Abductive Columns

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Publication : Shine Like Stars by Fred Peatross

For readable text please click on each section:

To Make a Purchase [...link]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Consequences of Political Correctness

I fear political correctness is the apathy that will destroy western culture. Preying on this weakness fanatic Muslims are insipidly making inroads into American infrastructure. The primary purveyors of this doctrine are media and Hollywood and its tentacles have spread far and wide.

Extremist Muslim theology preaches that until Muslims battle with Jews and Christians there can be no coming of the Shiite Islamic messiah figure – the Mahdiend time (end-time).

Documented Facts
This past summer extremist fanatical Muslims were encouraged to kill at least one American in the next 15 days. (Abu Hamza al-Muhajer)
Currently over 4000 forums on the web are moderated by extremist Muslims who spew their hate against America and Israel.
Extremist Muslims continue to teach their children that Jews are pigs and apes.
Muslim propaganda leap-frogs western culture's military superiority as the primary tool of Jihad.

Unless something dramatically changes and forces us to rethink our penchant for political correctness our children are going to face the stark reality of what it means to “suffering for Christ sake.”
(Imagine the feelings that would quickly run from head to toe if masked Muslim terrorist armed with AEK assault rifles entered your Christian assembly this Sunday and forced everyone to leave their pew and face the wall in front of them with their arms extended and both hands on the wall—and then one by one they asked each person, “Do you believe in Jesus or Mohammad.”)
In a society that has, for the last half-century, grown very fat and comfortable (what J.I. Packer called Hot Tub Religion)—choosing Christ in a praise assembly with hands raised is one thing but choosing Him in a hostile environment would be a very, very different thing.

I pray I’m wrong but it appears America is nearing the end of one era for the commencing of a prolonged and dangerous period. May God help us!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kingdom vs. Civil Religion

Here's an interesting chart via Larry Chouinard
Thanks Larry

Chouinard's Chart

Chouinard's Chart

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Reimagine Small Groups

Just as we need to reimagine worship styles (is missional the new worship? read Wade Hodges excellent post for a thorough statement on this) we need to reimagine small groups. At one time small groups were herald as the answer to both intimacy and growth in churches but, early on, church leaders resisted the concept. Only the larger, more progressive churches began/established a small group ministry (I can remember my tribe feared another Crossroads/Boston movement/today known as the International Churches of Christ [ICC]). During this period organizations and many of the larger churches conducted small group workshops. During these sessions the idea of the empty chair and inviting those in their neighborhood came alive with: “they might not come to a church building but they’ll come to your home.”

This may have been as close as we came to spiritual cartography/goals for small group ministries. If so, at some point in time we lost our way. Most small groups I’ve been involved with have become another bible class with little to no hope of building intimacy.

What about the idea of small group evangelism? I’m not sure we ever got off the ground with that one, most likely because of the natural tension that exist between nurture and evangelism. Nurture comes natural, evangelism does not. I can remember the dialogue—should we incorporate nurture groups and evangelistic groups as one or should we form two separate groups? There was never clear direction on this so we went with what came natural--hoping we could be evangelistic without being intentional.

Is it time to reimagine small groups?

Second Incarnation

What if one day the entire body of Christ was struck dumb? Couldn’t write a word. Couldn’t speak a word. Couldn’t even move our lips to mouth one. What then? What would be left?

Our lives.

And what would our lives say? What would they say about who we are and who our God is? What would they say about what we believe? If we were to take away the words, how much of the gospel would the world understand?

Would we discover the world is illiterate? Or that our lives are illegible?

Would the writings on the pages of our lives, which we always took to be literature, turn out to be the scribblings of a preschooler? Or would the pages simply be blank?

Preach the gospel,” Saint Francis said, “and when necessary, use words.” And he said that, I think, because he realized that the most impactful words are those incarnate in our lives. Words that are made flesh and dwell among the world.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Crossing Borders

Harvard professor Diane Eck states that, “Before 1965, we could conceive of ourselves as mainly a Christian nation but the influx of people of radically different religions and conversion of others to those religions -- Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism -- has resulted in two kinds of change: first, that these religions are changing American, and second, that America is changing the religions, evolving in a climate of diversity and freedom.”
Newsweek Magazine recently pointed out “…young people are openly passionate about religion—but insist on defining it in their own ways.”

In the transition from modernism to postmodernism we have a mix of people with copious worldviews. But in the very near future we will watch a generation be born in an exclusively postmodern environment. The United Kingdom, Western Europe, Australia, and Canada have been post-Christian for a decade or more. America is just now postmodern and Latin America is a decade behind us in this transition. This being so, we need to see ourselves as missionaries and missionaries cross borders.

Crossing borders familiar to God’s people is nothing new. Joshua sent out a couple of secret agents to spy out the land of Jericho. If we really desire to reach out to this diversely religious culture that is emerging we’re going to have to become like the spies Joshua sent to look over the land across the Jordan.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Story

I didn’t have the privilege of being raised in a Christian home. For twenty-seven years I didn’t know who Jesus was. O, I knew He was someone the world talked about once a year. But I didn’t understand His saving grace or why He died.

My childhood was lost in the pain and dysfunction of a broken home. My brother went to jail before he graduated from High School. Throughout my college years I immersed myself in drugs and alcohol. During those years I met my future wife. I didn’t realize, at the time, that she came from a Christian home. I have to admit that I saw Bibles laying around when I visited her family, but there was never any indication that she took her faith serious. After marriage and our first child, she began attending church. I felt this would pass. I kept waiting for her to quit. But she faithfully loaded the car every Sunday with the baby and all the diapers and baby bottles.

Over time I began feeling guilty as I watched her carry my daughter in one arm and the baby paraphernalia in the other. I began attending with her. Over time I came to a crossroad. I had to run from it all or submit my life. Needless to say I gave my mess to Jesus.

Thirty years of living without Jesus left me with a “bunch” of bad habits and dysfunction…and habits don’t die easily. Today, they continue to hound me.

To be frank with you, I am going to be a bit apprehensive as I stand before God on Judgement Day. Because there’s so much in my life that I am not proud of. On that Day I will probably stammer and stutter and clear my throat as I try to cover all my bases. I’ll say, “God, I’m sorry about all the evil, would you forgive me for what I did and what I didn’t do? Forgive me for the grarbage in my life.”

God will pull out His record book and say, “Fred, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Look! There’s blood all over the pages of your life1. I can’t read a thing.” Then Jesus will lean over His Father’s shoulder and say, “Father, that’s because Fred belongs to me. The blood proves He’s mine.”

1 I used this story at a table talk before the faith community I was assembled with ate and drank the Lord's Supper. When I mentioned the record book and the pages of life with blood on them, I opened a journal I had brought wth me covered with ketchup as an illustration.