Friday Stream of Consciousness – 73

stream of consciousness

Here are some things on my mind this Friday:

  • Thanks to for doing a mediocre job of hosting this humble blog. The blog went down several times this week, right at or after posting, so I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the phone this week, and received nothing but rigmarole in return. Time for a change.
  • It’s frustrating to work hard to meet your deadlines only to have those helping you break down in the execution phase. In my experience, unless consequences are present for all who participate in a ministry, project, or blog, things don’t get done.
  • I’ve seen a lot of churches flounder not at the ministerial level, but at the support level. This is often because the assumption that it takes real giftedness to do ministry, but any Neanderthal with a pulse can be a secretary. Oh…how wrong that is.
  • It’s not until High-School most softball or baseball players truly shake all fear of being hit by a pitch.
  • Justin Timberlake’s new album reminds me of a creative take on the music I went to High School with from 1989-1993. That’s a high compliment in case you’re wondering 🙂
  • Speaking of 1993, this year is my 20th High School reunion. Yikes. What will be more shocking–my appearance or the fact that I’m a minister?
  • It’s fascinating to watch people try to “reclaim” the title evangelical by simply saying they are evangelicals regardless of their beliefs.
  • Yet, I know what it’s like to take an unpopular position from within one’s tribe that leads to one’s exile–while still feeling a part of the tribe. It feels really awful to be Rudolph when it is not Christmas Eve.
  • However, just because I say I’m Mary Queen of Scots doesn’t mean I’m her. One can claim to be all sorts of things without actually being any of those things. So, do I get to label myself, or do my convictions speak for me? Or, is it your decision whether I belong or not?
  • Within what we call “evangelicalism” there is now an identifiable liberal stream that holds virtually none of evangelicalism’s traditional beliefs.
  • I would venture to say the extremities of “evangelicalism” these days would get along better if even one-fourth of their blogs, articles and tweets would articulate convictions in the mainstream of evangelical thought–rather than their chosen cause. It’s one thing to try to change a movement from outside. It’s far more effective to do it from inside–and showing you still share some things.
  • Moneyball, the 10U girls softball team I coach, continues to play ourselves out of games. As long as we learn from it, I can avoid going Denny Green at the post-game press conference. “We let ’em off the hook!”
  • The best fast-food chicken nuggets belong to Chick-fil-a and KFC. I guess that makes sense.
  • Easter is coming, but it’s really important to have your post-Easter message series mapped out, as well. We’re choosing a series on prayer.
  • It’s rare that I call out anyone by name on this blog, but I’m about to do it a second time in this post. I read an article that really, really bothered me. So, I’m going to make an exception.
  • I read Candida Moss’ article, “The Myth of Christian Persecution,” and was astonished at its intellectual sloppiness and the narrowness of it’s bias. This surprised me, as I’ve always viewed Moss as a true scholar of early Christianity. However, the political agenda of the article was blatant at the expense of history.
  • The essence of the article as I read it was: Christians won’t comply as they should to today’s political establishment because they see themselves as persecuted like the early Christians whenever something doesn’t go their way. A fair enough point–that can certainly happen.
  • Yet, the historical/theological trajectory of the piece is to discount the historical basis for early Christian persecution. She gives a few sentence nod to Christian persecution today and then, but the bulk of the article is spent saying, “We don’t really know if it was that bad, so you shouldn’t identify with them–because your view of persecution is shaped by Christendom more than the factual history of early Christianity.”
  • But, then the article heads dead left, saying, essentially, comply with today’s political agendas, because what you go through is not the same as what they may have gone through.” She clearly has in mind Republicans and Fox News, the only groups mentioned as guilty of this mistake. Is it that liberals never make this mistake? Is the thought that today’s laws and media might actually be against Christianity at times such a laugher?
  • I quote: “The idea that Christianity is persecuted and needs to defend itself from external and internal attack comes from the victorious Church of the fourth and fifth centuries and beyond.” Unless of course, you count the Bible…or numerous other sources through the third century that go unmentioned. I was shocked she mentions the Bible virtually nowhere in the article, and shockingly passes over Jesus himself–other than as an aside.
  • No serious scholar of early church history I’m aware of has denied early Christian persecution. I don’t believe Moss is doing that absolutely. I just believe she’s trying to make a political point through historical minimalism and the caricaturing of easy targets. Perhaps it was the need for brevity that precluded a more thorough treatment. I hope so.
  • This past Monday I returned to the spot my friend committed suicide a year ago. I did so with his twin brother and a young woman who helped us plant the cross along the 163 freeway near Balboa Park. If only we knew how much each life matters to God!
  • Are there church leadership systems that are fundamentally flawed, or is it simply the sum of the parts, i.e., us that makes any church system problematic.
  • Duke, Florida, Indiana, Gonzaga is your final four. Duke vs. Florida in the final. Champions–THE DUKIES BABY!!!!!!!!!!!




Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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