Archive for May 2nd, 2007

It's not easy being greenShould Christians be “Green”?
This is a vexing question for me and other Christians I know. 

Personally, as a scientist/engineer/statistician, I find the “evidence” for Global Warming to be highly suspect, and about as convincing as the “evidence” for unguided evolution.  I also find that much of what passes for “green” today poses as many, if not more, problems than it solves.  Just look at the current debate to eliminate incandescent lightbulbs and replace them with Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL’s) – which have as many, if not more problems, though they consume less electricity.

In Genesis, man is made to be a steward of God’s creation, which He declared “good”, yet many Christians treat environmentalism as “liberal”, lumping it in with a number of ungodly causes, and dismiss it.  Some Christians take the fatalistic view that since God will make a “new heavens and a new earth”, what we do here does not matter.  We’re riding a borrowed mule, so why should we waste the effort on caring for it when there are bigger fish to fry?

As Rob Bell recently noted, if we, as Christians, do not take the lead in stewardship of the world God made, we risk telling the world that we don’t care about it, regardless of what the book we believe tells us.  And he is right – when we ignore/reject problems with the environment, the world will take over and make us irrelevant in the debate.  What we will end up with is vividly illustrated in the sad article linked to by CRN yesterday, where the Bible has been replaced with Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Where is the balance between worshipping the creation and being good stewards for the Creator?

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Watchdawggies don't like happy people!One of our frequent commenters, Julie Neidlinger, who runs the Lone Prairie Art Works blog (which I recommend as a nice down-to-earth and often quite humorous place to visit, whether she’s talking about graduation slogans, drawing cartoons, skewering the watchdawwgies, or her own personal wall of shame) recently made this observation:

["Pastor" Ken] Silva single-handedly introduced me to Rob Bell. He can’t stand Rob Bell, and I took that as a recommendation.

I have to agree with her sentiments, as I’ve found a number of excellent Christian writers (Erwin McManus, Dan Kimball, Mark Driscoll, Bob Hyatt and others), conferences and resources that I never would have found without Ingrid, Ken and company. Their scattershot (and shoddy) approach to attacking Christians hits so many God-honoring and Christ-serving men and women (along with those who truly are questionable), that they do offer a service they probably do not intentionally provide.

Today, the mysterious “Editor” (who hypocritically hides behind anonymity, which was a key point in Ingrid’s meltdown and the disappearance of Slice 1.0 – but that’s another topic for another time) pointed out an excellent resource for artistic and production volunteers and staff – the 2007 Willow Creek Arts Conference, entitled: “Halleluhah: What’s Right With the World”. From the conference website:

The world we live in has many dark places, and artists are often more sensitive than others to the pain of our broken world. That is our burden, and our gift.

It’s easy for artists to become cynical and tired. But as men and women who also follow Jesus Christ, it’s imperative that we continue to use our gifts to open a window of hope to others.

This year’s theme, hallelujah: what’s right with the world, is a powerful reminder that artists must overcome the tendency toward cynicism and weariness; artists must choose to look through the darkness and glimpse the light, and then reflect that beauty to the world. At the Arts Conference, you’ll be surrounded by other artists who are tackling this monumental task every week, just like you.

Together, we’ll be reminded that fostering life transformation through better weekend services is worthy of our very best efforts. Come—and bring your entire worship/programming team—for an unforgettable experience that will refuel your heart and soul to accomplish that job with excellence.

Now, the implication from the “Editor” is that we shouldn’t be focusing at all with “what’s right with the world”. After all, we know there’s a lot wrong with it. Right? Granted, I expect the apoplexy level at Slice 2.0 to go up as we get closer to mid-June, as the speaker line-up is a “who’s who” of CRN’s “Most Wanted List” – including Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus and Donald Miller plus music from David Crowder.

I will not argue that there is much going wrong with the world that we, as Christians, are called to confront. However, there is a time for every season, not only a time to mourn. After all, this world is a place that God created and called “good”, and it is a place that he will “renew” or “make new” again. Paul even points to the evidence of God in His creation.

I greatly appreciate artists like Laura Story who capture this in song and verse:

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Ominously, Mr/Mrs “Editor” concludes the Slice 2.0 article with:

Is your church a member of the Willow Creek Association?

Mine is, and the local/state churches I see on their list for Indiana (my state) are the ones who are thriving and making a difference in individual lives and in the community and world around them. If you’re isn’t a member of the WCA, maybe it should be…

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Hey Guys,

I am on the production staff for a conference taking place this week.  Alot of emerging (and emergent for that matter) leaders from around the country are here through Thursday.  I have actually met several people that read on a daily basis!  Many here have told me that countless others look to this site for logical answers to the charges against the emerging community.  Many of these young pastor are facing the same attacks from dead and dying churches in their area that Silva throws out.  I just thought that this would be a little boost, reminding us that our work here is impacting such a greater community.  Continue to pray for the movement of Jesus Christ that is taking place all across our country and the world!

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