Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
My Take: A concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs
Red Letter Christians » Love Wins: A New Split in Protestant Evangelicalism
‘I know the answer! Pick me! Pick me!’ | Jesus Needs New PR
Pastor loses job for liking Rob Bell’s book? | Jesus Needs New PR
Gen-X Rising: Joy Moore on the vitality of the UMC
Poll: Most Americans Don’t Blame God for Disasters - Beliefnet News
Study Suggests Young Adults Can Get Fat at Church - Beliefnet News
Paul Washer: Depression Is Your Fault « American Jesus
Thursday, March 24, 2011
L.A Times reports on Generation X reshaping Congress | are you there, God? it's me, generation X.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Post Rapture Pet Protection « American Jesus
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Come have a ball with Jesus! (at a testical festival in Texas) | Jesus Needs New PR
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Doomsday campers Project Caravan say the world will end May 21 | Mail Online
Sunday, March 06, 2011
iMonk Classic: Evangelical Ecumenism and A Jesus-Shaped Guest List | internetmonk.com
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
What if we really believed that Jesus empowered us to do even greater things than he did? What if we really believed the Spirit of God calls us to restore His creation, love others and to be agents of healing, comfort, care, and peace. I wonder what the state of Christianity would be today if we were more focused on this, rather than crazy apocalyptic speculations. Believing in doomsday predictions so intently, I believe, causes one to subtly give into the sin of sloth. Why should I care about the environment? God will make all things better. Why should I care about world affairs? God will destroy the wicked and will blissfully take us all away. 1 Timothy 2 states:
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Maybe the reason no apocalypse has happened in light of thousands of predictions is because God is waiting for the church to be the church he expects us to be in which all people are coming to know Him because of our love; not repelling them because of our indifference, or hate, or laziness to engage the world, to be a force of transformation and redemption in the lives of people.
Ah, what do I know. If you want a good book on the Apocalypse that is also very entertaining and humorous read "The Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse" by Jason Boyett. Great stuff. No scare tactics, just shining a bit of perspective on a topic that makes Hollywood and authors filthy rich!
And if you are really into fear and the demise of the human race, then read this article from Time Magazine on the Singularity Project. It will melt your brain.
A look at the ways the world could end – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Greatest church mural ever. | Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff
Do Evangelicals Hate Jesus? | Jesus Needs New PR
This is an interesting article but I particularly like the comment below it from Cranky Critter who ties the 7 deadly sins into our current crisis as a nation. Is just one or two generations at fault? It would be easy to lay this all at the feet of the Baby Boomers but realistically are we not all at fault to some extent? My knee-jerk reaction would be that I sure don't want to take any responsibility and just blame my parent's generation but I think that is too easy of a cop-out. Your thoughts?
Friday, March 04, 2011
What is this!?!?!?! Glenn Beck admits to not doing his homework and being misinformed!?! I'm shocked.
Another level-headed perspective from an awesome United Methodist pastor from Ohio! Love this guys blog.
Wow. If I ever came across something like this I don't know how I would react (to those calling themselves "Christian"). I can only imagine if Paul would have taken this approach at Mar Hill. It would not have gone over well.
This is very, very interesting! India and China are fast becoming the Superpowers of our world now, if they aren't already. Thank God for Psalm 139 to remind us how fearfully and wonderfully made we all are! There is nothing typical about that!
After Phelps Wins, Uncertainty about What Lies Ahead
Evangelicals Push Back on Proposed Budget Cuts
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Now, I did not say I didn't have ANY problems with Velvet Elvis. He said some things that I thought were poor choices in illustrating his point that did raise some questions. Nothing to declare him a heretic though. Now about this new book, I think a lot of people are jumping the gun here before his book has even come out. Honestly, I am tired of those who shoot first and ask questions later. Rob is doing a tremendous amount of good at his church. If I am to judge a person by their fruit, then to throw the label "heretic" to a public audience without even reading the book, and not calling Mars Hill to speak to Bell himself, I think is more "unchristian" than having a universalist position on hell. Quite frankly the universalist-view has been held by some very prominent Christians in the past. (That is assuming that this is what we are arguing about before anyone has cracked the book open.) I think it can be a valid view of end times. Now, I am not one of those who hold to this view (although I honestly would prefer this option over all the others), but I do struggle with a literal interpretation of hell and the length of time being eternal. Several times it is referred to as the second death. I see that as physical death being the first and then spiritual death as second. But then there are verses that talk about eternal punishment. The fact is, we hold on to our beliefs with a sense of humility and continual study and dialogue with those who came before us, and with those in the present, figuring out what we can learn in our own times and how the Bible may apply similarly/differently to our context.
If you study the theology of just about any pastor or theologian in the past you will find things that we today would consider horribly wrong and misguided. But when you look at the cultural context in which they lived you begin to realize that the culture plays a much bigger part in shaping our faith. That is where humility must come in.
One day, 100 years from now, I am certain that the Christian community will look back on 20th century American evangelicalism and wonder how in the HELL we ever came to the conclusions that we did and declare all of us heretics. Rob is good at asking questions to get us to think. To consider different angles rather than assuming everything from the past has been figured out, therefore, we don't have a voice to consider our own context and how faith may impact us differently. Those pastors who are set in their ways from the past, influenced by a modernistic, scientific view of theology will rail against those who take a more post-modern "question-everything" psychological approach. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I sat and heard lectures about the evils of post-modernism! But this is the cultural shift we are emerging into. Each stage of history came with the previous thinkers wanting to destroy the new thinking. But the beauty of each stage was that a predominate area of theology was developed within the context of what the culture was focused on:
Reformation: salvation and justification
Renaissance: theology of humanity
20th Century: theology of sin / holy spirit
21st Century: who knows yet where this is going?
I think the best we can do though is to dialogue rather than label those you disagree with as a nonbeliever or false teacher who is leading everyone astray. The fruits of Rob's life does not match that label. One of his primary mentors was my pastor in Grand Rapids. He was Jerry Falwell's right-hand man for many years before he moved to GR. If Rob was going heretical I know that Ed Dobson would have something to say about that. But Ed, while dying of Parkinsons, still makes the effort to preach from Mars Hill's pulpit and team teaches with Rob sometimes.
The more these guys attack Rob like this, the more ridiculous they look and the more Rob, in a strictly financial sense, is going to rake in on all this negative publicity. And I hope he does. Because I know he will take all that money and put it into significant ministries around the world that are having a big impact on changing the world for the better.
I ran into all of this yesterday on the twitter-universe. It made me mad and I wanted to blog about it, but I shouldn't do it in anger. Piper has always struck me as a Reformist theologian who is very judgmental and angry at times in the way he handles himself. (And absolutely bizarre on Twitter at times). I used to listen to his podcast but I just got tired of him. He always seemed angry about something. And really, who made him the father of theology in our nation? There are things about Reformed theology that are just wacked. One day we will all sit before God and he will himself explain where we got it right and were we got it wrong. And those who came before us and after us might be surprised that he still allowed us into His kingdom!
There are my two cents.
Pastor Scott Russ