This is my first post of a new blog. The name HD Nazarene, reflects my theological tradition, the Church of the Nazarene. HD refers to High Definition. A life-long study of the Bible has produced a great love for these texts. For me, the more I’ve studied, the more life as a whole makes sense to me. It’s like Scripture has become a lens through which I see the world more clearly, in High Def. So I’m a Nazarene (Christian Protestant denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness Movement, a branch of Methodism) who’s very happy with the historic views of our church. I’m glad to be a part of the Wesleyan tradition in the classical stream of Christianity. In fact, I’m a Nazarene pastor, leading NewHope Community Church of the Nazarene in Northwest Indiana. I also teach Graduate and Undergraduate Preaching courses and Gen Ed Bible courses at Olivet Nazarene University, a great school near Chicago. I grew up in Iowa City First Church of the Nazarene. I learned to hear God’s voice there. I heard it mostly through holy people, like my mother Lavada Stidham, who loved me. But I learned to hear it deep inside as well. One night while listening to a classic Petra song at a long stoplight, I heard God inviting me to tell others about Jesus for the rest of my life. I eventually said yes. I’m a graduate of Iowa City West High School (’85), Mid America Nazarene University (B.A. Religion ’89), Nazarene Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’94), and McCormick Theological Seminary (A.C.T.S. D.Min. in Preaching ’02) and of life in the real world!
Great, you say, so why another blog? Well, there are a lot controversial voices out there now. I don’t want to be one of them. I want to try to give a view from a more typical Nazarene leader. People like me are not interested in rewriting the beliefs of Christianity (aka the most extreme and recent trends of Emergent), nor in arguing with Reformed people about Nazarene views (aka Concerned Nazarenes). Instead I want to give a view from the road of following Jesus in everyday life. In many ways I feel like I’m still just getting started in following Him. Ever feel like that? In other ways, it’s been long enough to feel like home. Although I’m not above temptation, there’s no going back. My life belongs to him. And I want it to belong to Jesus much more. So part of this is continuing to work out my faith in life and in dialogue.
I’m raising a family with my awesome wife, Ellen, leading a small (but committed and missional) church plant, and teaching students and pastors along the way. I do some writing as well (mid to late September you’ll find a piece I did for Grace and Peace Magazine posted on their site). It has been a blast so far and I think the best days are still in front of me. It may not rock your world, but if you’d like to come along, I’d love to have you.
Welcome to HD Nazarene! The view from here is pretty sweet. The resolution keeps getting better and the surround sound often holds me in perfect peace! I hope I can do it justice. And if you’re interested in sharing your views in a positive and respectful voice, I need your help to experience it more clearly!
Grace and Peace to you!
Posted on September 11, 2010, in Chicagoland, CotN, Entertainment, Family, Spiritual Formation, Sports, Tech, The Academy, Uncategorized and tagged Christiantiy, life, Nazarene. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.