Today again I listened to a lot of audio since I was watching baby Ryan all day. (While I bathe him, feed him, play with him, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. I use my laptop with wireless to high speed internet to listen to audio.) See my previous post to links to lots of good audio.
First, I listened to a number of stories on NPR that looked interesting. It is great that you can click on and listen to different stories of your choice. For example, I listened to stories about New Orleans emergency rooms (they are few and therefore busy), the relationship between the frequency of war and fledgling democracies (before democracies stablize they are susceptible to war), the importance of getting your picture taken with the president (in DC you impress people with candid shots of you and famous people - it is hard for me to see why people are not disgusted by this overt name-dropping), Mozart's birthday (a whiner genius remembered), Greenspan's era closing (how much should he get credit for economic growth), and an update on Solzhenitsyn. (He - a Christian - is still alive at 85 and is inexplicably a big proponent of Putin). This interview with Desmond Tutu also looks good.
For the first time, I also listened to Erwin McManus - pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles and well-known author - on "Core Values of Mosaic". He is passionate and outspoken. He talked about the name of Mosaic which I had already heard: broken pieces put together by the Master Craftsman with light shining through to make beautiful art. He talked about the importance of people. Wanting non-Christians to know Mosaic for their love. He talked about the importance of existing to see people come to faith. He came to faith in college at Univ of North Carolina. He said he doesn't like Christians - meaning he is annoyed by irrelevant Christian traditions. He talked about not liking hymns because they do not speak to people today. He talked about the programs and structure of the church being driven by the talents of the available people; e.g. we have dancing because we have dancers in the church.
The only part I really didn't understand is that he talked at length about the church meeting in 7 different locations in the past year. He doesn't believe in spending lots of money on a building when things change so rapidly - I understand that. What I didn't understand was his many stories about people who haven't been able to find them because of their many moves! I didn't understand why this was something good! His solution was to improve the website so that people know where to find us. My organizational or maybe its my pastoral nature asks: couldn't you be a bit more organized so that people don't "lose you?" But I haven't walked in their moccasins so I really don't know why they have had to change meeting locations so often. There likely is a good reason.
He also made a bit of a blunder I think talking about how Germans don't have much artistic abilities. (This was simply a misspeak I think that he likely thought better of later on. It was in the context of explaining why hymns don't connect today). He went on to say that he deeply believes all people are creative. Even the Germans, right, Erwin? :-)
Great story at the end about the need to tell people stories of the goodness of the Christian faith as opposed to arguing with them about philosophy. Erwin is obviously a great evangelist with a wonderful heart for diversity. (See my other post about Buechner and story).
On my recent Christian ministries tour through Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, almost every urban ministry leader (Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, Aaron Messner, Ed Glover, Bruce Main, Saleem Ghubril and BJ Woodworth) seemed to name John Perkins as his greatest influence. The unanimity of their answers astounded and delighted the 24 Taylor Christian ministry students. Tonight I listened to a great sermon by him which included a summary of his philosophy of ministry from 10/30/2005 at Craig Barnes's church in Pittsburgh. It was great. He is 75 years old. I saw also in the ads of Christianity Today that Seattle Pacific University has a new John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development - good for them. Many people have been inspired by: (1) Perkins's challenge to relocate (actually move your family) into the neighborhood you want to reenergize, (2) engage in racial reconciliation, and (3) provide the poor with education. Perkins mentions all three of these things in the end of the sermon.