Archive | July, 2008

Nine Odds and Ends

1. I found this study interesting considering much talk about how the present postmodern generation tends to be less committed than previous generations.

Members of the Millennial generation are just as likely to open their wallets to charities as those born decades earlier . . . 

[Study] showed that young donors are as generous as those from older generations.

“We thought we would see some real differences, but giving across generations is not all that different,” says Edith Falk, chair and CEO of Chicago-based fundraising consultancy Campbell & Co.

. . . All other factors being equal, the study showed, the average giving level of Millennials is about the same as that of other generations.

2. Six Prayers God Always Answers (*Results May Vary) is a new book from Tyndale that explores some of the mysteries of prayer in a winsome and helpful way. In a chapter entitled “Prayers God Rarely Answers” the authors Mark Harringshaw and Jennifer Schuchmann say “Some questions get us in too deep, dredging up bottom filth that we never bargined for. Some questions are too big. Why is one of them.”

3. Theology Unplugged and Converse with Scholars. As we are anticipating some major “upgrades” here at Reclaiming the Mind, both TUP and CWS have been put on hold. Expect to continue to see them, but they will be more spuratic until the end of the Summer.

4. Pray for Ed Komoszewski. As you know, Ed has been such an important part of this ministry for some time now. He is also a dear friend. He has some serious health problems and is in need of prayer. As is the case whenever problems like this arise, there are many financial difficulties that he and his family are enduring. Please pray for this as well. I don’t want to share too many details here on the blog, but those of you who desire more details and would like to help, please let me know though email.

5. Bob Practico list the Top Ten Theological Scams.

6. Darth Vader Golfing:

7. Six reasons why Batman could take Yoda

1. Batman is taller.
2. Batman is smarter.
3. Batman would already know how to reverse the effect of the force.
4. The dark side would be mistaken for the Dark Knight and Yoda would compromise the code.
5. Yoda would simply be too scared to fight.
6. The anti-force alarm in the Batbelt.

8. Sproul on the difference between salvation and justification (love it!)

9. Was Noah’s flood local, global, parable, myth, or legend? What a conversation going on here.

Theology Unplugged – Problem Passages 4 – The Unforgivable Sin

Blog Problems

As many of you may know, the blog was hacked and we lost most of the material due to corrupted files. As you can see, we have restored the blog up to a year ago, but as of right now, all the blogs for the last year are in the deep abyss.

If you happen to have any of the blog post from the last year, it would be great if you could post them here in the comments section. It really stinks to lose so much.

Stay tuned as we continue to try to recover.

Finally a Catholic who is Not Afraid to Condemn Me?

Well, not me necessarily, but all Protestants. We Protestants really never know whether we are in or out with the Catholic Church. At one council it seems that we are damned to the fires of hell, and then, at another, we are “brethren,” separated, yet real brethren!

This all comes down to how the Catholic church is going to define their dogmatized phrase “outside the church [Roman Catholic Church] there is no salvation.” While Protestants often get blasted for our inability to agree on certain doctrines (rightly so in many cases), there is no less division among Catholics about what it means to be “outside the Church.”

Folks, I would like to know. My eternal life hangs in the balance.

On a more serious side-note, this does hamper Protestant/Catholic relations when it is believed that any non-Catholic is necessarily damned to hell (that is if they truly die a non-Catholic—more on this in a moment).

So, what do Catholics say? Continue Reading »

Politics and Evangelicals: An Email From My Mom

N.B. RMMers, this email is something that my little old gray-haired mother sent to a long-time friend recently. Many of you can relate to the bombardment of factoids on your computer from well-meaning friends and conservative spam-generators. You may not agree with Nayda Wallace about her viewpoints, but I trust that you’ll see some good wisdom here nonetheless. I have found her missive to be a very articulate statement about how conservatives (both politically and religiously) should integrate politics with Christian beliefs. There is a priority scheme here that focuses on kingdom ethics and on Christ Jesus. Mom, thanks for your continued wisdom and sage advice that you have shown now for more than five decades of my life.

Dear _________,

Whereas I usually agree politically with most of what you say, I don’t always agree that we must repeat the message to our liberal loved ones. Here’s why (choose whichever reason you prefer): 1) I have a stronger message for them (especially if they don’t know it already), and that is that Jesus loves them. 2) As Joe Aldrich used to say, “when love is felt, the message is heard.” 3) If # 2 is true the message will not be heard if it is mixed with capitalized Obama factoids (some of which are highly suspect as to being fact). 4) I don’t believe that the conservatives are the good guys and the liberals are the bad guys. However, I do believe that some of the strong points of each party are worth merit and many of each party are not worth merit. And I do agree with more of the conservative basics than the liberal ones. 5) I don’t believe we live in a black and white world except in matters of faith. And even then, I have reduced my matters of faith to just what I believe the Bible teaches absolutely! I like the way Dan explains it and it is thus: “The older I get and the more I study, I find I believe less and less but that which I do believe, I believe more and more.” (Apologies to Dan as I paraphrased from memory.) (In other words, no arguments about “dunking or sprinkling,” which version of the Bible was the one Paul used, and whether I would stake my life on post-trib or pre-trib rapture—either way, I want to be there!) 6) I don’t believe Jesus died for a political party, but for sinners…including Democrats, Republicans, Muslims, and HORRORS, even Nazis! I do believe that conservatives are frequently arrogant about that fact. 7) Hence, although I read what you send, and digest it, and frequently save it on my computer, I seldom send it on because I want my relationship with these loved ones based on my love for them which is only possible because I’m forgiven. Having said all that, I admit to storing little bits of political trivia in my ancient brain to recall at moments of opportunity. Always couched in the greater truth that the body politic is not the end-all, be-all in God’s kingdom. 8) And having said all that, I nevertheless really enjoyed the ad the conservative businessman placed in the paper. It took guts and conviction, traits which are frequently in short supply. And so for it’s worth, your passion is admirable. Your consistency is …well…consistent! And even though I commented that I might have enough guts to forward certain items on, I actually knew I wouldn’t. I will, however, store it away as a possible topic of conversation at the rare opportune moment. End of sermon for the day.

Love, Nayda B.

Sin is Fun

This is an interesting question: Is sin fun? The answer, I guess, is going to depend on how you define the word “fun.” We are going to enter into some subjectivity here aren’t we? Wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

I have often her Christians talk about the “pleasures of sin.” In this context, the pleasures of sin are not said to be pleasures at all. It is said to be a “pseudo-pleasure.” It is not really fun. “Here, enter into our world. You will see that sin is not really fun, you just think it is. Join us so that your fun can no longer be fun.”

I was talking to a friend the other day who was not a believer. He said “Michael, I like to have fun. If I become a Christian, I will not be able to have fun any longer. I like my friends and I don’t want to lose them. Our connection is in what we do together. What is wrong with that? Why does God get so upset when we have fun?”

I was not comfortable with the standard answer above.

Sin is fun. At least it can be. I admit to this. I am an expert at both sin and fun. I like one, but often find the former a necessary conduit to this latter.

Now, obviously, we would not classify all sin as “fun.” Exploding in uncalled for anger is not fun. Worry is not fun. Demeaning others for the sake of self-security is not really fun. In many cases, the deepest sinful bents we have are not practiced for the sake of fun.

But some sin is fun and fun is our motivation for this sin. No, it is not pride, hate, or lack of faith that catapults us into this sin . . . it is just plain fun. It is to remedy the often mundane boring circumstance we find ourselves in. Escape from reality? Maybe. But it is often the reality we feel we are compelled to. Who wants to be bored. Boredom and escape from what we believe to be a trapped personality waiting to happen, can cause us to say, “What the heck! What harm does it really do? If we have a good time while engaging in some sin and as long as no one gets hurt, what’s the problem?”

This is not a defense of sin. God’s word is our ultimate authority, not our definition and drive for fun. Often the Christian life will be boring. Often doing what is right feels to go against our natural inclination for the fuller life. I think that this is what is so hard for some of us to realize. The “fuller life,” “fun,” and “pleasure” often change from day to day, having many dependencies. Personal instability will redefine everything. Telling a non-Christian that they are not really having fun may be the wrong direction to take. As well, I don’t think that this is the best direction for Christians to take in own own battle against sin.

Yes, there is pleasure in sin for a season, but that “season” may be our entire life.

Anyway, these are some intentionally random thoughts without much by way of concluding thoughts.