Monday, September 25, 2023

Anonymous Asks (268)

“Is numerology an important area of study?”

I recently had an extended conversation over coffee with an old friend who is away from the Lord and experiencing all kinds of family troubles as a result. Being male, he has difficulty admitting he needs help, so during our chat he constantly deflected by talking about everything else in the world other than the current state of his relationship with Christ. Donald Trump. The LGBTQ lobby. The deterioration of the school system. You name it, he talked about it.

Needless to say, we did not get to the bottom of his problems at home. The conversation was extended, but it was not of infinite duration. Eventually he had to leave to pick up his daughter from school, and that was that.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Broken Window Sins

All sins create distance between man and God.

Still, even before the sun rises tomorrow, the proud man can stick a pin in his swollen ego; the narcissist can begin to learn empathy; the drunkard can put the bottle down before his liver finally packs it in; the liar can start telling the truth; and the thief can commit himself to making his victims whole. John the Baptist taught wholesale, on-the-spot lifestyle modification to all he baptized. When you just stop doing certain things and start doing the opposite, all kinds of wonderful stuff can happen.

Then there are the “broken window” sins.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (6)

Some people can find the church just about anywhere. Mike Fuhrer finds the church in Jerusalem during the great tribulation, and he gets this from today’s passage in the second chapter of Joel.

Now, there is no doubt he’s right about the Jerusalem part. Joel unambiguously locates the majority of his prophecy right in Israel’s capital. Throughout his three chapters, the prophet makes mention of Israel three times, Judah six, Jerusalem six and Zion seven. Unless all these 22 references are allegorical, there is no doubt about the geographic location in view. When Joel speaks of walls and houses, it is the walls and houses of Jerusalem he has in mind.

But the church? Really?

Friday, September 22, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Filling the Vacuum

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

Nature abhors a vacuum. This includes a spiritual vacuum.

Tom: The LA Times reports that when asked about their religious affiliation, millennials overwhelmingly answer “none”. That answer is not entirely accurate. As it turns out, a growing number of younger, nominally secular people are embracing practices like meditation, tarot, astrology, energy healing and the use of crystals.

Are you surprised, IC?

Immanuel Can: Not at all, actually. It fits perfectly with what we should expect.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Disaster of the Misled Middle

“Better to have an enemy who slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back,” goes the old saying.

It’s true. And the worst part is it that when your friend stabs you, he’s stabbing from behind your defenses already. An enemy’s danger you can see coming; a friend’s you cannot. An enemy you can fight with all you’ve got. But when it’s a friend that one must fight, there’s grief, self-doubt, hesitancy, restraint and a profound sense of loss at every step. You hang on longer to hope of a reconciliation, of healing and of forgiveness, even when those things don’t appear. That’s why friends can hurt friends in ways no enemy can.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Darkness and Light

Let’s face it, Christianity has never been a major attraction for the cool kids. These days, some churches have no kids attending at all. Young people from Christian homes who continue to accompany their parents to church throughout their teens and early twenties often find themselves with a very short list of prospective candidates for dating or marriage. It is increasingly common for these young people to head off to college and come back for Christmas or Thanksgiving with an unbelieving boyfriend or girlfriend. Absent a successful intervention from fellow believers, we all know where that path ends.

Why does this happen so often? Surely not because the scriptures are unclear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Not Peace but a Sword

The popular notion that lemmings in the wild commit mass suicide by leaping off cliffs is a sixty-five-year-old lie that has attained the status of myth. So says the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The perpetrators were employees of the Disney Corporation in a 1950s documentary called White Wilderness. They staged the fake lemming migration with a combination of tight camera angles, judicious editing and a turntable, of all things. For the legendary cliff scene, they hurled lemmings into an Alberta river from off camera and captured them on film thrashing and drowning.

The reason? It made for good TV. Seriously.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Anonymous Asks (267)

“Can a Christian be a stay-at-home dad?”

All “Can I” questions from Christians provoke much the same reaction in me, which is something along the lines of “Why do you want to do something you already suspect is questionable?”

In this case, really questionable.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Flyover Country: James

Paul wrote the majority of New Testament letters. These almost exclusively take the form of one or more persuasive theological arguments buttressed by proofs of various sorts, usually sandwiched between greetings and salutations. Peter’s first epistle follows a similar pattern, as does Hebrews. Others, like Jude and 2 and 3 John, were written with a single evident concern or focus.

James, not so much. He is all over the map.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Mining the Minors: Joel (5)

Joel chapter 2’s appeal to return to the Lord has a timeless quality.

Unusually for prophetic scripture, Joel has left undescribed the specific sins of Judah for which God is calling her to account. We can only guess the “when” and the “what” he feels compelled to address. The prophet could be calling any generation of Israelites to return to behavior suited to a covenant relationship with their God — any generation, that is, that still understands the meaning of fasting and mourning, of grain and drink offerings, of the trumpet blown to call together the solemn assembly.

Israelite worship came with a lot of baggage.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Pendulum Swings

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

Pride Month in Canada has come and gone, but there are still rainbows everywhere: in banks, fast food outlets and all sorts of corporate venues where you wouldn’t have seen them a decade ago. Our office building had a display in the lobby. If we were to judge the general acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle on the basis of such evidence, we would have to conclude public support for a practice the word of God condemns as an abomination has never been higher.

Not so, say the polls. Interestingly, it’s Millennials who most egregiously dissent from the “conventional wisdom” of their peers.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

A Nation of Useful Idiots

This isn’t going to be a nice post. It’s going to be rude, pointed and blunt. It’s definitely going to offend a lot of people … maybe as many as half of our readers. But that’s also one difference we at Coming Untrue have long prized in comparison to some other, more diplomatic sites: we’re not going to back down on principle in order to stroke an audience.

If political correctness and flattery are what you like, you’d maybe better move on now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Wandering Spirits

In my perambulations far from home the other day, I came across yet another educational institution with a new and utterly unpronounceable indigenous name, replacing the original and admittedly blander “Eastern Commerce School”, which could mean anything at all, including an experiment in Chinese democracy. The sign in the photo to the right was on prominent display.

For those readers not up to speed, our Canadian government has taken upon the State the burden of generations of corporate guilt with respect to its ancient predecessor’s dealings with the native Canadian population. That’s a load that does not sit lightly on its bearers, or conveniently evaporate in the sun when we tire of bearing it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (28)

Judd is writing a letter to the editor at one of his frequently visited websites. He finds it suboptimal that despite “signaling moderate distaste” for Donald Trump, its editor would actually consider voting for the man should he run for president in the 2024 election. Judd’s counterproposal is that the Republican Party seek out a candidate who epitomizes biblical values rather than a divisive individual sporting a well-acknowledged plethora of warts and wrinkles.

By way of correction, Judd offers a familiar proverb. To his mind, the teaching of scripture should be conclusive: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”