C. Michael Patton:
We have dozens that sprang to life over the next few hundred years: The Gospel of Peter, The Acts of John,The Acts of Paul, and The Apocalypse of Peter, The Gospel of Judas, and The Infancy Gospel of James are just a few that we could name. We even have a Gospel of Mary. Why? Well, who was more credible than the mother of Christ?! The common characteristic of all of these works is that they attempted to solidify their testimony by tagging it with the name of a credible eyewitness. After all, if someone in the third century wants to teach some new idea about what Jesus did, or said, it would be futile, unless it was not really a part of the apostolic tradition (We call this “apostolicity”). Why? Because the person was not there. He or she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Why should we believe them? But if they were to say that this was a “lost” or “secret” teaching that, indeed, originates with one of the eyewitnesses, then, so long as they could pull off the deception, their ideas might have a chance. The early church hardly gave these writings a second thought. Why? Because they knew that they were not written by a credible source. They knew they were fakes.
Yesterday I read an interesting and somewhat odd article about the asexuality movement. According to the article, a person who is asexual is “defined by an absence of sexual attraction.” David Jay is the spokesman for the asexuality movement and has founded an online community called the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, which exists to raise awareness and provide support for those who identify as being asexual.
My first thought when I read the article was, is it really necessary to form a community that identifies itself as being asexual? If you don’t want to have sex, then don’t have sex. There is nothing necessarily wrong or sinful about that choice. Not wanting to have sex may seem odd, but it’s not fundamentally wrong.
R.C. Sproul, Jr:
My wife would be pleased with me. As I do far too infrequently, I uncluttered my desk today. You should see how nice it looks. In so doing, however, I came across another old stack of sympathy cards sent months ago from friends and strangers. I read through them, and found myself lonesome for a surprising time, the day my Denise went on to glory. In a previous piece I wrote about how, crossing the barrier of forty days of mourning made me fear that I would miss Denise all the more. I suggested that the more I mourned the more it seemed she was with me. Turns out I was right.
Leaders (church planters especially), feedback is tough because our hearts are so raw. You are so deeply invested in loving and leading people and your people likely do not understand how much pressure you’re under, the stress and pain that happens behind the scenes, the sleepless nights, the dissonance between the vision God has given you and the reality in your own life and the church, and how much your heart beats for the things of God and the well being of your church. But this cannot be an excuse for avoiding feedback.