Sunday, October 31, 2010

Asking For a Christian Roommate Is Discrimination

Michigan's Department of Civil Rights is investigating a single 31-year-old woman for posting a note on her church bulletin board stating that she was seeking a "Christian roommate" to share her residence. According to the agency, she violated Fair Housing laws by "engaging in discriminatory advertising ... due to religious beliefs." If found guilty, the young woman may have to pay a civil fine, as well as be forced to attend "sensitivity training," so that she will not "discriminate in the future." The complaint was signed by Tyra Khan, a Michigan "Civil Rights Representative."

Joel Oster, a spokesman for the Alliance Defense Fund who is representing the woman, confirmed that ADF sent a letter to the state explaining that such housing rules don't apply to people living in their own homes and wanting to share their resources.

"[Tricia] is a single lady looking for a roommate. She is not a landlord. She does not own a management company. She does not run an apartment complex. She is a single person seeking to have a roommate live with her in her house," the letter said.

Oster also said that the government's actions blatantly violated her First Amendment rights to freedom of association and asked that the complaint be immediately dismissed. [,]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Protestant Pastors Disapprove of President's Performance

(below from FotF's Pastor's Weekly briefing)

A new survey released this week by LifeWay Research shows that 61 percent of Protestant pastors do not approve of President Obama's job performance. According to the Gallup Poll, currently 56 percent of all Americans do not approve of the president's performance.
The research also revealed that:
  • Forty-seven percent of pastors who identify themselves as Democrat, strongly approve of the president's performance.
  • Three percent of Republican pastors and 10 percent of Independent pastors strongly approve of the president's performance.
  • Fifty-five percent of pastors who consider themselves evangelical, strongly disapprove of the president's job performance, compared to 34 percent of mainline pastors.
The same study also asked the pastors about their opinions relating to endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Only 16 percent agreed, either strongly or somewhat, with the statement, "I believe pastors should endorse candidates for public office from the pulpit."
"We know that pastors have strong feelings when it comes to political candidates and their job performance," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. "But each week when they step into public pulpits in front of sometimes thousands of congregants, the vast majority of those pulpits remain silent on advising others how to vote. They may not approve, but they do not plan to tell."
The survey, which was conducted October 7-14 of this year, was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 senior pastors of Protestant churches. For the complete report, please visit LifeWay Research.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Where is God? - Dr. John Townsend - Book Review

My first exposure to Dr. Townsend's writing was in seminary as I read the book "How People Grow" that he co-authored with Henry Cloud.  Being impressed for the most part with that book, when I got the chance to review "Where is God?", I thought it would be a good opportunity to read more of his writing. Thus far I've avoided reading all of the "Boundaries" though I have seen both Cloud & Townsend present a couple of times on that material (thus I haven't read it).

My book was provided free of charge via BookSneeze, but I am not paid for my review, and have sole authorial control over this review.

The first thing that I noticed was that similar to "How People Grow" this book rates high on readability.  It is easy to pick up, follow, and to read for long stretches.  As a reviewer, I try to read all the way through the books given to me, and read them thoroughly so I have a good feel for the materials, so readability is important.

Because I am in full time ministry, I was really hopeful for the content in this book.  It is asking a big, weighty theological question.  While many would not phrase it just like that, almost everyone of faith who has times of struggle contemplate something similar.  As a pastor with a vast collection of books and resources, I found the book didn't cover a lot of new ground for me, but that is not a negative actually.  What I really like about this book is that the material remains approachable for the average person, connecting real stories with real life in ways someone without an advanced graduate degree could absorb, learn from, and use.  While I could nit-pick a few points here and there, and would personally have gone a bit deeper, those are tiny criticisms of what is overall a very solid book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Page CXVI - Hymns I and Hymns II

I've been listening to these albums for at least 6 straight months.

(updated code on 10/22/10 so now it shows and will stream properly!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pastors and the Housing Crisis

Collin Hansen posted the following article at The Gospel Coalition site that I can relate all too well to personally.

(below is just a segment of the larger article, click through to see it all)

Pastors Search for Churches, Home Buyers

Killeen Bible Church had a solid plan in place. The leaders decided in 2008 that two pastors would share the pulpit after the man who planted the church 30 years ago retired to teach in a seminary. One pastor, recognized by the church as an elder, was already preaching regularly. The other led a fledgling church in South Dakota and planned to move back into the heart of Texas, where he had been discipled by the church’s long-time pastor. The plan made a lot of sense.

But it didn’t happen. The pastor in South Dakota owned a home. Everyone expected it would sell quickly, because the Lord had evidently called him to move. But after 10 months, the house still did not sell. And he could not afford the huge loss he would sustain by cutting the asking price. Killeen Bible Church briefly considered buying the house themselves and trying to sell it, but they decided against taking the risk.

Finally, the pastor and elders reached a mutual agreement in October 2009 to stop the process. The pastor in South Dakota stayed home and planted a church. Though their plans changed, everyone agreed that the sovereign hand of God had redirected them.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Francis Chan shares his thoughts on Biblical Simplicy

Francis Chan makes me feel inadequate as a Christian and as a pastor.  And that is a good thing.  Today Kent Shaffer shared some thoughts about Chan's presentation about Biblical Simplicity at Catalyst 2010.  Below is a segment, click through for the full post.

During Catalyst Conference, Francis Chan discussed following Biblical simplicity.
This is what the Lord  says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken!
- Jeremiah 9:23-24
You should brag about the fact that you know God.
God answers prayer. But he doesn’t always answer prayer. The Bible says if you treat your wife with disrespect, He doesn’t hear your prayer. If you doubt, it is like you are being tossed by the waves of the sea.
A lot of times we just assume things are good. But there are plenty of times that God says, “Just stop it because I am looking at your life.”
Sometimes we need simplicity.
I know God, and He listens to me.
Think about that.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Clergy Appreciation Month - October 2010

Focus on the Family offered the following. I share it because there are many readers from many different churches who happen by this blog. It is in NO WAY a ploy by me asking for something from my very gracious and generous church. They love and respect me, but some churches aren't as good at this as mine is, so give it some thought and do something for your pastor this month!


What is Clergy Appreciation Month?

Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the church and the community. It is also important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.

Why is CAM necessary?

The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.
Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.
That's why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.
"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching" (1 Timothy 5:17).
The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is one way we can counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with the positive affirmation they need.