Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Blog Forecast

And oh...the last time I issued one of those, such a kerfuffle! (thanks to Gary Miller over at Truth vs. the Machine for teaching me that wonderful word)...but I digress.

I have yet to read a single word of the new George Barna/Frank Viola tome Pagan Christianity, but I shall, and this reporter promises to faithfully render a thoughtful review and in-depth analysis for the enjoyment of all seven of you. OK, all six of you.

Barna's first book (Revolution) on the subject of "what's going on in the church/where is it headed?" was somewhat weakly data-supported considering the author's credentials, but nevertheless a wonderful exploration of the topic. It was of course virulently excoriated by all the usual suspects—those who have a career interest in the declining mega-church, seeker-church, authoritarian-church, corporate-church status quo—because it had the temerity to imply that many of the practitioners and gate-keepers of American evangelicalism may not be—gulp—absolutely necessary! That the wind of the Holy Spirit "blows where it lists," that believers can gather and function and the Church be engaged outside the hallowed worship centers and rented auditoriums, and that "where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." Don't panic, guys, the sun country Relevance and Next Gen Church Growth convocation is still on....lap-top, check...soul patch, check...snorkel & fins, check...Driscoll book for autograph, check....

(Note: If I knew how to put smiley faces all over, I wouldn't sound so mean-spirited. >emoticon here< I love the Church, even when it's silly!)

Barna's summary research on the subject can be read here. I am having some evil fun with one (slightly unfairly isolated) finding:
Among the pastors least likely to support the legitimacy of house churches were pastors who earn more than $75,000 annually;>emoticon with crooked smile<

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"I'm Mel-l-l-ting!!"
The Rest of What Lord Acton Said
His over-quoted but ever-true dictum about "power corrupting" is not usually read in the context of what precedes it. Interesting.
“I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power…
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tabletalk on C.S. Lewis
Ligonier Ministries (R.C. Sproul & Co.) has dedicated an issue to the life and work of CSL. A rather handsome and readable page-turning version of it is online here. Tabletalk is a monthly(?) devotional magazine I used to get. I always enjoyed it, though I don't find myself quite in it's theological camp always. Growing up Arminian you sometimes need a shot of Calvin & Co. to keep you healthy! A.W. Tozer has a line about that somewhere. (Anybody know where/what that is?) In any case, this is a nice issue.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Vote Harding

Ran into my friend Chuck Chalberg, historian and Chestertonian extraordinaire at the local coffee shop this morning. Now it so happens that in an early '90s fit of apoplectic reaction against the Mpls. Star-Tribune, we decided we just couldn't take it any more, so we don't*—but I'm grateful that Prof. Chalberg pointed me to his piece on Sunday's op-ed page, wondering about what our candidate selection process has become.
*Mrs. D once nailed it in an off-the-cuff one-liner to a Star-Trib phone salesman: "Why would I re-subscribe? I don't like your politics and I don't own a bird."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Book About Nothing
On a tip from my niece, I've re-discovered the short stories of P.G. Wodehouse [1881-1975], specifically the Jeeves stories. Jeeves is the original quintessentially capable and nearly omniscient butler, prototype for any number of movie and sit-com characters. The cast of impossibly vain and shallow (but largely harmless and lovable) characters actually remind me of Seinfeld.
Each plot revolves around some minor mess young Bertie Wooster has gotten himself into and Jeeves, his valet, gets him out of. As in TV sit-coms, the principals seem to exist at perpetual leisure and 1920's English social situations provide most of the setting. Sort of Great Gatsby without foreboding and dark cynicism. Cleverly written, fast-moving, mindless entertainment. I'm enjoying it. Sample dialogue:

"Bertie," he said, "I want your advice."
"Carry on."
"At least, not your advice, because that wouldn't be much good to anybody. I mean, you're a pretty consummate old ass, aren't you? Not that I want to hurt your feelings, of course."
"No, no, I see that."
"What I wish you would do is put the whole thing to that fellow Jeeves of yours, and see what he suggests."