Saturday, February 27, 2010
HT: Bob Blog
Friday, February 26, 2010
SECOND VITALLY VITAL NEWS BIT OF THE WEEK
More evidence that I am not nearly as silly as yo may think. Bet you read Comic Art with a different eye tomorrow.
Some people seem to think they know most everything. They have a way of correcting you in a way that feels condescending. You slip and make a mistake. They have the answer or feel like they have to make some kind of demeaning comment. They have a way of making you feel silly for each and every blunder you make. After all, they are evidently beyond all of this."Demeaning comment" can be anything from a glance to a tone of voice, to something actually said by the way - I know I do it all.
But there is a flip side and that is people that are so insecure that simply knowing they do not know something causes them to react defensively. Is graciousness possible in such a circumstance if correction is mandatory? We live in a defensive world - making graciousness terribly difficult. For example there are very few homosexuals that can hear the words "Homosexual practice is a sin" as gracious, no matter how hard the speaker works to be gracious and to deliver the words graciously.
Christ died for them, even if they don't know it. This leads me to the question. Does our graciousness and humility extend to the point were we "die?" Not on a cross, we're not Jesus, but we die about being "right?" To continue with the example do we let same sex marriage become a reality out of graciousness and humility?
The most righteous, in fact the only truly righteous, man in history died rather than prove His righteousness to the idiots of His time. There was no limit to His humility. Are we right to place limits on ours?
Thursday, February 25, 2010
On many days, I have probably wanted the case for Catholicism to be persuasive more than most any Protestant you know. My life and home would be much different were I able to say “this is true.”And yet, the iMonk's soul remains deeply troubled:
But ultimately, I am unconvinced. Ultimately, I am no closer than ever and less impressed with the answers on issues like the development of doctrine or the perpetual virginity of Mary. As much as I sense the sincerity and respectful openness in Bryan’s explanation of his passion for unity in the Catholic Church, it is not the goal of my journey to come into union with the RCC as I understand it.
My problem remains that when I have once again worked through the claims and chosen my Protestant and evangelical “ecclesial community,” invalid ordination, paltry sacraments and all, I am still in a growing evangelical wilderness.A hearty "AMEN!" strikes this person as an inadequate expression of agreement with the sentiments of which Spencer writes.
Can we do any better with this reformation heritage of ours? Is this the best we can do? The endless cacophony of division? The constant tyranny of celebrity spirituality?
Is this the best we can do? Contemporary evangelicalism’s hour of praise music? Extreme youth ministries? Addiction to the Prosperity cancer? Or the new fad of criticizing the critics. Let’s all say the church is fine, doing fine, just fine, oh fine, she’s fine…….
Where has all this being right in comparisons Catholics gotten us? In my own “most evangelistic” of denominations the chances of hearing the Gospel on a Sunday morning in half of our churches is a crap shoot.
While I watch Catholics have serious worship and serious spiritual formation in scripture and the virtues of deep spirituality, I’ll keep asking: is this the best we can do?
Right answers only go so far. With us, it seems that after 500 years, we don’t know where we are going. The ship feels listless, but the ever-talking crew assures us that all is well.
I would; however, change the question. I wonder not "Is this the best we can do?" I wonder "What's to become of us?" You see, my 'right answers' (which only do go so far) tell me it is not what we do, but what God does. That is a source of both comfort and fear. Comfort that God has something in mind, fear that His judgment is a part of it.
I find myself lately considering "cherry-picking" for church - remaining affiliated with my current congregation, but making the local RCC parish a regular haunt - or some other highly liturgical, spiritual formation focused congregation (though the RCC one is the only one I know of that is close to that bill.) And yet that idea sets me up as judge and jury on what is best and makes me in many ways guilty of the problems of individuality that infests so much of Evangelicalism. Christianity is not to be done alone - and it is certainly to be done with humility.
I long to be called forward, deeper.... The answer always comes back "submit." I submit to God readily, but those that claim to act in His name ask for the same submission - yet their flaws are so obvious. They respond that submission matters more.
I agree, but I will not submit to those which demand my submission, unless they will join me on their knees. As best as I can figure, that is not born of pride, but fear. Some fear for myself, yes, but more that I will in so doing forward their flaws. And yet, can it be said that Christ's submission, even to death, to the Pharisees forwarded their flaws? But then again, I'm not Jesus - by a long shot.
And then I sweat blood.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Morality is ComplexThere is a long discussion about what makes an act or act 'virtuous.' It is not easy to unpack - there are issue of motivation and underlying principles.
So, why is this important? Well, in the bubblegum world we tend to reduce morality to simple sentences of words of one syllable or less - in other words, a sound bite. God made is to think a little harder than that and the church needs to be a place to teach same. Nowadays the church tends to be a place that dumbs down rather than educates up.
I'm not asking the church to become a university - I'm just asking it to ask something of its members.
The Transformation Offered by The Holy Spirit Is TotalThe Holy Spirit comes to make us virtuous people. Note that the virtuousness of an act depends on more than simply the act itself. To act virtuously we must think, feel and be motivated virtuously.
How many of us actually submit ourselves to that level of transformation?
The place to start is on our knees - I for one wish to be virtuous.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Oh So Wrong
"God does not call us to a life of studying science -- he calls us to a life of following in Christ's footsteps.Studying science and following in Christ's footsteps are hardly mutually exclusive activities. Admittedly, the point of the quote is not that - its patience between different groups in Christianity - like young earth creationists and those that hold "gradual creation" (evolution). A fair enough point, but how we make a point often matters as much as the point we are making, and in this case that is no way to make a point.
God has and will continue to call many people to study science. They are called to do so in a loving and patient manner, but called to such study they are indeed. The juxtaposition the author creates here INCREASES the tension between the groups he seeks to create civility between.
But there is a broader point here. Being a Christian is, in a sense, about us, not what we do. We are called to many professions, from construction worker to professor, file clerk to lawyer, politician to pastor - all are callings. Being a "Christian" one of those is about who we are in that setting.
Things are to the Lord's enemies - WE are - unless we allow His Spirit to fill us and to transform us into His allies. We need to stop looking for the things around us that "stand in the way of faith" and start looking at ourselves.
Monday, February 22, 2010
BIGGEST NEWS OF THIS, OR ANY OTHER, DAY
...and you thought collecting comic books was just silly.
What is it that a young man needs to know about being a man, a husband, and/or a father?I understand where the questions comes from, but I also think asking it is part of the problem.
We are fallen, but that does not turn us into women. We know instinctively how to be men - not godly men mind you, but men. But that means we need to be tamed, not changed. Have boundaries defined, but made into something else. Men are confused about being men becasue women have been trying too hard for too long to fit them into a woman's world. We don't fit.
Our world's meet, they have interchanges, they connect, and when it is really good, they bond, but they will never be the same world. Men don't know how to be men because they were not allowed to be boys. Mothers, things your sons do that scare the you-know-what out of you, are just a challenge to them. And when you forbid him from taking on the challenge, you take a way a bit of his manliness. Wives, few men genuinely like frilly stuff. They will say they do to please you, becasue that's VERY important to them - pleasing you. But when you ask them to be "genuinely sincere" about it, you are taking a way a bit of their manliness.
See here's the thing - men don't need to be taught how to be men, or fill men's roles. They need to have the sharp edges knocked off a little, they need to be constrained from following the worst of their instincts, they need to be shaped into the role - but the role is natural - if we let it be.