World Communion & Mission Sunday

We have an incredible opportunity this Sunday to experience God in new ways at the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa. This Sunday, October 3 is World Communion Sunday.  What is World Communion Sunday? The National Council of Church explains:

The day has taken on new relevancy and depth of meaning in a world where globalization often has undermined peace and justice – and in a time when fear divides the peoples of God’s earth. On this day we celebrate our oneness in Christ, the Prince of Peace, in the midst of the world we are called to serve – a world ever more in need of peacemaking.

Churches from every denomination are taking part in this celebration of oneness in Christ. At FBC, we do communion a little differently this Sunday. We have four stations for communion, representing the four corners of the world, and we invite worshipers to visit one or all of the stations. The communion bread consists of different ethnic breads from around the world.

In addition, we have a special quest preacher from the American Baptist Churches International Ministries:

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Atheists Know More about Religion

In a recent Pew Religious study, atheists scored highest on a  survey asking basic questions regarding religion.  Even more surprising is the fact that some answered questions incorrectly when it came to facts about their own faith. The New York Times reports that on average respondents answered half of the questions incorrectly.

Atheists and agnostics scored the highest out of all respondents.  Jews and Mormons scored the highest out of all religious groups. White Protestant Christians scored in the middle range.

How could Atheists out score all other religious groups in this simple religious test?  It had to be the questions.  The questions were too hard, right?  Well, there were some basic questions like, “Where was Jesus born?” “Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation?” “Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt?”  The respondents answered in multiple choice form.

What conclusion can we reach about this study?  Atheists know more about religion?

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A Theology For Planning

A plan for the future is always a challenge, especially when it deals with money. The former CEO, Alan Schwartz of defunct investment bank Bear Stearns was apparently delusional in March 2008 when he stated that things were going fine with the faltering investment bank:

Bear Stearns’s balance sheet, liquidity and capital remain strong… Our liquidity position has not changed at all, our balance sheet has not changed at all…

Less than two days after Schwartz spoke these words, Bear Stearns filed for bankruptcy.

How can someone be so off, delusional, and even dense?  No wonder nobody wants to trust governmental or business leaders these days.  With stuff like this going on, who wants to?  When things are going well or when things are going bad there has to be a plan for the future.

Many of us like to think we have a plan, but do we really have a sound plan for our futures? [Read more...]

Age Segregation in Church

In the last 30 years, age-segmented worship was an unforeseen effect of the contemporary worship movement within Christianity.  What has developed in many (not all) churches are two worship services.  A traditional service with older adults and a commentary service with younger adults.  This results into a type of age segregation in congregations. Several blogs and Christian news organizations have slowly noticed this trend. Recently, Tullian Tchividjian the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, TN (a very large church) ended years of age-segmented worship in his church.

Tchividjian comments on merging the two worship styles into one:

The primary reason, though, that stylistic segregation in worship shrinks our souls is because it prevents us from knowing God deeply. The only way to know him deeply is to have many different types of Christian people in your life, since each person will help to reveal a part of God that you can’t see by yourself. This means the great tragedy of segregation isn’t so much that we see less of each other but that in separating from each other we see less of God. All of us need other lights than our own to see more of his myriad facets.

Will we see a reversal of age segregation in  worship services in churches in the United States?

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Jon Stewart, You Need Me

Jon Stewart and his Daily Show crew are on to something.  Just as Glenn Beck had his “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C., Steward is holding a “Rally To Restore Sanity.” http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/ on October 30, 2010.  Just days before the mid-term elections.  Stephen Colbert is holding a counter rally, “March to Keep The Fear Alive” http://www.keepfearalive.com/ on the same day.  This is all very funny and will no doubt draw cheer and jeers from conservatives and liberals.

Clearly a farce on Glenn Beck, Stewart and Colbert are masterminds at political and social comedy, however they are missing one essential element in this rally.  The clergy.  Glenn Beck had his “Black Robe Regiment” with his rally and Jon Stewart needs clergy.  Actually, he needs me.  I propose that Steward build a Black Robe Brigade.  I wrote about Beck’s Christian aspirations and open theism in my Times Union blog post and Stewart needs some clergy support.

So, what can I do for you Jon Stewart?

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Fall Festival in Ballston Spa

This Sunday, September 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. bring your family to the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa for a fun Fall Festival.  There will be food, ice cream, games, and a bounce house for the kids.  This is a FREE event and we invite everyone to come by and enjoy some food and fun.  Parking is available in the church lot and on the street.

202 Milton Ave. Ballston Spa, NY 885-8361 http://www.fbcballstonspa.org

Everyone Needs a Vision

In 1833, an employee at the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., wrote the following letter:

Dear Sir:

Because everything that can be invented has already been invented, it is inevitable that this office should go out of business. Inasmuch as I shall soon lose my position, I hereby resign to look for work elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Up to that point, less than 500 patents had been applied for in the United States; but by the time World War I was over, more than 60,000 patents had been issued. Today the number runs in the millions.1

Clearly, that guy lacked vision.  He could of used Lasik for his brain.  We read something like this and think, “Wow, what an idiot.”  How could someone look into the future and believe that there is nothing for them.  This guy did not even give himself a chance to wait to see what happens.  He just gave up.

There has to be a better way of planning, but who can plan for every possible outcome?

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How to Throw Away a Bible

I’m back!  After a short sabbatical for the month of August, I’m ready to start blogging again.  The manuscript for my book continues.

After some saints of my church decided to clear out our Sunday School storage area (who wants to do that job?), an unusual question was posed. “What do we do with damaged Bibles?” I was not quite sure how to answer the question.  I figured we could donate the Bibles to Salvation Army or another religious non-profit.

After the damaged Bibles sat in a box outside of my office for a week, another church member asked about the Bibles.  I told her that we were going to donate the Holy books.  She picked up one of the Bibles and pages started fall out.  “We are going to donate these?” The look on her face told me that these Bibles were not worthy to give to anyone and she was right. How can you tell others about Christ when the end of the book of Luke is missing?

How do you throw away a Bible?  That question just seems wrong.  I believe the proper question is, “How do you properly dispose of damaged Bibles?” You cannot just burn them.  I think. That just evokes images of Nazi Germany and book burning.  A nutty pastor recently created a controversial event, “Burn a Koran Day.”  Not the route we want to go here folks.

After some research, I discovered the answer to the question, “How do you properly dispose of damaged Bibles? The answer is:

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My Sabbatical

I’m taking a short sabbatical from blogging till September (a collective “awwww man”). I have some personal deadlines I need to meet for the book I’m writing on associate pastor ministry for Judson Press.  If all goes as planned, the book will be ready for the fall of 2011.  I know that seems far away but it will come quickly.  If something really pressing comes along in the news that I just have to respond to you may see a post.

Come September, I’ll be back up and running at full speed with blogging.

What Would Jesus Wear?

Hmmm... I think I'll wear my "Jesus is my homeboy" shirt today.

Many of us have heard of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) but how about WWJW (What Would Jesus Wear?)  Check out this actual toy , on the right, that is sold in stores.  I first thought this was a joke, but then I saw that you can buy this doll action figure for about $15.  Based on this action figure, Jesus would wear just about anything.  Including a 80′s boom box stereo (look close in the back ground)  I’m glad to see a cross is there.  I think.

Some may see this as sacrilegious, but I think it is a point of reference for commentary in our culture.  No longer is Jesus off limits from commercialization.  Sure “Christian” businesses make money of Jesus related digs, but now we see secular businesses making money off Jesus’ likeness. Trademark infringement anyone?

The likeness of Jesus and his apparel may not seem critically important to the average person.  Christ spoke a few times about clothing, but never clear on what to wear.  There are references to sharing clothing and being watchful of the Pharisees wearing their religious clothing in order to be seen.

Should we be concerned with what we wear?

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Shout-outs from Bloggers

Thanks for the shout outs from bloggers who attended smAlbany on Tuesday.  (Read the last post for my review) A few bloggers who attended the panel talk I was a part of had some great things to say:

The World Through My Lens wrote,

Mike Huber led a panel called Local Social Media and Your Customers.  He asked about blogging and tweeting – why would you want to do it, and why would people care?… My favorite panelist was Rev. Al Rudnick.  I am not huge on religion, but he explained how people are using Twitter and Facebook during church and how they encourage it.  They even project it on a large screen so people can see it and participate.  I think I will try this on Sunday.  I bet the people in our church wont be as accepting…

VIP Guest Blogger, dozenroses13 wrote,

“What degree do ethics play in a community?” Rev. Alan Rudnick spoke about people who “hide behind the veil” AKA – Anonymous bloggers.  “Be a follower OR have a following.”  Your choice. They spoke about the recent “Ding Dong Ditch” incident that happened locally last week.  Why did it become such a firestorm?  It was a story that contained emotion.  It could happen to any home owner.    Social Media helped that story spread like wild-fire.  So much so that CNN picked up the story.