Monthly Archives: March 2009

Garrison Keillor on preaching

A quote by Keilor, that I would not have expected:

“I’ve heard a lot of sermons in the past 10 years or so that make me want to get up and walk out. They’re secular, psychological, self-help sermons. Friendly, but of no use. They didn’t make you straighten up. They didn’t give you anything hard.
…At some point and in some way, a sermon has to direct people toward the death of Christ and the campaign that God has waged over the centuries to get our attention.”
(Garrison Keillor, Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 3)

HT: DashHouse


The Myth of the Institution-less Church

Some good thoughts about ‘church’ as an institution, in this ‘anti-institution’ world that we live in.

“These days there seems to be a deep suspicion of all organisations, and in particular any structure, hierarchy and a basic resistance to anything that is an ‘institution’. And I for one, am convinced that institutions are the enemy of good practice (if I may paraphrase Alasdair MacIntyre badly).

By this, I mean that any institution that people form in order to deliver good practice will always wrestle with it becoming so bureaucratic and concerned for itself that it undermines the very thing it seeks to deliver in the first place.

We see this today with hospitals. Places dedicated to providing medical care to human beings can become so caught up in politics and management conflicts that the medical care they are supposed to provide becomes undermined and, in many cases, people suffer. We see the same with the church. The organisation of the church to facilitate the incarnation of the gospel quickly becomes an obstacle to the very nature and purpose of the church in the first place, and people are harmed more than helped.

Often, in reaction, we think that, in having no programmes, no hierarchy, the removal of the institution will solve the problem. After all, if the institution is getting in the way of the purpose, get rid of the institution. This response is increasingly ingrained in us, such that even using the word ‘institution’ is anathema to those seeking new ways of doing and being church. But I think how ever well intentioned, this approach is naive and inadequate to the task of being Church.

What we need is not the absence of institutions, but an articulate institutional imagination, something more than the incapacity of being ‘anti-institutional’. For if we get rid of hospitals, we might remove the problems they produce as institutions, but with it we also remove the provision of medical care from all those who had access to it before, or we restrict it to only a few who are in proximity to those who can provide it with no institutional support, or those who know how to provide to themselves. Which is what much of the ‘institution-less’ church has come to look like.

The question is not whether you can avoid being an institution; the question is what kind of institution can we imagine that will support the purposes of who and what we are trying to bring to others?”

HT: Deep Church

music Monday

Some good music by my friend Tom Hipps — 1/2 of Costello & Hipps

Their genre is — Lounge / Folk Rock / Rockabilly

And on a humorous note — I forgot about posting this long time ago — but watched them Super Bowl night. Brought back so many high school memories…

thought for the day

“And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you’ve got what it takes.” Psalm 40, The Message.


this is a test to see if this works from igoogle.

my computer odyssey

Michelle & I were watching basketball last night & I saw this commercial & it was freaky, how similar this was to my journey in buying a new laptop this week (I even bought the HP Pavilion, except my name is not Lauren & I am a boy)

interesting read…

An interesting read regarding the fragmentation of the emerging church…

Here is a good clip:
“The history of protestantism is a classic example of movement dynamics. Dissatisfaction creates a ground swell of support against a perceived problem, injustice or enemy. This ground swell coalesces into a movement; at first the movement’s energy and internal dialogue is centered around defining itself against the common enemy. But then as time passes the internal dialogue of the movement begins to shift away from ‘defining against’ to ‘defining itself’. Then the conversation changes and people inside the solidfying movement begin to discover that although they are united in their distaste of their ‘enemy’ there is much that they disagree with each other over. Then tensions and differences arise, fractures are followed by factions, and the new movement breaks up. (For another historical example of this check out the French revolution.)”

I would probably put myself & Kairos as a mix in the Neo-Missiologists & the Blenders groups.