The Weekend Wanderer: 24 September 2022

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within these articles but have found them thought-provoking.


c3a88de3-3f75-48c8-a590-f64d16f580bd_696x357“Intermission: Last Post for Christian England” – Paul Kingsnorth at The Abbey of Misrule: “I spent much of the day, along with several hundred million other people around the world, watching the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth on TV. It was full of remarkable, beautifully choreographed and often moving moments, as you would expect of an event which has been prepared for since the 1960s. A lot of things don’t work very well in Britain anymore, but this kind of pageantry is something we can still do well. We will not see its like again, I don’t think. I say ‘pageantry’, but this is a dismissive word. What happened today was a rolling, dense mat of symbolism, replete with historical meaning, anchored in a very particular nation and time period. What did it symbolise? Above all, I think, it symbolised something that our culture has long stopped believing in, and as such can’t really process effectively, or even perhaps quite comprehend. This was brought home to me by one particular moment in the ceremony.”


Taylor - Silence“In Praise of Silence” – W. David O. Taylor at his blog: “I’m excited to be speaking at the Liturgy Collective conference in Nashville on October 13-14. It’ll be a wonderful opportunity to connect with other musicians, pastors, and liturgists. This year, the theme of the conference is ‘rest,’ which I think is perennially needed, but even more so these days. The topic of my two talks will be on the nature of Silence in Worship, and my basic argument is that we need far more of it than we usually presume. Silence is fundamental to faithful prayer, I suggest, because prayer begins with the act of listening, not talking. God gets the first word—not the pastor, not the musician, not any of us. Silence also is fundamental to faithful singing because in silence, we attune our ears to ‘the chief Conductor of our hymns,’ as John Calvin once put it. We do so in order to be reminded that we were not the first to arrive on the liturgical scene. In humility, we listen first—then we sing. Silence is likewise fundamental to faithful preaching because the preacher must make time for the people of God to inwardly digest the word of God so that it has a fighting chance to take root in our hearts and bear good fruit in our lives.”


HTB“Wanted: Creation Care Coordinator for Major British Evangelical Church” – Ken Chitwood in Christianity Today: “The job ad was a little different than the ones normally posted by London’s largest churches. It wasn’t for a pastor, priest, choir director, or organist. Instead, the large evangelical Anglican congregation wanted an environmental project manager. Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), perhaps best known as the birthplace of the evangelistic Alpha course, has advertised a position for someone who will help ‘oversee the strategy, planning and execution of HTB’s approach to Creation Care.’ The individual will work closely with other lead team members to put an ‘environmental response at the heart of church life.’ Jobs like this at places like HTB are notable, said Jo Chamberlain, national environment policy officer for the Church of England. Such roles, she said, signal a sea change. Evangelical churches in the UK—and perhaps elsewhere—are embracing the critical importance of creation care and environmental stewardship at the congregational level.”


Charles Spurgeon“The Secret to Spurgeon’s Success” – Stephen Story at The Gospel Coalition: “Everyone is a theologian, R. C. Sproul rightly observed. Anyone with ideas or beliefs about God is doing theology. It may be poorly considered, but it’s theology nonetheless. By the same token, it might be said that everyone has an ecclesiology, a doctrine of the church. We all have beliefs or assumptions about what the church is, why it exists, and how it ought to function. Rarely do we pause, though, to think deeply about these things. Even among pastors, the incessant demands of ministry often pull us toward fixing urgent problems while neglecting larger questions. What does healthy pastoral ministry look like? What matters most in the life of my church? Am I shepherding God’s flock in a way that pleases him? In Spurgeon the Pastor: Recovering a Biblical and Theological Vision for Ministry, Geoffrey Chang shows why the 19th-century Baptist expositor should be regarded as more than ‘the Prince of Preachers’—he should be studied as an example of a faithful pastor. Chang—assistant professor of church history and historical theology and curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—contends there’s “no better model of faithful pastoral ministry and commitment to the local church” than Spurgeon (2).”


Wirzba - This Sacred Life“What in the World is the World?: A review of This Sacred Life: Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World” – Doug Sikkema in Front Porch Review: “In The Myths We Live By, the late Mary Midgley explores how we humans are deeply storied creatures. Myths—the grand narratives that give shape and meaning to our lives—tether us to each other, to time, to place. They tell us who we are, where we came from, how we might live and, possibly, why we are even here at all. One might think myths belong to that benighted classical world of pagan ritual or even that Dark Age of Christendom teeming with its irrational superstitions, but that’s only because, Midgley would argue, we’ve been held captive by another, more potent, set of stories….What is one to do? Perhaps one thing is that we can live by a better myth. Or perhaps recover such a story that’s been ignored and largely forgotten. This is what Norman Wirzba sets out to do in This Sacred Life: Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World. For Wirzba, a possible antidote for our dis-ease in the Anthropocene is to recover some of the essential pieces of the narrative, the lived mythology, of Christianity.”


005“London Goddess Purée: Is the celebration of ancient goddesses female empowerment or rank patriarchy?” – Matthew J. Milliner in Comment: “The British Museum has good reason to put together the exhibition Feminine Power. After all, when girls are actually being advised, with the full endorsement of the psychological and medical establishments, to surgically remove their breasts in an attempt to become male, misogyny has reached a new apogee. (See, for just one example, the harrowing interview recorded here.) Accordingly, any museum’s effort to signal the importance of being female should be welcomed. Clipboard-bearing curators at this show collect viewer responses and display them on a large screen. One of them boldly proclaims, ‘Woman, an adult human female,’ surely indicating this visitor knows that very definition is under baffling new attack. Even so, the subtitle of this particular show at the British Museum suggests problems: Feminine Power: The Divine to the Demonic. The images here gathered span epoch and geography, their only commonality being ‘profound influence on human lives, both past and present.’ Which is to say, every global goddess within reach has been thrown into the curatorial blender for this exhibition, and—not unlike the $25 smoothie I recently saw advertised and sampled in Los Angeles—the results are less than invigorating. And that may be part of the point.”


Music: The Porter’s Gate ft. Liz Vice, “Brother Sun (Giving Glory),” from Climate Vigil Songs

A Covenant Prayer of John Wesley

John Wesley

A friend recently reminded me of this important prayer of consecration within the Wesleyan tradition. One source says, “John Wesley adapted this prayer from the Puritan tradition that was so important to his parents, Samuel and Suzannah, and life in the Epworth rectory. It informed his theology and preaching. He expected the people called ‘Methodists'”‘ to pray this prayer at the beginning of each new year as a way of remembering and renewing their baptismal covenant.” It is a good one to return to again and again in our life.

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

By John Wesley, evangelist and founder of the Methodist movement.

Remembering Stuart Briscoe (1930-2022)

This past Saturday, Kelly and I attended the memorial service for Stuart Briscoe at Elmbrook Church. It was a joy to reconnect with friends and former colleagues I hadn’t seen in some time and to celebrate God’s work in and through Stuart’s life. My first full-time vocational role in ministry was as the Pastor of Collegiate Ministries at Elmbrook after Stuart had already retired. Although I did see Stuart from time to time during those years at Elmbrook, I actually grew to know him more personally during my last decade or so at Eastbrook. During my first at Eastbrook, I reached out to Stuart to talk about transitions in ministry, specifically how to best follow a founding pastor. I asked him if he had any advice about how to fulfill my calling as a new Senior Pastor, and he shared his oft-repeated essential advice for pastoral ministry: preach the word, love people, and pray for the Spirit to move. Before I left, Stuart gave me a signed copy of his memoir, Flowing Streams. In recent years, I enjoyed other opportunities, both formal (see further below) and informal to connect with Stuart and Jill. Their down-to-earth manner, filled with commitment to Christ and a healthy sense of humor, encouraged me greatly. You can view Stuart’s memorial service, which was about two hours long, below.

Through all this, I was reminded of the Leadership Community gathering we hosted at Eastbrook three and a half years ago with Stuart and our Pastor Emeritus, Marc Erickson (no relation, believe it or not). Stuart began the night with a 20-minute message on three distinctly Christian aspects of the leader’s character. During the next portion of the gathering, I facilitated a Q&A with Stuart and Marc about the character of a leader. This led us to explore some important questions in our current era, as well as many interesting insights and funny stories from their own lives. I hope you enjoy this view into the lives of two pastors who have steadfastly walked with Christ over the years.

A Reset on Service

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continues ourfour-week preaching series entitled “Reset.” In this series, we are exploring four aspects of our life together as Christ’s church based on the words of Hebrews 10:24-25. This week we focused on the phrase: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” There is much more going on at Eastbrook during this four weeks than a preaching series, so let me encourage you to find out more here.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”  (Hebrews 10:24)

A Reset on Our Concept of the Church

The church as an event or a consumer activity 

Last week: the church as a family who loves one another

This week the church as a body who serves one another

A Reset on How the Church Serves as a Body (Romans 12:3-8)

Like a body, the church is made by God and gifted by God

Like a body, the church has different parts that belong to one another

Like a body, the church has differing abilities in differing parts

Like a body, the church requires every part to actively use its unique gifts


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize some portion or all of either Hebrews 10:24-25 or Romans 12:3-8.
  • What do you think are your spiritual gifts or talents given by God? Pray about that and then make a list of those you are aware. Perhaps you could discuss that with someone close to you so you both can grow in your faith and service.
  • Set aside space and time this week to meditate on Romans 12:3-8. Let the Lord search through your heart and mind about your love for Him and for others. Ask the Lord to direct you in service within the church for His glory.

Eastbrook at Home – September 18, 2022

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Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM. This weekend we continue our series “Reset” by exploring what it means to have a reset on service.

Here is a prayer for this Sunday from The Book of Common Prayer:

O Lord, you have taught us that without love, all our deeds are worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you; grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

If you are able to do so, let me encourage you to join us for in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus.

If you are new to Eastbrook, we want to welcome you to worship and would ask you to text EBCnew to 94000 as a first step into community here at Eastbrook.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.