Friday, November 25, 2011

The Road to Missional

Just finished reading a review copy of "The Road to Missional: Journey to the Center of the Church" by Michael Frost. I really enjoyed this book. As a pastor I have read more "missional" material than you can shake a stick at. Our leadership team is currently working through one of those books right now. Some love it, some hate it, some think it's just restating the obvious in new words. Frost's book does the church a great service as he works to help us understand "missional", the new buzz word, as more than a program or component that you add into "church". Frost works to describe what missional looks like as an ethos. It's a way of thinking that permeates everything you do in life...not just the way you run church. He does this by writing what he calls "...a small guidebook - a list of indicators which will highlight when the missional paradigm hasn't been fully adopted."

He then proceeds to look at how missonal thinking looks impacts areas and ideas like evangelism, membership, the pursuit of holiness, living incarnationally in the world today, and bringing peace to those around us. Frost tells great stories and gives clear examples of what "missional" looks and thinks like, as well as many of the ways this type of living and thinking challenge the ways we currently "do" church.

For me, the most powerful chapter was the one called, "Triumphant Humiliation: The Cross as a missional paradigm for holiness." Far too often we have seen the cross as the message of God's forgiveness and missed the point that it is the method of discipleship. Jesus calls us to follow Him, to take up our cross. In the process of embracing the pain and humiliation that entails, the Spirit's strips away all that keeps us from growing in Christ-likeness.

This is a great book. One that moves beyond the ideology of "missional" and the attempt to program it into what we are already doing to help paint a picture of the missional ethos.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How much does "security" cost?

One of the things that frustrates me about the current presidential elections is that with the exception of Ron Paul, no one is saying what I find to be unbelievably obvious. US Military spending is exploiting the poor in the US as well as shooting the economy (and the national debt) in the foot. I'm not saying we don't need a military in the US, or that they should be hampered in the work that they do. I am saying that we need to look at the numbers and be honest...for all the money spent are we really any safer? That's why I liked this article...and the link at the end.

We need to think.

Recently I met with a congressional office to deliver postcards from Mennonites calling for cuts to the military budget. The staffer listened politely and then said, “Well, you know that’s not exactly how people up here [on Capitol Hill] see things.”

There are plenty of practical reasons why the military budget can and should be cut, which analysts across the political spectrum now point out. Over the past decade, the Pentagon’s base budget — not counting war spending — has nearly doubled, taking valuable resources away from other priorities. There are vast amounts of wasteful spending at the Pentagon, which cannot even pass an audit. Weapons systems regularly overrun their budgeted cost, sometimes by billions of dollars. A University of Massachusetts study showed that federal spending on education, health care and clean energy all produce more jobs per dollar than does military spending.

Behind the facts and figures lie some challenging questions that are rarely addressed. How much spending on “security” is ever going to be enough? Do weapons keep us safe or sometimes put us in greater danger? What about the impact on others around the world? Are they safer because of U.S. military might?
Read the whole article here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Stephen Prothero writes...

"When I turn on the television and see “family values” conservatives jumping to Cain’s defense within hours of the first charges surfacing, or Penn State students rioting over the decision of their university’s Board of Trustees to fire Paterno, I have to ask myself, “What has happened to this supposedly Christian nation"?

I know that in the United States defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty. But I am not talking about the law here. I am talking about where our hearts incline, and whether they incline in a Christian direction."

Your thoughts...?

Read the rest here.