Showing posts from May, 2006

Justin Taylor touches the emerging elephant and reports

Colossians Three Sixteen » New Attitue (Breakout: Justin Taylor):
Going only to the emergents to understand EM, says Taylor is like going to the personal ads. Everyone always says something like: “Hobbies included listening, long walks on the beach and giving people flowers.” No one says: “Hobbies are drinking a lot of Mountain Dew, staying up late to play video games and I have bad breath.” In order to get the full picture, we must seek input from all angles, not just the “personal ad” perspective.

Taylor lists a couple of different lists of “Four Things that EM is Concered With” One of the lists, taken from Wikipedia, the first list includes: 1) Authenticity, 2) Missional Living, 3) Narrative Theology, 4) Christlikeness and the second list taken from Emergent includes: 1) Commitment to God in the way of Jesus, 2) The church in all its forms, 3) Committed to God’s world and 4) Committed to one another. Notice that in all of these affirmations is the implicit charge that the “other peop…

'Da Vinci' not as dangerous as 'Left Behind'? - (BP)

FIRST-PERSON: 'Da Vinci' not as dangerous as 'Left Behind'? - (BP): "The more I hear from emerging church leader Brian McLaren, the more I fear he is not competent to be a leader of God’s people. Recently, he commented on the error-ridden 'The Da Vinci Code' by saying, “Frankly, I don’t think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels.'

The problem with what McLaren says here is that he cannot (or will not) distinguish what is malignant from what is benign. No one goes to hell merely for believing dispensational premillenialism, a theology of the end times that is portrayed in the 'Left Behind' novels. Yet anyone who denies the deity of Jesus most certainly will, and this is precisely what is argued in 'The Da Vinci Code.'

You don’t have to like dispensational premillenialism to see that its teachings about the end times do not come anywhere close to the damning heresy reflected in 'The Da Vinci Code.' Any pastor …

More than a Fad: Understanding the Emerging Church

a fair-minded deconstruction of some faces of the emerging church...

Most obvious is the fact that a large percentage of our churches are still ill-prepared to minister to the growing population of postmodern people. When Emergent leaders argue that some of our traditional church practices are incomprehensible to them, we can’t always chalk it up to the antithesis between church and world. Sinful rebellion is certainly one, but not the only, reason they may recoil at our organs, pew pads, pledge cards, tracts and treatises—or even our “contemporary” praise choruses.

However we label this era, whether it’s postmodern, hyper-modern or post-postmodern, sweeping social and cultural changes are taking place in our world. For good or ill, many venerable sources of authority no longer hold the same degree of trust. Neo-paganism and other forms of Gnostic, syncretistic spirituality are quickly replacing secular humanism as Christianity’s biggest rival. The eternal Word will never lose its power…

Kerr’s Folly and Christian Bloggers

"We hope for. . . community But we often reward ... individuality...
We hope for. . . eternal perspective But we often reward ... focus on the trivial and ephermeral...
We hope for. . . wisdom But we often reward ... foolishness...
We hope for. . . depth and breadth of interest But we often reward ... shallowness and narrowness of concern...
We hope for. . . unity But we often reward ... division...
We hope for. . . faith, hope, and love But we often reward ... doubt, pessimism, and uncharitableness..."

Good warnings from Joe at the E.O.

Memorial Day History

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, 'Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping' by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication 'To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead' (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war d…

Jesus' style

Our Contract with God The ministry of Gayle Erwin and, consequently, Servant Quarters, is devoted to informing you about and expressing the Nature of Jesus. That Nature is best defined in a number of statements Jesus made about himself in response to apostolic arguments about what it meant to be greatest in the kingdom. That list has captured our lives and is the main focus of what we do and what this page is all about, which is why we consider ourselves under contract with God to give you this information. We now give you this list, formed from the Gospels and Philippians 2:5-11, as well as some other lists that have come out of the understanding of the Nature of Jesus:

The Nature of Jesus Servant Not Lord It over Others Lead by Example Humble As A Child As the Younger As the Least Last Used No Force on Us Was Not Driven by Selfish Ambition Made Himself of No Reputation Was Fully Human Obedient Unto Death Everything we say, publish or do, we try to conform to this list.…

Boys on their bikes

This is the first time i've had the Mormon missionaries return. They were late for our first appointment, so i could only give them 10 minutes. Although I had been prepared with my King James Bible and book of Mormon, I misplaced it right before they arrived. So we chatted. I asked them about their views on salvation and heaven. I asked them what the benefits of embracing the LDS were. They answered a modern day prophet who speaks the words of God today and being with my family forever in the afterlife. They asked me what my views were on prophets. I replied that they were just as essential as any other gift in the church. The apostle Paul was an extremely important part of the church but no prophet. I asked them how they understand the gift of salvation. They were totally honest and said the gift needs to be worked for to the best of their abilities. And i appreciate the website linked today, by a commenter earlier, which uses the Book of Mormon and other Mormon resources to show…

Chuck Smith Jr. responds

he comments in Andrew Jones's blog. TallSkinnyKiwi: The Chuck Smiths on Emergent Church. when it comes to blogs, don't neglect the comments....

"Now to be perfectly honest, I haven't belonged in the Calvary Chapel community for a long time. I identify with early Calvary Chapel (the culturally relevant, rock-n-roll worship, hippie church), but not as much with the institutionalized version today. I've stayed only because of my relationship to my father, whom I love and respect.

Calvary Chapel, as I perceive it is:
Fundamentalist--I am not
Dispensationalist--I am not
Anti-intellectualist (like the warning about not anything written by emergent leaders)--I am not
Primitivist--I am not

Officially, we have withdrawn from the Calvary Chapel affiliation, and for the very amicable reason that I (we) seek a breadth of relationships that CC is not willing to accommodate. For example, my close friendship with a Roman Catholic monk who died a few weeks ago. He was a wonderful perso…

Funk's Koine Greek Grammar Online

it's incomplete but an amazing resource

Born-Again Mormon Homepage

this stuff checks out. his beliefs are orthodox. yet he hangs out in mormon wards and desires to bring all of LDS to orthodoxy...

10 Questions for the Mormon

10 Questions for the Mormon: "#10 -Salvation-
According to classical Christianity, Jesus' finished work on the cross is sufficient to cover our sins – past, present, and future. We have merely to accept this atonement and the lordship of Christ by faith in order to find our places as adopted children of God. The works that we are to perform are merely a response to our salvation, not the cause of it. In Mormon theology, faith in Jesus seems only a start; works and obedience to law and temple rites seem to be an essential part of the road to exaltation, and the results are very much dependent on self-effort.
What is it that Jesus has done for you, and what remains for you to do? Why was it necessary for Him to do anything for you? If you are ultimately responsible for your fate, why can't you do it all? How well are you keeping the laws and living a virtuous life? Do you count even your impure thoughts, your general self-centeredness, and even those things done in carelessne…

The Way Out

The Way Out is a great collection for those whose worlds are ruptured by homosexuality, either their own or of someone dear. I think we all are affected by homosexuality, so i think everyone should learn how to love like or be loved by Jesus Christ.

Is Emergent the New Christian Left? Tony Jones responds to the critics

By his own words, i'd say "yes."

Thus, we have friends among us who think that small government, free market economies are the solution to poverty, and others who favor federal programs and higher taxes—honestly, this is an ongoing conversation within the Emergent friendship. But we all agree that something must be done about extreme poverty, especially in Africa.

Within Emergent are Texas Baptists who don't allow women to preach and New England lesbian Episcopal priests. We have Southern California YWAMers and Midwest Lutherans. We have those who hold to biblical inerrancy, and others trying to demythologize the scripture. We have environmental, peacenik lefties, 'crunchy cons,' and right wing hawks.

One commenter writes, "So, by your own description, what Emergent is not is a bunch of Christians. The only thing that you can pinpoint on which you agree is that "something must be done about extreme poverty, especially in Africa." That is not the d…

So what happens at a church that goes house to house?

this is short enough to quote in full....

Philip and Kim and family wake on Sunday morning. They snooze for a while and read the Sunday paper. Their three boys aged 9, 6 and 4 are playing together in the lounge. At about 8:30am they eat breakfast together and Mum quickly whips up some muffins to take for lunch at church. At just before 10:30 am the family jumps in the car and drives over to their friends the Jackson’s who are hosting and coordinating the meeting that week. When they arrive the kids run outside to play and the adults stand around and enjoy a nice brewed coffee.
For a while people hang around catching up and talking about how things are going. After a while the kids are called in and the adults and kids sit around the edge of the lounge (there is 18 people their today). Without opening his Bible, John begins to tell a story of the Prodigal son. After he finishes he asks every person what thing spoke to them the most out of the story. The kids share first because they can’…

Humanure Handbook

the next level in composting

A Small Passive Solar House Using SIPs

lots of info by someone committed to a low environmental impact.

Pastor Chuck Smith denounces "Emerging Church" movement

this is a PDF file. here is the executive summary...

his concerns are
1- Jesus isn't presented as the exclusive way of salvation
2- soft on hell, warm to universalism
3- feelings can overrule facts
4- icons
5- fear of discomforting sinners
6- soft on homosexuality
7- yoga
8- lack of authority of the scriptures

Truth In Love to Mormons

I haven't begun to explore this website yet, but this page of downloads has some excellent stuff in it, like this from their Winessing Summary.

Desired Outcome
Is it "To get Mormons out of the Mormon Church"?
Getting a Mormon out of the Mormon church, but not into Christ'sflock does no favor for the Mormon
Is it "First bring them out of the church, then bring them to faith"?
Ex-Mormons not already brought to faith often are hurt, angry, resentful and likely to become agnostic. They often reject all organized religion
Focusing on the errors of Mormonism is more likely to push them away, than bring them closer to Jesus
Or, "To bring Mormons to faith"?
Bible: No one can come to faith by logic
Only the power of God's Word can bring a person to faith
We need not convince Mormons of Mormonism's falsehoods to witness God's WordSome of the boys on bikes in ties approached me on the way into the public library. I made an appointment for them to come over…

what if God was a DJ?

a neat mini-movie. i don't know if the director is a believer, but a neat 8 minute movie...

"Bible Should Have 'Fiction' Disclaimer" !!!

"Lauer took the bull of controversy more directly by the horns when he interviewed the cast and director Howard today. Said Lauer:

'There have been calls from some religious groups, they wanted a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie saying it is fiction because one of the themes in the book really knocks Christianity right on its ear, if Christ survived the crucifixion, he did not die for our sins and therefore was not resurrected. What I'm saying is, people wanted this to say 'fiction, fiction, fiction'. How would you all have felt if there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie? Would it have been okay with you?'

There was a pause, and then famed British actor Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings], piped up:

'Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factua…

Christianity Explored

this seems like a neat intro for pre-Christians, its not unlike Alpha, but does all classes from the Gospel of Mark. "The focus on Mark's Gospel, with its emphasis on who Jesus was, what his aims were, and what it means to follow him, makes Christianity Explored quite different."

Religion, but no church required - Religion, but no church required: "His parents did not attend church, so neither did he. But after his little sister brought home a copy of the New Testament from school, he read it and wanted to study it more.

So, under his parents' radar, he began attending an after-school Bible study group.

'They were afraid I was going to join a cult,' he says. 'Now, they get it.'

Zdero attended a formal church while at university in Kingston, but even there found himself drawn to organizing home Bible study sessions, and eventually left the church in favour of home worship.

He likes the idea that there are no leaders, though the unpaid hosts of the groups tend to act as facilitators of the discussion or suggest Bible passages to be read if no one else does.

Regional networks are organized to help home churches with logistical questions of how to organize a weekly gathering, and to pool resources for charity work such as helping developing countries or the disadva…


Compass Direct: "AP reported on Wednesday (May 10) that all seven men had confessed to playing a role in the beheadings of the three Christian teenagers on October 29, 2005.

The men attacked four girls – Theresia Morangke, 15, Alfita Poliwo, 17, Yarni Sambue, 15, and Noviana Malewa, 15 – early in the morning as they walked to a Christian school in Poso district. The first three girls were beheaded; Malewa received serious injuries to her face and neck but survived the attack.

Malewa later described the attackers as six men wearing black shirts and masks, and said one of the men carried a two-way radio.

The girls’ heads were wrapped in black plastic bags; one was left on the steps of a church in nearby Kasiguncu village, and the other two near a police station five miles from Poso town. The bags contained a note stating in part, “We will murder 100 more Christian teenagers and their heads will be presented as presents.”

The men are also suspects in other violent attacks on Christians,…

INDIA: Pastor Hospitalized After Easter Service Attack

Christian Persecution Blog: INDIA: Pastor Hospitalized After Easter Service Attack: "VOM sources inside India report Pastor V.P. Paulouse’s church was raided by 15 mob members. While leading an Easter worship service and prayer meeting near Mangalore in Karnataka state, the church was raided by members reported to be from the Bajrang Dal (youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council). Entering the prayer hall with their faces covered, the extremists beat the pastor with cricket bats and also turned their assault on other believers, including his wife and daughters. The Hindu mob vandalized the hall’s furniture and equipment, worth more than 150,000 rupees ($3,500 U.S.).

The Bajrang Dal organized the attack because they do not want Christians in their area conducting prayer meetings. Pastor Paulouse’s ministry covers three villages in south Karnataka state. Despite Hindu opposition, he shepherds 60 believers in the region. He has been discharged from the hospital…

How Important Is That Idea To You?

Ilona writes an intriguing intro to a book i've never heard of.
The book is “The Trinity and Subordinationism The Doctrine of God & the Gender Debate” by Kevin Giles. My latest post @ truegrit introduces some of the premises and explains my way of approaching the scriptures. But the book itself brings up not only big questions, but undergirds many of the things built into me from an early age. Being brought up Presbyterian, the Nicene Creed was like the singing of the doxology, almost welded to my DNA . But as Giles brings up in his book, the concept of the Trinity, or trinitarianism, as theology was largely neglected from that flurry of debate in those early centuries until only recently. Except for witnessing to cult members- who have twisted ideas of Jesus, I hadn't given lots of thought, nor heard much teaching, on the Godhead.

There are reasons in the culture that we need to look at some of this doctrine, including many of the points that Giles raises in his book. Among…

Everybody Fatwa!

A commenter critical of Christians in India pointed to an article, which this blog, Sepia Mutiny, discusses. The article in the Hindustan Times (free reg) says
HAVING INFLAMED passions and sparked heated debates across the globe, Da Vinci Code is set for a run-in with controversy in India. Days before the film based on Dan Brown's bestseller hits cinemas in the country, the Catholic Social Forum has called people of all faiths in Mumbai to fast unto death from May 12 if the government fails to ban
the "anti-Christian" film. If that were not enough, a former corporator Nicholas Almeida, has done a Haji Qureishi, announcing a reward of Rs 11 lakh for anyone who "brings the author dead or alive
before him".
BBC version of article, India Catholics target Da Vinci.

The commenter writes,
In India, the Catholic faithful are going further . In Bombay, demonstrations call for the banning of the movie, and one former city official has even gone so far as to put a bounty …

Is Nehemiah 8 the Model?

At Theological Musings: Preaching in the Church -- Is Nehemiah 8 the Model? Steve Sensenig calls to the carpet dreadful high-church eisegesis of Ezra's reading of the Law to the returned exiles. I agree with Steve that it is poor form to equate being on a platform with an authoritative posture. Ick!
I've talked about this passage before, and later concluded that maybe i was really talking about a multi-"simple church" meeting, a different kind of hybrid. But I'm drawn back somewhat to this hybrid.

defining spiritual abuse

There is so much good stuff in this post i can't help but quote most of it. Go there and read the rest and his interaction with the commenters.-jpu
I realize that this definition of spiritual abuse could still be seen as quite broad. In the interest of clarifying the content of what might be considered as spiritual abuse, I suggest that spiritual abuse be identified as having four distinctives:

1) It distorts Transcendent relationality – Spiritual abuse is comprised of effort that damages, perverts and/or hinders one’s understanding of and relationship with God. (See, Soulcraft, How God Shapes Us Through Relationships by Douglas D. Webster.)

2) It strikes at the core of who we are – Most basic to our being or essence is that we are designed to be God-centered. Spiritual abuse encourages one to make something or someone the idolatrous center of one’s being, thus falsifying what it means to be made in the image of God. (See Being Human, The Nature of Spiritual Experience by Ranald Maca…

Books and Bucks

My wife recounts her recent used book store exploits at the Smart Mom Blog: Books and Bucks: "Today I spent a serendipitous afternoon at my favorite used bookstore. It was quiet there. I saved a bundle on schoolbooks for next year. We even got to have a yummy snack and visit some animals. I left feeling thankful and thrifty."

book report - Sacred Marriage

Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. Scores of books have been written that offer guidance for building the marriage of your dreams. But what if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?
Gary Thomas challenges us to think like Christians instead of Americans. I am grateful for this. The book is not a page turner. For me, it was more devotional. His love of ancient Christian writers is blatant in this book. His appeal to them adds credibility to his topic, which someone who wrote the book after only 15 years of marriage lacked in my eyes. I'm coming up on 12 years of marriage, and i don't feel i have much to offer if i wrote a book. His writing is dense and not breezy or fluffy. i am grateful for a serio…

Da Vinci and McLaren

The Problem With Kevin: Da Vinci and McLaren: "In a recent interview with Sojourners (a pseudo-Christian far-left magazine with growing appeal), Brian McLaren describes the appeal of The Da Vinci Code (bestselling literary dreck appealing to the lowest common denominator). Find it here.

In an answer to a question as to why this book has achieved such popularity, McLaren has this to say:

'I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church.'

This is nonsense. The reason this vision of Christ is so intriguing is that it allows people to believe that Christ was just some nice dude. Of course, the notion that C…

transition of church leadership

Start with this article.Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Religion:
Few things create more anxiety for a church than having to find a new pastor. Most congregations don't like to think about it, much less plan for it.

It's inevitable, of course, that pastors eventually will leave – whether they move, retire or die. Being unprepared for that day can cause chaos for those charged with finding a new leader. It can create rough sledding for whoever gets the job. It can even endanger the stability of a successful church. In particular, megachurches built on the personality of a dynamic preacher are at risk when that pastor departs, say church consultants. Imagine Saddleback Church without Rick Warren, or the Potter's House without T.D. Jakes.

Many churches don't realize they're 'a heartbeat away from coming undone,' said J. Russell Crabtree, a church consultant in Ohio and co-author of The Elephant in the Boardroom, a book that encourages churches to p…

Pastors and Worldliness -- Then versus Now

yikes! that's all i have to say...this is the intro. click the link to read the quotes in apposition.

"One of the reasons that worldliness is rampant in today's church, is the lowering of standards for pastors. These days anyone can start a church, even if they have no seminary training, minimal bible knowledge, and even if they exhibit questionable personal behavior. The required ingredients seem to be zeal and enough charisma to captivate a crowd. Here's a look at the worldly standards of some pastors today as compared to pastors of centuries-past.

An interesting gauge for measuring worldliness is a pastor's usage and attitude towards his free time. What follows is not intended to be a thorough examination, nor is it intended to be a condemnation of all forms of recreation and relaxation. But it is an interesting comparison of the attitudes and practices of pastors, from both now and then (in past centuries).

Demonstrating the standards of centuries gone by, I'…

The Scripture-Engaging Lincoln

Lincoln: A life of Purpose and Power gets a thumbs up at CT.

"Although this book does not concentrate on religion as such, Carwardine provides a perceptive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with Scripture and his trust in mysterious Providence that grew during his years in the White House. He also explains better than any other historian why Lincoln's not-quite-Christian personal beliefs fit so well with the evangelical Protestant energy of the Whig and Republican parties that put him into power. The result, taken in the round, is the best book on Lincoln since Allen Guelzo's superb Redeemer President (1999). These two are simply as good as it gets."

two ways to live : the choice we all face

two ways to live : : the choice we all face; its like the 4 spiritual laws but with powerpoint graphics...
there's nothing wrong with elegance

from Jefferson to Lincoln

It has taken me too long to read this massive book, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, but I’m almost done and want to share a few quotes for your reflection. The reviews at Amazon are helpful except for the one negative reviewer.

p.381 But [President] Jackson was not content to refute the nullifiers’ reasoning on the tariff. He wanted to destroy the philosophical and political foundations of nullification itself. Once again he focused on the key issue: Calhoun’s theories of the Union and undivided state sovereignty. Those theories, Jackson charged, were recent inventions, unanticipated by the Framers and ratifiers of the Constitution. Laws whose effects were far more controversial than the ones currently at issue - the whiskey excise law in the 17990s, Jefferson’s embargo - had been deemed unconstitutional by a majority in one or more states, “but, fortunately, none of those States discovered that they had theright now claimed by South Carolina.”
Calhoun’s inven…

High Gas Prices are Good

High Gas Prices are Good - Acton Institute PowerBlog:
Even so, the inconvenience does have the ability to change people’s behavior, and this is why I’m making the argument that high gas prices have the potential to be a good, albeit a costly one (so to speak). People might drive less, carpool more, walk to the corner store instead of driving, and so on.

But an even bigger point is this: as gas prices rise the cost relative to other forms of energy is bound to decrease. This is why so many environmental advocates have long been arguing in favor of some sort of hefty additional petroleum products tax, which would make other sources of energy more competitive.

But what so many fail to see is that the market can accomplish by itself what such artificial and authoritarian measures are intended to do. Clearly the price we pay at the gas pump includes a huge amount by way of taxes to the various levels of government. But when gas prices rise without an increase in the amount of government taxat…

Deadwood in the Pews

the evangelical outpost: Deadwood in the Pews:
The Trouble with Church
: "no matter where I go there is always one idiot who ruins the experience for me. They think they know more theology than the pastor or believe they would do a better job leading worship than the music minister. They are invariably unfriendly, judgmental, hypocritical, and more than a little bit smug. Every church I go to I find a fool like that and so I shop around trying to find one that won’t let someone like that join their ranks. But he’s always there. No matter what I do I can’t shake him. Because that guy is me.

So I have to admit that I don't like church. I'd rather sleep in on Sunday mornings. I'd rather follow my own path. I'd rather excuse myself from public worship until I can 'get right with the Lord.' But I can't do that. Church is where I belong...

Why am I so dumb that I expect the church to be something its not? Why can’t I recognize that the trouble with the church is…

The Moral Influence Theory of the crucifixion

Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet: The Moral Influence Theory: "Michael Horton writes the following in his article 'Without Excuse' in the March/April 2006 issue of Modern Reformation magazine,

One of the erroneous assumptions, not only of [many people ], but of many theologians today is, that the basic problem that human beings have with God is lack of information. If people only knew how much God loves them; if they only realized how great God was and worthy of worship, they would embrace HIm.

This is the assumption behind what is called the 'moral influence theory' of the atonement: namely, that the cross saves chiefly by showing us how much God loves us and this moving picture is all we need to be brought to repentance.

But, as Anselm countered in his eleventh-century critique of this position,

'You have not yet considered how great your sin is.'"

Christianity's Cultural Contributions

Christianity's Cultural Contributions - Christianity Today Magazine: "It's quite fashionable to blame Christianity for nearly everything that has gone wrong in the last 2,000 years, says Jonathan Hill. In books from The Da Vinci Code to His Dark Materials, Christians are blamed for inspiring wars, terrorizing people, and fighting against advances in science and learning. But not only are many of those claims either false or greatly exaggerated, they also ignore the many beneficial influences of Christianity in Europe and around the world. What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us? is Hill's response to those who attack the faith. CT corresponded via e-mail with Hill, who is in Singapore working on his Ph.D. in philosophy."

DaVinci Code rant

Scriptwriter and believer Barbara Nicolosi blogs at Church of the MassesBasically, I hate talking about The Da Vinci Code because I have a personal relationship with Jesus. I have met Him and He isn't a proto-feminist goddess-cultic with a weak personality that could have been simply co-opted by power-hungry misogynists. I love Jesus. It makes me physically sick to entertain discussion about the ways in which the defining acts of His life - His Passion, Resurrection and establishment of the Church - could be a diabolical scam that He never anticipated not experienced. It would make me sick to hear salacious lies about anyone I love, how much more my Savior?

Besides that, I don't think we should encourage people in the terrible sin against the Holy Spirit of speculating that things that are holy are evil, and that things that are evil are holy. Isn't that what is going on here? How is that not painful for anyone who knows the Lord?

she proposes a third way between engagement …

Beatitudes in the blogosphere

It's not so unexpected to find a blogosphere highly populated by Christians to be talking about a central teaching of Jesus simultaneously. High population plus central teaching equals frequent convergence. Here are three that happen to be talking about poverty in spirit this week.
At Pastor Jon's Blog we read
b. The poor in spirit: This is not a man’s confession that he is by nature insignificant, or personally without value, for that would be untrue. Instead, it is a confession that he is sinful and rebellious and utterly without moral virtues adequate to commend him to God.

c. The poor in spirit recognize that they have no spiritual "assets." They know they are spiritually bankrupt. With the word poor, Jesus uses the more severe term for poverty. It indicates someone who must beg for whatever they have or get.

i. Poverty of spirit cannot be artificially induced by self-hatred; it is brought about by the Holy Spirit and our response to His working in our hearts.

and at …

evangelizing on commission

a recent commenter on the beaten-up Indian evangelist story charged that converts were being bought by the Christian. i noted that he was credited with 700 converts and wondered where he would have gotten that much money. but i think this might not be an uncommon charge against missionaries. why would this charge be made? perhaps a non-convert, especially in a Christian-minority country can not conceive of any other reason for a poor fellow citizen to abandon their social safety lines unless there was another safety net to fall into. certainly people have been so impressed with the generosity of western missionaries they presume conversion will lead to more material benefits, and, indeed, since Christians are generous, they are generally correct. but the evangelist is hoping for the converted heart, not converted pocketbook. Jesus himself warned "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches cho…

A Powerful Consequence

In the last twelve years, El Salvador has seen unprecedented prosperity: the poverty rate has dropped from 60 percent to 30 percent; infant mortality rates have plummeted; unemployment rates have halved; school and health care availability has increased dramatically. From 1999 to 2004, this reconstruction was overseen by President Francisco Flores. After finishing his term as president, Flores continued his work for freedom by founding the America Libre Institute in Washington, D.C. He spoke with Religion & Liberty in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"What role do you think religion will play in creating a free and virtuous society in El Salvador?

El Salvador has undergone one of the most dramatic religious reformations that I have seen in any society. It was principally triggered by the war, but the real reason is the fact that people felt that the Catholic Church had become part of the conflict. Catholic priests, led by liberation theologians, really became part of the same team [as] …

Hopegivers: Dr. Sam Has Been Granted Bail

Christian Persecution Blog: Dr. Sam Has Been Granted Bail: "Hopegivers President Dr. Samuel Thomas received bail today from the Jaipur High Court and will be released tomorrow after spending 47 days in Kota Central Jail in Rajasthan. Dr. Sam, as he is known to millions around the world, has been held on charges that he “created communal disharmony.”

Hopegivers Founder Bishop M.A. Thomas was also granted bail on the same charge from India’s Supreme Court on April 20."

Katrina Patina

Katrina Patina: the observations of a Bay St. Louis survivor.

"My home in Bay St. Louis is a renovated schoolhouse - The Webb School - built in 1913. My contractor friends assure me that it’s as strong as a fortress. It’s a raised building, set on solid concrete pilings, ten feet tall. I’d already boarded up the largest of the many windows, but there was still a lot of work to be done. The next twenty-four hours were a blur as I put my hurricane preparation system into effect. The list is long: Take down every piece of art and store it in the most protected closets (a strong storm can vibrate the walls so much, they crash to the floor). Move all the potted plants and outdoor furniture to safety beneath the house. Ditto the car. Cover the important furniture with tarps in case the roof blows off. Pack up all the pottery and sacred books in plastic crates. Fill up the bathtub. Check the battery supply and make sure all the flashlights were working. Make backup discs for the computer…

Male Dominance versus Complementarian

Micheal Hamblin makes a complementary approach to marriage attractive to this husband who tries to be egalitarian as well,
From my perspective, complementarianism is a refreshing and desperately needed corrective to traditional and Fundamentalist views on gender relations. Complementarianism corrects many of the false dualisms that elevate men into a higher place in human relationships than God created them for. It further makes a corrective against selfishness on the part of men, humbling them by causing them to realize that headship is not a calling so they can be served, but that as the head of the family they are to serve the family in the same way that as Jesus Christ is head of the church, he still humbles Himself and washes the disciples’ feet. It also gives men a vision of his calling as a man, by emphasizing his role in being willing to give of himself wholly and sacrificially for the sake of his marriage and family just as Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for the church.

He als…

Godwin's Law - invoking Hitler and the Nazis

Godwin's Law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Godwin's Law (also Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is, in Internet culture, an adage originated in 1990 by Mike Godwin that states:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made the thread in which the comment was posted is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

It is considered poor form to arbitrarily raise such a comparison with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized codicil that any such deliberate invocation of Godwin's Law will be unsuccessful.

Although in one of its early forms Godwin's Law referred specifically to Usenet discussions[2], the law can be applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, and so on. "

Smart Mom Blog: Knitting like a Knut

My wife, at the Smart Mom Blog: Knitting like a Knut ,wants to make it clear she is not referencing Harry Potter....

India's anti-Christian laws

Leaders claim Hindu extremists are publicly “hurting the religious sentiments” of Christians.

April 27 (Compass Direct) – Dr. John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union, has lodged an official complaint against L.K. Advani, former deputy prime minister and current leader of the opposition in Parliament, for hurting the religious sentiments of Christians. The complaint is based on a comment Advani made likening the recent travails of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the death and resurrection of Christ. Dayal claims that sections of the Indian Penal Code making religious insensitivity a criminal offense have been applied to Christians on spurious grounds but not to Hindu extremists who have publicly insulted the Christian faith. There are no known cases of Hindu extremists being arrested for hurting the religious sentiments of Christians...."