Tony Woodlief writes on the tendency of Christians to pass off garbage as “Christian art:”
Consider, for example, some common sins of the Christian writer:
Neat resolution: You can find it on the shelves of your local Christian bookstore: the wayward son comes to Christ, the villain is shamed, love (which deftly avoids pre-marital sex) blossoms, and the right people praise God in the end. Perhaps best of all, we learn Why This All Happened.
The article offers a very cogent analysis of the problems with Christian books and movies (most of which also apply equally well to Christian music). The Christian artist, if anything, should feel less free to pass off half-baked art, particularly if they are going to claim to be creating “Christian” works.
I meant to post this Bono quote on here months ago:
There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
He is risen!
Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.
Google that word and you will discover dozens of blog articles hailing the approaching end times, noting how people like Rick Warren are now pushing for a merger of Christianity and Islam. Reading even one of these reveals the poorest of justifications for saying Warren has “embraced Chrislam.” I am no Warren fan, but any Christian who writes such junk should be ashamed.
But, if fallacious argumentation is not enough to demonstrate the flaws of these “reports,” maybe plagerism will do the trick. All of the content I have found seems to originate from a pseudo-journalist named Paul L. Williams. The posts seem to be minor variations of each other, using the same words — and even the same church sign picture. Also note that all of them talk about the same events happening “this week” despite being posted anywhere between November and this week.
This smells more of an email urban legend than news. Yet this misinformation is being passed around as news and people will take it as such. Even when we disagree with people, we must reject spreading mistruths, no matter how perfectly they may confirm our biases.
To do otherwise is sin.
Paul Tillich once said,
Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
Generally, I think our modern conception of faith suggests it is either something built on entirely warranted belief or is entirely unwarranted. Tillich here offers a middle way that is more in accord with Scripture. Being human involves uncertainties and doubts arising whenever we deal with something of great import. If we take the Bible seriously, then, inevitably, some doubts will exist.
That is why we pursue theology. As St. Anselm said, theology is “faith seeking understanding.”
While I find Anthony Hoekema's “facet” approach to the “order of salvation” more helpful in understanding God's saving work than the traditional Ordo, knowing the traditional linear order still has its merit. (And, I needed to know it for an exam.)
I came up with a little mnemonic to help myself memorize it and thought I'd post it here in case anyone else might have a need to keep the events in order.
Or, so my cat told me.
So people went ahead and burnt the Qur'an today. What do they expect this will accomplish? Today ought to be a day in which we mourn a very real tragedy in our nation, not sow hate and discord.
I posted a piece about the whole Qur'an burning situation on OFB yesterday. Those interested in the topic may also want to check out an excellent letter Covenant Seminary sent to Terry Jones earlier this week.
For one of my classes, Ministry Leadership, we had to take a “church personality” test. It is a diagnostic rather like the Myers-Briggs, but not entirely so. In the test, which I linked to on Facebook a few days ago, apparently I came out as an ICF (“Relational Church”) personality.
If you'd like to give the diagnostic a spin, you can get to it here. Dr. Douglass hired me to write the little program that works with his formulas a few years back. Needless to say, it was rather fun to then have need of taking the very same diagnostic!
In any case, apparently, Dr. Douglass developed the test to help make people aware of differing ministry styles with the goal of minimizing the potential for church conflict. Consider me intrigued.
So someone in St. Louis comes by to my most recent post on the abusive activities at my old church today and posts a link anonymously. I have significant reasons to believe this to be from someone at that old church. The link goes to the Men's Fraternity bookstore page for a booklet called “The Quest for Authentic Manhood: The Overly-Bonded with Mother Wound.”
This smacks of something of the propaganda the pastor of the old church has pushed for the last year. My mother was well liked at the old church and can also hold her own under attack, so when she would not agree to the pastor's request that she push me to do what he wanted, when, instead, she supported my free and independent decision to refuse to continue to be abused by the pastor and those assisting him, the church leadership set out to attack her. The pastor attacked her in his communications with church leaders, our friends, my dean and others.
He would have been fine with her being as controlling as he falsely alleges if she had allowed him to use her to manipulate me. It was when she joined a chorus that also included numerous other godly people I go to for advice, when I stood up and said I would not violate Scripture or conscience to do the bidding of, as I now have come to realize, an overly controlling pastor (not an overly controlling mother), that suddenly the pastor decided I was not manly enough. Is not having godly advisors in one's life to help one deal with difficult situations part of what these “Biblical manhood” programs are even suppose to foster? The pastor wanted none of that, so he twisted the narrative to be about my mom somehow forcing me to stray and then attacked this straw man (or straw woman, in this case) — this caricature of my mother — he had created.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.