Rabbit Trails (6/29/13)

Hopping down the WWRT this week…

Of course, the big news this week is the Supreme Courts ruling in the DOMA case. Here’s a thoughtful and calm response from Ed Stetzer. What should churches do now? The same thing we last week: preach the gospel, care for the suffering, love our neighbor. The Church has been here before. Don’t panic.

According to various reports, about 100,000 Christians were martyred in 2011. I had seen these numbers before, but couldn’t verify the information. It appears that a Vatican study and one done by Gordon Conwell Seminary are saying essentially the same thing.

Here’s a link to some of the world’s ugliest churches. Some of them are just a mess, but I thought some were kind of interesting.

Delta Airlines CEO gave up his seat for a woman on her way to pick up her child from a summer camp for kids with diabetes. Nice story.

If you’re into stats, this poll gives a look at how long it takes pastors to prep sermons. Scot McKnight weighs in with his analysis of it. Very interesting. I fall in the 13-15 hour range. The difficulty in sermon prep is finding uninterrupted time. I know plenty of pastors who go into the office at 6 AM and take no phone calls or appointments until 10 AM. Even that only creates 16 hours (four hours/day by four days not counting Sunday) of blocked out time. If a pastor is preaching multiple times a week, then we’re talking about at least 30 hours in prep time. This is the work that preaching pastors do that goes unnoticed, but is critically important to what he does. For me, teaching classes takes less prep time, maybe 3-4 hours. What’s the difference? Teaching is about telling people what the Bible says. I like my classes to have discussion, and this means I don’t have to have enough material to cover an entire hour. Good group discussion and application can fill the time. Sermons are different. In them, the pastor is preparing a particular message derived (hopefully) from the Bible. He has to make sure that what he is saying is well thought out, theologically sound, and organized logically. Teaching is mostly about information, and preaching is about comforting, exhorting, and challenging the hearer through the power of the Holy Spirit working through scripture.

In news of the weird: Drinking nothing but soda for 16 years is bad for you? Who knew?! I guess this 31 year old woman knows it now.

Mollie Z. Hemingway gives the media another deserved lashing (and again) for its hypocritical coverage of the abortion issue.

CNN.com posted a moving story from Jack Barr as this father talks bout his reaction and subsequent feelings as he wrestled with the fact that his daughter was born with Down’s Syndrome.

As you read this, I’m in the Dolly Sods in WV for a weekend of backpacking with some men from my church. Good times!

I have a post coming on Monday continuing the Soul Searching series, but since I’m in the wilderness I won’t be able to respond to any questions or comments. I have a post about the Church and its relationship to weddings coming on Tuesday. Unless we’re lost in the woods, I hope to be back by then, and we can have a conversation.

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