Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Random Thoughts for 10/13/10

These are some short, somewhat random (at least in order) thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

-Christians should be the nicest people in the world. That may not seem too deep theologically speaking, but it is true. I wonder why this so often is not the case.

-Job Fairs are good for making you humble. I attended one yesterday here in Savannah. I saw many people, including me, all hoping to land what amounted to jobs that weren't that attractive. I'm glad God is sovereign because if I have to rely on my own skills and abilities to get a job, I could be unemployed for quite a while. That could be part of God's plan, but if it is I know He will provide.

-I'm a sports fan. That's one of the reasons we got rid of our T.V. - so I wouldn't watch so much. Last night, via the internet, I saw something very thoughtful happen after the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to advance to the ALCS. Since one of their players struggles with alcoholism, the team decided to use Ginger Ale for their celebration instead of champagne. I realize that the whole thing of spraying one another with liquid is pointless, but it was nice to see a team alter what it normally does for the good of a teammate.

-This past Saturday we experienced a very small example of the Lord giving and the Lord taking away. We received an e-mail from a friend offering a Guinea Pig for free. We decided to accept the offer. This was a blessing to our daughter Mary who really wanted a pet she could play with. We had a Russian Dwarf Hamster, but it couldn't do much more than run in its wheel. It was not cuddly. Well, just before the Guinea Pig arrived at our house, we realized that the Dwarf Hamster wasn't moving. Simply put: it died. We buried it, and a little while later the Guinea Pig arrived. I think of it as an upgrade. We do see, however, that the Lord both gives and takes according to His perfect timing.

-If you suggest on Facebook - as I recently did - that Christian women should not wear bikinis and Christian men should not enjoy women wearing bikinis, watch out! While some people will heartily agree with what you have written, others will beat you up with "Christian liberty" and "Judge not lest ye be judged." Modesty has certainly become a thing of the past in most sectors of our society, including much of the church.

-In thinking through the issue of creation and Genesis chapters 1-2, it bothers me that the creationism issue has been framed by many as a "culture war" issue. I think it is actually bigger than that. I believe it is an issue of biblical interpretation itself. If we say that Genesis chapters 1-2 should not be taken literally (and I realize there is a little wiggle room in what this means), then where do we stop with this method of interpretation? A fair reading of the text suggests that God's actions are explained literally to us. If we reject this, what else do we reject? How far do we go in this? I believe it is impossible to reject a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 and then turn around and accept a literal interpretation of other key truths of the bible like the resurrection of Jesus. And if there is no resurrection, there is no salvation. We must be consistent in how we interpret scripture.

-Regarding simple church/house church life, one of the primary reasons I hear people reject the concept is that these same people "have seen it and it doesn't work." I've read and heard many variations on this same thing. Basically it boils down to the fact that these people have in their own experience seen house churches that have not worked (usually blown apart or fallen into false teaching). Therefore, they conclude, house churches cannot work in our culture and should not be trusted or attempted. This reasoning is problematic for one main reason: it doesn't involve the bible at all. The biblical model shows house churches. Do they have problems? Of course they do - they're made up of people. However, this remains the model. Therefore we should at least accept the idea of house churches existing. We must let scripture inform and lead our decision making instead of our own experiences.

-Yesterday I had a wonderful two-hour conversation with a friend of mine. He is heavily involved in institutional church ministry, but he is also open to simple church ideas. We don't agree on everything, but it was refreshing because he is willing to ask hard questions about the Christian life, including the church, and also try to find the answers. We are in agreement that the American church is in a desperate crisis of discipleship. We had a good time talking about ways to combat this problem. We certainly don't have all the answers.

-If you attend a Southern Baptist seminary, you will in general receive an excellent education. The best part will be your original language classes and your theology classes. The most disappointing classes will be those that mention the church but don't really deal with what the bible says about it. Regardless, if you plan to attend, go here.

-We are in a dangerous spot if we automatically avoid books that have been given a certain label by others. One of these labels is "emergent." For example, I've been told to avoid certain books "because they are emergent literature." The problem is that the word emergent has come to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. My point is simply this: let's let the book stand on its own merits and not be afraid to read it just because of a subjective label someone else has given it.

-I just received this book in the mail. I'm looking forward to taking a while to read it (over 500 pages).

-Read this excellent post about how to write about those with whom you disagree.

4 comments:

micah7 said...

I've heard that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is also an excellent seminary. You may have heard of it.

Eric said...

Micah,

Hmmmmm. I have heard of it a couple of times - something about a "flagship seminary." Sadly, having never been there I can't give it a ringing endorsement. It would probably be a good second option.

Aussie John said...

Eric,

What an excellent, thoughtful post! So much that induces me to comment, but will restrict myself to alluding to the matter of modesty/bikinis.

Even though, I'm married for fifty years, I can still appreciate human beauty, as a precious creation of our sovereign God, but I DO NOT think that bikinis display that beauty.

Check this out for a wise understanding of beauty:
http://kerussocharis.blogspot.com/2010/10/visual-reminder-that-what-is-important.html

Eric said...

John,

Thank you. I'll take a look at that post. I'm amazed at the number of Christian men and women who justify immodesty in the name of "Christian freedom."