Friday, February 05, 2010

On watching the big game

Great stuff from C. J. Mahaney on how to watch the big game. I particularly loved his Tom Brady quote (FPC Hattiesburg people will hear it again): "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, “God, it’s got to be more than this.” I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be."

Also, this was a great piece in Christianity Today on thinking Christianly about sports. It is a bit depressing the way that our culture's approach to professional sports trickles down to how we treat our children and sports. Perhaps we've misplaced the general sense that these are "games" meant to lighten our hearts and strengthen our bodies. Our games cannot really and fully satisfy our hearts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A new liberalism?

Good historical and pastoral observations from my friend Greg Wills, professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I would simply observe that the issues may be deeper than Greg suggests. I've long been convinced (and taught) that underneath the desire to meditate between scientific naturalism and theological orthodoxy is the fundamental epistemological dualism of the Kantian worldview. That is to say, the division between phenomena and noumena which has led to a distinction between knowledge and understanding, between scientific method and sentimental intuition.

That's why as long as evangelicalism emphasizes Christianity as simply a religion of the heart without any reference to the orthodoxy of the mind, she will always struggle with liberalism. And that's because anti-intellectual pietism buys into this Kantian/modernist epistemology that separates mind from heart, knowledge from intuition, science from religion, phenomena from noumena.

At its best, Christianity has emphasized knowledge, affections, and volition together; piety and learning united. Until we debunk the modernist epistemological presumptions that underlie theological liberalism (and much of conservative evangelicalism) we will continue to wrestle and fight against her.

Gospel-cenetered living

A great word on what that looks like from Scotty Smith.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What difference would it make?

From Justin Taylor:

Francis Schaeffer once asked his wife:

“Edith, I wonder what would happen to most churches and Christian work if we awakened tomorrow, and everything concerning the reality and work of the Holy Spirit, and everything concerning prayer, were removed from the Bible. I don’t mean just ignored, but actually cut out—disappeared. I wonder how much difference it would make?” We concluded it would not make much difference in many board meetings, committee meetings, decisions and activities.

—Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry: The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer(Waco: Word, 1981), 356.

Why Do Multi-Site?

These are Tim Keller's reasons.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year's Day

...reflections from the guy who once wrote a song called "New Year's Day": Bono, lead singer for the rock band U2, in the NY Times. As always, provocative and fascinating.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Change of Plans

I had hoped to preach at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, through the Ten Commandments in the morning and Colossians in the evening. As I continued to pray and wrestle over these texts, how to preach them, and what God might be doing with us, I've decided to flip-flop. Tomorrow morning, I'll begin preaching through Colossians; and, dv, next Sunday evening (January 10), I'll begin preaching on "Using the Law."

As I've wrestled with all this, I want as many people as possible to hear the message of Colossians: the sufficiency of Christ and his Gospel for every aspect of our lives. That happens best on Sunday mornings. And in particular, I've had a growing burden for us to become a praying congregation--not only for the prayer needs that come to us from the sickness and suffering we endure, although that is important, but also and mainly for the advancement of the Gospel in our midst. If God does not come to us by the power of his Spirit and strengthen us to live the Gospel life, nothing we do will make any spiritual impact at all.

And so, tomorrow morning, we'll be looking at what it means to pray in the light of the Gospel (Colossians 1:1-14). This will link together with articles that I'm sending to the officers as pre-reading for our retreat in a couple of weeks, including one by Tim Keller on "Kingdom-Centered Prayer." My longing is for us to get to the place where we might be able to have an entire week dedicated to praying specifically for the Gospel to "bear fruit in every good work" in and through us.

But above all, I want us as a people--and me specifically and individually--to fall deeper in love with Jesus. He alone is sufficient for every spiritual need we have; he alone can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts; and he alone is worthy of our best efforts and thoughts.

Irony of Joseph Fletcher

Joseph Fletcher, an Episcopal priest who published the classic textbook on relativistic ethics called Situational Ethics, argued that love was the norm for Christian decision-making. In fact, his six principles were: "only one thing is intrinsically good, namely love: nothing else at all"; "the ruling norm of Christian decision is love: nothing else"; "love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed nothing else"; "love wills the neighbor's good, whether we like him or not"; "only the end justifies the means, nothing else"; and "love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively."

Yet, Fletcher served as president of the Euthanasia Society of America and a member of the American Eugenics Society and the Association for Voluntary Sterilization. He later identified himself as an atheist and was honored as "Humanist of the Year" by the American Humanist Association.

So, here's the irony. Love wills the neighbor's good and yet only God (or some supreme intelligence, for the sake of argument) knows the true end of our decisions and how those decisions may or may not serve that individual's good. According to Fletcher, love would lead one to end one's life so as not to be a burden to others, sterilize themselves, or procreate only those who would serve humanity's highest good.

And yet, who has that kind of intelligence? Who is able to see the end from the beginning? How would it be loving to sterilize oneself and so cut off the possibility of bringing a child into the world who may serve humanity's greater good? The irony is that Fletcher's own principles are inadequate because they can only work with God-like knowledge. By cutting off from biblical prescription--found in the moral law, for example--as the picture of what love is, relativism cannot provide a sure basis for acting rightly in any situation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What's scary... that I've eaten most of these burgers. No wonder I feel the need to go on a diet. I wonder whether these burgers are like "The Machine" from the movie, The Princess Bride: each burger sucks a year of your life away.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Who knew?

That Mississippi is the 6th happiest state in the United States? Of the top ten, it is interesting that six are in the South (Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama). All we need is Georgia and Arkansas and you'd have the entire SEC in the list!