You have to figure this one out. Forget everything you learned in seminary about how to do ministry. Forget everything you ever heard about what makes good worship. Forget everything those old books say about how to create community. Stop studying. Stop looking for the next quick fix. Stop scouring the web for the next ministry that is sure to get them in the door.
Mike Kruger, author of Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012) and the forthcoming The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (IVP, 2013), has a helpful series on the New Testament canon, linked below, “designed to help Christians understand ten basic facts about its origins. This series is designed for a lay-level audience and hopefully could prove helpful in a conversation one might have with a skeptical friend.”
But preachers take note! If you are keeping the church embroiled in controversy, stirred up through issues, irritated by sarcasm, and angry because you ignore who they really are … you are sticking your hand into the bee hive. In so doing, have drawn the attention to yourself, rather than God. And it hurts.
But as I have grown and changed and my level of disdain for pushy, in your face, literalistic, anti-homosexual, “turn away from sin, you sinning sinners” rhetoric has also grown, I have come to the realization that maybe I am just like those Christians that I dislike. Maybe I believe my way is the highway we should travel, disregarding others along the way.
All confrontations should be characterized by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Each of the above statements must be viewed through the lens of the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:39). As you do this, remember that confrontations can be good and our many excuses to avoid them may be robbing us of the relationships we want.
The mixed messages of the past week reveal a deep-seated ambivalence inside the administration about just how much light ought to shine on America’s shadow wars. Even though Mr. Obama pledged a greater transparency and public accountability for drone operations, he and other officials still refuse to discuss specific strikes in public, relying instead on vague statements about “ongoing counterterrorism operations.”
Despite all this, The Oregon Trail has endured. The iPhone version, released in 2009, has been downloaded more than three million times. The game’s Facebook page is thriving. Well-meaning parodies—like Fall Out Boy Trail, in which the band tours the country in an ox-towed van, and Organ Trail, in which players dodge zombies in a postapocalyptic landscape—abound. As Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, puts it, “The Oregon Trail taught generations of students not only about the history of westward migrations but also how to use computers.” He adds, “Any game that can survive so long in so many different variations has to be important.”