The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bar-code Christianity

I love being between Course of Study classes.

For those who do not know, licensed local pastors have to complete 20 basic Course of Study classes before moving to the advanced Course of Study ... that is, unless you want to go to seminary. For me, at 49, I'm not sure I'm going to go to seminary. The jury's still out.

At any rate, as a part-time local pastor, I have 10 years to complete 20 classes. So, while I'm waiting for God to speak to me concerning the need to attend seminary (waiting on thunderclaps and such), I try to take at least two a year. In between the required reading for COS, I sometimes read classic authors (A.W. Tozer, G.K. Chesterton, etc.) or books on the emerging church and postmodern faith. (Next in line are mystics and early church fathers.)

Which brings me to Dan Kimball's "The Emerging Church."

I am in the final chapters of that book and was delighted by a concept he attributes to Dallas Willard in "The Divine Christianity." While I used to talk about Christians who "buy fire insurance" (and there are preachers who sell such a commodity), Willard uses the concept of bar-code Christians -- believers who just count on sticking their arms under the celestial scanner St. Peter keeps at heaven's gate. They buy fire insurance for the hereafter, not seeking to be part and parcel of the Kingdom of God in the here and now.

Today I am considering the possibility of how that relates to this week's Lectionary readings of Isaiah 11:1-11
and Matthew 3:1-12.

The prophet proclaims in Isaiah 1:1, "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." Are we not the fruit of the Branch (Jesus); the end result of new life (Jesus the Christ) coming from the dead stump?

And if we are born again, then should we not be new creatures who, as John the Baptist said, "produce fruit in keeping with repentance"? (Matt. 3:1-8)

As we seek to reach the postmodern mindset, we neet to forget about fire insurance and bar-code Christianity. We need to understand that eternity includes the here and now.

Grace and peace ...