Jul 26 2010

Misusing Scripture #4

Category: church,liberty,religion,theologyharmonicminer @ 1:05 pm

The last post in this series is here.

I recently heard a Christian speaker saying, yet again, that the “public” thinks Christians are “judgmental” and that we should try not to project that attitude.  You’ll also read in books like unChristian that society in general sees Christians as “judgmental.”  The problem with this, of course, is that “the public,” which I take to refer to that segment of society that is relatively unchurched, gets its attitudes towards Christians from the media, movies, MTV, TV, some amount of reporting in the news (which always gravitates to what it sees as the most extreme examples of “religious people”), etc.  How many of those people with such low opinions of Christians have a relationship with a vibrant Christian who loves the Lord?

It is difficult for the church to overcome the attitudes of people who really have little experience with the church or serious Christians, and who get their information third-hand from biased sources.

I’ve written on this topic of “judgmentalism” before, but I feel the need to add a bit.

Stressing that Christians should not be “judgmental” seems often to mean, by implication, that Christians should not uphold high moral standards and expectations, should not strongly teach traditional moral standards, and so on.  It seems especially common to have this emphasis in the “emergent church,”, or the “emerging conversation,” or whatever they’d like to call themselves these days, especially among authors like Donald Miller, Brian McLaren, etc.  You’re more likely to hear concern about “judgmental Christians” being expressed from these authors than from more traditionally oriented Christian authors.  It seems to me that the “emergent” authors are more likely to be concerned about traditional Christians being judgmental on, say, sexual matters, than they are about “emergent Christians” being judgmental of traditional Christians’ supposed selfishness and social disengagement.  It would seem they believe that Christians should not be much concerned about personal sin and immorality (if there even really is such a thing), as long as people are “taking care of the poor” and are nice to the down and out.

In fact, the “emergent” seem quite willing to be “judgmental” about others whom they view as being “judgmental.”

Why is that?

I believe it is due to an almost deliberate misunderstanding of the Biblical texts dealing with being “judgmental,” a misunderstanding that denies historical context and the rest of the Bible.

“Judging” is not the same as “evaluating.”  To judge is to impose a penalty or outcome of some kind as a result of an evaluation, all done by a person who has the right to do so, or believes he has.  When Jesus told the Pharisees not to judge, he was speaking to people who, in that cultural context, did have the power to impose certain kinds of penalties on other Jews, based on their judgments.

John 18 – New International Version

28Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

30″If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.

This shows that the Pharisees and Jewish leaders DID have the legal right to judge and impose various penalties, some quite severe, but they could not impose death as the Romans could.

John 3 – English Standard Version

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

This and other passages show that the power to judge was the power to condemn, meaning to carry out sentence flowing from judgment.  The good news was the the Son had entered the world to help sinful humans escape condemnation flowing from righteous judgment.  In the following passage, we also see the connection of judgment with the power to condemn, or punish.

John 12 – New International Version

47″As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

On the other hand, there are many passages where Jesus speaks to people quite directly about their sin.

John 5 – New International Version

5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7″Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ “

12So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

I strongly suspect that the Donald Millers and Brian McLarens of the world would accuse any modern person who uttered the phrase, “Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you,” of being very judgmental, even if that person had just rescued the putative sinner in some way, or fed him, or clothed him, etc.

Jesus did not use people’s sin as an excuse not to associate with them, or to serve them…  but he surely was very up front about it, and there was no ambiguity in him about his position on their sin.

Jesus and the Apostles tell us not to judge.  That is, we don’t have the right to impose penalties on sinners because of our evaluations of their guilt.  We don’t have the right to punish sinners ourselves.

Matthew 7 – New International Version

1″Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Again, it is clear here that judgment potentially involves taking action against the judged.

But when modern writers tell us not to judge, they often use the word as if it means “to evaluate” or “to express an opinion based on an evaluation” or something of the sort.  This is simply not the Biblical meaning of the word.

If we were commanded by Jesus not to evaluate people’s behavior, nor to express our opinions of that behavior from a moral perspective, we would have no explanation for passages such as these:

Galatians 5 – New International Version

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Matthew 15 – New International Version

19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “

Read Matthew 23. Doesn’t Jesus sound just a bit “judgmental” here? But he is not being judgmental. He is observing behavior, and predicting its consequences if the behavior does not change. He is not, in other words, doing the thing he instructed others not to do.

Mark 7 – New International Version

20He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “

Even in the case of someone who refuses to end behavior that the entire church finds offensive, we have no right to directly punish, but only to shun:

Matthew 18 – New International Version

15″If your brother sins against you,[b] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Clearly, evaluation is not judgment. Expressing an opinion based on evaluation is not judgment.

Be careful of those who tell you not to judge, when in fact they may be saying they don’t want you to evaluate someone’s behavior, nor to express an opinion about it.  In particular, I seem often to hear or read of emerging church authors encouraging us not to be concerned about immoral behavior…  as if our very moral standards, and publicly expressing those standards, are what drives people away from Christ.  Of course, they don’t directly tell us “not to be concerned about immoral behavior.”  Rather, they tell us to simply stop talking so much about particular sins that they don’t find particularly troublesome, or else people will say we are being “judgmental.”

I highly recommend I Corinthians 5, a passage from which quotes are rarely drawn by “emerging conversation” authors.


Jun 27 2010

Multi-culti theology at Claremont

Category: church,God,higher education,theology,universityharmonicminer @ 8:48 am

Incredibly, the Claremont School of Theology is getting ready to expand its offerings, just a tiny, wee bit:

In a bow to the growing diversity of America’s religious landscape, the Claremont School of Theology, a Christian institution with long ties to the Methodist Church, will add clerical training for Muslims and Jews to its curriculum this fall, to become, in a sense, the first truly multi-faith American seminary.

The transition, which is being formally announced Wednesday, upends centuries of tradition in which seminaries have hewn not just to single faiths but often to single denominations within those faiths. Eventually, Claremont hopes to add clerical programs for Buddhists and Hindus.

Although there are other theological institutions that accept students of multiple faiths, or have partnerships with institutions of other religions, Claremont is believed to be the first accredited institution that will train students of multiple faiths for careers as clerics. The 275-student seminary offers master’s and doctoral degrees.

“It’s really kind of a creative, bold move,” said David Roozen, director of the Institute for Religion Research at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. “It kind of fits, to some extent, California…. I think there will be a lot of us who will be watching that experiment.”

Claremont’s administration sees the multi-faith expansion as the wave of the future in American theological training. But it is straining relations between the school and more conservative elements of the United Methodist Church, which this year was expected to provide about 8% of Claremont’s $10-million budget. The church suspended its support for the school earlier this year pending an investigation.

I’m not sure just what is meant by the phrase, “the more conservative elements of the United Methodist Church.”  Would that mean the people who think Jesus was actually the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, who was born to the virgin Mary, died on the cross, and was bodily resurrected by the Father on the third day?  Whose sacrifice is the means for our forgiveness, who atoned for our sins by the crucifixion, who demonstrated the He alone has the power of eternal life, as demonstrated in the resurrection?

I suppose that these days only “conservatives” believe these things.  For all the rest, who think the “narrative” is what matters, that the “metaphor” of the resurrection is meant to apply in some analogical way to human life and society, nothing much is true enough to fight for.  Why shouldn’t Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., get their innings?  After all, don’t they have a narrative, too?  Don’t they have some of God’s truth?  What are we worried about, anyway, if all truth is God’s truth?

In the meantime, I think it’s a safe bet that John Wesley, founder of Methodism in the 18th century, would be beyond appalled.  I can’t help but wonder what (few?) remaining United Methodists who believe in orthodox Christian teachings are thinking about this.  I would guess the response of the United Methodist Church to this decision is going to tell the tale.   I am not very optimistic about it, given its recent history.  Essentially, if the UMC doesn’t rise up as a body and resoundingly reject this out of hand, they should just give up, and change their name to Social Justice, Incorporated, or maybe United for Leftist Politicians (ULP).  Or they could just join the Unitarians, who don’t believe in Jesus either.

In the mad dash to be a better exemplar of “diversity” than the other guy, look for other (especially denominationally untethered) seminaries to follow Claremont’s lead.  One can only wonder where they’ll draw the line.  Why not mix in a little Hopi Indian tradition, some voodoo, and a dash of Shintoism?  And these multicultural days, what about Zoroastrianism, or, for that matter, cannibalistic fertility cults of the south Pacific, or African tribal rites?  Who is to say where some slice of God’s truth may not be found?

When Claremont starts building Aztec pyramids in the parking lot on Foothill Avenue, I’m going to begin sticking to the 210 freeway whenever I drive through the area (well…  if the freeway sniper doesn’t make a reappearance, anyway).  I don’t think I would be an acceptable sacrifice to appease the Sun God (who, to the surprise of the eco-pagan Cult of Gore, seems to be unusually quiescent this year), but I don’t want to find out the hard way.  Hey…  maybe the new religion of eco-pagan EarthWorship could get a department at Claremont, too!  Oh, I forgot….  they already have one at most universities.  They just need to move it into the School of Theology, where it belongs.  So maybe Claremont will be ahead of the game.

When this whole Aztec-sacrifice-in-the-parking-lot thing really gets up in high gear, it’s going to do a number on the restaurant trade in the city of Claremont.  Talk about eating meat sacrificed to idols….


May 29 2010

The end is near?

Category: humor,media,society,theologysardonicwhiner @ 8:42 am

These truly are the end times.

The Fox show 24 is going off the air, having just broadcast its finale episode this week.

LOST is going off the air, too, with a finale episode this week.

I read somewhere that Ghost Whisperer, that paean to bad theology and ambiguous afterlife, is also going off the air.

And the show Numb3rs is going off the air.  I read somewhere that over the six seasons it aired, 666 murders were investigated (about five per show?), and at least 20 people survived non-survivable head wounds.  Besides that, the mathematical genius brother of the FBI agent seems to have had a relationship with numbers that can only be described as…  mystical.  Makes you wonder.  Was the show giving away the secrets of the apocalypse?

I’ve always wondered why Ghost Whisperer hasn’t featured an episode with all the terrorists that Jack Bauer killed on 24, but that’s just me.

So, my theory.

24 is going off the air.  That’s because Jack has already knocked off all the terrorists, and there won’t be time for any more to appear before the final apocalypse.

Ghost Whisperer is going off the air because all the dead people have already shuffled off to wherever they’re going, and there aren’t going to be any more dead people before the apocalypse, at which point talking to ghosts will be kind of pointless.

LOST is going off the air because pretty soon we’re all going to know exactly who is lost, and who isn’t.

Numb3rs is leaving us because it was just giving away too many hints about what the number 666 really means.  When I have some time I’m going to do a numerological analysis of the title of the show.  I’ll bet there is something encoded there, hiding in plain sight….

But when a bunch of long running shows are canceled all at once, including some with pretty good ratings…..  you have to wonder.  What are they trying to keep from us?  What secrets would have been revealed in the next episodes, if only they’d stayed on the air?

And finally, one other observation: almost no one is buying real estate these days, so almost no one is in escrow.  Since escrow is an eternal state (escrows never end), if no one is in escrow, then that means all escrows have ended.  But that means we must be at the end-times.  Well, the beginning of the end-times.  I suppose people with the mark of the beast might still be in escrow, still being able to buy and sell.

The proliferation of 2012 disaster movies is just a premonition of things to come even sooner.

Maybe even before the 2010 elections.  We’ll know if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid switch parties and become tea-baggers before November.

I’m predicting that the CW show Supernatural will have just one more season….  if that.  It seems that it’s getting harder and harder to put makeup on Satan.

So….  think of the current life on Earth as a very long running show that is about to be canceled, having been failing in the ratings lately.  Rumor has it that the studio Chief Executive sent in a Trouble-Shooter a couple-thousand years ago, but the production company has mostly failed to see reason, and is ignoring His advice.  The show was almost canceled once before, early in its run, when really bad weather interfered with the shooting schedule.

Better store water, food and ammo.  And gold.  Lots of gold.  Not that it will do you any good in the long run, but since you may be left standing around after the rapture (you can come to my house and move in, if you can find it, since my family and I are expecting to be on permanent vacation), you may find some temporal preparations useful.

Include a Bible in your stores.

You’ll be more interested in reading it then than you may be now.


May 24 2010

More potpouri

Racializing the news

It’s unseasonably cold at my house today, too.  It snowed this morning, a little, very unusual for this time of the year.

Why Israel Can’t Rely on American Jewish “Leaders”

This is what passes for “leadership” in American Jewry. A kabuki dance is orchestrated by an Obama fan to gather other Obama fans to air the mildest criticism and to avoid challenging the factual representations of an administration that is the most hostile to the Jewish state in history. As one Israeli hand who definitely isn’t going to be invited to any meetings with this president put it: “They may be fine rabbis, but they are out of their league here.” And by not directly and strongly taking on the president, they are, in fact, enabling the president’s anti-Israel stance. It is, come to think of it, more than an embarrassment; it is an egregious misuse of their status and it is every bit as dangerous as the quietude of American Jews in the 1930s.

Indeed.

Read Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy first, then read The Cost of Discipleship… again, if you’ve read it before, through the lens of knowing more about Bonhoeffer.

Apple removes app showing “violent and hateful passages from The Qur’an”; anti-Bible, anti-Christian app still on sale


May 06 2010

Time travel into the future?

Category: science,space,theologyharmonicminer @ 8:04 am

Time Travel Is Possible, Says Stephen Hawking

Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking believes humans are capable of time travel — and he’s not afraid to let everyone know.

Claiming he is not as concerned about being labelled crazy as he once was, Hawking has publicly aired his second startling theory in two weeks, after last week claiming it was “entirely reasonable” to assume aliens existed.

Preparing for the debut of his Discovery documentary, Stephen Hawking’s Universe, which screens next week, Hawking said he believed humans could travel millions of years into the future and repopulate their devastated planet.

Hawking said once spaceships were built that could fly faster than the speed of light, a day on board would be equivalent to a year on Earth. That’s because — according to Einstein — as objects accelerate through space, time slows down around them.

Which also means that Hawking’s theory only applies to moving forwards through time.

Moving backwards is impossible, Hawking says, because it “violates a fundamental rule that cause comes before effect.”

If moving backwards through time was possible, a person could shoot their former selves.

“I believe things cannot make themselves impossible,” Hawking said.

However, once spaceships approached the speed of light, their crew would start skipping through Earth years on a daily basis, giving the human race a chance to start again.

“It would take six years at full power just to reach these speeds,” Hawking said. “After the first two years, it would reach half light speed and be far outside the solar system. After another two years, it would be traveling at 90 per cent of the speed of light.”

“After another two years of full thrust, the ship would reach full speed, 98 per cent of the speed of light, and each day on the ship would be a year on Earth. At such speeds, a trip to the edge of the galaxy would take just 80 years for those on board.”

Manchester University professor Brian Cox told The Times that Hawking’s theory had already found some basis in experiments carried out by the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

“When we accelerate tiny particles to 99.99 per cent of the sped of light in the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Geneva, the time they experience passes at one-seventhousandth of the rate it does for us,” Prof Cox said.

Hawking admits he is obsessed with time travel — he told the Daily Mail if he could go backwards he’d visit Marilyn Monroe in her prime or drop in on Galileo — but said as he got older, he cared less about what people thought of his theories.

“Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a crank,” he said in Stephen Hawking’s Universe.

“These days I’m not so cautious.”

We are all time travelers heading into the future, of course, just somewhat more slowly.

I’d love to know what kind of space-drive Hawking has in mind to achieve 98% of the speed of light.  Whatever it is, I doubt Al Gore will approve…  unless, of course, a galactic warming conference is being held in the Large Magellanic Cloud, in which case he’ll be sure to attend in his private light-speed yacht.

.


Apr 26 2010

What if YOU had a close encounter with the seemingly incredible?

Category: Bible,church,God,Iraq,theologyharmonicminer @ 10:23 am

How would you convince anyone it had happened?

Consider: if you were dropped off by a time machine a couple millennia back, and you witnessed the events leading up to the Crucifixion, and then saw incontrovertible evidence of the Resurrection (like, you took a walk with Him, or had dinner with Him, or even touched Him), what would you do in order to convince other people, and posterity, of what you had seen yourself?

You might tell a lot of people.  And you’d be fearless about it, because you’d KNOW what you saw, and with Whom you had talked.  People wouldn’t be able to shake your faith in what you’d seen, for the simple reason that you wouldn’t doubt what you had personally experienced.

You might start to connect up small groups of people with whom you’d shared your experiences (and some teachings that would flow from it), to keep alive the memory, and simply because you’d be so excited about it all that of course you’d follow His instructions….  which were basically to tell lots of people about Him, to love each other, to teach each other and remind each other what He had taught, etc.

You’d probably write some letters to people you hadn’t seen for awhile, to keep in touch, and remind them of the truth of what you’d experienced and what He taught, about the Father and Himself.

Some of your friends with similar experiences would write other letters, some would write biographies and histories, etc.

You’d be convinced to your dying day that what you saw really happened, that He had risen from the dead, just as He prophesied.

You would know, by the time you’d told a few people, that it was going to be very hard to convince people of the truth of what you’d seen.  And you would learn to recognize that, for reasons only He understands, some people will respond to hearing the truth, and some won’t.  But you would know that you should not give up, and that some people may respond later, so you’d keep trying.

You would wonder how future generations will respond, when the original witnesses are no longer on Earth, so you’d be careful to keep the books and letters they wrote intact as long as possible, and put them in faithful hands for safekeeping to the next generation.  You’d be concerned, though, because knowing the history of how one generation is faithless in keeping to the teaching of the previous one (since you read the Old Testament), you know that it will take absolutely faithful people, with Divine insight and motivation, not to utterly corrupt the whole thing within a generation or two.

You might be surprised at how much effort subsequent generations have put into keeping the teaching intact….   and if you knew about it, you would count that fact as evidence of something in operation in people’s hearts and minds all that time, since, having read the Old Testament, you know it wouldn’t have happened any other way.


Apr 24 2010

Misusing Scripture #3

Category: Bible,Scripture,theologyharmonicminer @ 8:46 am

The previous post in this series is here.

In the comment stream of another post, I wrote the following in response to a question, and then I realized it really belonged in the “Misusing Scripture” series, so after minor editing here it is….

Re: the “turn your cheek” comment of Jesus, it is a mistake to try to turn such comments into fully-orbed theories of human interaction and just response to threat.

Every time you see in the New Testament a suggestion about how individuals should respond to individuals with whom they are in conflict in some way, I suggest always rewriting the scripture so that the potential or actual victim is an innocent child. Then review what the responsibilities of adults are, to children. Then consider that in God’s eyes, we ALL are children, and furthermore, children He wants to adopt.

If you run an orphanage, you do not tell weaker children to let stronger children prey upon them. You do not stand by and watch as one beats another, even if you must use force to stop it, perhaps even risking danger to yourself. And if you have a truly difficult case (a child who is in fact a threat to the group, and possibly strong enough to threaten YOU), you may have to use considerable force to stop a situation from getting out of hand. And this is key: you absolutely must protect yourself in the process, because if you don’t, who will protect the rest of the children?

The fundamental flaw in “proof-texting”  for non-violence in the scriptures is that nearly all such scriptures are about individual responses to particular kinds of situations, NOT about corporate responsibilities (i.e., the responsibilities of governments and families to protect those for whom they are responsible), and even those about individual responses are often more metaphoric than anything.

Some will quote Paul: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

OK. But this presumes I have the power to feed an enemy who does not have the power to feed himself. It assumes I have the power to give him a drink, which he will not have without me… else he will not now be thirsty. In other words, it assumes my enemy is the one now in discomfort or disarray, and that he is no particular threat to me at the moment. What other reasonable explanation could there be that I have food and drink to share, and he does not?

Paul is not saying that if someone is threatening your family, you should offer them a happy meal. Nor is he saying that the USA should have shipped food to NAZI Germany instead of invading it. Although, and this is key to the American ethos in such matters, we did go to considerable lengths to rebuild Germany after it was no longer a threat to us, which is exactly the kind of situation Paul must have been referring to in his statement.

Some say, “I’d say loving our enemies means caring for their family after they’ve killed mine.” The problem is that if you are doing that before you STOP your enemy from killing anyone else’s family, out of an excess of misplaced piety, you are showing NO LOVE AT ALL to the future victims of the murderer.

Will you be delivering food to the family of the murderer when they are still hiding him in the basement? And planning his escape into the next county? If so, what will be your responsibility for the future victims of the murderer? And what about justice, even if you are certain the murderer will never kill again? Keep in mind that the visible presence of that justice in society (and in international relations) is one thing restraining OTHER potential murderers. It is not mere “score settling.”

Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” comment is metaphorical about general human interaction, and exactly on par with other comments He made about “soft answers” and the like. Despite the physical metaphor, it is not mostly about physical violence, else, given His propensity for eye-catching metaphor, He might have said, “If someone strikes you over the head with a club and knocks you cold, when you awaken, stand up and give him a better target next time.” Or, “If someone cuts off your right arm with a sword, offer him your left arm, too.”  This last would have been perfectly in character, if He had meant that. And he made metaphors that strong in other places.

The reason Jesus chose the “cheek” metaphor is precisely because a slap of the cheek is not serious, is unlikely to cause significant harm, is mostly merely insulting, and He is suggesting that we be able to tolerate mere insult without over-reaction or escalation of the conflict, insofar as we have control over it.

It is NOT a general comment about not defending yourself (or your family, or your nation) when required, and it certainly is not a general comment encouraging the neglect of others who are in danger (which often includes protecting them), nor is it a statement that allows us to escape the demands of justice, which includes our responsibility to prosecute it when required.

The next post in this series is here.


Apr 21 2010

Christian Psychology? We really need it to be developed further.

Category: higher education,ministry,theologyharmonicminer @ 8:47 pm

Another shot at understanding integration of psychology and christianity

Over the 40 plus years of our profession’s existence, Christian counselors have tried in numerous ways to model the relationship between Christianity/theology/bible and the study of psychology. Unfortunately, many model building efforts created more barriers than dialogue among brothers and sisters. Counselors staked out territory with titles such as biblical counseling, integration, levels of explanation.

However, in recent years, more authors have tried hard to articulate a distinctly Christian view of persons and a humble articulation of the change process that builds on the good insights of others (e.g., McMinn & Campbell’s Integrative psychotherapy, Johnson’s Foundations of Soul Care, Malony & Augsburger’s Christian Counseling, etc.). These authors have taken the time to examine their control beliefs, theological assumptions, and more in order to make their psychology truly Christian and not merely a rehash of secular ideas.

This looks interesting.


Apr 11 2010

Love Life

Category: abortion,government,justice,legislation,liberty,love,theologyharmonicminer @ 8:14 am

h/t: SuzyB


Feb 17 2010

McLaren’s “new” ideas?

Category: church,religion,theologyharmonicminer @ 11:19 pm

Christianity and McLarenism: a review of McLaren’s new book by Kevin DeYoung

Brian McLaren’s latest book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, is two steps forward in terms of clarity and ten steps backward in terms of orthodoxy. A New Kind of Christianity, more than any previous McLaren project, provides a forceful account of what the emergent leader believes and why.

I think McLaren has strayed quite far from anything recognizable as “historic Christianity”… a fact of which McLaren seems quite proud.
Continue reading “McLaren’s “new” ideas?”


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