Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #4)

The fourth reason to plant a racially reconciled church in downtown Cincinnati is this: racial reconciliation forces us to have a missionary mindset. One of the most important things for aspiring missionaries to learn in preparation for the mission field is how to best communicate with people who are different from them. This is called contextualization. Basically, the patterns of communication that work for me in my context may not work so well in someone else’s context. For example, I have spent two summers in Argentina leading short term mission projects. I had to speak to people who didn’t know English primarily and had different culture and customs. It was perfectly acceptable for men to kiss each other on the cheek. In fact, to not greet someone with a “beso” would have been perceived as an insult. But they also had different customs in terms of food, time, family, and…

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How Fast Can You Write a Cliched Worship Song?

I wrote this in about thirty seconds in response to a comment on a previous post. Seriously, time yourself and see how long it takes you to crank out a stanza of rhymed cliches for a worship song. I feel your presence in this place Come and fill us in this space Surround us with your love and grace Touch us with your warm embrace

Top Ten Ways to NOT Write a Worship Song

Bob Kauflin gives his list (as summarized on Between Two Worlds). 1. Aim to write the next worldwide worship hit. 2. Spend all your time working on the music, not the words. 3. Spend all your time working on the words, not the music. 4. Don’t consider the range and capabilities of the average human voice. 5. Never let anyone alter the way God originally gave your song to you. 6. Make sure the majority of your songs talk about what we do and feel rather than who God is and what he’s done. 7. Try to use as many Scriptural phrases as you can, and don’t worry about how they fit together. 8. Cover as many themes as possible. 9. Use phrases and words that are included in 95% of all worship songs. 10. Forget about Jesus and what he accomplished at the cross.

What Would an Obama Presidency Mean for Black America?

Thomas Chatterton Williams answers this question. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Black children would be able to avoid internalizing what James Baldwin called “the propaganda of race inferiority,” since every night on the news there would be a visible reminder that there is nothing whites can do that blacks cannot. That is the real change Obama offers-all of a sudden the world young black kids imagine themselves inhabiting would seem a richer place to live, one without an upper limit. To Biggie Smalls’ dismal list of career options afforded young black males-“You either slang crack rock / Or you got a wicked jump shot”-we could add the office of president. And in response to what Jay-Z cynically defined as the black man’s…

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Choose Your False god

One of the most refreshingly honest and penetrating albums for Christian consumption in recent memory is Derek Webb’s Mockingbird. This album was marketed using the increasingly popular give-it-to-me-for-free-and-I’ll-pay-what-I-think-its-worth strategy. This was a good move, since most Christian bookstores wouldn’t stock it anyway because it contains such incendiary language as “sex” and “whore” and he dares criticize the Republicans as the Messianic party. Released in 2005, this is during the 2nd Bush term where Republicans appeared poised to rule for a generation. My, how things have changed. There is one stanza from the song King and a Kingdom that sticks out to me: there are two great lies that i’ve heard: “the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die” and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him What I…

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Why I’m Planting a Racially Diverse Church in Cincinnati (reason #3)

There are so many reasons why its a good idea to plant a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati. Numbers one and two have already been covered, and I’ve got 8 more good reasons to write about. Three months after moving here, I’m very optimistic that this will work and that its God’s desire for this to happen. Fortunately, I’ve identified the biggest obstacle to planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati: me. And the third reason why I’m planting a racially diverse church in downtown Cincinnati is to strip away my own barriers and, God willing, the barriers that other people have to forming genuine relationships with people of another race. Am I willing to do what it takes to apply the gospel comprehensively to lingering and even undiscovered racial residue? If I am ready to do that in my life, the real test will be whether or…

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