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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reading "Slant"

Last night I got a chance to be some some artists (a painter, a poet, a musician, and an actor) who helped me discern a bit more of the story about Jesus' anointing at Simon the Leper's house. (Mark 14.3-9) What I learned was great. Here's some stuff in no particular order:

1) It never hurts to have people who see the world "slant" (in another perspective) read with you. The actor, for example, brought forth the frustration it must have been to be a friend of Jesus'. The guy never talked straight (especially in the Gospel of Mark where we were reading), and this story of "the poor will always be with you" is just a buzz-killer of the highest degree!

2) The Internet has bought into contemporary biblical criticism; or, at least made it easy for artists to find it. Sometimes I despair when I run into the plethora of literal biblical readers who come into my classes, and wonder how will it ever change? It already has changed! Within 10 years (I'm guessing) it will be impossible to find a biblical literalist that any 5 point Fundementalist would call "literal." Mainline Protestantism no longer supplies "Bible churches" with the de-facto literalists who made up their growth over the past 40 years. (Look up the statistics, most of the people who "grew" Bible churches over the past 40 years grew up in mainline Protestant congregations. Where are the Bible churches going to get their new converts if mainline Protestantism doesn't provide them?) People don't read anymore, much less literally. How does this trend (biblical literalism)survive the internet? (Look for another post soon on this topic.)

3) Never underestimate the power of good leadership. I am not sure how my friend Josh Sawyer pulled this off over the last few weeks, but he is good at gathering this type of celebration together. He's also 20 years younger than me...which means my children may actually have a chance to go to church when I am gone.

4) Lastly, I don't miss preaching...but I would like to have a Bible study class again...but this time with lots of different kinds of folks. Most of my Bible studies have been with the same type of people, and I'd like to have one with artists, literalists, gays, straight, married, single, Black, Caucsian, Asian, Latino--whatever...just people who want to see what God is up to in the world, and how they might--in even just a simple act--help out, and read it "slant."

May your table be full, and your conversations be true.

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