First, here’s some comments from Jonathan Dodson on evangelism. There are some good thoughts worth serious consideration here. The manner and context of our communication matters just as much as the content of it (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 2:7-12). I fear we are too often prone to one or the other. We need both.
Second, Joe Carter has a piece here on Batman and Jesus. This is strange to me, to be honest. I don’t get the fascination with this kind of analysis. It almost reads like a parody to me, as in demonstrating absurdity by being absurd. The gospel doesn’t need this, even if it could tolerate it (which I don’t think it can). It should strike us as odd that a large number of people keep going to secular culture to find Jesus themes and redemption themes, as if God has not given us what is necessary to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and everything necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It is obvious that a lot of time and thought went into this, but for what purpose? Is the Bible not enough for us? Does the salvation of souls and the work of the gospel depend on analyzing Batman?
Third, my friend Mark as an article here on a book I haven’t yet read, though Mark inspire me to read it. Mark says, “many seminary-trained pastors train in bubbles with Belmont values on marriage, industry, honesty, and religiosity for ministerial careers in bubbles with Fishtown values on the same topics. And they sometimes fail in Fishtown and have no idea why.” This resonates with me. I strongly believe in seminary education, to the point that I would discourage anyone from pursuing vocational ministry without at least an Master of Divinity degree. (Go ahead and complain about it in the comments). I agree that when God calls a man to preach, he calls him to prepare. Yes, I know people have been “successful” without it, but having been on both sides of the equation (ministry before seminary and ministry after seminary), I am fully persuaded that the latter is far better than the former, and by “far,” I mean immeasurable. However, I also believe that there needs to be room in seminary education for experience and exposure to something other than Belmont. Classroom learning, though indispensable for actual ministry, will never fully prepare one for actual ministry.
Last, and speaking of Fishtown and Belmont, here’s a good and challenging piece on location and ministry. It has the potential to laden it’s readers with guilt, and that’s not necessarily bad. As I have been known to say, some of you should feel guilty for the way you are living your life. But’s a good checkpoint as well. I got this link from my friend Mike who doesn’t just talk about this and link to it. He lives it. There is a strong move towards planting churches in urban, blighted, dying, diverse, and under-resourced areas by people who are not “drive-ins.” They live, shop, hangout, and minister to people there. It’s a good thing. Read this and find yourself in the list.