Erwin McManus on Integrity and Authenticity

Erwin McManus shares some thought provoking thoughts on character, integrity, and authenticity that we all should digest in his book Stand Against the Wind: Fuel for the Revolution of Your Soul. You can purchase this book for a couple bucks and it is well worth it. This quote speaks as much to the culture of our day than anything I have read in a long time. The dangers to Christians and their faith are monumental as we hear more and more people who think sin is alright as long as you are upfront about it. I can’t help but think this is the backlash of people who don’t want to be hypocritical and so they put their sin out front and center. This grows into a justification for sin…as long as I am authentic about what I have done then my integrity can suffer. Here is the quote:

“You can’t say two different things at the same time and expect to be trusted. A person of integrity cannot say one thing and do another.

Integrity is the context from which courage is formed. Integrity, like wholeness, is a byproduct of our spiritual integration. ‘Integrity’ comes from the root word ‘integer,’ which means to be complete, indivisible – in other words, to be whole.

In our culture we have put an increasing value on authenticity and a decreasing focus on integrity. We have disdain for the pretentious and we long for anything that is real. But we mustn’t romanticize authenticity. When calling for authenticity, we need to take seriously the brokenness of the human heart. If we’re not careful, authentic can be the new word for arrogance. As long as you’re true to yourself how can anyone fault you, right? Authenticity can establish a self-righteousness that justifies abuse.

If we are committed to being the genuine article, first we’d better look closely as what we’re made of. Authenticity without integrity is lethal.”


Thoughts from the LeadNow Conference in Orlando

Missy and I went to the LeadNow conference for leaders of 20 and 30 somethings and I have to say it was pretty phenomenal. Speakers included Dan Kimball, Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz), Erwin McManus, Todd Phillips and several others. I want to deal with what was presented in several posts but first I want to mention the things that stood out to me and the impact it is going to have on our ministry.

There is a paradigm shift that has already happened in many churches in America. This will already be pretty basic to many who read this blog but new to many others so I want to toss it out there. There is a movement in America away from institutionalized religion (hang with me here). The theory goes something like this – Jesus never meant for Christianity to be an institution full of rituals. He meant for Christianity to be about a relationship and a mission. It is not a place we go to but who we are. Some of that is a little unsettling for those of us who grew up in conservative churches who really love and value the heritage we have and the way we grew up. There is some good in that as we become more mission minded and some not so good in that as the church often gets a black eye.

Many young people today are unchurched and they are looking for a place that is making a difference in the community and in the lives of people. They don’t know all the traditions or the songs. All they know is when they read about Jesus in the Bible they see more than living out traditions. They see him active and involved in a mission that connects with God and with the lives of other people. They want to be a part of that. They want to make a difference. Churches that are not actively engaged in making a difference in their community may grow from transfer growth but will have an increasing difficulty in connecting with the generation now 30 and younger.

Like any movement it can and has been taken to dangerous extremes but that does not mean there is little or nothing we can learn from it. The challenge are going to be reaching out to young people in a way that is meaningful to them and still in line with our core beliefs derived from scripture. The good news is these young people are also moved by scripture and by the ministry of Jesus as they look for answers the world has not been able to provide.

In a series of posts we are going to examine some of the ins and outs of this perspective and how it can impact the church in a healthy way to move forward to a bright future as the people of God. This may sound a little edgy to some of you (some of it even sounds a little edgy to me!). But don’t worry. Just hang in there.

Can You Script Authentic?

I have been previewing curriculum, video series, and small group materials for some upcoming quarters and I have noticed a common thread in most of the videos I have seen. There is a move that has taken place from talking at the viewer to talking to the viewer. Two of the presenters I have seen in past weeks are Rob Bell in his Nooma videos and Erwin McManus in some BlueFish TV small group videos. This move toward a conversational approach to preaching and teaching is wonderful. I think it is necessary. I think it is the voice that is going to reach the generation of tomorrow.

When you watch Rob Bell and Erwin McManus I get the feeling that I am watching the same person only one a little older and who talks a little faster than the other. They both have the same cadence, the same pauses, the same looking down or away, the same inflections. I am sure these video series are somewhat scripted and yet there is an attempt to make it seem like the speaker is searching for words or the next thought. I feel torn because I don’t want someone who is dry or reading from a sheet of paper. I like thoughtful. I like creative. I like authentic. I am making some assumptions when I ask what I am about to ask but I really need to know how you feel about this. As someone who typically preaches from detailed notes I want to hear from you. Here are my two questions,

1 – Can or does it still come across as authentic if it is scripted to appear authentic?

2 – Can a preacher working from a detailed outline still come across as authentic and genuine?

I have my own opinions on the answers to those two questions but I am really curious what you think about it. Any thoughts?

Christian Sermon Links

Here are the links I have compiled to 67 different Christian ministers and scholars. The majority of these are from the church of Christ and some from Christendom in general. What links would you add? Who has has helped you grow in your faith who has their sermons online? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments. The additions will be reflected in the link at the top of Kingdom Living.

Alister McGrath
Andy Stanley – Northpoint
Ben Witherington III

Bill Williams
Bobby Valentine – Palo Verde Church of Christ
Brian McLaren – Cedar Ridge Community Church
Brian McLaren – Allelon
Brian Nicklaus
Craig Blomberg
Chris Seidman – Farmer’s Branch
Curt Sparks – Overland Park Church of Christ
D. A. Carson
Dallas Willard
Dallas Willard – Veritas
Dallas Willard – Allelon
Dan Holland – Metro Church of Christ
David Shannon – Mt. Juliet CofC (Mt. Juliet, TN)
David Young – North Boulevard CofC (Murfreesboro, TN)
Don McLaughlin – North Atlanta Church of Christ
Erwin McManus – Mosaic
Eugene Peterson – Allelon
Faith Comes By Hearing
Gary Bradley – Mayfair
James Dunn
Jeff Walling – Providence Road Church of Christ
Jim Woodroof
John Alan Turner
John Dobbs
John Ortberg
John Piper
John Risse – North Boulevard Church of Christ
John Scott – Saturn Road Church of Christ
John Stott
John York
Joseph Shulam
Karl Barth
Larry Crabb
Mark Hurt – Cordova Community Church
Mark Taylor
Marva Dawn
Max Lucado
Mike Cope – Highland Church of Christ (Abilene, TX)
Mike Winkler – Madison Church of Christ
Miroslav Volf
N.T. Wright
N.T. Wright – Allelon
Noel Whitlock – College Church of Christ (Searcy, AR)
Parker Palmer
Philip Cunningham III
Prentice Meador
Ravi Zacharias
Rick Atchley – Richland Hills Church of Christ
Rob Bell – Mars Hill Bible Church
Rubel Shelly
Stanley Hauerwas
Tim Bulkeley
Tim Spivey – Highland Oaks Church of Christ
Tim Woodroof – Otter Creek Church of Christ
Tony Campolo
Trey Morgan
Wade Hodges – Garnett Church of Christ (Tulsa, OK)
Walt Leaver – Brentwood Hills Church of Christ
Walter Brueggemann
Wheaton College Chapel – miscellaneous
Will Willimon & Others
William Lane Craig
Wolfhart Pannenburg