Monthly Archives: July 2008

Taking a break

Dark truth (really more like an amber truth): I’m getting tired of this blog.  It wearies me.  So, for the time being, if you have bookmarks or RSS feeds aimed here, you might want to change them to:

No dire predictions about when or if this might change.  Don’t really care.  Just trying this out.  My twitter and  friendfeed should both channel through the new site.

So there it is.

Ending Disqus for now

I somehow messed this up so that my tumblr comments and this blogs comments were all on one page.  Not knowing how to undo the problem, I decided to disable the plugin.

I’m not sure what to do with Tumblr anyway.  I rarely use it if ever.  I like it a lot, but others have to get on board or that doesn’t matter.  Friendfeed and twitter are the winners right now, and Friendfeed thought up stuff that Tumbr should have done already

You can’t be hospitable if you demand your guests grovel

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you into the glory of God.

— Romans 15.7

Note that my translation of the Greek is slightly different than that of the common English Bibles. In my opinion, this exhortation has a eucharistic overtone since it is the climax of an argument beginning in Romans 14.1 about not judging or despising fellow believers over dietary matters at meals. The argument is that, if God has welcomed Christians to His table, so should we (14.3).

So what if God “graciously invites us” to grovel before him on our knees while he puts a morsel on out tongues?  What sort of hospitality would we tend to demonstrate to others in that case?  Or, closer to my personal home, how about if God gave us a fraction of a snack and told us to hold it and try to drudge up enough contemplation of our sin and Christ’s sacrifice because if we didn’t do so long enough (how long? no guidance) the crumb would either do us no good or actually poison us?

Of course, God being God and we being both creaturs and sinners, there is a place for confession and even self-condemnation when one meets with God.  But, if in the case of actual theophanies, God quickly raises up those he meets, how much more should we be confident that we have moved beyond such considerations after a brief confession of sin and a promise of absolution?

How does Luke 14 read to you?  Does Jesus say, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and give them a tiny crumb and make them pray and meditate on their sinfulness and Christ’s death for a long, long time before they partake.”?  No, Jesus freely reclined with others, including his disciples when he instituted the Lord’s Supper.

Sure, you’re a sinner.  And God has raised you up to sit at his table.  If he forgets your sins what business is it of yours to remember them?  Have a full glass of wine (by which I mean, wine, not grape juice) and know that God loves you.  Then maybe you can learn how to treat other people as guests at your table.

For further reading.

Is the Obama campaign transporting anyone else back in time to an eighties comic book series?

If you don’t have vivid memories of reading this book, this post will be pretty much useless. And I can’t recommend the book due to content issues, though I also can’t deny I read it more than once.

But for anyone out there that read the graphic novel, Elektra Assassin, by Frank Miller: When you hear some of the Obama commercials that are coming out, don’t you suddenly get flashbacks about another presidential candidate?  Remember Ken Wind?

I’m not claiming this proves anything. I’m just saying that the pretentious commercials naturally bring to mind the rather extreme slogans of a fictional candidate.

Romans 12.17-13:4

Reading without unbiblical chapter divisions can really bring things to light:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

The “Romans 13 passage” (to use the common fiction of passages) is not some anomaly in the Gospel ethic of love and self-giving.  It is essential to it.  Christians are supposed to submit and obey the civil magistrate because God promises to use him or her to bring about justice.  And Christians can be at peace with their neighbors because God has means that they can pray for which will rectify injustice.

We see this in Acts.  Sometimes the powers persecute the Church, but Paul is always respectful (less so with the Israelites, interestingly).  And several times the magistrates vindicate the Church against her attackers.  Luke obviously doesn’t see this as some regrettable barbarism, but as God’s salvation in history.

Thanks to Derrick for pointing this out to me.

Economic sins, sexual sins, and conservative Christian culture warrior blindness

I totally missed something when it happened that is ancient history in blog years.

This is a totally brilliant post.

Steve has some disagreements, and I like some of his observations. The sexual and the economic are one in an important way.

But I still think Doug’s arguments can stand even if we account for this. I also think in the context of the culture war that the difference between us and the Bible is stark.

Of course, Romans 1.18ff can explain why we might make sexual sins the focus of analyzing our culture, but that hardly covers the distance between our ethos and the Bible’s. The other reason for the discrepancy might be that, in the Pentateuch, when one looks at severe penalties imposed, sexual sins stand out.

But in confronting the nations we have to look at the places where the Bible directly confronts the nations. And I think Jones is quite right that economic sins are paramount.

Like I said, this is all ancient history. Sorry for the distraction.

Is there a reason to stay in a liberal mainline denomination where the Gospel is compromised.

I can think of only one.  I have no wisdom on how much weight to give it in the decision making process.  Here it is:

In a mainline liberal denomination you will be in a perpetual war against unbelievers who deny essential doctrines like the deity of Christ or his resurrection, etc.  But by some iron law of human depravity, all the evidence indicates that moving into an orthodox denomination means engaging in a perpetual war over petty disagreements as if the Gospel were at stake and the opposition were unbelievers.

A couple of quickie thoughts on Proverbs 8

Here’s the text.

(BTW, I love the substantial interaction on Hebrews, monergism, etc, but I’m not at the point where I can offer substance. I just have resources for quickie posts like this one.)

First: Why does wisdom boast so much? I doubt it is because she’s inviting the test that, if you embrace her, you’ll see everything she promises in the way you expect it (riches, long life, power, etc). I think it is because you need to believe no matter how you are experiencing life, you are in fact wealthier with wisdom than a billion billionaire fools. Wisdom’s value is higher than anything that you can gain with wisdom or without it.

Second: Why was this chapter involved in Christology debates? The femininity of wisdom would point to some sort of Spirit/Church personification. Perhaps the glory cloud hovering over the deep in Genesis 1.2–the first theophany which is the Spirit–constitutes Wisdom. This relates to Christ who inhabits the glory cloud, carried by the angels within, but I don’t think that should be our first thought in Proverbs 8. Christ was wisdom to us because he grew up reading and obeying Proverbs 8 by embracing another–the Spirit and the Spirit’s people….