Abductive Columns

Friday, April 29, 2005

God, You Got My Attention!

Those closest to me view any change I make as “imperceptible.” I’ll admit, at best, it’s a centimeter crawl. Yet each day, I consciously think through the self-centeredness that led me to where I am and the (momentous) changes I need to make if ever I’m to become that other-centered person who thinks first of:

Those I love the most and
Celebrating God’s forgiveness

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Future

The Lord has forced me to deal with some personal matters that I’ve ignored for too long; in some respect because I have been blind to those around me but probably more because I’m selfish. Nevertheess they're now front and center. Please pray I’ll do the Lord’s will. My future depends on it!

This blog will be absent for an indefinite period.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Mealtime Habits of The Messiah

Conrad Gempf wrote a splendid little book titled Jesus Asked a couple of years ago. It was so good that I listed it as the best book of 2003 (at least the best book I read). Now he’s about to release his second book—Mealtime Habits of The Messiah. If it’s anywhere near as good as his first we’re all in for a treat!

excerpt from Mealtime Habits of The Messiah [...link]

Conrad Gempf blogs on his thoughts about writing (sharing) this new work. [...link]

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Those Who Misunderstand and Misrepresent the Emerging Church

Ministry in the 21st century is much more first century than it is last century. Today you've got to understand what it's like to do ministry in the medieval world and the first-century world more than in the modern world and the patristic world. Seldom do modern leaders born before 1960 (immigrants) transition into the "new world." Most often they practice ministry the way they learned ministry. Oh, yea, many have been introduced to "emerging," fewer have "heard of what's emerging" and even fewer have read a book on what's emerging. Yet without a flipped light switch, few rise up out of the mire of modern traditionalism. The result is misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the emerging church. I see it in the local church, in hypertext and paperback writings. I even subscribe to a blog that claims to be authored by an emerging leader even thought he is more of the modern bent than postmodern.

Andrew Jones (Tall Skinny kiwi) writes an open post to D.A Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. […read the post]

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Talking to Those Jesus Misses the Most

Last Saturday a friend and I hit the streets with a mic, camcorder, and six $5 Starbucks Cards. We set a poster on an easel and settled in just downstream from Starbucks and across the street from Empire Books. Forty-five minutes later we had given all our $5 Starbucks Cards away, interviewed seven curious individuals, begged Security’s forgiveness, and handed 15 minutes of tape to the church-techie for editing.

I framed my questions around the Sunday sermon. Since we’re in a series on the book of Romans (specifically Romans 10) my questions revolved around what I felt were the key components of that chapter.

Once a month I take to the streets and talk to the people Jesus’ misses the most.

Our questions for the non-church-goer:

1. Do you think Christians bring Good News to the world?
2. Has a Christian every tried to save you? If so, how did it feel?

Our questions for the church-goer:

1. Can you give us your perception on righteousness?
2. Do you establish your own righteousness or does it seem to somehow mysteriously come from out side yourself?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Encountering God Through the Arts

Before the 20th century art was an important part of Christianity. As we moved through the 20th century art and faith grew uniquely separate, even antagonistic toward one another. Yet historically the use of art as an expression of faith was common. Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel, da Vinci’s Last Supper, Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi, and Raphael’s Epiphany are cultural icons with deep ecclesiastical roots. During this period Christianity drove culture instead of trying to be culturally relevant.

Ron Martoia uses ambiance art to engage worshipers in Jackson, Michigan. One week, as people entered the assembly they looked up and saw an oversized mannequin with one foot stepping off a ladder suspended in midair. During the lesson Martoia told the audience, “This is what your life is like without Jesus. Without Jesus, our lives are grounded in midair…we need to get on firmer footing.”

For his series on “Transformed Hearts,” artist sculpted a 6-foot heart and set it in the middle of the stage. Hanging directly above the praise band was a 5-foot electrical transformer. Art reinforced the message.

Ron Martoia is just one of a growing number of men and women expressing an artistic creativity that has the potential to change culture. As Barbara Nicolosi of the Hollywood based Christian screenwriting program Act One said, “A beautiful piece of art can stir people inside for something they don’t even know. It can make them lonely for heaven.”

Monday, April 11, 2005

Understanding the Times

Jesus incarnated and engaged an oral culture. Centuries after Jesus’ resurrection humanity transitioned an oral culture to a print culture. Uniquely my generation has seen rapid transition from print to broadcast to digital. This rapidity has caused overlap between the eras and the predominant teaching methods of each era. Oral readily lended itself to experience (and irrationality), print to rationality, broadcast gave us a global perspective and digital is shifting our way of knowing to an interactive, global, anytime, anywhere, multimedia experience. This will continue to have serious ramifications on methods of teaching reaching far into the future of this third-millennium. Even more interesting is how these changes are forcing the church to carry out its mission in an environment more like that in which the first-century church was born than perhaps any subsequent period in history. Michael Riddell says, “Mission is always in the direction of the other, and away from ourselves.” Isn’t it interesting that we’ve come full circle? Experience, experience

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Deconstructing Christianity's Simple Rx.

Go ahead continue living in your Prozac world! Deny how much you hurt. Keep telling yourself that everything is all right, that you love Jesus, that you love others, and that your trust in Christ is supplying you with fast-flowing streams of living water. Never listen to the few honest leaders who would let you know they still struggle. Continue gathering at that same church where the preacher, if he shares anything at all, describes either problems from long ago that he has now resolved or current, minor annoyances that fall short of revealing any vulnerability and surely not an ongoing battle with sin. Make sure his emphasis is in doctrinal accuracy and that he never promotes relational integrity or personal passion. Avoid like the plague a community of distraught people who, in their pursuit of more, ask questions that routine exegesis cannot handle.

Just stick with your Bible. Keep it simple. Do whatever God says.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Fallacy of Logic

The Fallacy of Logic

In the churches of Christ the stringent command, approved example, or necessary inference hermeneutics has determined the categorical approach to the authority question. This approach in establishing biblical authority seems noble but…

1. Who decides what is necessarily inferred and what is not?

2. What determines what is necessarily inferred?

3. Should we listen to men who assign themselves unbelievable power and presumption in legislating from necessary inference?

It’s important to understand that there are two kinds of logical inferences. There are necessary and sufficient inferences. A necessary inference is a conclusion drawn from a premise. If the premise is true, then the conclusion is also true. The method used by a logician to analyze this kind of reasoning is known as syllogism.

This type of reasoning guarantees the conclusion to be true—if it is demonstrated that the major and minor premises are true. So, it is possible to have a misleading necessary inference.

All people are rational beings (major premise)
All Americans are rational people. (minor premise)
Therefore all Americans are rational people. (conclusion)

All dogs have four legs (major premise)
Fido is a dog (minor premise)
Therefore, Fido has four legs (conclusion)

The major premise is not true; therefore, the inference is not true.

The Church of Christ says communion is eaten every first day of the week. Biblical command? Or inferrence based on human logic?


Acts 20:7 says they “came together to eat bread.” It doesn’t say they “ate the bread.” They ate the bread in verse 11. Is it possible that these disciples took communion after midnight?

Most likely these disciples were following Roman time, where the day began and ended at midnight. If not, why would Luke, a Gentile, describe an event in a Gentile town using Jewish time?

Another problem:
Does the phrase “breaking bread” refer to communion? Maybe. But maybe it doesn’t. The phrase “breaking bread was a Hebrew idiom meaning, “eating a meal.” Granting that context may have the final say…yet this phrase “breaking bread” is not an idiom meaning “to eat the Lord’s Supper.”

Necessary inference? Or sufficient inference?

Sufficient inference (conclusion based upon reasoning known as inductive reasoning--humanism) is more likely.

A man sits on the street corner of a large city observing the color of automobiles as they pass by. He sees a one hundred black cars and no others. His reasoning does not guarantee his conclusion is correct.

This is the last post on doctrines of the Church of Christ. On to more pressing issues.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Family Matters for the Church of Christ

Through the 1900s our religious neighbors came to know us by our distinctive doctrines; accapella music, frequency of communion, and baptism.

Influenced by former preachers and their teachings for decades we (stupidly) argued that singing with musical accompaniment was a sin, we now know better. We've changed our view on baptism and a woman’s role in the assembly. We now realize that Acts 20:7 and other “so-called” proof text do not, and never did speak clearly to the frequency of eating the Lord’s Supper.

There are still many from my tribe who think these are contemporary issues. Others, like myself, came to conclusions years ago about these doctrines and have since moved on to the more pressing issues facing God's people.

Why not help close this passing era by incorporating instrumental accompaniment and women into your assemblies. Why wait? There are numerous public examples from our heritage where leaders bravely took the step so many only talk about taking.

The future of our heritage is beyond instrumental music, a woman’s role and eating the Lord’s Supper ever first day of the week. It’s important we put these issues behind us.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Egypt---------->Not enough (straw & brick)
Wilderness----->Just enough (manna)
Promise Land--->More than enough

Friday, April 01, 2005


Renewal/emerging conversations begin at the periphery or margins of the church. Seldom, if ever, do they begin from the center or from established church leadership. Quite the opposite—resistance is the customary response when waves are observed stirring out on the edges.

So today, as we converse on the emerging culture/church look at what God is doing at the margins. Here we may be able to discern what the Spirit is saying of the association between conversation and movement.