December 29, 2008

Blogging Hiatus

To all who faithfully read Flash Point, and to those who accidentally find yourselves here, I want to wish all of you a joyful and God-centered new year. I am taking a brief hiatus from the blog so that I can finish a writing project. I anticipate returning to the blog in a couple of weeks. At the time, I have a book project in the works that I need to finish so that I can move forward in ministry.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

December 22, 2008

The Demise of Evangelical Distinctiveness?

I feel like I'm living in a historic time, not simply because our next president is mixed-race or because Illinois political corruption is finally revealed for the rest of the nation to appreciate, but because I think evangelicalism is caving to societal pressure to look like anything other than its former self. My concern is that evangelicalism in the public arena no longer includes a passionate defense for the unborn (because that would simply be too politically divisive). Instead, it seems we are focusing our greatest energies on other issues-- not for the sake of those other issues, but rather to gain some political common ground. Don't get me wrong, I know there are many evangelical individuals and organizations still in the fight for the rights of the unborn. But as some older generations are beginning to fade away, I wonder who will be interested in continuing to support this and related causes. As I watch the news and trends in the church, I wonder if there is a generation of evangelicals even interested in taking up the cause for life. Feminism is succeeding in indoctrinating several generations of women on their platform of equality and corresponding reproductive rights while the church fidgets to understand how to develop a culture of God-fearing women who can love both their families and careers, or at least appreciate that our society simply demands that women be able to work because men have failed to responsibly lead. But I digress. Will Christianity be able to survive this politization of faith? Where it appears that the left is capitulating to evangelicalism, such as by inviting Rick Warren to do the Inauguration, do you think it might really be about blurring the lines and causing confusion? The ability for any party to cross party lines is usually indicative of moderate-ism. Is this what we should expect of our faith-based discourse? The church is being silenced internally and externally on life issues someone needs to speak to; it's never taken up the cause for women in a real practical way that avoids the extremes of secular feminism but still appreciates the giftings of women in whatever sphere she participates in; and the evangelical church is losing its distinctive voice by the manipulation of the smooth-talking left who are out to gain the loyalties of the pragmatic and uninformed. Can the evangelical church survive the next decade?

December 16, 2008

Life of the Mind in Women's Ministry

Last night the women at my church finished the 10 week Beth Moore study "Living Beyond Yourself." The women were very encouraged by the content of this study and I'm pleased by the way it was able to connect us to each other. This isn't the kind of study that teaches women how to study the Bible or the topics contained in the study on their own, but overall I believe it accomplished its goal.

The last video session addressed how women can lack self control as it relates to the body. Whether obsessing over every bite or giving in to every indulgence, women are at risk in this media-driven culture to go one way or the other. This lack of respect of the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, becomes the essence of idolatry. That's a solid message.

In offering a corrective, Beth talked about how we need to have a biblical perspective on the body, but I believe she erred in moving the listener too quickly into application. She said "you can't just think with the top of your head" you've got to apply the truths we know about God, ourselves, etc, and make them a real part of our lives. I certainly don't disagree with her in that regard. But does Beth overestimate her audience? I would suggest that in women's ministry and in the church more broadly, we equip few to think theologically--or simply logically--on any matter on their own. I believe to suggest otherwise is to miss the root cause of many of the problems in the evangelical community. Neglecting to teach women how to think will create a culture of quick fix therapy. But by cultivating the life of the mind in women's ministry, where I firmly believe it has become so necessary, women and their families will be equipped to live beyond their circumstances to the glory of God.