Showing posts with label John the Apostle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John the Apostle. Show all posts

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Fair Chance to Fail

Sometimes I’m grateful there are limits to human knowledge.

Suppose you could see the future with reasonable certainty and could judge within a few minutes of conversing with friends, family members and acquaintances which of them will eventually be saved or how they really feel about you. Might you not be just a little inclined to change your behavior toward the ones you believe will never come to know the Lord, or toward the ones who bear hidden grudges or agendas, or simply don’t care about you as much as you care about them?

Oh, I don’t mean you might treat them differently in big, obvious ways. It wouldn’t be particularly Christian to snub, ignore or dismiss people; we wouldn’t do that. What I might be tempted to do would be a little subtler, and I’d probably rationalize it in the interests of time-stewardship: faced with an invitation to dinner with Person A or Person B, I’d probably opt to spend more time with the ones I judged closest to the kingdom or most in agreement with my own values.

To finite human beings, that would seem a reasonable way to proceed. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and only so many days in a lifetime. Why not use the moments you have to greatest effect?

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Retro Christianity

“In a post-Christian society, all faithful people begin to look a little Amish.”

— Ken Myers, host of Mars Hill Audio

Nice quote, Ken. Love the way you put that.

He’s got a point, though. In the ongoing moral and cultural decline of modern society, there must surely come a point at which the difference between how Christians live and how their neighbors live becomes too great to escape notice any longer.

And then, in a sense, we will all be “Amish”. I mean those who actually care to be Christians will be.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Retro Christianity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Anonymous Asks (29)

“Does Jesus love us all equally?”

Equality is the signal obsession of our age. I’m not sure people living hundreds or thousands of years ago would have asked this question or even thought much about it.

So let’s ask another one: does it really matter?

We already know Jesus loves us. You probably learned it in Sunday School: Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so. And one of the most famous verses in scripture tells us that “God so loved the world …” God gave his Son for us, and his Son gave himself on our behalf. That’s love.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Heretics and Coffee

What is a heretic, really, for practical purposes?

her·e·tic, noun, one who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine

No, no. If we’re going to sling around religious terminology, we’d better consult the experts:

“Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same …”
— The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2089)

We use the word pretty casually in Christian circles when someone says something a little off the spiritually-beaten track, but mostly we mean it frivolously.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Distance

Do you ever feel completely inadequate to the task of being a Christian?

The space between God and man is quite a distance to bridge, isn’t it.

I’m not talking about the distance between hell and heaven, or the moral distance between, say, Hitler and Jesus Christ. That’s obvious enough to not require a labored explanation. I’m not even thinking of the need to get saved or the importance of becoming reconciled to God and escaping the judgement we are all due.

No, I’m speaking here, not as a member of a fallen race, but as one who already knows and loves God and is seeking, however incompetently, to stagger along in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The distance between — the difference between — me and him … good grief!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Retro Christianity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quote of the Day (3)

James Bartholomew of The Spectator on the subject of modern virtue:           

“No one actually has to do anything. Virtue comes from mere words or even from silently held beliefs. There was a time in the distant past when people thought you could only be virtuous by doing things: by helping the blind man across the road; looking after your elderly parents instead of dumping them in a home; staying in a not-wholly-perfect marriage for the sake of the children. These things involve effort and self-sacrifice. That sounds hard! Much more convenient to achieve virtue by expressing hatred of those who think the health service could be improved by introducing competition.”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dogs, Sorcerers and Saints

I have a Catholic friend who is not a fan of the name Peter. She almost flinches at it. The name has associations, you see.

I think she’s sorta half expecting to meet him someday. Maybe.

In the tradition in which she was raised, Peter stands at the gate of heaven as an endless stream of the dead parade before him. As the man with the keys to the kingdom, she was taught, he personally gives the final decree on whether you go “up” (in her words) or “down” (presumably with his thumb, being the hip fellow Peter is reputed to be), all on the basis of the things you have done in this life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Content-Free Christianity

Christianity ... without all the nasty Christian bits.
Watch out: it’s catching on.

I mean, I thought Gretta Vosper was impressively brassy. (For those unfamiliar with Gretta, she’s the atheist United Church minister and author who doesn’t believe in the historical Christ. She has a congregation of less than 50 and thinks things are great. And don’t forget, you can have her new book Amen delivered to your door for just a little over Cdn$45 if you suspect she might have something profound to say about ... not believing.)

But though she’d be content to amend the word “God” to read “good” and carry on with many of the traditional forms tweaked only slightly, at least she seems to understand that she is not a Christian.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Missing Ingredient

What is understanding? Here’s what they think at Harvard:
“In a phrase, understanding is the ability to think and act flexibly with what one knows.”
In other words, understanding is putting information into action, applying what we have learned in a practical way to our lives.

So did something go wrong with the 2008 presidential election? Because everybody agrees President Obama is a pretty smart guy. Surely he had lots of “information” to put into action.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Political Correctness, the Slave Metaphor and New Testament Truth

Mary C. Curtis at the Washington Post is not a fan of politicians invoking the “slave” metaphor to get attention:
“There are many ways to make a coherent, urgent political point without recalling the rope and the whip, the rapes and murders. Slavery, part of our shared American history, is not just a word … To use past anguish as present-day metaphor trivializes evil and shows disrespect to those who endured.”
But, to be fair, hyperbole is a pretty common device.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Believers That Sin & A God In Whom Is No Darkness At All

A more current version of this post is available here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

On Reorganizing our Concept of Love

The following is excerpted from a sermon I enjoyed last night (I did, in fact, warn the preacher that he was likely to be transcribed):
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
“God is love,” says the Bible.

We must be careful that we don’t make of that something sentimental or insincere. God is love, but in our society today, many people believe love is god.

And there’s a difference.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Heretics and Coffee

The most recent version of this post is available here.