Sunday, September 14, 2014


Here are a couple some links I have liked (or didn't like but read anyway)

First, one from today by Eric Carpenter Is This A Joke? What has Eric asking that question is the constant advertisements from Ligonier Ministries for a "theology cruise". The "cheap" cabin is "only" $800 (based on double occupancy so figure $1600 minimum). Eric writes:

The add basically invites you to spend hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars on a comfortable cruise around the Caribbean while listening to theological lectures. Could Christianity be made to seem any cushier? 

 The scriptures tell us that life with Christ will often be difficult. We may have to suffer due to our affiliation with Jesus. Many Christians around the world today have great struggle in their lives on a regular basis. Meanwhile, those of us with money are expected to share it with those who have little. 

In light of these things, how can a comfy theology cruise be justified? While the truths taught during the theology lectures will probably be solid, the very existence of this cruise conveys something else. It says that living for Jesus is easy and fun. Frankly, this cruise appears dangerously similar to what the prosperity gospel teaches.

Yes, yes. I am a free market guy. I believe that citizens in an allegedly free society can do whatever they want with the money they earn. I also had a conversation with an Amish friend last week about the way we use wealth and the idea of being a stumbling block to the brethren. These sorts of cruises smack of the sort of elitist influence buying we see among politicians. Spend enough money and you get to hobnob with the cool theologians. The rest of you less fortunate types will have to be content with podcasts. When you consider the innumerable solicitations via mail and email I get from Ligonier warning of dire consequences if they fail to raise some insane amount of money this month, it makes you wonder if they have their financial (and Kingdom) priorities straight.

NPR reports on the way that the Islamic State (that isn't Muslim according to the Prez) uses the regions it has conquered to fund their activities, How The Islamic State Smuggles Oil To Fund Its Campaign. Well done America. We keep destabilizing this region leading to conditions where radical groups rise up and we end up going back over and over again, wasting billions of dollars we don't have and losing countless lives we can't replace or justify.

Two articles from the Washington Post on the way police use forfeiture seizure and fines to fund themselves, often at the expense of the poor, Stop and seize and How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty. I have remarked before that many (most) institutions become primarily concerned with self-preservation and perpetuation over time and it seems that law enforcement is no different. In a related story we read how a Family Could Lose Home Over Son’s Drug Possession, even though it was a minor amount.

This one really rubbed me the wrong way, Hacking Traditional College Debate's White-Privilege Problem. From the intro...

It used to be that if you went to a college-level debate tournament, the students you’d see would be bookish future lawyers from elite universities, most of them white. In matching navy blazers, they’d recite academic arguments for and against various government policies. It was tame, predictable, and, frankly, boring. 

No more. 

These days, an increasingly diverse group of participants has transformed debate competitions, mounting challenges to traditional form and content by incorporating personal experience, performance, and radical politics. These “alternative-style” debaters have achieved success, too, taking top honors at national collegiate tournaments over the past few years.

I get that college debate can be kind of boring and staid but in the real world there is a place for reasoned dialogue within a framework. Being able to argue your point in a calm and rational way is a critical skill in the workplace. When a meeting is winding up you can't just get up and shout "F the time!". That gets you fired and rightly so. This is just another way that the "academic" world is so removed from the real world that it is actually hurting people preparing for life outside of the campus.

Russ Moore speaks to the issue of domestic violence in light of the Ray Rice video and suspension, The Church and Violence Against Women. He says:

An abusive man is not an over-enthusiastic complementarian. He is not a complementarian at all. He is rejecting male headship because he rejecting his role as provider and protector. As the culture grows more violent, more consumerist, more sexualized and more misogynistic, the answer is not a church more attenuated to the ambient culture, whether through a hyper-masculine paganism or through a gender-neutral feminism.

Complementarianism rightly understood is the very antithesis of violence against women because it understands that men should treat their wives as Christ treated the church.

That is some of what I have been reading for the last week or so, enjoy!


dle said...

The problem I have with the theology cruises is not so much about the juxtoposition of theology and a posh cruise (I mean, would anyone be screaming if it was just someone going on a cruise to relax and do nothing?).

What gets me is that by shoehorning something into something else, they can't just focus on one thing. Evangelicals can't just go on the cruise for the cruise sake. They have to put a Jesus veneer over the top.

If anything, this shows that evangelicals are stuck in the sacred/secular divide rut. Sadly, if that's the case, then they are practicing nothing more than a dead religion consisting of rules made by men.

Anonymous said...

Great information as usual. Your post is great and very Christ centered. A commentary that is equally refreshing for an American that pursues the glory of God and/or for a poor individual residing in a "third world" country. I remember a while back visiting such a country and spending time with a family. One day they were watching this Christian TV network. I found myself weeping in silence while watching them dip old bread in salt & oil as the "network preachers" were begging for money for God's Kingdom (in their golden chairs if I might add).
The only part I would be cautious with is Moore's article. I do not minimize the gravity of abuse in any form or shape. It is sinful. My concern is that Moore, yet again, has offered no balance on the issue. Unfortunately, there are countless of husbands that are called abusers just because they do not agree with their wives decisions (Family decision making is for the most part in the women's hands). Feminism has permeated the church in such a way that subjectivism reigns in the Pulpit. I have friends that want to lead faithfully in a godless culture only to be defined as emotional and verbal abusers. The fact that there are men who abuse their wives doesn't exempt the other party from living out a Biblical world view. You can't preach one while neglecting the other. For example:"Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear and consistent. We must stand with women against predatory men in all areas of abandonment, divorce, and neglect. We must train up men, through godly mentoring as well as through biblical instruction, who will know that the model of a husband is a man who crucifies his selfish materialism, his libidinal fantasies, and his wrathful temper tantrums in order to care lovingly for a wife. We must also remind these young men that every idle word, and every hateful act, will be laid out in judgment before the eyes of the One to whom we must give an answer." I find so much unbiblical counsel from this paragraph let alone the oxymoron statement that:" Church discipline against wife-beaters must be clear and consistent" What is Moore's definition of the Church? Is this a common practice for the "Christian" husband that no qualifiers have been provided? Church discipline only applies, theologically, to those inside. Albeit, the tares are present but has Church become so full of tares? Not long ago I read a a story from Geroge Muller's autobiography (Autobiography of George Muller, Westminster Resources Literature,. pg 71 A Christians wife's gracious department and it's result) and the emphasis is entirely deferent. I realize that the paragraph you pointed out is great but I find Moore's article weak in many areas.