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February 12th, 2015
Late last month was our most recent introduction to CtK sit-down for all those considering what it means to be a member. We’re taking the time this month to interview all those who’ve elected to come for membership and hope to have a formal recognition service in the middle part of March.
But what then for these once their names have been officially added to our roles? Is that it? Has this all been a mere formality–a bit of ecclesiastical theater designed mostly to stroke the egos of we elders and some clerk at the denominational headquarters in Atlanta? If that’s all it was then we are folks most to be pitied, if not pilloried.
So what is their first order of business? For that matter, what is anyone’s upon joining a church?
Kevin DeYoung recently offered a helpful and humble charge to members new and old. He calls it the “Plus-one” approach. It goes like this:
“In addition to the Sunday morning worship service, pick one thing in the life of your congregation and be very committed to it.”
Nothing complicated about that suggestion, and yet utterly central to what membership means. Both in the material we composed and the discussion we conducted, we made note of just how easy it is to slide into an unwitting but hard to break habit of consumerism within a given congregation. We typically live at more than walking-distance from each other; we are associated with more clubs, teams, and klatches than you can count; and we’ve been bred to live at a pace that makes patient, persistent investment in the life of the church a cognitively dissonant experience. And yet, just as there’s no part of a human body that does not play some role in the life of the body–even a modest, unsung role–so there can’t be parts of a church body that think themselves either superfluous or too important not to dig in.
Now DeYoung’s church has far more opportunities for investment than CtK presently. But there are still manifold channels for service within our body. And further, you have a session of elders who are glad to entertain ideas for ministry we haven’t even thought of yet–ministries that perhaps required your presence within CtK to help bring to reality.
We’re delighted to have a number of more individuals and families become part of CtK soon. Both ours and your delight will be completed by everyone taking DeYoung up on his suggestion.
We’ve been perusing the Proverbs for wisdom since the new year began. We’ve consulted its pithy, pointed phrases for insight into living with a view to Providence, into how to use our words and be a friend, into what to do with our anger and how to face our propensity for sluggardliness.
We conclude this short series this Sunday by asking the Proverbs to show us how to care for the weakest among us–those exposed, deprived, disenfranchised, and oppressed. We’ll look to several texts for both guidance and motivation to care for the poor.
The simple, unalloyed message of the Proverbs is that the way of the righteous is concern for the poor. So we’ll consider:
- the shape of that concern
- the ground of that concern
- and the strength for that concern
These have no connection to matters presently on our mind. But they’re all worth sharing.
David Brooks had this to say about our current practice of criticizing those who err–a practice both accelerated and amplified by our technology. He asks the rhetorically humbling question, “Would you rather become the sort of person who excludes, or one who offers tough but healing love?”
Professor John Frame provides a healthy set of questions worth asking ourselves as we view a film.
Meanwhile, Dr Pete Enns found two stories which serve to authenticate the bible’s historical witness.
- A collection of some 2500 year old stones excavated from the territory formerly known as Babylon (roughly modern day Iraq) recently went on display in Jerusalem. The inscriptions include some of the earliest hebraic letters from Israel’s exilic period between the 6th and 5th century B.C.
- Through extensive DNA-sequencing, geneticists have been able to confirm just how genetically related the Samaritans were to Jews. We’re all familiar with Jesus’ initially awkward encounter with the Samaritan woman drawing water at midday in John 4–the awkwardness derived in large part from the ethnic animus between Jews and their alleged half-breed counterparts. Well this study confirms how John’s account was no literary fiction designed merely to create plot-tension.
Finally, in anticipation of our Lenten Series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus, this essay by Beeson Divinity School Dean, Timothy George explains how the Gospel According to John has served to bridge the various Christian traditions like few other biblical books have. John’s theological aesthetic, to say nothing of his Subject, has served to unite typically sectarian factions–just as Jesus prayed.
When you pray, remember to pray for
- Dave Farah now home recovering from a hospital stay due to the flu
- those sitting down in the coming weeks with the elders (and their wives) for membership interviews
- wisdom for CtK’s leadership to incorporate as many gifts of the body as possible into the life of the body
- the families of the slain Muslim students in North Carolina
Lent begins next Wednesday. The 40 day journey to Resurrection Day begins again. What are you finding that needs to die in you, but which you have a hard time letting go of? How does the truth of God’s death on your behalf serve to loosen your grip on whatever needs to die in you?