Monday, October 31, 2011

Sermon Texts for November 2011

Sermon texts for Dove Mountain Presbyterian Church in November will be:

11/6/2011 — Isaiah 51:9-52:6 (Awaken)
11/13/2011 — Isaiah 52:7-12 (Bringing Good News)
11/20/2011 — Isaiah 52:13-53:3 (Despised & Rejected)
11/27/2011 — Isaiah 53:4-6 (Afflicted & Crushed) (1st Sunday in Advent)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blogging changes

This is our last full week in Tennessee; as I mentioned before, I have accepted a new call to serve as Senior Pastor of Dove Mountain Presbyterian Church in Tucson, AZ. This Sunday, 10/23, I will preach my farewell sermon at Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church (I'm actually no longer Senior Pastor there, as we installed my former Associate Pastor, Doug Barcroft, as the new Senior Pastor two days ago!). On Monday, 10/24, our truck will be loaded with all of our stuff, and we'll drive out of Tennessee and go west on Tuesday, 10/25.

What does this mean for this blog?

Well, I intend to continue blogging on a "pastor blog"; I feel like, at least occasionally, I've hit onto something worth saying/reading, and I want to continue to explore ideas in this sort of context. Obviously, though, the primary home for the blog — — doesn't really "fit" any longer. So, here's what you need to do:

If you read this blog at…
Switch over to this address instead: That page is already live and up-to-date.

If you read this blog via Feedburner RSS feed…
The new RSS feed will be: This feed will go live on Sunday, October 23.

If you read this blog via Facebook…
You don't need to do anything; the feed will keep coming as it has.

Thanks to my 10s of readers! I'll see you on the "other side" of this transition.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Books for September 2011

A Weed in the ChurchA Weed in the Church by Scott T. Brown<

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this book to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, I agree with both the underlying premises and the hoped-for end result of this book, and appreciate that the author used ample Scripture references to demonstrate them. I’d love to know that more pastors and others in the church were aware of the problems of highly-programmatic youth ministry and children’s ministry, and were willing to pursue greater biblical faithfulness in exercise of care for the younger generations in the church.

On the other hand, I found the tone and spirit of this book very off-putting. The author is quite aggressive in his attack of conventional youth and children’s ministries, and condescension is frequently employed with force. Most of the book is spent complaining of “what is wrong with conventional family ministry” and erecting elaborate portrayals of the horrifying— or at least disappointing— inevitable ends of these. Only at the very end does the author offer a constructive approach to how to “do” family ministry in a more biblically-faithful way.

The reason this is so disappointing is that the author is clearly able to articulate sound biblical ideas about family ministry, and how a church ought to execute it more faithfully. But the ethos with which he approaches his articulation means that few will read to the end who aren’t already convinced of his perspectives (at least to some degree).

If the author means to convert others en masse to a new, more biblical view of family ministry, his approach has sunk his attempts for the most part. If, on the other hand, he simply intends a ranting polemic that will “preach to the choir” and do little to make positive change, I wonder why he bothers.

The book has some very good content, if you can sift through the tone and attacking posture to get to it.

The Pastor: A MemoirThe Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene H. Peterson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As expected, this book was excellent. Peterson’s honesty about his own humble path to becoming the pastor he was and is, in his simple description of how it came to pass, makes it seem that God could guide any pastor along a similar path. And in fact, that’s the point: our work and vocation as pastors is not all that different from one another, and Peterson’s portrayal of the life he has lived, and the lessons he has learned, as a pastor is not meant to be self-aggrandizing, but affirming of others whom God has granted the calling of “pastor”.

What makes this book so needed, as well, is that it (semi-unintentionally) debunks the common myths about what it means to be a pastor. Not a rock star, nor just one of the guys; not a CEO-styled visionary nor a psychologist. Rather, one who simply lives among others as the one who administers Word, Sacrament, prayer, and companionship, all the while giving dignity to all of those other vocations and more. Peterson casts a vision for pastoral ministry that is as old as the Scriptures themselves, yet in the face of so many misconceptions about the vocation of the pastor it is also fresh. And breathtaking.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sermon Texts for October 2011

Here are the sermon texts for Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church for October:

10/2 — Acts 15:35-41 (Differences & Disputes)
10/9 — Acts 16:1-12 (Advancing the Ministry)
10/16 — Matthew 16:13-21 (Laying Foundations)
10/23 — Genesis 12:1-5 (Going…)
10/31 — Acts 16:13-40 (Spiritual Attack & Freedom)