Like many of you, I am constantly amazed and delighted at how well N. T. Wright describes and speaks to the questions of our day. Here's a quick sample:
"Part of the problem, particularly in the United States, is that cultures become so polarized that it is often assumed that if you tick one box you're going to tick a dozen other boxes down the same side of the page--without realizing that the page itself is highly arbitrary and culture-bound. We have to claim the freedom, in Christ and in our various cultures, to name and call issues one by one with wisdom and clarity, without assuming that a decision on one point commits us to a decision on others."
--part of Wright's introductory remarks in a presentation on "Women's Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis" delivered at a symposium at St. John's College, September 2004.
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I had seen it before, but over at Brian Mashburn's blog I recently came across it again: Joe Beam's description and classification of Churches of Christ in the U.S. Have you seen this? It's worth a read and consideration. I'd be interested to hear your reactions to it. You can see the article, "What is Happening to Churches of Christ?" here.
Now, here are a couple of my reactions:
1. I understand the desire to simply identify and describe what is happening. And I think that Beam's analysis is, I'm sad to say, mostly on-target.
2. For me, the upshot is this: the group Beam is describing, the Churches of Christ, is the one where I grew up, where I belong, where I worship and work, and where I (God, help me) have agreed to be a leader of sorts. Because that's true, I am compelled to not only ask "What is happening?" but also to ask "And what am I doing about it?" I believe that in this case a leader is someone who is willing to take up responsibility for dealing with the sin of disunity in what is already a splinter group.
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Hey, check out Jim Martin's latest post, "Creating Opportunities to Learn." I'll soon be listing Jim under my sidebar "Some Bloggers I Like." He certainly belongs in that group. His blog "A Place for the God-Hungry" never fails to whet my appetite.