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)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Can Secularism Exist All By Itself?-- Or, Boring Christians Produce Boring Atheists

We live in a time when Christianity is on the wane. though that is often thought to be a particular challenge for Christians, I think it is a greater challenge for people who think of themselves as secular. The challenge before the secular is to disavow the continuing reliance on cultural and moral habits that come from Christianity and tell us why, for example, it makes sense to make promises that last a lifetime or to bring children into a world that you think is without purpose.-- Stanley Hauerwas, The Work of Theology, p. 5.
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I find this quote from Stanley Hauerwas to be quite thought provoking. The current loss of a religious context of Western culture (in this case a specifically Christian context) is understood by most Christians to be a challenge at best and an unmitigated disaster in the making at its worst. Anyone familiar with my writing knows that I have no stake in the project called Christendom that makes something called secularism intelligible. I wish it were possible to kill Christendom tomorrow as it has seriously undermined the theological character and missional nature of the church. Christendom by necessity makes the church the handmaiden of the state making the nation a rival ecclesia and a de facto replacement. Of course, Christendom may be weakening, but it is in no danger of dying any time soon because as I have suggested elsewhere both Christians on the conservative right and the progressive left seemed bound and determined to keep it alive through the coercive politics of the nation state. Scot McKnight rightly notes, "...both the Left and the Right have colonized the faith to a political agenda.... the church is an alternative politic not the feeding ground for the politics of the world."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Now, This Is a Man Cave!

Two and a half months after our move my basement study is finally complete! I plan to spend many wonderful hours in this place!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Jeremiah 1:4-10 or Isaiah 58:9b-14

Psalter: Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-8

Epistle: Hebrews 12:18-29

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
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Merciful God, as we pour out the wealth you have entrusted to us, the parched places are watered; as we cease our evil talk, the rising light of peace dawns in the darkness. So lead us into faithful living that your promises may unfold in us as a woman's back, long bent, unfolds at Christ's command, to the praise of your holy name. Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: First Responders Save Stuck Squirrel

Rescuers free squirrel with head stuck in cup
From Associated Press
August 14, 2016 1:11 PM EST

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP)-- Emergency responders in Connecticut have come to the rescue of a squirrel that was caught in a nutty situation.

Members of Enfield Emergency Medical Services responded Friday after the rodent got its head stuck in what appeared to be a plastic or paper cup.

Video posted on the Enfield EMS Facebook page shows the critter wildly jumping and flipping into the air in an effort to dislodge the cup.

Responders' first attempt to remove the cup was unsuccessful. The wily rodent hopped out of one officer's hands and through the legs of another.

The second attempt proved more successful. An officer covered the animal with a blanket and held its body steady while another officer removed the cup before the critter scampered away into some nearby bushes.
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Source: My Earthlink

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Christ Contradiction

He began his ministry by being hungry, yet he is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended his earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet he is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary, yet he is our Rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet he is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet he cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet he wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet he redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet he is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by his death he destroyed the power of death.

Gregory of Nazianzus, bishop and theologian (circa 325-389)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

One More Time, The Civil Religion of the Religious Right AND the Religious Left

In his book, To Change the World, James Hunter persuasively argues that the religious right and the religious left are nothing more than mirror images of each other. The civil religion of the religious right should be obvious to everyone paying even superficial attention to religion and politics in America, but as Hunter points out, the religious left has a civil religion that is basically the same in character as Christians on the other side of the political aisle, and both groups are centered on a faulty hermeneutic.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy in Politics: Isolated Example

The isolated example or anecdotal fallacy is utilizing "a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence." This fallacy appeals to one or two examples as proof that whatever is being claimed is generally true.

Two examples:

Being a Prophet Is a Thankless Job: A Lectionary Reflection on Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Most prophets are not popular during their lifetime. Prophets are called to speak the truth, truth that is uncomfortable and direct. Usually we are fine with hard-to-hear truth as long as the difficult word is proclaimed to others. We like to hear our enemies, our opponents, raked over the coals over their indiscretions and injustices; but when our lives come under the prophetic gaze, that's something entirely different. It is so difficult to recognize prophets in our lifetime because we tend to judge prophets by the truth they proclaim to others. Those who speak the truth to us are not so much prophetic as they are false teachers.