Archive for April, 2007

I’ve been talking to a lot of people about Missional Church. The scope of the discussion is extremely broad, and the language itself gets used by so many people many so many different things that it’s difficult to get your head around. Though I’ve been immersed in the literature for about 6 years now, I am always fascinated by the folks who are really put off by the concepts.

For those of you familiar with Missional Ecclesiology and Missional Renewal, please comment or e-mail me about what excites you about it, or what concerns / worries you about it the shift from churchianity to Christianity.


Our family is off to Malibu this week. Rochelle and I will be teaching at the Pepperdine University Bible Lectures. I will also be doing a session for high school students called “The Pepperdine View.” Our girls are going with us and my mom is flying from Georgia to join us on the journey.


Our 3-year-old is struggling to potty train — or rather her parents are struggling with training her. Any helpful ideas?


Much love to you all!

Homiletical Fast Food

Posted: April 18, 2007 in Plagiarism, preaching

I know that I’ve already blogged twice about sermonic plagiarism, but evermore interesting thought concerning the issue continues to arises. Trust me, I’m not on a hunt to root out some plagiarizer, rather people keep giving me head’s up when they come across something on the subject.

This week our Administrative Minister handed me an article Dr. Thomas G. Long contributed to this month’s The Christian Century. Here are some of the more choice quotes from that piece:

“…preachers who stand up on Sunday morning with a sermon ripped off the Internet and preach the words as if they were their own almost certainly violate the implied agreement with the congregation.

“A good test of this point is to ask, What would happen if the preacher told the truth? “Hey, folks, it’s been a busy week and I didn’t have time to work on a sermon, and honestly, I’m not all that creative anyway. So this is a little something I found on the ‘net” (and I would interject a “book” read). The fact that the air would immediately go out of the room is a reliable indicator that the tacit agreement of the sermon event has been violated. This is why plagiarists, for all their blather about God’s words being free to all, never confess their true sources and always imply that these words are coming straight from the heart.”
“Only preachers who deliver their own sermons stand with one foot in the life of the people and one foot in the biblical text.”
“All preacher borrow from others, and should. There is a difference between being a debtor and being a thief. All preachers stand on the shoulders of biblical scholars, theologians and faithful witnesses from across the generations. We do not owe our congregation an original essay: we owe them a fresh act of interpretation.”
“Pulpit plagiarists…in the name of expediency, will grab what they wish wherever they can find it and claim it as their own. Their stolen sermons may occasionally sparkle, but in the end they will have spread the banquet table of God with the empty calories of homiletical fast food.”

Food for thought, I think.

The Blogosphere

Posted: April 16, 2007 in blogs, church, reading

Lat week we hosted and led two memorial services for dearly loved members of our community. One was 93 and the other 74. In the midst of all this, one of our elders’ wives was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which they thought was malignant at fist glance. To say the least, it was a hectic, emotional week.

That explains my absence from my keyboard recently. My apologies for those of you who frequently check on the blog.

While I haven’t been writing a lot, some of my friends have posted very thoughtful pieces on theirs. I’m always mixed when I read friends’ blogs. I’m glad that they are finding their voice and engaging the world, but then I get a knot in my stomach because I think to myself, “Shoot, I wanted to write that.” Then, I feel guilty over my jealousy.

Anyway, here are some things you might want to check out.

1. One of my “old kids,” Jessica Reese (I’ve known her since she was 15, now her oldest daughter is older than my youngest), who is – or will soon be – an emerging writer, has some good thoughts on Christian art at her site.

2. My friend, and recently returned missionary now working with Compassion, Russ Debenport, has some great music and thoughts about CCM at his blog.

3. Though Easter has passed, William Willimon has a great piece on the last to believe in Easter on on his blog, “A Peculiar Prophet.”

4. Bill Kinnon, who I don’t know, has some interesting thoughts entitled, “The People Formerly Known as The Congregation,” at his site.

Happy Reading

Don Imus …

Posted: April 13, 2007 in authentically black, news

I’ve been extremely busy that last few weeks, so a lot of my thoughts have gone unblogged. But if you’re interested in what I think about the Don Imus fiasco, click here.

I think Whitlock is on to something. What’s more, Whitlock is a smart, thoughtful columnists, who had previously been berated by Imus over another issue.

To Oklahoma and Back

Posted: April 1, 2007 in speaking

You’ve probably noticed that the blogs have dried up lately – nothing new in a while. Well, there are several reasons for that. First, I spent an extraordinary amount of time studying for a mid-term in Systematic Theology. I’ve probably never studied that long for a test – approximately 10 hours. Historically I don’t do well on test. I’m better at writing papers, I think. Memory is not one of my gifts, so I try to stay away from things that require it. After the 10 hours studying, I took the test, and feel as though I did pretty good. By “pretty good” I mean that I understood all the words.

Second, I’m trying to be more intentional about how I spend my time at home. Honestly, I’ve always been intentional about my time at home, I was just intentionally working on different stuff – sometimes even the blog. With the addition of our second daughter, I realized that I am even more needed. More than that though really; the need for me to be present at home pales in comparison to the joy I experience by being with our girls. With every piece of research I read and with every story I hear, I become more convinced that there is a fathering crisis in this country. Too many Dads don’t spend time with their kids, they don’t know how to connect with them, and many of them are say horrible things to their kids when they do spend time with them. I could tell you endless stories of absentee fathers and dads who call their kids fat, stupid, lazy and unlovable. I never want to be that guy. So, if it means that it takes me longer to get my writing projects done or I have to read at midnight, then so be it.

Speaking of spending time with the family, the third reason I haven’t blogged much lately is because I spent this past weekend at an event in Lawton, OK speaking to a group of teenagers. (Remind me sometime tell you the story of meeting a very cool C-list actress, having to toss out my contact lenses and speak without really being able to see anything, and how I realized that my life was indeed crazy when I was changing my clothes in a church nursery.) The best part of the Lawton trip was meeting and spending time with some very cool emerging Christian artists: Shades of Green, comedian Hoss Ridgeway, and Watershed Worship. I’ve very pumped about the generation of artists – true artists – that are coming up in the church in general and churches of Christ, in particular. Not only did they bust me out some free t-shirts, my two new free Shades of Green CD’s will soon be dropped in my iPod.

Well that’s enough blogging for now. Catch you later.