And, by God’s stunning grace, our plans to plant a new church in the urban core of KC are moving forward at a blinding pace and in ways much different and more beautiful than we ever could have conceived.
What follows is my attempt to provide a brief sketch of some of what has transpired in the past year and to update those who are interested on what we are currently doing in Kansas City.
CT: Why make an album focused exclusively on God's holiness?
Doerksen: Two reasons. The positive reason is, when I went to withdraw and seek God at the beginning of last year to learn what he wanted me to do, I had such a powerful encounter with him and his holiness. The more I meditated, the more it became the only thing I wanted to sing about.
The negative reason would be simply my deep concern about some of what is going on in the modern worship explosion—the shallowness, the man-centeredness, the banality. I wanted to do something that was about God and his core attributes. A song like "Holy God" is a God song, not a song about our feelings toward God. It's not our response to God. So this was my way of saying, "Think on these things."
Living as we do after the Fall but before the Heavenly City, we are in a time when faith is central, and so the Word must be central-- because God's Holy Spirit creates His people by His Word! We can create a people by other means, and this is the great temptation of churches. We can create a people around a certain ethnicity. We can create a people around a fully-graded choir program. We can find people who will get excited about a building project or a denominational identity. We can create a people around social opportunities for young mothers or Caribbean cruises for singles. We can create a people around men's groups. We can even create a people around the personality of a preacher. And God can surely use all of these things. But in the final analysis the people of God, the church of God, can only be created around the Word of God (Mark Dever, 9 marks of a healthy church, 50).
I think it was David Brooks who coined, years ago, the term “beyondist.” A beyondist is someone who urges us to get beyond left/right distinctions, beyond partisan politics, beyond the stymied options of the day. Jim Wallis is a good example, as the title of his book God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It plainly shows.
Who can’t feel the call of beyondism? When Wallis writes, “Don’t be a liberal, don’t be a conservative, be a man or woman of faith. Don’t turn right, don’t turn left, go deeper,” the response has to be: Amen, brother—but stop preaching to the choir. Your heart gives that weird, despairing thunk of hopelessness the umpteenth time you hear a set of Democratic party talking points, Republican party rejoinders, liberal reposts, conservative retorts, leftist agitations, and righty fulminations. To be bound entirely by the political options of the day is to be lost in the perpetual quotidian—swept down the narrowest of channels, banging from side to side and scraping off your skin as you go.
And yet it’s one thing for people to get beyond left/right distinctions, and something different to demand that people get beyond left/right distinctions. That demand to get beyond politics itself exists in a political context—and its proposals always end up breaking for one camp or the other: The way to get beyond the liberal/conservative divide is for all of you on the other side to agree with me. It seems to be a rule that every beyondist is actually doing a little bait and switch—like the tire store that advertises discounted radials they just happen to be out of, though they’re happy to sell you these more expensive whitewalls instead. (read more)
Starting this week and over the next 12 months we will be releasing short video podcasts designed to be a weekly encouragement and challenge to not waste our lives. As the Lord provides, our plan is to produce at least 100 hundred episodes. Every episode will take a theme from the book, Don't Waste Your Life, and challenge us to think about what we are doing with the lives the Lord has given us. We are encouraging everyone with a website, blog, etc. to use any of these episodes to spread the message around the world. We are praying that many who would never read the book may be impacted in a significant way by watching one of these podcasts.
Below is a quote from Rick Phillips', Understandably Feminist along with links to the current posts in their series.
While I do not believe that patriarchy (biblically defined) is a sin, as Stackhouse claims, I do believe that many women have never experienced biblical patriarchy but only a mockery of it. In other words, however big the feminist problem is in America and in the church, I believe there is a masculinity problem that is just as big, if not bigger. Given the attitude of many men towards their wives and daughters, and given the actual behavior of many men (in and out of the church), it is no wonder that women fear male authority structures.
Let’s get right to the point. This letter to the church in Sardis ought to alert us to the fact that a church can be confident of its place in the community, increasing in membership, energetic in its religious activities, liquid in its financial assets, fervent in its outreach to the broader culture, and yet dead!
I fear it is precisely those reading this who say, in response, “Yes, but that’s not us,” who are particularly in jeopardy. It is the unsuspecting church, the unexamined church, the spiritually smug church that simply can’t believe a congregation that appears to have been so richly blessed by God (“After all, look at how many turned out for our Christmas pageant!”) could possibly be the focus of a divine rebuke such as we find in the words to Sardis.