February 28, 2006

More than Maybelline

Here is a less controversial article br Brian McLaren: Underneath the Cosmetics - LeadershipJournal.net.

Rick Warren popularize the Purpose-Driven Church. The five purposes of the church, according to Warren are worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry/service.

I think Brian challenges us to consider the questions, "What do all these 'purposes' add up to?" For Brian it is the fulfillment of God's mission of transformation for the world.

I find myself definitely on the emerging church side of things.

February 27, 2006

It's the End of the World

If only it were this easy: Iran Leader: U.S. Should Give Up Nukes

There is a line in the Matrix that where Mr. Smith tells Morpheus that the the human race is like a cancer. It devours and uses until nothing is left. Global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes--nothing has the destructive power of human being to human being. One day, we will all simply hit the button at the same time and everyone will be destroyed.

The Woman of His Dreams

All I can say is sick and wrong!

Yahoo! Top Stories - MAN DATES GAL ON INTERNET FOR SIX MONTHS -- AND IT TURNS OUT SHE'S HIS MOTHER!

Roe v. Wade

‘Roe’ Reality Check: The New Abortion Debate - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com: "At the same time, the pro-abortion-rights interest groups are just beginning to grapple with an uncomfortable truth: that many of the million-odd women who have abortions every year are deeply troubled, if not guilt-ridden. "Our patients are not coming to, quote, 'exercise their constitutional rights'," says Claire Keyes, who runs a Pittsburgh abortion clinic. "They want to talk about prayer and forgiveness."

Pro-lifers have tried to force this understanding down people's throats. Unfortunately, people have to live and learn. Deep down those having abortions know this is murder. Call it a fetus, call it whatever you want, it is murder if someone selectively chooses to end the life of an unborn child.

This does not mean that pro-lifers should taunt and humiliate these woman. This does not mean they can never receive forgiveness from God.

Many would say that the guilt is cause by social pressure and outdated religious mores. The problem is that some of the women have no religious background. Besides, where is that line? Where is the line between what is pressured, religious guilt, and an actual conscience? Can someone ever have a truly inner conviction of conscience without there being "religious pressure" involved?

Here is a link to an article about the South Dakota decision.

February 26, 2006

If Buffalo Have Wings...

According to this article: Discovery Channel :: News :: Mutant Chickens Grow Teeth, chickens have the potential to grow teeth. Previously scientist have been able to make chicken grow teeth by adding tissue from other animals, but the methodology for this experiment demonstrates that the potential to form teeth are part of the embryonic development of the chicken.

I have always heard that the velociraptor and T-rex were probably related to birds. This at least demonstrates a possible connection.

I don't think I want to meet a chicken with teeth though!

February 24, 2006

Emergent Holiness

I like this article. I haven't read the responses to the article, but the article is outstanding. I can't agree more.

Jesus Creed » Emerging Peter: Abusing Holiness

I get frustrated with my own denomination that has separated holiness from compassionate outreach and evangelism. These things cannot be separated. (See a good prescription at ServantEvangelism.com)

I am, however, truly Wesleyan. So, I do believe that holiness, Christlikeness, love is it. Wesley said that the true essence of perfection is to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself.

Separatist

It is good to know that the Separatist spirit is alive and well. Here are two articles I came across this week:

Christian Exodus

Religion: Halfway to Heaven - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com

You have got to wonder what is their idea of "salt of the earth" and "in the world, but not of it."

Even as a Christian I find these articles a bit frightening. Is it any wonder that non-Christians are afraid of those who call themselves Christians?

I think I am more comfortable with the Catholic version than the Christian Exodus version. But both of them still frighten me.

February 23, 2006

Gooooooooooooal!

A few years ago, my wife and I allowed a man to come present us with an "opportunity." I discovered that if I really cared about my family's health it would include my purchasing a vacuum cleaner that cost more than $2,000. Then he had to call to "report in" with his manager. After some obviously planned remarks that were more for my benefit than the manager's the salesman attempted to lower the cost for me to only $1,200.

When I refused, for what was probably the 10th time, things became obviously strained. He still had to spend 20 minutes cleaning up his cleaning machine. The whole time in this awkward silence with occaisional, equally awkward banter.

I learned a very important lesson that night. I don't want to be sold on something and pressured to buy it. I also learned I will never allow another salesman in my house. But, most importantly, I learned that people must feel the same way when we present the gospel to them.

I have read multiple resumes and ministry websites that say they did something with goal that it would reach the lost. When we carry that mentality over into our personal relationships it can have detrimental effects. If we befriend someone with the goal of presenting "salvation" to them, then we also have to deal with awkwardness of where to go in the relationship when they turn that offer down.

What if "getting them saved" was not the goal?

I know we desire that. As a true friend, you would want to share the deepest, most personal things about yourself with the other. But what if the goal was not to "get them saved," what if the goal was simply to love them the way God loves them and be a witness of how a normal human being lives in relationship with God. That changes how the goal is percieved.

If my goal is not to get them saved, I can be myself. I am also released from the pressure of being a salesman. If my goal is be a demonstration of God's love to them, they are probably more willing to listen to my understanding of Jesus and His impact on my life. When their salvation is the goal, we are nothing more than a salesperson. When being a demonstration of God's love is the goal, we can have authentic relationships.

February 22, 2006

The eBay Atheist

Check out Off-the-map and the the eBay atheist.

I know most people have already blogged this, but I find this very interesting and informative. We get enamored with our "Religiosity" and forget how people on the "outside" view us.

Hement, the atheist, sold his "church" time to the highest bidder. Off-the-map "bought" him and is having him attend and evaluate different churches in and around Chicago. Hement is very honest, very open to understand, and very insightful.

Check out the blog, you might learn something.

February 21, 2006

Strange Church News

I don't remember reading about this stuff anywhere in the Bible.

Court OKs church use of hallucinogenic - Politics - MSNBC.com

When You Gotta Go...You Gotta Go!

Murder committed over toilet paper? - Crime & Punishment - MSNBC.com

And Yetti...

And yet they cannot photograph Big Foot except at a monster truck derby!

Chinese photograph elusive snow leopards - Science - MSNBC.com

Learning from Jabez

A few years ago, the book The Prayer of Jabez hit bookstores selling millions (I think, they were quite small so some people might have picked up a couple of them by accident.) It encouraged Christians to pray that God would expand the boundaries of their ministry. Many Christians saw this as an excuse to believe in prosperity theology.

Here are some hard learned lessons by the author Bruce Wilkinson:
The Lessons of Jabez - Christianity Today Magazine

February 20, 2006

Resigned

Yesterday I resigned my pastorate. I have been a church plant pastor for more than six years. We have grown to about 30 in regular attendance. Over the past year, I have felt God leading me toward a change. I don't know exactly what the change will be, but I know it is coming.

In a church this size and for this long, it feels less like quiting a job and more like quiting a family. These are people I pastor, but they are also friends. Several of whom were not even attending a church before we reached out to them.

This decision was extremely hard. It is difficult when a decision that you person must make affects so many people. Most sat in stunned silence, some cried, and others were deeply wounded.

I feel like I have done what God asked. I feel like I have done the right thing, even though I have no confirmed direction. I plan to get more training, and then launch out with another church plant. Right now, I am just in a waiting period.

February 15, 2006

Good Quote

"Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind."

W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage", 1915
English dramatist & novelist (1874 - 1965)

One Way, Many Views

Here is a great article from Christianity Today about inter-faith dialogue: One Way, Many Views - Christianity Today Magazine.

I have said it before and I will say it again. One of the biggest ways Christians can demonstrate "love your neighbor" is in their relationships with people of other faiths and other sexual orientations.

This is not easy. And, we should certainly forget that "love the sinner hate the sit" stuff. I mean, really, have we ever been able to love the sinner and hate the sin. How about we just love the sinner. We are human; we get the two confused.

I like this article because it demonstrates the troublesome nature of coming to terms with this issue. I found myself somewhere between the first pastor and the second. I believe we demonstrate our love for our neighbors by listening to them and dialogueing with them. We learn from then when we learn about their beliefs and value them as people. I like what was said about the exclusiveness of the relationship with God cause him to be inclusive of others.

But I am also evangelistic. I believe that Jesus is the way. I believe that people are held accountable for what they do with the message and person of Jesus Christ.

In saying that, I don't know if a person who obeys Jesus' commands but doesn't accept Jesus the person (or the Christian faith for that matter) is any worse off than someone who accepts the person of Jesus (or, again, the Christian faith) but does not obey the commands.

Evolution Sunday

I wouldn't celebrate Evolution Sunday, but I think this article offers us some insight. courant.com | Churches Exploring How We Got Here

I like this statement: "The real tragedy of the creationist movement is what it does to religion," said Eddins, pastor of the Asbury United Methodist Church. "To reduce the Bible to the status of a textbook is destructive to our relationship to God."

I think he is right in a sense. The Bible is not a textbook. It has history, but it is not a history book. It has science, but it is not a science book. The Bible is first and foremost a theological book that tells how God interacts with human beings and gives us everything we need to start and build a relationship with God.

To reject myth and story and parable as valid means to teach us about God is ridiculous. The problem they say takes place is "If one thing is not true, how do you know what is and is not true." Granted that is hard, but our belief in the message of the Bible really should have nothing to do with whether a particular story is absolutely true. We believe that the Bible is God's Word to us. As God's Word is has something to teach us about our relationship with God.

We too often think in terms of "truth." If the story is not "true" then it must be false. Instead of setting up a dichotomy of truth and fiction, why don't we simply ask, "What is God trying to teach us in this passage?" I think the answer to that question will have little to do with whether or not the story is fictional or not.

February 14, 2006

Killer apologizes for strangling child

After reading this article, CNN.com - Killer apologizes for strangling child - Feb 14, 2006, I became a little overwhelmed with the result and impact our sins have on other people. We think that our sins only affect us. We think that somehow we are in a vacuum, but we are not. This article is an example of the most extreme kind, but is telling of how sin acts even on the smallest scale in our lives.

Here is a man that, if we believe his story, started using drugs early in life, and ran to them for comfort and escape when trouble came. On the day of his crime, he says he was so high he barely remembers it, and can remember thinking it was wrong but was unable to stop.

I don't even want to think about something like this as I have a little daughter.

But I also realize the power of sin in a person's life. Our sins affect everyone around us. When we fail to communicate properly and regularly with our spouse and it ends in divorce, what started small affects everyone. Little white lies become very big lies. The devastation of sin is unbelievable.

Putting America's Best Foot Forward????

ABC News: Conan O'Brien Meets With Finnish Leader

February 13, 2006

Welcome to America Ms. Clayton

This woman was arrested for telling a woman to be quiet. The woman was talking on her cell phone in the middle of a movie. Next time, the police should maybe consider arresting a criminal.

Cinema shushing leads to assault charge - World - smh.com.au

Supporting American Athletes

The Olympics are a big deal around our house. It became so when my, then 3 year old daughter, fell in love with watching the athletes on television. She didn't sit there all day watching it, but she want it to be on when the athletes were competing.

So last night, we watched. I love watching athletes compete. There is so much similarity between athletics and being a follower of Jesus. I guess the same reasons that American are getting so fat are pretty similar to the same reasons there are so many spiritually fat Americans. I guess you have to actually go to a gym in order to get fit; much the same way you have to use the spiritual disciplines and practices to become holy.

Anyway; here is the link to the Olympics. NBCOlympics.com - Home. NBC is offering more online video coverage than ever before.

Food For Thought

Here is a Critique of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Faith".

Here is another Critique of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ."

I found these interesting. Even our best answers have answers. This just goes to show you that at some point mystery and faith in the unknown must be accepted or rejected.

These objections are good to know though in our ongoing consideration and reflections on why people choose to atheism. They are not uneducated, and they are not necessarily anit-God. Many just have questions they want answered intelligently. They have often been faced with a church that dismisses the validity of their question, gives a cheap "Sunday school" answer, or rejects many things found in the Bible.

But with all that said, I don't think we will ever "argue" anyone into faith.

Geriatric Olympics

Grandma Luge crashes out - Sport - smh.com.au

Maybe they can have Walker Hurdles or something like that. Actually, to see someone like her still competing is pretty cool.

Quayle Season

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - US VP accidentally shoots co-hunter

The VP and his hunting buddies were hunting quail or was it Quayle and he just missed? I guess spelling really does count.

February 12, 2006

Did I Do That?

What can you really say about this?

ABC News: Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter

One More Thing

Here is a great post by Guy Kawasaki: Let the Good Times Roll--by Guy Kawasaki: How to Be a Mensch.

I think this post has much to say to those both inside and outside of the church. Many get "saved" and equate that with "safe" and they stop trying to be a Mensch.

Guy says that a Mensch does several things:
1. Helps people who cannot help you.
2. Help without expectation of return.
3. Help many people.
4. Do the right thing the right way.
5. Pay back society.

A responder adds:
6. They never speak badly of another person.

I would add one more thing that is probable more foundationally philosophical than practical. For the Christian, the ability to do this from a pure heart is found in Jesus Christ. We do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. We do this because we have signed up for God's mission to transform the world. I believe we are saved by grace, but we are judged by our actions (this is a stolen quote from Brian Mclaren). God saves us not because of our actions, often in spite of our actions, but He desires us all to become a Mensch.

Many join the church (read: get "saved") in order to save themselves from hell and get into heaven. We are actually called to join a mission.

This Takes Courage

ABC News: Michelle Kwan Pulls Out of the Olympics

Imaging living your whole life looking to just one dream. This is your last chance, and an injury stops you. Yes, Michelle Kwan might have been able to skate, but she knew she would be no where near her best.

Despite her dream of winning a gold medal in the Olympics, Michelle withdrew. She may always have a nagging feeling that she should have at least tried. But, she shouldn't. What she did takes much more courage!

February 10, 2006

How Strange

Watch out, those flying nuns are dangerous too!

This is just weird: WFTV.com - News Of The Strange - Nuns Find Out Their Monastery Ended Up On Anti-Terrorism List

Curse of the Moderates

I think this article has it right: Curse of the Moderates.

There is no such thing as a true moderate. The Islamic moderates do not defend the religious rights of others, and the Western moderates have their own ax to grind with Christianity.

Western moderates are "angry" (read scared it will happen in their own backyard) about the cartoons, but will portray as art the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung.

The real issue is what is true Tolerance. Tolerance is not accepting as valid all positions, it is allowing other positions to exist. If we are truly moderate all religious mockery is considered off limits no matter to what religion we ascribe. We are not above critiqueing others, but ridicule of another's position should be off-limits.

February 9, 2006

Getting Worse!

Taliban offer gold reward for killing Danish cartoonists - World - smh.com.au

Those who attempt to fight Islam are fighting a battle against a nation without walls. The US War on Terror, these cartoons, all of it is simply adding fuel to a fire that will be extremely difficult to put out.

Things Are Only Going to Get Worse!

No compromise over cartoons, Hezbollah warns : Mail & Guardian Online

I am convinced this is only going to escalate. People who were once centrist Muslims are going to divided. The extremists are only going to grow, and things are not going to be pretty.

Here is one from the NTTimes.com.

February 8, 2006

Ruining A Pastor-Congregation Partnership

I found this article very to be very good: Four blunders that ruin a pastor-congregation partnership

What Is The Gospel?

I found this article very interesting:The Wrong End of the Spear - Christianity Today Magazine. It recaps a discussion between the articles author and the a Missionary from New Tribes. The author recounts the technique for entering a hostile area.

1. Make initial contact with the indiginous people.
2. (If the missionary survives) Learn the tribal language and culture.
3. Build relationships.
4. Meet needs in the community (food, medicine, etc.)
5. Share the message of salvation. During this time behavioral issues are very low on the priority list. "Rather than being 'sin police' the missionaries view themselves as ambassadors of Christ. If they focus on behavioral problems, such as idolatry or sexual sin, it can be very counterproductive.

My question is why? Why is it counterproductive? And, if it is counterproductive, why haven't we in the churches of the United States learned this lesson? The author of the article makes a similar conclusion in regards to the homosexual community. I think his approach is right, but everyone trying to approach the topic from that angle is ostracized.

But I guess a deeper issue is "What is the gospel?" Many would say that it is Jesus' death and resurrection. Others might have one of a thousand different answers. Here is what I think the Gospel is: God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. That relationship is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

I think it is that simple. The rest can filled in as we go. Yet we often lead with the rules. If a person doesn't lead with the rules, then others in the Christian community assume they are selling the Gospel short. Granted, you don't want to soft-sale the Gospel in order to get people to join up, but neither do we want to add to many hoops. The problem is often that there is no effective follow-up and discipleship so the person's understanding of what it means to follow God is simplistic and easy. It is a cheap grace.

Being a disciple of Jesus is a costly venture. It is not cheap and it is not easy, but it begins with the simplicity of the Gospel: God love us and wants a relationship with us. And He provides a way for us to have that relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you want to know what it means to live in relationship with God look to the life of Jesus. I think all of these principles are found in His life. Jesus truly is the smartest man ever.

More Than the Earth Warming

Here is an article from the NY Times: Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative - New York Times.

Over the past few weeks, I have realized more than ever how divided many Christians are over issues that I never realized were so volatile. Brian Mclaren and Mark Driscoll squared off concerning homosexuality. And while the both say Christians ought to demonstrate God's love to those in the homosexual lifestyle, they differ on what that love looks like.

When I read this article I couldn't believe that such a large contingency in the Evangelical church was willing to stand up and essentially say, "Global warming is rubbish and it is not our problem."

Granted I am not completely convinced of global warming, but I am intelligent enough to know that all that car exhaust and industrial waste cannot be good for the environment.

It is good to see Evangelicals taking stronger stances on social issues. I guess it is easier to do now that the conservative/liberal debate in the church no longer revolves around the issue of who does social justice as part of their understanding of the Gospel.

I look at all the bickering and fighting and think, "No wonder people don't want to be part of the church." Where is the love that is supposed to be part of this thing we call the Church? Where is the unity? We really act no different than people outside the church. We are judgmental, angry, unloving, and unforgiving.

I agree with Leonard Sweet, "I would rather be known as being too forgiving than too judgmental." I pray the Lord's Prayer each night with my daughter before she goes to bed. The part where is says, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive others." This means for us "in the same way," use the same standard for us that we use for others. I want to be very forgiving because I know what I have done and I can only imagine how much forgiveness I need.

Runaway Redux

This is quite funny: Runaway Redux - Newsweek Society - MSNBC.com.

Maybe they could pay someone to jump into the shark infested waters or take a deadly flu virus and run wildly through the streets.

February 7, 2006

I Am A Feminist

Nothing makes you more of a feminist (as a man) than having a daughter. Someone tells you that your daughter can't do something because she is a girl (as if daughters come any other way), and you suddenly become a raving feminist. "Who are you to tell me my daughter CAN'T do that!"

Here is a story that makes the father of a daughter proud: FOXSports.com - More Sports- Alaska girl makes history with wrestling title.

When I wrestled in high school, there was girl who wrestled in the boys leagues. She wasn't extremely good, but she still gave it a good try. Now, I think she was very brave to endure all she did to wrestle. Then, I was quite hesitant. I still wonder about it, though.

Wrestling a girl is a lose-lose sitatuation for the boy. If the boy wins, the jeers are, "Way to go! You beat a girl!" If the boy loses, well you can just imagine the jeers.

Fortunately for the boys in Alaska, it seems all but four lost. So they are all being laughed teased together.

February 6, 2006

Tolerance

Bono, from the rock group U2, spoke at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. Here are his remarks. You can also read another article at Christianitytoday.com.

Some see Bono as the latest rock and roll Christian prophet. He speaks out on issues of justice and poverty. Scripture seems to be the basis upon which he gets his call to see justice in a world gone wild.

Others see Bono and others from the postmodern/emergent church as nothing more than tolerance-preaching, wishy-washy people who want nothing more than to water down the Gospel.

So the question is, “What is tolerance?” As many would define it, tolerance is accepting every opinion and religious belief as equally valid. They place Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and other world religions on the same playing field. Bono sparked these remarks when he called for everyone of all faiths to work together to speak to the poor.

But for me tolerance simply means allowing people of other faiths and ideologies to exist at the same time. To be tolerant does not mean that I accept their view as the “Truth.” But because I believe God is Truth, I allow them to exist freely and peaceably. (By this I do not mean that the alternative is to destroy the other.) Being tolerant does not mean I syncretize their beliefs into my own. It does not mean I accept their beliefs as Truth.

On a side note, in our American culture if we as Christians try to limit the free speech and existence of other groups we are actually paving the way for others to limit us. When we try to limit the rights of others, we are setting things up for others to limit us.

To be tolerant is not in opposition to my beliefs as a Christian; it is because of my beliefs as a Christian. Sinful human nature says that the “other” cannot be allowed to exist in opposition to me. It says that anything that contradicts me should be excluded and abhorred. Sinful human nature destroys anything that is unknown and unaccepted.

But Jesus says to love our enemies and do good to those who hurt and use us. The example of loving the neighbor, for the Jewish audience, was a hated Samaritan. Many have vilified those who want to allow the “other” to exist. Agreeing to work together with other religions toward a world of peace is seen as treason to the Christian faith. This should not be.

February 3, 2006

Cartoonish

Here is a time the Christian Church could stand up, in a demonstration of "love your neighbor," and say this is wrong. VOA News - Anger Growing in Europe Over Controversial Cartoon Images

Christians would be infuriated if the cartoon included an image of Christ. Why not stand up with our neighbors, the Muslim faith, and condemn this? I think demonstrating the "love your neighbor" commandment is seen best when we stand up for those of other faiths.

Unschooled and Uneducated

Here is an article from CNN.com - No school, no books, no teacher's dirty looks - Feb 2, 2006. The concept is called "unschooling," and it allows the child to learn whatever they want. There are no required books, no tests, and no expectations.

I am not a big fan of the current educational system. I think there are major deficiencies. BUT, this certainly is not the alternative I think we should be looking at.

Today, I want to study the physics of getting Mario into the castle to save the princess. And then I want to do an in depth sleep study. Now that is what I call an education

February 2, 2006

You Did What????

In this article from the New York Times, House Approves Budget Cutbacks of $39.5 Billion - New York Times, we learn that President Bush and the caring, kind-hearted Republicans have kept their promise to cut taxes. YEAH!!!!!!

Oh wait! They did it at the expense of the elderly, the poor, and education instead of stopping spending of rattlesnake farms in Alaska!

How about we stop spending money on those pet projects that sneak into bills? How about we reevaluate the nations spending and start doing that is truly helpful? I bet the poor and elderly would really appreciate it.

Of course, if the church stopped pouring money into bigger and better buildings and nicer carpets that might help too.

February 1, 2006

Resurgence

Here is Mark Driscoll's blog: Resurgence.

He seems much more humble and thoughtful on his blog than in his response to Brian McLaren. (He does not approach the discussion as of yet on his blog.)

Though I know that I absolutely do not agree with most of Reformed (read Calvinistic) theology.

Dear Brian...One more thing

Following my post about Brian McLaren and the articles from ChristianityToday.com, a friend of mine made a rather insightful comment. She said she thinks Brian McLaren feels there are too many individuals proclaiming the church's "official" stance in regards to homosexuality, and that Brian is really being the church by depending upon his community to make the call.

Brian is truly a communal Christian. He wants the community to come to grips with its theology and proclaim it. He depends upon scholars and thinkers far more eloquent and intelligent than he to make the call.

This is a hard issue. Many in one camp are unwilling to recognize that the Bible is not "cut and dry" on the issue. Many in the other camp are unwilling to see that a loving God might just have regulations. And both sides want to battle rather than love.

Maybe someday I will formulate a response for myself. For now, I think the important thing is that God is the ultimate judge, and I must love others. I know that love requires openly discussing sin, but, as my professor used to say, "Lead with love not law."

This Guy Stole My Idea

In this article, the writer wants to the Emergent Church should not be said to "emerge" but rather to "merge." That is the idea behind my title for this blog.

I want to merge the best of all worlds. I want social justice, compassionate outreach, spiritual formation, the presence of the Holy Spirit, use of the spiritual gifts, evangelism, transformation, etc.

We have 2,000 years of Christians history. Why should we be stuck in the 1950's or some other century?

Dear Brian

Brian McLaren is taking a lot of flack for his stance (or lack of a stance) in regards to the homosexuality issue. I hope he doesn't give one.

I think he does this for several reasons:

1. He is not going to be pigeon-holed because of a theological stance. If he makes a stand then people on the "other" side can discount what he has to say. As it is, they both engage him and his writing.

2. It is not the point. I think Brian wants to create dialogue, challenge the traditional (read pat, Sunday school) answers that are normally given, and challenge our actions and attitudes. His purpose is not to say whether homosexuality is right or wrong. His purpose is to say are we being loving, gracious, and kind.

3. It kills the discussion. As long as he is vague, discussion keeps going. Besides, many of Jesus' answers were redirections. Jesus rarely answered the questioner directly, but rather redirected the question to get to the heart of the matter.

Here are three articles. I posted one of them earlier, but the discussion has snowballed. The first article is the original article by Brian McLaren about the pastoral issues around homosexaulity questions. The second is a response from Mark Driscoll. Mark is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The third article is Brian McLaren's response to the responses. If you have a year and a half to spare you can read the responses to each article at the bottom of each article. You may want to read a few, but they will all fall into one of two catagories: I like it! or I hate it!

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question: Finding a Pastoral Response

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question 3: A Prologue and Rant by Mark Driscoll

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question 4: McLaren's Response