Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some thoughts against Carlos Whitaker (A Review of Up In the Air)

I recently sat down to watch a movie that I had been anticipating for some time, Up in the Air.
The movie, shot almost exclusively in hotels, airports and corporate offices is a tremendous effort to capture what defines a relationship. The movie is a parable on communication, relationships and humanity.

For those that haven't seen the film a brief synopsis.
Ryan Bingham, the film's protagonist, (George Clooney) travels over 300 days out the year to various offices as a contracted employment terminator. He fires people. While out on the road, he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga). Alex, like Ryan is out on the road, or up in the air, just as much, going from Herzt to Hilton to O'Hare and back again. The two strike a relationship that is matches their non-committed worlds. Then enters Natalie Keener, the over ambitious recent grad with a new plan to save the company a fortune by carrying out these firing through an internet video chat system.

The film gets interesting as we see these three characters in a dance of mistrust and misunderstandings. Natalie's new plan to fire people via iChat lacks the experience that veteran Ryan has. She shadows Ryan on these visits to ease the transition of face-to-face to online. Ultimately the switch fails. This lost in communication is highlighted by the fact that halfway through the film, Natalie is dumped by her fiance via text. Alex and Ryan's no trust relationship suddenly gets complicated and comes in nothing less than a crash landing...

This is a shotgun summary of the plot. What the film demonstrates is the irreducible complexity of human communication. I could have said human relationships, but the plot is more pointed than that. What is irreducibly complex about communication? Since, it seems to be increasing in every direction possible (social media, hot spots, 4G). This is the question that Up in the Air asks. Is all this technology really making things any easier? Is communication merely being able to transfer a verbal message? Video? Audio? All together? Up in the Air offers the proposal that there is no substitute for human interaction.

I want to now direct my argument against a practice that I fear is only going to increase. Doing ministry online. There are many examples of this, but one of the worst is Carlos Whitaker. I am almost tempted to refer to him by his Twitter account name LosWhit, since that it is all I really know. Whitaker is a self proclaimed "artist, pastor, thinker, experience architect, and Web 2.0 junkie". He has worked at some churches doing interesting things usually involving hyphenated titles with words like "creativity". If you go to his website, you will find he offers "coaching" services. This coaching consists of him following you on all and any social media sites and offering suggestions via a video chat conference an hour once month for $200 a month. (I'm not concerned about whether this is a fair rate.) I want to ask the same question as Up in the Air, is this really communication? Is this ministry? Is this the best medium for communicating?

The Medium is the MassageThere is more than I am aware of that gets lost in a mediated communication. McLuhan's basic thesis in The Medium is Massage is that the technological means that humans use to communicate alters, shapes, reduces, reforms that message.

LosWhit is an example of a dangerous trend. Paul did send letters to churches, but it was obvious that he valued being there in person over a letter. He even sent someone to deliver the letter. I don't think these are merely technological constraints. I think Paul knew the importance of a human being in the presence of another. When a Christian is before another, Christ himself is before that brother. What is lost in video chats and online sermons is the body of Christ. Unfortunately much of the ministry being done this way will remain up in the air.

38 comments:

Jon Furst said...

Great post, PD. I am reminded of a virtual church I heard about in Charleston that seems to be taking this to the next level. How does one administer communion via the web? Cookies?

Coppola Catering said...

I find it funny that you inspect the comings and goings of Carlos on the internet, when you yourself are expecting people to read your communication via a blog. The pot calling the kettle black, maybe? I would say that all forms of communication can and will reach all the people just the right way as God intends for it to.

See despite our limited ability to communicate, in-person or not, it's always up to the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts and bring us to a closer walk with God.

I get your point and have troubled thoughts of the lack of human contact the internet brings. Though with the Y generation a virtual connection might be all they allow in their life.

So wouldn't it be safe to say that God is going to reach us however He see's fit?

Great thoughts and thank you for posting them. Be blessed that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit pursues us with an everlasting love that can't be stopped.

fagankela said...

ok.. I like where you are going with this.. and it will be hard to argue that face to face interaction can easily be replaced by video chats.

HOWEVER ;)
I think you need a social media lesson and what the benefits have on ministry. IT isn't meant to substitute human interaction, rather simply enhance it by furthering your reach and influence.

Real discipleship will always take place over coffee or a beer ;) .. Thats just how we work. BUT it doesn't take away from the value of relationships that are made online.

jeff said...

Oversimplified, assumptive and just plain divisive (nice choice of photo to use...class move).

Not to mention - did you really just use a BLOG to make this point? Irony is neat. D-

adamoftheworld said...

i would challenge your contention that you cannot have a church online. I am in Afghanistan and currently the only "church" I am able to get is through podcasts. Does this make me any less than a member of the church body?

You point out Carlos Whittaker as an example of how not to communicate and suggest that he is somehow robbing people of 200 dollars a month with his coaching network. I would point out that by many accounts he has been able to grow an online presence that has also resulted in many speaking and performing engagements and a worship album. If you have been to his blog and read through his comments, then you know what he provides does help many who visit his site.

More concerning to me however is your point that church cannot exist online and you seem to suggest that if you do not go to a physical church, then you are not really a member of the body of Christ. Two points here: 1) I agree that an actual physical community is of utmost importance but there are thousands of people tonight here in Bagram that connect online to the places they are from and are every bit a real community and 2) Do you really think God cannot work through the internet?

Clark Withers said...

I would just like to say that because of @loswhit's twitter comment I read your article... And as a friend of him I would ask that you maybe spend a little more time looking at the WHY he does some of the things the way he does rather than just judging based on a distant bias opinion... I understand your sentiments but that's my 2 cents... God Bless!

jeff said...

Oversimplified, assumptive and just plain divisive (nice choice of photo to use...class move).

Not to mention - did you really just use a BLOG to make this point? Irony is neat. D-

wkeving said...

Interesting post with an interesting premise. I think you're right in your assertions that communication is indeed, multi-faceted and that the medium does have an impact on the message. However, I question your motives on calling out @loswhit as the poster boy for "doing ministry online" and then claiming that his is an example of a dangerous trend. Do you have something against him? Are you aware of how much he travels and how much he ministers to people in person?

It seems to me that you jump to a conclusion that he, unlike Paul who visited the churches he communicated with, doesn't communicate face to face with anyone. I follow Carlos, and I've never met him in person. It doesn't change how I've been impacted by his online ministry. It also allows me to see, through his transparency, how much he travels and how many opportunities he has to communicate face to face with others.

I'm not saying you don't have some valid points about what's missing in online only communication, but, and maybe I misread it, but it seems to me that you have an issue with Carlos which is evident in how you present him. Seems disingenuous at best and it certainly diminishes your argument in my opinion.

Lori said...

As Christians we need to stop attacking our brothers and sisters in Christ who are doing what God has called them to do. Carlos Whittaker may not do ministry the way you think it should be done, but the bottom line is the FRUIT. If he is reaching people for Jesus, then more power to him! This kind of personal attack on a fellow Christ-follower is uncalled for.

rob said...

And yet you use the internet to convey your message!? Hmmm...

Didn't Paul say that he would use all means to reach everyone for the sake of Christ? (paraphrase)

I'm not a betting man, but I bet Paul would be using social media to further the kingdom and this is what Carlos is doing. He is encouraging, equipping and building the kingdom.

And for that, I give him my respect.

Justin said...

If your so fearful of communicating through the inter-webs, why don't you just send handwritten letters via telegram to your friends and followers? I say that in jest of course, as I do not think your against technology.

Sure there can be dangers in non personal contact, but if you have seen or even been apart of the online community that Carlos has created, you can see that it is healthy.

I would go so far as to say he didn't really create the community. It just happened organically.

The church I belong to has just started broadcasting our sermons online, not as a replacement to in person community, but to bring the community to people who are sick, over seas missionaries and maybe the mom with crazy kids who couldn't make it on time. Everyone of them in the online chat voices there love of the option to be apart of the body, even when they are physically away.

Craig and Stacy + Micah said...

Hey PD...just read your article "Some thoughts against Carlos Whitaker." I have to admit.. I have been following Carlos' blog for a few years now. What I am wondering is this... you spent a few hours watching "Up in the air" before you decided to do a review of it. You admit "I am almost tempted to refer to him by his Twitter account name LosWhit, since that it is all I really know" Before you get all upset at this "dangerous trend" spend sometime understanding the heart and reasoning of the Whitaker family (his wife blogs too :)). Really, from what I see, is that Carlos has a hands on ministry and he has expanded that to the web. Much like you blog about things and have conversations on your blog, he does the same things. So can you clarify for me what exactly this "dangerous trend" is ?

Andy said...

I couldn't disagree with you more. Surely online ministry cannot be the ONLY way to do ministry, but it is certainly a way. While being in person is nice, it's certainly not out of the question to use other measures. I'm sure the same arguements were made during the invention of the telephone, I'm sure that you call people to pray with them, or offer someone advice. It's no different, except we can see each other in a video conference.

I don't know who you are to judge someone elses measures of sharing the word of Christ, but I certainly hope that you realize the message he preaches is love, and that is ALL of our mission.

You on the other hand have made a feeble attempt to call someone out publically, whom you've never met, never spoken to, or even skyped with! Furthermore, you've done so ONLINE, which... well, is just very strange considering your obvious disdain for online community.

People have been reached through online community, online worship, and online friendships. Souls have been saved. Who are you to say that this isn't real ministry?

Carlos said...

Although I think your argument lacks all sorts of, well, everything...I think you make some good points. Keep struggling through these things well man. Struggle well.
Los
Oh. And dude. That pic is so freaking scary. I have better ones!!!
lol

Wes said...

Dear Pot, please don't call me black. Thanks, Kettle

Shannon Smith said...

I'm a first time visitor to you blog. I enjoyed this post. I think you are asking some good questions.

My only hold-up with your post is this line: "Is this the best medium for communicating?"

Is Carlos Whitaker claim that his style/form of communication is the "best" way? Or, is he offering it up as "a" way? I really have a problem with extremes.

@jon: Your question about communion is a good one, but that cookies joke was lame.

dubdynomite said...

PD,

Did you bother to speak to Carlos about this and get his opinion of how this type of coaching works for him?

Or, how about talking to some of the people he's coached or is coaching, to see if their experience matches your assumptions?

I'm sure either he or they would have gladly discussed it with you. I'm not saying that it would have changed your mind, but it would had at least given the impression that your post was not a personal attack.

I'm not sure when it became OK to personally call out fellow Christians in blog posts. It's done so frequently now, I suppose we've just accepted it as common practice now.

Blogging is a great tool to discuss ideas, share experiences and promote collaboration and learning. And it is possible to disagree with something without making it about the person.

While you make some very good observations in your post, a little more balance in your approach would have made a better impression. This approach is giving me the impression that this post is a thinly-veiled ploy to drive traffic to your blog.

Jason said...

What's dangerous are people who claim to be Christians singling out other believers for personal attacks without having any real knowledge of the person, their beliefs or what they stand for on doctrine.

If you bothered to find anything out about Carlos, you would see him leading worship in churches (that's offline), speaking to groups (again, offline) and working with hands-on ministries to feed the homeless among others (again, offline.)

Just because someone has a high level of skill using online media doesn't mean that he's not doing significant work for Christ offline as well. It doesn't mean that person doesn't long to be with those people in person as Paul.

You might want to actually find out about the person you call "an example of a dangerous trend" before you begin to spread gossip. After all, if you're going to be calling out people for things, you wouldn't want to be committing the sin of gossiping or causing divisions within the body, right?

Leo said...

I'm having a hard time trying to comment on this post. First because nowhere in this blog I can find out who you are or what you stand for, that would help me understand your intentions a little bit better and in consequence it would help me formulate my comment a bit better.

The second thing I'm struggling with is: which aspect should I address? The reason why I struggle with this is because I'm the kind of person who skips long comments written on blogs, so I don't want to write a long comment myself but there is so much that can and needs to be addressed on this post.

So, I would only point out a couple of quick things:

1. Linking the movie Up In The Air with Carlos Whittaker and arriving at a conclusion of what the "right way" of doing ministry is, are three different things that have nothing to do with each other.

2. Why the judgement? Where is the love? The grace? Why the focus so much on the negative instead of the positive.

hi said...

Interesting article, I was wondering if you ever had a conversation with Carlos? I wonder what his heart is? Is he trying to take advantage of people or just trying to have a positive influence in a medium of our culture that is sorely lacking any Christian influence. I would be interested in you talking to him. I bet you two would have an amazing conversation!

Mandy said...

My husband and I just watched this movie a week ago and really liked it. It stirred a lot of good conversation. We also really like Carlos, a friendship that started online and has extended offline as well. I think all of us are trying to find our bearings online. The online social networks are still so new. It is good to be aware of dangers and even stir coversation such as this that makes us think, but I think it's faulty to just write off anyone trying to use the online sphere, especially trying to use it for good. I assure you there are many of us, perhaps even you through this blog, trying to use online relationship for good. Isn't it worth a try? I for one am not ready to give up just yet.

Jason Whitehorn said...

Amazing article....though I'm suprises you used the technology of the Internet to spread it rather than go door to door with your message.

Let's face it...you use the Internet because it is current and it is a viable method of communication.

Believe me...God was well aware of the uses of Web 2.0 long before we decided to use it.

Jonathan said...

i think you start a good discussion, but your writing seems to be somewhat negatively slanted toward Carlos the person rather than the online strategy. it is my opinion that you could formulate this argument in a more effective way, without having to cause division within the body.

your opinion is valid. the conversation is a good one to begin. your approach, which was public, is not the first step you are supposed to take as it pertains to presenting a problem to a brother.

in full disclosure i go to the church Carlos used to be the Service Programming Director at (no "creative" in the title) and believe he was second to none in engaging our congregation in authentic worship, with the only computer on stage being used by the drummer to create loops. i also know that he is intimately involved in Soul City Church in Chicago, which is about as real as it comes.

either way, be blessed!

Amy said...

Obviously those of your generation and mine are not so deeply ingrained in technology as the current generation. My little sister would go to school, come home and get on the computer to chat with her friends and now they spend most of their time on face book and texting. For a generation so involved in technology it is extremely important for someone to be out there putting for the gospel in a medium that can so easily lead so many astray so I believe you are completely wrong about this trend being bad. You are also wrong about Carlos. I know him and he has been involved in the music ministry and more at my church and is personally involved as well as technologically involved. Everything Carlos does is not online. He travels nonstop and is a lot like Paul in that he visits the churches he has helped grow. He is a muscian as is is using this time to support his music career and I am very proud of the difference he has made at our church and the accomplishments he has made with his music without sacrificing his family and his ministry. You write a blog too so I think you need to reevaluate your criticism of this trend and acknowledge how far this type of communication is taking the gospel. Of course it has a tendency to pull people away from face to face communication which is very important to ministry. As with any ministry, it has the possibility of being abused by some but Crlos is one of the ones who is doing it right!

P.D. said...

A couple responses to some objections...
1) this blog, as the title states, is some "thoughts" not a ministry. If you want to meet me at Dugans on Halstead come on over.

2) Let me say this as clearly as I can, if you are living in the US and not regularly a part of a physical gathering of baptised Christians where the word is preached, communion is administered, YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN!!! That's a line in the sand I won't cross no matter "where your heart is" or how many Chris Tomlin songs youve made out to.

3) All I know of Carlos Whitaker is the LosWhit I see online. That was a self evident acknowledgment of the reality that LosWhit is an online avatar not a real person. Just as this blog author is.

4) I was not critiquing CARLOS WHITAKER the person (though maybe I should) but the METHOD, he was an unfortunate example.

5) I'm fine with saying the Holy Spirit will reach whom He pleases, but I'm guessing not everyone's a hypercalvinist. I am.

Jason said...

"If you are living in the US and not regularly a part of a physical gathering of baptised Christians were the word is preached, communion is administered, YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN!!!"

That is completely and utterly false. There is no Scriptural basis to make that claim. You are mocking the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with your words.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead then you're saved. You're a Christian.

You may be called to do other things after that moment but you cannot lose your salvation in Christ just because you aren't going to a church as defined by you.

Jarrod Haggard said...

"...if you are living in the US and not regularly a part of a physical gathering of baptised Christians where the word is preached, communion is administered, YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN!!!"

Wow...I'm moving to Mexico asap, thanks so much for clearing that up for me. Hope I don't get in an accident on the way down south, or apparently I'm going to hell. Wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

P.D. I think number 5 is your biggest problem, you are more focused in Calvin's Tulip than Jesus Comission. We are a generation that needs to see Jesus in a real practical way, "on the go", and @Loswhit is doing a great job in doing this. Be careful of not becoming a contemporary pharisee and judge the methods over the message.

P.D.G.

Kathie Palmer said...

I know Carlos personally, and I know he SHOWS up in person whenever he can! He is the only Christian some who use the internet as social media will ever "see"!

P.D. said...

church on the internet works like sex on the internet...

the method is the message, go read McLuhan

Anonymous said...

The fact that a blog was needed to convey this message demonstrates the need that Carlos is addressing through social media mediums. If your goal is to spread your message, you just can't reach people offline.
If unsaved people are spending their time online, the chances of them stumbling onto Carlos's music, blog, Twitter or YouTube channel are much higher than the chances of them stumbling onto a church website. And if they choose to look a little further, Carlos's love, passion, devotion to God and his family, and his HUMANITY will all shine through, which is an incredible feat, considering he is doing it through the internet-- a communication tool that is so often confused and abused as a vessel of self worship. They would see an example of a Christian-- a raw, true, flawed, humble, God fearing Christian, and that's not always the kind that people come across.

Bottom line-- Carlos reaches people. He manages to establish communication through a constantly growing community of believers and unbelievers alike, who all strive to bring glory to God, amidst a world of confusion, both on and off the internet.

Jeff said...

"2) Let me say this as clearly as I can, if you are living in the US and not regularly a part of a physical gathering of baptised Christians where the word is preached, communion is administered, YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN!!! That's a line in the sand I won't cross no matter "where your heart is" or how many Chris Tomlin songs youve made out to."

Funny, I don't ever remember reading that in Scripture. Does that mean that if you are living in the US, gather with Christians who are baptized, where the word is preached and communion is administered you are a Christian? How often do you have to go to be "regularly a part" of a church? I'm sure you were just exaggerating your position (some people will go to all sorts of extremes and say crazy things rather than just admit they are wrong) and don't really believe that regular church attendance is a requirement (much less "the requirement" for salvation. Still, I can't believe you actually typed that out and hit publish.

You might want to rethink and re-clarify your beliefs. Please.

P.D. said...

Jeff-
oh my goodness. you convinced me, anyone who gets off to "Here I am to Worship" is a christian... I was so wrong... thank you knowing my heart and motives.... I needed your clarifying words...

PSYCHE!!! Can you show me one verse in scripture that disproves my comments? I am going to write a followup post to clarify these self-centered low church ignorant foolish comments...

@loswhit FYI you posted that picture of yourself, it was the first one that came up on the blog...

could you name at least one thing the article it lacks... shouldn't be hard since it misses everything

-To everyone else, I find it incredibly typical of these evangelical types that no one has even touched my reading of UP IN THE AIR...

-if the pot calls the kettle black, it can still be black...

- To those that have been outraged that I have misunderstood Carlos' heart and motive, THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT. You can't know anything about someone's motives and tone through twitter, blog and podcast...

ANYONE THAT COMMENTS AS ANONYMOUS IS A COWARD...

John Paulling said...

Wow.

A few comments in defense of what PD is saying.

1) This blog doesn't want to be a church. We talk about church here, but we don't perform things that are clearly part of what it means to be a church. This blog doesn't have elders, we don't discipline one another here, we don't administer the sacraments, and we don't really preach. We discuss all those things freely, but we don't perform them. The books of 1 Corinthians, and 1 and 2 Timothy bear out that those things are integral and necessary parts of church life. Because we don't do those things, the critique that PD is a pot, and Mr. Whittaker is a kettle can't apply.

2) I understand that PD's comment that 'you are not a Christian if you aren't a member of a church' come across as offensive, but I would encourage y'all to think harder about what he is getting at. First of all, PD does not believe (I know, he is my friend, and we have worshipped side by side in church together for years) that membership in the visible church is a prerequisite for salvation. That is getting the cart before the horse, obviously. He is saying it is evidence of the Spirit's work in one's life. To spurn that, to spurn Christ's body by neglecting participation in it is a dangerous move. PD's point in the article was to question whether the venue of the web can really fulfill the mandates that God puts on the church. For example, can we really visit widows and orphans in their affliction via online forums (Jam. 1:27)? Can we break bread, and drink wine in a worthy manner with one another virtually (1 Cor. 11:23-28)? Those are things that churches must do, and they must do them corporately. I want to feel my brother's and sister's shoulders bumping up against mine when I do them.

All that said, I do want to rejoice with the brother in Afghanistan that he has access to things that 20 years ago he wouldn't have had access to. Praise God!

We are called to Christ as a people, and we need to recover the visibility of that reality. I am much less worried about reaching people 'on the go' than I am about seeing churches slowing their lives down and living lives worthy of the gospel together.

For me, I have no problem with whatever kind of evangelism Carlos does on the internet. Thank God he can reach people through that medium, but that is only a first step. I think we should be reticent to call that a church.

Leo said...

- I'm starting to get the impression the sole purpose of your post was to draw traffic to your blog.

- Up In The Air is a fiction movie about firing people through the internet: bad idea, if it ever comes to real life.

- Carlos Whittaker is a real person trying to reach out to real people through the internet in the real life: good idea, if God is getting the glory.

- Putting limits to what God can and can't do is a very bad thing, if we believe God is omnipotent he (God) can minister to people through any medium he wants, face-to-face, letters, chat, video, etc. He is God after all. Don't put limits to God.

- PD after reading your comments it seems to me you are not a person one can reason with. Sad. Please give us a sign you are able to have a conversation without ad hominen arguments.

- God should be your theology, not Calvinism. Think about it.

- But most important, you can believe whatever you want and so can other people. Don't put limits to how God works, focus your efforts in building up the body not dividing it.

P.D. said...

John-
well said.

Leo-
Fortunately, this pathetic blog usually gets as much traffic as the people who contribute to it. However, since @LosWhit graciously tweeted it there's been a few more hits/comments. I'll let you draw your conclusions.

- The only limits I would want to put on God are the limits that He himself puts. (Can God make a rock so big can't move it?) If God has ordained certain media and methods to expand His church, I think we should stick to those. i.e. bread and wine not Doritos and mountain dew, preaching not podcasts...

- First of all, before you disregard the man, Have you read anything by Calvin? I triple dog dare you to read him and tell me your mind isn't blown. God isn't theology. He's God. God is "object" of inquiry in the field of theology.

- To me the ad hominem arguments are when people resort to citing @LosWhit's "heart" and motives. That doesn't answer the objections, or further the discussion. It's a trump card that dead ends a conversation.

Leo said...

Thanks for the reply PD.

"If God has ordained certain media and methods to expand His church, I think we should stick to those. i.e. bread and wine not Doritos and mountain dew, preaching not podcasts..."

--If this is the actual topic or argument of your post it would have been definitely OK to tackle the subject and discuss it, but attacking the man (Carlos or anybody else) discredits everything you have to say about it.

When the Bible says "preach" it doesn't say how or specifies the method, the way they did it in biblical times was the best available method in their time. Unfortunately, we are still stuck with such method: one guy on one side people on the other side, talk your lungs out for a specified period of time. An argument can be made how ineffective this method is as well.

Paul sent a person with the letters because how else could have the letter arrived to its destiny? If they have had the technology we had today is it possible things might have been different? We'll never know. That doesn't mean one method invalidates others. Yes, human interaction is the best way of communication, no body is arguing against that, but I would definitely argue it is not the only way God can minister to someone, which is what I understand you are trying to say. In my understanding that would be limiting God.

"First of all, before you disregard the man, Have you read anything by Calvin? I triple dog dare you to read him and tell me your mind isn't blown."

--I have read Calvin and about Calvin and yes my mind is blown by it, but he is not the author of my salvation. Jesus is the author of my salvation so I rather read Jesus and practice Jesus, I encourage you to do the same. Anything else, specially anything else coming from men it pales in comparison to what Jesus said or did.

"God isn't theology. He's God. God is "object" of inquiry in the field of theology."

--My comment was meant in a rhetorical sense, not to be taken literally. Nonetheless God should be the focus, the filter, the source, everything; not the thoughts about God from other men.

"To me the ad hominem arguments are when people resort to citing @LosWhit's "heart" and motives. That doesn't answer the objections, or further the discussion. It's a trump card that dead ends a conversation."

--I can't talk on behalf or defend what anybody else has said, I might even agree that some of the comments are a little bit out of line. But have you thought that maybe you are getting a response in the same way you attacked? I would like to add that it is hard to give good answers to objections when the objections are poorly elaborated.


-----------------

Look, the little revelation we have of God (the bible) does not completely define who God is, I think the bible and all the theological work written over time by people like Calvin are just a very small glimpse of who God is, why would we then confine (and limit) God to just that? God is way bigger than what the bible tells us about him and what theologians have written about him. God has existed forever and has always been at work, yet the bible give us an account of who he is for a very short period of time, I think there is more we don't know about God than what we actually know about him.

Phillip said...

I think I missed the firefight on this one, but if I may, I had a couple of thoughts in reading this entry. First, praise God if Carlos is involved in ministry and the Lord is at work. The title of the original post may be a bit misleading, in that it seems what is really being questioned is perhaps not this man himself, but rather the methods.
We live in an age of isolation. From SUVs to iPods to World of Warcraft, the prevailing ethos of our age is one in which I am allowed to dictate the terms of my involvement. I can engage and disengage by merely putting in my earbuds, logging in and out, and un-friend you when you piss me off.
The church as I see it in Scripture doesn't give us this sort of wiggle room. Unlike a blog, facebook, chatting, etc. The people within see us as we are, not the images or parts of ourselves we allow to be presented on these formats.
In the physical world (and hence, the church) we are no longer the architects of our experience.
The church is a place where people should see the best and the worst sides of us.
Sanctification is about learning to love, forgive and bear with one another through hardship and sin when life isn't as cute as a profile pic.
That was a roundabout way of getting to what I wanted to say, which is this: There is no substitute for the physical fellowship of the Church as a believer. Yes, Paul used the media of his day to keep in touch with believers scattered throughout the world, but I hardly think he would have considered his correspondence a "letter-writing ministry".
In an age of disconnectedness, isolation, and selective reality, what is more radical and disturbing than people who choose to love and serve one another (not a computer screen) sacrificially and tangibly?

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