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, April 26, 2015

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

First Reading: Acts 4:5-12

Epistle: 1 John 3:16-24

Gospel: John 10:11-18
Shepherd of all, by laying down your life for your flock you reveal your love for all. Lead us from the place of death to the place of abundant life, that guided by your care for us, we may rightly offer our lives in love for you and our neighbors. Amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday at the Cinema: Home for Good

Stanley Hauerwas addresses various issues relevant for the church. This video is worth your time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Once Again, the Problem of War in the Old Testament: Some Wisdom from the Late Peter Craigie (Part 3)

Once again, I belatedly return to my series on the late Peter Craigie on the problem of war in the Old Testament. The first part was an introduction to Cragie's work on this subject from his book, The Problem of War in the Old Testament. The second part of my series dealt with the first of three problems to be addressed-- the problem of God's character in these narratives.

Quotes from Craigie's book will be presented in italics. My own comments are in parentheses in standard block type.

Today's post highlights the second difficulty-- the problem of revelation (pp. 97-100).. Craigie begins the discussion:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

So, What Exactly Is Jell-O Made of?

Lee Simmons from wired.com gives us the jiggly facts, here.

Confusion About Doubt

Roger Olson has an excellent post on the importance of defining doubt when one speaks of it in reference to faith.
Is doubt a necessary, even helpful aspect of Christian faith? Should faith conquer all doubt so that we regard as heroes of Christian faith those who seem to have risen above all doubt?

I think the answers to these questions must begin with definitions of "doubt." Much confusion is caused in Christian (as other) conversations by multiple (unstated) meanings of words.

The Voice of the Shepherd: A Lectionary Reflection on John 10:11-18

John 10:11-18

Years ago in a church I served previously, there was a farmer who owned some sheep. He told me one Sunday morning while we were on the subject of these verses from John's Gospel that every night when he pulled into his driveway with his big Ford pickup, those sheep could tell that it was his truck and they started making a racket because they knew it was feeding time. If there was an evening when he was late, and his wife would arrive home before him in her car, the sheep would stay quiet. They were never confused as to the sound of her car and his truck. When he arrived home, the sheep knew the sound of his truck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Apostle Paul and the Call to Discipleship

A major problem in Pauline theology today-- major not primarily because it is advanced among theologians or scholars but because it has taken deep roots and is confidently promoted throughout the Christian Church-- is the tendency to reduce Paul's gospel to something far more limited, far less pervasive, far less invasive in terms of what God seeks to do within and through those who put their faith in Jesus than Paul's own written testimony suggests. The result is that what having faith in Jesus even means is not itself well understood, since faith, to be faith at all, entails a wholehearted commitment to the person of Christ that must also transform the life of a person. Paul's understanding of the call to discipleship (the call to a living, saving faith) did not differ from Jesus' own call-- which was not "believe in the effectiveness of my death and resurrection, and you'll be saved no matter what" but "if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel will save it" (Mark 8:34-35)
David deSilva, Transformation: The Heart of Paul's Gospel, p. 5.

One More Time-- There Is No Such Thing as the Non-Institutional Church

The word "institutional" is an automatic pejorative description. There is no non-institutional church, anywhere or at any time in history.--Scot McKnight

This quote from Scot McKnight was posted some time ago in his comments thread as part of a response to someone who was responding to a blog post he wrote entitled, "Kingdom of God, Politics, and Romans 13." It is very common, and in fact is an accepted and unexamined truism among many Christians that there exists a church that is not institutional. When I am engaged in such discussions I like to ask folks to describe a non-institutional church. I usually get responses like, "A non-institutional church isn't overly organized or have much bureaucracy," or a non-institutional church "doesn't have man-made rules, but only relies upon the Bible," or a non-institutional church would look like the church of the New Testament."

Love Up Close and Personal: A Lectionary Reflection on 1 John 3:16-24

1 John 3:16-24

It's easy to love in theory. It's easy to know what to do in theory. It's easy to tell everyone else how they should love in theory. Love up close and personal-- that's hard.

I think that is one of the reasons Christians so quickly appeal to government solutions to social problems. It's easier to tell someone else what to do than to actually have to do it ourselves. Don't get me wrong. I think government has a role to play in social problems. but all too often it is simply easier to push the solutions off on someone else or some larger entity than to sacrifice our own way of life to help those in need.