Monday, April 30, 2007

A (Banned) Word For Church Planters

From what I've read this video was shot for a church planting conference, but didn't get distributed because of some remarks made by a pastor of a certain church in South Barrington. Of course being contraband makes it much more prized and interesting than if it had been passed out to begin with. In it, Pastor Mark Driscoll talks about what it takes to be a church planter today.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Photos

I went out to the Bohemian National Cemetery last Saturday and got some nice shots. I submitted the first one to JPG magazine for their Dreamscapes theme. You can vote on it here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sex and the Lies We Tell

One of the things that I truly enjoy about being at Seminary is the chance to hear some great speakers. A couple times a year North Park brings in Biblical scholars and theologians to speak on a variety of topics ranging from the Johannine literature to the Trinity. This time they brought in someone to talk about the Trinity, as well as the more interesting topic of sex--Lauren Winner.

Winner, a converted Jew, has written a few books, including one called Real Sex. I've only been able to read a couple chapters of Real Sex, but it's on the ever-extensive and constantly growing list of books to read. In her hour that she had today though, she spoke on the four lies the Church tells about extramarital sex, explicitly or implicitly.

  1. You'll feel bad afterwards. Youth pastors across America love to proclaim this, but in truth, there are many different emotions one may feel after sex ranging from elation to hung over. All sin promotes itself as being a pleasing and satisfying endeavor-- if the serpent had told Eve that she would feel bad after the apple, we would certainly be in a different place.
  2. While men are animals when it comes to sex, women have no sex drive. This is propagated with the purest of intentions of protecting our daughters against the sex-driven pubescent boy. The reality is that both men and women have sex drives. We need to educate accordingly.
  3. Premarital sex will leave you with scars and ghosts. While there are certainly consequences of having sex outside of the confines of marriage, we do not carry the ghosts of past sexual partners into our marriage beds.
  4. Marriage is the end all of sexual delinquency and final maturity into adulthood. All too often the Church promotes marriage as the final step into adulthood. Either through only choosing families to light the advent candles at Christmas or sitting the 28 year old single woman at the children's table, while the 24 year old married sibling is at the "adult" table, single Christians are left out of adulthood. Further, Winner spoke of marriage being another step in sexual formation with its own inherent struggles.
Winner pointed out that when the Church begins to talk about sex it always begins with the negative, when in fact God always declares sex to be good. And while the negatives are necessary to proclaim, the Church needs to extol the positive aspects of sex. Something else worth exploring that she touched only briefly on referred to people's thought that they govern their own bodies. She pointed out that in baptism we are joining our bodies to the body of Christ (also known as the Church) and we no longer, as if ever, have rights over what else to which we join our bodies. This seems to me a strong point of connection to begin to speak of chastity to post-moderns. The Church certainly should have a lot to say about the goodness with which God has created sex and we need to stop being drowned out by the culture around us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Most Interesting Man in the World

I've been really busy and have only half-written a couple of posts lately, but I have got a little television in and have been meaning to share this with you. Something about this commercial just makes me smile. I think it's the line

His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Photo Friday

It's been a slow week for photos, even though we've had sunny weather all week, I haven't gotten out. The first is the dryer in the basement-- The Speed Queen. The bottom is the delicious french toast I made last Saturday for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Music Tuesday

My Flickr friend and blogging buddy Steve McCoy, the Reformissionary, always has some great posts up on his Music Mondays postings. Lately my music preferences have gone to the more alternative side of life, so I thought I share some of my recent buys and those for which I am still jonesing.

Midlake has a great album Bamnan and Slivercork. Steve introduced me to this one and I'm still enjoying it. Very alternative. Very good. My personal favorite is "Balloon Maker."

To feed both my Jazz and Electronic sides at once, I picked up The Jazz Influence: Electronic Jazz compiled by Kevin Yost. It's pretty good, some weaker tracks ("Do you like Jazz?" good beat, annoying lyric), but overall a regular listen. Along these lines is the single that iTunes gave away a few weeks ago now by Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra "Kiss the Sky." It's great.

Those for which I haven't dropped the cash yet are: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver ; Chicago's own Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha; and everyone's current favorite, Arcade Fire, Neon Bible.

LCD and Andrew were on Dave last week to which I now leave you:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo Friday

O'Hare Windows


I've had a pretty good photo week-- one of my photos got put up on the Chicago Public Radio's homepage. I also started a photoblog. These two photos are from my travels home over Easter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, which makes my next statement all the more true...

I've been thinking a lot about community lately--which communities I belong to, how community happens, etc. Off the top of my head I can think of a dozen communities that I belong to. Seminary, Albany Park, Chicago. Online, I'm on Flickr, Facebook, myspace (barely), Hi5 (Latin American myspace). I blog and that has a communal atmosphere. I just signed up for a photoblog, so we'll see how that goes. Most of these communities have small communities too. Groups and networks abound. I wonder at how real these communities are though. How much actual connection happens. I wonder if one can truly be connected to hundreds and thousands of people behind a keyboard and a glaring screen that is probably the reason I have to wear corrective lenses.

At the same time I think of my church, which I've been meaning to write about for a while now also. I love telling the story of how I found the church, because I feel like it really demonstrates God's providence.

After coming back from Costa Rica and still not being able to connect at the church I had been at before, I was pretty frustrated and started looking around. At the end of September I went up to Minneapolis for the Desiring God Conference. I talked with John Piper and Mark Driscoll and asked Justin Taylor also if they knew of any churches in Chicago. Acts 29 doesn't have any churches in Chicago. Back at my seat I was telling a good friend about it and a guy in the row behind me heard my frustrations. Before the session was over, he told me about a church in Chicago that a buddy of his started called Grace Chicago. Solid theology done in a bit different style than usual. If anything I'd at least go check it out.

I was compelled to go, and after to introduce myself to Pastor Bob. My fourth time there I was serving coffee. By far it has been the easiest community to get involved with. Grace meets in a local theater with a full bar being the center point when you first walk in. The worship is hymnic, but set to a consort of instruments (flute, violin, cello, guitar, percussion). There is a liturgy, which I haven't been used to in a while. Bob speaks in a way that engages the listener to the Gospel and pushes us beyond a comfortable Christianity that can be explained in 3 steps. But I think the thing that really binds us together as a community is the weekly taking of communion.

This is the first church I've ever been in that takes communion every week. Some argue that Eucharist would lose it's special status and become rote. Not so! It becomes extremely restorative to stand with the church and to remember and consume the body and blood of Christ. Never does it loose its meaning, but rather, when I am away I miss it so. Moreover, it is done with real wine and sourdough bread. I have long thought this is the way to take it, but never experienced it. The alcohol leaves the taste on your palate long after consumed, while the chewy bread has real substance to it.

Beyond all the OCD checking of Facebook, Flickr and my blog statistics, where I have found true community is where communion is taken. In it, the Church comes together and becomes the body of Christ, each doing its part and functioning to benefit the whole. Where the bond is not a school or network, but where Christ is the head is where real community is found.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

He Is Risen.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday Photo

Jesus, No Cross

Blurred Crucifix
These are two older photos that I have, but I think they do well for today.

My Photography || Flickr Friday Photo

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Meditate on these Things

I found this quote on Justin Taylor's Blog and wanted to share it with you:

From The Cross in the New Testament by Leon Morris:

To put it bluntly and plainly, if Christ is not my Substitute, I still occupy the place of a condemned sinner. If my sins and my guilt are not transferred to Him, if he did not take them upon Himself, then surely they remain with me. If He did not deal with my sins, I must face their consequences. If my penalty was not borne by Him, it still hangs over me. There is no other possibility.--The Cross in the New Testament by Leon Morris
May you all have a blessed Easter as you celebrate what Christ did for you on the cross and his triumph over death in his resurrection.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Understanding Paul

Being that this is Holy Week, it seems like I should be writing something about Jesus and not Paul, after all this is the week that we, as Christians, celebrate what Jesus has done for us not only on the cross, but also in his resurrection. One we need to understand Christ's dying and rising as a dual event, where we cannot separate the two. Obviously Jesus could not have risen, without dying, but his death is validated by his resurrection. In other words, Jesus' death would have no implications for us if God did not then raise him from the dead.

For my class on Romans, this week, we arrived at Romans 6. In this chapter Paul explains that we as believers have died and risen with Christ. He then steps through what it means that we have taken part in this dual event of the cross and the resurrection. Paul carries this motif through much of his writings and is foundational not only in understanding Paul, but also in understanding our lives as Christians.

Robert Tannehill, in his book Dying and Rising with Christ, where he explains more fully what Paul's intent is, writes the following:

If the believer dies and rises with Christ, as Paul claims, Christ's death and resurrection are not merely events which produce benefits for the believer, but also are events in which the believer himself partakes. The believer's new life is based upon his personal participation in these saving events. Furthermore, these events continue to give their stamp to the life of the believer, for he continues to participate in Christ's death and resurrection in his daily life, especially through suffering.
What Tannehill goes on to explain in the next 134 pages-- which read as if they were 800-- is that Paul finds it essential that we, as believers, understand that we have participated in the act of dying on the cross with Christ. And not only have did we die with Christ, we were also raised. We then are to live our new life with this as our structure. We daily have to reckon ourselves dead to sin-- it now has no power over us-- and live, as Paul writes, presenting our "members to God as weapons for righteousness" (Romans 6:13).

Monday, April 2, 2007

Media Monday

This first one is a classic that has been passed around the net the past weekend, so I give it to all.

And this, I declare, is the greatest six minutes and twenty-three seconds of television last week: