I love the theology and thoughts James K. A. Smith produces.  Where for others readability hints at a shallow pool from which to draw, Smith’s writing for me has just the opposite effect.  Today I really appreciated the attention of such a deep thinker being turned to praise bands.  Good stuff.  May the church be wooed back to worship that is both formative and expressive.

Open Letter to Praise Bands

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When God closes a door…

October 27, 2009

“God just didn’t open any windows.”  How many times have I heard this?  How many times have I said it myself?  Nonetheless, the last time I heard it (a couple of weeks ago), it sparked a great conversation with the guys in my triad, because God doesn’t open windows or doors for us to join his mission.

As I see it, “open window” theology grows from an evangelism oriented salvation.  “I’m not going to hell” might be the main statement of faith here.  Good news to be sure, but it also denies the Gospel’s power to reshape and redefine the whole existence of those it has and is saving.  The problem with open windows is that we have to wait for them to be opened!

To be sure, God is the opener and closer of doors and windows, but not when it comes to mission.  When the Pharisees charge Jesus with breaking the Sabbath window he replied, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” (John 5:17)–and it almost gets him killed.  Jesus’ rationale for healing a man is not that God opened the window, but that God is always working!

As Leonard Sweet puts it, “The church can never be ‘on a mission’ because that presupposes an ‘off’ switch, and you can’t be ‘off mission’ and still be a church. The church is mission” (So Beautiful, 64).  So if we stop waiting for God to open the next window, how do we start joining God where he is working?

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Good Quote

June 30, 2009

Just after coming across a quote from a professor at the Free University in Amsterdam, I came across this quote:

“Just as the church ceases to be church if it is not missionary, theology ceases to be theology if it loses its missionary character…We are in need of a missiological agenda for theology rather than just a theological agenda for mission; for theology, rightly understood, has no reason to exist other than critically to accompany the [mission of God]” (Total Church 156).

Re-read it a couple of times if you want to get the whole message.  Heck, read the book if you want to get the WHOLE, whole message.  As the subtitle points out, Chester and Timmis’ book Total Church is meant to be “A radical reshaping around the Gospel and Community”.  Simple idea with some profound implications.  Do I agree with all of them?  No, but I have been encouraged to allow the Lord to re-form my thoughts about church in some ways I think will be very helpful for our context here in Holland.  Only time (and more blog posts) will tell (you) how things turn out over here as we re-center ourselves on our calling.  Pray for this process!

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