Monday, April 28, 2008

Your Assignment for Today

The pastors of Jefferson Hills Church--the allegedly LCMS congregation in the St. Louis area that has the "Sucks" billboards--have a blog and, like most blogs, provide a blogroll.

Your assignment for today:

1. Click on the links to the "blogs they read." Also provided right here:

2. Click on seven links from my own blogroll. Doesn't matter which seven (please note, not all are Lutheran--but they are friends and/or influences).

3. Compare and contrast the content of the jhchurch blogroll and the blogs on mine, answering the following questions:

A. Which blogs reflect the Church's life and confession?
B. Which blogs are most self-refrential, self-centered and which are most Christ-centered?
C. Which blogs provide the most jargon from the Church? Which blogs provide the most jargon from business theory, communication theory, psychological theory and social theory?
D. Which blogs share the Gospel best?
E. When you think of Christ and His Church, which blogs seem more representative?
F. Of the two blogrolls, which list would you rather have your pastor read (note: I don't read all the blogs on my own list--at least not frequently)?
G. Which set of blogs should be more representative for the LCMS, Lutheranism, or your denomination?
H. Which blogs are most helpful in your growth as a Christian?

4. Please respond in the comments section.

Please don't take this as boasting in the superiority of my blogroll. This exercise is designed to reflect the complete "andere Geist" that the consumerist churches operate with.

And ok, since you asked: I believe my list is superior, but not because I assembled it; rather, my links are superior because of the quality of those authors.


  1. Doorman-Priest said...

    It has been an interesting exercise. For me the issue has always been about what you believe the function of your blog to be.

    Yes your list is superior because the people who write the blogs on your blog roll give us something more of themselves and not just a fairly arrid view of church done our way.

    Well that's my two penny worth.

  2. Emily H. said...

    Here are some things that I noticed on JH's blogs:

    - heavy emphasis on leadership
    - business and ministry are thought of as being similar (business ideas will work in ministry)
    - no talk about sacraments; main emphasis on sermons & "sermon series"
    - sermons are the saving work, i.e. "and during that sermon, hundreds of people were saved"
    - drawing inspiration from culture for sermon topics

    On the other hand, This Side's blogs, at a glance, discussed things like Communion, Christ, the Holy Spirit, liturgy, the life of the church, saints, and the daily life of Christians.

  3. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    It is interesting - I see some nice, practical advice. I see some that I have said myself (the idea that to sound authentic your sermon should sound like you is something I will harp on). I see fine ideas.

    I didn't see much Jesus. I saw lots about being effective at communicating - just not communicating *Christ*. I saw lots about how Satan works - but I didn't see lots about how Christ conquers sin. Jesus was if anything a pretext or permission to talk about life now - Jesus died for you, so it's okay for you to have success on your life journey now.

    I saw a "Spirituality" focused on helping you to grow into a better you. It is wisdom - but. . . worldly. Things I could be told basically by a Rabbi, or even an Atheist who simply analyzed social situations.

  4. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Pr. Brown and Emily--

    You both receive an "A."

    Thank you for participating. :)

  5. Dixie said...

    Rats...late as usual with my assignment. Can I get partial credit?

    It's been a few days now since I read those creepy sites referenced by JH but I do remember a few key highlights.

    Yes...the leadership principles...they were out there like the trumpets that drown out everyone's singing on Easter morning in a former congregation! :) Some of what was presented reminded me of what my company teaches me to enable me to manage my team in accordance with our company values. I don't have a problem with teaching certain skills but it shouldn't be confused with teaching/preaching Christ.

    The thing the creeped me out the worst were the articles that mentioned things like "altar calls". Here is a Lutheran church site giving a big thumbs up link to favorable discussions about "altar calls". I didn't read further but I suspect I could find references to the Eucharist being a symbol and Baptism merely a sign of obedience.

    A couple of problems with that...first of all, I am all too familiar with Lutherans using/endorsing materials from other protestant denominations. I could write a book on this subject. The bottom line...I learned a long time ago that any person or denomination that didn't believe in the Sacraments had absolutely nothing to teach me with regard to Christ.

    Secondly...a church linking to such sites without qualification seems almost to be a tacit endorsement of what they believe. Altar calls are OK...and that's probably why I had to sit through one in my former LCMS congregation when the pastor was out of town and the head elder led the Wednesday night service. No lie...first time in my entire life I ever went out for a strong drink afterward because I needed it to calm me down.

    I don't know...I think I am going to have to withdraw from this class. I have written and rewritten for almost an hour now trying to sort my thoughts from my experience to keep this from being personal but I can't separate them. These sites bring back some very bad memories for me and it is a very real shame that a Lutheran church would do this to her parishioners.

  6. Dixie said...

    Whoops...didn't qualify something properly...I wrote:

    I learned a long time ago that any person or denomination that didn't believe in the Sacraments had absolutely nothing to teach me with regard to Christ.

    I meant this from a doctrinal perspective. As we are to see Christ in every person...we can learn something about Christ from every person.

  7. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Good night! You've spent an hour typing and editing on this, Dixie??

    You deserve and honorary A+ for the effort. And it was not my intent at all to cause anyone anguish. I simply saw the the websites linked and was saddened that this is the "experience of church" that so many have. Hmm.

    Good to see you visiting, though!

  8. Dixie said...

    Ooooh! A mercy grade. I'll take it! :D

    ...and was saddened that this is the "experience of church" that so many have.

    That is exactly the point.