Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yet More On Self-Feeding

Michael Horton's White Horse Inn broadcast Calling the Sheep to Become Self-Feeders? is excellent. But only available for a limited time (free) download. Worth it.
(HT: iMonk)

Elsewhere, Pete Wilson is discussing the self-feeding thing too.

For I Was Hungry and You Told Me To Self-Feed
You're Supposed to Feed People
Feed Yourself; or, Am I My Brother's Keeper?


Rob said...

Of course, that dude Pete Wilson also still thinks that "sincere" comes from the Latin meaning "without wax" . . . I don't know how strong the correlation really is between the laziness that doesn't bother to check out urban legends and the laziness that blames the people for one's own shortcomings as a teacher (completely forgetting that one needs to teach people to feed themselves by feeding them), but I'm not hugely impressed so far.

Jared said...

Yeah, I know the "without wax" thing is not factual, but it's a common mistake, and it is at least illustrative, so it doesn't bother me all that much.
I think I posted at Thinklings one time about that urban legend, not sure.

Pete is the pastor of a local church that some of my Element peeps attend occasionally on Sunday morning, and he used to be a teaching pastor at the church my family just left.
I don't know him all that well, but he was kind enough to meet with me a couple of months ago, and he's a great guy with a heart for the lost. A lot of the stuff he posts on at his blog doesn't resonate with me at all, but I like him. :-)

Rob said...

I don't have any reason to dislike him; for all I know, he's a great pastor and preacher who's really blessing his church. I do think, though--partly from personal experience, because this is an area where I really have to stay on top of myself--that that sort of mental sloppiness tends to spread, if you let it. I realize part of the reason that the uncritical transmission of urban legends irritates me is that I have a strong dose of the pedant in me (something else I need to watch in myself, no question, for the judgmental spirit that goes along with it); but part of it too is that I really don't think that sort of carelessness is good for us.

In any case, though, this is going way OT, so I'll shut up about it, and just thank you for the Michael Horton link. :)

Jared said...

Rob, I hear you.

Bill said...

I read the comments thread over there. It gets frustrating, because I don't think anyone disagrees with the fact that pastors should teach (Pete Wilson teaches, after all) and that believers should have their own times of growth apart from the church.

It's all a matter of degree. But it generally seems to be related to a church philosophy which has a primary focus of keeping it attainable for new Christians. To do that, the pastor needs to depend on the more mature believes to feed themselves (because they won't get that much, frankly, out of what he's teaching).

Most of the mature believers will just quit looking at the service as a place to get fed. Many will jump into their role as ministers to the newer Christians, and hopefully find nourishment elsewhere. Some will complain, out of good motives or for not. But it usually ends up that ALL complainers will be seen as selfish babies who just want to be fed, and will be discredited by the "feed yourself" crowd as pharisees who "just want head knowledge" (the "perception of depth" talked about in the comments thread).

Been down that road too many times . . . It's too hard for me to reconcile it all. So I've come back around to the default, plain answer. Teachers are supposed to teach, to feed ALL the flock.

I'm glad I'm being fed where I'm at. Helps me feed myself and grow, frankly.

Shepherds are supposed to feed their flock.

Ramble over. . .

Jared said...

Bill, yup.

And for me it comes down to: Preach Jesus. In every text, preach what it says, and preach the Jesus in it.

If we do that, we will be feeding everyone, b/c Jesus is the bread of life.
And if anyone complains, new Christian or "old," then they are complaining without justification because everyone needs Jesus, always.

I think the misconception that "depth" means hardcore theology. or roots of roots of roots, or advanced academic lectures is in play here too. As if preachers must decide whether to go easy for newcomers or hard for longtimers. But the gospel is depth.

These arguments also tend to discount two important things, as well:
a) seekers and new Christians tend to LOVE deep stuff. We don't give them enough credit.
b) The only two options aren't "the preacher feeds" or "people self-feed." If a church is really living in community, members should be feeding each other.

I think a lot of this preacher/self feed dichotomy reveals the individualistic/consumer-driven faith passing for Christianity these days.

Bill said...

"seekers and new Christians tend to LOVE deep stuff. We don't give them enough credit."


I like what you said about Jesus being the bread of life - in other words, preach Jesus and all will be fed. Excellent.

"The only two options aren't "the preacher feeds" or "people self-feed." If a church is really living in community, members should be feeding each other.

I think a lot of this preacher/self feed dichotomy reveals the individualistic/consumer-driven faith passing for Christianity these days."


I'm learning more and more that when there are debates such as this one (PastorFeed/SelfFeed) that never seem to bring much in the way of understanding between the camps, usually what's being argued over is some form of false dichotomy.

To Peter Wilson's credit, I think he recognizes the dichotomy and that its false. Many of his commenters didn't.

Anonymous said...

well, can we all agree that the "church" and the blogosphere are both a "fish bowl" if you will, and there are a lot of different fishes in a lot of different fish bowls out there? And, they're all hungry for some spiritual plankton. Some are bottom feeders, some feed themselves and some want to be fed. What's new?

In the case of PW, I've found that CPCC and Without Wax show signs of 'pastor worship'... and a lot of these folks have inch-deep understanding of the Bible, the Gospel and Christianity. Much like BCC during the Foster era, because many people that split from BCC moved to CPCC. And, in my opinion, CPCC has become more like that which it supposedly loathed than anyone would care to admit. And, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of commenters at Without Wax have bought into the whole shebang and that's why much of what is posted there does 'resonate' with them and is reflected in their comments... but that shouldn't be surprising. I think it's systemic across the board in many churches. "My Paster=Right"... almost no matter what, even if I don't know or understand what he's saying or doing. Consider how long it took to remove David Foster from BCC. And, then...look how many folks followed him to where he is now. And, if CPCC were to split and PW were to go somewhere else...he'd surely take a chunk of folks with him. Ultimately, Christians should be following Christ, but they get their "man-crushes" and lose sight of who it is that they should be serving, worshipping and following.

Not saying anyone is bad, or wrong or whatever... just that much of the "seeker culture" at BCC moved with those folks to CPCC. And, they've "repurchased" all of the stuff - good, bad or indifferent - that also moved with them to CPCC from BCC. It's just a different name, but it's really pretty much the same.
But, I believe that Jared gives such clarity to all of this in the latter statements he made about the "feeding" frenzy dichotomy. It truly is teaching Jesus+Nothing... but people keep wanting and trying to add to that equation... to no avail. Because Jesus is enough...for everyone. Always has been, always will be.

And, in all fairness to CPCC, Without Wax, BCC, Pete Wilson and many others... I believe they are sincerely trying to do their best... I just think they should stop, pull over, get out of the church vehicle, get in the passenger side and let Jesus take the wheel.... for real. : - )

-- possibly too critical of a perspective for the "feeding frenzy" masses... feel free to edit or delete.


Jared said...

Chuck, I published it.

While the styles or approaches may be similar -- and obviously not entirely my cup of tea -- I think it's unfair to compare in any way Pete and CP with DF and the BCC trainwreck. The differences between Pete and DF, as far as I can tell, are HUGE.

I obviously don't know the CP community at all, but as I have several pastor friends who have been chewed up and spit out by their congregations and subject to suspicion, derision, and even verbal and emotional abuse, I find congregational respect and affection for their pastor very refreshing.

I love you and hope you are able to forgive some folks for whatever wrongs they committed against you. I don't say that lightly. As one who's dealt with bitterness and hurt, I know it's not easy.


Rob said...

Amen to Jared and Bill both.