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Showing posts from July, 2012

Who Knew?

There is a website called "Jew or Not Jew."  Really.  You can find out how Jewish celebrities are.  http://www.jewornotjew.com/   Gwyneth Paltrow is half Jewish.  Who Knew?

Office Depot vs. Chick-Fil-A

Interesting situation.  The Office Depot and the Chick-Fil-A in the town near me are within a block of each other.  I planned tomorrow to go to Chick-Fil-A not so much to support Dan Cathy (he doesn't need my money) but to make a statement about free speech (although I think he may have overstated his case.  I also think it's funny that people are saying he was "bullied" when he will probably make a lot more money out of this deal!).

I was running errands today and had to go into Office Depot.  I immediately became aware that getting some ink refills and sending a fax (I spent about $10) was now a matter of conscience, or violating my conscience, or something in that area.  All over Office Depot were signs about "Born this Way" and "Be Brave" and something about Lady Gaga.

Now, I'm acting ignorant, because I know what this is about, but I imagine most people going into Office Depot to get their kids some school supplies will either be confused…

The Big Issues

I see these as the four or five big issues that separate the church and the world.  They must continue to, I think.  We will only stand as the church if we stay distinct, whether it means persecution or not.  People are not attracted to a church that stands for nothing.  And as the old saying goes, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything (as in the occult and paranormal).

Creation vs. evolution.  Let me say here that I am not a young earth creationist (that view makes little sense to me).  I think we take some aspects of Gen. 1-11 literally when we are not supposed to.  But by no means does that mean that evolution--euphemistically called gradual creation by some--makes any sense to me either.  Why would God use so much death to do what he could have done quickly?  And how do you have a fall if there is evolution?  did the species evolve to a point where it was sentient enough to have the propensity for temptation and then turn from God?

I have another question that is rela…

Me and NPR

About a year ago I got really mad at NPR (National Palestinian Radio, Dr. Land called it) and said I wouldn't listen to it anymore or support it  Well, I fell off the wagon on both points.  I did give them some money last spring, well, I gave our local public station some money because I am an alum of the university and they are just pitiful.  And I listen to it just about everyday, to offset my listening to Fox News.

But they still annoy the hooey out of me sometimes, despite the great quality of most of their program. The other day Terri Gross was interviewing a Catholic Bishop in response to an interview from the previous week by a Sister Pat of a group of nuns who are protesting Catholic policies and dogma.

The interview was interesting because of the utter lack of communication between the two.  Terri Gross (whom I normally like to listen to quite a bit, at least in terms of her work with artists) just didn't get that the church's stand is based on an absolutist view…

Logical responses to illogical arguments

From a discussion board on Christianity Today.

it is rather simple you are against gay marriage well do not have one. Were all sinners and short of the glory. Jesus came live among us to die for our sins. I honestly can not see the logic of someone choosing to be gay. I think you are born this way and you can not fully fight your nature. Let us prayer and try to offer Jesus message to all. We live in a world that is not black and white, but gray all over in some cases. Let us offer Christ love in this hateful world.

How do we answer this type of logic?

I have written below on the first sentence; it's not an argument.  The second sentence is a two wrong make a right argument.  How does one define sin?  Is a main question here.  The next part "I honestly .... nature."  Well, there are a lot of things are born with that we fight our nature.  Alcoholism is genetic; we fight that, don't we?

Yes, let's offer Jesus' message to the world.  What is it?

How doe…

Fifty Shades of Mommy Porn

GRRRRRR.

If I see one more Facebook post on what an awesome book the aforementioned novel is, I'll scream.

Do people have no taste?

Do supposed Christians have no discernment? 

Do women have no pride?

OK, I'll admit, I haven't read it, but I've read lots of reviews and discussions over it, so I know to read it would be a total waste of my time.  What puzzles me the most is Christians who support it.  One, it's about an extramarital affair; two, it's about trying to be physically hurtful during sex.  All I can say is, God help us.

Dan Cathy has been pilloried because of his (much stronger than normal) words about same sex marriage.  I for one will be eating at Chick-Fil-A just because.  But a Christian who gets all hot and bothered about gay sex and gay marriage and get all gaga over mommy porn is a hypocrite.

But it all comes down to a lack of understanding about sex in the church.  It should be about mutual respect and pleasure, in heterosexual marriage.

Some…

NCAA Ruling

I do not believe the NCAA ruling on Penn State is fair--at all.

The coach coaches, but the players go out there and risk their bodies to win the games.  These are young men who made sacrifices and were taken in by a system.  Yes, they benefited from it, but they are no more guilty than a player at UT or Georgia or LSU. 

The NCAA has been fascist in the past.  This is their typical overreaching.  Punish the persons who did wrong.  This is tantamount to the elementary school teacher punishing the whole class for one kid being a pain.

Word Play

Ever notice that parental, prenatal, and paternal are all made up of the same letters?


Toxic charity

I have recently been reading about the value of missions trips.  I am ambivalent about them.  I think every young person should probably go on one, but there's a limit to how many of these one-week evangelo-tourism trips we should countenance.

1.  Twenty teenagers sent to a foreign country at the cost of $2,000 each to go build a church.  That $40,000.  Why not hire local labor for much less and give persons meaningful work?

2.  Missionaries like the visits of folks from home, but they also have to deal with them.  A friend of mine in Japan had groups in to build a new church building (in this case, it was cheaper than hiring Japanese labor).  But the Americans didn't want to eat Japanese food, which meant an expense and time for the missionary to feed them.  If you are going overseas for a week or so, buck up and eat what the people eat.

3.  There is no hard proof that the trips make people any more missions oriented in the long run.

4.  And as usual, the people on the field …

Hymns 102

This morning we sang "Come Thou Fount."  This old hymn is very popular, but I do not sing the third verse.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love."  I don't see how those words are appropriate in a worship service.  What are they saying?  What are we saying when we sing them?

Ironically, we later sang "In Christ Alone" which has the wonderful words, "No power of hell or scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand."  One song confesses the temptation to apostasy; the other denies the possiblity.

I have long felt that we do not pay attention to the words of our songs very much.  Southern gospel songs, especially, focus on the conversion experience in all kinds of allegorical and narrative ways, as if we are reliving it over and over.  I prefer songs that deal with theological and historical fact, minimize "I" or "me" or "my," and praise the character of God.  No matter how moving the tu…

Tax exemptions and churches

Should churches give up their tax exemption?

Is there an argument for doing so? Would we have more freedom, for example, of speech, if we did? Or would we be saying, we are just a private organization, a club?  That what we do is unimportant?  We would definitely be hindered in our ability to minister.  The government would definitely get a lot of money from the churches to squander on its bloated budget. 


Anthropomorphism

This morning in Sunday School we watched a DVD of a popular Bible teacher, a female.

She was teaching from Gen 2 about how God formed the man and breathed in him the breathe of life.  She talked about God using his hands to form Adam.

God does not have hands, because that would mean he has a body.  God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4.  References to God's hand, arms, feet, mouth are only for poetic purposes so that we can understand his actions in human terms.   God communicates to us in ways we can understand, and in a way it is like baby talk in comparison to how he could communicate and perhaps will one day. 

This is going to sound heretical to some, but the Bible is God's truth, but I don't believe it is all of it.  It is what he wants us to know about his revelation.  There is other truth we are allowed to learn through research and study and experience.

I also think there is an argument that the New Testament is …

A Thorn in the Flesh

I am finally understanding that verse.  We are given physical weakness to know that we are not capable of what we think we are, to keep us humble, to remind us of where real power comes from.  And it refocuses us to what really matters.

Someone I know, a very talented young man in the ministry whom I have prayed for that he not become proud, is going through physical weakness.  This person has been treated like a superhero, the savior, the one-who-is-to-come.   I believe the physical weakness is 1. to keep him from accomplishing what he would have otherwise simply in his physical body  2.  to remind him not to listen to all these adulators  and 3.  to focus his work where it should be.  I will not say more than that.

I do have to express my disappointment with Christians, though.  They can be so gullible, so suggestible to power and charisma and public speaking prowess.  This is nothing new; Paul complained of it in I and II Corinthians.

I can see the value of a thorn in the flesh mys…

The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin

Just got back from the Dark Knight Rises with my son, who was seeing it for the second time.  We paid $7.00 for the ticket, and I have to say it was worth it--which I rarely do.  Lots of action and plot and human enough that I overlooked that it was based on a comic book.  OK, OK, I know comic books are not what they were fifty years ago.  I was enthralled by it and unable to detect any CGI--it was very seamless.

I have written before about my take on the batman movies of Nolan. The idea behind them, it seems to me, is that the savior must be willing to take on the evil to protect the "innocents" (who aren't really innocent in this world of Batman, at least in the villains' eyes).  Taking on the evil moves the savior/hero very close to evil himself; he has to be willing to do things that the supposed good guys (in this case, the police) won't or can't do.  Yet in this Batman/Nolan world I think we are challenged to understand what good and evil are, where the…

Thoughts on Galatians 3

Thoughts on Galatians 1

Thoughts on Galatians 2

Adult Learning: Never stop!