A Matt Update…

Took my boy to his first UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Basketball game on Sat.

We handled the Utah Runnin’ Utes (yes, they stole our cool nickname) in front of over 10,000 fans.

Notice I did not take Lorelai. That is because I have heeded the unintentional warning of Devin Hudson (6 junior high girls basketball games in 4 days!) and decided she will be taken to ballets instead.

All in all life has been pretty crazy lately. I have a lot to write about but very little time to write. I plan to write a post later this week about my church on this blog, and a post about Family Legacy on my family blog.

Please keep us in prayer as Vicky and I learn how to emotionally and physically handle caring for 2 infants.

Oh, and Ryan has a seminary degree now (congrats!!!) but refuses to use it (booooo!!!). Pray that he will repent. Also, feel free to rebuke him if you feel led.

matt

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the word “church”

Recently I was asked for my thoughts on Jeremy Pryor’s blog, Please Define “Church”. Here goes.

One thing I have come to find infinitely valuable when discussing anything is to first question the validity of a question/thesis. If the question/thesis proves invalid for any number of reasons, I can focus my discussion on that, or ignore the topic altogether. If the question/thesis proves valid, I can hardly find a reason not to engage. Sometimes, however, the validity of a question/thesis is ambiguous and requires further clarification. That is where I find myself when I hear statements like the one Jeremy leads off with:

We need a clear consensus on the New Testament meaning of the word “Church”.

Perhaps Mike Edwards comment best illustrates my point:

I think there may be a confusion of terms to square away. The word “church” is an english word that more accurately means “the place where God dwells”.

From this perspective we have 2 valid meanings for the word church:

a) The idiomatic meaning (the meaning that is commonly accepted) – the building where a worship service takes place.

b) The actual and literal meaning – the place where God dwells.

I find it a quest of insanity to commit oneself to deconstruct an idiomatic meaning to replace it with the actual meaning. An example of this would be someone hell bent on explaining to a bunch of 12 year-olds that the word “cool” is a temperature reference and not a state of one’s general acceptance among peers. What’s the point? Even if you can convince them, the embeded idiomatic meaning cements it’s usage in their vernacular.

So now I come back to Jeremy’s thesis: We need a clear consensus on the New Testament meaning of the word “Church”.

Now, there is another side of this coin, and that is when an idiomatic meaning trumps or hinders the ability for people to understand the true meaning of the word. Take our example of 12 year olds and the word “cool” again. Does their use of the word in it’s commonly accepted meaning trump or hinder anyone’s ability to understand the original meaning of the word? Of course not. Does our commonly accepted use of the word “church” trump or hinder anyone’s ability to understand it’s orignal meaning?

Ahh, now we are getting somewhere.

So now we are faced with a dilema. We desperately desire for people to know the true meaning of thw word “church,” but are faced with the reality that (IF WE ARE HONEST WITH OURSELVES) attempting to change the idiomatic meaning of the word “church” is a fruitless endeavor.

My solution: allow people to use the word church however they so please, while attempting to build a church that is authentic to the New Testament meaning. Worry less about getting people to use the word right, and focus more on getting them to be the church right. That seems far more condusive to Kingdom building.

matt

Firefox Extensions

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I love Firefox. Even though I own a Mac, and Safari is great, I cannot give up Firefox. Why? Mainly because of the extensions. The extensions allow me to use my browser more effectively and to get more out of it. Here are the extensions I use:

ScribeFire: this allows me to blog inside my browser. It takes up half the screen so that I can still see my web pages. As I change tabs the ScribeFire stays open at the bottom of the screen. This allows me to search for photos and videos without having to go back and forth between the WordPress tab. It also has more editing tools than WordPress, and the best part: if I want to add a photo all I have to do is drag it from the web page into the ScribeFire box. This is by far my favorite extension.

Foxy Tunes: compatible with almost every music player, Foxy Tunes places a music control pad in my browser so that I don’t have to move away from the browser to iTunes in order to change a song, adjust the volume, etc. This is a very helpful tool to help keep focus.

Search Options: I have added Wikipedia, Meriam Websters and the ESV Bible to my search tab in the top right corner.

Bookmarks: Firefox allows for bookmark buttons to go directly below your URL space and before your tabs. Note: after adding a button, refresh the page and an icon will appear in the button. Also, manually shorten the names, for some reason they are so freaking long when you drag them down. Here are my buttons:

– gmail, wordpress, google reader, Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, ESPN, CNN, Drudge, LVRJ, Pandora, MySpace, Bible Gateway, ESV Bible, Facebook, Blogger (for Vicky).

So what are your favorite Firefox extensions? What buttons do you use? Do you have multiple tabs open each time you start Firefox? Do you still use IE on your dial-up connection?

What say you?

matt

Links I think You Would Enjoy

I really enjoyed this sermon by Rick McKinley. Just a great lesson on how to be honest with God while revering him as God. It seems that often times in the church that we get only one right, if that.

John Piper dispenses this nugget of wisdom on humility. I agree with Justin Taylor (whose blog every Christian should read) that this was the best line, “be more amazed that you’re saved than that they’re lost.”

Steve McCoy has lost his mind.

Trevin Wax has a great interview with N.T. Wright. N.T. is a great balance to the more Reformed conservative voices out there. Of course those voices provide a great balance to N.T., who on some issues, is way out there.

I got Bob Hyatt to admit by ommission that Doug Pagitt is a heretic. That is what I call an Emergent victory. Check the comments out for details.

Lee Coate has some great thoughts on how we discern fruit in the age where church planting is as cool as African babies are to celebrities.

Rob Hall preached a really good series on Jonah.

enjoy

matt

Regarding Culture

Culture cannot be overrated any more than the roads you take to work are overrated. Neither is it a tool that can be leveraged. Rather it is a reality that we both live in and help create. Once we view it as anything other than this, we marginalize ourselves into sects who merely imitate culture in a “15 minutes too late” kind of way.

While I enjoy Driscoll’s analogy that culture is an exercise bike that each generation gets on and pronounces they are finally making progress, I do think it unintentionally disregards the fact that building culture is one of the prime examples that we are made in the image of God.

Culture is like a hiking path that we all walk along. Most of us just walk along the path with everyone else. Sometimes we try a new way of our own, but usually hurry back to the most common path. A new path is created as more and more people walk along a different way. In this way, they are more formative to the path they are on than they would be on the main path.

The goal for us as Christians isn’t to create our own path just for us, but rather to walk where people are. Walking on the populated path with people, walking on the new paths with people, discovering older paths with people. As long as we don’t drink, smoke or listen to rock n roll while on the various paths.

Sometimes we will need to help make paths more walkable for all (social justice). But at the end of the day we serve our paths (culture) for good, love those who are walking the paths with us and work so that when everyone gets to the end of the path they will be excited to see the Lord Jesus there.

matt

Why I love this blog!!!

This has been my favorite week of blogging — EVER.

It started of with Ryan explaining the need to run a disclaimer for our content. How this brought me joy I am not sure. This moved on to some of the best back and forth posts about a subject we have ever had. This was supplemented with great comments by the “core readers” of the blog (in juxtaposition to the 100 or so people who get here daily through random search terms). And for the record, Ryan’s post yesterday explaining the Prime Rib Theory was the greatest post EVER on the blog (with the Francis Beckwith post running second).

Honestly, we could turn this blog private tomorrow, only inviting the people who currently comment and we wouldn’t miss a beat. Probably the only reason we don’t is the hubris filled joy that comes when they look at their stats. Any blogger who denies this is a liar and most likely is an Arminian heretic who believes we save ourselves (oops, let a little bit of crazy come out there, been so good at hiding it lately too!).

My life is busier now, and more stressful than it ever has been. And there is not much of an end to that in sight. This blog has provided me with a great sense of joy over the past month or so and I look forward to it continuing that.

Ryan is my best friend and I love him very much. When you are close with people the idea of “mourning with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice” becomes a natural outflow. Today I was able to do some rejoicing with Ryan and that helped me get through a very busy work morning.

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So these are the main reasons I love this blog. I get to dialogue with my best friend, interact with others and have an outlet for creativity (stop laughing at that last point, it happens sometimes).

Why do you enjoy this blog? Let us know in the comment section and give Ryan and I a reason to enjoy the blog other than checking our stats.

matt

A Theory that Explains the Relationship

I will concede my ignorance that Obama wrote the Philadelphia speech on his own. Yet I still cannot shake the implications of his relationship with Rev. Wright.

Richard John Neuhaus writes about other implications of Obama’s speech that I had not considered.

The Strange Ways of Black Folk

At the end of the day I am befuddled at Obama’s relationship to with the Rev. It cannot be ignorance, Obama is way too smart. It cannot be calculated deception, he is too aware of the public eye. Actually I believe there is a theory that clearly explains why Obama would continue to have a relationship with Rev. Wright…

and that would be THE PRIME RIB THEORY.

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Ryan, care to explain…