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OK… I will go on record as saying that it’s not one of my favorite worship tunes, but recently the PCUSA hymn song picker outer committee decided to drop the song “In Christ Alone” from the new official denominational hymnal. Why? Well… because of this line: On that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied” The hymnal gatekeepers contacted the authors of the song, and suggested the following revision: On that cross as Jesus dies, the love of God was magnified” The authors said no. And the song was dropped. The committee said that it had nothing to do with the word ‘wrath’, but rather with the word ‘satisfied’ (that supposedly refers to a specific view of theology that it rejects). The vote was 9-6 to drop the hymn. I just have one question:  What’s a hymnal? Todd Read more here.

I agree with Dr. James Emery White:  God wants churches to grow.  And healthy churches really should be growing churches. Dr. White offers 20 reasons why your church may not be growing.  Here are a few of them.  Follow the link at the end to see the full list! You aren’t praying for growth. Your lead communicator does not have the spiritual gift of communication. You are not attempting to connect with the next generation. Your church structure stifles leadership, innovation and front-line decision-making. You are methodologically, stylistically and strategically out of date. You have unresolved divisions, tensions and discord within the staff and/or congregation. Your location is counter-productive. Read more here. So… what is the main reason you think your church (or other churches) are not growing? Todd

HT to for these: 1.  Klingon John 3:16:  vaD joH’a’ vaj loved the qo’, vetlh ghaH nobta’ Daj wa’ je neH puqloD, vetlh ‘Iv HartaH Daq ghaH should ghobe’ chIlqu’, ‘ach ghaj eternal yIn. 2. LOLCat John 3:16:  So liek teh Ceiling Kitteh lieks teh ppl lots and he sez ‘Oh hai I givez u me only kitteh and ifs u beleeves him u wont evr diez no moar, kthxbai!’ 3.  Word on the Street Bible You can read some excerpts here, dude. 4.  Pidgin English The translation came about through more than a decade of work between linguists at the University of the West Indies and Jamaican theologians. The immaculate conception is announced by the words “De angel go to Mary and say to ‘er, me have news we going to make you well ‘appy. God really, really, bless you and him a walk with you all de time”, rather than the high-flying rhetoric of “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.'” Have a unique Bible version that you’ve found that we don’t include here?  Link to it below! Todd

I’ve had the opportunity to work on many leadership teams over the years.  Some were healthy.  Others were highly dysfunctional. But one thing I’ve noticed is that all teams have conflict.  In fact, you’ll always have conflict when there is more than you in the room (or maybe that’s my problem!) But I’ve also notices that great leadership teams also have conflict.  But it’s so different than the conflict you encounter in the unhealthy team. All conflict is not bad.  In fact… healthy, positive conflict is a great thing.  It actually makes your team BETTER! Thom Rainer gives us six reasons that ‘positive’ disagreement is a good thing on your leadership team: 1. Good leaders will have strong opinions. It’s a good sign when team members speak up with good insights. It means the leader has assembled an “A” team with members who are confident and informed. 2. An organization needs differing perspectives. My leadership team is comprised of seven unique leaders, each helping us see issues in a different light. We have made some good decisions and avoided some bad decisions because of the collective wisdom of strong leaders with different viewpoints. 3. Healthy debate and differences create “aha” moments. One of the fascinating parts of being on a healthy team is to watch the momentum of a healthy debate. As one member challenges another, we sometimes make a “discovery” that a single perspective would not have engendered. Some of our better decisions have come in the midst of a rather heated debate among team members. 4. Conflict can help identify the stronger team members. If leaders understand that peers will challenge them, they are likely to be better prepared to deal with those challenges. In that process, stronger leaders emerge. They have done their homework. They think on their feet well. They are not intimidated or threatened when someone questions their insights. 5. Conflict engenders cross training. Team leaders have different experiences, backgrounds, leadership styles, and responsibilities. As they interact with one another in healthy debates, each member can learn from the other. “Iron sharpens iron” may be a cliché, but it is nevertheless true. 6. Team members that fight together are more likely to be united in purpose. At first blush, that statement may sound counterintuitive. But healthy debate allows each member to speak his or her mind. Each member is free to make contributions. Each member is valued. As long as the differences of opinion do not degenerate into hurt feelings and true animosity, the team becomes stronger and ultimately works together better. Read more here at What is the best (and worst) team that you’ve ever worked on?

Pat Robertson has a bit of a credibility problem.  I’ve taken some fun jabs at Pat over the recent years.  He just seems to say some goofy things at times. Like Facebook should have a vomit button. Or about how men are bound to cheat.  Here and here. Or his million dollar word of knowledge. Or his comment on awful looking women. Or his bad attempt at a wife beating joke. Or him telling a man named Mohammad to change his name. I could go on and on. So… when a satire site publishes an article named:  Pat Robertson:  Disobedient Wives ‘Must be Spanked’, I had to chuckle a little. And read a little to make sure Pat really didn’t say that. That’s the beauty of satire.  (And many people don’t understand satire).  The fact that it could be true actually makes it humorous. Here’s part of the piece, featured over at the Daily Currant: Christian television personality Pat Robertson stoked controversy today by telling a female caller that disobedient wives should be spanked by their husbands. On a segment on the long-running 700 Club the 83-year-old Robertson explained to a woman seeking relationship advice that an occasional slap in the rear is the clearest path to marital bliss. “Ma’am, with all due respect, it seems like the problem in your marriage is disobedience,” he told the caller. “When a wife disobeys her husband the holy bond between the two starts to disintegrate and all sorts of problems start to crop up. “The apostle Paul tells us in Corinthians the importance of submission. And when you lose that submission in a marriage, there’s only one solution: a sound spanking on the bottom. “Wives must be spanked by their husbands. It’s the only way to keep biblical order. Nothing too hard, just enough to let her know he’s the one in charge. So I have to ask, when was your last spanking dear?” So… what do you think?  Hilarious satire or disgusting right-wing defaming of a television evangelist? Todd

We all know the Bible sets up specific courses of action when we have something against a brother. And an even more stringent set of guidelines applies if an accusation is made against an elder. So… is it ever right to be a church whistleblower? Let’s say you’re on staff at a church and you discover your senior pastor is having an affair.  You’re the only one that has this information.  What should you do? Or, you’re on staff at a church and you and another person (maybe it’s you and your wife) know of a sin issue that needs to be addressed. There’s just one problem:  confronting the issue with the senior pastor will most definitely achieve just one thing:  your quick and unequivocal firing. Is there EVER a time that you should go to the church board or elders BEFORE you go to the individual?  For employment reasons?  For physical safety reasons? (Please don’t blast me… I’m not trying to get anyone to circumvent scripture in any way.  I just know that real life situations are never nearly as cut and dry as people think.  Just ask anyone in the situation.) Another instance where I’d ask the ‘whistleblower’ question is when someone actually DOES go through the scriptural guidelines to try to make things right, but the leadership ignores the admonition.  Is it ever right for a church member to call their bluff by ‘whistleblowing’?  Of should the person just leave the church? It’s happening more and more… just watch the headlines. Read the blogs.  Whistleblowing is becoming more and more prevalent in the church today. The question is… where do you draw the line? What do YOU think? Is there ever a time when church whistleblowing is justified? Todd