A Resting Place

"It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"A Resting Place" has Moved!

I went crazy tonight and decided to try something new. Presenting...(soft music playing in the back ground begins to swell)...

The ALL NEW...


A Resting Place!

(Wild applause)

Thank you. Thank you.

I get so frustrated with all the glitches I've run into with blogger that I'm going to give typepad a shot for a month or so. Over time, especially when I'm having a writer's block, you'll see repeats from here over there, so I can get them archived into categories and saved for good. Let me know if you like the change. And again, stay posted for the research paper.

the blog is acting funny

Sorry if you're having trouble reading posts right now. This blog is acting up. I'll try to figure out the problem as soon as I can.

the home stretch

Over the next two days, I will be finishing my major ministerial research paper for my master's work. I must be done by about 5:45 tomorrow. This means that in the very near future, I will begin posting it piece by piece. I wanted to offer a few disclaimers and guidelines for those of you who read it.

1. This is by far not my best work, because I was quite crammed for time, but I'd like to make it my best work. That's where you come in. I welcome any and all questions, comments, criticisms, declarations of heresy, etc.

2. If your comments are going to be long (i.e., more than 1,000 characters, the Haloscan limit), please email me instead. If the majority of responses are over email, when I'm done posting every section of the thesis, I'll start a series of response posts using your emails (I'll ask your permission first).

3. It will take me a bit to reformat everything so that references are included, so there will be a few days between posts. This is good anyway, since it will give folks time to read. I know most of y'all have better things to do than read my paper.

So there it is. Look for the first installment by the end of the week.

I'm also working on an essay entitled, The Answer to Every Question, in which I'll argue that Sunday School kids know more than our systematic theologians. I may stick that in the middle somewhere if I'm tired of my blog being filled up with my paper.

Monday, June 20, 2005

blog of evil

At the rate things are going, I may soon need to change this blog's name to "the blog of evil." I learned recently that being a fan of the Yankees makes me evil. I'm part of the "evil empire." Guess who's back over .500?

I'm also evil, as you already know, for liking Harry Potter. July 16 can't come soon enough. Stay tuned for more posts on this subject.

After mentioning these two evils in my life, my wife kindly reminded me that I belong to not two, but three evil empires. The third? The Republican Party.

Ok, so maybe she has a point on the third one.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Faith and Politics

This is the "home page," so to speak, for my political ramblings, wherein I toss around the ideas of democracy, theonomy, and other related issues. This is where I try to wrestle with how our Christian faith and the claim that "Jesus is Lord" relates to politics and government. This post will be updated whenever there is a new one, and there is a permanent link in the right hand column. Enjoy!

The Christians are Coming! - A prominent atheist writer blows the whistle on the left's paranoia about Christian values in America.
Politics at the Cross - N.T. Wright challenges the notion that Jesus was not political in any sense and places politics at the center of the rest of the Christian life - the cross.
JFK and Freedom - JFK on freedom, God, and government.
Of Jesus, Caesar, Elephants, and Donkeys - where I ask all the big questions on my mind and give very few answers.
Jesus Not Political - a very insightful reader responds to the previous article.
Proctor & Politics - I respond to the insightful reader.
Jesus is Lord - Here I struggle with the application of the lordship of Christ to earthly government.
Mohler on Peretz on Liberalism - Another prominent liberal attacks the left on its mischaracterization of Bush.

scripted evangelism

We showed up to a church last Sunday having found online the theme for the service for last week - "Interview with a Pagan." The proposed idea was that the pastor was going to model for the congregation how to converse with people of different beliefs by loving them instead of tearing them apart.

Almost the entirety of the service consisted of the pastor interviewing an old friend from high school who was a self-identified pagan. I thought we were in for a real treat. The "pagan" man had grown up Catholic, but when his particular church offered no real answers for his frustrations with the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., he bailed. The conversation was set up beautifully for an opportunity to ask questions about, "What was it that Christianity didn't provide that paganism did?" Or, "What exactly are your beliefs and how do you find comfort in them?" Or any other thing that would have told us something other than, "I call myself a pagan, and I was dissatisfied with the church."

Then it happened. Rather than finding out anything at all about who this guy actually was, the pastor left all of that and moved immediately into a "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" line of questioning.

1. Would you admit the Bible is historically accurate? ("Sure," answers the pagan).
2. Given that you admit to the historically accurate nature of the Bible, and given that Jesus claimed x, y, and z, would it not then stand to reason that He was either a lunatic, a liar, or who He said He was?


We left quite frustrated. I just don't see how you can walk around with a scripted presentation to jam into any and every conversation and call that loving. People who love care to listen to what other people have to say. I get the feeling C.S. Lewis would not be thrilled with this use of his apologetic.

If you're going to love people, you have to be interested in them. You don't have to agree with them, and you can think their beliefs are quite dangerous. But you can't simply ignore what's important to them.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm a Cultural Creative

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Just shows how much these quizzes can tell you. I think organized religion (i.e., the institutional church) is extremely important.

Monday, June 06, 2005

a harry topic

Forgive the bad pun. Anyway, my readers will notice that certain titles of books from the Harry Potter series will be appearing in book lists to the right. I read the five available books last year, and I am reading books 3-5 again in preparation for the release of the 6th book in July. Some will be just fine with this; others will not. I thought about just not putting the names up there, but then I thought that instead, it might be an opportunity to share another point of view besides the one that says, "Harry Potter books are evil because they contain witchcraft."

Let me first address a few peripheral concerns:

1) This is a "non-essential" issue for Christians. What I mean is that we should have a little perspective - no Christian is going to hell for reading or even enjoying the series. So let's all take a deep breath and learn from each other.

2) Yes, I believe parents can and should decide what their children can and cannot read. These blog posts are not an attempt to convince any parent to read Harry Potter to their kids, nor an attempt to deceive your children (no kids read this blog in the first place). I also tend to be of the opinion that even if you're fine with the series, children should come to a point of being able to clearly distinguish make-believe from reality before reading the book. This, of course, will be different for each child, so there's no particular age in my mind.

Now, on to the two main concerns of those are opposed to the series:

Concern: The Book is about witchcraft.

Answer: No, it's not.

First of all, we should understand that the magical world is the setting for the book, not the point of it. Secondly, the magic within the book is not even close to modern day wicca. I once heard a pastor argue that a book would not be "cute" like Harry Potter is if it were about a little girl named Harriette Potter who went to school to learn to be a prostitute. Well, if by "prostitute," the book meant, "a job in which little girls sell cookies on street corners of a magical world that doesn't exist," we might not find the same danger (though we might cringe a little at the word used to describe it).

Thirdly, we have to be consistent about this. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia series portrayed magic in both positive and negative lights. Again, magic was a setting for the point of the story.

Concern: Harry and his friends are sometimes rebellious, and sometimes there are no direct consequences for their actions.

Answer: Yeah, just like the real world.

C'mon, folks - have you read those Bibles lately? Can you imagine if today's Christian editors got a hold of the story of Abraham, who got to lie and get away with it multiple times? Or Rachel the cookie-seller (I mean, prostitute) who was actually praised for lying in order to hide the spies? I'd rather have the heroes in the books I read have gigantic flaws and be realistic than to always make the right choice. In the books, we see Harry's character develop and grow through trials, even while he still struggles with rebellion, lying, and other such things. Sounds a lot like the Christian life, doesn't it?

Which brings me to my final thought for now and reason for this post. As I read through these books again, I plan to note from time to time parallels to the gospel that we can see in the Harry Potter series. Believe it or not, they're there. I'm not re-reading book one, so let me include a brief one from that volume. Harry descends into the place where the philosopher's stone is kept and there comes face to face with Lord Voldemort. In protecting the stone and keeping it from Voldemort, Harry is taken down and slips into darkness. Three days later he recovers, Voldemort having been defeated. Book two, Chamber of Secrets, follows a similar pattern in which Harry once again descends into an underground chamber to defeat a serpent. See the parallels? Hopefully you'll come along with me as I try to find more of them.

If you're interested in futher reading on this topic, I recommend Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger. You can read an excellent article by him from Touchstone - The Alchemist's Tale - about the role of alchemy in the stories. Very insightful. Eric Rigney's The Good Spell of Harry Potter is also a good read.