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)

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Calmly Considered: Christian Nationalism-- Christ AND Caesar?

Michael and Allan discuss the nature of Christian Nationalism and ask such questions as Can a Christian be patriotic but not a Nationalist? What is the place of the Church in a Nationalist context? Would Jesus affirm Christian Nationalism? How does the New Testament inform the discussion? What about the Kingdom of God?



Wednesday, August 10, 2022

When All Else Fails, God Is Still God

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me,
    “Flee like a bird to the mountains,[a]
for look, the wicked bend the bow,
    they have fitted their arrow to the string,
    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
If the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
    His eyes behold; his gaze examines humankind (Psalm 11:1-4).

The writer of Psalm 11 is living in tumultuous times. Even the very foundations of Israel’s way of life is threatened. The temptation is to flee far away from the threat, leave the war zone, and hopefully find some peace and quiet to live the one life that has been given. Even those around the psalmist are encouraging him to make haste away from it all as they apparently are as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Why I Engage on Social Media

I get asked from time to time why I bother engaging on social media, which I understand to mean why I write on serious and controversial subjects instead of just posting pictures of cats and the steaks I'm grilling for dinner. (I don't grill the cats, just the steaks.) After all, some say, social media is not a good place to have serious discussion and you're never going to change anyone's mind.

My response is that they are right on both counts. It's difficult to have a serious discussion, though not impossible. At least, it's more dialogical than letters to the editor in newspapers. I also do not post to change anyone's mind. I am not so naïve. So, why do I engage on social media?

1. I engage because subjects of great importance have become commonplace on social media and it is not going anywhere. To ignore this is to ignore reality.

2. I engage because it is important for some Christians, who believe that their views are the ONLY Christian ones, to know that not all believers embrace THEIR Christian views.

3. I engage because there are Christians who for good reasons don't believe they can make their opinions known on social media. My posts give them a voice. (I've been told this over and over again.)

4. And finally, I engage on social media because I want my nonbelieving friends to know that there are Christians who have deep convictions, but who are still open-minded and willing to engage civilly with persons from non Christian perspectives. In other words, I want them to know that not all Christians are so narrow-minded they can see through a keyhole with both eyes.

I hope that sufficiently answers the question.

Walking the Talk

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval (Hebrews 11:1-2).

There is a popular adage in today’s culture, “If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.” It’s a way of saying that we should practice what we preach and not be all talk and no action. The problem with that phrase is that it is not correct. We don’t walk the walk, we walk the talk. It is better to say, “If you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the talk.” When the athlete before the big game is bragging that the other team will score no touchdowns, and then they get trounced, he sure talked the talk, but he didn’t walk the talk when it came to playing the game. I think walking the talk is a good way to capture the biblical meaning of faith and faithfulness.

Friday, August 05, 2022

Authoritarians and People of the Little Picture

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel stated, that history repeats itself, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." "History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes," is a quote attributed to Mark Twain though there is no corroborating evidence; nevertheless, it is an excellent observation.

We need historians with a big picture perspective, because it is the little picture populace that often repeat or rhyme history. Big picture historians see the larger general trends that lead to societies making the same mistakes over and over again.

Big picture people can see the narrowly focused inclinations that give rise to authoritarianism in the context of those general trends. Populations give authoritarians power because they focus on the narrow-- policies, or a single issue, or the economy while ignoring the troubling psychology of the leader they have put in charge. To turn a quote on Jesus, "You should take note of the former without neglecting the latter." They dismiss character because the ends justify the means of results. These are people of the little picture.

All dictators are authoritarians, but they don't start as the former. They become the former because the people ignore the latter or dismiss it as inconsequential, thus giving them power. And one does not need a majority of little picture people to give authoritarians the power they crave.

This is exactly what happens in modern dictatorships-- Every. Single. Time; and authoritarians are put in power by well-intentioned, sincere, but narrowly focused folks (volk; let the reader understand)-- Every. Single. Time.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Courageous Conversations: American Mythologies-- The Cover Stories We Tell Ourselves

 In this first episode of "Courageous Conversations", Dan Hawk is our guest. The topic of discussion is cultural narratives or the cover stories societies tell themselves to brand their history and minimize its unsavory events. What narrative lenses do we wear that assist us in crafting the myths of our place in the world?