Friday, August 14, 2009

The United Church's uncertain future - Holy Post

The United Church's uncertain future - Holy Post

It’s not the only religious organization in Canada to suffer from a lack of interest. But more than others, perhaps, the United Church has tried to find relevance and attract attention by offering what many complain is an all-inclusive, interpretive and “watered-down” brand of faith.

“People are leaving in droves because of it,” says Geoff Wilkins, a United Church member and reformist who lives in North Vancouver. “We have to get back to a church of substance. Essentially, what the church is saying now is come and join us, you can believe anything you like.”

At least one church has become a virtual no-God zone.

Gretta Vosper is the minister at West Hill United Church in Toronto and author of With or Without God: Why the way we live is more important than what we believe. She explains that she doesn’t refer to God anymore “because there is no single meaning for the word.”

The question is often raised: Why is Rev. Vosper, a self-described “non-theist,” in the United Church? Its leaders don’t consider her views as heresy. Perhaps not even strange.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preaching Jesus in Rexdale

Steve and I had a great night tonight preaching Jesus in Rexdale. The local police division began an initiative several years ago with local clergy where they walk some of the more difficult areas of our neighbourhood with pastors. The idea is kind of a “we’re all in this together” thing.
Well, it is also a wonderful way to talk to folks about Christ.
Steve had a great conversation with a man tonight who was trusting in his own works. He was able to show the emptiness of works and point to the glorious work of Jesus. I was king of stuck listening to some others talk about crime in the neighbourhood, so I listened with half an ear and prayed for Steve.
Then we had a lot of fun with a whole whack of kids. After that, I was able to have a very direct conversation with two lovely young girls. Like so many in this world, it was clear their hope was not in Jesus alone. So, I told them how I had broken all of God’s commandments (they wondered how I could still be a pastor!) then I showed them how they had also. After that, we talked about the justice of God and how it would be unfair of Him to simply excuse us for crimes we had committed and then punish other people. So I told them of being in a court where the judge decides we are guilty and will go to prison for life… only to have another man, an innocent man stand up and say he will take my place. The crime is paid for, but I am free.
I told my 12 and 14 year old friends that is what they needed – a substitute. I think they understood that.
So we talked about how that Substitute can only be had by turning away from sin and putting faith in Him.
They promised me they would read the Gospel of John and I am going to pray that God saves both of them – to their surprise and His glory!

WWJT: What Would Jesus Tweet

Culturality & Missiology: Tweet Tweet

Even sadder is the growing number of young men and women who are wannabe’s. They actually seek counsel regarding how they can create and promote their personal brand. One young student recently asked me how often and what topics of his life he should tweet. Really?

Remember Jesus? I have tried to imagine Jesus tweeting and sending Facebook updates like many that I see.

“Just healed a blind man.”

“Lunching today with chief tax man in Jericho @Zacchaeus.”

“Walked on water this evening, disciples amazed I could calm a storm. lol.”

“Fed 5,000 men and their families with a boy’s lunch today.”

“Washed the disciples feet. Being intentional to exercise and model humility.”

“Check my reviews from the crowds last Friday. #Jerusalem”