Showing posts from November, 2011

sex before marriage

Genesis 2:22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib and brought her to Adam. 23 "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken out of a man." 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. 25 Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame. (NLT)
There is no proof text verse in the Bible that says "thou shalt not have pre-marital sex" although it does condemn extra-marital sex, AKA adultery, see the 10 commandments series and Exodus 20:14. Some contend that in the ancient near east, whoever you had intercourse with became, by default, your spouse. There are several examples of wedding ceremonies in Genesis that don't make it that simple, for God's people at least. I think it's because God's people knew this Garden of Eden story. The uniting is a gift from God. …

PTSD and the citizen soldier

I watched Restrepo last night. It was very similar to the Danish documentary, Armadillo, Image via Wikipediawhich I watched last month. In between I read and reviewed here, What is it like to go to war by Karl Marlantes. I also witnessed a highway fatality for the first time in my life and my dear grandmother passed away. So I've been thinking about death lately. Restrepo got me writing on it.
Both films are the products of filmmakers embedded with squads in Afghanistan, caught in frequent firefights with the Taliban. Death visits both sides of the conflict and is documented on camera. One of the soldiers in Restrepo describes exactly the same phenomenom that Marlantes describes of the firefight "high", which Marlantes calls a transcendent state. The young soldier, without the decades of reflection afforded to the Vietnam veteran and author, can only say the firefight experience exceeds any other sensation one might have known. He doesn't quite grasp that his soul is …

bottle brick construction

First Kelly Hart, at the earth bag building blog, posts a link to the bottle brick house in Africa. Then I found a BBC report on it. Eventually I ended up at Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, which I think is the Latin American nexus of this technology. This video seems to explain how it started way back in 2000. My brain is exploding with excitement especially about applying this to Haiti, which has an abundance of trash water bottles all over Port-au-Prince.

book report: The Grace Effect by Taunton (2011)

Larry Taunton's book, The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief (2011), sets in contrast his friendly conversations with New AtheistChristopher Hitchens about evil with his experience of evil as he tries to adopt a Ukrainian orphan with HIV. In a post-debate conversation with Hitchens about absolutes he posits Then it seems to me...that the question is this: which philosophies or religions restrain our darker impulses, and which ones exacerbate them? ... Christianity...begins with the premise that man is evil and that he needs to be saved from himself. Atheism, on the other hand, offers no compelling reason why I should not do precisely as I want to do. pp. 4, 5. I never thought about it from this angle so I was really intrigued how Taunton would develop this.
He tried to demonstrate it through his experience with the extremely corrupt Ukrainian government as he tried to adopt a young girl living in the awful conditions of an orphanage, whic…

instead of video campuses for growing churches...

I am part of a growing church. Expansion on site might not result in much expansion after all. So the leaders are kicking around ideas on how to accommodate the growth. One idea that is in use with some mega churches is a multi-site model in which the sermon from the parent church is video recorded and either broadcast live or shown after a week's delay. It seems to work well for those big churches using it. My own experience is that of a regular attender to the overflow room where I watch a live video feed. Because I'm only a few footsteps away from the live venue, I don't feel disconnected from the main body, especially during the between service coffee and mingling time. But the overflow room is not too full, which is something I like. I also like I can get out of my seat without offending the speaker. So it works for me, but mostly because I enjoy less density and more freedom to move around, not really spiritual reasons.
A friend shared an article at the blog, the Gosp…

Perfectionism vs. Compassion in ministry

I don't know if my responses to the terrible experiences at Teen Mania described at Recovering Alumni deserve attention at their blog. But as I read Lacey's story I heard over and over again a focus on perfection, which is not realistic for a Christian group. Compassion, on the other hand, is. The prevailing culture based on one or the other can strengthen or devastate a believer, which honors or dishonors God. The following contrasts are in response to Lacey's experiences.
Perfectionism repeatedly tells people to suck it up. Compassion does not have a goal to be equally hard on all the kids.
Perfectionism demands attention from sleep deprived teens and humiliates them when they fall asleep by making them stand in their exhaustion. Compassion makes sure everyone has enough sleep and remains healthy. One beats the sheep, the other protects them.
Perfectionism demands rigid order: a tight line, the same pace, the same silence. Compassion is generous.
Perfectionism insists on one…

honoring marriage

I find a certain blogger provides good fodder to get my writing juices going. For some reason, Dr. Tony Jones, an adjunct theology professor at Fuller Seminary, who has demonstrated his dim view on marriage by refusing to legalize his union with his partner, quotes without comment, another culture watcher who asserts that marriage is not holy because quickie divorces desecrate the institution. The quotee may not be a Bible reader, but I expect Dr. Jones is. Here is what I read in Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Because some do not honor marriage, does not mean marriage is not honorable, nor sacred, for believers. In the same way, some gnu atheists have had fun desecrating communion hosts, sneaking into the service under the pretense of being a believer, then sneaking out, with the host, in order to post pictures of their attempt at desecration. This desecration did not …