this weeks round-up (march 24)

Backlogged again. Here’s what’s hit me over the past few weeks:

Tony Jones is launching “Ecclesileak”- leaking memos, letters, etc. to expose the “dark underbelly” of denominations. His first target is the United Methodist Church and a memo about how to treat a visiting Bishop. I was expecting the worst, but reading it, I wasn’t all that shocked – maybe I’ve drunk too much of the kool-aid, but it seems to me to be a primer on basic hospitality for any special guest (make arrangements prior to the visit, make sure a parking space is available, have someone available to show them where to go, provide a space for them to prepare for worship, provide a brief introduction during worship, and basic protocol about processing in and out of the service). It doesn’t even say reserve the best parking spot, or have Evian bottle water perfectly chilled at 41 degrees with a quarter slice of organic lemon, or anything. Seriously – if you are going to go after the UMC there have to be far better targets. To me, the real indictment is against the local congregations who don’t have basic hospitality down for visitors from every walk of life.

More on Rob Bell, from:
Jesus Needs New PR
Jeremy Smith also check out this one.
Jason Gray (on the nature of the conversation).
My friend Jeremy Peters has started blogging and has some great insight into Bell’s book and the nature of heresy.

Through Jeremy, I also found out about Chad Holtz who is was(?) a United Methodist pastor who was “fired” for writing about Rob Bell on his blog. There seems to be more than to the story than meets the eye (and his Rob Bell post was simply the “last straw”), because it doesn’t really fit UMC polity for a local congregation to fire their pastor. (Practically, I understand how it might happen – simply refuse to pay him a salary – but functionally only the Bishop in consultation with the cabinet has the power to change appointments). Holtz’s “five rules” frighten me a little as someone who does actively use social media (even though I do self censor at times). I found these words from Chad to be especially poignant:

“To close, I need to say something about the community where I had the privilege and honor of pastoring for the past four years.   They are not the bad guys of this story.  What has happened to me is not their fault.   This is merely one small story that highlights a symptom of a far greater disease.  

 If pastors are shepherds then I lay the majority of blame at our feet.  We have long histories of not striving for excellence in our shepherding but have instead settled for managing.   It is easier to churn out good citizens as opposed to faithful disciples.  We are merely reaping what we have sown.”

Social Media Etiquette Guide to dealing with bad news (from Lifehacker).

The Death of Seminary Education? (Semi-related – Wil Willimon on “Making Clergy“).

An unfortunate combination of signs (via)

Andrew Conrad on Paternity Leave (great explanation & sample letter of how to make the request for UM clergy).

Lynne Hybels – An Apology to my Muslim Friends.

Roger Olson – Walter Wink and Greg Boyd on the problem of evil.

Donald Miller – Jesus wants us the use common sense.

Seth Godin – Bring me stuff that’s dead, please. The theological take on this is perhaps best expressed by Mike Slaughter, “God does his best work in graveyards!” Also his post on Idea Tourism has a lot to say (without saying it) about church attendance, membership and discipleship.

What Your Favorite Classic Rock Band Says About You: Part 1. Part 2.

This version by Nick Lowe is a little more mellow than the one you might know (and if you know the song at all, you are probably more familiar with the version Elvis Costello did), but it’s Nick’s song and he does it well.