Oct 312012
 
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Well that’s one way to celebrate Reformation Day (HT)

  1. Kathy Keller – Tim Keller’s wife – wrote a critique of Rachel Held Evans’ new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood.
  2. Justin Taylor approved of Kathy Keller’s review.
  3. Fred Clark compiled some reviews favorable towards the author.
  4. Others who have reviewed the book include Richard Beck; J.R. Daniel Kirk; Addie Zierman; Zack Hunt; Sarah Bessey; and Ed Cyzewski.
  5. Wartburg Watch says Evans and her critics are missing an opportunity.
  6. Kathy Escobar offers five ways Evans’ supporters can support her.
  7. Evans herself gives five reasons people should read her book before reviewing it.
  8. Cindy on her experience of anger in the process of forgiveness following spiritual abuse.
  9. Rob Moll reviews Ed Dobson’s book on living with a terminal illness, Seeing Through The Fog.
  10. Why Lore Ferguson is a complementarian (HT).
  11. CNN Belief bloggers look at the ‘faith journeys’ of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
  12. Dan Edelen: “…nothing could be more intellectually dishonest than to insist that one’s religious faith cannot—and should not—inform one’s politics.
  13. Kenneth Copeland Ministries will host election coverage Tuesday night.
  14. Jonathan Dudley on when – he argues – evangelicals were pro-choice. Fred Clark and Mark Galli comment.
  15. Kathy Escobar interviews David Hayward.
  16. Scot McKnight on pietism, Tim Keller and models for church engagement with culture.
  17. Why Michael Patton hates Christian movies.
  18. Bonus from Michael...further proof that I’m “misguided”.  I’ll be watching the football game, myself.
 Posted by at 7:53 pm
Oct 312012
 

As if anyone actually celebrates Reformation Day outside a few Reformed and Lutheran churches…most will ignore it tonight in favor of a “Harvest Party” where you pretend it’s not Halloween and dress up in Christian costumes and eat Christian candy.

I wanted Trey to dress up like John Calvin, but he preferred ninja garb…if anyone complains I’ll just call him a “Genevan ninja”…

Reformation Day is not the day when Chuck Smith left the Foursquare church to create Calvary Chapel…

 

I’m torn between the two holidays so I’ll be offering the sacraments with candy at the door…actually, since we’re celebrating Luther we should be handing out warm beer.

Seriously, it’s an important day of remembrance…if for no other reason than we can see what one man set on fire by Scripture can accomplish.

 

 

 

Oct 302012
 

I am big into perspective. Big. I have to be, in order to keep myself from becoming so narrow minded that I become an ODM who has condemned everyone to hell. I have gone far and wide looking for unique perspectives, and one of my favorites is Stephanie Drury. A self proclaimed “agnostic but practicing Christian”, she has spent years examining the “Stuff Christian Culture Likes“. I read this blog, sometimes laughing, sometimes cringing. I cringe for a lot of reasons, but usually because the nature of the article is all too true. I am guilty of a number of the things she points out. I found her on Facebook, and saw that there were even more lively discussions on her fan page. I mustered up enough “oomph” to ask her if she might do an interview. I figured in a month, I would be sitting in the corner on my office playing Jason Mraz songs on my guitar. (Did you get my message…) But she agreed, almost instantly! There is a bit of “colorful metaphor” here that might offend some readers, but I believe her perspective to be invaluable, and it shall remain unedited. Here is our conversation!

Tell us about Stuff Christian Culture Likes. What made you wake up one day and say, “The world needs SCCL”?

I never had any kind of realization about it or any kind of master plan, I just started the blog after reading the Stuff White People Like book. I had just gone on a road trip with my atheist friends and had spent a lot of time trying to explain evangelical culture to them. They were so fascinated by it. It was summer 2008 and the election was ramping up and they were asking me why Christians identify with the Republican party, which I could tell them all about because I used to identify as a Republican. Then I told them about church camp and Christian music and quiet times and Tooth and Nail and found the SWPL book around that time and realized I could write a blog like that about evangelical Christianity.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:42 am
Oct 292012
 

1. The great weakness in both the political and theological arenas is that we all think we’re experts in both fields. The reality is that most of us are woefully lacking in our understanding of both.

2. I have a handle on exactly one of the political issues we’re wrestling with and that after almost three years of intense study. That issue is not economics, which despite my background as a banker and stockbroker I don’t really understand at all. I am ill informed at best and utterly ignorant at worst about most of the issues I’m supposed to make an informed vote on…and there is no place to find reasoned explanations and discussions to educate myself.

3. I think we vote the same way we choose a theology…according to tradition and emotional triggers.

4. I never cease to be alternately amused and dismayed by the heat generated whenever a discussion of the Rapture takes place.

5. What if…there was a branch of the ODM contingent dedicated to finding the common ground between  the differing flavors of Christians?

6.  I think eschatology is a much more enjoyable study when you define it as Jesus coming back to bring heaven and earth together instead of Jesus coming to catch lazy virgins who need an oil change.

7. If you spend any time in the older testament you will quickly discern that God’s main complaint against His people is idolatry. I think it still is…

8. Windows 8…great concept, poorly executed. Could still be the next big thing…

9. Praying for my East Coast friends while being thankful I live in Oregon…no hurricanes, tornadoes or other catastrophic weather. Just the occasional volcanic explosion…

10. The fact that I hold a different doctrinal position than you do doesn’t mean that I “disagree with God’s word”.

Oct 272012
 

Our lives are occupied territory…
occupied by a cacophony of voices,
and the din outdoes us.

In the daytime we have no time to listen,
beset as we are by anxiety and goals
and assignments and work,
and in the night the voices are so confusing
we can hardly sort out what could possibly be your voice
from the voice of our mothers and our fathers
our best friends and our pet projects,
because they all sound so much like you.

We are people over whom that word shema has been written.
We are listeners, but we do not listen well.

So we bid you, by the time the sun goes down today
or by the time the sun comes up tomorrow,
by night or by day,
that you will speak to us in ways that we can hear
out beyond ourselves.

It is your speech to us that carries us where we have never been,
and it is your speech to us that is our only hope.
So give us ears.

Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

Oct 262012
 

Classic theology teaches that God is impassible… as the Westminster Confession says, He is “without body, parts, or passions, immutable”.

This has led many to teach that God is emotionless and wholly separate from most of what makes us human.

I dispute this.

Jesus incarnated as a man and lived as a man…laughing, crying, and even using whips to express His anger.

We’re supposed to think that after the Ascension He forgot all that foolishness and lives in some state of holy indifference and passivity.

Nonsense.

Having said that, that main reason I know that I know that God has emotions is because He is both a Father and a Son.

One of the techniques we are trying to help my son is a disciplinary method where in which if he disobeys certain rules he loses all the things that bring him joy for three days.

No electronics, no Ninjago, no playmates, no phone, no Youtube.

A three day discipline…which to a ten year old equals about 120 years.

When the sentence is imposed for disobedience committed there comes wailing such as has not been heard since Lazurus tomb.

My boy chafes and fights and struggles under the discipline, then pleads for injunctive relief.

He doesn’t mention any deep affection he may hold for me in these seasons of pain.

It is a difficult and harsh experience for him…and it’s supposed to be.

The discipline is rehabilitative, not retributive, but those fine points of explaining pain don’t carry much meaning to him.

What he doesn’t understand is that I suffer with him.

I desperately want him to learn to live in such a way that this sort of discipline is unnecessary.

I want him to enjoy life to the fullest and to enjoy all the things and people that are part of his life.

I am most happy when he is most happy and I suffer every moment that he does.

I wish he understood that underneath the discipline there is hidden a well of inexhaustible love that knows that this pain has a purpose and will end as soon as possible.

He doesn’t.

He also doesn’t understand that I am both a father and a son as well…and I’m struggling to learn the same things about my Father…or maybe just believe what I’ve learned.

Make your own application…

Oct 252012
 

Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

Another one I like. I still believe in total depravity. This means, naturally, that even “good works” performed by those who reject Jesus, are as filthy rags. It is a tough one to get past, because we like to attribute goodness to people. I am of the mind that there are no “good people”. This has liberated me, in the sense that I have an ability to appreciate people for who they are. There is no demand for me to judge based on works. If not for Christ, no one is capable of good.

The article that follows, amplifies this for me. The statement is basically that even after you are working under the blessing of Christ, making a statement out of your works is also filth.

 Posted by at 8:48 am
Oct 232012
 

It’s not easy being Rachel Held Evans these days, what with the Reformed world aiming a bullseye on her back on account of her latest book. (excerpt)

1. 2. Against: Denny Burk, Brad Williams

3. 4. 5. For: Jerry Faught, Christian Piatt, Matthew Paul Turner

6. Speaking of, Rachel Held Evans is one of the 50 women Christianity Today thinks you should know.

7.Peter Enns has reasons he doesn’t give up on fundamentalists.

8. Lisa Sharon Harper on bullying.

9. Fred Clark on Franklin Graham.

10. A secular look at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

11. Yesterday apparently was the Earth’s birthday. It’s 6,012. Where’s the cake? :)

12. Randal Rauser on why John Piper should not work at a women’s shelter.

13. A Q&A with Marcus Borg.

14. Did you know that evolution and Christianity are contesting a duel to the death? Neither did I. BioLogos probably would disagree…

15. CT’s news brief on the sex abuse lawsuit filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries.

16. Kevin Gonzaga on why he went from being a pastor to a ‘none’.

17. Wartburg Watch doesn’t like Tim Challies’ ‘puff piece’ on C.J. Mahaney.

18. Speaking of…Wartburg Watch also asks if The Gospel Coalition is ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room.

 Posted by at 10:13 pm
Oct 222012
 

1. I think the church is more divided today than at any time since the 1920’s when the liberal mainline bodies separated from the fundamentalists. The division today is not theologically based, but political… and the divisions are as deep and hostile as as those from a hundred years ago. This is a defining point in the history of American evangelicalism that will be more easily seen in hindsight as the ramifications of the divide play out. Right now I see a large right wing contingent splitting from the left with a bunch of us in the middle fleeing the whole mess. I want to run away, but have no idea where to go…

2. The Billy Graham Association has removed Mormonism from its list of cults. This is blasphemy for the sake of political expediency…no different from mixing the worship of the Baals with the worship of Yahweh. Yes, that’s what I said and exactly what I mean.

3. Between the politics and eschatology and the frequent mixing of the two, I’d rather have a root canal than be on Facebook these days.

4. This is the most important election this country will ever have…this year.

5. Winter whispered over the hills last night in Southern Oregon. Winter depresses me with the reality of death, then speaks of coming resurrection…it’s a somber season of clinging to hope for me.

6. There have been bi-weekly prayers meeting here in my community to “pray for our nation”. There have been none, nor are any scheduled, to pray for the poor, homeless, sick, or the sojourner among us.

7. I was cleaning up some old email last night and came upon a thread where Rich Abanes and I were in a nasty theological dispute. In hindsight Rich, you were right and I was wrong…hope you’re doing well wherever you are now.

8. It’s an odd thing…the more I lose my identification with evangelicalism, the more I’m growing to love Jesus.  The Sermon on the Mount has me transfixed in it’s power these days.

9. I thank God for the people He’s given me to pastor and teach…I receive far more than I give as we are learning to follow the Lord together.

10. Sarah has written a blog post this morning that I needed to read…and written it with the Holy Spirit holding her pen as usual.

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