Showing posts from March, 2009

videos about forgiveness

Slate is not known for it's Christian testimonials. But a story about forgiveness is a story about Christ whether acknowledged or not.

Here is a Christian version.

interviewed by another blogger

Jay at found my review of Bella and wanted to talk about it at his blog. Thanks Jay. Keep up the good work.

6 ways to get kicked out of church

Paul boils the list of ejection-worthy offenses down to six in 1 Corinthians 5:11; fornication, greed, idolatry, verbal abuse, drunkenness, thievery. Sounds like 5 of the 10 commandments and an obnoxiousness clause. The commandments I'm thinking of are #7 Adultery a, b, c, #10 Lust a, b, #2 No idols a, b, c, d, e, f, #9 Lying, perjury, slander a, b, c, #8 Stealing a, b, all the links are too my previous series on these commandments. My intention is to revisit these topics in the context of church life and try to figure out how to apply this to my church and my life today.

Here's how a bunch of different translators or paraphrasers make English of Paul's Greek. I really like the paraphrases in the Message and the Bible in Basic English.

NET ©But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian1 who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive,2 or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person.

But n…

blogs I commented on March 27

I belong to Toastmasters International and I'm currently President of my club. I think it has provided tremendous benefit to me and my audiences, which is why I seconded Nadia's recommendation at the Springboards Blog.

I let CMP know I would pray for his 2 year old son who might have leukemia. Could you as well?

Loss of self-control and church discipline

I've been digging into the concept of character lately and its relationship to self-control and long term perspective. For many people, someone without self-control, basically an adult that acts like a child, is usually unpleasant company. In the church though, the story is much more complicated. We are to be a community of grace and mercy. Jesus's religious opponents frequently complained about the company he kept. In Luke 15 they were muttering about his mingling with tax collectors and "sinners" (Luke 15:1-2). This resulted in three amazing parables of his about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. His point was, every sinner who repents, who was lost but now found, who was dead but now alive, causes celebration in heaven. So like a good shepherd, a poor woman, and a prodigal father, he seeks those that are lost. The lost are usually notorious, yet Jesus sought their company so he could tell them how to get "home," back with their Father. Hen…

Why the multiverse takes more faith than that of Xians

Thanks to Uncommon Descent with many more links on this topic.

Character and self-control: More thoughts

After I published previously, I was able to do more thinking on my bike ride home. I know one of my weaknesses as a writer is that I make long mental leaps between points that tends to leave readers mystified. Sorry.

Part of what I wanted to say yesterday is that if character is who we are when no one sees us, then, looking at just our sinful thoughts alone, we all fail miserably. Our minds are filled with good and bad. Some of us in equal proportions and some more good, but all of us have evil within us. Even God tells us this through his prophet Jeremiah. The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad.1 Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

But Jesus himself points out that there are good and noble hearts in his parable of the soils. Regarding the soil that enables the seed to produce a hundred fold he says, But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. NKJV…

Character: some thoughts

I've been mulling over a proposed definition of character today.

Part 1
The popular definition in my church circles is that character is determined by your behavior when no one is watching. It sounds pretty good.
Part 2
I watched a debate with Christopher Hitchens yesterday in which he complained about the cosmic despot who holds us guilty for every thought that wafts through our minds.
Part 3
Jesus says the fantasy of adultery is just as wicked as the act itself. Matthew 5:27-30
Part 4
Fantasy is what one does in one's own mind where none other, but one, God, can see.
Part 5
Everyone fantasizes of good and evil. Hence, who has character?
Part 6
Hitchens misses Jesus' point. Our thoughts affect our souls and usually affect our actions. Even the moribund, those trapped by physical paralysis, are sinners in need of a savior. Jesus calls for a radical response, by hyperbole, to wicked thoughts, amputation, Matthew 5:29-30.
Part 7
Is there a difference between the character who acts out and…

10 commands for those about to be baptized

The great church father Gregory of Nazianzus decided that just as Moses went up the mountain and encountered God and came down with 10 commandments, so those being baptized were encountering God as well, and he wanted to give them 10 commands. It's the essentials of the faith. And I really like them. And I'm very grateful to Fred Sanders for posting these. but I don't want to forget them, so I'll re-post them here. But Fred has better background to these.

But not yet perhaps is there formed upon your soul any writing good or bad; and you want to be written upon today, and formed by us into perfection. Let us go within the cloud. Give me the tables of your heart; I will be your Moses, though this be a bold thing to say; I will write on them with the finger of God a new Decalogue. I will write on them a shorter method of salvation. And if there be any heretical or unreasoning beast, let him remain below, or he will run the risk of being stoned by the Word of truth. 1. I w…

blogs I commented on March 09 week 2

Tony Jones calls the creation account true but not factual and thinks Paul's understanding of original sin and its transmission from Adam to us is corrupted by the confusion of true and factual. He sure acts like a typical liberal Princeton seminarian. He keeps getting hung up on the issue that somehow Adam's curse messed up his genetics which would explain original sin, and since no one has found the Sin gene, Original Sin must be an archetype, whatever that is, and not a reality. I responded You seem hung up on a materialist explanation of the transmission of sin from Adam. Perhaps we inherit some of our parents' spritual essences as well. However, it does seem mysterious, but why should mystery prevent us from accepting plain doctrine?
Thanks to Mike Wittmer for the heads up and brief analysis.

Justin McRoberts reflected on the complaints of a wealthy man.

Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen makes a bailout proposal for the American evangelical church before it goes bankru…

cinema review: Fireproof (2008)

updated with video...
Morality plays have a long history and Fireproof plays it safe and sticks with traditional story telling of this genre. What can one expect from this genre? Nothing is left to the imagination. What could be said with a glance in any other movie, is assisted with stilted dialog. Hence, it feels like a child's movie, an After School Special. This does not make it a bad movie. Rather, it is a good story hindered by a fear of uncertainty. Several times I spoke out loud to the movie and pleaded with it to "Show me, don't tell me." That principle separates the sheep from the goats in writing class and the adults from the kids in cinema. As a visit to the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes will prove, adults are insulted by this movie. My kids did like the movie, however. About half-way through the movie, I became more interested in the story. I think any adult can because, with half the marriages in this country ending in divorce, everyone knows someone divorc…

Diary of a God fearing sinner part 4

My friend makes good videos like this one, a refreshing take on the prayer of Jabez.

I linked to his first video here. He has a Youtube channel as well.

blog feature update March 2009

I got rid of Snapshot previews. They never seem to load fast enough and so the visitors experience can get bogged down. However, I added the NETBibleTagger tool. I usually hyperlink all scripture references, but this tool supposedly makes that unnecessary. You should be able to mouse over John 3:16 and see a pop-up with the text of the verse in the window.

What does dying daily for Christ look like?

K. P. Yohannan from Gospel for Asia has some suggestions.

blogs I commented on March 09 week 1

It was really nice in Haiti. I liked being disconnected from the news and the blogs. When I came home I went to google reader and told it that all 1,000 unread blogs were officially read. Surprisingly, life continued without difficulty.

But now I'm back in the US where I blog and read blogs and sometimes comment on blogs. My friend Justin McRoberts posted a funny video about how good we actually have things, despite our bad economy. I compared things here to life in Haiti. I also made a comment on a post of his about Christian T-shirts.

Jill in Alaska couldn't finish the Iditarod Race by bike this week because of frostbite and she fears she let her fans down.

My friend Phil has started a blog for those who live in houses that weren't built with concerns of oil prices or shame of drafts. He had a great series on to replace windows or not. Like many of us, he'd love super windows, a post I inquired further about. I think his message could be summarized with the lyric, "…

How hard our hearts

I've been reading the Greek New Testament and have been in Revelation. The Greek forces me to take it real slow, one chapter a morning. This morning I read Revelation 16. The seven plagues in this chapter recapitulate some of the 10 plagues sent on Egypt, blood, fire, darkness, boils, hail, and the reaction of the afflicted is the same, unrepentance, verse 9. In fact, it's worse than unrepentance. The afflicted blaspheme God, vv.11 and 21.

We sometimes hope a person hits "their bottom." When the fruit of their sinful lives are no longer deniable. We hope alcoholics reach bottom. We hope drug addicts hit their bottom. But sometimes, death comes first. It's tragic. This passage tells me that for many people, death is the only "bottom" they'll acknowledge.

We are entering, perhaps, an economic depression. But is there a country wide repentance? Will God be acknowledged? Will hearts soften? Jesus did say the rich have a harder time entering heaven than th…

Excessive Celebration Win- IMO

How can this be a FAIL if he knows he's a winner in his heart?

Haiti: crisis in Fonds-Verrette

Beware, this is a long story. But it also has many pictures from my trip to Haiti.

Some of our stories are too painful to reveal plainly to new friends. Some of our stories have fractured our identities so much that it's almost necessary to fabricate one that will enable us to function in our community. The identity She shared with us yesterday in Her town of Fonds-Verrettes had collided with truth today as we passed back through Her town. She wasn't a widow. In fact, Her husband met our truck coming back down from Oriani in the mountains and rode with us back into town. Everything spilled out before us and the townsfolk at the open air market in front of the chain across the road, intended to slow traffic, especially the large Tap-taps. It seemed like the merchants were ready for entertainment by domestic dispute as they hoped these trucks of white visitors would stop and make purchases or hand out dollars. It was also getting dark. We hadn't purchased anything from them y…