Friday Stream of Consciousness – 90

Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • Vin Scully is coming back for a 65th year of broadcasting Dodger Baseball. He is, in my opinion, the greatest of them all. I know Tiger, Cardinal, Cub and Yankee fans might have a quarrel with that, but each of those announcers who were actually peers of Scully’s said themselves they thought he was the best.
  • I was blessed to attend a one-day Catalyst at Saddleback Church this week—featuring Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. One quote I’m still chewing on came from Craig in a session on creating a culture of accountability on staff: “You are only as strong as you are honest.”
  • California became the first state to mandate transgender access to all restrooms, locker-rooms and sports teams. You can read a rather charitable, if not dishonest piece on the law by CNN here. I say dishonest because the most damaging piece of the law is left completely out of the article—I’ll get to that in a bit.
  • My problem with this law beyond the obvious theological is that is completely void of common sense. I do not want students of any gender or level of confusion targeted for abuse or actual discrimination—and I believe this law will, sadly, lead to that.
  • I wonder if our politicians ever went to a public middle school and remember what it was like for even slightly clumsy or dorky kids in the locker room. Now imagine someone with different apparatus who dresses like a member of the opposite sex in that same locker room. Remind me again how this is a good idea for the transgender community? Why set these kids up for this?
  • Like most laws in California, it was of course was passed relatively quietly in the legislature because they knew the law could never pass public scrutiny even in California–and the media is playing along…
  • …painting a pretty ugly picture of opponents and preaching the ideology of the law through choice terminology and omission of key parts of the provision. For instance, in CNN’s coverage in the article I link to above, there is no mention of the most significant reason of concern—the law is implemented beginning in Kindergarten. In addition–the law makes no allowances for the sexual preferences of the transgendered person. Meaning–a boy who dresses as a girl but is still attracted to girls can freely roam the 7th-grade girls locker-room. What could go wrong there?
  • This isn’t just a college or even high-school matter. It’s now risen to the level of  indoctrination for kids so young some of them can’t write their name properly or sleep with the light out—but apparently are able to determine whether they are transgender or not. I figure, if you still believe in Santa, let’s give gender identity some time.
  • I obviously have a difficult time with the law’s ideology at a biblical/theological level as a Christian and as a concerned parent at the civic level–as a father of three young daughters. So, thank you for bearing with me. But…
  • I have to circle back around to this: Our society as a whole can’t possibly become more confused on what gender is, what marriage is, or what sex is than we are right now. And…
  • Increasingly, the church is confused as well. Even some ministers are showing hesitancy in their writings and sermons. Pastors MUST do all they can to teach what the Bible says about matters of sexuality on all fronts–while keeping our attitudes and biases submitted to Christ on all fronts. This is no easy thing–but the answer isn’t to avoid it completely.
  • While I’m being breathtakingly void of political correctness, A new study from the Austin Institute notes Evangelical churches have a disproportionately female composition among never-married people. What does that mean? It means being a single woman in church seeking a Christian husband can be extremely difficult–only 27% of never-married congregants in evangelical churches are male. Another way to say it: the never-married population in evangelical churches between the ages of 30-39 is 73/27 female. Wow.
  • One could reasonably assume this demonstrates what a terrible job the church is doing reaching never-married men–especially as they age.
  • Also, when you see a never-married male over the age of 30 come to the Lord, you are witnessing a true outlier. This is something we need to look into seriously.
  • One wonders if the church reached never-married men more effectively, what this might do to the divorce rates, cohabitation rates, rates of out-of-wedlock pregnancy, etc. It’s not that simple–but it’s certainly worth examining.
  • Last controversial thought of the morning: Christian Hoff Sommers article in TIME magazine entitled, “School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys,” is worth a read. I have a mixed reaction to it–but mostly agree.
  • I’m glad to hear San Diego mayor Bob Filner will be resigning.
  • Ryan Braun’s apology means as much as A-Rod’s.
  • I heard an ESPN analyst flippantly ask who deserved to be in the Hall-of-Fame more: Ichiro Suzuki or Alex Rodriguez? That’s really easy choice unless they open up a BALCO wing in Cooperstown.
  • If there is a Trader Joes near you…go pick up a jar of cookie butter. You’ll thank me later.
  • It’s possible for a staff team to become so relationally close it hurts their ability to empower the congregation and build ministry teams effectively.
  • I had someone ask me recently if I get nervous every time I preach. I don’t, though I’m always excited to get the opportunity. There is a different breed of butterfly in one’s stomach before preaching. It’s not nerves–it’s anticipation of what God is going to do through the Word. It’s hopeful.
  • “I’m not a confrontational person” can be true and simultaneously a cop-out that prevents one from obeying Christ’s teaching about how we address our concerns with one another. Saying, “I’m not an honest person” doesn’t exempt one from the ninth commandment. As is the case with all of God’s commands–they bring life. Our rationalizations and alternatives bring difficulty and little else. Imagine if the church universally avoided gossip and slander and instead spoke directly to one another about hurt feelings, concerns, or offenses. Think of how much energy, love, and passion for God might be unleashed that is currently wasted.
  • I think most preachers would benefit from preparing their sermons less and their hearts more. Thanks to Craig Groeschel for reaffirming that this week at Catalyst.
  • I think we are making our churches weaker by always breaking things into age groupings. We might benefit from a 10% or more tick back to the intergenerational.
  • At this point, I surrender. The Padres are done. It’s time to throw my support behind the SoCal representative to the playoffs this year–the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Go Eastlake Little League! Bring that trophy back to San Diego.

What’s on your mind this Friday?

Author: Tim Spivey

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, 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 ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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