Category Archives: Questions

Wanna See Switchfoot in Concert?

Tell us, in three sentences or less, your pick for Favorite Song or Album or Band of 2009 and you will be entered to win 2 tickets to see Switchfoot in concert at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on Monday, January 11th, 2010.

Not local to Portland, Oregon? No problem. We’re also giving away a digital copy of Switchfoot’s new album, Hello Hurricane, to the runner up. So everyone wins! (Well, not everyone, just two people. But we all get an “A” for effort. Or “E” … whatever.)

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Favorite Movies of 2009?

We’re searching for the top movies of 2009? And since we’re pretty confident most everyone will say Avatar, we’ll looking for some notable runner ups. Your answers will go in the upcoming Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Rethink Monthly (which we’re currently working on) featuring a cover story / interview with Rob Bell, Lessons from Tiger (Grrr!), and more.

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What Motivates You?

I’m not sure about you but I constantly find myself going through a refining. It’s as if my heart starts spiritually spazzing out. It’s as if I’m being gently prompted to examine my heart and my motives. And it’s in those times that I ask myself one simple question: What is motivating you right now?

As often as I find myself motivated by hope, just as easily I find myself being motivated by fear. Sometimes it’s a yearning to learn more and other times it’s a desire to gain more; to serve and, more often, be the one who is served. But something inside tells me I’m not alone.

So, during one of my spazzmatic moments, I decided to step further and ask this question to my Twitter and Facebook friends: What motivates you?

Matt Messner, a pastor at Eastside Church in Bothell, Washington was the first to respond. “I am motivated,” Messner wrote, “by a compelling vision, felt needs and spiritual convictions.” Beautifully put I thought.

Professional Minnesota photographer, Shelley Paulson, chimed in and wrote, “A passion for excellence and a desire to help others.”

Within the first few responses I started noticing a trend. Most people, it seems, are motivated by the success of others above themselves.

Jason Boyett, author of the famed Pocket Guide books, talked how his family was a source of his motivation. “Providing for them,” he wrote, “being available for them, being healthy for them.”

Robert Chapman, technical communicator and known opinionist, took it one step further and commented on the thing that most de-motivates him: “When I’m not able to use my skills, knowledge, and abilities to work on a solution.”

It’s encouraging that I’m not the only one who is stirred by a motivation that isn’t always self-serving. Hopefully, in those spiritually spazzmatic times, I can recognize that the Spirit is strong at work and may I always follow that questioning in my heart. What about you? What is motivating you right now?

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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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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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