David Julen wrote a Biblical Recorder article in March, “Can a woman be president but not a pastor?”: http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/post/2009/03/09/Can-a-woman-be-president-but-not-a-pastor.aspx.
My friend, Ted Manby, published an excellent response, “Handling the Bible properly on culturally hot topics”: http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/post/2009/04/14/Handling-the-Bible-properly-on-culturally-hot-topics.aspx.
Check out Justin Taylor’s recent interview with Os Guinness on the 25th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death: http://theologica.blogspot.com/2009/05/interview-with-os-guinness-on-25th.html.
I also recommend Guinness’ book review of Frank Schaeffer’s memoir, Crazy for God: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2008/marapr/1.32.html.
A new article on The Briefing, Making Singleness Better, is well worth the read.
The column begins: “There are those who say that singleness is better, but unfortunately that is not the experience of many who have been single long-term. Tim Adeney looks at why, and what we can do to love and serve the single people in our churches.”
You can also read some of my thoughts on singleness at: https://joshberrus.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/some-thoughts-on-singleness/
I have been challenged by Dennis Okholm’s book Monk Habits for Everyday People where he challenges pastors toward solitude, listening, poverty (sharing the goods), obedience, humility, hospitality, stability (staying put to get somewhere), and balance (God in everything). By cultivating these disciplines, ministry leaders have great potential to change the world for Christ.
I’ve been especially blessed by chapter 8 considering the Benedictine monks who took a vow of stability to stay with one church community for life. This kind of consistency is rare for GenX who tend to lack commitment. I urge you to prayerfully read Okholm’s book as a reality check. It may help you re-think your future ministry.
Kevin Roose has written an interesting book, The Unlikely Disciple, about his experience going “undercover” as a student for one semester at Liberty University.
Check out J. D. Greear’s excellent book review at: http://betweenthetimes.com/2009/04/27/the-unlikely-disciple/.
Greear says, “It is worth reading just to see how we as Christians look to those on the ‘outside’, and to see what intelligent, articulate, surprisingly MORAL ‘unbelievers’ think about us.”
Nicholas Carr, author of the book The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google and the article Is Google Making Us Stupid? recently wrote a sobering blog post: Twitter dot dash.
Here are some highlights:
“Twitter unbundles the blog, fragments the fragment. It broadcasts the text message, turns SMS into a mass medium. And what exactly are we broadcasting? The minutiae of our lives. The moment-by-moment answer to what is, in Twitterland, the most important question in the world: What are you doing? Or, to save four characters: What you doing? Twitter is the telegraph of Narcissus. Not only are you the star of the show, but everything that happens to you, no matter how trifling, is a headline, a media event, a stop-the-presses bulletin. Quicksilver turns to amber.”
He goes on:
“The great paradox of ‘social networking’ is that it uses narcissism as the glue for ‘community.’ Being online means being alone, and being in an online community means being alone together. The community is purely symbolic, a pixellated simulation conjured up by software to feed the modern self’s bottomless hunger. Hunger for what? For verification of its existence? No, not even that. For verification that it has a role to play. As I walk down the street with thin white cords hanging from my ears, as I look at the display of khakis in the window of the Gap, as I sit in a Starbucks sipping a chai served up by a barista, I can’t quite bring myself to believe that I’m real. But if I send out to a theoretical audience of my peers 140 characters of text saying that I’m walking down the street, looking in a shop window, drinking tea, suddenly I become real. I have a voice. I exist, if only as a symbol speaking of symbols to other symbols.”
No generation has arrived. Every generation has gains and losses. I pray our generation will be prayerful, teachable, Scripture-centered, seeking counsel from ministry leaders who have paved the way, learning from history, and making greater strides for Christ in the decades ahead.
I recommend the following article by Nathan Akin: A Call for Foot Soldiers in a Great Commission Resurgence: The Positives and the Pitfalls for Young Leaders. A brief outline is below.
Positives of Young Leaders:
1. Energy and Creativity
2. Theological Renewal
3. A Missionaries’ Mindset
Pitfalls of Young Leaders:
1. Pride and Ageism
2. Follow through
3. Capitulation to Culture
4. Isolationist Attitude
5. Neglect of the Spiritual Disciplines