A New Look at Preaching

A verse in 1 Corinthians stood out to me today and I admit that I’m a bit perplexed by it. The verse is 1:17:

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

When I think of good preaching, wisdom and eloquence fit nicely within my view. They seem to me to be two great aspects of an effective sermon. However, Paul seems to think that using them (to what extent?) has the potential to empty the cross of its power. That is a pretty in-your-face statement. Wisdom and eloquence could have the potential to cause people to focus on the preacher instead of the God being preached about but it seems like even then those are the people who change my view of God. Andy Stanley comes to mind. He has some of the most insightful thoughts on Scripture that I would naturally classify as wisdom but I’m not sure that Paul would. As of now, I guess I’ll put this in the category of Christ being made powerful in our weakness although I admit that I’m trying to wrap my mind around this concept.

My Lesson at Ironman

I spoke again at our men’s morning Bible study for 200+ guys and would love to hear any feedback that you have from my message. Follow this link and click on the message from 9-28-06 called “Dry Shipwreck.”

V for Vendetta

This has quickly become one of my favorite movies for numerous different reasons. I highly recommend it. In the first scene that you see “V” he gives a monolgue that pretty much lays out the movie…did I mention he mainly uses big words that start with V? Here is what he says in the movie:

VoilĂ ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

This sounds pretty cool when he says it although as you probably can tell it is hard to know what the heck he is saying. To fix this, one of my buddies decided to take the time to translate this. Here is what he is actually saying in normal language:

Look Here! In sight a humble experienced performer cast in substitution as both sufferer and afflicter by the changeability of Fate. This face is no mere front of excessive pride, is a trace of the voice of the people, now empty, disappeared. However, this brave return of a dismissed annoying imitation, stands renewed, and has promised to get rid of these corrupt and poisonous animals of prey advancing immoral practice and bestowing the extremely immoral and ravenous disrespectful act of will . The only end result is retribution; a feud which both members of opposing parties murder each other, held as a pledge, not in failure, for the worth and adherence of truth of such shall one day make right the alert and the morally excellent.. Assuredly, this soup (potato soup) of words turns most wordy, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

The Enemies of the Church

Although I have had to resist from blogging most of the things that I have been challenged with from one of the books I’m currently reading, I found something that is not only appropriate for this platform but also relevant to what many of us as Christians need to hear. Wright talks about spiritual warfare and clarifies who the enemies of Christians really are.

“People are not our enemies, and we should not treat them so. To do so drives out the possibility of responding to them with the love and compassion of Christ. The true enemies are the spiritual powers that are beyond people, and we too are prone to adopt satanic attitudes. This is why Jesus rebuked Peter moments after he confessed him as Messiah (Mk. 8:33). Satan is equally willing to ‘suit up for either team.’ He is equally willing to stir up opposition to the church or to stir up wrong attitudes within it. Simplistic black and white scenarios that see the church on one side as the faultless community and others as the corrupt enemy lead to the demonizing of opponents and the failure to love our enemies. The history of the church proves the case” (173).

This strikes me as timely considering the many things and people that “the church” takes on. Wright shifts our focus to where it should be.

The Gospel of Luke

I’ve been reading through the Gospels again and Luke has stood out to me more than it has before. I feel more connected to the Lucan Jesus as He is portrayed in His interactions with people. Obviously, I already love Jesus prior to reading this again but I’m impressed with how attractive of a person He sounds. Here are some things that have stood out to me so far:

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (4:1)

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.” (4:14)

“and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.” (6:19)

In addition, Luke records Jesus’ beattitudes in a way that is much more tuned to the poor and needy people. It is great to have a reminder of this when it is so tempting to get lost in theological musings. The fact is, Jesus was a person that many people wanted to be around. We need to do a better job at showing Him this way today.

Busy Times

So my wife and I have been in the processing of moving out of our apartment and into a house. Needless to say it’s been a bit chaotic. I’ve still been reading some great books and I’m about to start another interesting one. I’ve been tempted to blog on what I’m reading right now but the parts that interest me are too edgy or controversial to start an online conversation. If you’re interested in some new theological ideas then I would encourage you to read it too. The book is called The Theology of the Dark Side by Nigel Goring Wright.

I just bought a new book that should make for some intriguing conversations. I didn’t buy it new though for as my friend told me, “you never pay full price for heresy.” It should be interesting, stay tuned…