Abductive Columns

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Preparing for Italy

A wedding in Atlanta on September 1, 2006 and then on September 3, 2006, my wife (Paula) and I rendezvous with four other couples to fly to Italy for 12 days. Our home base will be a rented Villa in Tuscany. And then three days before our return home we’ll visit the many sites of Rome.

After we arrive in Rome we’ll rent a car and drive to a villa we've rented in Arezzo, Tuscany (this is where the movie Life is Beautiful was filmed).
Tuscany will be our outpost as we drive to various points throughout the country to see the history of the Byzantine Empire, the Renaissance, and the arts of both periods. At the end of our trip we will drive back to Rome where we will spend three days visiting a number of sites including the Roman Forum and the Coliseum (built shortly after AD70).

Naturally, I’m excited about exploring the biblical history in this part of the world. Among many traditions, one says many churches in Italy have built their edifices above the gravesites of a number of the apostles. I’m very excited about visiting the Mamertine Prison where tradition says both Paul and Peter were in chains. We’ll also visit the Catacombs and walk through the interlocking passageways where thousand of martyrs were buried underground.

If you would like to see our villa you can click [here]

After clicking on the above link look to the right under Property Information. There you can click on a photo gallery to view numerous pictures of the villa and surrounding grounds.

Since Italy is WiFi deprived, both the Abductive Columns blog and the Abductive Columns newsletter via email (there’s a sign-up link on the right side bar) will be silent during this time.

Varying Worldviews

With Christianity in the midst of its largest migration in a century (out of the church) the question on most radar screens is how does the body of Christ connect with a post-Christian culture?

WARNING! If we live out of old containers we constrain what God might be doing in preparation for the future.

In a recent conversation with a co-worker I explained that sin had separated us from God and Jesus came to bridge the gap. He quickly replied, “Why do I need to believe in Jesus for eternal life? I don’t think there is a gap between me and God.”

His comment was a slap in the face.

Immediately I realized that we were operating out of different assumptions. The Bible was my authority and foundation of truth but his truth came through personal, tribal, and village experiences. A web of interconnections rooted in experience; the more interconnections the more coherent the belief system. It was a two-way dialogue in which experience shaped belief and belief shaped experience.

In one sense I wasn’t trying to convert him to Christ but to my modern worldview. It was at that moment I realized I was bound by an outdated evangelistic model.
So as we grapple with new paradigms in this new era it’s important we:
· be real
· be deep
· be curious about the new thing God might be doing
· listen and ask great questions
· be a life long learner
· don’t get trapped in people pleasing, work for the audience of One
· and last, be aware of the two main events of this decade: spiritual formation and spiritual cartography

Monday, August 28, 2006

Missional Culture Building

The following question came over a discussions of Peter Walker's Church Survey

What would be your expectations on paying an unbeliever to do a church survey?

To ask what "are the expectations" is the wrong question. Personally, I have no expectations? This is about building a culture of missional believers. It's possible some might consider consistently informing the faith community about these paid visitors and their comments after their “church” experience as an expectation. But this is culture building. If that’s an expectation it would be my only expectation. And I won’t apologize for that because it is an important one.

I have to admit I'm not very excited because most church leadership suffers from a “missional instinct deficit” and that makes culture building very difficult in the traditional church setting. Yet at the same time, if the pulpit man has missional instincts he could make a big, big difference.

Leadership can’t be talked into or coerced to live passionately for a process that, although time intensive, is worthy of their 'intentionally-dedicated-attention.' Creating a missional culture demands a tremendous amount of energy, time, and resources focused in the direction of those outside our campuses (from my perspective churches gives most of their time and resources to crafting the Sunday morning 'worship'). Nothing wrong with that, but for missional culture building to mature the same importance must be given to missional instincts. Otherwise it's impossible to develop. The man who has the pulpit—he's the one who must believe enough to intentionally influence the assembly in order to create culture. It may take 12 months, maybe 24 months to arrive at the place where the congregation begins believing, expressing interest and then finally involvement!

A church survey, like the one Peter Walker and Jim Henderson have on the Off-the-Map web site, plays a very, very small role in the building of culture. But it is part of it. Yet without the commitment on the part of leadership it's impossible for the community to see the importance of becoming missional.

If you don't talk about it…
how can it be important?

If there's no missional fruit…
how will anyone believe leadership thinks it's important.

The last step in building a missional culture is teaching the ordinariness of missional. Jim Henderson does this well with his Ordinary Attempts.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Modern Day Preacher

I commiserate with the modern day preacher who straddles the edge of one age and watches the unfolding of another. It’s a time of tremendous cultural shaking.

In many churches this Sunday “preachers” will stand before an assembly and preach on a topic they gave their week, their blood and their sweat for. It’s what they were trained to do and in most cases it’s what they like to do. But sad for them—preaching isn’t what it used to be. All those homiletic techniques they slogged through while in school and practice Sunday after Sunday is slowly losing traction.

In the last five years we’ve seen the demise of the three point lecture. Who would have thought this time-tested gem would go the way of the cute acronym? Then there’s the bulleted list. People just don’t seem to like them anymore. Maybe it’s just other people’s list they object to. Now they want to make their own.

As if paid staffing issues aren’t enough, the “rules of cool” seemed to have morphed overnight. Just when you threw your overhead projector in the trash bin. Just when you shelled out what seemed like an obscene amount of money for that miniscule-lumens LCD projector the savvy pew sitter grew tired of bulleted outlines and PowerPoint notes. It’s not what they want—but they sure seem to like pictures. Just don’t expect to put up a nice blue sky, flowery stuff you can order in packages every six weeks. No, they want pictures of nature at its mysterious best. And anything mundane, missed, forgotten, even ugly. They also want to see all kinds of people. They want to hear stories they can relate to from the people they know and don’t know.

Normal. Messed up.
Extraordinary folks.

So hand over the microphone; the assembly wants a fresh retelling of the Grand Story in the context of real lives.

Yes, I commiserate with the modern day preacher. If it weren’t so downright refreshing, it’d be worth a cry.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

There is a Perception

When Christians protest with their articles and the release of their new book all written to debunk Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, suspicions begin surfacing among those Jesus misses.

Why are Christians so upset?

The missing look at our fears and it appears, to them, that the very foundations of our faith are being rattled to the core. And all over a book found in the fiction section in bookstore America.

So what many Christians have perceived as attacks on Christianity is really more the nature of an expose on what has passed for Christianity over the last seventeen hundred years.

People the world over admire Jesus and venerate his teachings. The problem is not with Jesus and never has been. It’s what Ghandi stated almost 60 years ago. “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Until we get it, there is going to be a lot more ill will generated than ever could be created by a work of fiction.

The Sermon on the Harley

My friend Jeff Garrett’s pulpit last Sunday was a Harley-Davidson. Check him out. [...link]

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Questions Rarely Asked

1) Why does the body of Christ follow rather than lead in social reform—and then dishonestly claim leadership in reforms after the fact?

2) I have always wondered why the nature and practice of baptism and the Lord's Supper is left ambiguous in Scripture, yet stubbornly “cacophonous churches” are ever reluctant to practice open fellowship.

3) Why do we continue to ignore, make ineffective, and even usurp, the scriptural teaching of the priesthood of all believers—when we know better?

4) Why do so many Christ-followers pilgrimage through life without ever considering the veracity of unbelief; never giving it a fair hearing or allowing it to challenge their faith?

5) Why does the church speak of absolute values without every pointing to the scriptural examples of situation ethics?

6) Why do some faith communities object to wine drinking in moderation when Scripture indicates that wine is a gift from God (Psalm 104:14-15)? For decades the modern church has objected even with the knowledge and example of Jesus turning water into wine? Is this anything more than a holdover from prohibition?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Community Salvation

When anyone Jesus is seeking becomes involved in a faith community it creates a sense of belonging. Such sociality does not operate in exclusion of personal faith. Rather, personal faith is incomplete without socialization because faith always has an implicit dimension. (Theological distinction has been made between personal faith and implicit faith. Personal faith is the explicit trust that I as an individual agent places in an object, such as God and the promises of his Word. Implicit faith signifies the trust one places in others who have a clearer grasp on the trustworthiness of an object.)

When I think of faith in this way it forces me to revisit the perplexing questions about the salvation of those with developmental disabilities. These questions arise in part because developmentally disabled people lie outside the reach of modern methods of evangelism.

The level of development most often puts them in the awkward boundary where mainstream is hoped for, but always slightly out of reach. I know an autistic young man who has excellent math skills, but his ability to grasp concepts is limited. His capacity to read interpersonal cues that for the rest of us trigger empathy, pity and so on is limited.

If an understanding of the propositions of the gospel is necessary for salvation, on what grounds can the developmentally challenged be saved? The traditional approach is to assert that anyone with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as those who are stillborn or aborted or die in infancy, are an exception to the general rule that salvation requires individual assent to the propositions to the gospel.

A visitor from Florida chases after me under the mistaken impression that we are crossing a snow-covered field but boldness quickly turns to panic when we pass a fisherman pulling a fish from a hole in the ice. My friend’s understanding of the situation is badly mistaken, but I am a trustworthy guide, and my friend is safe.

If faith is always to some degree implicit, then the majority who take a pew seat on Sunday rely upon those who explicitly exercise faith. On the other hand, those who have a developmental disability have a faith different from ours in degree rather than kind. Salvations power extends from the community that explicitly exercises faith to those who are unable to cognize (as well or at all) but are properly understood as insiders of the faith community.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Do We Need to Retool Our "Salvation" Metaphors

I am currently thinking through the implications of our usage of metaphors for the ignition point of life with God. So many of our metaphors make it sound as if "salvation" is something we possess. But is it possible that phrases like "asking Jesus into my heart,” or "Jesus lives inside of me," or “being baptized into Jesus” are misleading when it comes to the nature of one’s salvation life?

What if salvation is fundamentally relational—not possessional as so many of our metaphors imply? Think about the implications...

Monday, August 21, 2006


After 54 years of teaching in the First Baptist Church in Watertown, New York fundie pastor Timothy LaBouf decided it was high-time to change the church's understanding of 1 Timothy 2:8-12 and then dismiss the church's Sunday school patriarch, Mary Lambert. Pastor LaBouf said the church had adopted a position that prohibits women from teaching men.

I find it no less than amazing that this faith community allowed Mary Lambert to teach mixed classes for five decades and now with a new revelation on 1 Timothy 2:12 she is dismissed. Ten to one this new interpretation (at least new to Watertown, New York First Baptist Church) came with the hiring of LaBouf as the new pastor.

I’ve come to a different conclusion than LaBouf and here’s why:

  • In my humble opinion 1Timothy 2:8-12 does not enjoin a tight-lipped ban against woman speaking in church assemblies. The word translated “quietness” (v.11) or “silent” is from a Greek word referring less to a woman’s speech than her spirit of inner peace and her ability to live in peace and harmony with others. The same Greek word is used in 1Timothy 2:2 of the “peaceful and quiet lives.”

  • This text is apparently the general rule for male and female relationships in Christ and a broad outline of how the two sexes relate to each other in the ekklesia. There is no contextual indication that it applies only with some degree of qualification or to assemblies of a unique type.

Security or Privacy?

For the life of me I don’t understand the Priv-o-crats who want their privacy, not realizing the further away we move from 9/11 the more likely there will be another attack on our homeland.

If we’re innocent what would cause one to scream about rights of privacy?

What do these Priv-o-crates have to hide?

Personally, I’ll allow the government to look into any and all my records/communication. Surveillance, wiretapping...whatever is necessary to avert another 9/11.

I have nothing to hide.

I’m not sure what it is but there’s something amiss in a society that doesn’t trust their government. This is the primary difference between the UK and the US. The citizens of the UK are not cozy to Tony Blair but they trust their government.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Musings on Ethics

  • Can breaking biblical rules ever be the best course of action?
  • Is lying always a breach of Christian duty?
  • What do you do when obedience might lead to undesirable consequences?

At one time I was a proponent of the divine command theory that stated life presents no conditions under which it is permissible to lie, mislead or disregard scriptural injunctions, Yet I can't help but believe that moral and even biblical laws possess an hierarchy that require certain rules be elevated and other subordinated or discarded.

Yes Proverbs 12:22 states that "the Lord detest lying lips," yet God rewards the Hebrew midwives for breaking the law and then lying about it—in order to save the lives of baby boys (Exodus 1:15-20). And then God himself tells Moses to lie to Pharaoh about the Hebrew's purpose for going into the desert (Exodus 3:18). Clearly we need a strategy for understanding the heartbeat behind the rules—a means of discerning the wisest application of Bible rules.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Balanced Emergent? or One of Those Waaaay Over on the Other Side

Spend ten to fifteen minutes in the blogoshere reading some of the post of those party to the emergents and you'll find numerous reviews of Spencer Burk’s new book “Heretics Guide to Eternity.” They run the total gamut; from a “thought-provoking book” to a book written as a “parable on universalism today."

But Rick Presley's sees this book like no one else; a fulmination. And with that, he exposes what he sees as a subtle shift taking place among the emergents.

I emailed Rick and chucked at his “Abbie Hoffman comment: Burn, Baby Burn” and he wrote the following:

I really wish Spencer Burke had written a more thoughtful book when he penned his Heretic's Guide to Eternity. I think the book had a lot of potential and really wish Spencer had given a little more attention to dialogue instead of diatribe. If his intended audience is the timid Evangelical looking for something better than the rigid legalism or dead orthodoxy of their current congregation, he did little to attract them to the emergent conversation. I can tell you that not many "recovering fundamentalists" will find his approach welcoming or sympathetic. As a former practitioner of the Church of Christ, you probably know many of these people who really don't like where they're "at" but they are scared by the incendiary anarchists who are too far to the other side.

I think there is a broad middle out there of people like Stephen Shields who really like the emerging church/conversation but want to distance themselves from the Emergent ChrisiAnarchists. If you go on lists like PoMoXian and Emerging Theology (what used to be Postmodern Theology, John O'Keefe's group) on Yahoo groups, you find a lot of rancor, disillusionment, bitterness and people who are "cultural Christians" but want nothing to do with evangelicals or evangelicalism. A number of these people even describe themselves as "Christian atheists" without the slightest hint of irony.

Meanwhile, conservative Christians who want to tap into the benefits of contemporary culture like Rob Bell of Mars Hill are being edged out of the conversation by the hardcore Emergents. Sad to see but it looks like the emerging conversation has split into very different streams. Anytime a group of "inclusive" Christians start talking about who is and is not a "real" one of what they claim is not a movement, it's time to say like Elijah, "I am no better than my fathers."


...without terrorists, life is a tenuous proposition. I tend to fool myself daily into thinking that my current state of security is, well, secure. It is not. Cancer could be eating away at me as I write. My daughter could get killed in an auto accident today. My wife could eat spoiled food and die of poisoning. And on it goes–I’ll let your grissly imagination ponder the possibilities.

All the terrorists have done is remind me of the fragility of life, that it is indeed a gift, and that it can, in God’s loving providence, be snatched from me in an instant. All they have done is remind me that my real security and citizenship lies elsewhere, and that I must be prepared today, this hour, to meet the just and merciful Lord of that far country.

All they have done is fill me with a healthy fear of the Lord. So, thank you, terrorists.
from Mark Galli — GalliBlog

Dennis Miller on Israel

For those who don't know, Dennis Miller is a comedian who has a show called Dennis Miller Live on HBO. He is not Jewish. Here are his thoughts on the situation in the Middle East:

A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need. Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years.

Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians." As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation." So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" anymore to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths, until someone points out they're being taped.

Instead, let's call them what they are:

"Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."

I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then:

"Adjacent Jew-Haters."

Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David but if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel.

They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course—that's where the real fun is—but mostly they want Israel. Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel—or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it—for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth . . . you know that's really saying something. It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Middle East. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around & spit it out: 500 million Arabs; 5 million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that, if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine 500 million Jews and 5 million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves?

Of course not.

Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea?


Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents?


Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children?


No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death. Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that, with vital operations in Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of super models who've just had their drugs taken away. However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11th, our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful.

Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of
an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day), start to do the same
thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint. If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Discrimination: How Should We Respond?

I'm praying that a young man will come to know the love of God, to see his need for Jesus, and begin the process of turning from sin. I don’t believe any of us fully recognize the degree of sin in our lives.

No matter what a person's sin, we don't start by trying to fix the sin. We begin with the gospel. And whether I'm homosexual or heterosexual one thing is for certain. We're all in need of a Savior and Jesus is looking for recognition of that.

Yet there is still antagonism toward ‘churches’ today because they are seen as oppressive, homophobic institutions. I love God's people but I'm also brave enough to stand tall and admit that at times the church has been homophobic, unjust, and downright mean.

Do we extend grace to the people who have tasted the pain of divorce? Do we show grace to people who are divorced and remarried, an area Jesus specifically called sin? If so, then how do we not show grace to people in a sexual relationship that Jesus never mentions?

If we're going to stamp out the lingering antagonism and have any legitimacy to speak out on the issue of marriage, it will have to come out of the reality of our lives, not simply our doctrine.

Is the church brave enough to step out of the box and champion the call for justice on behalf of gay and lesbian people? As long as we stand up and say, "Landlords have the right to discriminate against you with housing," it's difficult to say convincingly, "But we love you in the name of Jesus."

To show the love of God we must stand up for the civil rights of those whose orientation is homosexual on the basis of discrimination. When we stand with them they'll see us as their friend. It's not compromise, neither is it a statement that says we have bought into homosexual eroticism. We simply recognize that discrimination is wrong and stand with them on the matter.

When we minister to this growing population of God's creation, in that setting, and on their turf, we're going to be surrounded by people not living the biblical ideal. I don't affirm that, but neither do I condemn them.

The Church's Public Discipleship:Prayer

When Paul trained his younger helper Timothy he instructed him to wed the public and private spheres via prayer.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Presumably Paul meant Caesar and all other rulers. Relevancy requires we mention, in our prayers, the leaders of today (those in authority). None excluded; men like President Bush, Putin, bin-Laden, Emile Lahoud, Ehud Olmert, etc. We are to pray for all those in authority, whether they acknowledge that they serve under God’s sovereignty or not.

Does the church obey God’s desire here?

Personally, I believe the body of Christ should see prayer as a crucial way of entering into the work of God’s kingdom and a way of wedding the public and private spheres. When we prayer without basis, to all in positions of authority, we constantly bridge the public-private gap that often undercuts the church’s public discipleship.

Whether the church realizes it or not, it has a rich heritage of concern for the great moral, social, and political issues of the day. Abolition of slavery, widespread availability of health care, child labor laws, and many other reforms were the fruit of Christian public discipleship.

There is plenty to pray about in the public arena. On the world platform there is the ever-growing concern for the increasing anger in the Middle East. I must admit I don’t know the right directional course. But we should all agree that’s it’s our responsibility to pray for God to act in the affairs of nations and people to move in the direction of justice, mercy, and the truth of God’s rein.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

August Issue NextWave Magazine

Charlie Wear has just published the August issue of Next-Wave Church and Culture e-zine. I have a couple of articles in this issue. And there's a review of Spencer Burke's new book "An Heretic's Guide to Eternity."

August 22: the Second Coming of the 12th Imam

On August 22, Iran will give its response to the UN and the world regarding the proposal for Iran to end its nuclear program. Interestingly, August 22 (Rajab 27, 1427) is the day Muslims celebrate Mohammed’s ascension into Heaven called the Miraj (the second coming of the 12th Imam).

According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was carried on a miraculous horse with a human head, from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he ascended into heaven and met the other prophets.

And now, according to Ghadry, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to illuminate the night sky over Jerusalem to rival the one that greeted the Prophet of Islam on his journey. (A great light shone upon Mohammed’s body in the Aqsa Mosque and a prophet was received while his followers cheered.) Ghadry believes the remaking of that divine light will happen on August 22 and will be Iran's answer to the package of incentives offered by the international community on June 6.

What would light up the sky over Jerusalem with regard to Iranian involvement?

A couple interesting sidelight to this post:

  • It has been reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in North Korea July 4th when Kim Jong tested seven missiles.

  • Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly announced a surprise is on the way for Israel.

Adapted from In the Bullpen. For more indepth analysis visit In the Bullpen

Monday, August 14, 2006

Evidence of My Descent into Relativism: Not So Fast!

Our subjective experiences color the way we read Scripture—more than we could ever imagine. And unlike us it doesn’t scare or surprise God. This is part of the beauty and mystery of Scripture. The stories of the Bible are remarkably adaptable in speaking to us in divergent contexts. The Bible is not a collection of objective propositions. But largely a story told through hundreds of different perspectives and diverse social settings.

Without a level of subjectivity, Scripture remains a set of abstract and distant propositions. The typographical bias toward objectivity is valuable, but it has a tendency to erode both our humanity and our humility.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Folly of Fighting Terrorism

Will Sampson has some intriguing thoughts on The Folly of Fighting Terrorism

The notion that persecution and bad treatment creates stronger adherents is not a new concept. Tertullian is famously quoted as saying that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." So, if torture and martyrdom caused the early Church to phenomenally expand, what do we think it will do to al-Qaeda? Do they believe any less in their vision of the world than those early Christians? Or, to contemporize the example, are terrorist cell members any less dedicated to their worldview than Chinese Christians, a group that seems to grow in direct proportion to its poor treatment? Inflicting terror on those from whom we hope to gather information with which to combat terrorism is a fool's errand and it is helping to shape the next generation of extremists.

journey through willzhead

Official Resurrection

I'm dissapointed with what appears to be layers of structure and organization being added to Emergent Village.

In the not too distant past Emergent Village gave its time to church plants, writing books, speaking, and hosting conferences. Today they appear to be giving more time to fundraising. I hope I'm wrong when I say Emergent's fundraising may alter its developmental direction.