July 26, 2010

this week's round-up (july 23-ish)

I don't think the round-up is going to move to a Sunday evening publishing schedule (I've been trying to keep it on Fridays), but it might end up making that jump. It's a short list of links this week, and nothing is really hitting me musically at the moment, but here you go:

Tim Stevens on Reimagining Church.

Carol Howard Merritt on What Causes Pastors to Burnout? (Thanks to Jeremy Peters for the link to this one!).

Doug Pagitt posted an interview with Paul Jesep regarding a Christian response to credit cards.

Julie Clawson has a great article this week on social justice, Glen Beck and a neighborless Christianity.

Scot McKnight helps explain the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (for a non-Wesleyan perspective), and does a nice job at it.

July 18, 2010

this week's round-up (july 16-ish)

 A few days late on the round-up this week - it was a busy week, an exhausting week, and an inspiring week at our Vacation Bible School. The church I serve hosts their VBS at a local campground so not only is there lots of space to run around, but it connects with a community of kids who might never find their way through the doors of our church building. (It was also a great opportunity to push the idea that the church needs to move from an "attractional" mindset to a "missional" one - go where the people are, don't wait for them to come to us!)

 Links of interest this week:

Fred Clark writes on how Martin Luther King's legacy (and words) have been misused by some conservative thinkers.

The 2010 State of the Church report is out for the UMC. I haven't had a chance to study it yet, but Andrew Conrad summarizes a couple points noting that many churches lack a clear vision and that the average age of United Methodists is significantly higher than the general population - not really a surprise, but definitely a point of concern.

Scot McKnight asks an important question around "Virtual Sermons." McKnight shares an article from CNN on the topic which quotes Tom Long on the incarnational aspect of preaching that is missing from a video feed. I understand the appeal of allowing high-quality preaching to be heard in a variety of locations and freeing up others to do the work of ministry, but there are some serious questions it raises as well.

Seth Godin offers some great thoughts around celebrating what's right, instead of giving all our attention to the problems. I've also (finally) started to read Linchpin this week - only a few pages in and I'm in love with it. The book seems to coincide really well with this piece from Hugh MacLeod:

Also, apparently now God Hates Nerds - is it bad that my first thought was that quote attributed to Niemoller, "Then they came for me and by that time there was no one left to speak up."

A couple nerd-rock anthems from the early '90s to cap off this week's post:

July 9, 2010

this week's round-up (july 9b)

After 5 minutes of hitting the "Publish Post" button, I remembered I wanted to include this piece of video from last night's Daily Show. I doubt I'll pick up the book, but I do like where the discussion is headed recognizing that science and religion aren't necessarily in opposition, and what we need right now are the best minds from science and theology working together, instead of mediocre commentators waging cultural battles.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Marilynne Robinson
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

this week's round-up (july 9)

It's been a while and I've been getting nervous about losing my discipline about getting something posted every week, but life is (slowly) returning to normal and the internet and phone problems I've been having are nearly resolved.

College friends Clint and Courtney continue to do great ministry in Cedar Rapids with the Matthew 25 Ministry Hub.

Andrew Conrad asks a pretty provocative question, What to Do with Unhealthy UM Congregations? Like the "ineffective clergy" issue I think it's an important question to ask, but also fraught with potential abuse, beginning with the issue of how an "unhealthy" congregation is defined (which Conrad notes). Unhealthy congregations can't simply be "written off" especially we we are going to hold to a theology of redemption and resurrection, but there is a tricky game of how do we deploy effective clergy into unhealthy situations? On one hand, it's the only way a turn-around can be achieved, on the other without the proper support and understanding it can be a recipe for clergy burnout. (This is also reason #2348 of why I'm glad I'm not a DS).

Andrew also offered some nice, brief additional thoughts on What to Do with Ineffective UM Clergy? As I think I've mentioned before, one of my primary concerns with the "ineffective clergy" question is if we need to remove clergy from leadership (due to ineffectiveness and not because of misconduct), can we do it in a way that is fair and pastoral? We need to give people the opportunity to change, but if they can't (or won't) grow, then there needs to be a level of support around the transition.  As Conrad says, it should never be about kicking people out of the church, but helping them find their vocation, and I think we need to take that helping part seriously.

Interesting thoughts by Fred Clark about the trends in growth (or lack thereof) in evangelicalism.

I've talked before about numbers (attendance, membership, etc.) being a key measure of clergy effectiveness; it's an issue I'm torn on, because I understand the value and the appeal, but I also know that sometimes numbers can't tell the whole story. So I found this article to be an interesting take on those types of measurements from a secular perspective. Chris Guillebeau writes:
the numbers give you a goal—something to keep in mind as you go through a challenging process. The numbers can’t be your sole motivation or identity, but they can be a big help.
I like that perspective, the numbers aren't the sole motivation or identity, but they can be a healthy barometer of what is happening.

I know I've missed a ton of good stuff while I've been away, but hopefully I'll be back into my usual routine soon. I've been putting a "summer mix" of music together on the ipod this is one that hit me as one of those good summer songs. (The 80's era video production is also pretty entertaining).