Georgetown Evicts Evangelical Groups

Georgetown University just kicked six campus ministries off campus.

Campus Ministry Removes Affiliates – The Hoya (campus paper)
Georgetown Rejects Evangelical Groups – Inside Higher Ed (college news blog)

Chi Alpha was among the groups banned. Pray for God’s peace and wisdom to attend the leaders of the group as they decide what to do next.

At Stanford we are fortunate to have a very strong relationship with the Deans for Religious Life. However, the news from Georgetown is a reminder that this isn’t the only possible state of affairs.

Paul was very wise when he reminded Timothy to pray for his imperial overlords.

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
1 Tim 2:1-2, NIV

I often tell students that this is the foundation of a separation of church and state. We want the government (and any other bureaucratic bodies) to leave us free to worship without onerous oversight or regulation – because external involvement never works out to our advantage in the long run.

In any event, my prayers are with those just booted from Georgetown (and with the Chi Alpha folks in particular as several of them are close friends).

Suckerpunched…

I was bitterly disappointed at the reference section at Berean Christian Store in San Jose. I had gone in with a coupon figuring I’d pick up a sweet and expensive commentary at reduced rate. After scouring the commentary section I concluded that there was not one single commentary in the store worth owning.

It made me very, very sad. I hate to be one of those ministers who is always whining about how Christian book stores are dumbing down the faith, but I was almost sick inside at the low quality of the books on offer.

As I was on my way out, I noticed Breaking The Missional Code was for sale. Since I had a coupon and the book had been recommended to me by several friends and I didn’t want to leave bitter at the store, I picked it up.

It’s an easy read and I was generally appreciative of their thoughts (especially their warning to the rapidly swelling missional networks to not neglect traditional missions in favor of church planting), and I was almost done with it when I got suckerpunched at the end.

A recent development in church planting is that of planting churches on or near college campuses. Leaders are discovering that when churches are planted on campus they are more strategic at reaching unreached and disconnected people on the college campus. They represent a shift from college and campus ministries that focus on those who already embrace the faith to that of planting the gospel among those who have never or seldom heard.
Breaking The Missional Code, Ed Stetzer & David Putman p. 232
emphasis added

I feel vaguely slandered…

I think perhaps the authors misunderstand what campus ministries do. And they also overestimate the ability of churches to thrive on the college campus – some campuses are very reachable that way and others are not. It’s a tool in our toolbox for reaching collegians, not a replacement toolbox.

Overall, it’s a good book if you haven’t read anything about leading your church to engage the culture before. Otherwise you might find it repetitious. And libelous. 🙂

What Is The Internet?

A friend recently asked me what the internet was. Evidently there are some strange theories floating around out there, such as the one Jon Stewart mocks in this clip:

So I gave her an explanation and she said she thought some other non-technical friends might appreciate it, so here it is.

Your computer has a few key components – a CPU, a hard drive, RAM, and an Operating System. Everything on your computer is completely obedient to your Operating System.

If you have two or more computers in your house, you can set up a network between them. When you set up a network, you’re basically adding additional components to your computer. But these additional components are obedient to different Operating Systems than your own.

So your Operating System has to ask the other computer’s Operating System for permission before it does anything like read a file from the other computer’s hard drive.

To set up a network, you need to tell the computers two ground rules: what “language” to speak with one another and how to find other computers on the network.

The Internet is the largest network of computers ever created. There is a standard language (TCP/IP) and a standard way to find other computers (the unique IP address that every computer on the internet is assigned).

Whenever you log in to a wireless network, for example, you are assigned a temporary IP address that any computer on the internet could use to talk to you. Permanently-connected computers such as webservers get permanent IP addresses.

So when we talk about the internet, we’re really talking about every computer in the world that has a legimitate IP address and knows how to talk to other computers using TCP/IP.

As a language, TCP/IP is too generic to be useful for most of the tasks we are interested in. So there are additional dialacts called “protocols” which computers can use to do things like view web pages.

To view web pages, computers talk using HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. That’s what the http:// in front of a web address is all about. To upload or download files computers use FTP – File Transfer Protocol.

There are a lot of different protocols.

So when you type http://news.google.com/index.html into your browser address bar, what’s really happening is that your Operating System connects to the Internet using TCP/IP and asks a more significant computer what the IP address of news.google.com is.

Then it uses HTTP to talk to the Operating System of the computer at that IP address and asks for permission to read the file index.html. The remote Operating System uses HTTP to answer “Sure” and then passes the file along. Your computer then displays the file in your browser.

And that’s essentially what the internet is and how it works.