Saturday, February 21, 2015


Comic Art


Friday, February 20, 2015


God The Father

Mark Daniels:
When I was a boy, up until I was about age thirteen, I was, in a phrase often used by members of my parent's generation, "a pistol." But by the time I turned thirteen, a change had come. I was obedient to my parents. I wasn’t perfect by any means. And I’m still not. But when I hit my teens, my parents weren’t always wondering whether they could trade me in for a new model.

The reason for this transformation, I think, was simple: I feared my father.
Oh we love Jesus, he saved us. We are fascinated by the Holy Spirit, he does all sorts of miraculous stuff - But do we hear about God the Father much anymore? I mean seriously? Most of our contemporary music is about God the cosmic buddy, not the father we fear.

Daniels int he rest of the sermon gets into the place of works, judgement, etc. as he breaks down I Peter 1:17-25 - but I just like hearing that God is the Father! - to be loved, feared and respected - maybe cuddled up to sometime when we are feeling particularly vulnerable, but someone that shapes us, no consoles us. A father is someone you approach lovingly, but cautiously - not with the familiarity of a pal at school - familiar yes, but not familiarity.

The same God that saved us, destroyed the earth once. We'd be smart to remember that.


Friday Entertainment

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Faith and Creativity

Godspace wonders about creativity in faith. There is some interesting stuff there, but she ends with this question:
How will you express your faith creativity today?
And there she takes a startlingly wrong turn. Creativity is not and expression of something within oneself, it is a REFLECTION of the image of God in us. God is creative (why else do we call everything "creation?") and He made us in His image. When we are creative we are not expressing what we think or feel, we are searching for the image of God creating that He put in us. When we are expressing ourselves in creativity, we put ourselves in God's seat.

One of the first things Ms. Sine discusses on how to what can help with creativity, she says, "Maintaining regular spiritual practices." Great news that. Exercising creativity is a matter of devotion. One could even argue discipline.

One other important aspect of this is that when you view creativity in this fashion, you discover that there are many activities that are "creative" that you did not previously consider to be so. It is not just about words and the arts. It's about engineering and construction. It's finding a more efficient way to vacuum the living room.

Be devoted.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Wisdom is Ageless

A Christianity Today article, aptly titled "Why We Need 'Dinosaurs' Like C. S. Lewis" by Art Lindsley says:
Who could be against "progress" or "development"? Only someone, like Caspian, who has realized that some things progress and develop in the wrong direction. And one of the great gifts of C. S. Lewis was his well-honed suspicion of progress.

"We all want progress," he wrote in Mere Christianity.
But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be and if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when we do arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.
Indeed, Lewis was not afraid to be called old-fashioned or outdated.
When I was a young man I studied and studied. I often knew scripture better than by Bible Study leaders. I read Bonhoeffer my freshman year in high school and it cause endless embarrassment to my small group leader who had not. I was not trying to play one-up-manship, I was just sharing what I was learning, but the leader got pretty annoyed. It got ugly. I had progressed in my knowledge, but I had not progressed in my wisdom. It is only with the wisdom of age that I can see my mistake.

Knowledge invented atomic energy. It requires wisdom to know when and when not to use it.

Knowledge progresses, wisdom is ageless. Wisdom serves as a boundary for knowledge. Wisdom tells us somethings are not worth the knowing. When God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, He gave them wisdom. They chose knowledge.

What do you choose?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The Faults With The Commerical Model

This is something that Michael brought up often, but the worship music industry is weird. Every album can’t just be a collection of songs that draw the listeners and performers to worship, reflecting on God. It has to be “The Most Powerful and Prophetic Worship Albums of the Decade” where a song “actually releases a breakthrough anointing into the atmosphere.” I fully expect some CCM worship band in the next few years to claim that dead people will come to life again if you play their albums at a funeral. 
Worship, or any other genuine spiritual state is not something you can buy, rent or borrow. It comes from within us.

And yet, when churches compete in the commercial marketplace, how else do you market it. If you think about it, this phenomena has been true since the Reformation, it's just been based on theological or ecclesiastical claims instead of mood claims.

The problem is that what we offer cannot be contained in any of those classes nor can it be purchased with money or intellect. Owning Michael Jackson's clothes does not make you Michael Jackson. True Christianity is a transformation from the inside out, it involves submission to not acquisition of.

Monday, February 16, 2015


A Decision We Do Not Get To Make

Alexander Griswold writers about the Methodist discussion of sexuality and one of the UMC's chief protagonists for formal recognition of same-sex relationships:
Much of what Hamilton said about the Bible and how Christians should interpret it was relatively uncontroversial. He made the familiar points that the Bible was inspired by God, not verbally dictated as many believe, that biblical canon was formed after centuries of debate, and that many Old Testament commandments were declared moot at the Council of Jerusalem as depicted in Acts 15. But from there, things took a turn towards the controversial.

Hamilton said that every verse in the Bible that people found confusing or troubling fit into one of three “buckets,” which he illustrated using three physical buckets he brought with him. The largest bucket was composed of verses which were metaphors, such as the Creation story. The second largest bucket was verses that were relevant for a certain time and place, but no longer apply to Christians today, such as much of the Mosaic Law. But third, and most controversially, was Hamilton’s assertion that very few parts of the Bible “never ever reflected the heart and character of God.”
This is the kind of "logic" that anyone that attempts to justify church acceptance of same-sex practice has to exercise. The first thought that ran through my mind when I read that is, "How do you decide what is reflective of God and what is not?" There are actual standards that scholars can apply to determine what is Biblical metaphor. Likewise, the Bible itself, through later recorded events gives us a window into what time has changed. But what are the standards for simple rejection of some portion of the Bible? On what ground do we stand to make such bold claims.

Yes, the cannon is a man-made thing, but it has stood for at least 1500 years now. God acts in history. What are the acts of history that allow us now to make similar decisions. The cannon was established by a council of virtually everyone that mattered in the church - I doubt we could get everyone that matters in the church into a convention hall now and if we did I doubt they could agree on what to have for lunch, let alone something as monumental as doing away with some portion of scripture. Are there obvious signs from the Holy Spirit that this is in fact the way things should be?

Sometimes God's will is obvious for it holds even among the heathen. There are indeed societies where homosexual practice has been fairly widespread, particularly amongst the elite of those societies. But homosexual marriage? Never. Not to mention those societies died of corruption soon after the practices became commonplace. History seems to send a clear message that this part of scripture should not be ignored.

Finally, and most troubling is that to claim to know that some parts of scripture “never ever reflected the heart and character of God,” is to claim to know, intimately, the heart and character of God. It seems to me that sin would prevent such a thing. It seems to me that such a claim stands in violation of everything that defines Christianity. This theologically seems closer to Judaism that Christianity, but Judaism has a better since of man's fallen nature than this implies. This is simply to make ourselves God.

This is a decision we simply cannot make. If you want to argue for the sanction of same-sex relationships, fine do so, but do so within the confines of Christian thought. This argument has left the building.

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