Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Corporate Setting

What is the “whole church” anyway?

Crawford Paul says, “Home studies, conversation studies, group prayer times etc. do not fall under that condition [the instructions of 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 about church order in which women are silent and men teach and lead, long as the whole church is not expected to attend or be gathered in one corporate setting. In these cases, men and women are free to participate in those activities.”

But what scriptural authority does Crawford have for this freedom of audible participation for both sexes in situations in which the “whole church” is not expected to be present but any combination of its members may be? If he has any, he does not cite it.

This may be because such authority does not exist.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Culture Creep

Early this year, Crawford Paul wrote about how local churches can change to promote growth. One commenter gently took him to task:

“Post what changes you want, and what it means to open discussions (women speaking?) and be more specific.”

Short version: I jumped all over the commenter, who seemed generally opposed to change in the church and suggested Mr. Paul’s posts were fostering discontent. It seemed to me he was reading things into Crawford’s appeals for change that simply weren’t there (the subject of women speaking was never addressed in the post). I even suggested the commenter might be jumping at shadows.

Now I’m wondering if maybe I owe the poor guy an apology. He may not be so paranoid after all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Sincerest Form

Imitation ... or caricature?
My uncle, having lived in England all his life, has an accent. It is strong and distinctive.

On occasion, my brother deliberately imitates him to humorous effect. You might think his version of my uncle exaggerated until you hear the real thing, when it becomes clear my brother’s homage may well not go far enough. Other times, in conversation with my uncle, one or another of his Canadian relatives finds himself unconsciously picking up and mimicking my uncle’s speech patterns.

Imitation may be conscious or unconscious, but it is always an action (as opposed to a state of mind). It is something you have to DO. Thinking about imitating someone is not imitation.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Found God in a Hallmark Card

Three unfortunate Will Bowen readers commiserate ...
Or not. Maybe you saw this on Facebook yesterday:

“EASTER symbolizes our own capacity to transform. Our ability to die to our former selves and awaken to a whole new life. Your ideal self lies dormant within you now ready to be called forth, ready to shine, ready to bless your world.”
— Will Bowen

Uh, well ... not exactly.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quote of the Day (19)

I find the following paragraph from C.R. Hallpike’s Do We Need God to be Good? An Anthropologist Considers the Evidence rather striking:

“This powerful and important doctrine for right living was worked out in great philosophical detail in Greece, India, and China; we do not find it in explicit form in the Old Testament which was not philosophically minded, but in the New Testament St. Paul added the religious virtues of faith, hope, and charity to the classical virtues of justice, reasonableness, courage, and self-control.”

I’m far from agreeing with Hallpike on everything, but he’s got me thinking with that line. The Old Testament, he says, was “not philosophically minded”.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Recommend-a-blog (18)

Larry Taunton is the author of 2011’s well-reviewed The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief and the author of the forthcoming The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, which I will probably have to purchase on the basis of the title alone.

Taunton is a Christian columnist and cultural commentator primarily known for organizing “The God Delusion Debate” with Richard Dawkins in 2007, a discussion to which at least a million people tuned in. He was friendly with the late Christopher Hitchens (hence the book, presumably).

He has also recently taken up blogging.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Getting Relevant

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Who Reads Anymore?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cognitive Dissonance

In my neighbourhood it has become trendy to post a blue sign on your front lawn, one that reads, “Leave fossil fuels IN THE GROUND”. I walk by several of these each morning.

These messages adorn the snow-covered lawns of $800,000+ homes with their natural gas furnaces blasting away in the face of our Canadian winter, their driveways filled with SUVs and other premium fossil fuel-consuming vehicles.

Such cries for change are eminently dismissable, their transparent virtue-signaling drowning in cognitive dissonance and unintended irony.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No Getting Around That

Rachel Held Evans vs. John Piper? Who could resist weighing in? Not me.

Some background: My favorite popular Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans has been sharing with her readers how well ditching “strict gender roles promoted by conservative evangelical culture” in favor of “a relationship characterized by mutuality and flexibility” is working for her and her husband Dan as they welcome their new baby into the world.

Yes, Dan is helping Rachel out by changing diapers, doing laundry, rocking the baby and making pot after pot of coffee.

Bravo, Dan.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tender Sentiments and Easy Living

How delicate can we get?
God, we are reliably informed, is eternal. He is also unchanging.

Oh, things certainly happen where God dwells; events on a scale we can hardly imagine. Think of passages like “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord”, or “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” or, best of all, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”. Momentous events indeed.

Still, if it is possible to speak of a heavenly culture (or perhaps atmosphere), that culture must, like the unchanging character of God, be impervious to trends.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

True Revolutionaries

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Trouble with the Truth

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: A Change in the Whether

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

Crawford Paul, who serves as an elder in an Ontario local church, has written a short post entitled “Consider Moving Your Prayer Meeting to Sunday”.

Tom: Now I’m not sure, Immanuel Can, how many churches in North America still have weekly meetings dedicated pretty much exclusively to prayer. It may not be a large number. Mr. Paul’s suggestion seems to be generally well received. But it does bring up the question of how much flexibility churches have in such matters, assuming we are using scripture as our guide, of course.

We might start by asking what constitutes a local church in the first place.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dial It Back A Notch

Marketing is an appalling thing.

My favorite sales technique is something called puffery, which is just what it sounds like: a whole lot of hot air. Okay, maybe “favorite” is the wrong word: it’s merely the technique easiest to identify, the one that, even to the uninitiated, screams ‘Marketing!’ at the top of its wheezy, overinflated little lungs. Once stung by the puffery-fish, you recognize it forever by any name.

Sadly, marketing to Christians has become just as fishy as marketing to secular rubes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inbox: Things Jesus Did for Women

Martin van Creveld is an Israeli military historian and theorist who, oddly enough, has written perhaps the best and most all-encompassing book I’ve ever found on the subject of equality. Equality: The Impossible Quest is not a theological book and van Creveld is not, to my knowledge, a Christian, but his diligent retracing of the historical development of the equality myth as it relates to all aspects of human interaction is well worth the few hours it takes to digest.

If equality was the original order of mankind (and it wasn’t, as demonstrated in an earlier post on this subject), something has gone very, very wrong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Inbox: Taking the Curse Away from Women

A commenter who uses the name Unknown takes issue with this two-year old post on the subject of the equality of the sexes in the New Creation.

This is a blog about growing in the Christian faith. IC reminded me last week that since December 2013, the CU staff has published well over 700 posts on various subjects or passages. Since there is no statute of limitations on comments here, we often have reactions submitted to older posts. One caution about that: there is no guarantee that something I wrote two years ago was expressed precisely the way I would express it today. While my convictions about the fundamental doctrines of scripture have remained consistent over the years, study and discussion with fellow believers often lead me to work through the occasional untested assumption and fine-tune my thoughts. When that happens, I’ll usually post something new about the subject or passage to clarify my current thinking.

That’s as it should be, I hope. The day we stop growing in understanding is a sad day indeed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Two Can Play That Game

Pearls of wisdom from Mary Kassian:

“A husband does not have the right to demand or extract submission from his wife. Submission is HER choice — her responsibility … it is NOT his right!! Not ever. She is to “submit herself” — deciding when and how to submit is her call. In a Christian marriage, the focus is never on rights, but on personal responsibility. It’s his responsibility to be affectionate. It’s her responsibility to be agreeable. The husband’s responsibility is to sacrificially love as Christ loved the Church — not to make his wife submit.”

So it is “HER choice — her responsibility … deciding when and how to submit is her call”. So declares Mary Kassian.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Where Did the Sabbath Go?

Doug Batchelor’s sermons on YouTube begin with the words “Happy Sabbath”.

Batchelor is a Seventh-Day Adventist, so this should not surprise anyone. Wikipedia calls Seventh-Day Adventism “a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday ... as the Sabbath”.

“Very few people, after accepting Christ, dispute nine of the Ten Commandments, but the fourth they often see as a ‘personal preference’ or optional commandment. But it’s not just a recommendation from Moses; it’s the law of the Almighty.

The devil doesn’t care whether your sin is adultery or murder or Sabbath breaking, just as long as he can get you to sin and separate you from God.”

That sounds serious. So how come so many evangelicals don’t keep the Sabbath? Are we all casual about obeying God’s commands, as Batchelor suggests? Are we perhaps misinterpreting scripture?

I don’t think so.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Inbox: The Original Order Was Equality

One of the great joys of blogging is receiving feedback from our readers. I mean that sincerely.

We love comments: wildly enthusiastic comments, bitterly hostile comments or comments anywhere on the continuum between them. The readers I enjoy engaging with most make an effort to moderate my views or qualify my interpretations with other scriptures. Right or wrong, that’s always welcome. If something I’ve written strikes you as goofy, ill-considered or off base, chances are there are ten other people (at least) out there reading the same post and thinking exactly the same thing.

An unknown commenter is looking to modify my views on equality, so let’s revisit the subject.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Stinkin’ Selfish

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Inbox: Poor Image Management

One possible reaction to Exodus 32
Qman wonders how we can answer Bible students who find that reading about the judgments of God described in the Old Testament leaves a bad taste in their mouths and inclines them to think unfavorably of God.

It’s a good question and a common problem.

The more I read my Bible (and the older and crustier I get), the more tempting I find it to respond to questions about God’s character dismissively.

Not constructive. Got to work on that.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Testimony in the Twilight Zone

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

How Saved Are You?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Amiable Hedonism

Not every hedonist is stretched out in the sun, skin as orange as Hulk Hogan’s, quaffing endless daiquiris and enjoying the unwavering attention of blondes in bikinis. Not at all.

The red-eyed, coke-nosed, nightclubbing rouĂ© is always easy to pick out of a crowd. Blatant dissipation has a certain look to it. It’s a look often accompanied by pickled livers, deteriorated septa and a pressing need for drugs with names that end in -cillin.

But there is a less-talked-about and much more amiable variety of hedonism that often goes undetected. The neighbour who just shoveled your driveway may have hedonistic leanings. Your hard-working best friend might be a closet hedonist too.

That lady who’s always fundraising for the church down the street? A total hedonist.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Recommend-a-blog (17)

Tim Barnett at Stand to Reason tells us why Christianity with a mythical Adam and Eve simply doesn’t work:

“Imagine a young boy sits next to his grandfather, and a large scar across his grandfather’s cheek catches the boy’s attention. The boy asks, ‘Grandpa, how did you get that scar on your face?’ The grandfather replies, ‘Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...’ Immediately the boy interrupts his grandfather, ‘No, Grandpa, I don’t want a fairy tale, I want to know how you got that real scar on your face.’

The problem of sin is real. We experience it every day. A fictional tale does not explain the fall of humanity into sin.”

Sunday, March 06, 2016

On Being Distinct

The golden calf episode at Mount Sinai was a moral disaster for Israel.

Idolatry was bad enough, but national idolatry on such a scale so soon after formally accepting the privileges and responsibilities of being called by Jehovah to be a people uniquely his own gave the lie to everything Israel was supposed to stand for. It made a mockery of Israel’s promises and a joke of its testimony to the nations around it. God struck the people with a plague, and Moses struck them with the sword of the House of Levi, killing three thousand.

Basically, a disaster.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Calf Exercises

How do you go from “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” to “Up, make us gods who shall go before us” in such an insanely short period?

And yet, I cannot imagine this sort of treachery and double-speak is characteristic only of Israel. “These things happened to them as examples,” Paul tells the Corinthians, “but they were written down for our instruction”.

We’re still reading them today, so maybe we can learn a thing or two.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Collision Impending

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

Germans in Stuttgart staged a protest rally last weekend over “family values”. At least 4,500 people took to the streets to protest new school curriculum that puts special emphasis on “sexual diversity and sexual minorities”.

What’s interesting about the German situation is that against the wishes of many Germans the Merkel government is importing unprecedented numbers of Muslims into its school system while simultaneously pushing an increasingly liberal social agenda, also against the wishes of a not-insignificant number of its citizens.

Tom: I bring this up, Immanuel Can, because our own Canadian government is on precisely the same trajectory and the U.S. is not far behind. It seems to me spectacularly ill-conceived social policy to pit one set of values against another. The cultural collision, when it comes, promises to be loud and destructive.

What are they thinking, IC?

Rewriting Reality

Immanuel Can: They’re thinking that if they absolutely insist on their own ideological perspective, push it no matter what, and see it through to the bitter end, then they will find themselves proved right. Reality will conform. Truth will bend. The future will be as they have predicted.

Tom: Basically rewriting reality. But any religious system that has survived 1,400 years of open hostility toward the rest of the globe is probably impervious to even the most Herculean efforts of liberal ideologues.

IC: But we all tend to see others in our own image, don’t we. We tend to assume that alien others are basically experiencing life as we do, operating on the same values and imperatives as we are, and aiming at the same essential goals we value.

That is charitable, on the one hand, because we’re giving these others credit for being reasonable and human, just as we see ourselves as reasonable and human. But there are two problems. One is that we ourselves may not actually be behaving reasonably, but rather acting in the grip of some ideology we believe too firmly to question or even recognize as an ideology; the other is that there are ideologies quite different from our own — so different, in fact, that we find it hard to imagine how people could be motivated by them at all.

But they really are. And believing that others are simply the same as us keeps us from looking carefully at their ideologies, or taking their beliefs as seriously as they need to be taken.

The Enemy of My Enemy ...

Tom: It’s a delusion helped along by the fact that Muslims and liberal progressives both generally vote on the left side of the political spectrum. But what is not always noticed is that though they may both vote Democrat or Liberal, they do so with very different agendas. These are not easy bedfellows. Their arrangement is very much a marriage of convenience, and will change drastically as soon as there are sufficient Muslim voters to lobby for the imposition of Sharia law. In Germany, for instance, once significant numbers of migrants become full-fledged German citizens, I think we’ll see them really start to flex their muscles culturally and politically, and we may start to see what is called a “preference cascade” in German society.

IC: Modern liberalism works perfectly for the Islamic narrative: it’s soft, permissive, and as Muslims see it, corrupt. By appealing to it and supporting it, they position themselves as victims when they are in danger of being criticized, but are free in all other ways to act with aggression against Western laws and values.

In the role of aggressors, they see themselves as quite justified by the corruptness of the West; but then they can use the narrative of modern liberalism to tag their detractors as “imperialists” and “Islamophobes” and prevent being called to account for their particular antisocial actions.

But this is hardly news. It takes an indoctrinated modern liberal to be so blind, so devoted to riding his own ideology into the ground, as not to see it.

Germany and Ontario

Tom: I think the German problem is not dissimilar to the one faced by the Wynne government in Ontario, except the scale is larger there. On the one hand progressivism requires educators to genuflect to cultural diversity and therefore to turn a blind eye to the more restrictive, legalistic aspects of Muslim culture; on the other, the far left is perpetually angling to get teachers to impose its progressive gender identity bizarreness on the coming and current generations.

These worldviews appear to be poles apart. I can’t see any common ground there at all. Are educators supposed to split the difference?

IC: No. What they do is this: they impose the gender stuff on the general population, but not specifically on Muslims. They preach it to everyone, but never, never call an Islamic person out on failing to obey it. They save all their self-righteous anger for conservatives and Christians.

I guess if we were being snide, we could call this the “Homos and Hijabs” policy.

Tom: Us? Snide? Never.

IC: Well, educators enforce the appearance of open-mindedness about gender and moral issues for everyone, but have a complete hands-off policy when it comes to criticizing Islamic practices.

Tom: Which is more than a little shortsighted, but as you say, they’re counting on Muslims eventually assimilating because progressive ideology is so compelling. They probably anticipate a few minor bumps in the road, but in their view the multicultural/social justice omelet is worth breaking a few eggs along the way.

Parsing Possibilities

So what do you see as the likely outcome of all this?

IC: Where this is going? Who knows? We might think it will inevitably issue in an Islamic takeover or the collapse of the West, but maybe not either. Scripturally, there is no reason why an ideology called “Islam” even needs to exist in the End Times, so it’s quite possible the whole thing would disappear. But maybe not. Who knows?

Tom: Yes, I know: “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a prognosticator!”

But let’s break that down a little. Three possible outcomes: One, we get to live under Sharia law. Two, parallel systems evolve to coexist within the same society until the whole thing collapses somewhere down the road. That’s already happening informally on a small scale in places where there are so many Muslims in the education system that those that aren’t simply move somewhere else where the demographics suit them better, leaving the Muslims to do as they please.

The one thing I don’t see happening is a compromise with Islam where Muslim children attend secular schools and sit still for Kathleen Wynne-style ideological programming. It’s a difference that can’t be split. Do we agree about that, or do you have a different experience with Muslims in the classroom? Do you get to see how this sort of thing is received?

IC: Muslims have two reactions. The less common right now is outright resentment (as when Islamic parents revolted and refused to provide their children for the new ‘sex ed’ curriculum). More common is that because numbers are still comparatively modest in some districts, they simply simmer. Whether this simmering will cool, or whether it stands to erupt is something we do not know absolutely. But it’s unquestionably there.

Tom: These are primarily kids born in the West, or overseas?

IC: Kids who’ve just arrived are of two types: the type that is glad to be here and has no interest in making issues, however traditional his own practices may be, and the type that is carrying resentment from his homeland and enacting it here. But it’s the second generation, the ones actually born here but raised on the politics of resentment derived from his ancestral home, who are most likely to go postal with it. I’ve seen that over and over.

By third generation, a degree of assimilation is more likely to have set in; but for all we know, that may only last so long as the migrant subculture here isn’t dominant in an area. After that, we may see more anger sustained in the third and fourth generations. We’ll have to see.

Tom: Not promising, for sure.

The Durability of Islam

IC: And that raises another question: how durable, really, is Islam? It already is in desperate straits in some ways: it’s lost its empire, been defeated at Jerusalem, losing its alleged “third holy site”, and is manifestly behind the West in technological and economic progress. The whole Middle East is afire with its homicidal insanity, as we see every day.

When you get to screaming and burning effigies in the streets, taking women by force and immolating your children, I think it’s a pretty clear indication your ideology is in a credibility crisis. And you know it.

Tom: Now, I would tend to agree with you on that last point, except I’d add this caution: Islam doesn’t have to succeed technologically or be able to maintain a credible and appealing ideology or even hang onto its “holy sites” in order to wreak total havoc in the West. We’re not talking about traditional warfare here, or some competition for hearts and minds between opposing religious ideas where the “winner” is the one with the most adherents at the end.

The average Western mind is entirely unprepared for the scale of cultural (and physical) damage that can be done by even a small percentage of Muslims committed to jihad. The West has entirely lost what columnist Mark Steyn refers to as “civilizational confidence”. Our institutions are almost uniformly leftist, and unwilling to admit there is any threat to our way of life at all.

My thought is that creating chaos in the West doesn’t require all these young Muslims in your classes and others like them all over North America and Europe to fail to integrate. It only requires one in ten, or one in twenty, or even one in a hundred to fail to integrate.

But now I’m prognosticating, and as you say, who knows where this is all headed? What I do know is that our current philosophy of progressive education is no match for even a small number of people prepared to kill infidels. They’re just not operating on that wavelength at all.

Parents and Children

No matter who comes out on top, it’s not an encouraging picture. What is a Christian parent to do about all this, IC?

IC: Well, we’ve got to take care of business at home. There may have been a time when we could trust the education systems of the post-Christian West to do a decent job of raising or educating our kids on our behalf ... and maybe not. But that time is long past. Parenting now needs to be more deliberate: a sort of counter-cultural deprogramming of what the world is feeding into our kids.

Tom: Agreed. Currently many Christian parents across North America are educating their kids at home. At present that’s viable in some parts of the West. I note, however, that progressives are not happy with this at all. In Norway, they’ve fought it tooth and nail, finally outlawing home schooling entirely. Which makes sense from their perspective: they can’t create a social justice paradise unless everybody buys in, and in order to get that buy-in, they need your kids where they can propagandize them.

IC: Absolutely. And we can expect that. Christians can do the right things now, regardless of consequences, because they have hope in eternity. But for the secular, liberal left, there is no hope but the belief in their own ability to engineer society to produce whatever earthy advantage they wish to produce. Thus they must, at all costs, seize the limited opportunity they have between the womb and the tomb to make their vision happen. And they think that the way to do it is to so indoctrinate the next generation with the liberal vision that their utopia has some chance of coming about.

They have no other hope: what else can they do? And what incentive have they to back off?

Global Fetishism

Tom: My own daughter is college age, and the Wynne government has introduced mandatory courses on globalism that blatantly push kids to mentally pledge allegiance to the U.N. ahead of family and country; to think “globally” about issues like the environment, tolerance and social justice; to prioritize a globalist, progressive worldview above all else. And the best part for them is they’re getting our college kids to pay for their own indoctrination.

IC: Well, and the Ontario curriculum was crafted by a child pornography collector under the direction of an adulterous lesbian, for the purpose of enforcing “sex education” according to their tastes. So they use the public purse just as freely to advance their agenda. They don’t like you saying that, but it’s obviously true: who else’s ideas would they be promoting?

At the same time, you notice that for all the invasive stuff they’re imposing on the general public they’re not even touching the question of what to do with conservative Islamists who utterly reject them. When they name their enemies, it’s the old triad of conservatives, Christians and Jews — never the Muslims. Again, it’s that H&H policy rearing its ugly head.

Tom: Indeed. We should get back to what you were saying about deprogramming our kids, because there’s certainly lots to deprogram them from.

Individual Opinions and Habits of Thinking

IC: Certainly. But here’s something Christian parents rarely understand: It’s not individual opinions that are the most pernicious thing our kids are receiving, as bad as some of those can be. For example, “Good people don’t express doubts about transgenderism” is far from the worst kind of thing they get. What’s far worse is the habits of thinking that they acquire: non-rationality, moral relativism, uncertainty about their faith, knee-jerk conformity to the average, terror of public opinion, consumerist identity-formation ...

Those things are far harder for parents to understand, let alone fight. But they’re far worse because they translate into a general pattern of life and set of attitudes that are thoroughly anti-Christian, and which pollute many opinions, not just one.

Tom: It’s a bleak picture we’re painting here. Got anything uplifting we can close with?

Cultivating the Renewed Mind

IC: Oh, yes. Here’s the good news. Christianity is about being different from your society. Not only that, it’s about thinking differently — not just having different opinions, but actually using different kinds of mental processes to decide what’s right, good and true. In other words, it’s about “the renewal of your minds”.

To benefit from this, all we have to do is soak ourselves in the Word and prayer each morning, not proceed into the secular day on our own steam. We also need to take the things the Lord reveals to our minds by his Spirit and obey them — put them into action in our daily lives.

If we do that, the Lord himself will renew our minds. And nothing the world throws up against our minds will withstand such an onslaught.

And if we don’t? Well, I’m sorry, but I just don’t have a working alternative to that.

Tom: Very much so. We’ve talked about the impending collision between liberal progressivism and Islam, but as it turns out they’re really two sides of the same poisonous lie: that Big Government and ideology — whether it be religious or secular, pushing toward Dar al-Islam or the Just Society — can transform the human condition and bring us heaven on earth. It can’t and it won’t, but that’s probably why the two apparently diverse worldviews are currently coexisting rather well.

Their real enemy is Truth.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

It appears some people have been doing a lot more thinking about gay marriage than I have.

Which is not to say it’s an unimportant issue in the Christian community. The number of people potentially impacted by the change in law, directly or indirectly, is significant. But my concern to date has revolved around the very real potential for government enforcement of ‘tolerance legislation’, something that could easily impact the self-determination of local churches. To me, that’s a major problem. Any thoughts about division within churches over the issue or about the impact of legalization on Christians with sexual orientation issues who might want to marry have been very, VERY secondary.

That’s because I don’t know any.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Answering a Skeptic

Not all college friendships last a lifetime, but one guy I went to school with has kept in touch for over 30 years. He maintained an attitude of genial bemusement about my Christian faith right up until his own daughter became a teenager, when he abruptly decided that a purely secular worldview was not what he wanted for her after all.

So I can relate to the plight of the writer of A Skeptic’s Journey Through the Bible, an anonymous blogger who says this about himself:

“Growing up a believer, I left my faith in my teens. Now that I’m at the age of starting a family of my own, I need to know in which direction to guide them.”

Fair point. Let’s help if we can.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Quote of the Day (18)

JR sends this gem along:

“As far as the leading of the Spirit, we only need Him to show up for 45 minutes at the breaking of bread to arrange the hymns and, after that, we’re pretty much good to go on our own.”
— Jabe Nicholson

No smart remarks from me today.

I figure I’ll just let that one sit there and burn for a bit.