Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Under the Hood of Postmodernism

'From my perspective, "postmodernism" merely names an interesting set of developments in the social order that is based on the presumption that God does not matter.'

- Stanley Hauerwas
in Preaching As Though We Had Enemies

[painting: "Surreal," © 2009 Marcus A. Jansen, MW Gallery Aspen]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Diversity Weekend in Westminster, but Don't Worry!

(*this article has certain explicit terms abbreviated to keep from tripping content filters that any reader may wisely have in place. You may notice the misspellings, they are intentional.)

As Christ’s disciples, in every circumstance, we are called to be of good cheer.

Recently DW posted a great article about this and I am with him 100% here, but am having a good chance to put some shoe leather on it this week because I was greeted w/ this headline in my local paper: Westminster to hold first Diversity Weekend. ( then later: (

Of course, by "diversity", we’re not talking about a joyful recognition of how God has made us all “different”, in that some people are big and some small, some people are male and some female, some people are dark-skinned and others lighter. We’re talking strictly about how some people in our town are “different” in that they engage in certain sxl acts that our society has historically viewed as immoral and repugnant.

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Not Treating the Symptoms: Making Real Progress

My wacky office calendar tells me that today, June 27th, is “National HIV Testing Day”. And Lord haste the day when HIV will be erased from the earth. In the spirit of moving the globe in that direction, I’d like to propose a simple change to help us along the way: beginning next year and from then on, let’s call June 27th “National Fidelity to Your Spouse Day”. Or better yet: “The First Day of National Fidelity to Your Spouse Year”.

Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness while he walks not over the bellies of his lusts (daily).
-John Owen

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peter Pan Generation

Somebody somewhere declared today: "Stupid Guy Thing Day".  So, in keeping with the spirit of things, here is a quote I came across recently from Darrin Patrick, a Resurgence church planter:

“We live in a world full of males who have prolonged their adolescence. They are neither boys nor men. They live, suspended as it were, between childhood and adulthood, between growing up and being grown-ups. Let’s call this male Ban, a hybrid of both boy and man. Ban is juvenile because there has been an entire niche created for him to live in the lusts of his youth. The accompanying culture not only tolerates this behavior but encourages and endorses it. (Consider magazines like Maxim or movies like Wedding Crashers.) This kind of male is everywhere, including the church and even, frighteningly, vocational ministry.
Ban may be a frightening reality in the church, but he is the best thing that ever happened to the video game industry. Almost half (about 48 percent) of American males between the ages of eighteen to thirty-four play video games every day – for almost four hours. The average video game buyer is thirty-seven years old.”

- Darrin Patrick in Church Planter

Monday, June 20, 2011

Virtue and Its Imposters

by Thabiti Anyabwile

Three things confuse a Christian; Yeah, four confound any man.
Unbelief masquerading as wisdom,
Enthusiasm presenting itself as faith,
Fear pretending to be patience,
and permissiveness claiming to be love.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Start 'em Young

Yesterday, I came downstairs and found my daughter sitting on the floor, flipping through Geerhardus Vos's The Eschatology of the Old Testament.  It was too good a moment to let pass w/o a grainy cellphone snapshot.  Then we took a minute to have our first Tea Party - I figured she could explain a few things to me after a read like that.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bourgeois Haiku: "JJ Drawing"

"JJ Drawing"

Gray afternoon light
Blue eyes chasing pencil lead
anchored to the page.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Worship Guide: Trinity Sunday: OT Lesson

Every week at All Saints, the leadership sends out a traditional-style worship guide for use by our families to prepare for the coming Lord's Day with the readings we'll hear and [hopefully] heed then.  Here's a sample of mine for next week:

Gen 1.1-2.4a

INSIGHT: There is so much to mine from this famous passage, but the main thrust of the author is in the order of the creation process. Notice that if you take the first three days and line them up above the last three days, they perfectly correspond to each other, day by day. God was working in the first half of the week to prepare and then in the second half of the week to fulfill and complete His creation. If you were there on the first part of the first day, it would have been unclear that God was up to anything “good”. Even by the third day, it ‘did not yet appear what the earth should be’. But by the end, God brought it all together in beauty and completion. He loves order. He loves preparation. He works things out to fulfillment according to His plan. Remember where we are in the lectionary readings [and Church History]. This is the Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday. We remember the way that God had been working throughout all of human history to prepare, then “in the fullness of time” when it was just right, He sent Christ. Then, following this, He sent His Spirit. At the end of this process, we can join Him as we look back on His work in the world and declare it all to be “very good”.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teaching with her Fists

Yesterday, my wife showed me the news story of the Florida teacher who "punched" her student.  Okay, ... I can't help but rant for a minute.  Please ... just indulge me - a former teacher - in my uninformed rant.  It was deeply disturbing.  Not because she punched him - but because she had to - because it escalated to that level - and most of all, because the rest of the class just stood there and watched it happen.  In true "millenial" fashion, someone found enough time to video the whole thing via cellphone, but not step in to restrain this kid who was bullying his teacher ... his FEMALE teacher ... his almost a foot shorter FEMALE teacher. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Well-needed Reminder

"Chance" A Postscript

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear:

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

-Steven Turner

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tolle Lege, and I mean pronto!

Recently I fininshed Ken Myers's All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture.  I have read several snippets of it before and followed along w/ Myers's audio journal for many years, but had been putting off sitting down w/ the book and getting from cover to cover until now.  After going back and forth between the hard copy and audiobook I really can't recommend it highly enough [though the narrator of the audio did leave something to be desired].  For most of us who are involved in Christian service, ministry, or church leadership - it might be the most important book you have read in the last five years [well ... excluding those for whom this would be the only book {without pictures} they've read in the last five years.].  It is a sort of modern classic.  If you haven't read it - tolle lege - and I mean, pronto.

"T.S. Eliot argued that religion and culture are in a sense two aspects of the same thing.  This means that culture cannot be preserved or developed without religion, an argument that many Christians have been presenting to 20th-century secularists.  But Eliot insisted that it also means that religion cannot be preserved or maintained without the preservation and maintenance of culture."

- Ken Myers

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pastor, Help! My son wants to get a tattoo!

This is a common scenario across the nation - especially in our more Evanjellycal circles. When dealing w/ this situation, we've got to get a bit of perspective. The strongest argument against your teenager getting a tattoo is that it's a really dumb idea ... and that pretty much settles it. Getting into a hermeneutical tangle over "cuttings and markings for the dead" in Leviticus probably won't prove to be the most productive way to argue, at least not at the beginning [So are you telling me I'm not allowed to wear shirts that are a cotton/poly blend now too? Or maybe you want me to stop shaving the corners of my beard?]. The principle contained in the passage should eventually be understood.  The fact that your body is not your own does eventually need to be addressed.  Gnostic assumptions about the faith and misguided attempts at "relevance" should all be dealt with.  But really, the bottom line here is the 'folly factor'.  Because the issue really boils down to aesthetics, we should cut to the chase and go straight there. Here's a helpful - if pragmatic - counterexample:

Imagine that - instead of the tattoo thing - all of your friends were rushing out to buy the same kind of custom-printed graphic tee shirts ...