Gordon MacDonald on “The Shack”

Gordon’s article is here. Gordon expresses my appreciation for this book that for reasons obscure to me has become controversial. I have enough of a fundamentalist background to appreciate any argument that takes seriously the authority of the Bible and is ready to pounce on anything that compromises its authority. I grow very tired of disputes within the church which are rooted in a skepticism about the Bible or seek to chip away at its “truthiness.” But I also have enough of the liberal arts major and voracious reader in me to appreciate a good story that resonates with biblical realities when I read it. Putting these two together needs some careful expression. Gordon does that. I remain a big fan of The Shack. It uncovers some areas for healing in our inner worlds that are often unrecognized or diminished. Healing is not a “take two verses from Romans and call me in the morning” kind of thing. The process has more complication to it and is slower than most imagine, or had hoped.

The Face on Your Plate

Just read the book by the same name. Bottom line for me: any person who believes in creation stewardship simply cannot support the manner in which we harvest animals for our food supply. I am not talking about veganism, vegetarianism, or eating meat. If animals can suffer by being kept from living out of their nature, then our food supply routines have inflicted a great deal of pain into our earth system. And if there is anything like karma, there is bound to be enough unhappiness in this to afflict us all. Perhaps the high rate of heart disease and colon cancer is just that kind of return.

I remember reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle as a freshman in college and the scenes of the meatpacking industry. Of course, the point there is the ultimate dehumanization of the worker. But I can recall the utter horror of how the animals were harversted. Everything was dark all the way around. Perhaps this is the price we pay for being city dwellers who are far removed from our food supply and therefore somewhat immune to what has to happen for us to get our protein through meat. We virtually do not care how we get it.

Even something as supposedly harmless as milk supply and eggs inflicts a kind of pain that no person I know would be willing to inflict on an animal. And fish, which seem to be the least sentient creatures, are subjected to conditions in fish farms that wouldn’t be allowed in a home acquarium by the least tidy among us.

This is an area I need to explore and respond to. I can’t believe how incredibly naive I have been on this topic. By the way the New York Times has a great article on how we eat, or more exactly, the new trends in finding our food supply.

Today’s Quote 3/29/09

“The gospel is not simply about meeting people’s needs. The gospel is also a critique of our needs, an attempt to give us needs worth having. The Bible appears to have little interest in so many of the needs and desires that consume present-day North Americans. Therefore, pastoral care will be about much more than meeting people’s needs. It will also be about indoctrination, inculturation, which is also- from the peculiar viewpoint of the gospel- care. Our care must form people into the sort of people who have had their needs rearranged in the light of Christ.”  Will Williman

The untold success story of Willow Creek in Africa

Making the Local Church a Hero
The untold success story of Willow Creek in Africa.
Mark Galli | posted 3/25/2009 02:02PM
I don’t know when exactly Africa became a hot destination for evangelical concern. It might have been Bruce Prayer of Jabez Wilkinson’s 2002 move to Johannesburg and later Swaziland to start Dream for Africa, a ministry to orphans. Or perhaps it was Bono’s December 2002 seven-states-in-seven-days Heart of America tour, when he visited venerable evangelical institutions like Willow Creek and Wheaton College, scolding them for ignoring the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Or maybe it was Rick Warren’s 2005 foray into Rwanda to promote his PEACE Plan and create a purpose-driven country.

Surely a constellation of circumstances raised Africa’s profile. But it didn’t hurt that celebrities whom evangelicals trusted leveraged their considerable influence. Continue reading

The Most Important Prayer Request in the World

The Most Important Prayer Request in the World
March 26, 2009  |  By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

The most important prayer is that the most important person in the universe do the most important act in the universe.

That’s why Jesus put this request at the beginning of the Lord’s prayer: “Hallowed be your name.”

God is the most important person in the universe. More important than all others put together.

All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:17).

The whole-souled act of hallowing God’s name is the most important act in the universe.

To “hallow” means to “sanctify” which in God’s case means to set apart in your mind and heart as supremely great and beautiful and valuable.

“Hallowed be your name” means, “See to it that your name is hallowed. Use your infinite power and wisdom and love to stir up billions of hearts and minds to admire you and prize you above all things.”

We ask him to fulfill this promise:

I will sanctify [hallow] my great name, which was profaned among the nations…. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord…when I shall be sanctified [hallowed] in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23)

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:11)

Ask the Lord to help you make the most important prayer your most common prayer. And the one you desire most to see answered.