Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Generous Orthodoxy (Book Review)

I finally got a chance to read Brian McLaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy. I can't understand why I waited to so long to get it and then read it! This book is the basic handbook if you want to learn what Emergent's think or what they are really about. Brian is one of the people that brought the whole idea of the Emergent Church into more of a formal organization. Every so often the church has gone through a reformation of sorts and I believe (along with Brian) that the Emergent Church is a part of that reformation.

As I read his book I found myself several times stopping and thinking about how much of this are things I have thought or said. There were many other times where I would stop and re-read what I had just read and then re-read it again. Here is one such statement....

How many children in Sunday school learn that radical sense of Christian servant identity as opposed to Christians are nice people who know the truth and do good. Non-Christians are bad people who don't. Therefore we need to avoid Non-Christians or convert them as fast as possible or try to pass laws to keep them under control and protect ourselves from them-until we can escape them forever in heaven?

All I can say is WOW!!! That is so true of the church in America today and that is a very sad fact. One of the things that I really liked about what Brian had to say was how we as a church need to be reaching ahead of us, to be mentored, and reaching behind us, to mentor others.

In Chapter 3 Brian asks that question, "Would Jesus be a Christian?" That is a very provocative question, but one that I think we need to ask ourselves. He answers it with three points....

1. The more I study the Bible and reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus, the more I think most of Christianity as practiced today has very little to do with the real Jesus found there.

2. Often I don't think Jesus would be caught dead as a Christian, were he physically here today.

3. Generally, I don't think Christians would like Jesus if he showed up today as he did 2,000 years ago. In fact, I think we'd call him a heretic and plot to kill him, too.

If Brian is correct in his assessment (and I believe that he is) than the church in America really needs to examine itself. Just as Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenburg, I believe Brian has done the same thing with this book, but instead this is to the door of the American Church. I encourage every church leader and Christian to read this book. Brian's humble approach is refreshing and enlightening. I know that I am changed by reading this and I hope you will be as well.



Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Have You Ever Googled Yourself?

Has anyone ever heard of This is a really funny thing where you type in your name (or other things) and then it will give you what appears to be little short parts of what is found online regarding your name. Here is what it had for my name....

todd porter is a jerk of the first order
todd porter is more of a self
todd porter is married
todd porter is confident in his team’s ability get the job done once
todd porter is doing the lion's share of the asset calculation and setting up the whole thing in microsoft project
todd porter is having employee e
todd porter is?
todd porter is both the owner of porter apple and the director of operations for applebee's
todd porter is the man in charge of leading the way
todd porter is the new man in charge at clear creek after tammy laurence left to take the head gig at cinco ranch
todd porter is interviewed about ion's upcoming dominion release on computer games online
todd porter is now ceo
todd porter is a consultant
todd porter is in charge now
todd porter is currently the webmaster for the corporate and legal affairs group at microsoft
todd porter is here to talk to all of you about dominion
todd porter is better
todd porter is an ass who slags anyone against him and has never finished a game in his life

I like the "jerk of the first order", "todd porter is?", and that I am the owner of porter apple and work for microsoft.

And remember that I am in charge and that I am better!

And I do not mean this....



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A New Kind of Youth Ministry (Book Review)

I recently finished the book A New Kind of Youth Ministry by Chris Folmsbee and I am beginning to realize that I need to stop reading, because the books I have been reading lately are messing me up (in a good way). Chris did not write this book because he feels that everyone else out there is doing it wrong and his way is the right way. He wrote it because he believes that youth ministry has not sufficiently changed to adapt to the current culture. And I whole-heartedly agree with him.

Chris' ideas for re-culturing the youth ministries in our churches is revolutionary, but yet so simple. In many ways his ideas are to take youth ministry from a point where we entertain, lecture, teach, do mission trips and meet others needs; to where help them learn how to live missional lives, learn about God in an environment that is centered around them and not a curriculum, and where it is not about how big and flashy our programs can be but instead how deep.

I do not believe that this book should be limited to just people in youth ministry, but a valuable tool for all ministries in the church. I think that the more the church realizes that we can learn from one another the better the church can and will be. So whether you are in youth ministry, children's ministry, adult ministry, small group ministry, etc. I recommend this book for you. Chris' humility in this book is refreshing and I hope you will get as much out of it as I did.



Monday, June 25, 2007

My Wife Is Amazing!

Our church had a leadership conference recently were our pastor used the analogy of a french press coffee maker and how the process of brewing coffee in that is often like how God does things in our lives. There is the process of being ground, and then brewing, which takes about 4 minutes and can seem like forever (especially for coffee addicts). And if you end that brewing process too early then the coffee is weak and if you wait too long then it turns bitter. Then there is the process as you press down on the plunger and squeeze the coffee grounds down and get the pure coffee brew.

Well, as a result of that and with all of the stuff that Kimmy and I have been going through, inspired her to write a song. The song you can hear by pressing play on the player below is that song and I posted the lyrics as well. It is titled, "Satisfy You". And major kudos goes to Colin Harfield our Music Pastor who took the music from Kim's lips to create a beautiful guitar piece as back-up. Thanks, Colin! Read More Here

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Want To See Something Really Cool?

We came home from our in-laws today to find this in our back yard. This is one of the reasons why my wife and I fell in love with our neighborhood.

The funny part about all of this is that when I was clearing out that part of our yard yesterday, I thought that it might make it easier for us to see a deer. And look at what God did for us! What a great Father's Day gift from my Father in heaven.

And if you look in front of the deer you can see the new fire pit I built in that area of our yard. And here is a pic from the first fire we did in it!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Ray of Sunshine

Today the world received a ray of sunshine from our friends in Cupertino, CA. People who work on Windows can now use what I consider to be the best browser out there. Apple's Safari web browser. Try it out. But be warned that it is in it's beta version right now. But I suspect by October it will get it's final release when Leopard comes out.

Now if only they could come out with Apple's Mail program. But at least I can use Thunderbird on my home PC. And that is WAY better than Outlook.



Banging My Head.....

Recently, the governor, legislators of our state, and some business people met up on Mackinac Island and stayed at the Grand Hotel, which is one of the most beautiful places in our state and the hotel happens to be one of the most expensive in the state (about $400-700). And why did they meet? Because they needed to discuss our state's current budget crisis. Isn't that amazing?

Our state is having serious financial problems. Business are either closing up or moving out of state, left and right. But yet our legislature and governor can find the money to pamper themselves for about a week at one fo the nicest resort. Our kids elementary school had to lay off two teachers recently because the money is not there to pay them, but yet Jennifer Granholm is living the good life up on Mackinac Island.

I got a great idea on how we can help our state's economy. How about we not take these luxurious vacations on the tax payer's dime? How about taking back that raise that you legislator's just voted yourselves? How about making yourselves part-time like many other states? Somehow I am thinking there are better options than hurting our children's educational system.

And then not long after our local news reported all of that grim news on the state of state's economy they announced that a local church had just finished off their $15 million dollar church building. Mind you, this was a renovation of what used to be a large home improvement store. I just sat there thinking of ways that they may have been able to cut back on some of the extra things and use some of that money to help some of these people in our community that are having their homes foreclosed on. Since we are the number one county in the nation with home foreclosures.

I just think that this is the time when the Church can really shine and show God's love in some very practical ways. Instead we build palaces to honor ourselves and we somehow think that God is actually pleased with this.

Maybe, just maybe God wants us to sacrifice some of the niceties that we have become accustomed to in this country and sacrifice a little. Every 15 seconds a child dies because they do not have access to clean drinking water and we are building $15 million dollar palaces called churches. What is wrong with this picture?

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