Sunday, September 25, 2011

"What she is really trying to say ..."

Pierre-Édouard Frère (1819-1886)
As one who often struggles with prayer—fighting for words, for focus, confused and heartsick over many things—I took comfort this morning in the words of Patrick Gray.

Preaching a series on the prayer the Lord taught his disciples to pray, Patrick reminded us that when we pray to "Our Father who art in heaven ..." there are two listeners in heaven who hear us and that Jesus, who knows all we experience, interprets our prayers. That even when we feel we have just prayed the worst prayer ever, heaven doesn't drop our call. Instead, Jesus leans over to the Father and says, "What she is really trying to say is ..."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Something to ponder . . .

"On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States.

The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross.

September 11 has changed me. I'm going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what's wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God's own Son."
—Will Willimon, Christianity Today forum, 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gordon College

This past summer, for the second time, I was the speaker for a week at InterVarsity's Cedar Campus in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for their Leadership Institute. A whole week interacting with college students who are tomorrow's Christian leaders.  And just like the last time I was there, this year I walked away with renewed hope having glimpsed what God is doing in the hearts and minds of this rising generation. They are on fire for the Lord, and that fire is spreading.

Which makes me look forward all the more to the opportunity I have Wednesday, September 7, to speak in chapel at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.  Nice to have a speaking opportunity that doesn't require a trip to the Boston-Logan Airport. Even better to be able to interact with more students about the message of Half the Church.

I'm bracing for another hope-filled experience. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Still Jealous?

Several days ago, I sat across the table from Alice Mathews in a nearby restaurant. I had her all to myself for a leisurely (!) lunch. We were there for several hours. Afterwards I posted on Twitter and FaceBook,  
"Enjoyed a 4-hour face-to-face w/Alice Mathews. If you're not jealous of me, you should be. What a wealth of wisdom!"
Right away, a bunch of FB friend admitted feelings of jealousy.  Anyone who's heard her speak at one of our Synergy conferences surely felt at least a twinge. 

Well, I have just the cure. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (one of Synergy's seminary sponsors) is again offering a D.Min. track in Effective Ministry to Women with Alice Mathews at the helm. Women in this program are guaranteed quality time with Alice. Doesn't get better than that!

Having Alice as a mentor is reason enough to enroll, although the program speaks for itself, not to mention the other professors participating. This link explains everything you need to get started:

Who knows? Maybe while you're in the neighborhood, we can get together for coffee, and I can have a face-to-face with you!