Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Steven Curtis Chapman’


It is always difficult to share the story of a personal tragedy.  It can easily come across as narcissistic.  We live in a culture of people who love to share their pain.

Sometimes your pain is incredibly public.  But it doesn’t go away when the cameras leave your driveway.  You and your family continue in pain, and many continue to wonder how you’re doing.  Sometimes you realize that others may find help and healing from your story.  You see that some of the good that God brings of the evil is to help others who suffer similar loss.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1

Mary Beth Chapman opens the door on their private lives and pain in Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope.  She walks the tightrope, but pretty much remains on track.  She shares her struggles before Maria’s tragic death and following that horrible day.  She is honest but not ‘graphic’; she does not delve into unnecessary detail.  For instance, she shares that she was sexually assaulted (date rape?).  She does not focus on the event, but the ways it affected her.

She adds a good dose of humor as well.  This is very good since there is so much pain in this story.  All but the hardest of hearts will weep.

While she seeks to make some sense of what happened, and there is a little theology, she leaves room for mystery.  She doesn’t claim to have all the answers about why.  It is about faith struggling to trust without answers.  That struggle began many years before her husband was famous.

“Looking back, I’m not sure if this works orientation is what my church really taught, or if this was how I perceived it.”

I like the honesty here.  But she isn’t blaming others.  She recognizes the weaknesses of memory.  For instance, CavGirl swears my in-laws were here for CavSon’s Gotta-versary dinner.  It was my parents who were here.  Mary Beth admits she had a faulty understanding of our relationship of God.  She’s just not sure of its origin.  Unlike many who bash fundamentalist churches, she does not lay the blame at their feet.  I found that refreshing, even though I’m not a Fundamentalist.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


Having been in the ARP since 1998, this was my first General Assembly as a member of the PCA.  I had heard many things, but it was good to see things first hand.  That means the good and the bad.  Inevitably, my mind compares and contrasts everything to my experiences in the ARP.

Some of the differences come from the fact that the PCA is much larger than the ARP.  I was not used to holding up a half sheet of card stock to vote (unless the votes needed to be counted).  We would merely use voice unless the vote was close.  There were differences in terminology:  Memorials => overtures, delegates => commissioners.  No big deal there.  But the sheer size of the documents was so much greater.  There is, comparatively, so much more going on.

One of the additions was a review of all the minutes from all the Presbyteries.  We had to vote on some matters relating to them.  That was interesting.  I was also shocked at the length of the report from the Standing Judicial Commission.  I can count on one hand the number of issues that came up in a decade that went to the ARP Synod’s version.  There were pages of appeals and other judicial issues sent up.  It is a very different culture than the ARP.

I miss going to Bonclarken.  I knew my way around.  I knew were to have a good meal (especially a good Tex-Mex with my friends from Presbytery), and where to enjoy a beer and cigar.  Each year the PCA General Assembly moves.  This year it was Nashville.  I had never been to Nashville.  I did not know my hotel was 3 miles from the convention center until the night before I left.  There was a shuttle to and from the airport, but no mention of one to the convention center.  The hotel desk said there wasn’t one.  So, I had already walked the 3 miles once before I discovered the PCA had provided regular shuttles to my hotel.

I was surprised to find that all of the hotels and the convention center charged for internet access.  Now that we’re “hooked” they want $10/day to access the web.  I needed to get my sermon notes back to Tucson.  Thankfully there was a Panera nearby, and I enjoyed a chai latte and bagel while uploading my document and checking out some sports news.

I found the worship far more accessible and edifying than in the ARP.  Part of that is the fact I did not grow up ARP and our church didn’t use Bible Songs (a holdover from the days before the ARP permitted the use of hymns).  Often the worship is filled with songs I do not know.  Since we were in Nashville, we used numerous hymns by Indelible Grace and similar musicians.  I liked that and found it much easier to engage with the worship.  I did not feel like a fish out of water.

I found how the PCA does business to be similar in many ways.  For instance, both bodies have guys who seemingly speak to EVERY recommendation.  There is also an underlying aura of fear at work in both bodies.  The “slippery slope” and “big brother” seem to never leave some people’s horizons.  I was reminded often of the Swirling Eddies’ song “Knee Jerk“.  People in both denominations have been wounded from experiences with the mainline denomination.  Sadly, those wounds are infected and need to be healed.  Instead, the people nurse and rehearse, therefore look upon many items with unnecessary suspicion.  This is sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Both assemblies are, obviously, filled with sinners.  How we go about our business is tainted by our sin.  And how we listen to the business is as well.  I suppose I should view this as a sanctifying process and seek to grow in patience and diminish in sarcasm.  The constant phrases “point of order” and “motion to recommit” wore me down (as did the lack of sleep).   That is just as much about me as it is about others.

The ARP often has a Pre-Synod Conference.  They bring in a speaker or two to address a pressing issue for the denomination or church at large.  The PCA has seminars in the morning.  It was good to be able to choose what topics I want to address.  They reflected the needs and/or goals of my ministry.  So, I went to:

(more…)

Read Full Post »