanted to write this blog post about. I meant to talk about a few practices that I started (or maintained) over sabbatical that I want to continue doing to help establish some healthier ways of being.

First off - I'm done with balancing. Balancing is for gymnasts and bank accounts. Maybe your diet, too. When I take a look at everything I have on my schedule and between work, personal needs, family, volunteer commitments, second and third jobs, friendships, God, spiritual life...there's no way anything is balancing out. At least, not in any way that makes me a sane human being. Instead, I prefer to think about rhythms. It was a great boost when I heard Nadia Bolz-Weber speak earlier this year coming to similar conclusions about rhythms vs. balancing. It made me think that maybe I'm on the right track in my approach! In any case, I've decided that setting some daily and weekly (and monthly!) rhythms ensures that (1) everything gets done, (2) I'm in a better frame of mind, (3) I can better attune myself to my own needs. There will be times where life is at a faster pace and times when it is more laid back.  Establishing a rhythm means during those faster times, nothing will fall through the cracks, and during the slower times I won't dismiss practices as unnecessary.

To that end, here are some practices that I have maintained or integrated into my rhythm of life that I plan on continuing:

(1) Daily Prayer. Ben and I pray from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals every day. Every Friday, we open our home at 8 AM for people to join us. Sometimes, we bribe people with food. Daily prayer (and especially using this particular resource) has been helpful for grounding me regularly in silence, prayer, and Scripture. I've found it to be a very helpful way to start the day.

(2) Running. Oddly enough, Ben and I have been running three times a week since right after Easter. We've kept it going during sabbatical and have done two for two since we've gotten back. I've even purchased gear for colder weather. I love running (most of the time!) and it's helpful for working out any tension or anxiety. Yay endorphins!

(3) Protein for Breakfast. Eggs. And bacon. We ate a lot of bacon over sabbatical. A lot of bacon. Because of the price, bacon can't be an every day thing (sadly), but eating more protein and less starch for breakfast has helped me stay fuller longer, and given me more energy to make it through the morning. Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, avocado - all good things that I want to keep on my plate in the mornings.

(4) Meal Planning. I love to cook, but when life gets full, this is the first thing that goes, and then we end up eating things that are unhealthy and convenient like Domino's or ice cream. Every week, there will be healthy snacks in our house (like my new favorite homemade hummus recipe or crock pot yogurt for smoothies), and one night a week we will have a killer meal that takes loves and energy to prepare and that we will not eat in front of the television.

(5) More knitting. I knit so I don't kill people. (Seriously, it's a bumper sticker). Maybe it's not quite that extreme, because it has been awhile since I've knitted on a consistent basis, but over sabbatical I had the opportunity to work on quite a few craft projects (and finished a second sock!  Woohoo!). I watch enough television (between sports and the few shows I follow) that I should be able to manage completing projects on a regular basis.

(6) Second walks with the dogs. It's good for me, and it's good for them...because they are getting a bit pudgy. It makes them happier, too, and it's a helpful quick break in the middle of the day. Much better than frittering 20 minutes away on Facebook or Twitter. Keep those steps over 10,000 each day...or every other day....or at least four times a week.

These are just a few things I've found helpful. Finding things that nurture me that aren't extra add-ons to the day that are easily integrated into the natural course of the day or week. I think the world would be better off if we stopped trying to balance our way into happiness and started dancing our way there instead.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/rhythms-and-routines/

Sep 17 2014

Uniting Grace: Salvation in Three Tenses

Original post at http://pastormack.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/salvation-in-three-tenses/


classic-christianity

We often speak of salvation as if it is only an event in the past.  A robust, Biblical look at salvation reveals something much more wonderful, though.  Tom Oden points this out in his massive systematic theology Classic Christianity:

“There are three tenses in the vocabulary of salvation: We have been saved from the penalty of sin for our justification.  We are being saved from the power of sin for our sanctification.  We will be saved from the remnants of sin for God’s glorification.  Salvation includes the whole range of divine activity on behalf of humanity in past, present, and future history.” (Oden, 566.)

The Bible speaks of these tenses in many places, of course, but as Oden points out sometimes it speaks of all three at once.  Note, for instance, all three tenses in Titus 2:11-13 (NRSV):

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Salvation is not only something that we once received at the altar years ago, or a hope we can only look forward to.  Salvation is past, it is present, and it is yet to come.  Thanks be to God.


Filed under: soteriology, theologians

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/salvation-in-three-tenses/

Sep 17 2014

Pastor Patrick - Never On A Sunday: The One Year: Hearing His Voice Devotional – A Review

Original post at http://pastor-patrick.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-one-year-hearing-his-voice.html





The One Year
Hearing His Voice
Devotional


by
Chris Tiegreen

A Review

The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional is a nicely done devotional aimed at a general audience seeking to learn more about God on a daily basis.  The book occasionally follows the traditional calendar (readings for January 1 come from John 1:1 and for December 25 come from Luke 2:19), but for the most part reading come from various parts of the Bible and do not appear to follow a specific arrangement or order.

For those looking for a gentle devotional reading to start or end each day, this book may be a good choice.  Each entry begins with a quote from one or two scripture verses, devotional thoughts comprised of three or four paragraphs, and a brief prayer helping the reader to apply the content from that days reading.  

The book is not attended for deep Bible Study, but to provide a guiding light to begin or end each day for the believer as she or he seeks to serve her or his Lord.  It accomplishes that purpose well.
______________

This review is based on a free copy of the book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/the-one-year-hearing-his-voice-devotional-a-review/

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