Category: theology

tickling ears or touching hearts? part 2

There’s a lot of churches out there. I have been a church-goer for 30 years. I’ve been serious about Christianity. I’m practical. I’m simple. My seriousness about Christianity simply means (see? simple) as much as is within me, I am devoted and dedicated to the Lord. I’m not a bandwagon jumper. I hate them. I’ve […]

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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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tickling ears or touching hearts?

Everyone wants to be valued. Everyone wants to be accepted. It’s the way we’re wired. God values us. God accepts us. He’s the one that did the wiring. Yet, we, the very proponents of the Good News can fall prey to defining and confining with conditional love (which isn’t really love as defined in 1 […]

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Introducing a guest blogger: Kathleen Moulton

I am very pleased to invite blogger Kathy Moulton to contribute entries here on Sntjohnny.com. I’ve enjoyed reading her entries which you can read at her website: http://cupakathy.livejournal.com/

She has been invited to contribute here more or less whenever she wants so watch for her entries soon! Read her bio below.

Kathy Moulton lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. She is privileged to be full-time homemaker for almost 30 years, along with homeschooling her 8 children, ages 8-26.

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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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Whatever a man can do a woman can do better

I was raised hearing that slogan, “Whatever a man can do, a woman can do better.”

You know, I think I actually believe this. At least, at the level of the individual I think that somewhere out there is some woman who can do whatever specific task usually considered as something a man does better.

An age old question that most people trace back to Jurassic Park is, “Just because you can do something, does it follow that you should do it.” In actuality, we can trace this sentiment back further, to the Apostle Paul, who said: “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.”

Even if we conceded that women can match and even out-perform men it doesn’t follow that they should.

I don’t know where I heard it now, but one of the most compelling arguments that I have heard for why women should not be pastors comes from simple human nature: if a man knows that someone else will do something, he’ll let them do it; if a woman knows that if she doesn’t do it, no one will, she’ll do it. The net effect is that over time, women will take on any and all tasks and men will let them do it. This will start a reinforcing cycle, where men keep dropping off and women keep pitching in, until at last men will leave it all to the ladies.

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8 Things I hate About Christianity, Condensed

I just read a very fine blog entry from a person detailing 8 things he hates about Christianity. I thought I would follow suit.

Here goes:

#1-#8. The Church is systemically unloving.

If all of the law is summed up in two commands- Love God and love your neighbor- I don’t see why all the things we may hate about Christianity cannot, and should not, be reduced to their inverse.

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On the slaying of dragons and manly love

Yesterday I had the good pleasure to post on my recent ruminations that ‘love’ had taken a distinctly ‘feminine’ turn since who knows when. This generated a fair bit of response, including some remarks from women themselves who really resonated with what I said. Some responses were of the sort that I feared, though. Taking them all together, I felt a follow up was in order. Unfortunately, the first draft of this ran over 1,500 words, crying out for revision, so it still isn’t going to cover everything that a reader may want.

One of the things I noted about the responses was that it was believed that women were the target of the post. If there was a target, it was the men.

In my post, I had said that the hero in Twilight had the advantage of having real dangers to fight off. I noted, “I mean, I’d hunt down and slay marauding vampires for my wife, too, if only they existed.”

Many of the comments that I heard from women addressed how their men take the time and effort to protect them. Don’t misunderstand me, I think it is great for these things to be recognized as loving. It isn’t only the women that I wanted to get that message, though. We men need to know that these things represent aspects of real love. You see, my hunch is that changing the oil and locking the doors, etc, are a weak replacement- from the point of view of the men- for the glorious battle that they’d prefer.

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The feminization of love and romance: can manly men live up to girlie love?

I fear that this post is going to be construed as sexist. Let me assure the reader that I love women. Some of my best friends are women. In fact, I’m even married to one (and she is not a pillow). People have noted that the female characters in my Birth Pangs series are really strong, independent ladies. But I think I’m still going to be called a sexist.

I had the misfortune to see the movie Twilight this weekend with my wife. I had heard that it was a chick flick. That’s not the misfortunate part. The misfortune consisted in it being, in my estimation, a poorly made movie. Maybe the book is better. It wasn’t a surprise exactly but after the movie was over I asked my wife what she thought and she liked the movie. I asked why and she said something to the effect of the guy showing complete and utter devotion to the girl in the show.

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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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In search of a systematic theology of love

I am therefore in a deliberate search for materials that speak specifically to a Christian understanding of love. This search has been ongoing for more than a decade and I must confess I have to this point been disappointed.

So, I hereby issue a request for help: is anyone aware of any systematic theology books anywhere, in any Christian denomination, that has a section devoted to the topic of Biblical love? Is anyone aware of any book that systematically and comprehensively presents a doctrine of love?

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The Epistemological Bottleneck And God’s Respect for Human Inquiry

One of the enduring criticisms against Christianity is that it is anti-knowledge, education, and learning.  This blog has taken aim at this criticism before, most notably taking Richard Dawkins to task for his misuse of an Augustine quote ostensibly about ‘curiosity.’  I currently have an open challenge to Dawkins to repudiate his use of that […]

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Do Christians Need to Think Theologically about Economics?

We also have to ask about those who are doing the taxing. They obviously believe they have the right to take your resources from you. They must believe that they can obtain some good that you, and perhaps few others, would have subsidized if left to your own devices. They must believe that they know how much they can fairly extract from you. They must believe that they have the right, if you protest, to incarcerate you and take your possessions by force if need be. In sum, they are almost indistinguishable from tyrants.

Christians should not support tyrants or adopt their methods and so become tyrants ourselves. If there is a cause we wish to support, we ought to do so from our own resources out of the free expression of our own hearts (2 Corinthians 8).

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Congregations and their Facilities and Love

hat I did dwell on there but would like to spend just a moment speaking to here is this premise: “Congregational facilities should reflect the mission of the church. Where you put your money says something about what you value. You can tell a lot about a church and the Church by looking at its buildings and where it puts its money.”

Now, I don’t think this is a controversial premise. Moreover, I don’t think it applies only to the Church. I think this is just a general truism about money and people. But I ask: if true, what message is being communicated about what the Church values in view of the property usage by many, if not most, churches in America?

I think clearly the emphasis is in three places: 1. Church services. 2. Fellowship. 3. Classroom instruction.

The standard configuration of most congregations in America is Sanctuary+Fellowship Hall+Classroom Instruction+Office space for pastor and program administers.

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