In recent months, a Brazilian brother has been putting together the Sunday service roster for Taubaté; the same has been happening in SJCampos for quite some time. Because of that, it’s not unusual any more for me not to be teaching or preaching on a given Sunday. At times, I feel, maybe, left out? I like teaching and preaching. I don’t feel miffed or think that they’re trying to slight me. Sometimes, I think they’re hoping to save me from being inconvenienced. But if they think they can carry the ball, my deepest feeling is satisfaction.
With that freedom from heavier Sunday responsibilities, especially in recent weeks, I’ve devoted more time to writing and to putting websites in order. Today I took some time to answer the question from a Brazilian brother, up in the northeast, as I recall. He asked, “What would the perfect church be like?”
A friend of his is studying the idea of the perfect church. I suspect what’s behind it, somewhere back of the question or research, is the liberal-progressive argument that no church can be perfect or can follow perfectly any pattern in the New Testament, so we have to do away with the idea of a pattern. This is a big argument here, imported from the U.S., and trumpeted by people who love to go their own way.
Maybe I’ll translate my article of response to the question. Depends on the time. If in the meantime you want to wade through the stumbles of Google Translation, go ahead.
• The religious progressives must take their tactics from the political bend of the same stripe. Sometimes in political writings descriptions pop up that fit them so well. Like this one from National Review: “experts at using the supposed depravity of others as a device to advertise their own great righteousness.” It fits our pompous progressives to a T, who love to feign false humility while they dump on those who busy themselves with the will of God and render obedience to those wonderful commandments which do not, as the NET Bible renders it, “weigh us down.”
• I had clipped that quote and my mean comments on my mini-blog earlier today (now hosted here), which, by the way, has some pretty good material there. You ought to check that out.
• Did I tell you I now have my online business card? I did? Well, go look at it, then.
• I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, after so long at seeing it happen, but supposedly faithful churches that keep supporting people who compromise the gospel still irk me. They’ll support people several thousand miles away — and praise them to the skies — that they wouldn’t fellowship if they were next door. And we have to deal with their, what?, mess, sloppiness, cowardice.
• Let’s end on a good note tonight. I promise I’m not down in the dumps. I watched the debate of the second-tier Republican primary candidates for the 2012 presidency. Live. (God bless the Internet.) Like many, I thought Herman Cain won the debate. He was short on specifics, but genuine. The specifics you can fill in; genuineness you can’t make up for.
• Last, this passage from the NLT’s devotional today: “But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name” (Isaiah 26:7-8).
I’m not sure about the translation of verse 8, but verse 7 grabs you, doesn’t it? Studying it further. You might be able to help me out. But here’s the main thought: We think the righteous have it so hard, and in many ways they do. In another sense, though, God smooths out the way. “The way of the righteous is level,” as the NET Bible has it.
You know, when you have God and hope and peace, you just don’t feel the bumps like a lot of people do.
Now that’s a thought to end with.