Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Friday, July 15, 2016
The Gospel Coalition has a blog up trying to figure out why the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling baby parts did not have any affect on anything. They have five main reasons including over estimating the pro-life mood of the country, focusing on illegality vs. immorality, not coordinating with other pro-life groups, not anticipating the attacks, and not having a marketing strategy.
I agree with some of those and not with others, but I don't think this is why they failed to change any laws or politicians on the matter. And the reason is simple. Today people have replaced action with activism. Success is not measured in change, but in hashtags created.
Let me explain. I think if you were to have asked people in congress and many they would think that they did an all out assault on Planned Parenthood, and they would be surprised so many think nothing happened. Even the article admits that dozens of investigations were launched, media attention garnered, and even congressional investigations. This is activism. But since nothing changed, there was no action. Congress did not put forth any new law. The FBI did not prosecute. The laws were not changed. Funding was not cut. No action.
This is the world we live in. Think for a moment about all the stunningly awful things that have happened. Email scandal - no action. Benghazi - no action. IRS scandal - no action. Lots of talk about all of it, No action.
But let us leave the realm of politics. And we can see the same behavior. Boko Haram kidnaps girls and forces them into slavery. No action. A hashtag was created and sad faced pictures posted. So activism was done. Now we can all move on. Terrorist attack in Boston. Hey we can now all buy Boston Strong t-shirts, but no real action to fight terrorism happened. We can change our FB profile to make our pic covered with a French flag, or we can "pray for Nice", but we will do nothing else. Action is not the goal. Activism is.
Today it is enough to be seen to be caring. It is about looking good and being on the right side of history. It is not about participating in history, or writing history or doing anything at all. For sometime one's intentions have been the measure of whether something was good or bad. Outcomes were unimportant. That social program was meant to help the poor. It does not really matter if it does or not, the intention was good. The intention of putting the bands in the church is to be evangelistic, so it is good. It doesn't matter whether we ought to put bands in churches, the intentions make it good. This is simply the next logical step. I just need you to see my intentions, I don't need to do anything.
So why did the Center for Medical Progress expose on the evil of Planned Parenthood fail? Because we live in a "look at me" combined with a "do nothing" culture.
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
You read a lot today about the Celebrity Pastor and the problem and even how to fix it. Opinions vary on the causes and solutions. Sometimes it is an overhaul that includes no multisite churches, or the Evangelical Industrial Complex, or calls to humility and proper ambition, or even just simple accountability. But I wonder if there is another factor . . . seminaries.
Today the vast majority of seminaries use “celebrity” professors as a way to lure you to their seminary. These seminaries almost always have at least one well-liked, well published professor. The better the finances of the seminary the more publishing by more professors, usually also equals more students. You don’t need me to name the big names at each seminary you probably know them off the top of your head. Besides the problem here is not in professors who write good books, but in the attraction students have to them.
Modern seminaries also love distinctions. You need something that sets your seminary apart. What makes Westminster in Escondido, CA different than the rest? What makes Mid America distinct so that you should go there? Yes, this is promoted and encouraged. And it is hard to blame the seminaries for doing it. It is what businesses are supposed to do. Carve out your place and grow that place. And independent seminaries are no different.
So perhaps part of the “celebrity pastor” begins with seminary. We want future ministers to go to the seminaries with big names, but then when they get into the pastorate we don’t want them to pursuing having a big name or follow other pastors with big names.
If we really want to fight against the cult of celebrity, we have to fight it everywhere, including in our seminaries.
Friday, May 06, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016