Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What God has been doing lately...

My faith has been strengtened this week by what God has been doing.
  • He has led three new engaged couples to me and Megan for pre-marital counseling. Each couple is a blast to be around. Meg and I are really enjoying this ministry together.
  • He brought together a new group at Cornerstone for people with addictions. This is new territory for me as a pastor and I love it.
  • He has led a few of our groups at church to reproduce and form new groups. Could this be the beginning of a rapid reproduction of believers, groups and churches?
  • He has been giving me some of the most significant one-on-one discipleship meetings I've ever had. I continue to be amazed at the power of God's transforming grace.
  • He is leading me and our staff to launch a new DivorceCare ministry. Again, new territory for me and I am praying that God will use this to effect a lot of reconciliation.
  • He is giving me an opportunity to teach New Testament Greek this fall at Rivendell College in Boulder.
  • He brought together a multi-racial group of pastors and their wives from the Denver-Boulder area for a wonderful dinner and prayer meeting last night. Thanks again to Bob Ryan and the Mile High Baptist Association.
  • He made it snow here again today! I love snow.
Not every week is like this. Sometimes ministry feels like you're rolling a huge stone up a long hill. Lately it's been more like chasing that rolling stone down the hill. Thank you, Father!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Leave it to the ego of James Cameron to capitalize on the ignorance and biblical illiteracy of our media-tainment culture in the wake of the Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Go to and look for last night's program to hear Dr. R. Albert Mohler respond to the hype surrounding the new Discovery Channel documentary. In our postmodern culture, archeology and theology are easily spun together into Archeo-tainment. This is the world we live in. Think, Christian. Think for the glory of God.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Book Review: Truth Decay

Douglas Groothuis doesn’t like TV and we shouldn’t either. He concludes his critique of postmodernism with an engaging appendix entitled “Television: Agent of Truth Decay”. I agree with Groothuis that TV is a medium that exemplifies postmodern values and that the growth of video strengthens postmodernism’s grip on our culture, even as most viewers never contemplate the implications of the form of media they are choosing. Thus, in my sanctity, I have not yet bought a big, new, high-definition, flat-screen television; though I think they are very cool. But I do have an iPod. It has a 30 gigabyte hard drive that I have not come anywhere close to filling with media yet. And yes, it even plays videos, which I confess to watching regularly on that itty-bitty screen. Inconsistency, that trademark of the postmodern worldview, has found its way into my life too. I’m a podcast junkie. But at least I don’t watch that much TV.

Every day I download a podcast of BBC Radio 4’s ten-past-eight interview from the Today program. (Yes, I know that is a bit odd since I live in Boulder, Colorado. The reason I listen to this program is because what is talked about in the UK will soon be talked about here as well. It doesn’t take long for trends of all sorts to travel across the Atlantic Ocean.) A recurring topic in recent BBC podcasts has been community cohesion throughout Britain. The combination of a wave of immigrants (many Muslim) with a culture that has embraced pluralism is creating a crisis in British cultural identity. Residents of the UK are highly segmented and polarized, perhaps even more so than we Americans with our red states or blue states, our NBC or Univision, and our or Many recent conversations on Radio 4 have centered on how to help Muslim youth assimilate into British culture, primarily out of a fear of the radicalization of this next generation. This is a reasonable fear, since recent terror attacks in the UK have been committed by British-born Muslims and the presence of many vocal, radical Muslims in London. How can the postmodern UK avoid the continued alienation of Muslim young men? I don’t think it can. Postmodern pluralism isn’t satisfying for a great number of the next generation of Britons, whether Muslim or from any other background. The dominance of postmodernism is creating a cultural vacuum in the UK that the Muslim worldview and others are rushing in to fill. As Groothuis says: “A leading feature of postmodernity is the breakdown of social and religious concensus, or rampant pluralism, which tends to fray social cohesion” (53). Sadly the Church of England is currently unable to muster much response, having been forced to deal with the Anglican Communion’s internal divisions by the Episcopal Church (USA)’s obstinate refusal to refrain from consecrating practicing gay men and theologically liberal women as presiding bishops. Continued reformation of the Church in England and reckless proclamation of the gospel there remain our only source of hope.

This was my third time reading through Truth Decay. The first was seven years ago, and at that time it was one of the first books I had read on postmodernism. Now having read a number of others since then, it is easier for me to trace how Groothuis is developing his ideas upon the foundations of C.S. Lewis, Carl F.H. Henry, Francis Schaeffer and Gene Edward Veith. This time through, one of the more helpful insights I gleaned was this: “Scripture makes distinctions between the proclamation of the gospel, the defense of the gospel and the communal defense of the gospel. Christians who subscribe to postmodernist ideas absorb the defense of the gospel into proclamation and manifestation, given their views on language, truth and rationality.” (162) This helps me better understand why some people in my church are reticent about a verbal witness and apologetic ministry. Postmodernism has affected their understanding of truth as universal and antithetical, and of the need for rational discourse.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast from a Baptist seminary president who was interviewing a contemporary secularist. The secularist was arguing that her ethics were probably 95% the same as his. Again, I found Groothuis helpful when he wrote, “A close reading of postmodernist ethics reveals some understanding of ethical principles that transcend the merely cultural. These are buried beneath much verbiage and muddled with contradictions about relativity and contingency but the can be unearthed.” (208) Whether we are speaking to a contemporary pre-modern pagan, or a contemporary modern materialist, or a contemporary postmodern ironist, we can be sure that the ethical image of God remains in them, even though it has been thoroughly corrupted by the fall and buried underneath their often-verbose philsophies.

Groothuis still gets on my nerves with his chapter “Race, Gender and Postmodernism.” Galatians 3:26-28 becomes the hermeneutical lens through which every other Pauline passage is interpreted, even though its context is primarily about salvation, not gender roles in marriage and the church. I am left wondering why he has chosen to ride this theological hobby horse in a book about postmodernism. I doubt that many people have actually accused him of allowing postmodernism into his theology because of his egalitarian position. This chapter just doesn’t fit the overall purpose of the book and should have been left out. In footnotes, Groothuis often credits his wife’s authorship of certain sections of the book. He should have just added her name on the cover.

I’ll close this review with one last helpful quote from the chapter on art.
“Evangelicals tend to view art according to simple moral concerns (it ought not be pornographic, attack God or be otherwise immoral). They also deem it pragmatic (it serves evangelistic or moral ends), sentimental (God looks at the heart, not at the art) and as unrelated to objective aesthetic standards (there is no accounting for taste). While these views are not uniquely postmodernist, they dangerously overlap postmodernist philosophies and sensibilities. Christians who hold these views cannot mount a strong counterinsurgency to postmodernismin the arts, a realm that touches us all so deeply and repeatedly.” (260)

Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism, Douglas Goothuis, IVP, 2000

Friday, February 23, 2007

1,206 Minutes of Reading

Here's a photo of Sophie from our hometown newspaper, the Superior Observer, along with some of the other Read-a-Thon champions at Superior Elementary School. The PTA challenged the kids to read as much as they could over 11 days. Each grade level had its own champion. The winners are fourth-grader Angela Fei with 2,545 minutes, second-grader Byron Staynings with 1,930 minutes, first-grader Ethan Huffman with 2,200 minutes, and kindergartner Sophie Kelly with 1,206 minutes. Not pictured are Rohan Mylavarapu with 2,540 minutes and fifth grader Matthew Tubbs with 3,750 minutes. The grand champion, also not pictured, was Logan McCoy who woke up between 4 and 6 a.m. to begin reading and read an average of 11 hours a day. 7,250 minutes. He's glad he won the iPod grand prize, but he's giving it to his little brother. Way to go, Sophie!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Skiing Friends Re-Unite at Vail!

Here we are with our good friend Tim Mattingly at Vail's Blue Sky Basin. I've known Tim since my earliest days as a Boy Scout. In High School and College we had some great skiing adventures together. Tim was one of my groomsmen and I was one of his. He's now in the real estate and mortgage business in Orlando and I'm a pastor in Colorado...who would have thought!?! We re-united today at Vail and experienced another adventure...skiing with the kids! Tim and Megan look like they did in High School, but I'm starting to look like my Dad in this photo. Thanks for skiing with us, Tim!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

7 and 1/2 Hours of Driving?

I-70 was closed at Georgetown yesterday morning, along with Berthoud Pass, Vail Pass, Kenosha Pass and nearly every other route into Summit County. But the obsessive skier wouldn't turn around and go home. Hoosier Pass was still open, but we had to drive to Colorado Springs in order to get to it. So here's a picture of Anna and Sophie at Garden of the Gods on Friday afternoon. We left home at 10am and made it to Silverthorne just after 5:30pm. 7 and 1/2 hours of driving just to go skiing? That's obsessive.

Skiing with 6 girls?

That's obsessive.

But it was worth it.

Today was an incredible day at Breckenridge!
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Friday, February 16, 2007

I do not want to die like that!

I may be an obsessive skier, but I do have my limits. I DO NOT want to die in an avalanche. According to The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, "if you are completely buried, chances are you will be too injured to help yourself." Check out this article on the 1987 Peak 7 avalanche at Breckenridge from the Summit Daily News. I skied over 60 days during the winter of 1987 and I remember this like it was yesterday. It's a windy, snowy day today. High avy danger.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Pun #9

I'm glad God has given me Canadian friends in Keith and Becky. They have a better sense of humor than us yanks. Here's an example from the International Pun Contest, sent my way via Becky:

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Funny, eh?

I need to go skiing

I'm getting a bit antsy. It's been over a week since my feet were in ski boots. Oh well, at least there are videos like this: