#2 My friend (and editor at Threads) Michael Kelley links to a Time Magazine story on a new PDA app designed to help cheaters and "sexters" cover their tracks. Perhaps you remember the television ads that made headlines for the online matchmaking company that connects adulterers. And did you know that the major force driving entertainment technology -- DVD, bluRay, 3-D, etc. -- is the p()rnography industry? Allegedly, the advances adopted by smut peddlers lead the way for the rest of the commercial entertainment field. All of this leads me to echo something I said in my sermon last Sunday: we're not just sinners; we are really good at sinning. We are endlessly innovative at finding new ways to fall short of God's glory. Somewhere in the idol factories of our hearts is an R&D department devoted to coming up with new ways to worship the products we manufacture.
#3 I absolutely loved this quote from Tim Keller that I saw yesterday: "The gospel will never electrify you as long as you remain 'middle class in spirit'."
#4 My friend Bill Streger posted a piece called Uncool People Need Jesus Too, and I don't think he expected the overwhelming response, much less the controversy. No less than Pope Keller himself commented on the piece, and Acts 29 President Scott Thomas registered his displeasure.
Bill's point was mainly a general question: Is it possible the new church planting movement(s) is neglecting certain American mission fields because they aren't "fashionable" mission fields?
I think that's an excellent question, and my answer is "yes," it is absolutely possible this is the case.
Unfortunately, more than a few took Bill's words as negativity toward Acts 29, some even accusing him of criticizing Mark Driscoll and Keller. Those who actually read the piece carefully know he wasn't doing any such thing. (The part about Driscoll and Keller said nothing negative about those men; it merely asked if maybe some young men were making idols of them like so many made idols of Hybels and Warren. And the answer to this question is undoubtedly yes.)
In the end, Bill, who is one of the most humble, gentle, and Spirit-spirited pastors I've ever had the privilege to know personally, apologized for not saying things as clearly as he could and wrote a follow-up post clarifying. My favorite comment on that one was from Trey Herweck, an Acts 29 church planter in Missouri, who wrote:
I appreciate your clarification but, unfortunately, don’t see it as necessary. The beauty of the A29 crew (Driscoll, Patrick, all those guys) is the invitation to reflect on ourselves and ask hard questions. With any movement you have posers and wannabes and I think you were pointing out that this is no different. With the blog realm we live with reaction and not response. We create controversy where there simply isn’t any and people pull soundbites and miss the point (exegesis anyone??). Love your heart brother. It’s obvious that this honest and necessary post has caused you some deep grief that you should not take on. Your bro’s in A29 have big enough chests to take some poundings and be ok. I haven’t read all the comments (just got up to TK’s and that impressed me enough;). Brother, be released from that. We’re not freakin politicians that need vetting before we make any statements. We’re a movement of church planters teaching GRACE who should receive our brother’s concerns with GRACE and interpret each others hearts with GRACE! Sleep well, preach well, fight the right battles friend!
For my part, I think the inflammatory pushback to Bill's honest questions are warning signs. Absolute refusal to self-reflect and self-criticize is not a sign of organizational health, and these are elements of the church growth movement's ongoing dysfunction.
#4 I will be speaking at The Calling Conference for youth pastors, youth workers, and youth themselves in Auburn, Maine on May 8. Info and registration here. Will be talking about gospel resiliency and fidelity, gospel-centered student ministry, and gospel-driven living. It's inexpensive and relational; not your typical conference. If you can get there, would love to see you.
#5 Speaking of gospel-driven, my Bible study resource on spiritual formation -- Abide -- is now available for pre-order!
#6 Yesterday I spoke ill of Glenn Beck on my Twitter feed. It kinda ruffled some people, I think. I will not be issuing a "What I really meant" tweet. :-) What I meant when I said Beck is an "idolatrous fearmonger" is that he worships idols and mongers fear.
#7 Thanks to #4, this edition of Quick Hits is already too long. I'll save my remaining random thoughts for next time.