October 21, 2020

Saturday Ramblings 7.23.11

WooHoo! We made it through the whole week without any downtime, thanks to the stalwart work of Joe “the Plumber” Stallard and iMonk Sean. What say you we have a party? Let’s see … we have the Diet Coke with lime. We have the corn chips with a hint of lime. We have a key lime pie. What are we forgetting? Oh yes, a heaping helping of Saturday Ramblings … with lime. Let’s ramble.

We don’t like going down well-trodden roads here at the iMonastery. And politics is one of those roads we typically avoid. Personally, I think most politics makes for a good belly-laugh once in a while. Otherwise it is about as boring as it can get. Yet when a potential presidential candidate calls Jesus his political hero, well, we figure we just have to ramble on over and take a look.

I wouldn’t know a Lady Gaga song if you paid me $100 to name one. But after reading this article by Rodney Clapp, I can say I appreciate her approach. Which begs the question: Would Jesus be a Lady Gaga fan? Or better yet, what artists or songs would be on Jesus’ iPod?

Here’s one for Martha of Ireland. Should priests give law enforcement officials information they hear in confession if it deals with the commitment of a crime? This is a very tricky question, and I’m not sure there is a good answer. But I would have to lean toward … oh, let’s hear what Martha has to say.

Just what is an evangelical anyway? Was C.S. Lewis one? Deacon Bo at Homebrewed Christianity takes a good, measured look at this question. And while I agree with much of what he says, I cringe at what all makes up an evangelical (by his definition, at least).

Campus Crusade for Christ is no more. At least the name is no more. They will now be know as “Cru.” Hip. Cool. Should be in for, oh, about six months. Is anyone disappointed with their name change, especially with the dropping of “Christ”? Eagle, we’re waiting for you to weigh in…

Our good friends at Out of Ur have several articles worthy of your time today. First of all is a continuation of what is now known as SMJgate. The C.J. Mahaney debacle keeps a-rollin’ along.

Then Skye Jethani asks, have we replaced our life with God with our mission for God? Great, great piece. Part one here, and part two here.

Look—really, I cannot make this stuff up. Life is a lot more fun than a sitcom. The scary thing is I’ll be in South Carolina in two weeks…

And I can’t even make this up. Josh McDowell has identify the greatest threat to Christians today. I’ll bet you can guess what he says it is.

Finally, a sad farewell to a good friend. Borders Books is liquidating all assets, starting yesterday. I have predicted this for two years, but few in the book world wanted to believe it. (I also said GM would file bankruptcy three years before they did. Did anyone listen to me then? Noooo…) I spent many an evening at the Borders store that was just three miles from my house. I met with friends, made new friends, and bought many books at 81st and Yale here in Tulsa. So long, Borders. We hardly knew you.

Celebrities you would have wished Happy Birthday this last week if you saw them include Orville Reddenbacher; Ginger Rogers; Stewart Copeland of the Police; Will Ferrell (“Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?”); James Cagney; Phyllis Diller; Donald Sutherland; Red Skelton; John Glenn (one of my greatest heroes); Ricky Skaggs; Natalie Wood; Carlos Santana; Ernest Hemingway; Garry Trudeau; Robin Wiliams; Dan Rowan; and Alex Trebek.

Most of the music bonus videos you get to enjoy on Saturdays are of true-blue, God-fearing rock and roll artists. But I am ecumenical in my musical tastes—up to a point. Ricky Skaggs can flat-out play just about any stringed instrument you put in his hands. Wow. This guy is something. Enjoy a Saturday doubleheader bonus video of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder playing at the Grand Ol’ Opry.

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Comments

  1. I am puzzled and bewildered over the Mahaney “affair”, as the article puts it. (Huh????) I’m no “Calvinista” (love that!); however, of the few reformed books on my shelf, Mahaney’s “Cross Centered Life” is one of them.

    I guess there are two ways of looking at this…at least. On one side, perhaps it is broadening the character standard to which evangelical leaders are held. But on the other, perhaps it’s piety gone mad. He who is NOT a jerk may throw the first stone. I suspect that the problem is closer to the latter. I really think it’s time for those “weak on sanctification” Lutherans to stand up and explain how sanctification truly plays out in the earthy lives of broken, sinful, imperfect followers of Christ – through Word, sacrament, and under the shadow of the cross, where it is difficult to be anything but humble, contrite, and thankful.

    • As someone who’s watched the Mahaney (well really the SGM) affair from a bit of a distance for a few years, there’s more than him just being a jerk. If the cast offs are to be believed SGM runs a tight ship. Top down. Questions about ANYTHING are not allowed. Very complimentary. To the extend wives have been tossed out of SGM and their families. If SGM members bring up an issue about the pastors they are gossiping. If the pastors bring up an issue about a regular member, they are convicted by the accusation.

      I haven’t followed this story closely and I’m sure the discontent ones have a very different perspective than the SGM faithful. But check out the various SGM outcast websites and blogs and come to your own conclusion. is a place to start.

      There are a lot of broken people out there who say SGM is a very bad church. Maybe they are all wrong. But it sure seems there is something more to this story.

      • I am not neoreformed. Heck I’m not really much of anything. But if I were Christian it wouldn’t be with Sovereign Grace. I really can’t recall another chruch having as much controversary or dedicated webpages pages from survivors. There are no webpages for “Survivors of Campus Crusade for Christ” or “Assembly of God survivors”, etc…

        What I find interesting (if I read this correctly) was thar the accusations by SGM Pastor Brent Detwiler against C.J. Mahaney are posted on Wikileaks. You know that website that leaked all that information about the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. The main webapges are called

        Survivors of Sovereign Grace
        http://www.sgmsurvivors.com/

        and

        Sovereign Grace Ministry Refuge
        http://sgmrefuge.com/

        In the wbepages there is a lot more than totalitarianism by C.J. Mahaney. There is talk about sexual abuse being covered up in different chruches including the one in Fairfax, Virginia by SGM. There is talk about women being kept in abusive and violent marriages where they were harmed more and told that divorce is a sin. There are former SGM pastors who when questioning some of this activity are driven out by gossip or have their careers ended. They is talk about how SGM struggles with its past and its links to the People of Destiny Movement and shephering which lead to spiritual abuse for many.

        SGM is launching more churches incluidng one in Arlington, Virignia. My concern or question is if all these problems are documented or errupting in SGM Churches in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, etc.. what is to say that will not happen in new church plants such as Arlington?

        To my knowledge I just haven’t seen a church that has had so much negative attention like this. That’s what troubles me.

      • Then, SGM-gate might be appropriate. Sounds like a common problem even in small congregations. Actually, I have often thought people sought out the anonymity of a megachurch to escape such a fishbowl culture. Guess that’s not the case.

  2. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesss.. 🙂

    Several things in the posting.

    1. I read that Josh McDowell article and was less than surprised. I thought evangelicals wanted the internet and talked about how they could get the message of Jesus out faster to the world and thus hasten his return? Now it’s a threat? Oh dear!!!! Maybe its time to draw back within the shell. Its easier to find a common enemy than look at how you teach something and do some self criticism. Evangelcials like to harp about porn. While I don’t think its healthy I wish they would stop being subjective about sin. Gluttony is a growing problem in the US. Obestity and the related diseases associated with it will become a contributing factor to health care costs, affect people from being missionaries abroad, etc.. But has Josh McDowell stood up and talked about the threat from a culture that emrbaces fast food? Nope…

    2. I hung out in the Borders of Fairfax, Virginia tonight. I was stunned by the scene. A checkout line weaving its way around the store. Empty shelves, the coffee bar closed, etc.. I picked up a couple of books to read. David Hlberstrom’s “The Coldest Winter” on the Korean War and Steve Coll, :”The Bin Ladins” I was looking though their African history books when suddenly it hits me. Why don’t you go to the religion section and see if they have anymore Philip Yancey books? I was irritated though when I looked at the books they had. Everything from having the Victorious Life, to having God enrich your life with purpose in a particular workbook, etc.. I rolled my eyes. Then I saw it and noticed several Philip Yancy books that I wanted. I cleaned the store out. I picked up “The Jesus I Never Knew”, along with “Soul Survivor” and “Where is God When It Hurts.” I have a lot of respect for Yancey and am reading “Where Is God When It Hurts”.. I’ll dive into Greg Boyd after finishing this one.

    3. Crusade is changing its name. I remember when I was in Crusade and there was talk about it. They will have to do what they must to survive. Its like the Mormons..the LDS Church has good survival skills becuase the LDS Chuch must survive at all costs. Crusade is really no differnet. It must survive at all costs becuase the “product” needs to be marketed and sold. This is another way to “sell” the project.

    • I remember many years ago hearing that the Assemblies of God had commissioned a study into the purpose of the Assemblies of God. And the result? That the purpose of the Assemblies of God was, of course, to continue the existance of the Assemblies of God!

      I think that’s an easy trap we as Evangelicals tend to fall into – we see our organization as doing God’s work, to the point of being essential to said work. And at that point anything it takes to keep the organization alive is justified.

      • Corporations of any kind exist primariy for the purpose of perpetuating themselves, most often through profits. That’s true of unions, political parties, businesses, governments, …and churches and denominations. They have no moral standing in and of themselves. It is the human beings that make decisions on their behalf that exercise moral authority, choose rightly or wrongly, nobly or otherwise. When people meet as a corporate entity they are responsible to and for the corporation. When they meet together as individuals with the commonweal in mind, good things can happen …something we haven’t seen in government since the first Continental Congress, and even that had much to do with preserving business fortunes.

        We ARE the church. We serve Christ, and not the church.

    • 1. Two things – one is that this is a piece of journalism. This is not a thoughtful analysis. It is merely Chicken Little (The Sky Is Falling) – style reporting. One simply latches onto the most controversial bit of commentary and runs with it, turning it into a sensational article to capture eyeballs. Remember, the purpose of the news is not to report the news accurately, but rather to attract eyeballs so they read the news frequently and often, and possibly click on the ads. Second, assuming that the reporting is accurate (more like a total suspension of disbelief than an assumption, actually), it doesn’t mean it is complete. Josh may have addressed the concerns you raised without actually getting them reported in the article.

      But even so, I’m glad it’s not TV any more as the greatest threat to our children. I was tired of that. The next big threat, if McDowell is still around, will be smart phones. All the threats of TV and the internet with the added bonus of sexting. (Since this is already a huge threat, it’s only a matter of time before evangelicals “discover” it – shortly after the NEXT big threat appears).

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        (Since this is already a huge threat, it’s only a matter of time before evangelicals “discover” it – shortly after the NEXT big threat appears).

        Next Big Threat?
        My Little Pony?

    • Cru-story says

      Greetings iMonks and especially Eagle,

      I’ve been reading for several years and comment once in a while. I love this blog- I have found a lot of encouragement and food for thought here. And I have enjoyed following your story, Eagle. I think you ask a lot of good questions and love that you hang out here.

      I also work for “Cru”- I do like the name change. Here is a helpful link of Frequently Asked Questions for anyone interested in this story. http://www.ccci.org/about-us/donor-relations/our-new-name/qanda.htm

      I don’t think Crusade is changing its name just to survive, or as a shrewd marketing ploy. Although they did hire a brand consulting agency… (btw, I wasn’t directly involved in the name-change process). For many years, we have seen that the name “Crusade” became an unnecessary obstacle. My own story confirms this….

      I met a bunch of Crusade students at a welcome picnic as a freshman. My initial reaction was that they seemed like nice people, but I was turned off by the name. I immediately assumed they were connected with right-wing politics. So I decided I wanted nothing to do with Crusade. Over the next couple months I kept bumping into several of the guys, but I always blew off their invitiations. Then they were camped outside my dorm one day doing surveys (stalkers!). The survey asked if one was interested in joining a Bible study. I remember thinking, “I’m a Christian… but I know next to nothing about the Bible.” I finally decided I would go and check it out one time- and the rest is history.

      I’ve spent most of the last 12 years working with Crusade in Latin America. On Campus we used the name “Vida Estudiantil”, or Student Life. In Europe Crusade went by Agape, the term “Crusade” has always been a hindrance there. CCC-Canada now goes by Power to Change. And here in the U.S. Crusade began using the nickname “Cru” on college campuses sometime during the last decade. So this has been cooking for a while…

      The hard part was picking a new name. I think they considered over 1,000 suggested names and Cru is the one that emerged. I like the description that goes with the new logo. “A caring community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ”. My hope and prayer is that God will continue to use Cru- and whatever else it is called- worldwide to help connect people to Christ.

      • While I won’t pretend that “Cru” is a classy, meaningful, or respectable name that will last more than, say, three years before being hopelessly and laughably obsolete, that explanation actually makes sense. I’ve always balked at the “crusade” part of CCC – wondering if the leadership actually knew what a crusade was.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Cru (TM).

          Can you say “Am I Not Edgy”?

          And in 20 years, thisTrendy and Edgy name will have aged about as well as Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

          Because nothing gets old faster than over-relevance.

      • I need to run my errands. I guess from here on forward I’ll just refer to it as Cru. Many people did already. I respect you and please don’t think my comments are personally aimed at you as you are affiliated with the organization. Sometimes its difficult to divorce our feelings from an organziation when we are connected to it; especially if is your career.

        Depending on the day I’ll either be ashamed of my time and Cru or still become upset when I hear about new activities they are currently doing and think of the harm the organziation is creating. Sometimes I really look at it be a cancer today. That’s not a shot at you I have deep reservations about this “ministry”. Most of my contacts with Cru have been severed. I’m in my mid 30’s and sadly know people who have struggled with what they were taught in Cru vs. the realities of life hitting them hard. Cru lives within a bubble and many of its black and white teachings backfire upon entry into a professional career, or life’s changes. That was how I learned what an isolated organization it can be (though many fundgelical churches can be similar). I just wish I didn’t know the people I did know who had an organization like Cru which helped kill their spiritual life.

        One individual I know today is a closet atheist. He used to lead Cru on the university he attended. We’ve talked and he is disappointed with what happened. In Cru there was all this talk of a loving, personal intimate God who deeply cares, etc… After years of prayer and silence he came ot the conclusion that it was a fraud. He still keeps in tocuh with some people from Cru but is scared of being disowned if some of the people he knew find out abut his lack of faith. So he deceides to live in the closet and “act out” his faith and say all the Christianese when he sees his old Cru freinds and staff. It’s a sad situation.

        I couldn’t believe the hoops I had to jump through to sever my ties with it. The Mormons were annoying, my former Cru director’s actions bordered on obsessive. He really needs to learn boundaries and to respect those. I went though almost 9 monthes of regular calls, text messages, etc.. happening every other day or twice a day. I thought I was going to have to change my contact info. That was just distrubing.

        And on top of the personal stories I have known there is theology concerns as well with Cru. Let’s be honest Cru worships Bill Bright. When I did Cru everyone was like, “You’ve got to read this Bill Bright book!!” It was akward to see someone so revered and worshipped. There was also too much obsession with the End Times theology and highly questionable evangelism techniques. Too often in the circles I was in there was a siege mentality of “us” vs. “them”. And “them” can include everyone from the Catholic Church to Intervarsity Christian Fellowship who was viewed as a competitor. But it was actually my Cru director’s comments and teachings about Catholicism that I thought of (along with John MacArthur) when my family was burying my 100 year old Irish Catholic grandmother. The rage I had at a funeral when some of this stuff from Cru hit me was indescriable.

        Now I am also realizing that I’m also going to have to move on. Evangelical Christianity was a major speed bump in my life and it did leave me confused and stunned. From following God’s will and getting myself into a job where I am miserable and trying to get out of, to living with the actions of confessing sin..the damage was done and reaIize that I do need to move forward. I’m learning that this is holding me back. The question I am struggling with is what to do about faith and God? Can I believe in Jesus (aside form the theological problems I posted here…) and have a personal faith system? Or am I going to move ahead and be nothing and learn to feel comfortable with being a skeptic. Honestly I feel torn between the two. I’ve being reading up a storm to try and figure this all out. And at the same time I don’t know if I want to die as a skeptic. Yet when I think of God I think of past evangelical experiences, Cru, Mormonism, etc.. and I feel sick to my stomach.

        So the question is which way do I go? And that is what I am trying to deceide now.

        • Cru-story says

          Eagle… I really appreciate you sharing your story- and I don’t feel attacked at all. I remember a month or two ago you wrote something on here about being turned off by the church but attracted to grace. I wanted to respond then but when I read it was like a week old and seemed a little too late.

          So I wish you the best as you try to figure out which way to go. By the way, Jesus I Never Knew by Yancey is one of my favorite books and I think you will enjoy it. He tries to cut through a lot of churchy baggage and it’s a very refreshing look at Jesus.

        • Eagle (and all)

          Let me share some thoughts and experiences……

          1. As stated, I spent many years as a hospice nurse.

          2. “Cru” is centered in Orlando, FL.

          3. People need hospice care in Orlando, Florida.

          4. Some of these people have spouses who are named after fruits.

          5. Sometimes the bigger the talk, the harder the walk at the end.

          6. We should worship God, not humans, no matter their status or presumed importance.

          I hope that my message comes through, as for many, many reasons I can’t spell out my expereince any more clearly.

      • In my part of Canada they call it Campus for Christ.

    • “Its easier to find a common enemy than look at how you teach something and do some self criticism.”

      +1

      The Soviets did the same thing: close the doors, hide the problems, indoctrinate the people with propaganda, and silence the dissidents.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Plus inform and turn on all those who are insufficiently enthusiastic about The Cause.

        Ees Party Line, Comrades.

    • Eagle, enjoy “The Jesus I Never Knew” and the rest…he is refreshing and right on. I have read most of his stuff simply because they are SO different than anything else out there!

  3. Read the McDowell article and … egads. Actually, I think the reason “the number of Christian youth who believe in the fundamentals of Christianity is decreasing and sexual immorality is growing” is because most of them have spent their lives around adults who say they believe in God and His Word, but live contrary to it (including rejecting the fundamentals of the faith and being sexually immoral). Kind of like how Josh McDowell complains about the influence of the Internet on America’s youth — while maintaining a website and Facebook page for his ministry, and making 15 tweets on Twitter in the last four days. 😉

    • Sounds like the opening of a DC Talk song, Ray. Remember this Brennan Manning quote?

      “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

      • From my mind to yours …

      • +1

        McDowell gets it right in his conclusion: model the truth, rather than indoctrinate. As Paul boldly said, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” Wow. Whatever happened to “Do as I say, not as I do”?

        • I guess it also depends on which “Christ” your mentor imitates. I don’t want to imitate someone who is imitating Rambo Jesus.

  4. From the Josh McDowell article: “The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not.” Doesn’t think much of Christianity, does he? The implication seems to be that if atheism/agnosticism/skepticism has the same opportunity as Christianity, why, your kids’ll become Richard Dawkins-like God hating monsters! As though Christianity can’t compete.

    • Maybe it could be defined as kind of an intellectual pornograghy? No…? Is that a new threat? 😉

    • He also doesn’t seem to think much of youth pastoring. Or parenting, for that matter.

    • I admit, I’m laughing a little about this, because our Pope is all in favour of using the Interwebs for the “New Evangelisation”. They had a bloggers’ conference in the Vatican the same time as the beatification ceremony for John Paul II. Even as far back as 2002, he was encouraging the Pontifical Council for Social Communications:

      “Not only must we use the media to communicate Christ to the world, but we must preach the Gospel to the world of the media itself. What I have said elsewhere of the Internet is true of the media as a whole: it is “a new ‘forum’ understood in the ancient Roman sense of … a crowded and bustling urban space, which both reflected the surrounding culture and created a culture of its own” (Message for World Communications Day 2002, n. 2). This media culture must itself be evangelized! And you are called to provide the Church with inspiration and ideas for that great work, drawing upon the highest standards of professionalism and the deepest resources of the Christian faith and Catholic tradition.

      This is a task to which the Pontifical Council has given itself with great energy. During this Plenary Meeting, for instance, you will publish two important documents which have been in preparation for some years: “Ethics in the Internet” and “The Church and the Internet”. These are signs not only of your professional creativity, but of your commitment to preach the Good News in the fast-moving world of social communications.”

      From his message for World Communication Day 2011:

      “I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I admit, I’m laughing a little about this, because our Pope is all in favour of using the Interwebs for the “New Evangelisation”. They had a bloggers’ conference in the Vatican the same time as the beatification ceremony for John Paul II.

        Isn’t that the one where Pope Benedict kicked off the Vatican’s new webservice with a touch on his iPad?

    • There must have been a typo. I’m sure what Josh McDowell meant was that the internetmonk is the greatest threat to Christians. 😉

  5. Donalbain says

    Should a priest inform on a criminal? How is that a hard subject. Of course they should.

    • I think it’s a hard subject because of the context of the confessional. Like one’s doctor or lawyer, there are certain expectations of confidentiality in certain relationships. I would much rather a priest counsel an individual to turn themselves in rather than becoming an informant for law enforcement. If that confidentiality were no longer there, then the confessions would simply stop. And where should the line be drawn if a priest were to share such knowledge? Murder, rape, theft, adultery, shoplifting, speeding, cheating on one’s taxes, sleeping on the job?

      Should a priest inform on a criminal when that knowledge comes from outside the confines of confession; absolutely.

      • That’s an excellent point. You can’t force lawyers to rat out their guilty clients, so you certainly shouldn’t force a priest. And couldn’t a priest give a penance of “turn yourself in”?

        • Donalbain says

          You can’t force a lawyer to do that because without lawyer-client confidentiality there is no way to have a fair trial system. The confessional is not even close to that.

          And yes, a doctor or counsellor DOES have to report a crime if a patient tells them about it.

          Seriously, I am shocked that there would be any debate about this. Especially after what the RCC is going through.

          • I can’t change the fact that you choose to find the debate shocking, and frankly don’t care. I am simply stating my opinion on the matter. In case you hadn’t noticed, civilized debate on what some view as controversial subjects is a large part of what goes on here.

            Let me suggest that since you seem so intent on keeping the authorities informed of wrongdoing that the next time you are a passenger in a vehicle exceeding the speed limit you call 911 on your cell phone and have the police pull the driver over.

          • Disagree. Yes, lawyer-client confidentiality affords the client the opportunity to have a fair trial. But suppose he’s guilty, and he’s found not guilty. Does that mean that the lawyer should have spoken up? You would have gotten a more just outcome that way. The confidentiality agreement NECESSARILY will protect some guilty parties. It allows lawyers to get some guilty people off the hook. And when guilty people go to a lawyer, it’s because they’ve been caught. When guilty people go to a priest, they’re doing it voluntarily, out of some sense of conscience. And the priest is most likely going to advise them to turn themselves in. He’s not going to say “meh, 4 Hail Marys, we’ve all been there son.” It comes down to this: if a man can confess to his lawyer without fear of being turned in–in fact, for the very purpose of getting away with something–why can’t he confess to his priest?

            Now, if you’re talking about outside the confessional, then absolutely. Turn him in. Unless the priest happens to be a lawyer on the side.

          • You can confess to your lawyer but not your priest because in the U.S. lawyers are seen as the highest purveyors of morality. Our elected offices are full of them, law schools are booming and profitable, and many are some of the most highly-paid people in our country. Contrast that to the state of Christianity and it’s obvious that we as a society trust lawyers more than we do pastors.

          • Donalbain says

            The lawyer has a necessary role in our legal system. A priest doesn’t. A priest is, as far as the law should be concerned, just a guy in a strange costume. If your bank manager would be obliged to inform on you if you told him you committed a crime, then so should your priest.

          • Donalbain, you said, “The confessional is not even close to that [lawyer-client confidentiality]”.

            Partly right. In the scale of importance it may be far beyond that.

          • Donalbain says

            No. It isnt. It is not important at all as far as the STATE is concerned. Your imaginary friend has no bearing on what the LAW should be.

    • I’m sorry I saw this late. In federal and state law there is such a thing as a clergy-pentitent or priest-penitent privilege. If anyone is curious, I suggest you look it up.

  6. RE: Josh McDowell

    This is old news. I’m sure that as you roll back the clock you can replace “the Internet”, with TV, radio, movies, magazines, live music, theater, etc… After all “We’ve got trouble in River City”. And by that I mean anything can become the boggy man.

    At the end of the day there are two issues here. Parents must lead by example. And no matter what parents want to think there is no silver bullet to keep their kids in the faith.

  7. It’s interesting that everyone wants C.S. Lewis in their group. In this link he’s evangelical. I’ve heard people claim that he was really a closet Orthodox, Catholic, and even Mormon. I wonder what he thinks.

    Here’s a question from a side ramble this week: A Fox News reporter said that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is not a Christian. There was a hoopla about that, since Mormons define themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. But who gets to define Christianity, and is it bigoted and exclusionary to insist on definitions for things such as religion? What do people think?

    • There was a time when Mormons didn’t want to be identified as Christians. Mormons viewed themselves as a restored gospel that was purer. Kind of like what Christinaity was to Judiaism…does that make sense? In recent years that has changed and the Mormons have wanted to be identified as Christians. They have gone so far as to enlarge the name of Jesus Christ in the official name of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on all churhc buildings.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Mormons viewed themselves as a restored gospel that was purer. Kind of like what Christinaity was to Judiaism…does that make sense?

        Yes, it does, Eagle. It’s the same dynamic you find in a lot of “splinter churches”, the kind whose idea of history is that the Church went off the rails somewhere between the last apostle and Constantine and everyone was Apostate until their Pastor Billy-Bob refounded/restored the True New Testament Church by founding their not-a-denomination. Same dynamic as every splinter movement.

        The same thing was probably claimed by groups founded right beside the Mormons who died off with their founder — was it a century and a half ago? The reason the Mormons lasted was Brigham Young. Someone once told me “Joseph Smith founded a personality cult. Brigham Young turned it into a self-sustaining religion.”

    • I think I’ll go with C.S. Lewis here (in Mere Christianity) and say that it is appropriate to use the word Christian in the classical sense so that our words are actually meaningful and useful. I would think Mormons want the label “Christian” (at least in part) because it may make people who are comfortable with traditional Christianity less resistant to their views. On the flip side, I would think that many Christians do not want to share the label with Mormons for the same reason. Motives aside, I think Mormonism’s deviation from classical Christianity in terms of their understanding of the nature of both God and humans makes their beliefs different enough that language might be better served by using a different term, generally speaking.

      I remember when I was in high school before I was a Christian and had an argument with my girlfriend about whether or not Mormons were Christians. I had several Mormon friends and neighbors that I spent a lot of time with, and I insisted that they were Christians. To this day, I really have no idea why I pushed that view so hard, other than the fact that I assumed it was so. I was basically thinking of the obvious association with the name Jesus Christ without any consideration for actual beliefs about him.

      Of course, to complicate things, many evangelicals do not use the term “Christian” in the same sense C.S. Lewis did. Many evangelicals would say that Roman Catholics are not “Christians”–as a statement about their (assumed) lack of personal salvation. This would be the same for those evangelicals talking about Mormons. So the language thing is complicated by mixed use of the term.

    • Matthäus says

      Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters? Obviously Lewis was a post-evangelical =)

      • The remarkable thing about Lewis is that he was a Christian. (I became a Christian because of reading The Screwtape Letters!)

  8. All I can is, the Cincinnati Reds certainly enjoyed what we in Georgia like to call “gettin’ took to the woodshed” last night.

  9. Adrienne says

    I was going to post a reply but I gotta finish my coffee and run. Goin’ to Walmart!!

  10. Kelby Carlson says

    The Lady Gaga article was surprisingly interesting. Doesn’t change my judgment though–her music is B-A-D bad. Out of the thousands of songs I have, I’d rather listen to almost anything than Lady Gaga, purely from an artistic perspective. I’m baffled why people think she’s so original and innovative. Okay, rant over–I could go on way too long about this.

  11. I knew it was coming years ago, the day I went to the Borders website and was redirected to Amazon. I wrongly assumed then that Amazon had bought them out. Very Titanic: such elegant stores, but now it’s obvious that they were taking on water in the lower decks the whole time after striking the Amazon iceberg.

    But the thought that America is closing its “Borders” has a bit of chilling symbolism. Is this merely the conclusion of bad business decisions, or is this yet another sad episode in the closing of the American mind?

    • Full disclosure: I’ve never lived within 10 miles of a Borders, so there’s no personal aspect for me in this story. But it strikes me that mourning Borders is the equivalent of someone mourning the passing of Acme Buggy Whip Co. 100 years ago. People are still going to read — they’re just ordering their books from home, downloading it to their electronic devices, or just reading online at sites like Slate, Grantland and (yeah, I’m saying it) iMonk. Civilization is not collapsing, just changing. Be not afraid.

    • More than likely it is a result of “get it cheaper, faster, and without the irritation of waiting in line”. Next up: Barnes and Noble.

    • No, this has nothing to do with the closing of the American Mind, unless Woolworths, Circuit City, Montgomery Wards, Pets.com, and Commodore, and Musicland mean the same thing.

      Businesses come and go, some change and survive, others just don’t make it despite the best intentions. That there are infinite possibilities for book buyers today is likely a major factor as well.

      • You may be getting to my point. As the specialty stores close, the only brick-and-mortar choice left is the big-box stores. Musicland is a great example: apart from Independent Records, where can you go to look at albums? Have you seen the selections in Walmart and Target? It’s bare-bones. The same is true for books; check out Walmart’s book section sometime and imagine if that is the literary future of America. Ok, go to the internet, where the gateway to online books and music is largely controlled by a few powerful corporations. What if someday these entities follow Walmart’s business logic and only offer the top-selling titles? Even in digital format, it costs money to offer a variety of titles that few are buying. The best-seller’s list to me indicates Americans have no appetite for classics or thought-provoking literature. Why sell millions of titles of anything if the only ones buying books are settling on pithy, trashy titles which fit on one or two shelves next to the charcoal brickets?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Several years ago, WalMart centralized ALL its book-buying and inventory at their home office. And what does the home office use to select which books to stock for the entire country? BEST-SELLER LISTS.

          • That was the circular irony of the Top-40 radio stations back in the 45 rpm singles days (likely the same now, with mp3 downloads). They played only the top 40, but how were the 40 chosen? By the amount of sales. Why do sales go up? Because the songs were played over and over on the Top-40 stations.

        • sarahmorgan says

          “What if someday these entities follow Walmart’s business logic and only offer the top-selling titles? ”

          Not going to happen. See “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail

  12. Really some of us are not insane in SC. We do cringe, too and sometimes we mumble when people ask where we are from. It can be hard to find us in the cultural Christian ethos of SC, but do look around and come over for dinner sometime – if you are in the Charleston area for some of your visit.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I’m from Southern California. That sort of thing is so common in the news out here we call it “Mary in a Tortilla Syndrome.”

      • Here we are usually content with housing the new Jim Baker wanna-be’s and the extreme fundamentalists. I guess we are expanding our religious craziness. Thanks for excellent Google moments.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “Because people are people, and the world is full of tricks and twistiness yet undreamed of.”
          — one of The Whole Earth Catalogs

  13. Lewis an evangelical? It makes me think of Chesterton’s essay entitled “American Morals”. Chesterton was no evangelical, but he, too, is finding new popularity among American Evangelicals. When it comes to this odd, multi-headed beast known as AMERICAN Evangelicalism, I believe the legacy of such literary giants as these (and George MacDonald) would suffer from such an association.

    “I remember once receiving two American interviewers on the same afternoon; there was a box of cigars in front of me and I offered one to each in turn. Their reaction (as they would probably call it) was very curious to watch. The first journalist stiffened suddenly and silently and declined in a very cold voice. He could not have conveyed more plainly that I had attempted to corrupt an honorable man with a foul and infamous indulgence; as if I were the Old Man of the Mountain offering him hashish that would turn him into an assassin. The second reaction was even more remarkable. The second journalist first looked doubtful; then looked sly; then seemed to glance about him nervously, as if wondering whether we were alone, and then said with a sort of crestfallen and covert smile: `Well, Mr. Chesterton, I’m afraid I have the habit.’ ” – from “American Morals” by G.K. Chesterton.

    • At least American evangelicals seem to have gotten beyond wondering if Lewis was a Christian at all, because he simply didn’t fit the funda-gelical mold. It’s funny how the roles have reversed: now American evangelicals are trying to own Lewis to bolster their validity – improve the brand image, so to speak.

  14. Oh, Jeff, I was just contemplating that very topic myself for a possible post! Let me get a few thoughts together and I’ll get back to you.

    Off the top of my head, I am (insert third-generation FF snorting about Blueshirts) not all that happy with Enda Kenny on this; I think some of it is political posturing. Besides, what about lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, and others who in the course of their work may deal with someone who makes an admission of child abuse (either fantasy about such, or temptations toward, or actual commission?) Nothing in the proposed legislation about that, as far as I know. And apparently there’s a politician in Australia who wants to get a similar bill passed; he’s tried it before with no luck, but he’s becoming encouraged by the news out of Ireland.

    I’ll get back to you on this.

    • “FF” and “Blueshirts”? Not in my American dictionary.

      • FF is Fianna Fáíl (described by a comedian as the “slightly constitutional party”) and the Blueshirts is a term of mild opprobrium/mockery for the Fine Gael party, now the majority party in government, of whom Enda Kenny is our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and the leader of said party.

        The Blueshirts relates to the home-grown version of Fascism (more or less) led by General Eoin O’Duffy; you had the Blackshirts in England, Mussolini’s Brownshirts, and the likes of O’Duffy’s boys who wore blue shirts.

        Fine Gael have always presented themselves as very strongly the ‘law and order’ party, as also being less corrupt than my own boys. They’re somewhat more to the right (that being said, most parties in Ireland – even Labour – are really centrists) and so the old tag of being Right-Wing Conservatives hangs over them with the Blueshirt name.

        • (sigh) Got the shirt colours wrong; of course it was Mussolini and the Italian Blackshirts in imitation of Hitler’s Brownshirts; I was confused by the black uniforms adopted by Sir Oswald Mosley and the Briitsh Union of Fascists in our neighbouring island.

          Wikipedia has a good basic artlice on Eoin O’Duffy if you’re interested; Irish history is such a tangle that you may (or may not) be surprised to learn that his organisation was opposed to and by the (old ) IRA of the time, which had links to Fianna Fáil (and O’Duffy became the first leader of the newly-formed Fine Gael party in 1933, hence the ‘Blueshirt’ tag).

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Ah, Ireland. Land of Happy Wars and Sad Love Songs.”
            (sound of lotsa pots & pans clattering to the floor in the background…)
            “That’s another one o’ the Happy Wars starting. HIT ‘EM AGAIN, PADDY!”
            — some Irish folk-group tape I heard once

    • There’s actually an easy solution to this. I’ve seen this suggested in various places on the web. Where this is the law, then have ALL confessions take place behind a screen. Then the priest never knows who is the confessor.

    • Donalbain says

      The people who mention are ALREADY obliged, by law, to report to the police any suspicions of abuse against children, and if someone confesses to such a crime, they are obliged to report that as well. Why on earth should an organisation as corrupt as the Church in Ireland be given any other obligation?

  15. Donalbain says

    I like the thought process in the name change..

    Hmmm.. Campus Crusade for Christ.. perhaps the Crusade is not the best sort of name to have, after all, the Crusades were not exactly a high point in persauding people about the love of Jesus.. lets change our name! Great idea!

    *Later*

    “Hi, we are from Cru, would you like to come to our meeting?”
    “You are from Crew? Oh.. no.. I don’t row, thanks very much.”
    “No.. not Crew, Cru, it is short for Crusade. D’oh!”

    • LOL!

    • “Sorry, man, I’m not into heavy metal”

      “No, not Mötley Crüe, “CRU” – oh, forget it…”

      • My thoughts precisely.
        With all due respect, blokey from Cru above, my many many years of working with teenagers & students inside & especially outside the church, this is ripe for mockery. Don’t say no-one warned you.

        • Even as a Christian student I’d have been calling you ‘Sybil’, with the whole John Cleese screech within seconds.

  16. David Cornwell says

    New Wal-Mart commercial: “For Jesus to appear, make a purchase here.” (rough draft, but today is Saturday)

    Josh McDowell’s threat identification: For my entire lifetime Christians have been identifying one deadly threat after another. Women preachers (found old Methodist Church paper in the cornerstone of one of my churches; some preacher’s in early 1900’s were railing against this threat from satan), Booze, Communism, the RSV, homosexuals, movies, television, homosexual preachers, lesbians, not saying “Merry Christmas,”Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, European Union, President Obama, the gold standard, godless schools, the Fed, and now the internet. Of course there are many more; might make an interesting article.

    I don’t need someone identifying threats for me. Most of us have a brain, we can do our own thinking. My biggest threat right now is my wife’s Parkinsons (right now the worst parts of it under control).

    • David Cornwell says

      I forgot Sharia law and Islam.

    • David, I am so sorry for your wife’s illness. Both of you straight to my prayer list. It is a misunderstood yet devastating disease…and the good days and bad days are so random. Peace to you for caring for her.

      • David Cornwell says

        Thank you Pattie. She stays very active. And loves quilting and always has a project or two going. To relax she reads on her Nook. (Our book bill, I won’t even add up!). Now she does have the palsy part of it, but problems with balance sometimes and some pain. And we found the right med which has done wonders. Actually we have a very good life right now, and we thank God for it.

        • David Cornwell says

          “Now she does have the palsy part of it,”

          should be “she does NOT have the palsy part…”

  17. textjunkie says

    Lady Gaga as Kierkegaard–I love it. 😉

    • Kelby Carlson says

      I don’t… at all. Comparing Lady Gaga to–well, any philosopher/theologian/ethicist is faintly ridiculous to me. Yes, the article is fine, as far as it goes. But saying Lady Gaga is like Kierkegaard is about as true as saying Oprah is like C. S. Lewis.

      • textjunkie says

        mmm, I think you overestimate C.S. Lewis as an academic and underestimate Lady Gaga (or, let’s say, the machinery and persona that makes her). I’m very fond of Kierkegaard myself, and I think there’s definitely a point there.

  18. Sad to see the SGM folks collapse, but it was obvious it was coming. I am very familiar with the leadership style. It is very simple

    “The doctrine of grace is so essential that we must implement a strong leadership style to ensure we do not fall down the slippery slope of doctrinal compromise.”

    If anyone questions the leadership style, he is accused of getting in the way of the doctrine of grace.

    Several churches I have studied in my area are completely controlled by the pastor. He selects the staff, the board of elders, the finance team, and every Sunday School and small group leader. Everyone can see the problems with it (except those in the middle of it).

    • scrapiron says

      I was once (due to the limitations of geography and unreliable transportation) attending a GARB baptist church for a while, just to try to find some fellowship. The pastor (the kind you are describing, who controlled everything from the doctinal statement to how often the toilets got cleaned) was working his way through Ephesians and the Sunday he got to Ephesians 5:20, he preached an entire sermon on how “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” was a misinterpretation and it really meant “Submit to the pastor.” I swear, I am not making this up.

      I went home and looked up the verse and all its footnotes in every Bible I owned and then I counted up how many scholars had worked on all the translations I had used and the next week asked him openly why I should accept his interpretation when not one scholar out of dozens I had searched agreed.

      You can predict his response: I should accept his interpretation because (obviously, according to Eph. 5:20) I was supposed to submit to his authority, since he was my pastor. And Josh McDowell is worried about the internet eroding the authority of absolute truth?

    • Yup. Calvary Chapels are run exactly the same way. My father was an elder in one. Did he have the authority, along with the others, to hold the pastor accountable? Only if the pastor agreed. Basically, they were like advisers who make suggestions, nothing more.

      Only in this case, we have the “grace nazis” again: Those who hold so tightly to the doctrines of grace will seldom give you any.

  19. (Edited to remove link to pass moderation filter, and a couple more male references found)

    Maybe along with changing the name, Campus Crusade can also change its Statement of Faith so women can also be saved:

    Statement of Faith

    The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, God’s infallible written Word, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that it was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it was written without error (inerrant) in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks.

    We accept those areas of doctrinal teaching on which, historically, there has been general agreement among all true Christians. Because of the specialized calling of our movement, we desire to allow for freedom of conviction on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone, and that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us.

    1. There is one true God, eternally existing in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality.
    2. Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. Hence, He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person forever.
    3. He lived a sinless life and voluntarily atoned for the sins of MEN by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone.
    4. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died.
    5. He ascended bodily into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and MAN, continually makes intercession for His own.
    6. MAN was originally created in the image of God. HE sinned by disobeying God; thus, HE was alienated from HIS Creator. That historic fall brought all mankind under divine condemnation.
    7. MAN’S nature is corrupted, and HE is thus totally unable to please God. Every MAN is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
    8. The salvation of MAN is wholly a work of God’s free grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness or religious ceremony. God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and thereby justified them in His sight.
    9. It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Savior. This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit, but is produced by the witness of the Holy Spirit, who confirms in the believer the testimony of God in His written word.
    10. The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to MEN. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth and seals them until the day of redemption. His fullness, power and control are appropriated in the believer’s life by faith.
    11. Every believer is called to live so in the power of the indwelling Spirit that HE will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but will bear fruit to the glory of God.
    12. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, which is composed of all MEN, living and dead, who have been joined to Him through saving faith.
    13. God admonishes His people to assemble together regularly for worship, for participation in ordinances, for edification through the Scriptures and for mutual encouragement.
    14. At physical death the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of HIS body to everlasting glory and blessing.
    15. At physical death the unbeliever enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of HIS body to everlasting judgment and condemnation.
    16. Jesus Christ will come again to the earth — personally, visibly and bodily — to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
    17. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to disciple MEN of every nation. The fulfillment of that Great Commission requires that all worldly and personal ambitions be subordinated to a total commitment to “Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.”

    Only

    6.Man was originally created in the image of God. He sinned by disobeying God; thus, he was alienated from his Creator. That historic fall brought all MANKIND under divine condemnation.

    makes reference to the other half of the human race (plus a couple mentions of the word “human” – 8. and 9.).

    IVCF is boldly and publicly and forthrightly Egalitarian.

    From IVCF:

    Our Doctrinal Basis

    We believe in:

    The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit full of love and glory.
    The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible.
    The value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath.
    Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord.
    Justification by God’s grace to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
    The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and a new calling to obedient service.
    The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.
    The victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.
    To God be glory forever.

    Adopted by the Board of Trustees
    October 20, 2000

    ——————————————————————————–

    Following is InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis as it existed prior to the October, 2000 update:

    We believe in:

    The unique Divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible.
    The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    The necessity and efficacy of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for the redemption of the world, and the historic fact of His bodily resurrection.
    The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
    The expectation of the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • No, see, EricW, that is just acknowledging the self-evident truth that women are sinless and not in need of salvation.

      😉

  20. scrapiron says

    Josh McDowell says “The belief or worldview, McDowell said, forms values, which in turn drive one’s behavior. The worldview “is where we are falling down the most anywhere in the world.” So what is the prevalent worldview in America today? “There is no truth apart from myself,” that’s what even many young “evangelical, fundamental, born-again Christians” believe…”

    Somehow, in his mind, this is related to the existence and ease of access to the internet. I’m not sure I understand how the two are related, but I want to point out that this idea that there is “no truth apart from myself” is not a problem brought into Christianity from the outside, it’s simply a result of our finite/fallen condition and it’s always been there in all segments of humanity. Most people, including nearly all fundigelicals (I’m now using Eagle’s term as a regular part of my vocabulary, ’cause it’s so convenient) are perfectly content with gross inconsistencies in their thinking and complete lack of verifiable data in most all decision-making.

    It has been supremely puzzling to me that fundigelicals stand up on the rooftop, beating their breasts and loudly proclaiming the loss of absolute truth, while demonizing the only segment of society that actually operates within the framework of absolute, verifiable facts and solid, juried logic. That segment is the community of the sciences. Perhaps if they had spent more time exposing their kids to the scientific method and the incredibly worship-inducing wonders of the natural world, the kids wouldn’t be drifting off in droves to follow the aimless meanderings of pop culture. Instead, so many fundigelicals I know will allow their kids to be exposed to any mindless drivel and un-Christlike sentiment out there (as long as there are no nipples shown and only obviously bad people with Russian accents or who are wearing turbans die violent deaths), while they busy themselves with church activities and acquiring more and more of the stuff marketers tell them they need.

    • Fundagelical: A bible thumper preacher in a Hawaiian shirt.
      If someone is absolutely certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that you are much more legalistic than he is, he might be a fundagelical.

    • “It has been supremely puzzling to me that fundigelicals stand up on the rooftop, beating their breasts and loudly proclaiming the loss of absolute truth, while demonizing the only segment of society that actually operates within the framework of absolute, verifiable facts and solid, juried logic. That segment is the community of the sciences.”

      Wow. That’s amazing. I never really thought of that- thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      McDowell presents himself as a total intellectual clutz. At one point in my life I was exposed to a small army of Christians that used the same fuzzy logic, beat the same culture-war drum, and had the same distrust in the Gospel. Fortunately I had enough of a foundation to know that they were not really representative of the faith. Consider this tidbit of fear-mongering, statistical terrorism he unleashes on parents:

      “Around 15 years ago…when Christian youth ministries were raising money for youth projects, the big phrase was, “If you don’t reach your child by their 18th birthday, you probably won’t reach them.” What is it now? “If you do not reach your child by their 12th birthday, you probably won’t reach them.”

      The Gospel, for many, has always taken a back seat to something else in terms of the power it’s believed to be endowed with. Here’s it’s the age of the child, and the evils of the internet. Tellingly, his admonition at the end of the article is not to “know the Gospel” but to “know the times” with an obscure quote dragged from the Old Testament somewhere. Sounds like Jesus was more than a carpenter, but not THAT much more.

    • Actually, it’s more puzzling to me that “fundigelicals” demonize postmodernism, when in fact postmodernism has correctly pointed out the epistemological limitations of the enlightenment rationalism / scientific method – – the idea that “reason alone” will guide us into all absolute truth. It’s postmodernism that has shown there is no “clean room” laboratory in which to dissect truth. Everyone who enters the lab infects it with their presuppositions and faith, it’s just that we Christians believe that our faith is based in divine revelation.

      A few years ago Stanley fish had a great NY Times blog on this; google “Stanley Fish God Talk Part 2” and read the comments. “Religious thought may be vulnerable on any number of fronts, but it is not vulnerable to the criticism that IN CONTRAST to scientific or empirical thought, it rests on mere faith.”

      • scrapiron says

        Arguments of postmodern thinkers notwithstanding, Steve, there are such things as facts. No one actually believes that the laws that predict that you will be crushed if you stand in front of a moving bus are just an agreement between physicists. Can “reason alone” guide us into ALL absolute truth? Of course not. It’s been hundreds of years since that was actually a widespread belief. But scientists are not, as a rule, postmodernists. They generally still agree that the world is a rational place and that observations about it can lead to deeper understanding. And they do. So we live longer and fewer of our babies die and we live in safer buildings and we drive more efficient cars and we’ve been to the moon. And when we see the intricate and mind-bogglingly complex workings of a cell or of a complex ecosystem made up of equally complex creatures, we worship. We worship because we are made in the image of the Creator, which means we have a little, finite slice of His mind in us. He’s asked us to love him with all of our minds, so we should try.

  21. Just once I’d like someone to pick up their receipt or their burnt toast or their mold stian in the shower, see the face on it, and conclude it is not Jesus, but Jesus’ next door neighbor Ted from down the street who also happens to have long hair and a beard.

    • 🙂

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Somewhere over at the Skeptic.org website, there’s photographs of Vladimir Lenin’s face appearing in a shower curtain.

      And decades ago in the Sixties, one of the “Jesus’ face on a blank wall” was described by one witness as “looking more like Captain Zig-Zag.” (Some newspaper from 40 years ago; I remember it because of that “Captain Zig-Zag” line.)

  22. Beulah Land says

    The first paragraph sounds like a game of ‘we’re going on a picnic and I’m bringing…’. So, I’m bringing some Paradise Key iced tea (I love that stuff). Can I come to the picnic??