Article Find – To judge or not to judge

In Is it Ever Right to Judge? posted on Christianity.ca Stan Fowler, professor of Theology at Heritage Theological Seminary talks about an argument sometimes used against Christians who speak against homosexuality and presents a rebuttal to that argument. The argument is drawn from Matthew 7:1,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

and assumes that those who speak negatively of the actions of Homosexuals are contradicting the teachings of Christ. Without re-stating what Stan already pointed out I merely want to draw attention to his conclusion – which I think is right on. He says,

Wherever the Church of Jesus Christ exists in the world, it faces unique pressures from the surrounding culture. In contemporary Canada, one of our greatest challenges is the assumption by much of our society that tolerance is the greatest virtue. But to adopt this common definition of tolerance would be to fail to follow Christ in His commitment to truth and goodness. If we are going to express negative judgments, we must first judge ourselves, and if we judge others it must be with kindness and respect. Nevertheless, we must not bow to the argument that Jesus taught His followers that they should never judge others. He said no such thing.

Upcoming Service: stikkit – hmm interesting!

Stikkit Website ScreenshotI’ve come across this new Web 2.0 service currently in beta that looks like it will be a very promising service! What is it? The short version is that it is yet another online calendar, to-do list, address book organizer. Where it differs from others is in the unique method of entering in your data. It promises to function kind of like a personal assistant in that all you do is type the info (or cut and paste, or email?) into a “stikkit” interface (kind of like those stick-it notes we can’t seem to get rid of!) and as you are typing the service will work in the background automatically adding the information to the correct places (events to calendars, to-do’s to your to-do list, people to your address book etc.). Then you get your standard different ways of displaying the information.

Well I signed up for the beta and took a quick peek. Looks good but I won’t be using it much until they implement the live update (via .rss/subscriptions) and/or export features. They’ve currently got import and export but it requires user prompting before it’ll do it. Once that gets integrated I’ll probably give it a whirl…unless I forget about it before then :lol:!

Article Review – The Blessing of Pain

I must admit I never quite looked at pain the way that Paul Brand and Philip Yancey record in the article Putting Pain to Work which is posted on BuildingChurchLeaders.com. Illustrating from his experience working with people suffering from leprosy, Paul highlights the importance of pain in healthy bodies. This correlates directly with the healthiness of the body of Christ as well. He says,

As I turn from the network of pain in biology to its analogy in the Body of Christ, comprising all believers, again I am struck by the importance of such a communicative system. Pain serves as vital a role in protecting and uniting that corporate membership as it does in guarding the cells of my own body.

He goes on to relate that these connections within the body of Christ should unite us with the plight of fellow Christian brothers and sisters all over the globe – both locally at home and abroad oversea. His appeal to the church is whether we feel the suffering in the world as God does – does that pain move us to action?

Today our world has shrunk, and as a Body we live in awareness of all cells: persecuted Russian believers, starving Africans, oppressed South Africans and Indochinese and Central Americans ? the litany fills our newspapers. Do we fully attend? Do we hear their cries as unmistakably as our brains hear the complaints of a strained back or broken arm? Or do we instead turn down the volume, filtering out annoying sounds of distress?

And closer, within the confines of our own local membership of Christ’s Body-how do we respond? Tragically, the divorced, the alcoholics, the introverted, the rebellious, the unemployed often report that the church is the last body to show them compassion. Like a person who takes aspirin at the first sign of headache, we want to silence them, to “cure” them without addressing the underlying causes.

Then Paul goes on to say this,

In the human body, when an area loses sensory contact with the rest of the body, even when its nourishment system remains intact, that part begins to wither and atrophy. In the vast majority of cases?95 of 100 insensitive hands I have examined?severe injury or deformation results. The body poorly protects what it does not feel. In the spiritual Body, also, loss of feeling inevitably leads to atrophy and inner deterioration. So much of the sorrow in the world is due to the selfishness of one living organism that simply does not care when another suffers. In Christ’s Body we suffer because we do not suffer enough.

What a potent observation! And humbling as well. A church that has lost it’s feeling for the suffering in the world is a church that has lost it’s impact as well. It’s a truth – the more the church feels the more it will serve. After all we read in scripture that Christ acted as He was moved to compassion by the suffering of those he saw (Mt 9:36, Mt 14:14, Mt.20:34..and many other examples).

Finally, Brand finishes with the story of a man named Pedro who because of an anamoly in the artery structure of his hand there was one spot where the leprosy bacilli didn’t take over his nerves because of the warm temperature in that spot. It became a sensitive spot which helped Pedro to guard his hand against injury. Paul makes this beautiful observation,

 

That single warm spot, the size of a nickel, which Pedro had previously viewed as a defect, had become a wonderful advantage to him when he contracted leprosy. That one remaining patch of sensitivity protected his entire hand.

In a church that has grown large and institutional, I pray for similar small patches of sensitivity. We must look to prophets, whether in speech, sermon, or art form, who will call attention to the needy by eloquently voicing their pain.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Brand’s observation and echo with him that we need to put pain to work in the body of Christ! Needless to say this article was a great read!

 

Book Review- Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale

Rating: 3 out of 5

Author: Ian Morgan Cron

Year: 2006

Publisher: Navpress

ISBN: 1576838129

“Chasing Francis” is the story of a pastor in a large church struggling with his faith in the light of different personal tragedies encountered in the first few pages of the book. After being forced to take time away from being a pastor Chase Falson embarks on a pilgrimage led by his Uncle (a friar in the Franciscan order) in which he learns about Saint Francis. In the course of this pilgrimage, Chase is forced to rethink some of his faith-positions in the past and his relationship with God. If you think I’m going to tell you everything that happens think again :lol:!

Ian Morgan Cron introduces in the preface of this book that the reasons for writing this book arose out of a discussion he was having with NavPress about how Francis’s,

…unique spin on ministry and the spiritual life might add something to the conversation about church in these postmodern days.

The key to blogging for the long haul…

Even though I’m still relatively new to the blogosphere (I’ve been blogging since May 2006 – see my first post!) I have been journaling off and on for quite a few years and blogging and journaling share some similarities in terms of what gives lasting power. Of course, there are pretty significant differences between the two (the primary one being the “public” and journalistic feel of a blog vs. the private and diary feel of a personal journal) but for the purpose of this article I think I can write out of some modicum of experience! Another reason that contributes to a measure of insight found in this article is the fact that even though I haven’t blogged myself until recently, I’ve been an avid reader of other peoples blogs for quite a while – there’s certain things that are common among bloggers with lasting power that stick out to me.
Anyway, the purpose of this article is to answer the question, “What are characteristics that keep someone blogging for the long haul?” According to David Sifry’s, “State of the Blogosphere Report” for August 2006 Technorati tracked it’s 50 millionth blog! Now that’s a lot of writer’s out there – however according to a comment David made in response to Glenn Fannick’s article, “Technorati’s Active Blogs — Perhaps 1.4 Million?“,

A wordpress plugin I’d scramble to get…

Okay, I wasn’t going to post about the recent interview Matt Mullenweg did with Blogging Pro but there was an intriguing response to one of the questions asked that led me to leave a comment on Photomatt where Matt posted about his interview. The purpose of my comment was to try and tickle out more information – alas my comment was deleted for some reason and so I find myself writing this little blurb in my blog hoping (I’m not quite at begging yet hehe) that someone might have more information 😉

UPDATE: Mysteriously my comment reappeared on Matt’s site…dunno what happened there hehe 😉

Anyway, in the interview, Matt was asked,

What?s Automattic?s next move? I know you have been focusing on the next versions of WordPress, and your great Anti-spam service Akismet, but with the people in the Automattic now and your great eye for filling a gap in the marketplace, could you give out any hints on what we can expect next?

Tucked in his response was this reply…

We?ve got a few plugins and services we?ve cooked up internally that we?re going to provide to open source, including a little todo/project management app.