Saturday, April 21, 2012
Dan Brereton & Howard Chaykin
Friday, April 20, 2012
Trying To Change The Subject
If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?Opening graphs:
The discovery of intelligent aliens would be mind-blowing in many respects, but it could present a special dilemma for the world's religions, theologians pondering interstellar travel concepts said Saturday."Odd," I thought, "one of the most read Christian authors of the 20th century wrote science fiction." I honestly did not get it, my Christian faith has plenty of room for extraterrestrial life.
Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.
Then I saw this headline in the Christian Post:
Christian Apologist: Most Skeptics Doubt After Being Hurt by ChurchI thought, "Yeah, that explains it."
Two take-aways from this juxtaposition of stories. One, it is futile to argue with the intellectual barriers people erect to avoid Christianity. The barriers is not the issue and all you are doing by arguing over it is helping them build it higher.
Two, the church damages a lot of people, we hurt "the gospel" as much as we help it - sometimes more. We have simply GOT to spend time learning how not to hurt people. And BTW, when we say the hurt people are the ones with the problem, we are only hurting them more.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
For much of my life, I understood Jesus as criticizing the vendors in the temple for “ripping off” the people. They were robbing them, perhaps by overcharging them. Or, I thought that Jesus was unhappy about the temple courts being used for commerce, rather than prayer. These suppositions might be accurate, but they don’t get Jesus’ point in quoting the “den of thieves” line from Jeremiah. If we go back and read that verse in context, we realize that the Lord is rebuking the Jews for presuming upon him because they have the Temple. The people of God were sinning grossly. But, rather than repenting, they figured that since they had the temple on their side, they were preserved from God’s judgment. The temple was a “den of thieves” in that it was supposed to be a safe place where the people could take refuge from God’s wrath, even if they were dishonoring him with their actions.'Nuff Said.
We, of course, do not have the temple as our “den of thieves.” But sometimes we can turn God’s grace and forgiveness into a “den of thieves.” We do this when we receive God’s grace cheaply, using it as an excuse to live a life contrary to God’s will for us. We think, “Well, this might be wrong, but God will always forgive me.” Thus, we presume upon God’s grace, using it as an excuse to keep on sinning rather than a motivation for holy living.
Related Tags: Illuminated Hymn
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
“A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness, and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.”What about listening to Bach with humility?
—C.S Lewis, Letter to Bede Griffiths (April 16, 1940)
Wisecrack aside - one must ask in light of that quote why church size matters, why quality of music matters, why XXXX matters. But more importantly, we must ask why we spend so much time in the church on those things and so little time on fostering "humility, thankfulness and temperance."
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Not funny, profound, and deep commentary.
Made me think. If Christianity is a relationship with Christ - maybe we ought to work on relationships with each other so we even have a clue about a relationship with Jesus.
Remember when "Fellowship" in church meant actually building relationships? Now it seems like it just means food service at events. Maybe we need to get deliberate about making friends again - in person, face-to-face.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Can't Sell What You Don't Have
What you practice at home is the show you take on the road. What you grow in your fields is what you load on the trucks.Ooooh, such an excellent metaphor pressed not near far enough. Wilson has a point - if you are not evangelical at home, you're not going to be evangelical in "the field."
This is why reformation and revival in our churches here is a necessary precondition for effective evangelism there. Say that someone says he has a real burden "for the lost" in Wango Bango. Say that the person at church he is speaking to suggests they spend that afternoon going door-to-door at student housing for the local university. There are lost people here too.
That said, I would use this potent metaphor to illustrate what I say in the title - we need renewal and revival becasue so often in the zeal to evangelize, we forget just what it is we are trying to convert people to. Sometimes the church makes the best salesmen in the world, problem is, they don't know the product. We sell sales.
I often wonder what would happen if we decided to spend a generation maturing what we have rather than growing? Farmers can only take their product to market in season. I wonder if we are in season?