Tuesday, July 12, 2005

How's Your Swing?

Recently I came across an interesting concept on Len Sweet’s website. He wrote about the need for the church to remain rooted in the first century while living in the twenty-first century.

There is a new theory among physicists about how the swing works. Previous theories revolved around the principle of "parametric instability," which pivoted the action of swinging at the middle of the arc, and the rocking forward into a higher center of gravity. Physicist William Case, while watching how children actually swing, has now posited a new principle which physicists call "driven harmonic oscillator." The key to the swing is not in the middle of the arc, but at each end of the arc, where and when the swingers at the same time lean back and throw their feet forward.

That's my image statement. As a historian of Christianity, I want the church to lean back–not just back to the 50s, but all the way back through 2000 years of history, all the way back until we're, in the words of that Sunday School song, "Leaning, Leaning, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." But at the same time and I do mean simultaneously, we must use that energy and power that comes from "learning to lean" to kick forward into the future.

I think that’s a wonderful image for the church I serve. We are part of the movement to restore New Testament Christianity. Biblical doctrine and principles are just as important and relevant today as they were 2000 years ago. The gospel of Christ is still powerful and life-changing. Our task is to engage our culture and build relationships with people, demonstrating the difference that Jesus makes in our lives. Let’s do it, for His glory!


JD said...

Really now, Mike...is anyone trying to restore NT Christianity any more? Great thoughts, other than that sentence. Don't be mad at me! lol

k2 said...

i like it. also, to continue with the swing analogy, if you stop leaning backward and kicking forward you will stop swinging. you can stop doing one or the other, but you will not be swinging as easily.

great post, mike. keep 'em comin'.

Soren said...


Good point. And of course, I'm not mad at you. You know I love ya brother! Probably what we're trying to "restore" is our idealized version of the N.T. church. I remember what Rubel Shelley wrote in his book The Second Incarnation, "Which New Testament church do we wish to restore? Corinth? Rome? Laodicea?" (my paraphrase). Ouch! But I still like the concept of the restoration "ideal." I believe Campbell and the boys were on to something. The idea that "the Bible only makes Christians only" still resonates with me. Besides, I don't think that there are very many valid alternatives. "Each man doing what is right in his own eyes" has resulted in denominationalism and much confusion among those who are truly seeking the Lord.


k2 said...

i forgot to add that the statement of restoring the new testament church has started to get to me. i feel that we should continue what they started, not start over. is that weird? it might be, because i am.

JD said...

Kenny, you're not weird. You're just the only blogger who is eating a bag of Twizzlers in your photo. LOL

Biblical ... yes. Restore - I say YES to restoration. But NO to the idea that we already have it all restored and now we just need to keep it. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I always heard. If other people have to drop their traditions and come to Christ, then so do we.

I think we're on the same page, Mike.

As for Ken ... well ... I think your next picture should feature peanut M&Ms.

Chris Mc. said...

Dude, you have "driven harmonic oscillator" in your blog. That's awesome!