Is the Church Really the Safest Place on Earth? — An Excerpt from “A Wilderness of Mirrors”
It is a simple, tragic fact that Christ’s Church has at times been the least safest place on the planet.
“Far from being the refuge of the downtrodden, wounded, and lost,” Mark Maynell writes in A Wilderness of Mirrors, “they have easily become havens for the judgmental, controlling, and dangerous. No wonder people find it hard to trust the church.”
Yet there’s hope. Because as Maynell goes on to say, it doesn’t have to be this way. In the excerpt below, he describes “the God with a plan up his sleeve” to make the Church the safest place on Earth for community and evidence of God’s…
Here we go again (Monday With Mounce 102)
A friend of mine just left the ministry. This is a young man who felt the call of the Lord, and committed his undergraduate education to Biblical Studies. His wife and he made an additional commitment to go to seminary, a decision that involved major sacrifice on their part. It was interesting, they said, to live with all the hookers in their town. But the rent was cheap.
And when his young wife's health continued to deteriorate, they move to another seminary to finish his education.
The point of all this is that we are looking at about six years of significant sacrifice. Six years. Perhaps more.
And then the time comes; they graduate, and move to their first pastorate. He lasted about four years, and when he and his wife couldn't take it any longer, he resigned and is going into some other area of work, and the church is robbed of a bright and passionate young man who deeply loves the Lord and wants to serve the people.
And what was the cause of this man's and woman's loss of a dream? Gossip.
Wednesday Giveaway – One.Life by Scot McKnight
Today you, Koinonia reader, get a chance to win One.Life! I’ll tell you how after these three reviewers tell you why you should be reading it in the first place.
"Often when students say 'I'm tired of being a Christian,' they have understood a Christianity that equates faithfulness with the accumulation of pious practices. 'I need to pray more, serve more, do more.' An exhausting endeavor. Scot McKnight disturbs this equation: it's about following Jesus, with others, to birth a kingdom imagination. An exhilarating endeavor. Let's begin following." – Joseph Modica, Eastern University,…
Virtual Community as Real Community: A respone to Shane Hipps by Douglas Estes
Last month on the Out of Ur blog, Shane Hipps shared in an impromptu interview at NPC what he believes to be severe problems with labeling online connections as “virtual community” (view post). Scot McKnight raised some questions (view comments); Anne Jackson mostly defended (view comments). Not to mention Shane’s clarifications. As much as I tremendously respect Shane, I feel I cannot let his fundamentally flawed assertions (and assumptions) about virtual community go unchallenged.
First, let me tell you what meaning virtual community has for me: on the one hand, I seldom participate in any type of virtual community. I’ve attended a number of virtual churches, but for the sake of my marriage I’ve stayed away from World of Warcraft, and I don’t blog, Twitter, or yet do much else online as far as community goes; on the other hand, I’ve spent the last year asking some hard questions about virtual community for my forthcoming book, SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World (Zondervan, 2009). Hard questions that started not by what I felt community to be, but hard questions that came out of my readings of the Fathers, church history, theology, and philosophy as they relate to community.
Let me start with a pointed critique of Shane’s criticisms of virtual community. He lists four necessary ingredients at the beginning of the interview, the first three of which he argues are lacking or absent in virtual community: