Millennial Preacher

“With the Bible in one hand, and Facebook in the other”

My sermon writing involves

reading scripture

praying

facebook

reading commentary

rereading scripture

online news articles

blogging

Outlining sermon

catching up on twitter, tumblr, etc

reading all of my favorite people’s posts (I have a great gay rights friend, an awesome scholarly pastoral friend and couple of fantasy Geeks)..to feel “up” on the world

renegotiating my sermon

thinking about illustrations

In the morning I

pray

read scipture

read outline

edit my outline (which usually means completely reordering and changing everything)

listening to conversations of congregants

holding in my heart the status of the church

realizing how the hymns/prayers add nuance to my sermon and trying to jot them in

Preaching and trying to stay focused

Leading Prayer, Praise and Worship, Blessing and Benedicting

Talking more to people 🙂

Going home and collapsing…

It is the most artistic, emotionally engaging and wonderful hour(ish) of my week.

Followed by a nap

Loving God, we …

Loving God, we confess that we have forgotten who made us. We have forgotten who loved us. In the midst of trying to remember everything else, in the midst of holding everything together, we have forgotten you. Forgive us, God. Help us to know that you never forget us, and are always taking care of us, guarding and protecting us in the midst of our worries and concerns.

Prayer

Based loosely on Matthew 6:28-34 

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

4 Things Millenanial/Youngish Christians Could do like no other

1. Recommend Reading Material. We all know that Christian literature can run the gambit from great to sappy. The question is, what are Christians reading that they find relevant? (I personally think Fantasy should be included ALL the TIME) Discuss. 

2. Start rating Apps, recommending websites, etc. 7% of Christianity is under the age of 40. Screen shot of P:C(USA) daily prayer app on iPhoneHence media gap. Hence, great resources like the Daily Prayer App. What is daily prayer? How about the app? How is it different from the book? Why pick the PCUSA one? So far this app is a VERY insider thing. You don’t know about it unless you already know and love the Book of Common Worship…not good evangelism. Plus it would be good to have some feedback on what makes a good Christian app and what doesn’t (just saying). If you are interested look at the app here if you have it…please review it…or any other Christian media resource.

3. What do you wish Christianity addressed? Your young, your Christian…or spiritual and are looking for resources. What do you wish church’s had? Personally I would like a non-conservative Christian Parenting group, or a worship that was TRULY family oriented or a way to gather and discuss TED talks. All of these things would be awesome for me, how about you?

4. Environmentalism/Social Justice and Church–>Big Ticket issues are important, so important churches often don’t think they can handle dealing with them. But I think that the more we do, the better Kingdom Keepers we will be….discuss…..

Why do people actually go to church?* (or …its like a family)

Whenever I talk to people about why they like going to church…the reasons I usually get come down to two reasons. (*Katy’s poll is totally anecdotal)

What Church People are actually saying

1. Its a like a family/the relationships, etc.

2. for the kids (although that tends to be a baby boomer reason)

Seldom to I hear (What church people aren’t saying enough of)

1. We are actually helping people 

2. The prayer is amazing

3. I feel connected to God

4. Worship is so meaningful

5. We are actively welcoming of all people…..

Pastor Fail? Denominational Fail? Gospel Fail? Church fail? Institutional Fail?

Where is the disconnect… (PS families are great, but to me there is more to it)

God, Heresy, Illusions, Emergent Christianity, you know the small questions

If you are a hard case theologian you know about the deep debate between emergent Christians (McLaren, Rob Bell, Brian Berghoef, etc) and the more (what is a non-insulting term for traditional, because I totally do not want to discredit these scholars) academic Christians such as James K. A. Smith

If your not, then this post will hopefully help. Here are some of the important conversations going on about whether emergent Christianity is a pick and choose/fluffy type of theology or alternatively, whether the tried-and-true-Christian scholars are providing too many answers on behalf of God instead of letting God give the answers….(that’s it in a nutshell, you can skip to the bottom if you don’t want the in-depth version)

One back and forth is about “God doesn’t need our help” and a more emergent understanding/refutation here.

One of the things hot under debate is giving up God for Lent, which tries to take seriously the critiques of Christianity. An article about Giving up God for Lent is here. This is something I am trying and a critique that it is a movement for intellectual (eggheaded) theologically trained (clergy) young (millenials)…which he definitely has the audience right, I am all of that–oh and I really appreciate the respectful tone of this critique…

RESTART HERE IF YOU’VE SKIPPED DOWN!!!!

As us young folks try to struggle with what church means to us–ie the emergent church, and what it could mean to the nones….I find all of this debate and forethought invigorating. Sure we don’t have the answers, but I think that looking at THEOLOGY as the source of our institutional woes (as opposed to programming, attendance or money) is a grand start.

To me the answers are to start doing the things we know the church is good at, and then build from there (strength based training anyone? anyone? ). How can we be community centers (we used to be good at that) how can we form relationships with our neighbors (we could be good at that) how do we work for social justice (I always say that human rights issues should be the ones all Christians can agree on)….

And yes we have gone through such questions before, What if God was one of us? Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, The Quest for the Historical Jesus come to mind. But remember, whenever people are thinking and talking about God, they are, in essence, working out their faith–and isn’t that what we at the church want to encourage? Questions, speculations, riddles and wonders about God? It’s certainly Biblical…

My church is taking its slow, we are starting farmer’s market with no ulterior motive for members or money (or at least attending to when we think about these ulterior motives) and simply getting to know the neighborhood. We are thinking theologically about our church space (we are blessed with a “great location” it would be great if we could prayerfully use it), we are consciously trying to accept people whereever and whoever they are through the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?)…

I don’t know where this is leading, but hey, at least we are talking about it–I’d be even more excited to see these “opposing” viewpoints working and praying together, after all doesn’t the body have different parts for different reasons? (1 Cor 13:1-13)

Water into wine

Sören Kierkegaard, 19th century
“Christ turned water into wine, but the church has succeeded in doing something even more difficult: it has turned wine into water.”

Only the church can do that! Take Jesus’s Wine and turn it back into water–how do we do this, by constricting God

Item 1: Grace

Do you know what grace is? Its abundance. Grace is giving room for someone else in your life, so that they can be themselves. Its giving space to someone else. God’s grace is abundant–God moved Godself aside to make room to create us, so that we can be something other than God.

Christians job is practice that hospitality, to make room for EVERYONE in the church, and to make certain that we aren’t trapping God in our structures, limiting who God is and when God is relevant.

Consider if we said music can only be delivered thru a tape deck, music would be dead.

Item 2: Church is Boring

When we say God can only exist in a formal church, when we say our understaOpen Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of Allnding is the “correct”

(this is the opposite of open-sourcing church which is the way all information is going see Open Source)

If we make God ordinary, everyday; unexceptional and predictable.

We constrain God to what we understand her to be (see what I did there?)

We would rather tame Jesus than trust him (hence the above)

In fact, as I explained my job to a Japanese man who I am tutoring in ESL–he said that he found it amazing that we were applying a 2,000 (whereabouts) document to everyday life, and he asked how that worked, and I said that was basically my job, to talk about why its still relevant today and give the big message of God’s Grace and Love through the little stories and messages in the Bible…

“ah” he said “so your a translator” smart man that 🙂

Item 3: the Story (wedding at Cana) John 2:1-11

Name: Jesus

Location: Wedding

Mission: to Party people into the kingdom (through hospitality, wine and grace)

Jesus makes space for us, and gives us abundant love–making space for us, and we as the church should be doing the same

Item 4: the Translation (otherwise known as timing is everything for God, and we need to see God acting beyond the here and now to make the here and now better!–this is a deep thought for a parenthetical, oh well)

1. I’ve been praying about some kind of immigrant service due to a congregant’s problems getting a santioned-job-and-also-visa…plus I’ve been tutoring ESL on the side (again, this is what I do because the kids gotta eat). An offer came in last week for an immigration center to rent space for an office from us (rent, can you believe it) how perfect is that?

2. My church enjoys the “perfect” location, being high in demand for functions–we have been leveraging that into money…instead we are going to make the move to try to be theological & intentional in how we use the space (I’d like to have a ceremony dedicating the spaces of the church)

3. A congregant once suggested that we get snuggies for everyone in the church–our church is cold and hard to heat (ah the beauty of the 70s A-frame building). We could be known as the snuggie church–some people might feel that isn’t “proper” but lets face it I think being warm and comfortable is a more realistic presentation of God than shivering in nicer clothes….

The point is that God gives to us abundantly, and she does so by giving us new ways to understand, by giving us new people to enjoy relationships with and by full-on giving us permission to party people into the kingdom (who doesn’t love a wedding?)

Item 4: Happiness and Holiness

Plus! Jesus consecrates happiness

Sometimes, the church has forgotten that our Lord once attended a wedding feast and said yes to gladness and joy,” Robert Brearley writes. “God does not want our religion to be too holy to be happy in”(Feasting on the Word Year C, Vol. 1)….suppose we took every time we are happy as a holy time (note I did not say that we are only holy when we are happy). What if we celebrated, promoted happiness and in that way opened the way for God’s glory in the world?

Jesus is calling us to abundance, to happiness and to grace–and we need to be certain the church is concentrating on those instead of on the programs, the pews, the property, and the payments. These things do not make a church. People and Prayer do!!!

PS Here is today’s Coffee with Jesus, Apropos much?

A Prayer

Dear Claymaker,
Please mold me so that those thin lines I see in me are not me cracking at the seems, but instead are the growing edges by which I grow into a newer and better version of myself.
Your Potty Daughter
Katy

“As healing was integral…

“As healing was integral to Christ’s ministry, the church is called to continue this concern for wholeness. (W-3.5401) Wholeness not as a result of holiness, earnestness or skill of prayers, or the faith of the ones seeking healing, but as the gift of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. (W-3.5405) Prayer is vital because Prayer essentially a a time of waiting in faith upon God, (W-3.5403).”

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