One of the reasons I came out to Southern California was to look into real estate. Finding a home under $500,000 is difficult but I found one. It's a little small (20 sq. ft.) and sits on 1/100 of an acre but it's in a good neighborhood.
I'm headed out to Los Angeles this morning for several days. I will be meeting with our church-plant core group, opening a church account and doing some preaching. I also hope to wear shoes with no socks for a few days.
For over a year I have been traveling down to Springfield, Missouri to preach at Christ the King Church (CREC). This last Sunday was my final sermon among them. They gave us several gifts including the beautiful cake you see here. It was a bittersweet farewell as we prepare to go to California to church-plant and they prepare to install their first pastor.
Thank you my sweet brethren for the privilege of ministering among you. I have learned much from you and will always treasure my time with you.
A steady drumbeat is coming from the direction of Escondido, California. Its a scary-scary tom-tom going boom, boom, boom. My friend Jon writes these words concerning a recent and inflammatory lecture that was given wherein the statement, "Sacraments don't make things so - God makes things so" was made. This is just another variation of a statement that goes like this: "Sacraments don't do anything, God does."
I can hear the ooo's and aahs arising from the masses like that elicited from the murmuring of "one hand clapping."
I can say that about everything we do in life if we possess a Christian worldview:
Q: What does preaching do? A: Nothing! Its God that makes it effective!
Q: What does reading your Bible do? A: Nothing worthwhile...unless God the Holy Spirit applies it to you!
Q: What does prayer do? A: Nothing! God is the one who makes prayer effective as a means of grace!...and answers prayer!
Hah! So there. A theology of nothingness. Let us do nothing because nothing does anything.
C'mon folks, this is starting to look silly. A fistfight in an isolated sweaty greenhouse in an obscure field located in a small foreign country.
Whew! Its been one heck of a skull-wracking two weeks. The comments on this blog are only a portion of the Post-Reformed dialogue that I have been having with many people I respect through various other channels of communication. I want to thank many of you for your thoughful input and your patience with me as I tried to express some things that were not fully worked out. I hope to process all of this information and to smooth it out. Some items in the credos, as some of you have mentioned, may be co-extensive. Perhaps this experiment can be useful to us as we church plant and hope to do that in community with the broader church. I hope to play one small part in helping this great and beloved tradition of ours, the Reformed faith, to get out of this self-consuming cycle we are in and to present its most vibrant principles as a positive and relevent avenue of Christian expression to wider church.
Being Post-Reformed means having enough confidence in your Reformed theological convictions that you can interact substantively with Christians in other traditions without fear. The fear that often masquerades as dogmatism is replaced by a love for the truth and your brethren.
Being Post-Reformed means you regard Arminians, Emerging Churchmen, and Roman Catholics as Christians...and treat them as such. You work vigorously to build unity, without compromising truth, to demonstrate the visible unity of the Body of Christ, wherever you can, to the watching world. The Post-Reformed man takes the Beattitudes seriously with great longing in his heart: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God."
141 years ago the Civil War ended and with it the institution of slavery. After the war the Reconstruction occurred with sometimes unjust results but by 1877 the South was free to re-assert its racially stratified past. Christians, particularly in the Presbyterian tradition, find in these events a great treasure trove of identity and, frankly, excuse making. This was brought to the surface recently through a post on Barlow Farms.
Dishonoring the fathers? Really? How about the black fathers, are they dishonored too? Black slaves (fathers) sat in the galleries of all those historic PCA churches involuntarily but no one remembers them. Great men of the faith like RL Dabney likely carried on the common practice of burying their slaves in unmarked graves. Acquired, used, forgotten. We do allot of selective forgetting in Southern Presbyterianism.
I was initially ambivalent about the PLR. What does this stuff have to do with a hapa-haole living in Los Angeles I thought. But living in St. Louis, at the crossroads of the PCA, has allowed me to see things differently. It is not pretty. It is becoming clear to me that when the past is not repented of and, particularly, when it is arrogantly upheld as some glorious era, the sins will be repeated in some derivative form. Hiding behind contextual excuses doesn't fly when our kids do it so why should it fly with adults?
In 1945 my family was given several hundred dollars and train tickets to Cleveland, Ohio. This was their recompense for having their property and lives stolen. They had been shipped off to a swampy internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas at the beginning of WWII and were not allowed to return to California because they lacked a sponsor. My wife's family has a similar story. They spent the war in the desert wastelands of Poston, Arizona. When the war ended, the family and traditional structure of the Japanese-American community had been completely destroyed and has never recovered. Yet, I have never heard my relatives complain about it unless pressed. They are almost all non-Christians.
My point is this, often the oppressed stand quietly by while the oppressors have the luxury of writing histories that justify their actions. I say, "enough!" Unlike the secular historian, Christians answer to God who sees all and knows all.