One of the first books I purchased as a young Christian was written by J.C. Ryle. It was entitled, “Knots Untied.” It had a profound impact on me personally. It dealt head-on with difficult subjects like election, predestination and reprobation. What really struck me was how Ryle was willing to talk about ‘taboo’ subjects with candor, grace and honesty.
As I considered what I wanted to do with my Southwood blog I knew I didn’t want to simply be another place for online musings (although I suspect there will be some of that). I wanted our blog to be a place where I could honestly and candidly address questions, vision, theology, life, culture and taboo subjects.
I reminisced back to Ryle--“Knots, I thought...that’s a good title!” I soon realized that I’d probably tie as many knots as I untied. I would try to be as complete and helpful as possible but most topics would need further study, more wisdom than I could provide and likely raise as many questions as I answered. That’s when I settled on a title and sub-title for the blog- “Knots: some tied, some untied, all unraveled at the ends.” Fitting.
So what will "Knots" be? It will be too deep for some. It will be too fluffy for others. It will be too academic for some. It will be too crass for others. Some will think it pedestrian and others will think it is just what the doctor ordered. Here’s a preview of "Knot-type" subjects: Should we serve wine at communion? Should we have a beer at a restaurant? What about Sanctification? Do I have to baptize my baby to be a Presbyterian? Can a woman usher? Can a man work in the nursery? Can white men dance? Should they? Why are there so many caucasian families at Southwood? Why did the Session take away the Sunday School class I loved? Why don’t we have communion every week? Shouldn’t women have their heads covered in church? Is Lady GaGa a Christian? Can I go to my gay neighbor's "wedding"? Get the idea? Maybe the subtitle of the subtitle should be “Knots: some tied, some untied, all unraveled at the ends and most of the knots will be in your stomach...”
We’re doing something bold with Knots: anonymous comments will be enabled for all posts. You read that correctly! Anonymous comments will be enabled! The reason is very simple: "honest questions deserve honest answers." If people are allowed to post anonymous statements then we will get HONEST, heartfelt statements. What are the potential land mines? Let me say right now they are not simply potential land mines they are real and they WILL happen. Someone will write something they shouldn’t. It will be on our website for 12-24 hours before we can clean it up or delete it altogether. NOTE: we’re only censoring comments if they are profane for the sake of being profane, sexually explicit or beyond a ‘10’ on the malicious scale. I want someone to be able to post something like this:
“I think Larroux is a moron. All I hear is grace, grace, grace--- when a church like ours stops teaching people how to live according to the Bible and holiness stops being a priority then we stop being a church. It is time for our leaders to step up, put on the choke collar and lead us in the right direction before we concede any further to this ‘emergent church’-type pablum that we are given from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday. God help us if this is what our search committee thought we really needed!”
Get the idea? I love it. If people can say what they really think even if it’s about me then we’ll have real dialogue. Now before you can say it, let me interject: some would want some pious instruction given to "commenters" to let their words be charitable, etc. I don’t feel like I need to re-remind people of something Jesus made abundantly clear. I will say simply this: you will know a tree by it’s fruit. Enough said. If you disagree with a comment someone else has made then you are encouraged to dialogue via comments’ section and give a good counter-point to any statement. You can, of course give your name if you so desire, but I frankly prefer the anonymous comments because it allows me to interact with some of the more difficult statements on an arm’s length basis. I can rebuke an idea/comment/statement without someone feeling personally vilified or attacked. There will be other times, like in the case of the comment above, where I might simply reply, “bla...bla...bla..DELETE.”
Do you feel the knots in your stomach already? I hope not. I hope you are thrilled to see the church embrace the Gospel in ways that force is to drink deeply of grace, embrace our identity in Him and engage the culture, our hearts and the world for His glory alone.
Jesus+Nothing = Everything
“Jesus + Nothing = Everything will remind you of the ancient yet ever-fresh truth that everything we need is found in the perfections of Christ—not in ourselves, not in our reputation, our relationships or wealth or accomplishments—in Christ alone. If you’ve never rested in the finished work of Christ this book is for you. If you’ve rested in it for decades like I have, this book is for you, too. Why? Because we forget; And, although we love Jesus, we’re blind to the ways in which his work connects to our daily lives and we wonder why joy and zeal are foreign concepts to us.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick
A Scandalous Freedom
Get ready to be bothered by the Gospel. Steve Brown teaches grace in a way that gets under your skin—- Reading Brown is like having a gospel hair in your mouth of your conscience. The more it bothers you the more beautiful the pearl produced will be
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
From the publisher: “It is a deep and rich biblical study of sanctification - how Christians grow in holiness and become more like Jesus. In a day when Christians are very prone to pursue self-help methods to grow in obedience to Christ, Walter Marshall lays out the biblical way of growth: obedience comes as Christians live by grace, in union with Christ, by faith.” This book influenced me PROFOUNDLY on the topic of sanctification. The Modern-English re-write makes this a TOP PICK for 2011!
12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)
I ‘accidentally’ picked up this book simply for the title alone. I grew to hate it quickly. It hit a little ‘too close to home.’ Fischer’s book plunges the scalpel of self-awareness and need for deep repentance deep into the hard hearts of Pharisees like ME!
- Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Ricky Jones is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a trophy of grace. If you want to listen to bold preaching by a man who knows his sin, knows his weaknesses and trusts only Jesus to take what he says and use it to God’s glory then you are heading in the right direction. The preaching is bold, the preacher is humble and you will be blessed.
- Key Life Ministries
Steve Brown is not the most subtle guy you will ever meet. If I were to write an S.A.T. question about Steve this is how it would go: Steve Brown is to legalism what a child hopped-up on cake and ice cream is to an pinata! I love this guy. Check out his website and fair warning: you are not heading to a ‘SAFE’ little Christian site!
- Coral Ridge Presbyterian
As one comment on iTunes said: “Tullian preaches the Gospel in an unadulterated and undomesitcated way…The way it should be preached!”
- Mockingbird Blog
Mockingbird is a ministry that seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in as fresh and down-to-earth a way possible.
- White Horse Inn
White Horse Inn is a multimedia catalyst for reformation. We believe that each generation must rediscover and apply the gospel to their own time. We long to see a second reformation take hold of our churches and return them to the God-honoring, Christ-centered, Spirit-wrought places of worship they should be.
- On Earth as it is in Heaven
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is a Florida native, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham.
Smith is the founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, avid writer, prolific blogger and tweeter. His nuggets of Gospel wisdom are seasoned by years of service to the Bride. He is gentle and very purposed in his every comment.