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
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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)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Extravagant Generosity



Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost” Luke 19:8-10)

In his book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Bishop Robert Schnase writes, “Instead of giving God the leftovers at the end of the month, tithing is a spiritual discipline that puts God first” (p. 105). Extravagant generosity strengthens faith. People who give more worry less about money: “[G]enerosity enlarges the soul, realigns priorities, connects people to the Body of Christ, and strengthens congregations to fulfill Christ's ministries” (p. 106).

Friday, May 20, 2022

Don't Apply Scripture, Embody It



My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures— then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-5).

I dislike the language of application when it comes to reading Scripture. To apply something is to coat the surface, as one applies a coat of paint to a house. Application just covers what is underneath. The paint does not change the wood, it just makes it look different.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

You Don't Get Strung Up on a Cross for Running Around Telling Everyone to Love Each Other



You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:17-18).

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live” (Luke 10:25-28).

Sunday, May 15, 2022

When Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Acts 11:1-18

Podcast


Videocast


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.
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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.)