Warming Up Them 10 Little Digits

I haven’t written in a while mostly for good reasons. So this post is an attempt to reawaken my muse, get my brain going again and do some catching up on things that have been jammed into odd little corners of my mind.

Something has been occupying my time of late. My church has had a long, nodding acquaintance with church planting. They’ve wanted to do it for quite a while and we’ve even had some of our folks go out and plant churches but not with us. Last year we got serious with the plans and finally called a church planter. He and I were in seminary together and he was at Lakeland while he was there. But he moved back to California after graduation and I thought that was that. I was wrong. He and his family moved back to Illinois this summer and started working on planting LifeSpring Community Church in Spring Grove, IL. Me and my family kind of slowly agreed to go. Now we’re totally in. We’re looking for a house out there. If we were looking for a house for ourselves, we would probably be in one by now. But we’re looking for one for ministry and that makes things a little different. Anyway, helping out on this church plant has taken a lot of my time and energy.

Speaking of being out of it, I saw something the other day in the paper that made me say “hummmm.” So far my response to Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert has been “oh.” In other words, they’re everywhere and I still don’t care.  Seems I’m not alone in ignoring them. Susan Boyle‘s first album did really well in Britain and in the US it sold 710,000 copies, blowing away Lambert’s album. The buzz makers are fascinated with people the rest of us don’t care about. Way to go Susan! Along these same lines, the media hates Sarah Palin but many Americans seem to love her!

I haven’t said much about global warming on this blog mostly because I’m still undecided about it. My gut tells me that it may be happening but we can’t pin it on humankind. It is probably a normal cycle the planet goes through. Still the topic generates a lot of  heat (pun attempted and failed). The recent hacking of scientists’ email really hasn’t produce a smoking gun but did point up a problem with modern analysis. The “hockey stick” is almost assuredly a product of changing data sources midstream. However, even without it there is an increase in temperature. Cause of panic? Not so sure.

One thing the email lead did was point out that scientists, even climatologists, are human. They have their presuppositions and like everyone else they don’t like people messing with them. We needed a dose of realism and fallible scientists could have been it. It wasn’t but it could have been.

There is some Lord Somebody in England who is a climate change doubter. Watched a video of his and he struck me as bombastic as Richard Dawkins. One thing he said that at first bothered me was that he claimed when Communism fell in Europe he saw all the Socialists join the environmental movement. Poisoning the well I assumed. But listening to some of the chatter from Copenhagen makes me wonder if Lord Whatshisname might not be on to something. There is a lot of demand for developing countries (including China if you can believe that) to get funding from developed nations to help them fight climate change. Then there is the push for carbon trading. Developed nations will pay less developed nations money for not putting carbon in the atmosphere. In other words, we’ll pay someone else to not produce a naturally occurring gas instead of real products. And, folks, this is not a new idea. I remember in the 1989 seeing James Burk pitching this idea.

This term I’m teaching Nehemiah in adult Sunday school. I’m taking the tack Daniel Cooley took when he taught it last term because I think he was right. We’re looking at the book as describing a missional community in a hostile setting. Nehemiah isn’t a book on leadership though that is part of it. It is about being the people of God in a hostile setting.

Just a few comments on this. First, there is the question of when the 70 years of exile ended. Of course that depends on when the exile began doesn’t it. There are two chief theories on it but in my opinion it doesn’t matter that much. Is the exile over? Well, yea, they returned to the land. But no, because they didn’t ever establish their own rule of the land. They were always ruled by foreign powers. Along those lines, I asked one of the LifeSpring teams if we are in exile. The answers were a mix of yes and no and a few abstentions. I said that no, we are not in exile, Jesus has come! But we are in exile. I cited Hebrews 11 and the 1 Peter 1 as texts that indicate that we are in exile in a sense and we will be till Jesus returns and rules the earth.  I make that point to say, don’t worry about when the exile is over, we’re called to do what we’ve been told to do now. Whether it is building a wall or building the church, the world is going to think it is wrong and should be stopped but we must engage with it anyway.

Also, as I was reflecting on Nehemiah’s call I noticed how he was gripped by the problem God’s people faced and he jumped in. His prayer in Nehemiah 1:4-11 wasn’t his asking God what he should do, it was his plea for God to be faithful to who he is. In light of that, Nehemiah asks that God would bless what he was about to do. Today there are some whose ministry seems to be to lament the rubble of evangelicalism and point out the weak spots in the wall. The seem to be exercising their spiritual gift of criticism. If Nehemiah had done that, he might have stayed in Susa and written books like “Templeless Jerusalem” or “Putting Jews Back in Judah” or something. He would have probably had a blog. But this man of God didn’t waste his time. Nehemiah dug in with the compromised and messy. He decided to join those who survived the exile and to lead them to get Judah back on it’s feet. Read the rest of the book of Nehemiah and you’ll see him get angry at the compromise around him. He boots Tobiah from the temple, he ends exploitation of the poor, he enforces the Sabbath. It would have been much easier for him to stand outside of Jerusalem and lob the rubble at those dwelling there. Instead he chose to pick up that rubble and rebuild. American evangelicalism is a mess in some places and strong in others. We’re not called to simply criticize but to strengthen and build up. That may involve criticism where it is deserved, but it isn’t limited to it.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Print This Post Print This Post

One Comment

  • I think we need a Pope :)

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>