Category Archives: Culture

What Kind of Coffee Are You?

Just a few minutes ago, I was eating lunch at a local coffeehouse / deli when a man came in, looked at the board, and became quite perplexed. He wanted coffee but had no clue what to order. The waitress started rattling off what seemed, to this poor ol’ guy, like gibberish. After placing his simple order he turned and looked at me and said, “Coffee is too complicated.” To which I replied, “That’s why I drink tea.”

But we’re complex people right? And complex people require complicated things. So, being the complex person you are, what sort of coffee concoction do you best relate yourself to … and, of course, why?

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An Interview with Mike Foster

We’re back with a special Veteran’s Day podcast featuring Mike Foster, author of Deadly Viper Character Assassins and all around cool guy. We talk about Mike’s recent project, The ManCave, as well as pose the question: How far does grace extend especially to those in ministry?

To find out more about Mike Foster and the Deadly Viper project, visit deadlyviper.org.

Download the podcast here, listen below, or check us out on iTunes.

Don’t forget to check out our recent interview with Jason Boyett.

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An Interview with Jason Boyett

Two of the Rethink Podcasters, Anthony and Randy, interview author Jason Boyett about his latest books; Pocket Guide to Sainthood, Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, and Pocket Guide to the Bible. Find about out Jason’s inspiration behind the books in this special Rethink Podcast.

Check out Jason Boyett on his blog or on Twitter.

Download the podcast here, listen online or check us out on iTunes.

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Is There a New Savior in Town?

For the last several weeks I have been eagerly awaiting the premier of “V” – a new TV series on ABC.

The show highlights how the world would react if a technologically superior race of human-like benevolent aliens suddenly showed up on our front door step asking for water in exchange for advanced technology.

The show’s premiere particularly delved into how Christianity would handle the situation; and it did so quite well. Originally the world turned to the Church to see how it would respond to the situation. But as the aliens began to perform miracles that before only God could preform, people’s devotion starting turning towards the aliens and their promise of hope in a new world and away from the devotion and worship to God. The aliens set themselves up to be saviors in a broken world. It was a fine metaphorical expose on culture, religion, and politics in modern day America.

The Bible said such things would happen (minus the aliens) and to an extent they already have several times throughout history. So, while this is a weird topic, it leads to a good question. How should (and would) the Church respond if a false savior showed up offering breakthrough and hope to us in such a time as this?

anth Anthony Trask lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife Susan and his two beautiful children. He is a pastor at Fellowship Church in NE Salem. He is currently trying to figure out how to lead a community of grace, hope, and love within our culture. You can visit their website at www.fellowshipsalem.com

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When Does Authority Trump Equality?

On October 31st I celebrated something other than Halloween. I celebrated Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a Catholic church in Germany and what we now call Reformation Day.

One of the biggest pieces of emphasis from Luther was changing the wide gap that was present between clergy and the congregation. He wanted the church to be a place that allowed for the priesthood of all believers to take place in equality.

It is a common thing to hear about a new church being planted and people explaining it as getting back to the early church as found in Acts 2 and 3. Nobody my age wants to do “modern church” they want to do “vintage church” or “emerging church.” But I have one major problem with all this: we’re still picking and choosing what church means to us from those passages in Acts.

What am I getting at you ask?

This statement is fairly common in Acts: “they had everything in common.” It is a statement that speaks to the equality that the early church had in their meeting together. The problem is that churches today are still run the same way: by one key leader. When churches speak about equality they must be referring to only those in the seats because we have a similar barrier between clergy and congregation as Luther fought against.

Today’s churches have bought the lie that hierarchical leadership is the most effective model for churches. Hey it works in the business world right?

I love what J.I. Packer said about the authoritarian style of the senior pastor model of church leadership:

“Authoritarianism is evil, anti-social, anti-human, and ultimately anti-God (for self-deifying pride is at its heart), and I have nothing to say in its favor.”

So we want to do church like the early church, but we want to ignore the whole equality thing. We can just mask the importance of it by being good servant leaders right? Wrong.

Alex Strauch nails this:

“Church organizational structure matters because structure determines how people think and act.”

No church will ever be able to push the idea of the Priesthood of All Believers until they recognize the need for equality between the church leadership and those who make up the body of the church. We need to work toward further realizing the dream Luther had back on Halloween in 1517.

Any thoughts on how the priesthood of all believers relates with the senior pastor model of church leadership?

tyler Tyler Braun is the Co-Director of Praise Bands at Sunset Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. He can be found on his blog at www.manofdepravity.com.

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Faith Healer or Fortune Stealer?

Last week, ABC News interviewed evangelist Benny Hinn on their Faith Matters series. If you haven’t seen the interview, you can view it above. You can also read the article online at ABCNews.com.

Just today, we received an email from one of our readers who shared their thoughts on the interview:

I have never been an advocate for Benny Hinn. I believe that he elevates healing of the physical body and human emotional response to spiritual stimulus above the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately he gives a bad name to Christians and his elaborate fundraising and spending habits don’t seem to help any. But I have to be honest, I felt sorry for Hinn as I watched this interview.

First of all Dan Harris of ABC’s Nightline did not walk into the interview as a true journalist. He was skeptical and arrogant from the beginning. He had automatically discounted anything (including healing) that Benny Hinn stood for before he started the interview – that was very evident and lacked journalism integrity.

Second (and the highlight of the interview), Hinn’s publicist badgers Harris from the sidelines and tries to prevent Hinn from answering questions that Harris wanted to address. It is almost as if Hinn has a force of people controlling him from behind the scenes in order to protect the financial empire he has built. And it appears that Hinn has grown tired of it.

The substance of the interview which was most disturbing, however, was Hinn’s total defense of his elaborate lifestyle – including the fact that he flies in a private jet paid for by the donations of his followers. At one point Hinn made a preposterous statement,” Every man of God I know today has a nice house.” He said it’s a tool that must be used in order to minister in the culture we find ourselves in. I don’t have a nice house. Does this mean I’m not a “man of God?”

The bottom line is that when prosperity and spiritual-feeding-frenzies become the focus of anything, Jesus is never lifted up.

We know you have an opinion. What are your thoughts on the interview?

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Let Us Worship and Bow Down

As a kid I vividly remember playing was we called “Knee Football” with my brother and my uncles. On snowy Wisconsin days we would often huddle up in Grandpa & Grandma’s basement and play a spirited game of football…on our knees. This was our way of keeping it somewhat civil and would reduce the chances that something of Grandmas would get broken. But alas, something did break…

My collarbone.

I had the ball and three of my uncles tackled me at the same time. It was a John sandwich. I think they forgot that I was 10 years old and all of about 60 pound…wet.

Because of that unfortunate Knee Football fiasco and because of my strict upbringing in Catholicism (a religion that calls you to your knees often), I grew up a bit leery of the worship posture of kneeling or bowing before the Lord. That has changed as I’ve gotten older. I now find myself in that particular worship response often, and I see it portrayed all throughout Scripture.

In Mark 5 there is a pattern that emerges that I’d like to explore. It supports what the Psalmist says in Psalm 95:6: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”

Kneeling out of Submission
In Mark 5:6 a demon possessed man saw Jesus at a distance and ran to him. When he was close he fell to his knees before the Son of the Most High God. Jesus discerned the spirits within and spoke with authority to them. The position the man took was one of submission and surrender. Is your life completely submitted to the Son of God?

Kneeling out of Need
In Mark 5:22 a synagogue ruler named Jarius approached Jesus on behalf of his sick daughter. He fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded for her healing. His need was great. Like the situations that many of us face throughout our lifetime, his need was serious. Do you have a need right now? Have you humbly presented that need to Jesus? Believe me, he knows what to do with it!

Kneeling out of Vulnerability
In Mark 5:33 a situation is documented regarding a women with a serious health issue. Out of desperation she reached out to Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. When Jesus realized that someone had touched him the women fell at his feet and trembled in fear. She became extremely vulnerable. She had to expose herself to the Son of God in the midst of a large crowd. That’s vulnerability, and it’s never easy. When’s the last time you came to Jesus out of transparency and vulnerability?

john-deniseJohn Fehlen serves as the Lead Pastor of West Salem Foursquare Church. He digs his wife Denise and their four kids. Check out his blog at www.johnfehlen.com. Flickr Image

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