Beside the still waters or running a "sheep circus"?

Welsh Sheep Pasture

David Hayward (aka NakedPastor) writes an interesting article about his vision of shepherding sheep. Imagine a gently sloping hillside covered with thick nutritious grass, a bright blue sky, a couple hundred sheep, one lone majestic oak, an ancient stone boundary wall and a trickling stream running down from the upper elevations. David sees the shepherd as spending endless days under that tree with his favorite book or trusty guitar, watching the sheep graze peacefully or drink from a nearby stream. There are occasional menial tasks required of a good shepherd and, of course, making sure the sheep are safe from danger, but most days are long and lazy Continue reading

Post-Congregational Christianity

Read anything written by Reggie McNeal? He is the author of The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church. I have not read the book yet but after hearing and reading several prominent missional leaders quote this guy, I went to Amazon and found the following quotation from chapter one:

A growing number of people are leaving the institutional church for a new reason. They are not leaving because they have lost faith. They are leaving the church to preserve their faith. They contend that the church no longer contributes to their spiritual development. In fact, they say, quite the opposite is true. The number of “post-congregational” Christians is growing. David Barrett, author of World Christian Encyclopedia, estimates that there are about 112 million “churchless Christians” worldwide, about 5 percent of all adherents, but he projects that number will double in the next twenty years!

I have the feeling that Europe is years ahead of North America in this trend of “churchless” or “post-congregational” Christianity.

By the way, you can listen to an audio narration of the first chapter of McNeal’s book here at New Reality Number One: The Collapse of the Church Culture.

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Related articles: A typical week “outside the box” of organized religion (Churchless.net)

Interviews on "Simple Church"

This video represents a growing movement throughout the world: the "simple" or "organic" church. Many traditional church leaders—especially in the Western world—feel very threatened by this movement and try to paint these believers with a broad brush, describing them as the lunatic fringe of the church of Jesus Christ. What they don't realize, however, is that Continue reading

Family matters

Bubba Lollar & familyMy cousin & his family spent the past four days with us, after a ten-day mission trip in Birmingham, England. Harold "Bubba" Lollar works in the Tupelo office of Roger Wicker, United States Congressman for the First Congressional District of Mississippi. We got some interesting looks when I introduced "my cousin Bubba and his wife, Rockie," to our Welsh friends. Their six-year-old adopted daughter, Myleea, really enjoyed herself wherever we went; and her teen-aged sister, Kate, spent some time with our youngest daughter, Jennifer. Bubba and I had not seen one another for thirty-five years, but we began to get reacquainted when I contacted him four or five years ago regarding our Lollar genealogy. Other than our two daughters who still live in the states, this is the very first time we have had family members visit us in Wales. It was a great experience, especially when we discovered their love for Jesus Christ and His church. Thanks for coming to see us!

Paradigms: too full of shift?

Paradigm ShiftA brother by the name of Christian Smith—never heard of him until I stumbled upon a couple of his articles—has written an interesting article entitled, Tub Drains, Planets, and Mountain Bikes. Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite (or spoil your lunch):

Medieval astronomers worked with a paradigm of the universe that assumed that the sun and the planets revolved around the earth. Even the Bible, they claimed, said so—a fact not incidental to our concerns. This paradigm informed the assumptions they made, the questions they asked, and the data they believed was relevant.

The earth-centered paradigm worked adequately. But over time, pesky anomalies arose, and making the paradigm account for them required devising an ever increasingly complex system. Eventually, an iconoclast named Copernicus proposed a new, simpler paradigm of the universe, arguing that the planets, including the earth, actually revolved around the sun. That was a radical shift of thinking, an entirely different frame of reference that drastically reordered reality itself. Continue reading