Thursday, October 20, 2005

Against Multi-tasking

Doug Groothius writes an essay Against Multi-tasking, a topic that has been in my brain lately. Although I live in a cable and aerieal and dish TV free home and i don't even get the newspaper anymore, i do have a high speed computer connection, but fortunately, only 1 computer that i share with my wife. Even with this minimal distractions i still struggle to force myself to interact with my wife and children instead of reading a book. I'm a dreadful introvert. All these devices may be protective for introverts but insulting to extroverts. Is Doug Groothius a frustrated extrovert? I don't know. I doubt it. Not that the church is an example of a different life, as we all sit and sing the same words and quietly listen to the same speaker, that still isn't necessarily community. You get more community at a sports event where you hug strangers next to you and become fast friends because of the shallowest of affinities. I am not saying that we need church to become more like sports. The church needs to be the place where deeper friendships are made. I've been working on my greek and have been translating 1 Thessalonians. Paul addresses the brothers, adelphoi, 28 times in this letter and its sequel. I think this happens in small groups.
Dan Edelen at Cerulean Sanctum responds to Doug's essay by complaining that its too hard for people to NOT multitask in our culture and asks, "why is the Church in America not doing a single thing to reform that kind of schedule?" He wonders, "Will our pastor be the one to explain to our bosses why we refuse to carry a corporate-mandated cellphone...?" I think God does offer wisdom. Coincidentally, in my study of 1 Thess 4:11 today Paul writes, "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you." The Christian shouldn't be aspiring to an over-consumptive anyway, so why work for that? If you don't have a cable bill, or a cell phone bill, if you live close to your job, even if its in a poorer neighborhood, if you drive a smaller car, or ride your bike you can step off the treadmill. If you can accept that God does provide for you, it is he who makes sure you get paid, then you lose the need to make appearances. You'll also end up being "green" in your environmental impact.
So what should the church do? Encourage eternal reward and the simple life. Novel?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Against Harriet Miers for the High Court

Culture Watch: Thoughts of a Constructive Curmudgeon, Doug Groothius's blog is a great read and worth your perusal. I'm linking to this because I share his concerns about Meier's. It seems like W. is about to repeat the mistake of dad. An additional concern of mine is the age of the woman. She's too old to have lasting influence.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Campolo and McLaren: Prophets or Agitators?

HereMclaren and Campolo portray themselves as the prophets of the American church calling her out of the "religious right" i guess. They set up this bizarre antithesis that on the one hand, Maclaren says "I hear from an awful lot of other people who say they can’t stay evangelical with the rising “religious right” identity—they are embarrassed to be associated with a lot of the people that they see on television representing evangelicals, they are embarrassed by the strident language, they are embarrassed by their narrowness, and they are looking for someone who speaks for them, someone like a Tony, or Jim Wallis or myself" and on the other hand Campolo says, "If there are people on the street homeless, or if there is a need to set up a reading program for needy kids, evangelicals are out there doing a great job. But, when you start to think about changing the system evangelicals get very angry, they really want it to stay as it is..."
But what is this mysterious narrow language that embarrasses and what is the system that the church wants to remain in? My guess is opposition to abortion and homosexuality. Why is this embarrassing? Perhaps because opponents end up labeling those who kill children and those who sodomize as sinners. The evangelical church allies itself with the political right because they at least pay lip service to agreeing that these two issues are morally reprehensible. The political left however embraces those who abort and those who sodomize and defends their political rights. If George Bush is a war-mongerer he still is responsible for fewer deaths than the Pro-choice party. Those who abort and those who sodomize talk about how difficult their life choices are and how worthy of sympathy. The evangelical right's solution is to not give them the option without consequence, the way it used to be. To the aborter we want to say you can't have the choice to kill an innocent child. To the sodomizer we want to say you're homo-emotional needs cannot be fulfilled sexually and will not be economically sanctioned by the state by allowing you a civil union.

Monday, October 03, 2005

You don't have to be gay

What an excellent book. A series of letters from one ex-gay man to his gay friend. I'm still in the middle of it but it is so compassionate and hopeful.
You Don't Have to Be Gay: Hope and Freedom for Males Struggling With Homosexuality or for Those Who Know of Someone Who Is by Jeff Konrad