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I have a great passion for the power of the truth, and I greatly enjoy coming alongside other ministers… pastors, churches, ministries, camps, missionaries, families, businesses, etc.  This page is about some of the different ways I can pull this off.   Each of these areas will have their own category on the right side of this page. Seminars are basically single topic talks, generally shorter, and often I am responsible for the whole shooting match.  The whole event is about the talking sessions. Conferences are generally those times when organizations host their own weekend event and I come speak; the speaking sessions are just one part of the overall programming for the event. In the case of Consulting, sometimes leaders of an organization decide that they want the input of an outside voice for their staff and/or themselves.  Depending on what the area of conversation is, I might be able to help. I will also post information about books, articles, and other resources that I will offer personally and recommend from others on this site.  I hope you find what you are looking for; if not, contact me and let me know… I would love to help you in your passions and callings. Many sermons and seminars can be found here:  TALKS

Resources Available

The Gauntlet Bible Study $12

Navigation Series: Marriage
4 Hours Marriage Basics CDs $15
1 Hour Romance CD $5

Navigation Series: Parenting
4 Hours Parenting Basics CDs $15
2 Hours Parenting Adolescents $10
1 Hour Talking to Kids about Death DVD $10
2 Hours Parenting Adult Children DVD $10

Phalanx
2 Hours Men’s Seminar $10

I teach a number of different seminars for different situations, settings, and audiences. 

Many of these I already have recorded versions of, which are available for sale… or if you are researching speakers, they are available upon request.

General Audiences

Men’s Seminars

                Women’s Seminars

                General Parenting

                Parenting Teens

                Parenting Adult Children

                Understanding your parents (for teen audiences)

Professional Audiences

                Counselors

                                Narcissism

                                Teens and their parents

                                Character development in clients

                Businesses & Churches

                                Shepherding your staff

                                Developing staff unity

                                Team Communication

                                Cross Organizational Teams

                                Issues with managing (or ministering) to Millennials

                                Character Development

                                Helping your church be Man-friendly (or at least not man-unfriendly)

                                How issues away from work affect our work (and vice versa)

Retreats and Series

                Father/Child

                Mother/Child

                Taking the ministry of teens or college students to the next level

                Rest retreat

                Spiritual Gifts

                Discipleship training

                Leadership development

                Masculinity events

 … and more under each heading.  If you are interested in booking me, you can email details to me at chrismlegg@gmail.com

Velvet Elvis – Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell

 My thoughts.

update – since the publication of Bell’s two following books, there has been even more controversy about him and his stated views (and often his lack of overtly stated views).  I have intentionally neglected to read the other books having learned what I needed to at the point that I read this one.  At the end of this article, I state my claim that I feel that Bell is attempting to be a Postmodern Christian… and that Christianity and Postmodernity will only mix for so long or so far.  I felt that he would, before long, be forced to bail on either a good deal of Christian doctrine or much of Postmodern philosophy. 

I do not believe in shooting our lost or our wounded, but I do believe in lively debate and accounability with those who are willing to publish their beliefs.  I pray for fraternity.  Without more wasted time, here were my thoughts on Velvet Elvis:

I want to start by saying that I struggle somewhat with doing anything publicly that might be taken as casting dispersions upon a fellow minister of the gospel.  In fact, it further troubles me to comment on a book like this one when there are books and authors out there that are truly heretical and even evil!  I would not be willing to claim that this book is either.  I do think Bellflirts with ideas that could easily lead to heresy (false and divisive teaching).  Mainly, I am writing this because of its popularity among students today.  Rob Bell tells us to “Test it.  Probe it.  Do that to this book.  Don’t swallow it uncritically.  Think about it.  Wrestle with it.”  (pg 087)  So, we will.  It has been troubling that so many people, especially college students, are reading pretty much everything they read uncritically!  I hear from students who read a book and immediately become devoted followers of that author.  This is not wise Christian discernment.  Even this book, which Bellencourages questioning, is read, absorbed, and loved without question.  I have had quite a few students tell me how much they love Velvet Elvis, and when I ask them if they had any issues with it, the look they give me would indicate they never even considered having issues with anything in it.

I do have some issues with some of the propositions thatBelllays out.  There are things that he talks about in the book that I love, but there are others that I am pretty concerned about.  I can summarize the things I am concerned about in two issues.

First, I do not particularly like his analogy of the trampoline.  This is the introductory analogy to the book.  The trampoline, or at least jumping on it, is correlated to living the Christian life.  In the analogy, it is the springs that seem to be the main focus ofBell’s analogy.  “The springs are statements and beliefs about our faith that help give words to the depth that we are experiencing in our jumping.  I would call these the doctrines of the Christian faith.” (pg. 022) A vital aspect of the analogy is the fact that a normal trampoline can continue to function even if you take some of the springs out.  “But if the whole thing falls apart when we reexamine and rethink about one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place?” (pg. 027)  The three springs he muses over are the removal and examination of are the doctrine of the Trinity, the process of creation, and the virgin birth of Christ. In what seems to me to be an error filled description of the Trinity,Bell(022) claims that “this understanding of God emerged in the several hundreds years after Jesus’ resurrection” and that people jumped without it as a spring for a long time.  Certainly the Jews and many early Christians probably lacked any kind of sophisticated understanding of the triune nature of God, but I don’t like the wording that seems to indicate that this is an understanding that didn’t exist until men came across it.  Though I agree that the details of the processes of creation are very open to personal understanding, I am very troubled with the flippant attitude even about it, much less that treatment of the virgin birth!  Check this out:

“What if tomorrow someone digs up definite proof that Jesus had a real, earthly biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt hat the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births?  But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word virgin could mean several things.  And what if you discover that in the first century “being born of a virgin” also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?  What if that spring was seriously questioned?  Could a person keep jumping?  Could a person still love God?  Could you still be a Christian?  Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live?  Or does the whole thing fall apart?” (026-027)

I don’t know whether to be more troubled by what appears to be a lack of understanding of the ramifications of the virgin birth, or the flippant attitude in which it is handled.  I am not sure I understand the need for it – and I am often an “irreverent” person!  If you wonder about this stuff, I recommend doing some serious research on the importance of the virgin birth, as well as the significance of creation and of the Trinity.  Is God still the God of scripture if He is not Triune?  Is Jesus still the Son of God if He is Larry’s son?  Don’t letBell’s rhetorical questions leave you with any kind of assumption that any of these are nothing more than “springs” in a trampoline of religious belief.  Check it out yourself.

The second main issue that I take withBell’s premise is the consistent theme that because some things are unknowable that therefore most things, or maybe even all things, are unknowable.  This is a serious fallacy of much of modern thinking.  I must honestly confess confusion at it.  I was once asked to draw a circle on a piece of paper and asked to imagine that the circle represented the whole of knowledge in the universe.  I was then challenged to color in what I thought represented everything I knew of all possible knowledge.  Of course I colored in a tiny dot (c’mon, I’m not that prideful)… so the person said “How can you know that you worship the true God if you know so little of the knowledge in the universe?”  Huh?  Does that make any sense?  If I can look over to my left and see the couch in the room with me, does that somehow assume I also have to know everything else in the house?  Does the fact that I don’t know what all is in the house mean that I don’t know that there is a couch in the room?  I repeat: “huh?”  If I know something, I can know that thing without having to also claim to know everything.  If you readBell’s book, you will likely come away with the sense that it is pretty much impossible to know anything with any kind of certainty.  Note these statements:

“Our words aren’t absolutes.  Only God is absolute.” (023) (My question:  what if I speak an absolute?)

“It is about things and beings that ultimately can’t be put into words.  Language fails.  And if we do definitively put God into words, we have at that moment made God something He isn’t.” (032) (So we cannot say anything about God and have it be true?)

“Truth always leads to more… truth.  Because truth is insight into God and God is infinite and God has no boundaries or edges.  So truth always has layers and depth and texture.  It’s like a pool that you dive into, and you start swimming toward the bottom, and soon you discover that no matter how hard and fast you swim downward, the pool keeps getting… deeper.  The bottom will always be out of reach.” (032) (So we can never fully know something as true?)

“And what happens if one person’s definition of love and another person’s definitions differ?  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Who decides who is right and who is wrong?  Who decides if whoever decided made the right decision?” (046) (There are no authorities that can be trusted?  What if the Bible offers a definition?)

“When we’re serious about dealing with the Bible as the communal book that it is, then we have to be honest about our interpretations.  Everybody’s interpretation is essentially his or her own opinion.  Nobody is objective.” (053) (oh, well, that answers my last question.  Even if the Bible does define love, my understanding would be nothing more than my opinion.)

Feel discouraged about having any kind of certain thing you can stand on with confidence?  Fear not.  If you go to the Bible yourself, you will find statements on which you can stand confidently – even if you don’t know everything there is to know about them.  Can you think of any?  Post them here for everyone else.

I am adding a further note on postmodernism below if anyone is interested.  It seems evident, whether intentional or not, thatBellis trying to pour the Christian life into a postmodern cup.  I am of the opinion that the two are oil and water.  There are ways they can coexist, but they don’t mix.  Basically, I will be interested over the years to see which one wins out inBell’s ministry.  I hope someone as innovative and interesting as him will see truth and faith win out over contextualism.  If you want to know more, read on and then check out some materials for yourself on it all.

Let me know what you think!

Chris Legg

Postmodernism at a glance

At the most basic level, postmodernism is the most recent philosophy that offers societal views of things like truth, community, the use of language and a lot of other things.  (Look at the end of this article for a more academic understanding by Moreland and Craig.)    Among other things, postmodernism includes the view that truth is dependent on context.  In other words, it is impossible to know anything to be true except from your own point of view.  In fact, any kind of what is called “dichotomous” thinking – that one concept can be better than another one (beautiful/ugly, good/bad, true, false), is generally rejected.  Truth, as an absolute concept, is pretty much denied. 

On a positive note, postmodernism has also brought a lot of attention back to other aspects of context, like the importance of community.  I think this is very important, and has been largely set aside by the Church in the last few decades, even though it is a vital part of the Christian life!  I have been gratified to see the shift back toward community in the Church recently.

Two great Christian philosophers, Moreland and Craig offer key tenets in the way Postmodernism sees things, especially in reaction to Modernism:

  1. “Reality” is considered a social construct.  Since language is totally contextual and reality can only be described in language, reality is a social construct.
  2. Rejection of dichotomous thinking.  Basically that one thought would be “better” than another, eg. True/false, beautiful/ugly, good/bad.
  3. Rejection of “foundationalism.”  The search for certainty; this tendency is often referred to as “relativity” in regards to truth.
  4. Change to Nominalism.  Words do not represent universals, but are rather just names to describe.
  5. Rejection of “essentialism.”  There are some traits that actually define a subject – like “roundness” for a circle – that if lost, the subject ceases to exist.
  6. Community defines interpretation.  The community decide what an idea, or book means, not the author or any other “authority.
  7. Everything is a narrative.  The story of a certain group of people from their certain point of view.

(Moreland & Craig, 144-151)

Here is where you can go to find most of (all but the first hour, I think) of the whole material on REST.  Please give me your feedback!  I will attach my notes from this weekend as well and post it here.

http://www.pinecove.com/stuff/audio/speaker-talk-archives

April 11th

Brookhill School, Tyler, Texas

Stan Ward and Chris Legg presenting

Developing a Biblical Work Ethic in your children’s lives

$20 per person, $30 per couple

7-9:30 including Q&A

info for Mens Seminar
Men’s Seminar

This seminar is really appropriate for Men aged 18 and up.

I would love to get the word out on this seminar that I am hosting and teaching next month.  Check the poster for all information.  I will see you there.

http://bethelbible.podbean.com/page/3/

This is a sermon I gave at Bethel Bible on November 28th, 2010.