The church is a mess

“The churches of Revelation show us that churches are not Victorian parlors where everything is always picked up and ready for guests. They are messy family rooms. Entering a person’s house unexpectedly, we are sometimes met with a barrage of apologies. St. John does not apologize. Things are out of order, to be sure, but that is what happens to churches that are lived in.” — Eugene Peterson, Reverse Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination.

The need for spiritual community

“People are God’s method. The church is looking for better methods: God is looking for better people.” — EM Bounds

We get so fooled into trying build a better mousetrap in ministry rather than taking people God gives us and seeing the image of Christ formed in them. God consistently took people in the Bible who were in lousy shape and built them into “better” people. All he needed was availability.

Two things we need to utilize in our own lives as we think about community:

1. Spiritual mentors.
Those who have been “down the road” a bit and can show us the way.

2. Spiritual friends.
Those are roughly in the same place we are, so the frustrations and triumphs are similar. The transparency is better. You can build a relationship that feels more real as you get to know each other.

The key in both of these relationships is TIME. We need to dedicate the time to meeting, to listening, to discussing, and to practicing. We must give ourselves to the practice of formation in community.

San Francisco bans a song

In the spirit of baseball superstition, the city of San Francisco will ban the Lorde song “Royals” from the airwaves for the duration of getting spanked by the KC Royals in the World Series. (Just wishful thinking on that last part.)

Hey, FRISCO! (I know you hate that… so I’m saying it.) The song isn’t even about the Royals! DUH! It was inspired by George Brett… but the singer is 17 years old! What in the world does SHE know?!?!

I’m swearing off sourdough bread for the next two weeks in protest.

And here is a parody of the song that actually talks about… you know… the REAL Royals.

Here is to a (hopefully) fun World Series!

 

Thank you, Royals!

Just about every Spring Training I write my annual love letter to the Royals. Every year comes with that tinge of expectation… not of victory but of bringing me to the very edge of hope and then dropping me off a cliff.

This year I didn’t write the letter. Hopes were too high. They had all the pieces in place. They had the starting pitching. They had finally figured out Wade Davis. Their bullpen was impressive. Moustakis had an incredible spring training. It was all there. It would have been so painful to write yet another love letter of hope and see THIS team crush my dreams.

But… they did not. They squeaked into the playoffs (thank you, Bud Selig) and have cruised to 8 straight wins over two heavily favored teams.

While pundits predicted a LA series, we end up with two wild cards. The Giants are simply scary because it is an even year and in 2010 and 2012 they roared into the Series and crushed opponents. This time they are almost virtually ignored because of the story the Royals have given the media. That’s what still makes the Giants scary.

But for now, the day before the Series begins, I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the Royals. Just like the Chiefs making the playoffs last year (and getting spanked by the Colts after building a HUGE lead), KC was thrilled for the Chiefs. This year, no matter how this Series turns out, it is simply incredible to see the Royals right here. Right now.

They were built for the playoffs and this is exactly where they have landed.

I wear my KC cap all the time in Minneapolis. Even here there is good will toward the team. I get a thumbs up quite often walking down the street.

After a 29 year drought, it’s finally great to be a Royals fan again. Thanks, KC.

The Kingdoms of This World

I am still baffled by the news out of Houston, TX that the mayor wanted sermons subpoenaed from local churches!

Allan Bevere hit it on this head with his post.

There is a COST to following Christ and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we may begin to feel that pressure a bit here. At this point, it’s silliness.

But the declaration Bevere makes bears repeating:

As I have said before, the church is my nation; the church is my politic. God’s kingdom holds my citizenship. But the reality is that what I say from the pulpit I have no trouble saying out on the streets. In my preaching, I am accountable to God and to the church. I am not accountable to the emperor or his or her minions in state government. If they want to scrutinize what I say in the pulpit they are welcome to read every sermon I’ve ever preached.

This is a time to be reminded that we need the Body of Christ. It is far past time to give up our “rugged individualism” as believers and learn the necessity of the Church. Let us hear this call of allegiance in our own lives. It is about HIS Kingdom come… not any other Kingdom