Sunday, May 5, 2013

OK...I am back....on my own I can say what I want...right? So I thought I would write a letter to the Association of churches I belong association of churches is another way of saying denomination without using the “D” word. Really it is so 80’ is much cooler. So anyway when you are part of a family you say things to them you might not say to others outside the family...and you can brag on them if you want. I love to brag about my kids and grandkids...awesome. I have been in my family of churches for 25 years! Now I am aware again of how old I am. 

I love this family...most of the time...a lot of the time for sure. This is one of those moments when I think I want to brag on them a bit.(In a facetious way) I cannot believe how quickly we have moved on a certain quickly we are discussing this controversial subject...and how quickly we have gotten to...nowhere. I have studied has taken them hundreds of years...and really they are not sure yet. Some of the Lutherans..again hundreds of years before they decided to slip over the fence. Anglicans... Episcopalians...hundreds and hundreds of years...and then some of them broke up with the others. You know what I am talking about right? do. Well, it is the whole gay marriage....the LGBT issue. The leadership you ordain or not? Do we marry of not? I am so amazed we are even having discussions about this really. I wonder as I write this you think we could get Rob Bell an audience with the Pope so he could explain to the Pope, “Dude you have to adapt...really you have to adapt.” I would like to see that....

(Really it is not a LGBT or marriage amendment is a biblical issue. How do we read the Bible? How do we look at the it to be trusted? Is it a story book? Is it the Word of God...or not? I find that the amazing speed we have gotten to the point of turning scripture into a big story book has been amazing.)   

See we are supposed to be “Empowered Evangelicals” taking the best of two worlds. The best of Pentecostalism and the best of Evangelicalism and we are running with it. BOOM! That is us! We love the Bible and digging into it and we love the Holy Spirit...and moves of the Spirit. Yes we do...well we did. Thing is I don’t think many evangelicals are having debates over this...they seem to think the scriptures have said enough. And I am pretty sure those old Pentecostals are not voting on anything...and yet...we are...well not voting...discussing. Well, someone is...I have heard we have some V_______d Scholars doing a lot of talking. That is not me....25 years in a factory and dropping out of VLI with just a summer session to go does not qualify you to be a V______D Scholar. No siree Bob. So we are talking about it...and it seems like it is a difficult talk. I have a friend nearby that as I tell him our leaders are almost ready to make a statement he says, every time, “So what Paul had to say was not good enough?” I have to shake my head and say, “Jim, Jim, Jim....haven’t you heard? There are many new ways to read the Bible. It is not simple.” He does not get it...well neither do I but I pretend like I do to try to make him feel bad. I mean you have to know the “original language” and what it means...but then you have to know what the original language meant before the 1850s. Because after that we got it wrong. You have to realize that most of the Bible is stories...not real stuff...stories to make a point. I know Jesus seemed to think the stories were real...but what can I say. is helping us understand the Bible now...really helpful guys, those scientist. I suppose we could look at science through a biblical lens...but it makes others happier if you look at the Bible though a scientific lens. Got it? 

So then here we are...empowered evangelicals...waiting for our leaders to tell us how this all works. I have to admit...we obviously are much smarter than the average Den...Association of churches. How else could you explain us being here now? We are just quick learners....sorry you Lutherans and Episcopalians...I know it took you a loooong time to get what some would least have liberal discussions. Not us....BOOM...we are there! The other day I got the word from headquarters...not yet out there for all our guys and gals. The paper I was waiting for to put this to lay down guidelines for our future. To slam it down in the table like a trump card and say, “Bam, there it get with the program!” Got it. Wow! Disappointed. To say the least. Oh we did not completely disappoint...but kind of close...real close. You know I write this blog talking about my struggles with being a leader...I get it when you don’t want to lose friends by saying the wrong thing. I know what it means to be a people I know it when I see it too. I also know, after many hard and painful lessons, that is you don’t lead someone else will. If you don’t clarify and make a clear statement, someone will. (Now let me stop here a moment and say I truly believe the large majority of my tribe are still pretty conservative. I do not think we are a liberal group over all. But for us to be having these type of discussions over scripture is really, really strange on many levels.) 

A really good friend of mine was in the Lutheran wing that decided to license and ordain LGBT. He and the leadership pulled his church out...simple really...he said the denomination had changed...he didn’t. They walked away from Biblical truth to play it safer and be more popular. He couldn’t....and neither would his church body. It was really simple in his eyes. And this guy was not a factory worker...he is a seminary trained guy who loves Jesus. I talked with him today...even he admits...we are really speedy learners. 

Now I will get whacked here a little bit...the only thing I have going for me is not a lot of people read my blog. Unless you guys who do read it pass it around...then I might be in hot water. How did we get here? John Wimber and others got this thing going by allowing God to mess things move. By staying true to the “main and the plain” as I just heard recently. You know we used to get a lot of “hate mail” as a movement. The Bible Answer guy did not like all! And mostly over things the Holy Spirit was doing....making a mess. John, well, Lonnie Frisbee, taught us to say, “Come Holy Spirit.” and He came. Now we are kind of liked...accepted. Scientist like people love us...scholars enjoy us. Yeah we are really main stream...but no longer in the stream we were in. The stream now is mess...just drifting along...enjoying being liked. Except...where is the power?  The Presence? Is using the right light bulbs going to save the drug addict down the street? If I agree with the scientist that our earth is really old, will he now like Jesus? Doubt it. 

Soooo yes we have moved along at a fast pace. Personally I am like my friend Jim...I think Paul said it quite did Moses. I think rather than looking at the original language maybe we should look at original intent and design. Just seems wise to me...and faith filled. 

Oh well...Jesus still sits at the right hand of the Father....well...unless being on the right side makes Him a conservative...then maybe He is on the that can’t be...Is He sitting on the Fathers lap? Do we still believe in heaven or did Rob Bell do away with that too. Oh man...I am too old for this. Come Holy Spirit...               


  1. Great thoughts... thinking Psalms 24 is becoming interesting at the moment.

  2. Bill,

    Hi! Just stumbled upon your blog here and noticed that it includes some references to the Society of Vineyard Scholars. As an active member, I was a bit surprised by the tone of your thoughts here. In fact, as one who is currently engaged in both pastoring and doing my best to do scholarly work for the glory of God and good of people, I'm wondering if you believe that scholarly work is a waste of time.

    In my opinion, scholarly work, from both pastors and academics, is quite important. Not all are called to be scholars, but certainly some are! I'm currently writing and researching and responding to much that is related to the LGBTQ issues we are facing as a movement and I'd like to think that the questions that are being raised (which are extremely important) and the discussions being had (which are also extremely important) matter. You might be quite settled on your convictions but there are large numbers of people who are less convicted and have many questions. I would like to think that the work of people attempting to engage those ideas and questions could be working in partnership with the Holy Spirit!

    Maybe I misunderstand the tone of your post here, as it's a blog post and perhaps I'm misreading things. But reading this made me a bit sad because comes across as quite judgmental of Vineyard scholars and the intention of the Society of Vineyard Scholars.

    At any rate, I've taken up reviewing Wilson's "ALTMC" and have posted my first response here: