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Category: morality

Is there such a thing as ‘Christian’ music, writing, art, etc?

I try mightily to keep myself from having unexamined beliefs. I turned one up, though, in the last month or so, no doubt because of the writing contest and online apologetics conference I was working on. The writing contest, for example, is labeled as a Christian writing contest. I began to think about how an endeavor like writing, or any endeavor at all, could justify being termed ‘Christian’ and realized I had never really thought about it much before, and had rather accepted the presumptions that had been handed down to me. I hate it when I do that! Even if the presumptions are right!

However, what I turned up when I began my examination may surprise the reader. In Evangelical circles, the Christian sub-culture is a constant temptation and Christianese the prevailing language, which I myself attack in this post warning about Christianese and shibboleths. There is a silly sense within Christendom that you can slap the label ‘Christian’ on front of something and you’ve sanctified it. The truth usually is that it’s merely been rendered more marketable within the Church.

The reader would be wrong if he thought that the presumption handed down to me was the one I just described, however.

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They Hyper-Defense of God: Reprise

God has chosen to operate through people and tangible, physical stuff like sound waves (the Word), water (baptism), and bread and wine (the Eucharist). (Some will object to baptism and the Eucharist, but at least people and the Word should be conceded). To attack such things in the name of spirituality is to attack that which the Spirit is actually using. In fact, this line of attack sounds an awful lot like Gnosticism, which considers matter inherently corrupted and only the spiritual things pure.

As a quick, pointed example, the accusation that the Christian community abhors all things concerning sex isn’t an entirely fabricated. There are indeed Christians who will talk about sex as though it were some base, physical act that only serves to get in the way of spiritual pursuits. But God made us as sexual beings, and marriage was God’s way of creating godly children (Mal. 2). One gets the idea for some Christians that God permits people to have sex, but only reluctantly- so we should try very hard not to enjoy it and participate in it only as duty requires. Yea, compare and contrast that with the Song of Solomon, why don’t you!

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Love and the Incarnation and the Hyper-Defense of God

But sometimes they just get all in a fit all the same if you include people as agents carrying out God’s mission. That is when you see the ‘hyper-defense’ on display, as if by acknowledging the fact that God uses people to carry out his will, that takes away from the credit that God rightly deserves.

The simple fact is that the Biblical witness is pretty clear: God does tend to use people to carry out his plans on earth. He could have delivered the Israelites from Egypt without involving Moses at all. Sure enough, it was by God’s power that the people were delivered, but he still brought Moses in. Then of course Jesus appointed disciples to go out after his death and resurrection to spread the word. God certainly could have just personally appeared to each and every person on the planet and delivered his message directly. For that matter, he could speak into our minds and be done with it. But he doesn’t do that. Not only does he work through ‘means,’ but he works through people- that is, people themselves are means.

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Presentation: Abortion is Just Politics and Pro-Life is Just Religion; and Apologetics

Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CST I will be presenting on this topic:

Just Politics? Religion and Abortion and Apologetics: Examining the idea that supporting abortion is merely a political view but opposing it is a religious view and the role of world view in the question.

Summary: Pro-choicers often frame their argument by casting their position as a civil rights issue and the pro-life position as a religious issue- and people should not impose their religion on others. Common sense would suggest that as two sides of the exact same coin, if one position is a religious issue so too is the other. Lying beneath the issue is this question: “Is there any belief that is merely political? What separates a ‘religious’ ‘belief’ from any other?” This leads into a conversation about apologetics, and whether or not the Christian faith is grounded in reality- and the consequences whether one answers in the affirmative or the negative.

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I am my child’s advocate; you aren’t.

I am my child’s advocate.

He cannot speak for himself. She cannot understand the issues. Yet the choices we make today will impact them forever. I know my children. I know the issues. You are not my child’s advocate. I am.

You are quite certain my child should be socialized according to your dictates.

For thousands of years civilization got along just great without your professional opinion.

If I choose to make use of your services, it is as my instrument exerting my authority as my child’s advocate. My family is not the arbitrary tool of the state to achieve the state’s ends. My family uses the state- or doesn’t- as its tool. I dispense with it as I determine.

Turn your own family into a machination of the state. Leave mine alone.

I am my child’s advocate.

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Why don’t Christians care about people who need health care?

The Christian Church has a PR problem.

In the first place, any regular reader of this blog knows that I take the Church to task like the best of them. The Church could, and should, do much more. But let’s be honest: they actually are doing quite a lot.

Historically, it has been the Church at the forefront in doing good works. For example, Julian the Apostate in the fourth century realized that if he didn’t enact government programs to take care of the poor he’d never be able to make the claim that Christians were pernicious. Slavery was ended by Christians standing up against other Christians. Institutions of higher learning like Harvard and Yale (and hordes of others) were all founded by Christians. Hospitals and medical clinics were founded first by Christians with Christian charity in mind. What tends to happen, though, is all of the good things that Christians have done end up getting secularized. You cannot call Harvard and Yale ‘Christian,’ any more. Nor can you call the local Lutheran-in-the-name hospital in my area, ‘Lutheran.’

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Why Christians are against Universal Health Care

“the “right” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate morality. The “left” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate compassion. Both approaches fail miserably and are an abdication of our responsibility to be the voice, hands and feet of Jesus in this world.” – spoken by a friend.

Someone slid this article across my desk that inquires as to why evangelical Christians are against universal health care. Now, strictly speaking, I’m not an evangelical. Also, I don’t think that all Christians oppose universal health care, and I will not presume that Christians who do will share all my reasons. I hope this caveat spares me the litany of comments accusing me of ‘generalizing.’

I will take the article as my foil as it is one of the finest expressions of liberal hubris and arrogance that I’ve seen in a while. The author begins by indicating he seriously wanted to know why Christians who are supposed to be all about love would oppose health care. The end includes a long screed:

(p.s. this opinion is reserved for those Christians who have not actually thought about the consequences, and decided that more people are harmed than helped by the new law. They are being consistent with their beliefs. That being said, if you think you are in that camp of people excluded, you probably aren’t. You probably are just being geedy, selfish and jerkish, but convincing yourself that this is why you oppose it, while the truth remains you just dont want taxed, or adhere to some abstract notion of how this bill is UnGodly).

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To prison I go?

It is my hope that in facing possible imprisonment I will be able to call attention to the shredding of the Constitution and alter some perspectives. Of course, I should say, the continued shredding of the Constitution, as this is only one of the clearest violations of the rule of law and the ‘consent of the governed’ to come down the pike. It is my hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll decide that the Constitution matters and that if we want to make society-wide changes we’ll at least have the decency to do it the right way, by amending the Constitution if necessary.

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The Culture War is Over and We Lost? So… guerrilla warfare…

Something I’ve been pondering for awhile is this: Is the culture war over? And did we lose it?

I part company with those who seek to Christianize the culture as though this in itself is a noble goal. It seems to me that this would in effect merely make our culture a ‘white washed tomb.’ More important than the culture are the people within it and their state of mind and eternal fates. Nonetheless, people are strongly influenced by the culture at large whether they know it or not or admit it or not. An unfriendly culture will make it harder for people to receive the Gospel.

I believe that. To an extent. I note, however, that the Christian Church itself exploded into existence within a culture that was not yet, by virtue of the fact that there wasn’t a pervasive Christianity to Christianize, Christian.

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Questions for Pillow-Marriage Advocates

In my last entry I felt compelled to clarify that I was married- and that, to a woman, and not a pillow.

I felt this need because of this article I just read talking about a guy in Korea marrying… well, a pillow.

Far be it from me to prohibit anyone from living out the rest of their lives in a committed, monogamous relationship. But I do have some questions.

Q. Does the pillow consent? If consent is no longer one of the important elements constituting real ‘marriage’ where does it end? Will people be marrying shoes next? If shoes, why not toddlers? [More…]

Q. Obviously, with all of the kids needing loving parents these days it would be abhorrent to not allow this loving couple to adopt children. But I am curious to know… if the guy dies, does custody revert to the pillow? Who gets his assets?

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Reflections on culture, evangelism, and apologetics

I’ve been thinking about the culture wars lately. I have a real problem with Christians who seem to be driving for a change in the culture just for the sake of having a ‘holy’ culture. I think we’d have to call that a legalistic culture. I believe that the Christian church should be about something more than creating white-washed tombs.

On the other hand, the nature of ‘culture’ is that it perpetuates itself, feeds itself, fuels itself. The culture is the air we breathe and the water in which we swim. It has the ability to mold us into its image, and once so molded, we mold others in that same image. Resistance isn’t exactly futile, but it is difficult. Conformity to the culture is the path of least resistance. It would behoove us, therefore, to ensure that the culture is not toxic. If the culture is healthy, the path of least resistance will more likely result in healthy beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

You all will have experienced this. I remember when I worked construction for awhile. After just a month or so, I found myself talking like those guys.

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Randall Terry is Wrong, Choose Life is Not Pro Choice

If Mr. Terry is to be believed, we made the absolute wrong decision, here. Since abortion was legal, there was no value to choosing life. By choosing life and refusing to take part in a silent holocaust, we were, in fact, presuming that it is ethical and legitimate to choose murder.

This is absurd; dare I say, it is stupid.

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Planned Parenthood’s Superbowl Battle

There is just something about this Tebow Superbowl ad that seems to have really gotten under the skins of the pro-abortionist groups like Planned Parenthood and others. I think its because they perceive that their whole agenda has been called out and they were left rocking backwards on their heels. A lot of the pro-choice groups are crying foul that we have to be ‘exposed’ to something as damnable as a story about a mother who was advised to have an abortion… but chose not to… in “contravention doctors’ orders” (ala Rachel Maddow).

Apparently, such divisive matters should not be presented to us during the Superbowl… far better to focus on what unites us: clever beer commercials and scantily clad women and the occasional wardrobe malfunction.

I was recently invited to be a columnist on a Christian news site called the CypressTimes. One of my first articles was on this very topic.

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Soviet Show Trials Right Here in America

why have the trial at all? If you can assure us of a guilty verdict before the trial itself how is this not actually a show trial?

There are any number of tweaks to the system that will have to be made in order to have a fair trial under the Constitution. For example, how are we to provide the accused a fair jury of their peers? Do we need to import people from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to find men like the accused? Also, wouldn’t a change of venue be in order? If I was the defense attorney I’d ask for one, and since I wouldn’t expect anyone in America (excepting those who write for the Huffington Post, but again, they aren’t rabid Islamicists, so not exactly peers) to feel less than outrage over the attacks, I would ask for the trial to be moved to Europe, or Pakistan or failing this, back to Gitmo.

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