Saturday, September 26, 2015


Comic Art


Friday, September 25, 2015


Understadning Moral Thinking or Splitting Adjectives

Justin Taylor summarizes distinctions drawn by William Lane Craig on descriptors attached to the word "morality." In the world of debate and writing, this is important stuff. But most people don't "live there." Most people live in a world where they just want to get through the day. They have to b reached on a much more visceral level.

The more I think about trying to return ourselves to an objective morality, the more I think we accomplish it by simply insisting on it first in our daily lies and then in our church lives. In our personal lives it's easy. We just hold ourselves to a high standard. IN church it is much trickier. We have to hold others to a standard, but we have to learn how to do so with grace and winsomeness. In order to do that it is back to holding ourselves accountable.

The argument should be one of effectiveness, not discussion. Demonstration, not argumentation.


Friday Humor

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The Shortest Route

In CT, Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight J. Friesen, discuss their book in which they analogize the church to a slime mold:
In August of 2000 Toshiyuki Nakagaki made a very bizarre announcement to the world. He and his colleagues had trained a type of brainless slime to solve a complex maze. To demonstrate their achievement, Nakagaki’s team decided to chop up a single slime mold and scatter the pieces throughout a plastic maze. The separate slime clusters began to grow and find one another, until they filled the entire labyrinth. Next, Nakagaki placed food samples at the start and end of the maze with four different routes to the goal. Four hours later the hungry slime mold had retracted its tentacles from the dead-end corridors, growing exclusively along the shortest route between the two pieces of food. The brainless blob became “smart slime,” solving the complex maze.

In a world that trains you to reduce all things to the lowest common denominator, the collective characteristics of slime molds are breathtaking. When food is scarce, slimes that are in the same proximity don’t fight over scarce resources. Instead, they join together in an orderly manner to form a completely new multicellular creature—a type of slug—from scratch. The right context and connectivity releases collective features you could never foresee by observing them individually.

Our book is an exploration of a forgotten, but truly hopeful, possibility. Don’t take this the wrong way, but we think the local church is meant to function like slime.
That is not a bad analogy, really. But there are some factors to be considered. For one the church does not operate on scarce resources, that is unless we fail to tap the biggest resource of all, the Holy Spirit. The second, and most important, is that the slime mold organizes becasue it is presented with sustenance. The church should be the source of sustenance for the world, but it often fails to provide anything remotely approaching genuine sustenance. Like 7-11 it presents spiritual junk food, instead of genuine spiritual sustenance such as you can find at the grocery store.

Yesh, I know, all analogies break down if you press them too hard. That's not the posit I am trying to make. This piece is a sociological approach to a problem that is deeply spiritual. The sociology is helpful, but in the end it cannot resolve the fundamental issue. Until we take seriously the fundamentals of our faith no amount of sociological, marketing, or leadership insight, no matter how right, is going to fix the problem.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Creating God

Christine Sine looks at studies "revealing" that God is just a function of neurochemistry and wonders:
Why I wonder do we people of faith believe in a god of love, compassion and peace when there is so much hate and violence in our world? Is it because we long for something different or is it because the intrinsic nature of humanity is the nature of God – even though we have rebelled, polluted and ignored it?
She has one heck of an apologetic point there. The whole brain chemistry argument must assume that God did not create the brain that way in order for it to argue against God. But what I found interesting was the title of her post: Do We Create God?

You see, so often I think we do. We start with the God of the Bible, but then we latch on to some aspect that we like and suddenly God is all about that aspect. We create for ourselves a partial image of God and we call it all of God. This is the root of the commandment not to make images. God is bigger than anything we can create, from statuary, to written concept. We all create God, if for no other reason than we are incapable of grasping all that is God.

That is why daily, even hourly, we have to acknowledge our incapability. We must remind ourselves that what ever we think of God, it is incomplete. We must know that whatever we know, it is not all there is to be known. Whatever image of God we carry in our heads, we have to tell ourselves is incomplete and under constant revision. We will never get it right.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Speak Freely, But...

Mark Roberts on Psalm 89:
Though life has not turned out as the psalmist had hoped, and though it seems to him as if God has contradicted his own commitment to David, nevertheless the psalm writer continues to put his trust and even his praise in God. He looks to the Lord to remember his covenant with David and to raise up someone to rule on David’s throne. In the midst of deep disappointment and suffering, the psalmist exercises shocking freedom in challenging God and shocking faith in praising God.
I find this sort of thing very difficult - words uttered have consequences. Yes, I know that God is both smart enough to know "when I don't really mean it," and strong enough to bear the pain my words might inflict. I am talking about the effect on me.

When I allow a negative feeling to be uttered it gives it a reality that is often unwarranted. Feeling are often ephemeral, when uttered they are given sufficient time to take root. Feelings lack substance, but when spoken they gain mass. When I take something out of my head and put it into the world, it ceases to be pure fantasy.

When I tell God He has been unfaithful, that passes from being my perception of what God is doing to being an accusation. That is a line I do not wish to cross, for in crossing it my faith is eroded. To some extent I can alter and control my perception (or allow the Holy Spirit to control and alter it), but once an accusation is made it has a life all its own.

On the other hand God knows our thoughts - my perceptions are no secret from Him. But to take the time and effort to form them into sentence and prayers seems to me to give them more validity than they deserve. I would rather ask God to remove the distortion from my perception than to tell Him such thoughts.

I am a sinner, I do not wish to give my sins anymore substance than they already enjoy.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Finding Time

Tish Harrison in CT:
When I started observing the church calendar about a decade ago, the notion that time itself could be an entrée into worship, a retelling of the Christ story, felt like a magical discovery. I was new to liturgy and adopted each liturgical practice intentionally and, at first, a bit awkwardly, fumbling over when to cross myself in church and stumbling through the prayers of the people. But, over time, liturgical practices become less self-conscious and more subconscious. What surprised me this year was how normal the calendar has become to me, how engrained. Somewhere along the way, my new year’s day became the first Sunday of Advent, no longer January 1. {emphasis added]
You really want Jesus to be a part of your everyday life? There's a thought for you.

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