A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

When Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Acts 11:1-18



The Right Rule for the Right Time

“What God has made clean, you must not call profane” (Acts 11:9b)

I have never been a picky eater. In fact, I have always been willing to try anything. I have eaten and like alligator, frog legs (they taste like chicken), squid, octopus, shell fish, different kinds of sushi, and ostrich. In my mission work in Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Cuba I have eaten some things I’d rather not talk about. But there is one thing I do not like. I have tried it several times fixed different ways and I have never liked it and will not eat it—liver. When I was about fourteen my mother made a casserole for dinner and tried to disguise liver as ground beef. It didn't work. Let’s just say that I can't stomach liver.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Having a Deeper Conversation on Abortion

My friend, Michael Gorman invites Christians into a deeper and more theologically anchored conversation on abortion. I have said for many years that the pro-choice/pro-life arguments are not intellectually rigorous nor are they theologically compelling. If we want to think seriously as Christians about abortion (and other issues) we cannot simply parrot the arguments given to us by the wider culture. Christians have a rich theological vocabulary at our disposal. We do not have to accept the moral framework given to us by the modern and incoherent left/right, liberal(progressive)/conservative continuum. I commend his comments that follow for your consideration. I post this with his permission.
It is probably dangerous as well as difficult to address a complex and controversial matter such as abortion on FB. (But fools rush in….) So I do so with some hesitation, even though I have written about the subject many times. (See especially my book *Abortion and the Early Church*.) The purpose of this (long) post is not to critique or endorse a particular statute or Supreme Court decision, much less a particular legal argument (such as that of Justice Alito). Rather, the point of this post is to encourage fellow Christians (and other interested people of good will with an open mind) who identify as pro-choice, or pro-life, or both to think a bit more deeply, and a bit differently, about the matter. I think point #3 is perhaps the most important, specifically the word “neighbor.” If you care to respond, please do so in a civil manner. (I cannot promise I will respond to all comments.)

Friday, May 13, 2022

Ten Ways to Reduce Anxiety

1) Pray

2) Do not watch cable news.

3) Read a good book.

4) Do not watch the peddlers of propaganda on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

5) Exercise-- go for a walk.

6) Turn off the snake oil salespersons on cable TV.

7) Spend time with family and friends who build you up.

8) Pay no attention to the talking heads who spew nonsense every evening.

9) Volunteer some time each week in service to others.

10) Don't forget to turn off the shock jocks on your car radio.

Footnote: spend less time on social media.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Speaking the Word No One Will Hear

Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. See, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house (Ezekiel 2:6b-9).

It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect—”a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills (Psychology Today). To some extent we all suffer from DKE, as I will call it. We can believe we know what’s best for ourselves and are smarter than we think.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

God in the Flesh: Pondering the Incarnation

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God” (John 10:31-33).

 It is one thing to affirm that in Jesus Christ God has become flesh in our midst. It is quite another thing to explain what that means. Of course, first and foremost, before the discussion begins, we must confess that what we are attempting to handle is mystery. The limits of human intellect and language can only reflect and express an understanding of God in the flesh quite inadequately. That does not mean, however, that the doctrine of the incarnation cannot be expressed satisfactorily.