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……links for your linking pleasure 15………..

1.  Pearls before Swine almost always makes me laugh:

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2.  Julie Clawson talks about Heirarchy in the Emergent Church.

3.  Here is an excerpt from Father Stephen’s touching story from a porch in Narazeth:

I noticed that this man was looking at me – staring would be more accurate. I looked down a couple of times, but he never broke his gaze. Our eyes met and I walked over to him. I do not speak Polish – only a little (very little) broken Russian. But I took a chance and greeted him. He smiled. I told him in my poor Russian that I was an Orthodox priest from America.

Tears came to his eyes. The smile remained. I was dressed in my cassock wearing my gold cross (which I blessed at every shrine I visited). This kind-eyed man reached over and lifted my cross to his lips. He kissed it, and I gave him a blessing (in Slavonic).

His polite reply, complete with tears was: “Znamie Bog!” (”God is with us”). Indeed He was with us that day on the porch in Nazareth. The Christchild uniting two believers with few words between us. The pilgrim’s smile and tears spoke volumes. I will never know his story or his name – but I will remember that God is with us!

3.  In a time of great economic recession, perhaps you can learn from this comic some fundamental principles of resume writing.

4.  Scot McKnight gives his 2008 books of the year.

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5. Peter Rollins talks about convictions in Christianity:

6.  Chad says that putting Christ back in Xmas is about more than mantra, but it is about our practice vs. what we say we practice.

7.  I want to speak more about Scot McKnight’s discussion at Jesus Creed on conversion.  Some like Chad rightly point out that there is no “magic formula” to conversion.  Nick notes that there is NT Wright’s analogy of the difference between alarm clock salvation that happens suddenly and those that wake up smoothly (you might also read his views on apolgetics, I enjoyed them).  Ted as well sees the importance of “nurture” in the conversion process.  Dan suggests that we need to make room for all types of conversions that Scot talks about.  I also want to share this quote from Matt:

Context is a fundamental part of this discussion. Our Western Christian context is dramatically different than our brothers and sisters in, for instance, the Congo. “The gospel is like a multi-faceted diamond, with different aspects that appeal to a different people in different cultures. It has depths we have not fathomed. It defies every attempt to reduce it to a neat formulation.”

Also interesting is the debate that begins as a result of talking about conversion. While John argues that Jesus is not a product and that we must get to know him (not just through a ‘one-time-prayer’), Joey points out that prayer is a way to get to know God.  So what is the part of prayer in conversion?  Does God listen to prayers of non-Christians who are ‘in process’ of becoming Christian?  Nick Mitchell (in good Baptist fashion) argues that we need to have a better definition of conversion in order to have any sort of conversation about it.  Here is what he says:

There is a moment when a person passes from death to life, from being in adam to being in Christ. It is NOT a process for a person to be in Christ. Yes, there are events that lead up to that moment and events that follow nut there is a moment nevertheless. If a person confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead they will be saved. It is that confession and belief ‘moment’ when a person is saved. Yes a person may read books or they undergo convincing but there comes a decisive time when, whether aware of it or not, they pass from death to life.

What would you add to this conversation?

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