African American theology had its earliest roots in an experience of pain and suffering. Mourning freedom and agonizing over loss of identity and opportunity were a huge part of the Southern African American experience. But, with civil rights and a more socially engaged African American population in the North and the West, black theology has evolved into more of a need for empowerment and survival.
One African American Church planter in Atlanta has an interesting expansion strategy for church planting in African American communities. He envisions planting “bubble churches” in well educated and well resourced corners of the community and then hiving off need based churches that are highly subsidized by the parent church in order to create a sustainable church planting movement.
As of 2013, no one could simply say, “I am going to plant an African American church” with the implied presumption that one size fits all. The dream of freedom, employment, opportunities, education and mobility has created many strong sub cultures within the overall African American community.
A couple of years ago in an article entitled, To The Praise of his Glory” in the Review and Expositor the author wrote, “Paul mentions ‘redemption,’ the great metaphor of emancipation taken from the slave market in Ephesians 1. The costliness of this act is spelled out in the term "through his (Jesus') blood," a reference to his life poured out.
And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. —Luke 5
"[T]he Bible is a masterpiece. The Bible is one of the greatest works produced in the world. Those people who only have the Bible actually are set up for life. Not only do they have a spiritual vision given to them but artistic fulfillment. They don't even recognize just the pleasure of dealing with this epic poetry and drama. Everything is in the Bible." — Atheist, Camille Paglia
Tim Keller and Planting More Churches in the CRC -- Recently Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC spoke with a number of reporters at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Today’s blog post lifts out one part of his talk on the place of church planting.
Kerry Patterson in the book Influencer lays out important ways that we can influence people to bring about change. The book is filled with interesting ideas and important ones for leaders. One of the places that Patterson focuses on is the area of physical space. The power of space to influence behavior, to change attitudes, and to lower conflict is often overlooked...
A while ago as I was reading in Luke I noticed something, namely, Elijah and Elisha get a lot of play in this gospel. I first noticed it when reading Luke 9 and 10. In Luke 9 there is the feeding of the crowd which echoes the feeding in 2 Kings 4.42ff, a miracle performed by Elisha.
There is an increasing emphasis on discipleship among evangelicals. It seems that this is the present great movement that is consuming us. In the 1980s and 90s it was evangelism, the recognition that we had not done well generally, and in the case of the CRCNA specifically, at reaching those who were not connected to Christ and his church.
The latest Utne Reader has an article entitled, “Me, Myself, and I: Why is it so hard to admit when we are lonely?” The author, Olivia Laing, talks about the pain of loneliness in her own life as she lived in New York City, surrounded by people but still terribly alone. In the article she points out not only her own pain of loneliness but also the research on loneliness,
1 John 3.1 raises a bunch of interesting questions. The words of the verse are "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." One of the questions is, "When John tells us that God has "given" (or bestowed) the kind of love that makes it so we are called "his children", how do we understand "given" or "bestowed"?
The New York Observer is a culture watch newspaper. The paper keeps an eye on the culture and movement in New York City. While some may say that reading a paper like this doesn't give a broad look at our culture, the truth is that all studies say NYC is the number one city of influence in the U.S. and the world.
The promise of the kingdom in Luke 1-3 is a kingdom of great hope where the rich and powerful are brought down and the poor and struggling are lifted up. The promise builds and builds and then it comes crashing down: John the Baptist, the great announcer of this kingdom, the harbinger of the kingdom is put in prison by Herod. The powerful take...
I was reminded recently why getting a good Bible translation for study and getting the full sense of the text matters. I was reading the story of Samson. The ESV in talking about Samson's desire for the woman at Timnah says, "But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me for she is right in my eyes.'" The NIV translates the same verse, "But Samson said to his father...
The opening of the book of Luke is filled with hope and lofty speeches and songs. Underlying it all is the promise of God's kingdom where the rich and powerful are put in their place, the poor and weak are lifted up and all is made right. It is pretty heady stuff. As John the Baptist comes on the scene Luke uses words ...
Disney movies. For the most part we feel comfortable taking our kids to them. The language is decent, the plots are kind with the good guys winning at the end, and there is a lack of ambiguity in them. The right people do the right things--they may wander for a bit, but they get back to it in the end. Meanwhile, the bad folks get what is coming to them--gently...
There is a continual theme that pulsates through our culture. The theme is "God is love." The thing that always intrigues me about this idea that God is love is that love gets defined in a way that reflects whatever a person wants. So if I want my god to be loving so that he would never demand anything of me, then that is love. If I want my god to be the kind of god...
A partnership between the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA) involving pooling resources in an innovative church-planting movement that will spread the gospel by reaching out to people in the places where they live.