Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why John Piper Hates Movies

I have never listened to a sermon by John Piper. I have never read one of his books. I have heard his name tossed around quite a bit but haven't taken the time to explore him and what he has to say. I do know I was quite turned off by his farewell of Rob Bell in the days leading up to the release of Bell's book on Hell, but I don't have anything for or against Piper.

I read with interest the transcript of an answer that John Piper gave to a question about preaching. Specifically, he was asked, "What are you thoughts on drama, movie clips, and the like in a church service?" You can see the whole response below, but the bulk of his answer can be wrapped up when he said:

"I think the use of video and drama largely is a token of unbelief in the power of preaching. And I think that, to the degree that pastors begin to supplement their preaching with this entertaining spice to help people stay with them and be moved and get helped, it's going to backfire.... It's going to communicate that preaching is weak, preaching doesn't save, preaching doesn't hold, but entertainment does."

I have not been preaching for nearly as long as Piper has. Heck, I probably haven't been alive as long as he has been preaching, but I have to disagree with his stance. The way I see it, the video clip is the modern-day story which is available to be used for illustration purposes. It doesn't take away from the power of preaching, but rather enhances it. To say that it detracts from the power of preaching assumes that preaching can only be done with the spoken word, when in reality communication is much broader than simply speaking. Communication is body language, visuals, stories, and so on, along with the spoken word. I don't know if Piper uses spoken illustrations when he preaches, but if so, what is the difference? By using video clips one is simply communicating to different senses and emotions which can't be a bad thing.

Jesus frequently used the means that He had available to Him to communicate a truth. If there was a flower close by, He would talk about it. If there was a sheep close by, He would use it. If there was a small child, He would discuss children in light of the kingdom of God. I would venture to say that if there was a movie that everyone knew and could relate to, Jesus would have used it as a means to communicate His truth to those who were listening. Let's face it: all truth is God's truth and should be used to communicate what He wants to say to His people.

What do you think? What part do video clips play in modern-day preaching?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why We Are Acting Weird

Guest Post by My Lovely Wife

Dear Friends and Family,

We are so thankful for the outpouring of love and support during this long and difficult adoption journey. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that all the paperwork, fundraising and waiting will have been the easy part in comparison to actually parenting our sweet Bontu. As international adoption is not familiar to many of you, we thought it would be helpful to give you some information on what the next several months will look like for our family.

If you can put yourself in Bontu’s little shoes for a minute, you can imagine how difficult this transition will be for her. She is going with strange people to a very unfamiliar place with different smells, unknown foods, an unrecognizable language and a whole host of stimuli that she has never experienced before.  She will be dealing with the pain and uncertainty of being taken from her home and her caregivers for the fourth time in her short life. We will be doing everything we can to ease this transition. This includes “cocooning” for several weeks after she arrives home. This means you will not see us much. We won’t be having people over or going out. If you stop by for some reason our visit will be short.  This will be disappointing for us and perhaps some of you too, but it is important for Bontu and we really appreciate it.  And we cannot wait to share her with you when the time is right!

Mike and I will be the only ones who hold or feed Bontu for the first several weeks and longer, if necessary. You see, she has come to think that any adult might be able to meet her needs. With so many different people who have cared for her, she has no framework to connect to us as mommy and daddy. Frankly, she doesn’t even know what that kind of relationship looks like. By having Mike and I be the only ones who meet her needs, she will begin to see that we are different from the many other caretakers who have come and gone in her life. Please know that we mean no offense if we ask you to refrain from holding or hugging her or giving her a snack. These limitations are an important step in helping her to bond to us.

We have always been blessed by the love and kindness that our friends and family have shown to our children. There is, of course, a natural drawing of attention to any new child who joins a family. This is amplified in Bontu’s case. After over a year of giving, praying, waiting, and working to bring her home, people’s hearts are invested in this little girl! Investing this time into our relationship with Bontu as a family is essential to her attachment to us, and will also help her develop healthy relationships with all of you. Also, we want to be careful that Colin and Hanna do not feel an overwhelming displacement by Bontu’s arrival. To this end we would encourage you to continue show the same interest in them as you have in the past. They would surely appreciate conversations that don’t center around Bontu as they are individuals with their own interests, thoughts and feelings. We know that with your help they will continue to feel loved and secure during this transition.

We appreciate your prayers and thoughts for our family as we make this very dramatic transition. We know that God has led us this far and trust that He will guide our steps as we begin the actual journey of becoming a family.

Marcy and Mike