Monday, June 29, 2009

For all you Trekkies out there

Thanks to the Good Clean Funnies List for this next bit of Blog Fodder.

Things That Never Happened On Star Trek

1. The Enterprise runs into a mysterious energy field of a type it has encountered several times before.

2. The Enterprise visits a remote outpost of scientists, who are all perfectly all right.

3. Some of the crew visit the holodeck, and it works properly.

4. The crew of the Enterprise discover a totally new life-form, which later turns out to be a rather well-known old life form wearing a funny hat.

5. The crew of the Enterprise are struck by a mysterious plague, for which the only cure can be found in the well-stocked Enterprise sick-bay.

6. The Captain has to make a difficult decision about a less advanced people which is made a great deal easier by the Starfleet Prime Directive.

7. The Enterprise successfully ferries an alien VIP from one place to another without serious incident.

8. An enigmatic being composed of pure energy attempts to interface to the Enterprise's computer, only to find out that it has forgotten to bring the right leads.

9. A power surge on the Bridge is rapidly and correctly diagnosed as a faulty capacitor by the highly-trained and competent engineering staff.

10. The Enterprise is captured by a vastly superior alien intelligence which does not put them on trial.

11. The Enterprise is captured by a vastly inferior alien intelligence which they easily pacify by offering it some chocolate.

12. The Enterprise visits an earth-type planet called "Paradise" where everyone is happy all of the time. However, everything is soon revealed to be exactly what it seems.

13. A major Starfleet emergency breaks out near the Enterprise, but fortunately some other ships in the area are able to deal with it to everyone's satisfaction.

14. The Enterprise is involved in a bizarre time-warp experience which is in some way unconnected with the Late 20th Century.

15. Kirk (or Riker) falls in love with a woman on a planet he visits, and isn't tragically separated from her at the nd of the episode.

16. Counselor Troi states something other than the blindingly obvious.

17. The warp engines start going haywire, but seem to sort themselves out after a while without any intervention from boy genius Wesley Crusher.

18. Spock (or Data) is fired from his high-ranking position for not being able to understand the most basic nuances of one in three sentences that anyone says to him.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sometimes you just have to say "Wow"

Check out this a Capella version of Africa. I was never a fan of the Toto version of the song, but this is just an amazing rendition.

Put your hands together

Click on the link and watch the new video from Jars of Clay. Imagine how the church and world would be different if we all had 2 hands doing the same thing for the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is there room at the table?

The Church of the Nazarene, like so many denominations is struggling to deal with the fact that the world has changed in the past half-century, and the truisms that applied then are no longer applicable in all situations.

This White Paper was written by a group of Nazarene pastors and theologians to help the church start to have a constructive dialogue on how to deal with the changing world around us. There have been several comments made by church leaders that are condemning of the Emerging Church. What is disturbing is that people seem to be unwilling to address the elephant in the room, which is that the ground has shifted under our feet.

If we aren't willing to realize that the people we are trying to reach have dramatically different thought processes than their predecessors, we are dooming ourselves to irrelevance, IMHO.

Take some time to read the white paper please. I'll post more on this next week.

White Paper

Here is a link to the White Paper for you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Measuring effectiveness

This article has some interesting thoughts on how we measure the effectiveness of a congregation. Traditionally, measurement has focused on attendance and giving. Those are still useful numbers but they can be misleading in some instances. The author is advocating the idea that we should try to measure more qualitative things, such as congregational health, rather than quantitative this such as attendance and giving.

I have been a part of two churches that have had significant additions to their congregational health by subtracting numbers from their attendance. Mercifully, I was not part of the congregations when this happened, but I have enough contact to know what was going on. In one instance, the folks that left were impediments to growth. After they were gone, the church enjoyed a significant period of growth with new converts and personal spiritual development in the life of the congregants. Previously, that development was stunted because of the constant turmoil that had been present. The Kingdom advanced, and the church grew in numbers and faith in their absence.

My caution here is to not just focus on attendance and giving when assessing a church. Nor should we use our spiritual development for our laziness in sharing the Gospel. We can engage in navel-gazing and so focus on our own "Jesus and Me" conversations that we do not share the Good News with a dying world. It is a dynamic balance between these measurements, and one that is often difficult express quantitatively. But that balance is where ministry happens, and where lives are changed. Jesus had big crowds during his ministry, and at his death, it was a pretty small group there with him. But we don't judge his effectiveness based on the numbers at the end of his ministry. We judge it based on the change in the lives of his followers and the way they changed the world. We would be well-served to follow that model.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What on earth?

This is not a SNL spoof folks. Click on the video below to watch the commercial.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My theme for Sunday

Click on the link below and enjoy. I love the song. The pictures are so-so.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Let her grieve

Amid the discovery of what is believed to be Nevaeh Buchanan's body, the attention has turned to potential suspects. Amid this speculation, it seems that some are blaming the mother of this girl for her tragic death. We have no idea who did this, and if her mother was involved. I don't believe that blaming the mother without all of the facts being in is productive at all. This woman and her family need to grieve. If any of them were involved, there will be ample time for accusation, scorn and recrimination when that is announced and proven. If they are not involved, we have added to their grief and denied them the space they need to grieve the loss of a precious little girl.

My advice is to wait until the facts are in before we start pointing fingers, rendering judgment and condemning people. Until then, let's share in their grief and show God's love to this family that is experiencing unbelievable pain.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A sad ending to this story

It appears that the body of Nevaeh Buchanan has been found. Local news is reporting that she was found along the River Raisin, more than 10 miles from where she disappeared. God rest her soul. Now the hunt for the perpetrator intensifies. Our prayers go out to her family and friends during this awful time.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Character tests

Our community is being tested right now. Nevaeh Buchanan, a 5 year-old girl, has been missing for a week. The police and volunteers have conducted a massive search of the community, processed hundreds of tips, and are continuing to search for this precious little girl. For more on the searches and news, go here.

But there also have been a number of rumors spread through the community about persons of interest in the case. I'm not entirely sure what a "Person of Interest" is other than to say that he/she is not a suspect. But the media seize on these individuals and then all sorts of fun begins.

Monroe is inundated with TV trucks from Detroit and Toledo, and helicopters fly over the city, especially near the noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. Maybe it's just a human reaction that, in the absence of new information, to start to let our minds run wild. But some of the rumors that have appeared in this case are appealing to our baser instincts, not the better angels of our nature.

Don't misunderstand my thought please. I'm not saying we should be like Pollyana. But we should withhold judgment until the facts are in. In the mean time, prayer is needed. Pray for the police for wisdom. Pray for the searchers. Pray for Nevaeh. Pray for her family. And most of all pray that God's will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. This world is sick with sin, and Nevaeh's disappearance is one symptom of that sickness. It is a spiritual battle as well as a temporal issue to stop things like this from happening.

May we be known as a community that fought that fight on our knees. Not one that turned on itself with recrimination and accusation.