Showing posts from October, 2023

The Mountain Stream Record Shop

These are new things I’m teaching, and they can’t be reconciled with old habits.  Nobody would ever use a piece of new cloth to patch an old garment because when the patch shrinks, it pulls away and makes the tear even worse.  And nobody puts new, unfermented wine into old wineskins because if he does, the wine will burst the skins; they would lose both the wineskins and the wine. No, the only appropriate thing is to put new wine into new wineskins (Mark 2:21-22).  Here’s the truth when it comes to the American church. For the most part, as the data shows, one is either a large church, a megachurch or close to it, and thriving, or a small church like ours, struggling to get by. For small churches, declining or stagnant membership, volunteer burnout, and financial concerns are the new normal. To be brutally honest, I don’t see it getting any better. The issues at play in the decline of the mainline church and all churches now, really, these issues are systemic in nature and dec

Jesus, the Cornerstone, & Hard Tales

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants is a really interesting one. A bit dark, yes? A bit troubling. Jesus seems to be condoning divine vengeance. One thing we need to know to begin is that Jesus is speaking to the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem, a city to which he just arrived. At the end of the parable, Jesus asks the religious hierarchy, …when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time." Is Jesus condoning a miserable death even if just in the fictional story? Well, let’s be clear. Jesus does include violence in his parable. But at the same time, the parable, a fictional story, points to an important truth. One of my favorite TV shows is the show Breaking Bad . It is an unbelievable show about a brilliant high school chemistry teacher who has underachieved and, he feels, unjust