Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A New Book! A New Book! A New Book!

Blogger's Note: from my Wednesday evening rehearsal handout 6/2/10

You all know that I always have at least one book in progress. Dawn commented in the first few months of our marriage that she thought I would pay her more attention if she had words printed all over her. She still thinks that. I am a pretty insatiable reader. Once I’ve finished one book I’ve several others waiting to be read.

Much as Dr. Gouge would not expect me to understand a chemistry text book, I wouldn’t expect someone who is not in my line of work to connect deeply with some of the stuff I read. There are other books that people have recommended for me that I don’t connect deeply with either. As a staff we’re working through Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I highly recommend this story of the friendship of a homeless black man and a millionaire art dealer to absolutely anyone. When we finish with it in our staff discussions (this Monday), it’s going home to my family for required reading.

Having just finished Alan Roxburgh’s Missional Map-Making: Skills for Leading in Times of Transition, I’m starting on Francis Chan’s Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. I’ve not gotten far into it yet, but in his preface there was one sentence that grabbed me by the throat. It follows a paragraph that has some necessary set-up. Chan writes:
God put me in Simi Valley, California, to lead a church of comfortable people into lives of risk and adventure. I believe He wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them. I believe He wants us to be known for giving – of our time, our money, and our abilities – and to start a movement of “giving” churches. In so doing we can alleviate the suffering in the world and change the reputation of His bride [the church] in America.

Most of you who read this probably love the church. It may surprise you to learn that there are many in America who do not hold the church in high regard, but it’s true. Here’s the sentence that grabbed me by the throat:
We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God.

Think about that a minute. The obvious question that comes to my mind is this: What is it about how we are living as followers of Christ that gives people excuses not to believe in God? I started to make a list, but then I decided that the log in my own eye might be clouding my vision. Instead, I think each of us needs to make that question personal: Is there anything that I am doing (or not doing) that gives anyone who knows me an excuse not to believe in God?

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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