Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Foyle, Honourably Wounded: A Book Review


I got onto this book from a review by Paul Windsor, its primary target is missionaries, i.e. those involved in cross cultural work as expatriates, and those in home churches involved in sending missionaries.  As a (very) secondary target group many of its insights into stress and other issues can be related without too much effort to ministry in churches and other organisations.  Foyle is a psychiatrist with decades of experience in India, Nepal and Pakistan and since retirment has continued to research and interview missionaries about stress and its symptoms and solutions. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Held-Evans on Pastor Omnicompetence

I thought this was worth a ponder (from here)

Evangelicals expect too much of their pastors.
In addition to demanding they serve as nearly flawless leaders and teachers, many of us demand that our pastors serve as professional counselors and advisors, experts on everything from politics to science to sex to health to money to marriage to relationships.

As a result, some pastors simply crumble beneath the weight of the pressure, “faking it” for years and then burning out. Others develop a heightened sense of self-importance and arrogance, as they slap the word “biblical” in front of each of their opinions, claiming to speak on behalf of God on every given topic.  Still others live complete lies, lecturing the congregation on the importance money management on Sunday while struggling to overcome secret credit card debt on Monday.  Others project their insecurities and obsessions onto their followers and demand that everyone look just like them. Very few manage to remain humble, honest, and brave in the face of our unrealistic expectations.
Let me know what you think :-)

Brick-a-Brack 060112

A new religion has been recognised in Sweden around the sacrament of file sharing. While in London good old church going is having a "resurgence".

For all you Kiwi's, Aussies and Yanks who are butchering the English language here is a poetic lesson in pronounciation.

Johannes Kepler has written the obituary for intelligent design

And from somewhere in Asia a new technology for dealing with slow walkers, and it really is impressive.


llll

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hermeneutics remains the only question in town

Dan Kirk offers a list of what he feels are the big issues being discussed at the moment on Christian blogs.  You'll need to read his post for a full description but in short:

  1. The Gospel.
  2. Human origins after evolution.
  3. Gender in the church. 
A couple of his commenters also suggest that conversations around inerrancy and the nature of scripture deserve to be on that list as well.  Inerrancy has certainly been a hot topic this year.  While inerrancy could certainly be a #4 on that list (and creationism #5 and homosexuality #6), each one of these issues and the conflicts that they generate stem from the way we read the Bible and the interpretive decisions that we make. These issues are really only test cases for the hermeneutics that generate the readings of scripture that are being defended or attacked.  The only really important question is How do you read scripture?, after that the outcomes of those other debates are more or less determined.

The problem is, of course, that if scripture is our standard but we have to interpret scripture one way or another (ruling out of court the idea that such things are just plain obvious - because obviously they are not to everyone!), then what is to stop our interpretations of scripture being totally arbitrary?  The answer, I think, is to be found in scripture itself as many books of scripture interpret other books of scripture and thus in scripture itself we are offered examples of legitimate interpretation.  It is possible to read the last 61 books of scripture as a commentary on the first 5, and perhaps until we we do that - and study the other ways in which scripture interacts with scripture, our own commentary on the rest will be doomed to the frustration of our own blinkered biases.

Let me know what you think :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dallas, Lessons from San Quentin: A Book Review


Well the idea is good.  Let's tell the story of a high flying real estate entrepeneur who gets into legal trouble and by an unfortunate grilfriend related accident gets sent to the wrong prison and instead of serving his time with all the other white collar criminals ends up in maximum security San Quentin with all the bad boys.  Add a spirtual awakening and a life turn around and surely nothing can go wrong?  John Ortberg even says from the back cover, "Read Bill's story only if you want to risk a changed life."  And Chuck Colson, who wrote the excellent Born Again - a similar story of jailhouse redemption, also endorses with, "A riveting story."