"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, October 26, 2006

God & Prayer

D.A. Carson “…we must remember that the Bible simultaneously pictures God as utterly sovereign, and as a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. Unless we perceive this, and learn how to act on these simultaneous truths, not only will our views of God be distorted, but our praying is likely to wobble back and forth between a resigned fatalism that asks for nothing and a badgering desperation that exhibits little real trust.”

The fear is there

From Peggy Noonan; I think she's on to something. Whole enchilada here.

"Something’s up. And deep down, where the body meets the soul, we are fearful. We fear, down so deep it hasn’t even risen to the point of articulation, that with all our comforts and amusements, with all our toys and bells and whistles . . . we wonder if what we really have is . . . a first-class stateroom on the Titanic. Everything’s wonderful, but a world is ending and we sense it.

I don’t mean: “Uh-oh, there’s a depression coming,” I mean: We live in a world of three billion men and hundreds of thousands of nuclear bombs, missiles, warheads. It’s a world of extraordinary germs that can be harnessed and used to kill whole populations, a world of extraordinary chemicals that can be harnessed and used to do the same.

Three billion men, and it takes only half a dozen bright and evil ones to harness and deploy.

What are the odds it will happen? Put it another way: What are the odds it will not? Low. Nonexistent, I think."

Crazy times; crazy people.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Anonymous apologies site

The pain pours from the posts. Here's one of many.

"I'm sorry that I allow every bad thing that has happened in my life affect relationship after relationship and now our marriage. I'm sorry that I've been cheated on and lied to and that when you kept your conversations with your ex-wife from me that I hated you. I'm sorry that you make me feel like you are going to cheat on me and lie to me because as my past dictates that is what happens next. I'm sorry that you are cold hearted and unemotional and that you can't "fully invest yourself in me." You are a fool for breaching my trust. You have fallen from the pedastule that I once placed you on. You are in a bad place. We just got married 4 months ago and I already distrust you. Go buy a pack of cigarettes already.

I'm sorry that the truth is that if I finally went to confession I'd probably burst into flames or spontaneously combust. I'm sorry that I have lied, cheated, stolen, coveted my friends husband and then married him after I caused them to get a divorce, faked being sick to get your attention and sympathy. I'm sorry that I am on medication and I hate it. I'm sorry that no matter what you do you will never be good enough for me because I am so messed up in the head. I'm sorry that I am overweight and take life for granted. I'm sorry that I hate my biological mother and think my biological father is a sorry excuse for a sperm donor. I hate who I am and I am sorry that you are learning to hate me too. I'm sorry that I my heart has been broken and you are responsible for that. I'm sorry that I bounce checks and don't fold the laundry and slack on the dishes. I'm sorry that our relationship is 70/30 and you do all the emotional work. I wish I could be your rock but I am mental and I suck. I wish there was a medication for all of this.

I am sorry that you think that you are so great but you are just like all the other guys who have broken my heart. I'm sorry that I thought you were great and married you. I'm sorry that you can be such a jerk sometimes and don't care about my feelings. I'm sorry that I am not good enough for you either."

Kim's inner child

Kim Jong-Il Sorry for Nuke Test, Molested as Child
by Scott Ott

(2006-10-21) — North Korean President Kim Jong-Il today reportedly told Chinese diplomats that he regrets his government’s recent detonation of a nuclear device, and he revealed that he had been molested as a child.

“President Kim is sorry, and he takes full responsibility for the atomic bomb test,” said an unnamed Chinese source, “but in the spirit of transparency and vulnerability, he wants people to know about the childhood molestation incident.”

The North Korean leader has reportedly checked himself into a rehab center to “heal his inner child and boost his self-esteem,” but a spokesman said he is not ashamed to come out of the closet as a fascist dictator.

“A lot people are going to trot out the old myths that fascist dictators are dangerous to society,” said the spokesman. “But short of a few isolated genocides and unprovoked invasions, there’s little evidence to substantiate that claim. It’s time to move past recriminations over the nuclear test, and let bygones be bygones.”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Paucity of Preaching

Great stuff by Al Mohler found on Tim Challies blog.

The State of Preaching

I don't often read The Southern Seminary Magazine but noticed an interesting article in the most recent edition. In the "President's Journal," Al Mohler writes a brief commentary on "The State of Preaching Today." As he reflects on this, he writes "On the one hand, there are signs of great promise and encouragement. On the other hand, several ominous trends point toward dangerous directions for preaching in the future. The last few decades have been a period of wanton experimentation in many pulpits and preaching has often been redefined and reconceived as something other than the exposition and application of the biblical text."

He considers five points relevant to the downgrade of preaching:

A loss of confidence in the power of the Word - Our culture is gravitating towards images as the preferred mode of communication. Words are, then, necessarily losing their power and this in turns impacts preaching. But "the audacious claim of Christian preaching is that the faithful declaration of the Word of God, spoken through the preacher’s voice, is even more powerful than anything music or image can deliver."

An infatuation with technology - "We live in a day of technological hubris and the ubiquity of technological assistance. For most of us, the use of these technologies comes with little attentiveness to how the technology reshapes the task and the experience. The same is true for
preachers who have rushed to incorporate visual technology and media in the preaching event." While technology is not inherently bad, it has allowed the visual to overcome the verbal. And yet God has chosen to be heard and not seen. We know God not through what we see but what we read and hear. We know God through the Word.

An embarrassment before the biblical text - "Many preachers simply disregard and ignore vast sections of Scripture, focusing instead on texts that are more comfortable, palatable and non-confrontational to the modern mind." There is much in the Bible that makes us uncomfortable and maybe even a little bit embarrassed. But the Bible, from cover to cover, is the Word of God and must be taught. It all exists for our edification and we must not dismiss those parts that are more difficult to understand and reconcile.

An evacuation of biblical content - "Another problem that leads to an evacuation of biblical content is a loss of the “big picture” of Scripture." Rather than preaching the big picture of the Bible and rather than pointing to the story of redemption, many preachers focus instead on only individual passages, treating them much like fortune cookies and acting as if they are disconnected from the rest of Scripture.

An absence of the Gospel - "The clear presentation of the Gospel must be a part of the sermon, no matter the text. As Charles Spurgeon expressed this so eloquently, preach the Word, place it in its canonical context and 'make a bee-line to the cross.'" Too few preachers speak of issues of morality and practical living, but omit a clear presentation of the gospel. In so doing they eviscerate the power of preaching.

Too many churches and too many preachers have made preaching something it was never meant to be. Mohler's conclusion presents the simplicity of preaching. "In the end, the Christian preacher simply must confront the congregation with the Word of God. That confrontation will be at times awkward, challenging and difficult. After all, this is the Word that pierces us like a sword. The evangelical preacher must set his aim at letting the sword loose, neither hiding it nor dulling its edge."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Self descriptive?

Someone wrote this as they struggle to describe themselves and their blog. I like their use of the English language.

"I'm trying to get to the one-word version, but "Canadian--otherwise unspecified" is my working title.

As an alternative, some sycophantic alternatives: adulatory, bootlicking, crawling, deferential, fawning, flattering, ingratiating, kowtowing*, mealy-mouthed*, obsequious, parasitic, servile, slavish, toadying*."

How could you not like that person!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Steyn nails the mainline

Mona Charen talking about Mark Steyn's take on our current culture.

"Later, he warms to the subject: “Most mainline Protestant churches are, to one degree or another, post-Christian. If they no longer seem disposed to converting the unbelieving to Christ, they can at least convert them to the boggiest of soft-left political clichés, on the grounds that if Jesus were alive today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally friendly car with an ‘Arms Are for Hugging’ sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams.”

That is simply too rich! Steyn nails the mainline

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Banned Books: John McArthur?

FARMINGTON — Mary Greenwood, 75, scanned the adult literature at the Farmington Public Library on Monday before choosing Mary Higgins Clark’s “Two Little Girls in Blue” and John MacArthur’s “Safe in The Arms of God.”

Both books were on a shelf tagged with a yellow caution marker that read, “Caution. Item(s) on this shelf have been BANNED or CHALLENGED at other libraries. It’s Your FREEDOM We Are Talking About.”

In a not so curious note; the wildly liberal Modern Library Association has downplayed the "banned books" day because almost all of the books likely to be banned nowadays are of a politically or theologically conservative persuasion. The MLA is not actually wanting to defend those types of tomes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Conflagration - Nuclear Nightmare

Excerpt found on Little Green Footballs from British historian Paul Johnson

As my eye fell to the bottom of the column, I began to grasp the source of its power. A white incandescence, low by comparison with the column but still perhaps a mile high and 20 or more broad, filled the skyline of the south horizon. Its fiery heat mitigated the gloom caused by the towering cloud above obscuring the sun. As my eyes grew accustomed to looking at this radiant epicentre, I saw that it was composed not only of white-hot elements, but also of fiery red particles, orange and blue flames, shooting heavenwards like the gigantic tongues which leap out of sunspots thousands of miles into space. There were also sporadic flashes of white, caused, I assumed, by continuing detonations on a stupendous scale. The epicentre was spreading steadily; or rather not entirely steadily, for it moved in spurts and formidable leaps, as well as munching and digesting its periphery. It was alive, this prodigious sore or cancer in London’s heart, expanding its frontiers all the time. It had swallowed and vaporised all Westminster, and sucked out the entire contents of the Thames and turned them into thick clouds. It had gone down the river at thousands of miles an hour, engulfed the City and its tall towers, vaporising steel, concrete, glass and water as it punched and thrashed and pounded the streets of massive buildings into nothingness — or, rather, minute particles of its flaming column, surging high into space. Now it was crumpling and atomising St James’s. MORE

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Big Church; No God! What a country

In Wired, Ana Marie Cox profiles the over-profiled Markos Moulitsas, but manages to come up with something interesting: the founder of DailyKos plans to move into the megachurch business. But the Church of Kos will be a little, well, different:

At what's arguably the top of his game, Moulitsas says he's "going offline" next year, taking his obvious knack for building online communities and applying it to that other great American pastime: sports. And once he gets his network of sports blogs ramped up, he'll turn to building communities in the real world, a chain of giant meeting places "replicating megachurches for the left" – complete with cafés and child care. Moulitsas has shown he can harness people's enthusiasm, but he says he doesn't want a leadership role in these "democracy centers"...

While working on the mechanics of the sports blogs, he plans to embark next year on building real-world destinations for progressives and liberals throughout the Midwest, "cultural outposts" designed to attract thousands of like-minded liberals. "Each one of these would have a vast left-wing conspiracy component," he says, like leadership training or discussions on progressive issues.