The Original Missional Calvinist

John Calvin often gets a bad rap.  But David Mathis offers us another perspective.  In the Introduction to a book he co-edited with John Piper, With Calvin in the Theater of God, Mathis writes:

“Calvin so believed in the importance of the everyday activities of Christian life and mission that he had a strange but telling practice in Geneva. He was eager to see Jesus’ church gathered on Sundays, but he was not happy for his flock to retreat from everyday life and hide within the walls of the church during the week. So to prod his congregants to be fully engaged in their city of Geneva – in their families, in their jobs, with their neighbors and coworkers – he locked the church doors during the week. It must have been hard not to get the point. He knew the place of God’s people – gathered together to worship on Sunday, but during the week not hidden away behind thick walls of separation, but on mission together in God’s world, laboring to bring the gospel to metro Geneva in their words and actions, in all their roles and relationships.”

Critics who suggest Calvinism discourages evangelism and is inherently anti-mission might want to rethink their attitudes about the reformer.  Calvin’s outwardly focused missional mindset ought to be applauded, and in many cases even adopted.  While Mark Driscoll has popularized the term Reformissional, John Calvin was the original Reformission Rev.

NOTE: The entire book can be uploaded and read free.  Click: With Calvin in the Theater of God

100 Ways to Love Your Neighbor

It seems as if it ought to be simple enough: “Love your neighbor.”  But experience tells me it is not as easy as it might seem.  And, if we take seriously the parables of Jesus, we learn it is not as easy as some tend to think.  When we read what Jesus holds up as the standard of neighborliness we realize that to love our neighbor is not the same as the absence of hostilities or even just the presence of genuine affections.  To love our neighbors we need to be involved in one anothers lives to some degree.  Even one insurance company gets that: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…”

But this is easier said than done in our fast pace, busy, world.  And Frankly, even State Farm’s claim seems a little dubious to me.  When I think about it, they’re only there for me when I pay them to be. Try dropping your policy and see if they seem like such “Good Neighbors” then.  I have my doubts.

But who can blame them? Life is busy.  And my neighbors are as active as I am.  How are we supposed to engage them, even if we commit to carving out the time?

Josh Reeves offer us a few suggestions.  Here are Josh’s Top 25:

  1. Stay outside in the front yard longer while watering the yard
  2. Walk your dog regularly around the same time in your neighborhood
  3. Sit on the front porch and letting kids play in the front yard
  4. Pass out baked goods (fresh bread, cookies, brownies, etc.)
  5. Invite neighbors over for dinner
  6. Attend and participate in HOA functions
  7. Attend the parties invited to by neighbors
  8. Do a food drive or coat drive in winter and get neighbors involved
  9. Have a game night (yard games outside, or board games inside)
  10. Art swap night – bring out what you’re tired of and trade with neighbors
  11. Grow a garden and give out extra produce to neighbors
  12. Have an Easter egg hunt  on your block and invite neighbors use their front yards
  13. Start a weekly open meal night in your home
  14. Do a summer BBQ every Friday night and invite others to contribute
  15. Create a block/ street email and phone contact list for safety
  16. Host a sports game watching party
  17. Host a coffee and dessert night
  18. Organize and host a ladies artistic creation night
  19. Organize a tasting tour on your street (everyone sets up food and table on front porch)\
  20. Host a movie night and discussion afterwards
  21. Start a walking/running group in the neighborhood
  22. Start hosting a play date weekly for other stay at home parents
  23. Organize a carpool for your neighborhood to help save gas
  24. Volunteer to coach a local little league sports team
  25. Have a front yard ice cream party in the summer

To read the rest of Josh’s ideas click: 100Ways.  Josh has a link at the bottom of his Top 25 list.

H.T. to Jonathan Dodson @ Creation Project.