Meet the Minnie Church
As a former Cast Member, I think Cast Member Church is a great idea. When you consider the size and scope of Disney, you have quite a large population to reach. While I was aboard the cruise ship Disney Wonder, I created and led the first ever Disney Crew Christmas Choir. Every evening we would perform Christmas carols on the grand staircase for the guests. I was able to include some Jesus songs in the set, like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” (sung in three different languages). The cruise director would give a disclaimer prior to our show that “Disney does not endorse any specific religious beliefs.” Nevertheless, we sang songs of the story of Christ’s birth on the Disney Wonder!
Additionally, while working as a musician aboard a Princess cruise ship, I started and led a passenger Bible study. On each cruise, the first day would bring a handful of people. By the third day, I would have 25 to 30 guests.
I often felt like I was the only Christian on the entire ship! How I longed for fellowship while living at sea for months at a time. And I am sure I would have felt the same if I were at the parks.
What Real Leaders Look Like
Mark Galli reminds us of the importance of biblical character and spiritual maturity in our leaders. But he seems to say it’s either/or—we can have leaders gifted in strategy, finance, marketing and human resource development, or we can have 1 Timothy 3 leaders. I’ve known many CEOs who recognize they can do all things through Christ, but apart from him they can do nothing. Unfortunately, not all were capable and effective leaders. If elders regularly and candidly evaluated their senior pastor, and if boards of Christian nonprofits set clear expectations for their CEO then monitored progress, many of the problems Galli points out would be identified and addressed before they did serious harm. Unfortunately, far too many elders and boards fail to do that most important part of their job.
In Europe, many Christians are deeply concerned witnessing the diminishing role of American leadership in the global church. The history of our own continent has taught us, ever since the Roman emperor Constantine gave privileges to Christians, that the church is weakened by allying with financial and political power. We hope that America will not follow the same path. As is rightfully pointed out, the growth and soundness of the church in the long run depend on leaders serving by the grace of God rather than other sources of power.
“Pastor, you are a good shepherd, but what we need is a CEO.” This was the counsel from one of the church leaders prior to a vote of no confidence regarding my pastoral leadership. I resigned, wondering about my future and that of the thousands of others pastors I learned were leaving ministry for reasons other than moral failure. I went on to have 15 more years of productive and enjoyable ministry. Recently, I happily retired after a total of 45 years in ministry. I simply want to say thank you.
Bruce R. Nelson
The Cross Is Our Stairway to Heaven
I resonated with the line in Jen Wilkin’s column: “Indeed, our stairway to heaven is not a ‘what’ but a ‘who.’ ” She cites John 1:51 in its traditional translations—angels ascending and descending “on the Son of Man.” Wilkin could have bolstered her point. The NLT and Amplified Bible more clearly identify Jesus as the stairway, as “the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
Pious Pledges and Consecrated Keggers
As I come upon my 18th year as a sister of Sigma Alpha Omega, I’m thrilled to see such a well-done piece highlighting the ministry that is Christian Greek life. I especially applaud the final section emphasizing that Christian sororities and fraternities are not intended to be a replacement for church but an additional fellowship and opportunity for Christian growth and development. While a student at North Carolina State University, my sorority sisters often drove me to church each Sunday when I did not otherwise have a ride, invited me to Campus Crusade and InterVarsity, and held me accountable to “not forsaking the assembling” with other believers outside of just my sisterhood.
Elizabeth Lusk Kroner,
Sigma Alpha Omega
Working Harder to Understand Laziness
When Jesus comes, he will not ask whether we interviewed someone regarding their poverty and how they got here, nor what they’re going to do with the help we give them. He’ll ask if we fed and clothed them. I find most times that when people talk about laziness when it comes to poor people, they come from a place of judgment rather than compassion.
Tempted in Every Way?
Oliver Crisp gets closer than most but still ends up like the rest of us, with a Jesus who’s invincible in the face of temptation. When God’s people are tempted, sometimes we sin, sometimes we resist. Jesus never sinned, always resisted, but only after desperate battle. If the Scriptures that showed us his deity are comfortable with this, why aren’t we? If Jesus was invincible in the face of temptation, then he was not made in every respect as we are and he was not tempted in every respect as we are. He does not understand our weakness from his own experience, and we have rejected Hebrews at a critical point.
Providence Theological Seminary
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada
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