Seven Mountains

The church I attend has started interest groups that serve to connect people who are called to, or now involved within one of the “seven mountains of influence”. This idea is based from a teaching that seems to have originated in 1975, from Campus Crusade and Youth With A Mission leaders. I was not very informed about it until recently (and still not well versed), but it is an interesting way to communicate a concept that has a parallel to similar ideas that have been around much longer.
In more negative terms is the idea of “the fifth colun” or in closer terms could be the ideas of “The Third Culture“, although not really like either of those, the seven mountains holds one similar line of thought: changing the status quo through those of a different worldview.

As the “Reclaiming the 7 Mountains” website says it:
“These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.”

I think our church has a little different take than the original, but takes the same view of the categories. Anyway, I went to the first meeting centered around the “Media” mountain.

There is a great deal of emphasis on using your gifts to a full potential; and that would be all your gifts, both natural and spiritual. It is something I am very interested in right now, and might mean that this blog will change and get more attention from me (writing, posts, stuff!)

I want to share my faith here, and explore thoughts and opinions as I did in the past, but not in the same way that I had. So much of social media has replaced the functions of the old style blogs. We’ll see if there are new avenues for this blog to follow.

In the meantime, think about reading more about the “Seven Mountains” and where you fit. We all want to develop our gifts, I think, but sometimes we get confused along the way (I know that has often happened in my life), but perhaps a fresh way of looking at vision and our life map could not just invigorate our projects, but give better focus to our energies and time.

O American Church, Where Art Thou?

Recently, Francis Chan (whose book “Crazy Love” we have been following recently), announced he was resigning as senior pastor of his church. As I viewed the video, there was something that stood out to me, and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it except for the carefulness in which it was expressed.

“There is no immorality, no discipline… no issues with the elders”. It had to come up. When a leader steps away from a ministry we have been trained by experience in past events to look for some sort of moral miss step. We almost brace ourselves as Christians, “another one bites the dust”.

What an indictment of our American Church life.

Once upon a time, understanding that a person was further following his calling was the usual response, as Chan is today. What happened to this? Why have we become so inured to the idea of corruption and moral failure that we jump to that conclusion, first… and must be reassured should it not follow the (now) modern norm of a “fallen leader”?

Why have we become accustomed to that?

Clear Direction > Home

I wrote recently on the Woman’s Bible Study that I have started to attend for the summer. You also might remember that I am in fellowship in a new church plant (read: small church). One thing that happens in a small, new church is the search for direction in the vision and the emphasis of the message and activities. It starts out in a certain place, but the dynamics of people, circumstances, and unseen factors creates change and focus. Sometimes it is choppy, sometimes it builds in momentum, but whenever changes and moves are at work, patterns often emerge. Right now, there is a pattern I see, not only for myself, but in a larger perspective.

Years back, in fact not just once, but several times, there was a momentum of sentiment and decision to move “homeward”. There was at one time even a catch phrase for this: Cocooning. That had to do with an attempt to recenter activity and a reaction to the economy of the time. Sometimes we are forced to center on our homelife when our finances are tight. But apart from the economy at this time, there is a supernatural move that I intuit.
A sense of “home” in building closer relationship, and moving closer together as a group. It is in an overall sense: closer intimacy with the Lord, closer vulnerability and transparency as Believers- in both personal and public ways; closer relationships that demand a real effort at resolving conflict.

I’m finding that when we respond half-heartedly, perhaps as we were used to in the past, the cards quickly tumble: there are no houses of cards in this new direction towards home. It is apparent to me that the older societal move that resulted in “being home alone” has further refined to a new recognition of our interdependency and emotional need of the “other”.

How does this relate to my time spent in a Woman’s Bible Study? It is no longer only what I get out of it, whether in new insights or camaraderie. It is how we move together, closing the spaces between us that make our interactions artificial. It is how we interrelate in meeting needs of our own, each other, our family, our fellowship…. and creating something new for the community outside our own to interact with. Sort of social networking in a Real Life sense. Maybe I can get some insights in how social networking is changing our online emphasis for clues on how this works as we bring it into our physical lives and relationships. Where it is more about building relationship than a top down “talking to”… becoming a “talk with” conversation. More about who we are, than who I am.

Maybe this is necessary to break down the stereotyping, the mistakes of the past, and the ineffectual way we have gotten used to living with each other. For me personally, I have two main goals for my time spent in the study: one is to help my daughters grow in their Christian walk as we attend it together, another is to move the spaces between myself (mostly made by me) and other women to more closely live intersected lives. I can’t foretell how successful this will be, only that this is a needed direction. Going home with a purpose and an open heart.

Can young women get a sense of who they are as women without some modeling in a social sense? That is, can we as women in the mature generation continue to be disconnected and “finding ourselves”, and expect to relay anything but the most garbled communication of what it means to be a woman?

I need to catch up now on doing the lesson in the Esther study book…. later, friends. If I get more clarity you will be the first to hear. On the meantime, anyone have thoughts on this… or is there something you discern in the patterns you see surfacing around you? Love to hear about it.

Thinklings » Blog Archive » It Was All Good When God Didn’t Know The Future

I considered saying something about that pastor catching all the heat up there in Minnesota, but it’s complicated and I let it go by. Now though, Alan of Thinklings, (that is almost Monty-Pythonesque) gives one of the most cogent opinions that covers the important aspects well.

A few quotes to whet your interest:

Thinklings » Blog Archive » It Was All Good When God Didn’t Know The Future

Things like this kind of drive me nuts. For one thing, it puts me in the uncomfortable position of almost agreeing with a heretic like Greg Boyd. For another, this article just makes me want to scream at the church members: So you left when he wouldn’t endorse your politics, but you were totally fine with it when he told you God didn’t know the future? Excuse me?

That said, I do think the church in America is captive to a political agenda.

What’s going on? Why does the church act this way?

For one thing, we are starved for a Christian public space. The public sphere is dominated by politics. That sphere has been steadily secularized. When Christians who appreciate our national heritage, or who serve in the military, wish to express that this appreciation and commitment unto the Lord God, or when a community intends to invoke the blessing of the Lord upon its graduating students, the appropriate channels are cut off. The choice (if there is one) is either to emasculate the passion for God by reducing it to some vague religious sentiment or to shut up.

That energy then finds outlet in the church.

Politics is an idol. Idolatry, at its most basic, is asking some created thing to give us something that God didn’t create it to give. We’ve spent decades now waiting for politics to give us results God didn’t intend. The things we’re after “recovering biblical morality, recovering public space for acknowledgement of the Triune God, and subsequently changing laws to reflect his character’“ are things that God promised us as the results of prayer, repentance, worship, evangelism, and discipleship.