The Cultural Divide


Posted on by Michael Carpenter

From The New American Divide

The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated…Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America’s core cultural institutions.

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Posted on by Michael Carpenter

One of the best illustrations of discipleship I’ve ever seen from one of the 30 remaining master sword makers in the world.

(via JR Briggs)

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Public Spaces and Political Renewal

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

From Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith

Time and time again, the American public places its hopes and ideals in the national office of the President of the United States, only to find its hopes disappointed. No solution will be found in a policy targeted at the national level, because the scale is to large.

At the heart of our political malaise are the twin evils of abstraction and distraction. We either try to abstract general principles from particular situations and then apply the abstracted principle to every particular situation. Abstraction is what threatens politics on a national level. Distraction is its local counterpart.

Distraction involves activities that prevent us from engaging in political or civic life. We are increasingly a society that fulfills T.S. elliot’s description of a people “distracted from distraction by distraction.” There are a million ways in which our society teaches us and enables us to abstract and distract ourselves – to escape in one way or another from the concrete presence of the here and now.

An example of this kind of distraction is the common occurrence of the commuter spending an hour in his/her private automobile, followed by another hour of eating dinner in front of the TV in the privacy of there fenced in home, and then watching more TV and and clicking around the interwebs before bed.

Public spaces (such as a farmer’s market, coffee shop, park, sidewalks, etc.) are laboratories for citizenship because they teach us to live near and with one another while maintaining a degree of civility. They provide many more opportunities for human contact and relationships. These ordinary contacts and the relationships to which they can lead are the absolutely necessary building blocks for any kind of renewal in our political life.

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The Missing Links

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


A roundup of links floating around the interwebs that you may of missed this week.

Why the American Dream Doesn’t Work in Developing Countries

The United States was founded on the idea of idea of individual liberty, individual ownership, and individual needs…Nearly 250 years into the evolution of our ethos of individuality, some Americans are starting to recognize that the primacy of individual ownership is not always economically sustainable. A movement has begun that places value on providing access to products and services, rather than ownership.

Business as Mission Resources

If you are new to the topic of Business as Mission, this is a one stop overview of the subject in the form of FAQ’s as well as several recommended resources.

The Road to Missional

Ed Stetzer interviews Michael Frost about his book The Road to Missional. Michael writes:

It seems people have had it with whole missional thing, which breaks my heart, because as I say in The Road to Missional, if the missional conversation is over, it occurs to me that it probably hasn’t really ever been had.

The Death of the Fringe Suburb

By now, nearly five years after the housing crash, most Americans understand that a mortgage meltdown was the catalyst for the Great Recession, facilitated by underregulation of finance and reckless risk-taking. Less understood is the divergence between center cities and inner-ring suburbs on one hand, and the suburban fringe on the other. It was predominantly the collapse of the car-dependent suburban fringe that caused the mortgage collapse.

The Mark Driscoll Fiasco: What the Latest Flap Teaches Us About The Neo-Reformed Movement

In fact the whole encounter reveals the Christendon assumptions that drive his theology. There are three missional “bugaboos” that he clashes with Brierley on. Each bugaboo represents a theological position we Missionals fear/resist because of the way these things work against mission. In this interview, these bugaboos are a.) Driscoll’s singular obsession with penal substitutionary atonement, b.) his commitment to hierarchical male authority in the church, and c.) his blind belief in the importance of preaching/successful preacher to the church’s identity. These bugaboos represent the Christendom assumptions behind Driscoll’s theology and way he operates.

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Loving it Now?

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

To awesome not to post.


via 22 Words

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Evangelism 101

Posted on by Michael Carpenter

Ironically, the New Testament contains very little overt advice on how to evangelize. Paul recognized that some people might have been gifted in sharing their faith. The role of “evangelist” is listed as one of the foundational gifts of Christ to the church (Eph 4:11) and Timothy is encouraged to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5). However, I do not believe that the earliest Christian communities thought of evangelism as some special activity delegated to the experts. Sharing the good news with others was the natural outcome of Christians being . . . well . . .Christians.

Whether we realize it or not, everything we do is communicating something about our faith to those who are not yet Christians. God has left us free to choose how to share our faith, but our options are never neutral.

Our commission is simple, “…as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Evangelism is not about Christians doing things on God’s behalf. God is the first and primary evangelist. Therefore, evangelism starts with the conviction that God is at work in the world. Christians are called to recognize what God is doing and to get alongside it. Michael Frost often quotes David Bosch who once wrote, “Mission is more and different from recruitment to our brand of religion; it is the alerting people to the universal reign of God through Christ.”

This means more than simply crossing geographical/cultural boundaries, but to share the good news in other people’s territories – on their turf. Jesus did not invite people where he felt safe and they felt threatened. Jesus was simply there, sharing in the life of whatever was happening and listening to the needs of others. In this way, evangelism begins when Christians find themselves involved in person’s life and begin to reveal where God is already at work in their life.

In the end, the most important element of evangelism is that our lifestyles reflect Jesus Christ whether we are at work, in our home, or at the grocery store. Evangelism is not an option, but a commission received by all who call Jesus Lord.

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In Case You Are Wondering

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


In case you were wondering about what *really* happened in the Justin Brierley interview of Mark Driscoll, you can listen to the podcast here. If you missed the context, that is found here.

All of which has prompted a lengthy response from Bill Kinnon and thoughts on the culture clash from Andrew Jones.

[Image source]

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Posted on by Michael Carpenter

Does Jesus hate religion? This video that has been making the rounds says so. And Jefferson Bethke makes some valid points.

But does Jesus hate religion? That question must of kept Kevin DeYoung up all night because he took the time to exegete the poem in a lengthy blog post titled, “Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really.” And Voddie Baucham takes the video to task by stating that the “argument that Christianity is not a religion is a linguistic/grammatical fallacy.”

Anyway, this video below does a much better job of saying what I feel Bethke was trying to say.

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I Know of No Cowards

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


Before you ask, or assume I am just trolling for page views, I decided to write this post because I have friends who serve in Europe.

I know men and women who are actively engaging artists and students with the gospel in Paris, Copenhagen and Rome.

I know a family who sold everything and moved from Tennessee to Brussels in obedience to God to lay the groundwork for a church plant.

I know a family who lives in the heart of Budapest seeking reconciliation among a people who experienced so much oppression during the communist occupation.

I know of men and women who live incarnationally serving in the trenches in boros of London.

I remember Pastor Tope Koleoso of Jubilee Church responding gracefully on Sky News during the London riots.

I know a family who serves tirelessly in Germany.

I know a woman who is salt and light in the Barcelona marketplace.

I know of men who are standing in the gap of the Catholic and Protestant divide in Belfast.

NONE OF WHICH ARE COWARDS!!! as Driscoll would label them.

These are all men and women who do not need “celebrity” to validate themselves. Nor do they hide behind their own self-importance. Come on Driscoll. You are not really that famous. Most people in this world have no idea who you are. Only in the small Christian sub-culture are you idolized and/or hated.

Thank you to you who serve throughout Europe. I am thankful for your obedience and example. Keep pressing on.

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The Missing Links

Posted on by Michael Carpenter


A roundup of links floating around the interwebs what you may have missed.

Haiti Slow to Recover

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake that killed about 300,000 people. 800,000 Haitians are living without electricity, 500,000 can’t read or write, and 8 out 10 live on less than $2 a day. Though half of the rubble has been cleared and reconstruction has begun, Haiti has a long way to go in its recovery effort. The Big Picture has collected 25 images made available by wire services leading up to the anniversary.

What People Experience in Churches

The Barna Group asked, “What happens, if anything, in the hearts and minds of those who attend church?” To explore this matter, Barna Group surveyed Americans who have attended a Christian church sometime in the past and discovered what they say about their experiences in these congregations. The findings may surprise you. Is the problem what we expect from a Sunday morning?

The World at 7 billion

The world’s population has hit seven billion. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. The BBC has a cool interactive site that lets you know where you fit into this story of human life. Simply fill in your date of birth to find out.

10 Commandments of Short-Term Missions

We have all heard about short-term outreach teams, their exploits and adventures. Usually, however, we hear only from the perspective of the team itself. This article, written from the perspective of a long-term missionary, is intended to bring a dose of reality to those planning and preparing for a short-term outreach.

And for your viewing pleasure Sh*t Nobody Says. Your Welcome.

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