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February 21, 2012Culture

Morning Roundup - February 21, 2012

The Power of Clarity in Your Church's Vision -- Matt Steen

Vision statements can be incredibly powerful tools to rally your congregation around your calling... or they can be incredibly obtuse statements that make people yawn in powerful new ways. The difference is how you approach crafting your vision statement, and whether you are making a statement, or calling to action. I fully believe that we have been called to action by the great commission and great commandment... and should be calling our people to action as well. With this in mind, here are four qualities of a great vision statement:

• Vivid. Paint a picture. Be clear about where you are going and what it will look like.
• Inspiring. Don't tell me what we are, tell me where we are going... and make it a big deal.
• Memorable. Vision statements that aren't memorable are worse than having no vision statement at all.
• Preachable. If you can not point back to your church's vision statement during your sermon on a regular basis it is useless.

My Thoughts After Writing, 'WHY I HATE RELIGION, BUT LOVE JESUS" -- Jeff Bethke

It has barely been a month since the release of my "Jesus>Religion" video, and man has it been one crazy, intense, overwhelming, and awesome month! Ever since the video came out it has been an absolute whirlwind, and never in a million years did I think I'd be jettisoned into this position so quickly!

I hope th[is] post...encourages, clarifies, and edifies. My hope is for this post to bring light into my situation, and also bring unity to the body of Christ.

The Indignation Industry, or the Art of Blogging Controversies -- Timothy Dalrymple

Most bloggers toil in relative obscurity, and even relatively successful bloggers are often dying for the next "hit." It can be addictive. My first big hit came in an interview with Harvard law professor Bill Stuntz called "You Will Call, I Will Answer." I admired Stuntz greatly, and believed in the value of the piece, so it was thrilling to watch the traffic numbers soar. I felt like I had caught a wave, and I wanted it to last as long as possible. It was linked by Instapundit and Hot Air and Powerline, discussed in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I don't know the social media numbers (the number of "Shares" and "Retweets" has been reset as we've changed social media widgets), but it spread swiftly and reached a huge pageview total.

I was thrilled for Bill -- thrilled that his profound reflections on suffering and death were getting a wider circulation -- and, if I'm honest, I was pleased for myself as well. I wasn't milking a controversy, but I learned how exciting it could be to "go viral," and one thing you learn very quickly is that the easiest way to "go viral" is to be one of the first voices, or one of the loudest voices, or at least one of the most striking voices, in the midst of a controversy.

So what are some guidelines we might use? Pastor P says Controversial Statement X. We blog because we love to write about these things, but we want to do so for the right reasons and not give more oxygen to a belief we think is bigoted or ignorant. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you respond:

1. Am I responding to a controversy or creating one?
2. Have I fully digested and assessed this issue?
3. Do I really have anything important to add to the conversation?
4. Assess your motives.
5. Remember the power of compassion.

After Prolonged Legal Battle, Virginia Episcopalians Prepare to Reclaim Property -- Washington Post

For the past five years, the remaining members of several Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia have been worshiping in borrowed basements and empty houses while praying to return to the prominent sanctuaries where they married, baptized their children and buried their parents.

Now, after a prolonged and bitter legal battle with former members who broke away and took with them more than $40 million worth of church property, the Episcopal Church and the members who stayed with the denomination are on the verge of taking back their buildings, which include some the faith's largest, most prominent churches in the region.

After a judge's ruling last month in favor of the Episcopal Church, settlement talks are underway for a massive property swap that would bring to an end the most expensive litigation -- and perhaps the most watched -- in Episcopal Church history. While the breakaway congregations still can appeal, both sides said they are trying to work out the details of the property turnover.

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Morning Roundup - February 21, 2012