A short description of what we’re up to can be found here. Comments are welcome but may be moderated for content and tone.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Libels and Labels

People love labeling stuff.

This is not without good reason, I think. In bringing the animals to Adam to see what labels he would put on them, God dignified both, granting the man authority and the animals identity. It was also an immensely practical thing to do. Imagine the complexity of having to forever refer to “that big leathery thing with tusks and a hose for a nose” or “the small furry black thing that lives in my house that is not the same as the slightly larger small furry black thing”.

You can see why we have taken to labeling things like fish to water. It simplifies life.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Open Letter to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I’ve been enjoying immensely your online lecture series on The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories. Hearing you reframe these familiar truths and ancient tropes in the terminology of psychology and mythology — and occasionally in plain secular language, rather than religiously and liturgically — has lit up the OT landscape for me in a new way. As you mentioned in your fourth lecture, a hypothesis that works itself out in human experience on multiple levels is that much more likely to represent the real state of things.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Choosing A Church

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Woodcrest Church has a helpful “Denomination Selector”. No, really, I’m not kidding.

The survey* asks the user to agree or disagree with a series of 24 statements along the lines of the following:
  1. There is one God
  2. Godhead exists as three distinct Persons
  3. The Bible is free from error
                       |
  1. There a literal Heaven and Hell
  2. The preferred day of worship (or Sabbath) is Sunday
  3. People receive charismatic gifts today (tongues, prophesy)
  4. A woman can serve as a pastor or a church minister
                       |
and so on.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Humility and Compromise

Most Christians would agree humility is a goal genuinely worth pursuing. After all, it is our Lord himself who both modeled it for us and encouraged us to behave humbly toward one another.

Paul picks up this theme and runs with it, declaring that disciples of the Lord Jesus are to, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Religious habits that promote personal exaltation over others are not Christian habits.

So why is it so many of us confuse humility with taking a “live and let live” attitude toward inferior teaching in our churches?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Semi-Random Musings (1)

My workplace isn’t a complete and utter hive of political correctness like so many major corporations today, but that’s sure not for lack of trying.

In our case the issue is economics rather than ideology. It has been deemed insufficiently cost-effective to put a dedicated Human Resources rep in what is really only a regional satellite office, so instead we are PC-policed from over a thousand miles away. Which means we aren’t, really.

That would be a nice benefit if we were free to enjoy it. But we aren’t. Somehow, without any discussion of the subject, we have managed to begin policing each other … for free.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ten Commandments That Failed

It seems morbid, perhaps, to be raising the topic of 9/11 well over a decade after it was all over. It was a sad, bitter moment, one that we might all wish to forget.

But wisdom does not always come quickly, and events of this magnitude take a very long time to understand. There are some things which are best left unsaid in the heat of the moment, but are better brought slowly to the surface when due time has passed. Such is the case with what I am writing today.

Even now, the fall of the World Trade Towers is not an easy subject.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Would Be Why I Can Do Without Denominations

Wow, those Southern Baptists sure don’t waste any time.

Seems like the Alt-Right only really came to the attention of the mainstream for the first time back in September when Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous “basket of deplorables” speech in New York City. Whether calling a significant number of Trump supporters racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic hurt the Clinton campaign is a matter of opinion; what isn’t debatable is that today the “deplorables” have their guy in the White House.

The Dems don’t.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Bad Idea Revisited

Here’s yet another post about the need to reunite the visible Church. They’re a dime a dozen at the moment, a fact which might set off alarm bells in the heads of our premillennialist readers.

As is usually (but not always) the case, well-intentioned folks are convinced the Church cannot be effective on the world stage until it is politically unified:

“The first step in [retaking our culture and rebuilding our civilization] is UnSchisming the Church. And the first step in UnSchisming the Church is to agree that the Body of Christ needs to be whole again. The 3 segments of the Church [Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant] are going to have to agree to that before we can make any movement on resolving this issue.”

Color me a bit cynical on that front, but I appreciate the thought.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Can I Sit Down Yet?

Ever sat through an 18 minute prayer?

I have, and I promise you it is tough sledding. Anyone who says otherwise nodded off for ten minutes in the middle.

Is that an unspiritual attitude? I’m not trying to be mean. The prayer culprit almost surely thought he was doing a good thing. Perhaps he was trying to avoid a few minutes of awkward silence, or maybe he wanted to make sure every concern he thought was important to God got covered. Maybe he thinks a spiritual prayer is a long prayer, or maybe that’s just what he’s used to.

Maybe his dad prayed like that, and maybe inside he was screaming, “Can I sit down YET?”

Friday, June 16, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Rethinking Sunday School

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: I have a confession for you, IC. I was a terrible kid in Sunday School. I made everybody’s lives miserable, from the guy tasked with leading the singing to my individual Sunday School teachers. I really didn’t like it much.

The odd thing is that I had nothing against church particularly, or the Bible. I even believed it was true. But I was a total cut-up.

How about you?

Immanuel Can: Yep. Dead with boredom, and ready to make trouble.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Mark of the What?

Rod Dreher brought it out of the closet with The Benedict Option.

By “it”, I mean the ongoing discussion in evangelical churches about being “in the world” but not “of the world” in a political climate where the Powers That Be are increasingly disinclined to let anyone opt out of their pro-LGBTQWERTY program, and in which technology has given them the tools to make sure you don’t, at least not without hurting you in a big way.

Wait, what? You say there IS no ongoing discussion about these matters in your local church?

Why am I not surprised?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Letters from the Best Man (5)

The following is absolutely fictional and increasingly common. There is no Brad and definitely no Jill, in case that is not obvious. There are, however, way too many people in their position.

Dear Brad,

Yes, it has been a while, and I’m happy you feel up to keeping in touch. I know it’s been hard. Dan mentioned you ran into Jill at the mall, but neither he nor I can imagine how difficult that was for you.

Your account of that accidental meeting reminds me how easily we can miscommunicate, but I think I can relate to your confusion: years of familiarity combined with sudden, obvious emotional distance can make you reassess everything you once thought you knew.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let’s Just Back That Up A Step

From the Department of Missing the Obvious: I appear to have missed the obvious, and for most of my life. Funny how that works.

The more seasoned believers who read and comment here occasionally are welcome to have a giggle at my expense, though I know some of you well enough to be sure you’ll be considerably more gracious.

This is how the Christian life goes, right? So I throw this out there for any who are as thick as I am, which may well be nobody.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Agenda is Served

I don’t read much that comes out of the wilderness of liberal Christendom (some will argue that’s a good thing, and I won’t argue back). So it was a little jarring to come across a rather poetic meditation on the Holy Spirit here that refers to him throughout as “she” and “it”.

Uh, no. Just no.