Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Another Valedictory Address

Those who read or heard the valedictory address I posted a week or so ago might be interested to read the one given at Taylor Seminary by my friend Bryce this year. It has a very similar message to the one I gave, and it either shows why he and I or friends or it speaks to an increasingly common strain of thought amongst some of Canada's seminarians (from what I can tell, its both). If there is a "trend" here in the hearts and minds of future pastors, I wonder what it tells us? What might be ahead for the church? Is it good? What would be good about it? What might be bad about it?

6 comments:

Eric said...

Jon - Not to totally change the subject, but could you comment on "There Will Be Blood"? You gave it five stars; what did you like about it? I'm debating seeing it.

jon said...

eric: check out the brief comments on my april 27 and 15th posts. myself and tanti and matt talked a bit about it there. there has also been some decent discussion at Watch It Movies lately. That is a good starting place but there may be more to say after checking there, which I welcome . . .!

Tony Tanti said...

I like what both of you are saying, I think it is a common theme but not common enough. Implied in that statement is my opinion that it is a good theme.

Christianity must redefine success, not because there isn't success being had in the old definition (and there is plenty) but because we are in danger of concentrating on things God does not prioritize.

I left this same comment on Bryce's blog but I forgot to answer what might be bad about this. I guess one danger I can think of is the villification of those who obtain success by the old definition but they also seek and obtain God's success as a priority. ie: a church growing is not a bad thing, having numerical growth as your #1 goal is.

jon said...

Good comment tanti. i think one thing that could be a drawback would be that we'd have to find a new motivation for TRYING, in those cases where measurable growth, vision casting strategies, and so on, tend to provide that or keep it in focus. But I definitely think other, better, motivations can be found besides the capitalistic, business-minded, individualistic, and success-driven presuppositions that currently undergird so much of our church priorities

jon said...

One of the things I'm thinking about is how our definition of success is so closely related to what our idea of salvation is. If salvation is ultimately the "soul-winning" that takes place at a moment of conversion, then a numbers game and a business-expansion mindset where church growth can in some way be quantified make some vague sort of sense (even though in such a case the numbers can still be incredibly unreliable, misleading, and distracting).

However, if salvation is about a whole life change, and an entrance into a Kingdom, and the growth of a community of Christian reconciliation, and a foretaste of the redemption of the cosmos, and an anticipated fulfillment of God's (very earthy) promises to Israel that include the Church, but which in the meantime are typified as much by suffering and trial and struggle and faith and the way of the cross as by "success" and prosperity and so on --- then I would question whether we are doing a very good job measuring (or even giving a crap about) this, if indeed it can be measured at all.

jon said...

could it be possible that loving God and loving neighbour are good enough of a "missions motivation" on their own?