They have Jesus. And He is everything.

If you haven’t been following the latest Compassion Bloggers tour, you really should. Molly Piper, Heather Whitaker and Kelly Stamps are sharing their first-hand experiences visiting with Compassion-assisted families and it’s alternately heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.

Molly shares the story of Maricella:

maricella

Maricella. Mother of Blanca (picture #1). This is her in her home. She welcomed us there, even though she was nervous. Jesus came and met us there, though. She told us of her history of gang membership and the tattoo on her forehead because of it. And she now can’t find work because she won’t be trusted. Even though in Christ, she is a new creation…. My heart broke for her.

My first day of interacting with people on the receiving end of Compassion has been nothing short of amazing—their stories, their homes, their openness to our presence, their excitement for Compassion and the effects it’s had on their families. My heart is somehow broken and full at the same time. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. [Read more...]

Reading Different Teams

Reading Different Teams

A few weeks back, Brett McDonald wrote a review of Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy at Evangelical Village, and he started off his review in a way that caught my attention:

A professor at Southern (who shall remain nameless) once said in class “Incestuous breeding produces bastard children.” In context, I think what he meant was that serious scholars and pastors should not consume themselves with only reading things with which they agree. It is good for the mind and even sometimes good for the soul to read people who have different opinions and even different theological positions.

This really left an impression on me.

It’s very easy for me to get very narrow in who I read and listen to. I like reading old dead guys. I like guys who are highly theological. I like listening to and reading the work of men like Piper, Driscoll, Mahaney, Harris, Dever and Chandler. But it can be problematic if I only read and listen to guys who I agree with. “Incestuous breeding produces bastard children,” as Brett’s professor said. If I don’t give an ear to guys who I might disagree with on some issues, but who are firmly evangelical, I’m doing myself a disservice.

This is as eays a trap for guys who dig more Reform-ish pastors and authors as it is for folks who prefer the self-proclaimed “Revolutionaries” who sometimes ask good questions but rarely offer good answers to fall into.

And that’s why I’m extremely grateful for blogger review programs that are offered by publishers like Thomas Nelson, NavPress and a host of others. [Read more...]

On Commenting and Watch Blogging

I’ve been thinking about the subject of comment moderation and why I, in general, don’t use it. The big reason I tend to not moderate comments is I find it can (it doesn’t always) hinder conversation. But there are times when moderation is a good thing.

Occasionally, I get some feedback from what is generally referred to as a “watch blogger.” A watch blogger tends to dedicate their efforts to shooting those they don’t agree with, like a Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, John MacArthur, Andy Stanley (I’m sure there’s at least one hater out there), Erwin McManus, Dan Kimball, or…

You get the idea.

I generally try to be sensitive to those kinds of things because:

  1. I tend to be hyper-critical by nature; and
  2. I don’t want to ever be known for what I’m against rather than what I am for.

Sometimes, folks labeled as watch bloggers aren’t. Sometimes they’re folks who have something legitimate to say, but are maybe not using the wisest choice of medium to get their message across. Perhaps they’re people who have been genuinely hurt by something a church, pastor or speaker has done, but don’t know the most appropriate way to address the situation. Perhaps their choice of words is lacking or rabid, undiscerning defenders of whoever they’re speaking against decide to make war in defense of their idol.

But there are other times when I get the impression that, in reality, those who are watch blogging are contentious people who may have experienced church discipline and rather than humbly repenting of their sin, have gone to war and are trying to build an army of supporters to do… well, I don’t know what exactly. [Read more...]

In case of accident… Google!

I ended up doing something really stupid tonight while I was attempting to clean up my post tags. I deleted the review of Just Do Something from about a month ago.

However! I was able to recover the post… and even the comments! Thank goodness Google had cached the page, because there was some really great and helpful interaction with a fairly regular commenter. The only down side is I can’t recover the avatars, so mine is the only one that appears.

So, if you ever do something stupid, like I just did, remember: You might be able to recover through Google. You won’t get your stats back, but, not much you can do about that, right?

In case you missed it (05/24)

In case you missed them, here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Persevering Prophet: The Call: Beginning a study of the Book of Jeremiah and the practical implications of his calling into ministry.

Made in the Image of God: Spirit: The first part of a series on humanity as God’s image-bearers.

The War on Blogs:A call to Christ-like behavior in interacting with blogs.

Telling the Back Story: An interview with Pastor AJ Thomas on planting a church in post-Christian Halifax, Nova Scotia (originally published in Compassion Today, January 2009).

The War on Blogs

I read a few blogs on a regular basis, and, in general, the ones I like are excellent. Insightful, interesting, engaging content. Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Abraham Piper, Mike Anderson & The Resurgence, the whole team at Evangelical Village… All these guys and so many more do a wonderful job seeking to glorify Jesus through blogging, and for that, they should be commended.

However, I’ve recently seen a very ugly thing happening in commenting habits, that in no way reflects or glorifies Jesus; that being the pushing of agendas that have nothing at all to do with anything that’s being discussed.

Recently, I’ve seen several discussions on a variety of topics derailed into a pro-egalitarianism rant (or more accurately “anti-authority of any kind” rant) on points that had nothing to do with the issue. I’ve seen Christians come out of the woodwork declaring the author a heretic on a doctrinal issue that is a tertiary issue.

My point in addressing this is that it shows a disturbing lack of character in how Christians are engaging the “blogosphere” (I hate the web-speak, so please excuse the quotes).

Our mission in all things is to glorify Jesus.

That includes how we blog.

[Read more...]

In case you missed it (05/17)

In case you missed them this week, here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Trekkies are Gonna be So Mad: Thoughts on the new Star Trek

The Stupidity of Idolatry: Isaiah derides idolatry and reveals my own idol: My mind

The God Who Acts: A brief survey of the Book of Isaiah reveals its major theme—and our only hope

Finding Direction: My struggles to find direction in  a season of confusion

In case you missed it (05/10)

In case you missed them this week, here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Breathed out by God: A look at the command to love our enemies found in Proverbs 25:21-22

Week Two: Discovering Solomon’s wisdom on study.

Called to be Ignored: Reflections on the second half of Isaiah’s call to ministry.

Book Review: All of Grace: A look at an engaging and compelling work by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Is the Single Income Household Dead?: Has the world changed too much or can we live on less?

Ethical dilemmas in blog-traffic

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some odd jumps in my blog traffic, and two referral sites with massive numbers attached, Alpha Inventions and Condron.us. Naturally, I was curious what exactly these were; after visiting the sites, I saw that they were “blog surfing” websites; that is, websites that essentially channel surf through blogs  to give viewers a snapshot of any blogs they’ve picked up.

And while I’ve found the concept interesting, I find myself wondering about the ethical implications:

Are these sites a way to genuinely generate readership?

Do they artificially inflate the views on our blogs so we can feel better about ourselves?

How many folks have stumbled onto a blog they like through sites like AI and Condron?

I’m curious what you think; let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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What's coming up?

This weekend (I hope),  I’ll be posting the first of many book reviews. I read a digusting amount of books in a year (such is the joy of not having cable!) and want to share with anyone reading a few that are worth your time… and maybe a few that aren’t. Look for a review of D.A. Carson’s “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” tomorrow or Sunday.

Introduction: a word about this blog

This blog exists for a couple of reasons: I dig Jesus and I dig writing. I write for a living here (along with a variety of other tasks). This is as much a shock to me as anyone else. I did not expect to be writing for a living when I graduated from a graphic design program seven years ago, and certainly not at a Christian charity.

Funny how things work, yeah?

Blogging is not something I’ve really considered up until now. I really didn’t have much to say. And, if you don’t have something worth saying, you shouldn’t say anything at all.

Hopefully I’ve got something worth saying, but only time will tell.