Friday, March 01, 2013

Around the Horn

At first, Here’s an interesting interview with Justice Clarence Thomas. It’s on the long side at an hour and eleven minutes, but it is interesting in a lot of ways. Particularly interesting are his comments on clarity in writing. They come mostly towards the end, though I didn’t note the time. But among the gems is this: “The beauty, the genius, is not to write a 5 cent idea in a ten dollar sentence. It's to put a ten dollar idea in a 5 cent sentence.” Most preachers could stand a dose of this. And no, the fact that someone can watch a two-hour movie or a four-hour basketball game does not mean that they should listen to you drone and ramble for an hour.

At second, here’s another contribution to the theme of young people leaving church. It’s worth consideration.

At third, several weeks ago I saw an article (now lost) about a message by a charismatic pastor at Desiring God’s Pastor’s Conference. The speaker apparently said that cessationists were scared of the Spirit. I set it aside at the time to write against the idea that everyone who disagrees with something is scared. In the meantime, Eric Davis has written an excellent three-part series on this very issue (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), and it is much more than I would have written. So don’t be afraid. Just give it a chance. You never know. You might get a word of knowledge from these articles.

Coming in last today (or the home run, if you like to spin it that way) is Ed Stetzer’s recent article on the myths about megachurches. I found it interesting and instructive. One of the myths is that megachurches are growing from sheep-swapping. Ed disputes it, saying that only 44% of megachurches are “local church transfers.” If you look at the statistics Ed cites, it turns out that 90% are people with significant connections to church (local transfers, distance transfers, and dechurched). Which helps to remind us that the statistics show that megachurches aren’t growing primarily from conversions. Now, I am not complaining about that. But some people (not Ed) seem to think that megachurches are signs that people take evangelism seriously, and as a result they are really reaching people for Christ while small churches are just lazy and unevangelistic. Turns out, that’s not the case.

Ed also wrote an article about how megachurches are thriving. Some in the comments expressed some reservation, and Dave Doran expressed his reservation here, particularly about what “Christian” and “thriving” means. Ed responded to Dave that he was comfortable with how he used the words, which is, frankly, to miss the point. Being comfortable is not the same as being clear or being accurate. It is much more important to be accurate and clear than to be comfortable. And this points me back to the first link and Clarence Thomas: Write clearly so that people know exactly what you mean, and so that whether they agree or disagree, they do it with knowledge.

1 comment:

Micah Rogier said...

In Raleigh there's been a scandal with a local megachurch and their residential neighbors. The neighbors have been complaining that the music during the services is way too loud.

The church officials visited with the neighbors during a service and were surprised themselves with how loud the music was. They didn't do anything, so the neighbors sued.

The court appointed sound engineers decided that the music wasn't violating local sound ordinances at the edge of the church property, and the court ruled in the church's favor.

So obviously that megachurch wasn't interested in having their neighbors become church attendees. The whole thing made me sick to my stomach. The church was more interested in their "rights" than witnessing to those around them and acting like Christians. Sad.