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The Trumpet Call

Psalm 12:8
The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.

Something is wrong when God's people remain silent to injustice around them. I believe we've become far too comfortable with what is vile. We call it 'tarnished' or 'broken' or 'just the way it is'. No. If people who are in the wrong are allowed to strut their stuff unchecked their behavior will only grow worse.


Example 1: Poverty.
In many cases as poverty rises, people with finances simply run to the hills instead of working to fix the problem. As a consequence America's cities are in a cycle of decay while America's new dream is to have a 45 minute commute to work "in town" where "those people" live.

"The wicked freely strut about
when what is vile is honored among men."

Example 2: Abuse of Power.
How many times does it happen that those with power misuse it to get 'one up' on others. In many cases this abuse goes unchecked because the 'good' people who know the wrong close their eyes or turn their heads to the problem. As a consequence in the short run it isn't the "good" person who suffers, just the victim of the abuse.

"The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men."

Example 3: Racism.
For so long in our country we turned a blind eye to racism. From slavery to the civil rights movement our "good 'ol boy" network tried to justify the tired mantra that blacks weren't equal with whites. Politicians (like Lincoln and Washington at various times) spoke out against slavery while they themselves owned slaves. As recent as the 1960's white evangelical preachers framed the argument as rebellion against authority and argued that civil rights were really 'civil wrongs'.

"The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men."

Since I can remember I've been someone who stood up when I saw someone being taken advantage of. I have been one of those guys who would let you get away with a little more if you were directly picking on me but not so much if you picked on someone I love. Over the last few years in ministry God has been expanding the pool of "those I love" to include people who are the subjects of injustice in all areas of life.

But here's the thing. I don't have a passion to do things on a small scale. For instance with poverty. I'm not passionate about only handing someone a hamburger. While this is a VITAL role that many are called to fulfill, I feel compelled (in addition to meeting everyday needs) to end poverty in my backyard and destroy the cycles that keep people in it. When it comes to abuse of authority. I'm not the type of person to be satisfied with only righting the record for the case in front of me, I'm passionate about rooting out people in power who would abuse it in the first place. As it falls to racism. I'm not okay with segregated church services or running to the 'burbs. I'm interested in integration of churches and revitalization of downtowns to draw those people back.

"The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men."

It appears that I'm in the minority among the society in which I live. I'm just recently becoming aware/comfortable with that. Honestly I'm not comfortable in the sense that I can't do anything... I'm comfortable with the fact that leadership often times means standing alone until others will step forward out of the line with you.

What does it mean to be salt and light if it doesn't mean to stand up for the cause of Christ (Truth) and Justice? I'm praying for men and women whom I influence to become men and women who stand on God's word and aren't afraid of consequence.

There is a time to play the game and there is a time to say aloud that it is in fact a game and the righteous can't play games with truth and justice. Do you hear the trumpet call? What areas have you put up with for far too long? Where is your voice needed?

"The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men."

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, June 14, 2007

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Picked up by Phoenixville

It's funny to me that a post I wrote almost two years ago has been getting attention in MSM (Main Stream Media). Today I'm referenced as a 'net-etiquette' blogger.

This time the MSM is "The Phoenix" and an article attributed to G.E. "SKIP" LAWRENCE

Unfortunately, the two sentences used have the word "stupid" a few times. While in context it is exactly what I meant, when pulled out from the entire post it appears that I can use no other adjectives.

In case you were wondering:


Roget's New Millenniumâ„¢ Thesaurus - Cite This Source

Main Entry:

stupid

Part of Speech:

adjective

Definition:

irresponsible

Synonyms:

brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, dodo, doltish, dopy, dotterel, dull, dumb, dummy*, foolish, futile, gullible, half-baked*, half-witted*, idiotic, ill-advised, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, irresponsible, laughable, loser*, ludicrous, meaningless, mindless, moronic, naive, nonsensical, obtuse, pointless, puerile, rash, senseless, short-sighted, simple, simple-minded, slow, sluggish, stolid, stupefied, thick, thickheaded, trivial, unintelligent, unthinking, witless


The post that is referenced is located on the right sidebar.

For those who may care about my opinion regarding the recent columns citing me I will say that I disagree with one portion of the authors arguments.

I disagree that the bar of journalism or truth inference has been lowered simply based on the medium with which the observations are conveyed. While I do believe that access always has its consequence, the blog world is nearly universally considered the equivalent of the editorial pages of a newspaper, not "A1" as argued in these papers.

Bloggers are also not some fanatical fridge group. Bloggers tend to be professionals who have found a medium by which they can comment on the news of the day and engage in the world's conversation. The very fact that I am referenced by people who live hundreds of miles from me suggest that "credible" journalists are able to gain wisdom from those who have not chosen to articulate themselves in the print medium as a professional part of their lives. Although bloggers are not paid to bring forward creative and insightful dialogue, many do exactly that.

It is my practice (and the ideal practice of any citizen participating in a democracy) to take in varying opinions and data, process this information, then come to my own conclusions, opinions and positions regarding various issues. Certainly the blog world has allowed for more access to the free expression but that in and of itself does not destroy democracy or the 'cream of the crop' that ultimately produces the thoughts and trends a nation will embrace.

When the printing press was established it was a threat to many including the state-run church. With every man woman and child having the ability to learn how to read and then gather thoughts for themselves there were elite members of society who frowned on the ability for 'nonsense' to be published.

My word of advice to the MSM is to be careful how broad a brush you use to paint those who now posses the freedom, tools and in many cases audience which was formerly reserved for the elite who held a press pass.

I do agree with the authors that everyone articulating a position should also sign their name to that position. Most respectable blogs have a filter for commenting whereby the commenter must leave some traceable information (email address, etc.) so that anonymity is not used as a free pass to 'fire at will' with no consequence. As the blog world does continue to mature I am certain a level of respectability will continue to define the blogs worth reading from those 35 year olds who have yet to grow up and run a blog from their bedroom in their mom's basement.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, June 13, 2007

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Get in my mind... and Pray with me

In church planting you set out with the perfect plan. Some who put the plan together have a short time to launch the church from the day the planter says "Okay Lord I'll go" to the time the planter says "Welcome to our first service."

For a fortunate few the plan lines up and a large gathering of people come together to enact the plan the leader has. From that point new leadership challenges arise and the leader busts his tail to get the best team around him.

For most church plants (including ours) the rush to plant proves too much and while a small church is birthed, it lacks the leadership who understand the Pastor's call and God's vision for the church. In our case it's resulted in a few cycles of people coming through the doors.

Then there are the best church plants from what I can tell. These are plants who take their time to gather the proper core, visit other ministries, really observe their target and become one with their community before launching out. These plants are strong in leadership before the first service ever begins. The leader is able to build confidence in his team and a cacoon has time to develop which will be useful later in protecting that team from the challenges and attacks of planting. Ultimately a launch of this church is MUCH healthier than the quick launch or what I call "parachute drop" churches. I honestly believe my friend Tadd's church, Pine Ridge Church will prove this planning and development time to be an AMAZING asset to any new church.

Well let's go back to cases like ours. We launched far too soon (I won't detail those reasons on the blog) and have taken a while to truly find our voice. I've had a very hard road when it comes to gathering leaders who understand ministry in our context and we live in a locale with relatively regular turnover due to the largest naval base in the world being in our back yard.
What do you do?

Well, you take the hand you have been dealt and you get to work. You don't complain or get jealous. You work. You work hard and you work often. You pray like crazy and ask God to bring the right people along. You invest in people and at times you watch you investment walk out over silly differences. You train men. You train men to be real men... not bullies or pansies... but real men who fight for personal holiness and against social injustice. You train these men only to see many of them quit when they are challenged. But you continue on. You do these things week in and week out.

Then at some point you realize you're coming past the infamous 2-year milestone. And you're still alive! Not only that, but your family is doing well... the horror stories of wives being angry and children being neglected don't happen. You're okay. The church isn't where you thought it'd be by now but you've made it this far.

So then you keep going, keep learning, keep teaching and preaching. Year 3 rolls around and you start to see fruit you've prayed for. You start to learn more about yourself, your community, your passions and God's plan. Your prayers change from God bless my plans to God show me plans you'll bless. You inspect your life and the lives of your church. You begin to stand up more forcefully against sin and lies wherever you see them. You're a different leader. You're more willing to stand up to wrongs and you're less willing to believe the hype in everyones book, website or conference.

In some cases you're jaded by the hype. You figure if a church planter wore a pink suit that a whole group of planters would arise wearing pink suits. You're more confident in God. You're aware that his anointing is on some great planters and you praise God for them. You thank them for sharing their stories online. You lift them up in prayer. You also wonder "Why not us? Why not here? Why not now?"

Somewhere between year 2 and 3 (if you made it that far) you question yourself like crazy. Not the normal level of a church planter but like constantly. You wonder if you are supposed to be in a different area, a different church, a different style. You seriously consider quitting but you know it's not God. It's fear or curiosity or boredom... but not God. So you stay. You stay and say "I want to see what year 3, 4, or 5 look like in the same place."

During year you pray... like crazy. "God, I'm spent. I need you and everyone around me knows that you are the only one that can make this thing bloom. It's your church, I'm done on my own power." Then some things happen. Prayers you prayed over a year ago start to get answered. You don't know why and frankly you don't know how but some new people come along. They are the people you prayed for. So you look around and see that maybe this thing can work if these people get the right direction. So you start over. But you notice a few things...

- You realize that you need leaders. You need people who understand what you're trying to build and are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. You can't see them among your membership... so you pray for them.

- You realize you need musicians. Since the beginning of the ministry you have had piecemeal music teams. You need a leader there. Someone who is nearly as passionate about God's church as you are but his/her talent is music, not teaching/preaching.


SO HERE IS THE PRAYER I ASK OF YOU:
Pray that God sends us leaders. Leaders who know where we're trying to go and are able to see how their involvement lines up with God's plan for their life.

Pray for our people. Nearly every one of our families has had something I'd clasify as 'major' happen to them in the last 2-3 months. Deployment, financial hardship, death in family, sickness, etc. Our 'regulars' are hurting. We're ministering to them but it's been a rough road for many of our people. The mix of not many leaders and a lot of hurt has us in a bind right now.

Pray for God's wisdom, direction, guidance and power. We need it all.

If you know leaders in our area or if you know of musicians who may be interested in moving here to lead worship, pray for them and get them in contact with me. We don't have much but we'd love to have the right person who sees us as a good fit for them.

Thanks for your prayers.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 11, 2007

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I'm a Happy Man


While I have many reasons to be a happy man today, I am elated because I found out yesterday that a CRACKER BARREL is coming to Chesapeake!!! It's being built across from the theater where our church meets and less than 2 miles from my house!

Ever since we arrived to Hampton Roads I've been telling my wife that the one thing missing here is a Cracker Barrel. I love that place. Momma's Pancake Breakfast turns me Pentecostal!

Kristy and I have been driving by a site for a few months that was formerly an Italian joint. It was knocked down and rebuilt. There are no signs saying what company is coming in and I thought it looked kinda like a Texas Road House.

We have a young woman in our church who overheard Kristy asking people if they knew what it would be and she said "It's a Cracker Barrel. Our company lost a bid to build it."

I'm estatic!

We have about 6 Starbucks locations within 2 miles from my house but now with a Cracker Barrel I can't ask for more. I'm pumped.

FYI: Prior to this new location, the closest Cracker Barrel is about 50 minutes from here. My wife and I went last Monday when we went on our tour of Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, June 11, 2007

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I'm 29 today.

I'm 29 today and...

I have been thinking a LOT lately about the impact I can make over the next 29 years.

I know I'm an old soul. My wife joined me for a day of relaxation. I chose to go to visit historic sites near my home that I had yet to see. Everywhere we went my wife said "We're the youngest people here." It is true that most of the people who appreciate the sites I wanted to see are members of the AARP. Kristy wanted to go to Busch Gardens amusement park. It's funny because in general she's the traditionalist while I'm the wild child. When it comes to cars, speed, amusement parks etc.... she becomes a different woman... and I become an old man.

I've been making lifestyle choices that are sticking.

I'm thinking more about legacy and how I want my children to talk about me when I'm gone.

I'm looking at this year with much more of a sense of urgency. For whatever reason... 30 is one of the first major mileposts I've ever cared about.

I'm appreciating all of my friends. I've been overwhelmed today with emails and calls.

I'm getting a cool gift from my wife.

My mother calls me every year at 11:41 a.m. (time of my birth).

I have a sense that my youth and wisdom are lining up.

I'm looking forward to what God will continue to do with my life.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, June 05, 2007

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Militant Atheism and the future of the Church

Men like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Michael Newdow represent the future of the American atheism. It is my strong belief that they also represent an earthquake in the middle of the information-ocean that has the potential to drive the American Church to its knees. While we are distracted with glossy marketing and video venues I believe our generation of Pastors may well be on the verge of overseeing America's version of an atheistic tsunami.

Our elders have been sounding the alarm for nearly thirty years and consequently the issues (as of late) have drawn about as much attention as a car alarm in a mall parking lot.

America is in the middle of a shift in the tide. This change is a response to over-politicization of Christianity. History has shown us that Christian leaders in each generation tend to throw the baby out with the bath water. Each new generation responds to the previous generation by acting as an acne-faced freshman who 'needs his space'. Like the squealing adolescent, younger generations of leaders try to create space by dumping the faith of their fathers in favor of an uber-cool version.

The protestant church in America is a great example with several hundred denominations formed for every reason under the sun... all labeled "doctrinal differences". The banner under which my denomination was formed stems from that doctrinal issue of 'slavery'. Each generation of leaders believes that they have special revelation from God that their parents weren't privileged to receive. Being faithful to their calling, they toss out the ways of the old to start something 'fresh and exciting'. Sometimes this starts a Great-Awakening but most of the time it becomes a great-disappointment.

Our current generation is faced with yet another crossroads and with concern I believe we all know the path the majority are taking.

In the 80's and 90's our Christian leadership became much more mobilized. Christian leaders who were distraught by decisions such as the elimination of prayer from public school and abortion on demand believed that it was time for Christ's people to have a say in the public discourse. Viewing their mission as 'salt' and 'light', they organized like never before and were credited with the election of several presidents. The first of which was extremely instrumental in the fall of communism and subsequently the freedom of millions of lives. Since this time democracy has spread from a handful of countries to over 140. God used Christians to help shape the course and affairs of man. It wasn't all glorious. America found out that the restrooms in Pastor's offices don't smell like roses. Some of our predecessors got too high on power and lost touch with Jesus while others forgot their first call and some jumped on the bandwagon to scream bible thumpin' worse than a UFC fight. In the end the label of "religious right" started to become a stereotype of what it meant to be Christian.

At present, the Christian world seems to be running from the label of 'religious right' because it's not cool any more. In an attempt to prove we're not our father's church, we're running to things like service projects and social justice causes. In many corners of the country these social projects are being done incognito. We wouldn't want the world to know that we're doing it in Jesus' name. It doesn't have to be this way. We've done this before and it made us look dumb to the world.

Mainline churches and Evangelical churches faced this same fork in the road a while back. Mainlines answered this dilemma by trying to bring Jesus in through social causes. Evangelicals said 'man shall not live by bread alone but on the very word of God' and dumped social justice in favor of preaching and political activism. So some were introduced to Jesus as a pacifist social worker while others met an overweight angry Jesus preaching about homosexuality while he scarfed down a Big Mac. Today we face a fork in the road where one sign reads 'have a heart' and he other reads 'have a voice'. For the most part the American Church is headed toward having a heart (which is good if that's the only choice) but in the meantime we're giving up our voice.

While we run to perform the very noble acts of extending a cup of water to our neighbor the people who believe our God is nothing more than a brain fart are responding to the 'religious right' as well.

Let me introduce to you Militant Atheism. Militant Atheism is the atheists answer to the Moral Majority. They believe in nothing and have committed their lives to ensure America believes in it as well.

You see... while our churches rush to grow larger and be cooler... while our marketing materials get slicker and the name of Jesus gets smaller... the Atheist movement is growing around us. People attack our Savior and we're silent. A Christian pastor is called a Charlatan and a fraud upon his death and the Church remains silent. I wonder how many Christians even know the names of Dawkins, Hitchens or Newdow. It's not because these men haven't been effective or popular. Their books are on the New York Times bestseller lists and their court cases are covered by the major news outlets. Christians however are more interested in Paris Hilton's upcoming jail sentence or who won American Idol. This ingrained ignorance is because we (in our attempt to toss out the baby) cover our ears and close our eyes believing that it's better to be liked than to lead in our culture.

Atheists aren't sitting back, they are on the aggressive. Atheists are picking fights with believers in every venue over every issue. These aren't our grandfather's atheists. They do not believe in a marketplace of ideas. These men and their followers are every bit as evangelistic about atheism as Mormons are to converting Christians to believe they too can have god-babies. When we consider Militant Atheism, the rise of cults in America and the trend for our Christian leaders to teach pragmatism or extremism over balanced theology, I'd say we have cause for concern.

It doesn't have to be this way. It is in fact possible to be known as a Christian with both a voice and a heart. We can stay involved politically, educationally and socially all at the same time. We do not need to abandon theological training or the public arena for the sake of fighting social injustices. We can proclaim our faith with our minds, voices and actions all at the same time. I believe the Christ we worship modeled this very thing for us. Politically minded, Socially active, Passionately devoted Christians. This is my prayer.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Sunday, June 03, 2007

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