Daily Archives: December 23, 2008

Blogapalooza

I am looking forward to this.  I will be participating.  You should too.

Plus, Robert is a swell fella.  Very friendly.  Stop on by and say hello to him, and tell him the Pugnacious Irishman sent ya!

Cross-less Christ

A hearty AMEN! to David Porter today, who recently wrote a stellar post on how the “offense of the cross” is waning in western culture. Due to this post, he gets “blog of the month” in my book.

His quote of Thomas Scott reminded me a lot of Niebuhr’s terse, yet insightful analysis of liberalism in the

Christ's Crucifixion by Rembrandt.  If you look closely, you can see Rembrandt himself at the foot of the cross, crucifying Christ along with the crowd.

Christ's Crucifixion by Rembrandt. If you look closely, you can see Rembrandt himself at the foot of the cross, crucifying Christ along with the crowd.

1930’s:

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

Sin is very unpopular talk these days. It’s a hard sell. Talking about God’s love, about experiencing peace and the Kingdom here and now, and about certain popular social justice causes are much, well, sexier in these “enlightened” times.

Sin might not be popular to bring up, but its necessary to bring up. Without it, the cross seems silly at best, and “divine child abuse” at worst. Without the knowledge of our sin, it makes God look petty. “Why would God send someone to hell just because he got a few questions wrong on a theology test?” is the common question to ask when someone misses the depth of his/her sinfulness.

If you talk to many Christians, many assume that this is one part of the message that most in the west already are aware of. But from the conversations I’m having, I see quite the opposite. Sure, some are already broken…you give grace, not law, to these thirsty souls. But the majority are quite solid in their belief that they are “good” people and that God will “let them into heaven” if there indeed is a heaven (most believe in heaven, but few believe in hell…there’s another unsexy topic for you).

The Bible talks about sin all over the place. Jesus talks about sin all over the place. Can’t miss it. Just look inward, and you’ll find it there. To paraphrase Albert Mohler, this is yet another issue where believers will face a choice: the Bible, or hipness. Christian, you cannot run from this choice forever: eventually, you must choose whom or what you will give allegiance to.

I have felt this choice welling up in my own heart. I remember on a few occasions feeling embarrassment at a friend who was presenting the Gospel clearly, simply, and boldly. I’m embarrassed to say I was embarrassed. In those moments, I’m like Peter.

This is one choice certain pockets of the Emergent movement are facing now…from what I see, they aren’t making a wise choice. They might be genuine in their beliefs, but I cringe when I hear certain people talk about revamping the Gospel message. Soon, other stalwart evangelical churches will have to make a decision too.

Thanks for the post, David. It reminded me of the necessity of contending for unpopular truth in an upside down time.

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Change…of Mind.

So Obama has decided to keep most of Bush’s War team.

strangepolitics.com

ht: strangepolitics.com

This is yet another sign that perhaps, just perhaps, Obama will govern towards the center….at least not as far left as it looked during his campaign.   If so, then this is a good thing for conservatives.

However, I am still wondering whether he will make good on his campaign promises on abortion and FOCA. Albert Mohler notes, “Sources inside the transition office have advised activists to expect a flurry of executive orders in the new administration’s first hours and days.” I don’t know if that includes FOCA and other pro-abortion bills he’s pledged to sign. One can hope not.

Even though Obama governing towards the center would be a welcome thing, it is still pretty telling and slightly humorous that he has already fudged on some of his campaign platform that got him elected in the first place. This was a campaign platform that had the left and the MSM swooning, but many of them aren’t too happy with him now!  He’s smart, very smart…but this does not make him trustworthy.  Time will tell.

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Same-Sex Marriage Conversation, Part II

Read the introduction and part I of this series.

Ok, I have to get involved here….

Its one thing to disagree with someone’s views, and its one thing to say they are objectively, morally wrong (I do this all the time), but when you act like certain good arguments don’t exist, then you erect an egregious straw man and then blatantly call the other side names (‘bigot’, for example), that’s out of line.

I can understand that you feel very strongly about this issue (as do I), and that’s ok. But at least give the other side (guys like me) a fair hearing.

You can start with the following article (notice it doesn’t make a single religious argument):

Same-Sex Marriage Challenges and Responses

Check back tomorrow for the continued conversation!

Also check out related posts from my own blog:

Oy

Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience

Tony Jones: Same-sex Blogalogue Update

Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed

Jim Carey, Eat your Heart Out

Proposition 8 Protest Links

Rights, Shmights

But its a Religious Argument!

Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (RSS button is found at the top right in the sidebar)!

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Same-Sex Marriage Conversation, Part I

Read the introduction to this series.noprop8

Here is my teacher-friend’s initial bulletin post on Myspace (my initial response will come in the next post). Tell me what you think:

If you Voted No on Prop 8, this is for you! If you Voted Yes, you might read it – actually you SHOULD (maybe it will sway your opinion) otherwise disregard, as I’m sure you already have.

I am disgusted and appalled that the State of California passed Prop 8.  As I’m teaching the novel To Kill a Mockingbird in my class, we are covering topics such as injustice, intolerance, discrimination, and bigotry. As we discuss that no one has the right to take the rights away from another human being, that segregation is wrong, that we should not discriminate human beings just because they are different than ourselves, I have to lead these discussions in the face of a Proposition that does take away the rights from other human beings, that does segregate, that does discriminate just because someone is different.

What message are we sending our children? Since when did Californians stand for bigotry? Since when did the CONSTITUTION allow for it? To say that a group of people is not allowed something because of their sexual preference is bigotry, and we’re trying to make it a law?!

My students asked why gay and lesbian people can’t just get a civil union license, since it would guarantee them the same rights as my marriage license. My response was that I didn’t have to apply for one, why should they? My husband and I applied for a marriage license. If we tell gay and lesbian couples that they have to apply for the same rights, but we have to call it something different, HOW is that any different than black vs. white drinking fountains, riding the bus but only if you sit in the back, ‘colored’ bathrooms vs. ‘white’ bathrooms? It is so sad to me that in the same election that will make history because America elected its first African-American President, we took a step back seemingly 50 years. It’s the same problem, the same issue, only this time its based on sexual preference intsead of skin color. Call it what you may, say it’s different, but it comes down to the same basic principle.

Bigot – (n) a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; esp one who regards or treates the members of a group with hatred and intolerance. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

This is what Proposition 8 has put into our State Constitution. Its unethical and immoral. Join us in the fight to re-open Proposition 8 for California. This isn’t over, the fight has just begun. Would you have given Rosa Parks your seat? Why won’t you give the gay and lesbian community your vote? Because they’re different?

Also check out related posts from my own blog:

Oy

Balancing Scripture, Reason, and Experience

Tony Jones: Same-sex Blogalogue Update

Tony Jones Part III: Something I Missed

Jim Carey, Eat your Heart Out

Proposition 8 Protest Links

Rights, Shmights

But its a Religious Argument!

Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed (RSS button is found at the top right in the sidebar)!

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Sin is the Reason for the Season


Sin Is the Reason for the Seasoncomelordjesus

Christmas is a favorite holiday for many of us.   The religious and secular aspects combine to make a joyous, cozy, happy celebration. There is much that is cheerful and bright about the season. The church I worship at Christmas Eve is beautifully decorated with sparkling trees, deep red poinsettias, and glowing candles.

As I reflect on Christmas hymns and Bible readings, though, I am struck by a deeper aspect that we don’t usually focus on but underlies the entire reason for the season: Sin. It’s the reason the baby was born in Bethlehem. It is present in the liturgy and hymns we sing at Christmas. Behind the beauty and peacefulness of the holiday is a dark truth. The baby came to save lost sinners in rebellion against God.

Oh, come, oh, come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, Oh, Israel!

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in they dark streets shineth the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

We sing an older version of a verse of Away in a Manger:

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven, to live with Thee there.

We aren’t fit to live in Heaven until the Son of God makes us so through His sacrifice for our sin. Christmas only makes sense with Good Friday and Easter. Otherwise, it’s just another birthday among billions.

Throughout the message of the Christmas account and carols is the hopeless condition we find ourselves in alone, without God. But then God comes to be with us, Emmanuel, to pay our debt for us. What relief! What joy!

I was thinking ahead to the account of Jesus’ presentation at the temple eight days after His birth when Simeon and Anna saw the Savior they’d waited for, and generations had waited for (Luke 2: 21-38). Their responses, songs, express the great hope and relief at the salvation this baby would accomplish. Their words echo my joy and relief that my sins are forgiven.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees
Oh, hear the angel voices.
Oh, night divine,
Oh, night when Christ was born!

HT: Melinda at Stand to Reason (this is just a copy and paste of her writing…str has a weird frame in their blog, so sometimes its hard to access the specific blog post URL for the link.)