Showing posts from 2012

A Christian View of Santa

Something Jews and Muslims are far more adept and successful at than Christians is their capacity to train their children in their respective faiths.

Any child raised in a practicing Jewish family will be able to recite sections out of the Torah, explain how Shabbat services are to go on Holy days, and recount long tales of their people’s history. They will know the theological significance and practice of most, if not all, of their twelve major religious holidays (yes, I said twelve!). And what they never do is substitute a secular alternative to their holy day (even if certain secular components are involved).

Any child raised in a practicing Muslim family will be able to recite sections of the Quran, explain in detail the theology and practices of Ramadan, and recount long tales of the Hadith and Sunnah (stories about Mohammed). They will know the theological significance and practice of most, if not all, of their fix or six major religious holidays/seasons. Although ninety percen…

A great overview of scholarly opinion on the rise of christology

I used to be bad at worship

I used to be bad at worship. I really was. I knew how to sing. I could sing all the parts well. I knew when to stand up and when to sit down. But, I was bad at worship.

Not because I didn’t dance up and down, not because I didn’t get slain in the Spirit–but because I suffered from one crucial, devastating habit: I wouldn’t stop thinking about myself.

I’d look around at other people and see what they were doing. I’d wonder about lunch. I’d wonder about if the sermon would be good. I’d think about my problems–things that stressed me out. I’d wonder if I was singing completely in tune. I’d wonder if I was singing too loudly or too softly.

I’d wonder if I should raise my hands since people could see me — what would they think about me? What if I clapped — what would they think about me?

Of course, worship isn’t measured by my emotional response. Raising hands doesn’t automatically mean one has worshipped. Clapping or crying doesn’t automatically mean one has worshipped.

What is the chief …

Common Arguments Against Christianity Part 4


Common Arguments Against Christianity Part 3


A question from a friend about homosexuals

A question from a friend:
I have a question... of course.
Do you think homosexuals go to hell? I know in 1 Corinthians it lists a series of people who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. I feel like your response would be, "If it's writing so blatantly why would you need me to answer that?" But I am wondering if it's something that has a historical/cultural undertone similar to the "women shouldn't teach" in the book of Timothy situation.
Hey Friend,
It's great to hear from you! I've been swamped at work. I'm sorry for the delay. I'll make a few comments and then highly recommend you read some of the links I'll send you. I have to first say that technically, homosexual means "one who has a sexual attraction toward the same gender." Homosexual does NOT mean, "one who acts out sexually toward the same gender." That is called homoerotic behavior. For example, I can do sexual acts with another man though I'm n…

Common Arguments Against Christianity Part 2


Common Arguments Against Christianity Part I


A Very Brief History of Advent and Christmas

For most people, “Christmas Season” represents fond childhood memories, snuggling by a fireplace, singing carols, and the promise of desired presents. Non-Christians celebrate Christmas Season beginning the day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday”) and ending on December 25. That is, for most people, “Christmas season” is over on December 26. People just look forward to New Year’s Eve after that date.    However, the Church follows a liturgical calendar which is divided by themes which revolve around the life of Jesus (Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost). Each season represents a rich heritage  of learning and reflection on the Christ event.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? Advent (from the Latin, adventus, which means “coming” or "arrival") is the season which begins the Sunday nearest November 30 until December 24. Churches use different symbols for the season of Advent, but they usually involve symbolic candles, particular Bible verses, and seasonal colors. This …

Infant Christians

I see four types of people in Church: the non-believer, the Adult Christian, the Teenager Christian, and the Infant Christian. These designations have nothing to do whatsoever with the person's actual age.

The non-believer. Every congregation has a population of people who think they are Christian, but are not. Deep down, even if they wouldn’t articulate it this way, they believe that being a Christian means “acting like my Ideal Self around other people who also act like their Ideal Selves and we all learn to do Church.” This is what old Christians call, “good churchmen.” They are institutionalized “Christians.” They know how to behave while at Church, but have never experienced a true, real, confession and repentance to God. Why? Because they believe their Ideal Self isn’t that bad, really. Not really. They’re not nearly as bad as those prostitutes or drug dealers or murderers or homosexuals or . . . whatever. But, for the part of them that admits some wrong, they are grateful th…

A Problem-Based Relationship

There’s a ubiquitous problem that occurs in relationships. It’s most obvious in marriages, but if one looks closely, you can see it in so many other kinds of relationships.

It’s a subtle problem; it creeps up on you before you realize it.
The problem is manifested in our communication. For many of us, our relationships are based on problem-solving. Think about what you talk about among your co-workers the most: solving problems. Most of us spend most of the day at work solving problems. Be productive! That’s our goal. (I even often hear people ask for God to "help them be productive.") And to be productive, most of our conversations are about solving problems.
This habit at work surreptitiously spills over into other relationships. Before we know it, spouses spend an enormous amount of their communication problem-solving. “What’s for dinner?” “Did you fix that leak?” “Have you called your parents lately?” “Who will pick up our kids from school?” “Can you take her to the Doct…

Common Clichés and Misreadings Once More

“Made in the Image of God” 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:26-27 ESV)
Oh my goodness, has this concept caused millions of gallons of ink to be spilled. One could go through almost countless interpretations of what “image of God” (imago dei) might connote: we share in God’s morality, consciousness, personhood, in His capacity to have relationship, and on and on the suggestions come.
These all might be true to various degrees. Yet, in context, the answer is utterly simple. To possess the “image of God” means to exercise dominion or rule over the creatures and earth that God has created. The literary context tells us this explicitly.
But historic…

Common Clichés and Misreadings

There are countless clichés and “urban church legends” promulgated by Christians. For various reasons, apparently no matter what the denomination is (or lack thereof), the average Christian layperson and leader continues to foster false readings of the text. Garnering a conglomerate list of bad theological phrases would be expansive.
The following are some real gems. I've seen entire books and workbooks (bestselling, some of them!) on the following bad readings of the Bible. This sample manifests what it means to ignore a favorite word among scholars: context, context, context. It clears up so many things.
“A Man After God’s Own Heart” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be princ…