I thought I'd try something new and relay to you my intake for the week.
Memorial Day weekend included a wedding in Chi-Town for my cousin, John, and his new bride, Stacey. It's my second wedding of the season, both taking place in very different settings. John and Stacey were married at St. James Lutheran church, the oldest chuche in Chicago.
At the reception, my Aunt Cora, whom I have blogged about previously, graciously agreed to have a dance with me and as we were showing off our stuff, I told her, "All the guys are looking at me. They must just be jealous because I've got the best looking date on the floor." Aunt Cora quips, "Well, wait til I tell the guys at the Senior Center."
Last night, I headed out to Barrington, IL to an AMC 30 (yes, 30!!), right smack-dab next to Willow Creek, for the premier of two Nooma videos. If you haven't seen any before, Noomas are short films that illuminate a relevant topic for our everday lives and truth from scripture is conveyed in an engaging, tasteful and high-impact manner. In the first, entitled "Rich", Rob chatted about the wealth of the "American church" in an age of poverty. Did you know that 92% of the people in the world don't have a car? He underscored what Jesus had to say: "It's better to give than to receive." The second film was shot in the Chicago subways and was entitled "Breathe." It was a huge jump theologically and it just had an aura of reverence and holiness and wonder. I loved it. I'll say this much, if you watch it, you'll never breathe the same again. And I really dig the mucial selection for both, they really helped to bring the audience into the particular topic.
My reading for the week...
After finishing up Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and Velvet Elvis, I've moved on to How Now Shall We Live? by Colson and Pearcey. It's a hearty book, written at the turn of the millenia about the need for Christians to have a holistic worldview, based on more than just the fact that Jesus Christ is our Savior (they aren't discrediting that fact), but also to see the truth of God in all the crevices of our everyday lives and in "secular" culture in order that we may better engage others on the reality and truth of God in our postmodern culture.
My brother, Tim, suggested a while back that I subscribe to Vineyard's Cutting Edge, a free quarterly magazine for church-planters. And me and free are like this:
So, I sent off for a free subscription and my first issue came this week. The subject of the Spring issue is Worship. It included an interview with Matt Redman, in which he talks about the theology of worship and steps that we can take to expand our views of worship styles, including looking at the truth that is being conveyed in the lyrics of our music. There is also a great article about the value of using local talents and artistic influences from the local community to underscore the relevance of God in our communities, rather than just blindly swallowing masspopculture in our worship through music. Finally, an interview with a church-planter in Vienna, Austria chats about how their church has been able to impact a wide range of people through the arts, and not just "we'll spend a little time throwing something together" art, but visual arts that have a great deal of time and energy invested in them to really reflect the creativity and truth of our God.
I stumbled across this article/video a couple days ago on CNN about a baby born in China with three arms. As if one billion plus people wasn't enough, now they are birthing three-armed babies? :)
Have you heard about this mixup in Indiana? Horrifying is all I have to say. Two girls, students at Taylor University, were in a car accident a few weeks ago. One died. One lived. One problem. The parents who thought their daughter was alive found out that their daughter was in fact the one who had died. It was only after the one girl woke up from her coma (scars and swelling prevented facial recognition) that the parents realized it was not their daughter.
This week, I was reading through Judges and had the joy of reading about Samson. I love this account from history. What a crazy story! This guy would be overcome by the Spirit of God and just tear stuff apart with his bare hands. The spot that I had pause on the longest came in chapter 16. Deliliah, his Philistine wife, had incessantly tried to squeeze him for the secret of his strength and ultimately, Samson gave in. He told her it was in the hair. After Delilah cuts off his braids, he awakes, thinking he would once again break free from the Philistine men. But this time, his strength is gone and then here it comes, "But he did not know that the LORD had left him." Ouch. Let that one sink in. It's my prayer that I will remain sensitive to God's Spirit...
Lastly, I've been doing a good deal of online reading about the emerging church. Discussion both supporting the movement and that critiquing it. As I've been visiting more and more churches lately, I've certainly been more keen to the differences in how evangelism, worship and community are done.
Other articles I've read recently discussing emergent churches and otherwise fresh viewpoints on the way the mission of the church is carried out:
A response to critics of emerging churches
Charles Colson writes on emerging churches