Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Two links for you today, along with some verbal head-scratching from yours truly. Beware of bitter-sounding rants. I'm pretty sure I'm not mad about any of this, just kind of confused.

First, check this out.

To be clear, I’m all for fasting (feel free to make jokes about the thing I posted on Monday).

And I do love me some Jon Foreman. Compared to most of what CCM is turning out these days,that dude is in another musical/lyrical universe. But I’m a little perplexed by the idea of famous people fasting publicly and other people writing magazine articles about it (I actually made a joke about this in an interview I once did with Todd for worshipnotes, but I don't know where that interview is now). I mean, I guess it's better than spending millions of dollars giving away fake, Christian-ized Grammy's to the wealthy, famous, idolized Christian musicians who are the most wealthy, famous and idolized. But that's another blog.

Anyway, pulicized fasting. Anyone else think this – the publicity of it, not the fast – is odd? Not bad, not evil, just odd? I mean, honestly, maybe this is a great thing. Maybe this will cause more people to contemplate fasting. I guess I just get a little nervous when I read that article and then I read this.


Second thing:

Any of you remember that song "happy" on my last record? Any of you wonder what I was talking about?

Well, when you read this you'll either get the connection or you won't, and if you don't, then all I can say is this: please do your best to convince me that I'm way off. Because this confuses me. A lot.

I guess I'm just tempted to propose this crazy idea: let someone else preach. Maybe, just maybe, God can speak thru other people in the 99 other church bodies that you're broadcasting to. Maybe, just maybe, He wants to speak thru those other people from time to time. Maybe, just maybe, it's dangerous to have people say "if that one guy doesn't preach, this thing won't be any good."

Here's another question. How much money does it cost to do this? Is it enough money to pay the salaries of some young pastors who are eager to be trained up to use their gifts?

And no, I'm not saying these people are evil or ungodly or anything. I listen to this guy's sermons from time to time, and I generally like them. I trust that the leadership of this church is doing their best to follow Jesus. I'm just saying that I'm not sure God is happy about this.

Sure, I could pick on any number of preachers who are doing this sort of thing. These guys are actually doing some great stuff, so why not just leave this alone? Because in this instance, I want to make it clear that even churches who seem to be doing lots of great things for the Kingdom can go wrong when they inordinately exalt preaching and preachers. Feel free to chime in. I promise I really do want to hear what people say.


Johnny! said...

You already know my line of thinking tends to parallel yours. You're just nicer.

A three day fast for Darfur accomplishes nothing for Darfur. Unless it's a fast for prayer for the oppressed there (and maledictory prayer against the Moslem oppressors, something the modern Church has gotten squeamish about, unlike David), in which case our Lord's admonition applies. Raising awareness? Who's not aware of the oppression in Sudan? A celebrity can be every bit as vocal about the situation without an empty display.

Re: Mars Hill, Driscoll's heart's in the right place, but this sort of thing is a question of paradigm. If Lord's Day worship is primarily concerned with evangelizing the lost, it makes sense to have the best guy speak and have all the cool gimmickry, etc. And he is the best guy--he's fantastic at reaching the sort of people that live in his neck of the woods. Multiple "campuses" are also a necessity there--they're prohibited by law from building a giant megachurch. That is, it's a necessity if you agree that they need a big ol' megachurch. Again, it's a question of what you think you're here to do.

Evangelicals by and large are not future-oriented, so there's always a temptation to neglect training up the next guy.

Robert Conn said...

Agreed Ross and Johnny. As far as the Fasting goes the goal is to "use fasting as a way of raising awareness for the people of Darfur." I thought fasting was a way of raising awareness in my totally deprave soul that I need every waking moment to cling to the God who gives me the very faith that I claim to have in Him. I'm all for raising awareness but this is kind of weird.

I like Driscoll. But I'm one of those young guys who wants to be teaching/leading his people in person. I'm not as good as Driscoll. I don't have the stage presence that he has and I don't own as many trendy clothes as he does. Sadly, the bottom line is most people don't want to settle for a live me when they can have a delayed him. However, if it's going to happen I supposed I'd rather it be someone with sound theology. Otherwise we've just reinvented TBN.

Bobby said...

A couple of things regarding Driscoll:

1.) Does the idea of creating the perfect sermon with no "misspeaks" or any other fault concern anyone else? I think it adds to the tsunami of personality cult churches by making the talking head even more picture perfect.

2.) When did so-called stewardship replace or ignore being a good under-shepherd of God's people? Just beacuse something may help the bottomline does not mean it is good stewardship. Stewardship is about glorifying God will all the blessings God has given the Body. That includes the Body parts themselves, not just their offerings. I agree with you guys. Maybe true stewarship would be to put some men of God in pulpits rather than finding a cheaper way of creating another evangelical Max Headroom.

3.) "Starting campuses will be easier"? Really? It's cheaper AND easier. It MUST be pleasing to God.

I know a lot of this is a methodological disagreement, but this methodology, as is the case with any methodology, should be rooted in doctrine and theology. I'm not saying Driscoll's beliefs about the fundamentals of the faith are bad. I just can't figure out how we've managed to turn the church into a trip to the movies.

Dave said...

Re: remote pastoring. Our church recently added a midweek service Wednesday. We have subscribed to, which is a distribution network much like the on envisioned by Mark D in that posting. As a secondary service, I'd have to say this works very well. Lifechurch provides the video and materials, and all we add is local music and prayer.

For us this made a lot of sense to avoid having to choose one of these:
1) forcing a pastor to write a second message each week
2) repeating Sunday's message on Wednesday

I realize I did not fully comment on the situation at hand. There are some potentially negative thoughts here (or at least we are questionable towards this process). These are thoughts I definitely share. But, I wanted to add one way the MarsHill philosophy can be added without most of the issues.

Bobby said...


I don't want this to sound like an antagonistic questions, because it isn't. I am truly looking for insight into your church's thought process.

Why is it OK for your church to expect people to come to an additional worship service during the week but not expect your pastor to actually prepare for that service?

I am a little confused about how a pastor could advocate for adding another service at the church he serves while out-sourcing the preaching of the Word. Help me understand.

Johnny! said...

And, would not having the time/resources to have a live pastor pastoring not be a sign that there is not a real need for an additional service?

sdc said...

I don't think I have any problem with the public fasting for charity. I have participated in the 30 hour famine twice with youth groups. I think that this kind of fasting is different from the fasting that you might do as you prayerfully enter into a really important or challenging time or as you try to become aware of our total dependence on God in every moment as Robert suggested. In my experience, these are good events at least for kids in our youth groups because they go for 30 hours without eating and they begin to notice that it really sucks to not have anything to eat, and it plants a seed in their minds that there are real people all over the world who "fast" all the time simply because they don't have any food. So, I don't consider this to be a real spiritual event, not that you couldn't pray and meditate etc while you participate in a 3 day fast, but I don't think this is a bad thing.
As far as Johnny saying that it does nothing for Darfur...I agree that no one in Darfur will be affected directly by my fasting or any celebrity's. However, I hate to say it, but I probably wouldn't have thought about Darfur at all today or prayed for them if I hadn't read about this celebrity fast, so maybe it's helping just a little.

Mitchell Borges said...

Mary and I are ready for Conn live.

Robert Conn said...

Conn Live..

Sounds like a good conference title!

Lauri Hahn said...

Just chiming in (and not clanging, I promise)... Maybe Jon won't hunch & skulk around while he fasts. Maybe he'll pour oil on his head & wash his face, so to speak.

Plus, "fasting" is the wrong word for them to use since it gets Christians all up in arms as we have a corner on the fasting market. What they should have said was "a 3 day hunger strike."

I think sdc made a good point; the whole idea is to raise awareness (whether it works or not). The others who are part of the "Fasting Chain" all seem to be human rights-minded (with a few exceptions) and not like, Christians fasting in Christian style.

Anyone who's super (overly) concerned (not you, Ross) with Jon's right standing with God should take it to the Man Himself in prayer. And fasting.

Driscoll stuff: No matter how many people he reaches, it always sort of gives me the heebies when we as a Body start regionally preferring a certain person's perspective on the Word. It smells very Pope-like. No offense to the one, stray Catholic Ross King Blog Reader who found his site accidentally by Googling "gluttony." I'm all about a pastor being a good teacher and having gifts & whatnot. It just feels weird. I don't know... maybe on this, I'm the stumbling legalist.

Great posts, Ross!

Lauri Hahn said...

I didn't mean ANY of the RK bloggers when I made the crack about fasting for Jon's right standing with God. I wasn't talking to anyone here, just making a point in general.

Luke said...

"""Anyone else think this – the publicity of it, not the fast – is odd? Not bad, not evil, just odd?"""

I actually think it's bad, considering Jesus explicitly stated that fasting should be private (Matt. 6:16-18).

Aaron said...

Regarding the mega church pod cast deal; I can see another line forming in your song "Why You Done Me Wrong." My pod cast did not come through, and now we have to follow Jesus. (Or now we can't have church.) You could substitute either. I totally agree with you, having been to mega churches before that do this sort of thing, since I have been doing church this way, it is a stretch for me to appreciate all the production and be impressed. I am asking Jesus to help me with that, but He may decide to just leave me as is.

Thanks man.