Fr. Richard John Neuhaus passed away this morning around 10 a.m. Editor of the journal, First Things, Neuhaus has been a voice for the unborn, an advocate for the Christian intellectual tradition, and a brilliant ambassor of Christ an of His Church.
Among the things I learned from Neuhaus and his efforts at First Things are that the life of the mind is a meaningful Christian pursuit; that advocacy for God's concerns should never be abdicated in the face of hopelessness; that our common culture matters; and that there is no such thing as a "naked public square," even secularism is a position of faith. I welcome comments here of what you have learned from him.
Although I have been a CGO contributor for years now I do not know if I am free to do the following. I hope so. If not, Glenn, just hit delete.
I'm guessing by now that many of you - especially if you've read some of my recent posts - know the deep and growing fondness I have for our little church in Atlanta called Atlanta Westside. Something quite remarkable has been happening the last few weeks during Advent. As my good friend and pastor, Walter Henegar, has climbed the steps up to his little perch behind the lecturn to preach, Jesus has entered the room. I've marveled at how this church planter has really started to find his voice. Not that he hasn't been a good preacher all along. It just seems that he's really settling in to being entirely himself up there. He's not rushed. He's not nervous. He laughs more. He's on the verge of tears more. I envy this as I am still trying to find my voice. But that's not why these sermons are so... oh, what's the right word? That's the thing, I honestly don't know. That's why I'm doing this. I'm speechless. What I do know is that each week I've left church loving Jesus so much more because he's really been there. So, I had to share these latest sermons with you. There are three of them - Hope, Joy and Peace (follow this order) - and you can listen to them at www.atlantawestside.org. If you want to enjoy Christmas a little more than usual - or perhaps, a lot more than you ever have before - then follow that link!
I love the irenic spirit articulated in their "About" link. These are thoughtful folks, hoping for charitable discourse about important topics in the PCA and broader church.
Excerpt from their "About" verbiage:
With that goal we offer these meager thoughts, challenges,
celebrations, and reflections. We will seek to converse in the Spirit
of Christ, loving the broader church and our denomination as they are,
and loving them enough to spur them on toward their appointed end. We
believe that the PCA has unique spiritual gifts that she might
contribute to the larger family of God, and we want to encourage her to
guard, stimulate, and share these gifts for the sake of others rather
than for herself, for there are many spiritual gifts, but they are
worthless with out love: “Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
It is in a Christian spirit of faith, hope, and love that we offer
these musings: faith in God as the author and perfecter of our faith
and of his church; love for God, roommate, and neighbor; and hope for
the continuing sanctification of our denomination and Christ’s church.
In February, 2008 five PCA pastors gave talks at a conference called "Denominational Renewal". Hundreds of PCA pastors and seminarians attended.
We will host a forum on these talks at CGO. We will spend one week on each talk, in sequence. The forum will run from Monday, September 15 through Friday, October 17.
To listen to the original talks, go to the Denominational Renewal site and click on speakers. Under each of the speakers' biographies you will find a link to the audio of the message.
Comments require first and last names and the commenter's valid email address.
CGO Forum on Denominational Renewal Conference
The structure is as follows:
Mondays- Simpatico response
Tuesdays- Critical response
Wednesdays- Women or minority voices in the PCA response
Thursdays- Outside of the PCA response
Fridays- Original speaker of the talk at Denominational Renewal responds to the respondents
Week 1 Sept 15-19 Responding to "Renewing Ethos" by Greg Thompson
Simpatico: Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer PCA in New York City
Critical: Ligon Duncan, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS
Minority/Women: Rebecca Jones, wife and mother, daughter of Edmund Clowney
Outside the PCA: Dan Dorianai, Pastor of Central Presbyterian Church (EPC), St. Louis
Original Speaker: Greg Thompson, Pastor of Trinity PCA in Charlottesville, VA
Week 2 Sept 22-26 Responding to "Renewing Theology" by Jeremy Jones
Simpatico: John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, RTS-Orlando
Critical: Sean Michael Lucas, Chief Academic Officer and Associate Professor of Church History, Covenant Theological Seminary
Minority/Women: Howard Brown, Pastor of Christ Central Church, Charlotte
Outside the PCA: Michael Walker, Theologian-in-Residence, Highland Park Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
Original Speaker: Jeremy Jones, Associate Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Memphis
Week 3 Sept. 29-Oct. 2 Responding to "Renewing Worship" by Bill Boyd
Simpatico: Reggie Kidd, Professor of New Testament, RTS-Orlando
Critical: Philip Ryken, Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
Minority/Women: Carl Ellis, Project Joseph, Chattanooga, TN
Outside the PCA: John Muether, Librarian & Professor of Church History at RTS-Orlando (member of the OPC)
Original Speaker: Bill Boyd, Senior Pastor of All Saints PCA in Austin -------
Week 4 Oct. 6-10 Responding to "Renewing Ecclesiology" by Matt Brown
Simpatico: Leo Schuster, Pastor of Christ the King PCA, Houston
Critical: Rick Lints, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Minority/Women: Diane Poythress, Ph.D. in Reformation
History and Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary
Outside the PCA: Russell Moore, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration; Dean of the School
of Theology; Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Original Speaker: Matt Brown, Pastor of Park Slope Church, Brooklyn.
Week 5 Oct. 13-17 Responding to "Renewing Mission" by Jeff White
Simpatico: Ray Cannata, Pastor of Redeemer Church, New Orleans
Critical: Derek Thomas, Professor of Systematic Theology, RTS-Jackson; Assistant Minister of Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS
Minority/Women: Elias Medieros, Professor of Missions, RTS-Jackson
Outside the PCA: Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church, founder of Acts 29
Original Speaker: Jeffrey White, Pastor of New Song Church, Harlem.
Some of you may know that I love the guys and girl in Caedmon's Call, and I love their music, too. Thus, I was thrilled to receive their email today about their song, Overdressed, being used by the TV show Grey's Anatomy on this Thursday, January 10, 2008.
Here's what the Caedmon's email said: Caedmon's Call's lyrically compelling song about redemption, "Ten Thousand Angels" will receive a rare and lengthy place on an upcoming episode of the ABC hit drama series "Grey's Anatomy" on January 10th. Featuring vocals by Derek Webb, the song will play for five consecutive minutes during an emotionally charged final scene.
"Ten Thousand Angels" is a bonus track only available on the limited edition of the group's current release, Overdressed, which was in the top 5 of iTunes Editorial list of 2007 for overall "Best Christian Albums".
For anyone who doesn't know who the iMonk is, check out his site and also the stimulating and always fun Boars Head Tavern group blog that he runs. You'll see why this is such a wonderful commendation for CGO when you read the caliber of iMonk's thinking and writing.
Thank you, Michael, and thank you, CGO Contributors, who write thoughtful, polished pieces day after day.
Welcome to Common Grounds Online. Readers of Common Grounds have suggested a website to continue the explorations they began in the book. In keeping with the interactions of Professor MacGregor, Brad, Lauren and Jarrod, the theme of this site is ‘learning and living the Christian story.’
I have invited friends, and a few friends of friends, to communicate aspects of the Christian story that have been significant in their own lives. We’re all trying to find joy and pleasure in this life and the next, but often we forfeit the joy that could be ours by living out foolish, competing scripts. What distinguishes Common Grounds Online Contributors is not our own goodness, achievement or service, but rather the recognition of our need of God’s grace abounding in our lives.