Saturday, February 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
According to Church Fathers such as Ephraem Syrus, Ambrose, Paulinus, Jerome, Gregory of Tours, and others, Thomas went to India as a slave for the king, Gundafor. While there he was entrusted with building a palace, but Thomas instead took the money given him for the project and distributed it to the poor. Thomas was imprisoned for this, but miraculously escaped and converted the king through his testimony of God’s provision. The king allowed Thomas to roam the country spreading the gospel message and many came to faith through his efforts, including the wife and son of a tribal chieftain. But this did not sit well with the ruler, who had Thomas condemned, led out of the city, and pierced through with spears by four soldiers.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Apparently and for some not-very-clear reason, it is incumbent upon the faithful in every new epoch or changing era of Christian history to re-define what we mean when we use the words "church" and/or "Church." But even if some strenuous re-thinking and re-stating had not been required during history's previous turning points, it none the less would be required for emergence Christianity. There is no question about the fact that this time around everything-whether sacred or secular and with no holds barred-is up for scrutiny and that most of everything, once scrutinized, is up for re-defining, including "church" and/or "Church."
For quite some time now, analysts and pastors and observant Christian laity alike have known and said that church is not a place, nor is it a thing. Historically, church was probably conceived of in the popular imagination as a thing several centuries before that same shared imagination began to think of it as a place. Of those two, the notion of place as definition is probably the more debilitating, but unquestionably it had also come to be the more dominant of the two during the last century. But as a conceptual definition, neither place nor thing alone is strong enough to support much vitality beyond loyalty to itself.
For that reason and within fairly recent years, others among us have offered a different conceptualizing. Some have even suggested that church and/or Church is best defined as an event. I like this one. In fact, I liked it a lot for a while. It comforted me, if for no other reason than that it was less static. While still a noun and therefore a bit of a thing itself, it had buried in it the ghost of a predicate, the cachet of an action. But then, the more I embraced it, the more it seemed to be just that ... a ghost, a cachet, a rhetorical fix.
So this New Year, I seek—hope for—am eager to overhear—a sustained and prayerful conversation about exactly what we who are Christian in this time of emergence, hold as a working definition of emergence church/Church. And lest I be accused of doing no more here than passing along some kind of theological hot potato for the fun of it, I will begin the sacred game. I will begin the first round by saying that, as of right now, I believe both church and Church are "a body of people delighting in God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit."
Such a definition can arguably be seen as more of a variant or adaptation than as a highly original thought. So be it. Either way, the truth is that whether variant or new, this one has predication and therefore relieves my yearning for action and dynamism, motion and fluidity. More to the point, it is broad enough to assume many ways and customs and enculturations as being exercises of delight and therefore of church/Church; yet it is specific enough to exclude with a surgical precision those who, turning about face toward the world, would use both church and Church as means of temporal governance. More even than these, though, I like the notion of "a body of people delighting" because as an action it can not be pinned down. Grasp it, and it simply laughs and moves on to the next thing, like a will-o'-the-wisp seducing us farther and farther into the mystery. I really like that ... at least for now I like it. But then, we have a whole new year in front of us in which to have this conversation, meaning that the only thing I am completely sure of right now is the absolute necessity of our having it.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Bartholomew, which means "son of Talmai," was an ancient Hebrew name, indicating that this disciple of Christ was of Hebrew descent. Other than that, little for certain is known about him.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Like Peter and Andrew, Philip was also a native of
Philip was asked by Jesus where they could get enough food to feed the multitudes. He also was approached by some non-believers in
According to tradition, Philip preached the gospel in
According to tradition, Philip preached the gospel in
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Among the disciples John had a prominent position. Peter, James, and he were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane. Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make preparations for the Last Supper, and at the supper he was seated next to Christ. It is also commonly accepted that John was the “other disciple” who with Peter followed Christ after the arrest into the palace of the high priest. John alone was at the foot of the cross with the mother of Jesus and other women, and John took Mary into his care as commanded by Jesus. After the Resurrection John and Peter were the first of the disciples to run to the grave, and John was the first to believe that Jesus had truly risen. When Jesus later appeared at the Lake of Genesareth, John was the first to recognize his master standing on the shore. His relationship with Jesus was always close, seen clearly in the title by which he was accustomed to indicate himself, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Monday, October 20, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
May your personal study bear much fruit for the Kingdom!
1 Timothy 1:20
1 Timothy 3:6-7
1 Timothy 5:14-15
2 Timothy 2:25-26
2 Corinthians 2:11
2 Corinthians 4:4
Psalm 119:9, 11
1 Peter 5:8-9
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In the current political and social climate of the United States, we must appreciate the truly global church that we have become as Free Methodists. We are sensing the profound responsibility this places on us—located in the west, in one of the wealthiest and most resourceful nations on earth. We recall that we are kingdom people, that God calls all people everywhere to be His, that our citizenship is in heaven first. In fact, we are bound to and have more in common with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world than we do even our fellow Americans who are unbelievers. We affirm that God does not need us or our nation to carry out His kingdom agenda. The gospel of the kingdom does not depend on the current or any anticipated political, social, cultural status quo.
The church’s mission, no less in an electoral season, in cooperation with God’s Spirit in manifesting kingdom reality, challenges every this-worldly platform and ideology. No party will champion the cause of the kingdom in its entirety. We acknowledge that Christians in the U.S. have often been seduced by reductionist views of the gospel and morality and have thus given uncritical allegiance to partisan agenda that fall short of the Christian hope.
Therefore, we urge our members and adherents to weigh carefully and pray fervently over candidates, ballot referenda, and all political issues before us, and then seek to vote in ways that reflect as fully as possible the heart of Jesus Christ for the whole world. In so doing, we remind our people that the way of Jesus is the way of cross-bearing, of self sacrificing love, of costly obedience, and of giving all for the sake of others, especially for those on the margins. Indeed, this way of Jesus often directly counters the ideologies of this world.
Board of Bishops
Free Methodist Church
David RollerDavid Kendall