Book Reviews · Books · Christianity · Faith · Government · mbird.com · Suffering · Tullian Tchividjian

Owl Post 11-6-12

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Principles for Voting:

In Acts 14, Luke sets forth for us the events that took place on Paul’s first missionary journey, a journey on which Barnabas accompanied him. We’ve seen this pattern emerge over and over again. The apostles would come into the synagogue or the public square known as the agora. They would proclaim the gospel openly. And there would always be some people who responded in faith by the power of the Holy Ghost while others in attendance would stand up in outright hostility and oppose them. Indeed, it was through great tribulation that the gospel bore fruit in places like Antioch and Iconium. And everyday Paul and Barnabas were subjected to threats, insults, hostility and even physical danger. We can see how things degenerated to such a degree here in the latter part of chapter fourteen: the Jewish leadership actually convenes a kangaroo court and imposes the death penalty upon Paul! A rioting mob is gathered and begins to throw stones at Paul with deadly force. Paul is knocked down by the repeated blows to the face, arms, torso, and head. His would-be executors then drag him out of the city, leaving him for dead.

Truth, Voyeurism, and Beauty: Why Everyone Loves The Hunger Games:

Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games is easily dismissed as a bad book, the type of junk-thriller that captivates audiences with mere sensationalism and little else. Nonetheless, its internal logic clearly captivates millions of readers and viewers, and that alone demands an account of the book’s resonances, its movement, something that philosopher D.Z. Phillips called “possibilities of sense”, a shorthand for what it is about a work or idea that so enthralls its devotees. With many pulp bestsellers, simple appeals to violence, clichéd romance, or tense but tired plotlines fuel the mass appeal. Collins both plays into these bestseller stereotypes while simultaneously protesting them, and the juxtaposition of violence and classical virtue is an enveloping conflict of the book.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood-Book Review-Kathy Keller:

Rachel Held Evans had at least two stated goals for writing A Year of Biblical Womanhood, according to the promotional material accompanying my advance review copy. Under “Why She Wrote the Book,” Evans says:

I’ve long been frustrated by the inconsistencies with which “biblical womanhood” is taught and applied in my evangelical Christian community. So . . . I set out to follow all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literally as possible for a year to show that no woman, no matter how devout, is actually practicing biblical womanhood all the way. My hope is that the book will generate some laughs, as well as a fresh, honest dialogue about . . . biblical interpretation. (emphasis mine)

Evans wants to show that everyone who tries to follow biblical norms does so selectively—“cherry picking” some parts and passing over others. She also says she wants to open a fresh, honest dialogue about biblical interpretation, that is, how to do it rightly and well. Rachel, I tried twice to get in touch with you when you were in New York City on the talk shows but wasn’t able to connect. So here’s what I would have said if we could have gotten the chance to open that dialogue.

Simultaneously Righteous And A Sinner?

My good friend Jono Linebaugh (New Testament Professor at Knox Theological Seminary and content manager for LIBERATE) wrote a thoughtful post on Martin Luther’s famous phrase Simul iustus et peccator–simultaneously justified and a sinner (you can read it here). One reader questioned whether “sinner” is an appropriate term to describe Christian identity. This is an important question. After all, Paul writes to sinful Christians and calls them “saints.” Once God saves us, aren’t we new creatures?

Five Things Worth Celebrating on Election Day (Plus One More):

Well, here we are: Election Day. Some of you have followed the ins and outs of the campaign for months, if not years. Today is more exciting than the Super Bowl and March Madness and college rivalry week all rolled into one. For others, the excitement of the Summer Olympics every four years is only matched by the tedium of the presidential race in those same years. At this point you’d rather get habanero eye drops, sit next to a starving baby on the plane, and go the dentist every day for a month than be subject to any more campaign ads. Whether we’ve been engaged in the process since Ames or disconnected until today, we are all ready for this thing to be over.

Christianity · Matt Chandler · Suffering · Titanic · Uncategorized

100 Years of Titanic Dreams

It was evening, over 100 years ago, in the summer of 1907 when some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people sat in a mansion and started down the path that would lead to the greatest ocean liner of its time. This liner would be the envy of the shipbuilding community, cater to the richest of society and set the standard for everyone else. On March 31, 1909, in the Harland and Wolff shipbuilding yards in Belfast, Ireland, the keel for the Titanic was laid. The hopes, dreams and ambition of many men were poured into this vessel. This ship was a crowning achievement in Victorian engineering, a floating dreamland and a ship that God himself could not sink.

On April 10, 1912, this monument to the ingenuity of man was at full steam on its maiden voyage. On April 14, 1912 at 11:40 p.m. an iceberg was spotted. First officer Murdoch shouted, “Iceberg right ahead.” All engines where thrown in reverse, but it was too late. The ship’s starboard side was compromised and the dream became a nightmare. The Titanic reported her location at 41° 46′ N, 50° 14. On April 15, 1912, exactly 100 years ago today, the mightiest ship of its time, the colossal floating palace, sank and became the poster child for the foolishness of man.

“Everyone has a dream,” Billy Joel sings. There are so many things that we long to do or experience. Like those who conceived and built Titanic, we have big dreams. These dreams are mighty enough to drive much of our lives. They help inform where we will go to school, if we marry, who we marry, where we live, who we are friends with, what the priorities of our lives will be, and what presuppositions we will hold to. The fulfillment of these dreams are what we believe will make us happy and satisfied in life. “Happiness is the driving force behind everything that you do. Anything you do has the desire for happiness at it’s center.”

Inevitably, our ship of dreams runs into disaster. We are forced to abandon them and jump into a lifeboat for safety. We are separated from the protection of the liner and become much more susceptible to the squalls of life. We are tossed around, capsized or just left to drift endlessly. The separation is not just from our dreams, it also from each other. Sitting alone in our little boats we cling to the hope that we will run across land or someone else. We long to join our hearts to something beyond ourselves.

The question for many of us becomes, “What is the purpose of this suffering? Why have my heart’s desires not been satisfied? Is there a chance that this devastation has some meaning?” And we answer these questions by buying, “into the philosophy that what we need to finally be happy is more of what we already possess.”* So we pursue more money, more power, more sex, more things and it leaves us even more isolated and unhappy than before.

“The majority of human beings believe that people and circumstances exist to make them happy. We believe the brokenness inside will be satisfied by things outside.”* God needs to allow us to run to the end of ourselves in the hope that we will stop looking to our dreams and to other people to fill what only he can. God wants us to stop worshiping the stuff he created and reorder our lives. It is by placing ourselves under this divine order that we can truly be free to live life to the fullest.

“God gives gifts to all men. Whether you believe in God or not, you are living, walking, and wearing his stuff. He gives gifts to all: food, drink, work, friends, family. He gives gifts to all, but only the children of God, only those who believe in Jesus, receive the gift of lasting enjoyment. Why? Because if we’re oriented around Jesus, our satisfaction is not tied to anything but him. We can actually enjoy God’s good gifts the way they’re designed to be enjoyed, because they are in orbit around the right sun – not our self, but our Savior.”*

Jesus said,

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:9-11 ESV)

*Quotes from The Explicit Gospel – by Matt Chandler

Chuck · Church · Government · Marriage · Pastors · Preaching · Suffering

Owl Post

Owl Post is something new. I come across a lot of things that I think are worth sharing from the web and so each week I will link them here. Hope you enjoy it!
Picture Prefect Marriage : 

“This morning I am going to begin just a short series of articles on marriage. Having read several books on marriage in the past few months, I found myself really intrigued by what Paul says about the topic in his letter to the Ephesians. I’ve since had the opportunity to study it and wanted to share what I’ve learned along the way.” Part one, Part two, Part three

Government and Its Rivals: 

“WHEN liberals are in a philosophical mood, they like to cast debates over the role of government not as a clash between the individual and the state, but as a conflict between the individual and the community. Liberals are for cooperation and joint effort; conservatives are for self-interest and selfishness. Liberals build the Hoover Dam and the interstate highways; conservatives sit home and dog-ear copies of “The Fountainhead.” Liberals know that it takes a village; conservatives pretend that all it takes is John Wayne.” Link.

The End Has Come For Chuck: 

Chuck‘s five-year plan has reached its end.
On Friday, series creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak saw the end of their beloved spy comedy that inspired nerd culture and Subway sandwich diets. True to form, they still kept up with the fans who made the continuation of the series possible.”

What We do in the Face of Suffering:

“For many people living in the West where the cultural bias is towards an expectation of everybody being healthy and living longer, sickness readily becomes seen as the main focus of one’s “suffering”. But, suffering is a far broader concept than struggling with physical, emotional or mental illness.” Link This is an amazing paper on the subject of suffering; it is long, but it is well worth the time.

 5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preaching the Word:

“I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not. Here are five things we may choose to do instead of preaching the Word.” Link 

Well that should do it for now. Look for more every week.