Showing posts with label Too Hot to Handle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Too Hot to Handle. Show all posts

Friday, February 23, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Biocentrism and Reality

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

The soul: it’s a heavy topic, and one that not everyone agrees about. Dr. Robert Lanza is a biologist who says that consciousness creates the universe rather than the other way around. He’s what is called a “biocentrist”. His is a relatively new theory, having come into play around 2007. The fundamental notion behind it is that the much sought-after “Theory of Everything” scientists are looking for cannot be found until biology is placed at the head of the sciences.

Tom: It’s interesting, Immanuel Can, to see the spiritual dimension of life acquiring some scientific credibility. Do you want to take a shot at explaining Dr. Lanza’s theory?

Friday, February 16, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Speaking Out of Turn

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

If the quotation in this Breitbart article is even close to accurate, the head of the Roman Catholic church has just thrown one of the most important principles of first century Christian faith under the bus:

“The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never. The last thing I should do is speak.”

Tom: So now the most revered figure in one of the world’s biggest branches of Christianity insists all testimony to Christ must be non-verbal. What do you think of that, IC?

Friday, February 09, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: What’s the Point?

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

Some people market Christianity like fire insurance, and others buy into it in fear of judgment. Then there are the folks like Joel Osteen who tell us being a believer will make us powerful and successful. Others who claim to represent Christ tell us that knowing Jesus will make us better human beings, improve our relationships or help us cope in bad times. Intellectual believers may say that in their search for truth, the Christian worldview best explains things about which they have always wondered.

Tom: Immanuel Can, there is a certain amount of rationality in most of these motives, but do they really get to the core of the Christian message?

Friday, February 02, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him

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

The German mathematician Johannes Kepler once responded to a question about his work in astronomy by saying “I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.” If that’s true in math or science or any search for “small-t truth”, it’s most applicable when we come to the study of God’s word. Explaining “Big-T Truth” for our fellow believers so they may grow up in Christ is one of the most important tasks ever given to men, and the challenge to do it right is described by Peter in the words “whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God”.

Tom: IC, we were just emailing each other about a sequential exposition series you’ve been sharing with other men in your own local church. Describe for our readers the small problem you’ve encountered and have needed to work at overcoming in the process.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: A Bit Too Agreeable

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

David de Bruyn’s series of Letters to Stagnant Christians at Churches Without Chests hit what both Immanuel Can and I considered its peak this week. It’s an insightful post entitled “Confirmation Bias” in which David makes the case that it is possible for Christians to fail to grow in Christ as they should, not because they agree too little with what they hear, but because they agree too much.

Tom: Now, that sounds a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it, IC?

Immanuel Can: Well, yes. We might wonder how it’s possible to agree too much with anything God says. That seems highly implausible at first. You’re going to have to unpack that a bit, I’m thinking.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Past the Man to the Message

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

Roughly eight years ago now, I watched a couple of Mark Driscoll videos and commented on them here. Driscoll, once dubbed “one of the nation’s most prominent and celebrated pastors” by no less than Forbes magazine, took a tumble about a decade back, resigning from his pastorate at Mars Hill Church in Seattle over accusations of arrogance and a “domineering style of leadership”. He reappeared in Phoenix around 2016, after which I lost track of him.

Driscoll’s sermons were edgy and frank, his style ultra-modern. Immanuel Can sent me a link to one of his more recent videos this week, and not much about the man has changed in the last decade, except maybe the addition of a beard and the affectation of some “manly man” stage gear: faded jeans, boots and an outdoor work jacket.

Tom: I’m not sure if you are aware of this, IC, but a decade ago Driscoll’s favorite schtick was to trash the Christian men in his audience while lauding the women and feminists, especially single mothers. He seems to have done a complete about-face, and is now encouraging Christian males to be “traditional men”, and pointing out ways in which the church has been regrettably feminized.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Sexual Morality and Civilization

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

A friend recently sent me a link to this Kirk Dunston blog post on the importance of sexual morality to civilization. Dunston was struck by the relevance of Joseph Unwin’s research to our particular moment in time, as summarized in his 1934 book Sex and Culture.

Tom: Being a philosophy bug, I thought you might find this interesting, IC. I had certainly never come across Unwin’s research before. It sounds fascinating. Basically, as Dunston puts it, he “examines the data from 86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures”.

Few would attempt to argue our culture is currently flourishing.

Friday, January 05, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Friendship and Testimony

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

Earlier this season, TV host Ellen Degeneres took some serious flack for sitting side by side with former U.S. President George Bush at an NFL game in Dallas, especially because she and Bush appeared to be having a good time with one another. Twitter promptly erupted into the usual outrage-fest, with commenters calling Bush a “war criminal” and so on, obliging Degeneres to defend herself:

“I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”

Tom: No shortage of Christians expressed approval of Degeneres’ comments.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Nonsense That Remains Nonsense

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

Tom: C.S. Lewis has a line I love. He says, “Nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.” It applies nicely to lots of religious words and concepts.

I felt a little like that reading the Moody Publishers piece you sent me this week, Immanuel Can. The author of “Worship Leaders: We Are Not Rock Stars”, Stephen Miller, has written a short promotional piece entitled “Worship Leaders are Theologians”, in which he uses one extra-scriptural term to define another. My head is spinning trying to sort out all the modern church-speak.

How far away are we getting from the New Testament here, IC?

Friday, December 22, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Diluting the Faith

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

Salvation Army founder William Booth once said, “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be: Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.”

Author Daniel Sweet believes American Christianity is already there. One of the problems Sweet identifies is the dilution of the faith almost exactly the way Booth described.

Tom: What do you think, IC? Any of Booth’s formulations ring true to you? I’d argue politics was always without God, but other than that …

Friday, December 15, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The New Social Engineers

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

In this four minute YouTube video on the subject of gender, race and identity, Douglas Murray has a word to the wise about Google, Facebook and Twitter: Big Social is actively trying to change how you think about these issues through a variety of means, including the results you see when you use a search engine online. Spoiler alert: corporations do not have your best interests at heart.

Tom: It’s rarely an effective strategy to announce to your audience, “Here’s a big plateful of tedious propaganda. Chow down.” Our would-be societal engineers are a little smarter than that, aren’t they, IC?

Friday, December 08, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: American Laodicea

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

In a blog post entitled “The 10 Biggest Issues Christian Americans Are Facing Today”, author Daniel Sweet maintains American Christianity is Laodicean in character. Sweet reads the Lord’s condemnation of the church at Laodicea and says this:

“Yes, that’s America. With atheists becoming more strategic in championing their godless worldview, the increasing reticence of Christians to engage in faith-oriented conversations assumes heightened significance. Why would a Christian be reticent about living and sharing his faith in Jesus Christ? Could it be because neither the Word nor the Lord is real to them? And could that be because the doctrine presented to most Christians is illogical, self-contradictory, confusing, bland or unmotivating?”

Tom: That’s pretty harsh, Immanuel Can. Do you think it’s accurate?

Friday, December 01, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Upside-Down World

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

Two weeks ago, a British court ruled that transgender fantasies now officially trump the word of God in at least one Western state.

Tom: Here’s the wacky ruling in a nutshell:

“Belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals ... in so far as those beliefs form part of his wider faith, his wider faith also does not satisfy the requirement of being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.”

Well, here we are, IC, “not worthy of respect”. How will we look at ourselves in the mirror?

Friday, November 24, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Emperor’s New Clothes

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

Christopher Dummitt is an Associate Professor of History at Trent University, and he has a confession to make: “I basically just made it up.”

Tom: He’s not the first, and he’s probably not the worst, but Dummitt is keen on taking either credit or blame (it’s not always clear which) for successfully swaying Canadian public opinion about sex and gender. He used to tell his students and readers that gender is entirely a social construct, not a biological reality. Today, the vast majority of Canadians believe him.

Problem is he was misusing his authority to deceive the public. The Emperor would go out tonight, but he doesn’t have a stitch to wear. Likewise, Dummitt had no substantive evidence of any sort to offer for his ideology-based position. As he now admits, his so-called “proofs” may legitimately be interpreted any number of ways. He used rhetoric and the “appeal to authority” fallacy to patch the gaping holes in his argument.

But we knew that, didn’t we, IC?

Friday, November 17, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Nothing to Complain About

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

Monty Python’s Eric Idle on their movie Life of Brian:

“Our movie is a kind of parody of a Hollywood biblical epic. And we realized we couldn’t really write about JC, because there’s nothing you can complain about. The man said, you know, ‘Blessed are the poor,’ ‘Feed and help people ...’ There was something more interesting about exploring what followers of a religion do, both to the religion and to the people they follow, and how unhealthy that becomes.”

Tom: Now, if we really wanted to be critical, IC, we could probably carp about Idle misquoting the Sermon on the Mount or being a bit flippant, but I found the point he was inadvertently making here much more interesting, and that is this: a troupe of comedians legendary for fearlessly spoofing everything under the sun drew a line in the sand at trying to make fun of Jesus Christ. And they did it themselves, not out of fear or respect, apparently, or even because of economic considerations, but rather because they came to the conclusion there were no legitimate laughs to be had at Christ’s expense. There really is nothing you can complain about in the life and character of God’s beloved Son.

Immanuel Can: No, indeed. It’s interesting that the Lord always seems to get a reaction nobody else ever gets, isn’t it?

Friday, November 10, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: These Things Break Bones

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

In sharing Christ with others it is not unusual to come across an unsaved person who is honest, self-aware or willing to disclose where he is in his thinking. What is rare is to find all three in the same person.

Tom: I recently watched David Berlinski in a lengthy interview with Peter Robinson doing a very fine job of exposing the flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution. The exchange prompted a whole train of thought on how subtle self-deception can be, and how easy it is to sidestep the most important questions a human being can ever ask.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: A Sticky Situation

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

Tom: A couple of posts back, Immanuel Can made this comment:

“I don’t think most people understand what ‘situational ethics’ means. What I find when I ask them is they have no idea of the theory, or even of who Joseph Fletcher was, let alone what he said: they just think that whatever it is, it allows them to do as they please, and still claim to be ‘ethical’ in doing it.”

I haven’t heard the term in a few years, but I remember it was regularly referenced when I was growing up. 83% of atheists claim to believe all ethics are situational. What does that mean exactly, IC? Maybe some of the atheists hurling the term around don’t know much more than your first year philosophy students ...

Friday, October 27, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Not Even Once Through

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

Immanuel Can: I recently came across this quote, which might be worth a little back-and-forth:

“My wife and I are both voracious readers (two to three books a week), so there is little of intellectual interest that I do not enjoy. And of course, the Bible is perhaps the single most interesting book ever written, though it's not really ‘a’ book, is it? I have long been bewildered by the fact that so many people claim the Bible as their authority, but have never bothered to read, much less study it, even once, all the way through. Doesn’t that amaze you?”

Tom: Doesn’t that amaze me? Well, it does and it doesn’t ...

Friday, October 20, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Atheism by the Numbers

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

A short list of statistical data about atheists compiled by Pew Research Center:

94% approve of LGBTQ lifestyles
91% believe in evolution
87% approve of abortion
83% believe ethics are situational
78% are white
78% have no children
69% vote Democrat
68% are men
65% never discuss religion
54% feel wonder at the universe
43% have a college degree (vs. 27% general public)
40% are ages 18-29
40% have never married
  9% proselytize weekly

Tom: Some of these things I knew, some I didn’t. Anything you find surprising there, IC? I’ll admit to raising an eyebrow over the claim that only 9% are out there regularly commending their view of the universe to others. It sure seems higher than that online.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Five Bad Reasons (2)

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

Liberal Christian blogger Benjamin Corey claims more believers — especially older ones — are becoming “LGBTQ-affirming”, and this Pew poll appears to back him up. Whether this is due to social pressure, a fear of being thought intolerant or just plain old battle fatigue remains to be seen.

Tom: Corey lists five reasons he believes Christians are changing their minds about homosexuality. Immanuel Can and I are fisking his arguments for orthodoxy. We’re not finding much ...

Friday, October 06, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Five Bad Reasons (1)

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

More Christians are becoming “LGBTQ-affirming”, says blogger Benjamin Corey, basing his claim on this Pew poll.

This comes right on the heels of a Harris Poll commissioned by GLAAD which appears to indicate — much to the chagrin of LGBTQ advocates — that affirmation of same-sex relationships by unsaved millennials is trending in the opposite direction.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Over the Target

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

Immanuel Can: A thought occurs to me this morning. If there is one thing I could do for the people of God, I would want it to be this: I would want them to start talking again as if being a Christian really matters.

What I mean is that I’d like to provoke people to start saying things like, “Well, that’s the natural perspective, but how does the Lord fit into this situation?” or “What does the Lord have to say about the choices I have to make?” or “How do I get my kid to be more spiritual?” or “What will happen if I do X, in view of heaven?” You know the kind of thing … talking and debating as if something’s at stake there.

Tom: Okay, I can see that ...

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.

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.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Churches in the Crosshairs

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

Tom: Last week, IC, Bernie and I discussed the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Toronto, Canada, which consisted of 8,000 Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, Bahai, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and indigenous spiritualists. They gathered to complain about Donald Trump and disseminate tactics for effectively infiltrating evangelical churches in order to convert us to the globalist / ecumenicalist cause.

Since they’ve been so kind as to warn us of their intentions in advance, I thought maybe we could consider how best to keep them out, or perhaps how to bring them in while thwarting their efforts.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Those Pesky Evangelicals

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

The 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Toronto, Canada was ecumenicalism monetized, organized and with a working agenda for planet-wide spiritual dominion.

That’s not hyperbole. They’re not hiding much these days, and almost anyone who makes an effort is free to come in to their major gatherings and take a look. They want both a world government and a viable world religion to make it happen. Something close to 8,000 delegates got together to plug away at the project. These included Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, the Bahai, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, indigenous spiritualists and even a video message from the Dalai Lama. You name it, they were there. Carl Teichrib was also there, reporting.

Tom: Assuming it’s accurate, what interests me about Teichrib’s summary is that the Interfaith Engagement panel he attended was particularly troubled by evangelical resistance to their project. They considered at length how to break down the walls that keep evangelicals from fully participating in their little Babel 2.0. Their recommendations were intriguing.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Whole of the Law

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

For those who have never heard of Aleister Crowley, a short bio culled from information available at Infogalactic.

Crowley was born into a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Warwickshire, England in 1875, and rejected Christianity to become an occultist, poet, painter and novelist. A practicing bisexual, he founded the religion of Thelema, promoted a form of Satanism, traveled the world, climbed mountains, experimented with hallucinogens and claimed to be a prophet of the Egyptian god Horus. In his day, he was referred to as “the wickedest man in the world”. In 2002, the BBC ranked him as the 73rd greatest Briton of all time.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Screened Out

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

I don’t spend a lot of time browsing the The New York Times, but this article was worth a few minutes. Nellie Bowles describes an increasingly common phenomenon: screens everywhere you go, doing almost everything people used to be paid to do. Touchscreens provide a consistent user experience, don’t take sick days, don’t unionize, and the hourly cost of maintaining them is considerably less than that of employing a person. For all but the wealthiest couple of percentiles of society, technology has become the go-to substitute for human contact.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Church and Fatherhood

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

Tom: Last week I came across a U.S. federal government site designed to be a resource for fathers and families. While of course we applaud any such effort in a period when the family is relentlessly under attack from all sides, it seems obvious secular governments are not well-equipped to teach the more spiritual aspects of fatherhood.

Fathers do not exist simply to pay the bills and do the heavy lifting around the house. The last time we talked, we compiled a list of fatherly responsibilities from scripture, and it was not a short one. God did not intend fathers to be dispensable, whatever our society may think.

Friday, August 04, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Responsible Fatherhood

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

The U.S. federal government is teaching fatherhood. Stop and think how many ways that could go wrong.

Now, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) is not a brand new initiative by any stretch. It claims to exist in order to “provide, facilitate, and disseminate current research, proven and innovative strategies that will encourage and strengthen fathers and families, and providers of services.” This looks like it is mostly done through social media, websites and virtual training courses, as well as access to help lines and so on.

Tom: You’ve spent most of your life working with teens, Immanuel Can. How important is it to high-schoolers to have a father present and engaged in their lives?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Cult of Personality

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

Sunny Shell no longer follows John Piper or any of his ministries, and she certainly doesn’t endorse them to her friends. Why? Well, Piper invited speakers to his Desiring God National Conferences whose character and practices Sunny finds highly questionable, and Piper publicly participated in a “mystical type exercise”. Sunny concludes that Piper has been in some ways “led away from sola scriptura”, and has effectively written him off.

Tom: Now, I’m not about to critique Sunny’s choices here, Immanuel Can. I have more than a few doctrinal quibbles with Mr. Piper myself. But her post brings up a significant issue.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Ranking Evil

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

History has produced some seriously wicked people. On one level, that’s irrelevant: the comparative gravity or triviality of a man’s sins, as we assess them, makes him no more and no less subject to judgment than any human being born of Adam’s stock. Naturally speaking, we are all hell-bound and desperately in need of Christ.

Tom: That said, some of the people on this list have done incredible damage to the world and to their fellow men and women. Larry Taunton’s team ranked them 1-10. You may or may not agree.

What do you think of the list, Immanuel Can? Does it show a sense of perspective?

Friday, July 14, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

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

Time has a way of dealing with issues that once seemed irresolvable. In 2018, we passed the 25th anniversary of Gail Riplinger’s New Age Bible Versions, a 1993 offering that rocked the evangelical world by purporting to expose the NASB, NIV and other modern translations of the Bible as literally satanic and their translators as practicing occultists.

Friday, July 07, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Good, the Bad and the Godly

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

Plato is among the most influential figures in philosophical thought. He is an absolute giant, and it would difficult to overestimate the extent to which his writing has shaped the Western mindset.

That being understood, unless you have studied theology or philosophy, you may find it hard to understand how a 2,400-year-old dialogue has any relevance at all to the question of whether God exists. And yet one question posed by Socrates in Plato’s Euthyphro is still bandied about online regularly.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Evolution of Morality

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

Oliver Scott Curry, senior researcher at Oxford’s Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, believes morality evolved.

Tom: I don’t, and neither does Immanuel Can, which means we probably won’t be doing a lot of haggling with each other about this subject. For those interested, Curry’s seven “universal rules of morality” are: (1) help your family; (2) help your group; (3) return favors; (4) be brave; (5) defer to superiors; (6) divide resources fairly; and (7) respect others’ property. While we might all agree that life generally goes better within families and societies when these rules are observed, it is not at all obvious that they evolved.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The United Method

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

A few weeks back, the United Methodist Church voted to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy.

Tom: Now I’m not big on tradition for tradition’s sake, but I think this decision is probably worth remarking on just because it is so unusual for a large denomination these days. The progressives in every sizable group of Christians are always hard at work moving the window of acceptable discourse, faith and practice to the left, and have experienced great success over the last century or so. By way of contrast, “conservative” Christians have reliably failed to conserve very much at all. You’ve seen it, Immanuel Can, and I’ve seen it too.

Did you notice what made the difference this time?

Friday, June 16, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Surveillance State

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

CNET reports that the Chinese government is now using surveillance cameras, facial recognition and smart glasses to score people on their social behavior.

Tom: Mariel Myers says, “China plans to give all of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave.” Not ten years down the road, or even five, but next year. The technology is already up and running. Get a low enough score, and you could be publicly shamed or denied all sorts of privileges.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Abandoning Evangelism

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

Relevant Magazine says the results of this new study by Barna are shocking.

Tom: I’m more inclined to nod sadly at the obvious, I guess, which is this: 47% of millennials believe evangelizing others is … wrong.

I’m not sure why anyone is surprised. We live in a society that prizes tolerance, inclusivity and a sort of pseudo-respect for the traditions and culture of others above all else. On top of that, the vast majority of Christians have allowed their children to grow up in an environment that propagandizes them from 9:00 to 3:15 five days a week for most of their formative years.

What exactly did we think would happen, Immanuel Can?

Friday, June 02, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Goodness of Abortion

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

In the last two weeks we’ve seen first New York then Virginia begin to rewrite their abortion laws.

Tom: In their new Reproductive Health Act, the State of New York removed abortion from the State’s criminal code and expanded access up to birth and the third trimester in what Governor Andrew Cuomo called “the most aggressive abortion law in the country”. Lawmakers and bystanders literally applauded. Not to be outdone, a Virginia Democratic lawmaker promptly proposed a bill that would make it possible for a mother to retroactively “abort” her child minutes after he or she is born.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Heresy and Clerisy

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

It’s been a while, but Gretta Vosper is back in the news again. (Immanuel Can and I discussed her previous exploits here and here.)

This time, the United Church minister — the denomination’s only out-of-the-closet atheist — has dodged a bullet in the form of a looming heresy trial. Turns out the UCs just couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger. The United Church General Council says Vosper will not be placed on their Discontinued Service List, and she may continue to offer God-free services to a handful of aging parishioners.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Poisoning the Well

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

Rachel Held Evans hosts an ongoing discussion of Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian.

Tom: I’m not so much interested in rehashing the homosexuality aspect. That’s something I think both of us have dealt with elsewhere. But there’s an idea enunciated by Vines in his study of the Old Testament and reiterated by Held Evans in her discussion of his book that potentially applies more broadly; to things like the role of men and women in the church and the home and so on. That is this:

“We can accept Scripture as authoritative and true without accepting the patriarchal assumptions of the culture from which the Bible emerged”.

Immanuel Can, is there a sense in which you would agree with Held Evans’ statement?

Friday, May 12, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Debby Boone Theology

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

“It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right.”

— Debby Boone, You Light
Up My Life
(1977)

Immanuel Can: Okay, Tom. Remember that song?

Tom:hated the song, but I was wildly infatuated with Debby. I think I even had her poster on the wall in the basement bedroom I shared with my younger brother. I could just barely slide a female pop star (completely and decorously attired, I hasten to add, in a beige dress that did up at the neck and went down to her ankles) past my parents because “She’s a Christian!” Of course, I was all of sixteen at the time. Sadly, nothing permanent came of that little obsession: Debby has since married a fellow believer and, unlike many celebrities, has stuck with it going on forty years now. Good on her.

IC: Uh … right.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: On the Offensive

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

Tom: I’ve got a verse and a half for you, IC, followed by a question. Here’s the scripture:

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.”

Kind, patient, gentle: that’s the standard for the servant of God handling the word of God in the face of opposition.

Here’s my question: How do we reconcile the apostle Paul’s instruction to Timothy with the way he speaks in his letters or at other times and places?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Billy Graham Regrets …

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

Evangelist Billy Graham, in a 1977 interview with Christianity Today:

“One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.”

Tom: Does that quote surprise you at all, IC?

Friday, April 21, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Virtual Soapbox

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

IC and I watched a video the other day. Not in the same room, because we live many miles apart and can’t get together as often as we’d like. But we share many interests and tend to bounce links back and forth, and this was one of them.

I’d like to think we could learn something from it.

Tom: IC, I think we might be better off leaving out the names of the principals, because I’m going to be blunt about issues that have to do with body language and manner, as opposed to the content of a man’s argument, and since ‘the internet is forever’, I’d rather not go on record with those sorts of criticisms of people whose overall Christian testimony and handling of the word of God I respect and value. Cool?

Friday, April 14, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Snatched Up

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

Tom: So we did the Millennium, IC. Care to walk me through the ‘Rapture’?

Immanuel Can: I thought that was the same as the Second Coming. Next you’re going to tell me that Israel still exists and that I wasn’t predestined to election before the foundation of the world.

Tom: Do I need to put a </sarc> at the end there? Never mind. Sometimes you open a can and the worms just go everywhere ...

IC: Well, one way to manage the worms is to focus on making the distinction between the Second Coming and the Rapture.

Tom: Okay, then.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Situation Critical

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

Tom: By the time a cultural phenomenon makes it to The Daily Wire, it’s probably already at the tail end of the news cycle, which is about the time I usually discover things these days. Then, upon closer examination, I just happen to notice this “new phenomenon” is something that’s always gone on, except that somebody young and tech-savvy has coined a clever new name for an awful interpersonal dynamic and wants to tell us we should like it instead of hating it.

IC, let’s talk about “situationships”. Want to try to define this one for us?

Immanuel Can: In short, a “situationship” is an emotional and/or sexual relationship in which the terms of involvement are not defined to either participant. Usually it’s sexual, but the primary driver of the relationship is emotional entanglement with a decided “lack of commitment or clearly defined roles”. That’s how Corina Hsieh, the inventor of the term, defines it.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Golden Age

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

A few weeks back we spent some time considering eternity as described in our Bibles, and the various misunderstandings that exist about it even among believers.

Tom: I promised at the end of that exchange that we would put together some thoughts on the subject of the Millennium, the coming thousand year reign of Christ, a subject explored mostly in the psalms and the writings of the Hebrew prophets and touched upon only briefly in the book of Revelation, where we are told that Satan will have no part in it, having been consigned to the abyss.

So let’s talk about this golden age a little, IC. Why have a Millennium at all? Why is it so important? Why not transport Christians straight into our promised eternity with Christ?

Friday, March 24, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Kissing Through the Fence

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

Let me give you a scenario that plays out over and over again.

I’m a young Christian man, say … or maybe I’m a middle-aged Christian woman. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. But let’s go with the young Christian man for a minute.

I have always been told that, for some reason, it’s bad for a believer to partner up with an unbeliever. But now that I’m in the situation myself, I can’t quite see why.

Immanuel Can: After all, girl X (my intended) is a lovely person. She’s just like me. We have great conversations. She thinks exactly like I do about practically everything that matters. We have wonderful times together. And I have deep feelings for her.

Tom: “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right …”

Friday, March 17, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Crashing and Burning

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

We’ve all seen it, and seen it many times: a Christian in the public eye crashes and burns. He (or she, recently) confesses to the commission of one sin or another, usually an affair of some sort, and follows the confession by taking a time-out from the affected area of service (or leaving it altogether), announcing that the family needs “healing time”, and so on and so forth.

Tom: I bring this up because it’s happened again, IC. I’m not going to mention the name; the details are unimportant and likely unprofitable to pore over. But you and I have discussed the situation a little, and I wondered about your thoughts on how such things should be handled biblically. There aren’t many apostolic scandals recorded for us in the New Testament, are there …

Immanuel Can: No, there aren’t.