“Preachers these days are expected to major in “Christian moral renovation.” They are expected to provide a practical to-do list, rather than announce, ‘It is finished.’ They are expected to do something other than, more than, placarding before their congregation’s eyes Christ’s finished work, preaching a full absolution solely on the basis of the complete righteousness of Another. The irony is, of course, that when preachers cave in to this pressure, moral renovation does not happen. The focus on how I’m doing, more than on what Christ has done, is Christian narcissism–the poison of self-absorption which undermines the power of the gospel in our lives… Continue reading
“Guilty people make people feel guilty, and you can tell how guilty a person really is by perceiving how guilty you feel in his or her presence… I fear too often the church has become an organization of guilty people with a guilty preacher standing in the pulpit, telling guilty people that they should feel guiltier.”
Steve Brown “A Scandalous Freedom“
“Most of what’s expected from sermons, on both sides of the pulpit… is nothing but a thick, soggy blanket thrown over the only Good News there is: the Passion of Jesus…
For my money, the root of preaching for our time remains what is was for Paul: a passion for the Passion. Like him, those who stand up to preach in the church must decide to ‘forget everything except Jesus Christ, and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2)… Continue reading
“Our greatest temptation is to think that it is by further, better, and more aggressive living that we can have life.”
-Robert Capon quoted here
Sorry I’m posting so many quotes from this guy, I just can’t get his stuff out of my head. Here’s one I came across while researching for a talk I’m giving tomorrow:
“Sadly, too many churches have helped perpetuate the impression that Christianity is primarily concerned with legislating morality. Believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better. If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. The heart of the Christian faith is Good News, not good advice, good technique, or good behavior… Too many people have walked away from the church, not because they’re walking away from Jesus, but because the church has walked away from Jesus. Ask any of the ‘religious nones’ who answered their census questions differently in past years, and I guarantee you will hear a story about spiritual burnout or heavy-handed condemnation from fellow believers, or both.”
Tullian Tchividjian “One-Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World“
I’m sorry to keep quoting this guy, but he’s dropping some gospel bombs lately.
“Ever since the fall of man in Genesis 3, we’ve been obsessed with ourselves. Add to that fire the fuel of the Enlightenment’s mantra, “Progress is inevitable”, and the “manifest destiny” DNA that has marked our country since its inception, and it’s no surprise that our man-centered culture of narcissism has seeped into the church. Whether it takes the crass form of “health, wealth, and prosperity” or the more theologically sophisticated form of an obsession with “sanctification” and “holiness”, the bottom line is, we have concluded that this whole thing is about our transformation, not Christ’s substitution. Continue reading
Because of the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ’s Annual Gathering, I don’t have time to post anything new this week. This said, here’s one of my favorites from my old blog: www.shawn-thoughts.blogspot.com originally posted July 19, 20012.
I’ve been seeing my counselor a bit more lately. The addition of a second child combined with the pressures of life has really thrown me for a loop. One way this imbalance rears its ugly head is in my anger. Not making excuses, but I come from a long line of bad tempers on both sides of my family. Because of this, anger is usually one of the first signs that my life is off kilter. On a side note, when I say anger I don’t mean the emotion per say, rather I’m speaking of the almost unquenchable desire to hit inanimate objects (usually a wall). So needless to say a trip to the counselor was needed. Continue reading