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Showing posts from July, 2009

What is worship?

I already wrote about what I think the role of worship leaders should be ( What I can't get over is how much the term "worship" in modern parlance has to do with (1) my feelings, i.e., my emotional state, and (2) my various expressions of it. Typically, when a church person speaks Christianese, they would define worship as "an emotional, passionate response to God." But, by practice, they really mean more. It means that I have to really squint my eyes. I need to cry when I do it. I should shout when I do it. I should sway when I do it. I should act very emotional, whatever that means, to express my "worship" to God. Furthermore, I need to express it in some type of "passionate" way. I need to raise my hands. I should clap. I should, in some way, act like I feel passionate about God.

Of course, this means that if I sit still, quietly, then I'm not worshippin…

A "Christian Tithe"?

Perhaps like you, I was raised in Protestant churches. I was always taught, at least once a year, that Christians were obligated to pay a "tithe." Typically, references to the Old Testament were mentioned, but not very often. Usually, the preacher just assumed that everyone just "knew" it was expected.
I've been bothered about it for many years. Those who know me well know how opposed I am to churches speaking out so vehemently against those who do not devote an entire ten percent of their income to the Church.
Plain and simple: the New Testament never supports giving a tithe and when it was given, it was part of the now-dead-and-gone Temple system of Judaism. What is so intriguing and vexing about this issue is how much Christian leaders speak so forcefully about a subject that is so clearly limited to a particular cultural time and place as to render the moral necessity of our fulfillment absurd.
If we're going to use the Bible, then let's see what …

Inconsistent Christian Views on Gay Marriage

There are now twelve states that support same-sex marriage or civil unions. Certainly this number will continue to climb. Is there anything positive about the the discussion of same-sex marriage or should we oppose any SSM decisions?

This post is deliberately limited. I will not tackle every possible issue in this discussion. Rather, I wish only to discuss a few salient points. I've seen the two Dr. Phil shows on the issue (especially concerning the CA legislation concerning Proposition 8) that aired a couple months ago (one of them can be found at There was a panel of three advocates on either side. The entire audience was split down the middle: about 50 pro-gay marriage, about 50 anti-gay-marriage.

(1) In every discussion of same-sex marriage (= SSM) I've heard, the following thing must be admitted: the entire discussion is predicated upon the morality of homosexuality. Though this might seem elementary, it is typically overlooked in the di…

Should the Flag be in the Church?

This question is utterly about one theological issue: ecclesiology, i.e., the theology of the function or role of the Church. The Church is full of symbols: the cross, the baptistery, the seasonal colors, etc. Moreover, for most American churches, it also contains another symbol, the American flag. It is not a small issue for churches to decide if the American flag should occupy the same level of symbolic significance as the other symbols in the Church (i.e., be placed alongside them).
Though the Church was independent of (suppressed and oppressed by) the State for the first three centuries, from Constantine (4th cent.) on the Church exercised an enormous amount of influence in civic issues. For centuries the Roman and Orthodox Churches held enormous sway over the various governments across the European landscape. The Roman Catholic Church has changed its position through the years, but has typically held to the separation of the Church and State in modern times. The recent position o…