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The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan​

On seeking comfort

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Seeking our own comfort is built in. We want to avoid pain and find the happy place in the world. But there is an attendant danger in seeking only comfort and not truth and even finding our duty. I ran across this quote this morning from the CS Lewis:

In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: If you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth--only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, book 1, chap 5, para 6, p39. Quoted in The Quotable Lewis ed Martindale and Root. 

Jacob's Well - Four Years this Weekend

Jacob's Well turns four on Friday. This video rolled out last week sharing a bit of that story. Very thankful for all our friends and JWell family giving their lives in gospel work in New Jersey.  

Should pastors try hard to be uncool?

Note: Much credit to IX Marks, a ministry I love and respect, for the inspiration for this post.  I agree with most of what they wrote...maybe they will agree also with me? I added #7 of my own accord. 

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  1. Being an uncool pastor is not the power of God for salvation—the gospel is. If we think that the success of our evangelistic efforts depends on the communication style we don't care about, we are missing it. We should just flow without any style so we can be sure the only thing that is attractive to anyone are Bible words. We should write them on vellum and keep them in our room. We want to show that our trust is in the power of God’s Word working by God’s Spirit, so we want to be as awkward and uncool as we can be so to be sure about this.
  2. Being disconnected to the culture is a double-edged sword. Though you can be sure you don't look cool, are not compelling, and be ignorant of what people care about, you might still be human enough to be in real relationships with sinners. Just don't be cool about it. Make them read the vellum if they want you to watch movies.
  3. Our desire to be uncool may reflect more pride than we’d like to admit. Let’s say you want to be pure, unaffected by the culture and only have heaven oriented slang, dress and style. Is your desire to cultivate that image driven by a desire to save the lost or a desire for people to like you? Or maybe to have God like you more than he like cool pastors.
  4. Much pastoral ministry is profoundly cool. Preaching the cross is the power of God to save people is really cool. Moreover, faithfully pleading with others to repent of their sins and be reconciled to God requires a pastor to be earnest and enthusiastic (aka cool) in a way that is utterly at odds with the ironic detachment that being uncool requires. If you define cool as ironic detachment that is not cool.
  5. We must never despise “cool” brothers and sisters in Christ. The more we try to be uncool ourselves, the more we’ll be tempted to look down on Christians who are not like us. Like those who have lots of tattoos.
  6. Being unlike the culture can make it hard for others to see the gospel. The more we understand the world and its definition of “cool,” the less attractive we should find it. In fact, in a society that is increasingly morally and spiritually bankrupt, it may be our identification with people in culture that serves to highlight the gospel. Rather than trying to be uncool, pastors should lead their churches to cultivate a living presence with people in their own culture (to borrow from God's example in the incarnation) that points to a gospel that is genuinely different from what the world believes. It also will have the body of Christ walking among people in every day life. If we are unlike the culture they cannot hear us, see us or understand us...which makes it hard for them to see the gospel.
  7. We should be cool and uncool like Jesus and Paul - Jesus become one of us in this world, in culture, with people in culture, hanging out with cool and uncool, the outcast, the one's with tattoos and no tattoos, loving the lost and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. We should also be cool and uncool like the apostle who for the sake of the gospel became all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some. And he knew cool poems that the kids listened to also...which is kinda cool. He also preached the Christ crucified for sinners and the cross as the only grounds for justification by faith...which is really cool.
Many people assume that the best way to reach people is to not be like them at all. Like non earthlings that share no humanity, language, clothing, media and flow with them. So, if pastors don't want to reach cool people, they should try to be uncool. But there are several problems with the idea that pastors should not try to be cool:

 

For it was Jesus...

An Easter Poem by Kylene Monaghan

An Easter Poem by Kylene Monaghan

He died to save us
With undying trust
He has risen again
To forgive us our sin

Three days it took
Until they looked,
And the stone was rolled away

The angel there,
In no despair,
Cried out to them
For they were grim

"He lies not within
For your king is risen."

They were glad,
And no longer sad,
For the stone was rolled away

They went away,
Yet one stayed,
She was not certain
And she searched for him

There was nothing there
For the tomb was bear
She then went out
And looked about

She heard his voice,
And soon rejoiced...

For it was Jesus, the messiah.