Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
The problem of evil is one of the most difficult issues to wrestle with for any religion that claims a single, all-powerful, all-good God. The issue can be summed up in one question, “If God is all good and all powerful, how can evil exist in our world (wouldn’t he have to do something about it?!)?”
Lately, though I have heard a (slightly) different question. Some people believe that certain amounts of evil are necessary in our world, so that we have the ability to choose (and the freedom to choose beats the heck out of being robots). Many that believe this still feel this way—
“I understand that some evil needs to exist, but why doesn’t God at least step in a little bit more on the REALLY BAD things like (child murders, genocide, etc.)?” aka “Why doesn’t God draw a line somewhere?”
My weird path to thought...
I love M Night Shyamalan movies…at least before he fell in love with himself and started making flat out weird stuff. I loved the old-school Shyamalan, trick ending stuff…particularly The Village. If you haven’t seen it, don’t, because I’m about to ruin it for you.
The whole movie is about a Pioneer-style community that some people made together in the wilderness somewhere, apart from the modern world around them. The kids that were raised there knew nothing of the outside world with all of its problems. All they knew was the world they were presented with, and its problems.
My thought is this…
As we look at the world around us, we see extreme forms of evil and cry out for God to at least draw a line somewhere—to stop the worst kinds of evil from existing. But what would that look like –for God to really step in and stop extreme evil in our world?
Well, first of all, after eliminating the ability to act in those evil ways (such as genocide) he would have to completely remove our ability to imagine those types of evil. After all, it would be a strange feeling to be able to contemplate evil, but never really be able to act on it (for reasons we would never know). It would be like this big invisible wall that we couldn’t cross, but could see the other side. No, for God to draw a line somewhere, he would have to completely remove our ability to imagine it.
What a great world that would be--where things like genocide and child torture not only don’t happen, but can’t even be imagined!!
But would it be that great? After all, if we couldn’t imagine those things existing, we wouldn’t know we were freed from them! Something else would be at the helm of the “worst evil” we could imagine and we would be begging God to “draw a line” against such blatant evil.
So my question is…
How do we know that we aren’t living in a world like The Village, uncertain of another reality we can’t even imagine?
How do we know that God (in his love) hasn't already drawn lines to protect our world from worse evils than we could ever evin imagine? If he had, we wouldn't even know it...we would be sheltered from it.
My (temporary) Conclusion...
The problem of evil still stands as a difficult one that I will probably wrestle with until I die…only my faith allows me to continue without my questions in this area answered—Why does evil exist at all in the presence of a loving, all-powerful God?
However, what we cannot do is ask God to draw lines, eliminating the worst evils while still giving us the freedom to make choices…after all, how can we be so sure that He hasn’t already done this?
Friday, July 17, 2009
What did they see? Over time, I have begun to understand…
You see, while we were over in our corner, hating on the Catholic church, they kept plugging away. We fought to enlighten people to the pitfalls of Catholicism, they kept serving the poor. We kept begging that people get theologically correct, they kept being the church.
As a result, the Evangelical Church, overtime, became known as an argumentative, divisive, political entity, while the Catholic church once again became just the Catholic Church—and that was greatly appealing. You see, while we were drawing walls, the Catholic church began asserting the position in the Catechism that we all are brothers in the faith:
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin:Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers. 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."…and people find that kind of unity appealing. For all of the faults that I grew up thinking the Catholic Church had, perhaps our rejection of them was equally harmful. In fact perhaps even more in that it distracted us from the mission we were called to.
So let me confess now that I repent. I still don’t agree on many theological issues, but I find myself experiencing a reversal of the separation that originated in the reformation. Let’s drop denominational walls and adopt the spirit of brotherhood the Catholic Church has put forth. Let’s reunite as the Church and see what God can do through a Church that is truly catholic. May our communities never be the same!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Who leads? The person with their name on the sign? The person with the POSITION of responsibility?
This is the question I have been pondering lately with regards to the Church. Who is leading the Church, specifically the Evangelical Church? Is it the guy that runs the Evangelical Association, the Haggard replacer? Is it famous pastors like Hybels, Warren, Rob Bell?
To find the leader(s), I think we need to look at who is most responsible for any changes in direction or communication. Who is most influential on what we say? Who is most influential on what we do?
My first conclusion I came to for who is leading Evangelical America is Rush Limbaugh. After all, more Evangelical Christians I talk to spend more time listening to and quoting Rush than anyone else. He clearly has developed a following and clearly shapes both the action and talking points of Evangelical Christians—which is ironic, because I don’t think he would even label himself as an Evangelical Christian.
But then I began to realize that Evangelical Christianity is being led even more powerfully by someone(something) that even Rush is being led by. The almighty dollar? Perhaps that too, but something different.
The Missionary Church, of which I am licensed by is in the process of developing a document that they will (pending vote) have all pastors sign annually. In this document, they have collected their core theological affirmation, and sprinkled in a couple of hot topic items as well. In one section, labeled “The GOSPEL alone addresses our deepest human need”, the document addresses the fall of man and the need for redemption…along with our other deepest human needs of resisting abortion and our need for heterosexuality.
Now don’t get me wrong, I agree with both of those points, theologically, but it seems very strange that in a document of timeless theological statements we are seeking to sprinkle in two hot-topic issues of our day. Isn’t all sin problematic? How do we pick which sins to single out?
The answer is (obviously) because these two issues are parts of the “Liberal agenda” of our day.
Which brings me to my point. We, as Evangelical Christians, have been reduced to a reactionary state against whatever the liberal agenda puts forth. We wait, see what they bring up that we disagree with, and then we fight it.
Therefore, THE TRUE LEADERS OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS, the ones who determine what we communicate and what we do, ARE NOT EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS AT ALL, BUT THOSE “WE OPPOSE”.
Here’s the problem with that…my sister, Erin is a Public Relations professional. She teaches her clients to develop a message and communicate that message clearly regardless of what the interviewers may ask, or what distractions are taking place around you. You cannot let someone else hijack your vision and communication. STAY ON COURSE!
The consequence of getting off topic, ever so slightly? You may lose your identity and people will get confused as to who you truly are and what you stand for.
That is my fear for Christians today. We have lost sight of our ability to present a message of the Gospel of Grace, and instead become led into discussions of whatever comes along. PEOPLE NO LONGER KNOW WHAT WE ARE ABOUT, JUST WHAT WE ARE AGAINST.
In our (often benevolent) attempts to fight these moral battles, we have lost sight of our true Leader, our True Commission, and crippled our ability to accurately represent the love of Christ in our world.Let’s pick a new leader! Perhaps even the one in our name.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
"Isn't sharing the gospel with people loving them?"
Proverbs 27:14 - If you shout a greeting to your neighbor too early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So...it's not really been a secret that last September, Robin and I started eating differently. Since that time, I have lost 20lbs. and feel more energy than ever before. Also, I normally get sick (colds and stuff) about every 2-3 weeks throughout the winter (I know, I am sickly), but this winter, I have only gotten 1 cold so far!
People ask what "diet" we are on...up until now, I didn't really know what to tell people except that we tried to eat mostly raw, unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts. It's also been formed by our friends Red and Liz and the way they have been eating as Red recovers from cancer...
But now I would say that it most closely resembles the diet in the book "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Which got me questioning, Eat to Live...How?
My point is this: I have chosen to eat so as to live in the absence of sickness and the pursuit of longevity. However, others may choose to eat to live for different reasons.
None of my friends get sick like I used to. I was a bit of a immune system freak. Thus, most of my friends would see very little effect on their day-to-day life from eating the diet that I do. And, while I do think they would live LONGER eating like we do, perhaps they have different priorities.
Maybe some eat to live happily... (My father-in-law, "You only live once!")
Maybe some eat to live socially...
Maybe some eat to live caffeinated...
SO...I ask 2 things of you:
1) Figure out why you are eating: to sustain your body? to enjoy the moment? to connect with those around you? to wash away pain?
2) Don't have expectations contrary to your main purpose:
- If you choose to eat for health, don't have expectations of everything tasting great all the time. Trust me, it won't!
- If you choose to eat for taste in the moment, don't complain when your health goes bad some day.
Remember, no purpose is necessarily better than another, in my book, as long as we are honest with ourselves and understand we can't have our cake and eat it too. Thoughts?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
1) Anything that changes the milk color shall receive negative points.
2) Any cereal with anything but milk added to it outside the box does not qualify as said cereal (i.e. Raisin Bran with added sugar or splenda is not Raisin Bran...). They must be cereal au natural!
Here's the list:
1) Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch - it's a little sugary, but what more could you want?
2) Basic 4 - this stuff costs a fortune if it's not on sale, but soooo good.
3) Grape Nuts - nothing needs said, you love it or you hate it.
4) Crispex - i ate an entire box of this once at one sitting. so light and crispy, but the best part is its ability to capture the milk inside.
5) Cracklin' Oat Bran - it might as well be cookies. if you've never tried this, you must - TODAY! Just be willing to shell out $4 for a small box, it's pricey!
Honorable mention to cereals that don't exist anymore:
1) Graham Chex - perhaps the greatest cereal ever created. Graham flavored chex pieces with actual Graham cracker wafers thrown in for good measure. TOUCHDOWN!
2) Fruit filled Shredded mini-wheats - they had plain (non-sugared) mini wheats with strawberry, raspberry, or blueberry filling inside each piece. they were great in milk or dry as a snack. The people who pulled them from production need fired...and perhaps admitted.
What would you add, according to my assumptions? according to your tastes?