Hundreds of thousands of people, soon to be millions, are losing their health insurance. More will see their costs go up. I was talking to a woman last week who told me her costs were going from less than $400 a month to over $700 a month, an increase of over 70%. I’ll let others describe Obamacare for the disaster it is, but this post is about true alternatives that actually exist for people in need.
Soon after my youngest daughter was born, my wife I were leaving the doctor’s office after a routine check, I noticed up on the wall a sign to the effect of “HB 3426 Requires the Costs of Care to be Disclosed.” This struck me as hilarious. What business has to have a law requiring it, good consumer, to tell you its prices? Would you shop somewhere that didn’t disclose the cost of goods and services? And how long would such a business last that refused to do so? Continue reading
It’s out now that at this year’s triennial Council, the seven presbyteries of the CREC voted to become the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, leaving behind the word Confederation in the denomination title. Although many were not, and are not, entirely satisfied with the Communion, it was by far the lesser of two evil. “Confederation” is a good word, stemming from “con” (with) and “federation” which comes from the Latin word foedus, which means covenant. In this respect, our group of churches remains very much covenanted. But for churches in the American south, “Confederation” connoted neo-confederate, something we want nothing to do with.
For those very much not satisfied with Communion, consider it comes from the Greek koinonia, the word often translated fellowship in English, said of the early Christians who devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship (Acts 2:42). It’s also not a word without ecclesiastical precedence. We speak of the Anglican Communion. Among the options on the table, this was my preference. Options regarding a new name entirely (not conforming to the CREC acronym) were not on the table. If you ideas for that, well, speak up!
Mark Driscoll, as usual, telling it like it is, recently posted on his Facebook page “So what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?” He did this as the result of a conversation he had with a non-Christian, blue collar man who asked him if the Bible allowed for effeminate worship leaders like the one he currently encountered at church. Actually, Driscoll replied, it doesn’t; David the warrior-king wrote the book of Psalms.
The post set off a storm of criticism which you can read about here and here. Brian McLaren and others take issue with Driscoll’s tone and message, which is why I think it was a good one. Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one that barks is the one that got hit. Shouldn’t all the people promoting effeminate worship leaders get their hackles up when they are made fun of?
One blogger called Driscoll a “bully”, a truly odd accusation. He didn’t name any particular leaders or encourage people to go smack the most effeminate worship leader they knew. He simply asked for stories. God writes comedy in the contemporary church, and you’re a bully for wanting to hear the jokes? Driscoll wrote a subsequent post describing his comments as flippant. His elders challenged him to say these things in an environment where people can be persuaded. I’m not close enough to the situation to understand all their rationale, and I’m thankful for faithful elders who are willing to call pastors out. But I do doubt whether many of Jesus’ offensive statements could be described as persuasive or made in a context where they could be persuasive. He makes fun of the Pharisees’ robes, prayers, tithes, oaths, devotion, and grooming. Did it get him anywhere? No where but up on that cross.
Not all prophetic speech is meant to be persuasive to all people. Sometimes it’s meant to offend the right people, and to encourage others. None of this excludes the motive of love, but it excludes a sentimental definition of it. We need more of these challenges.
From a great post at Blog & Mablog:
A staple argument of homosex apologetics is that when the Bible condemns the vile behavior of the residents of Sodom, it was addressing the violent side of it — the attempted rape of Lot’s visitors. It does not address at all, so the argument goes, the kind of loving, caring, mutually affirming same sex relationships that we are are talking about today. You have to take context into account, you see, and there have been those who bought this argument. Simple Simon, after all, did go to the fair.
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them” (Gen. 19:4-5).
But let us pretend to accept this for a moment, for the sake of argument. Let us pretend that mutually affirming is the way to go, so long as you avoid that kind of violent hate sex that so unfortunately characterized the men who surrounded Lot’s house.
Comes now Bill Maher, who struts like a crow in a gutter, and is considered to be a leading humorist by the other crows. On a recent show, he had on comedian Marc Maron, who said that he thinks about “angrily f**king” Michele Bachman. He said this, not wanting “to be crass.” Oh, good. For a minute there, we were worried. And then, just to cover their stunted little tails, another guest said, to deflect accusations of sexism, that he would like to do the same to Rick Santorum. So fine then. You guys are willing to engage in hate sex, violent rape, against members of both sexes? And this makes it good, how exactly?
For anyone in the area, Trinity Church is sponsoring its 8th annual Summer Music Camp on Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24 for grades 4-12.
The theme of this year’s camp is Christ the King! Students will sing several settings of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs based on this theme. The various classes relate to what the students are singing, enabling them to examine the music from multiple angles (Scriptural, musical, conceptual, etc.) as well as covering the fundamentals of singing technique and musical theory.
The camp will be held at Providence Classical Christian School in Lynnwood (21500 Cypress Way). Classes run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. On Friday, June 24, there will be a dress rehearsal at 6:00 pm, followed by the final concert beginning at 7:30 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood (6215 196th St. SW).
For registration forms and more information, please contact Jordan Doolittle at email@example.com.
For those in the Seattle area, at 6pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011 Walid Shoebat is speaking at Cedar Park Church in Bothell, WA on the topic of radical Islam. From the flyer:
Walid Shoebat, born in Bethlehem of Judea, is a former Muslim terrorist. His grandfather was the Muslim Mukhtar (chieftain) of Beit Sahour-Bethlehem (The Shepherd’s Fields) and a friend of Haj-Ameen Al-Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and notorious friend of Adolf Hitler.
Walid’s great grandfather, Abdullah Ali Awad-Allah, was also a fighter and close associate of both Abdul Qader and Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who led the Palestinians against Israel. Walid lived through and witnessed Israel’s Six Day War while living in Jericho.
You have seen him on the news, now hear this insider’s wake up call about radical Islam.
From a fascinating article on the increasing use of dogs by our military: “The scent of war: According to Mike Dowling, a former Marine Corps dog handler who served in Iraq, there’s a simple explanation for why the Navy SEALs took a dog along on the Osama raid: “A dog’s brain is dominated by olfactory senses.” In fact, Dowling says, a dog can have up to 225 million olfactory receptors in their nose — the part of their brain devoted to scent is 40 times greater than that of a human.
“When you’re going on a mission,” Dowling says, “a raid or a patrol, insurgents are sneaky — they like to hide stuff from you. But a dog can smell them. …. [Think about] Saddam Hussein … what if Osama had been [hiding] in a hole in the ground? A dog could find that. A dog could alert them to where he’s hiding because of the incredible scent capabilities. … You can only see what you can see. You can’t see what you don’t see. A dog can see it through his nose.” HT: D. Lance
This looks like a good conference, put on by friends at the Family Policy Institute of Washington in Bellevue on May 16th. One day, Wayne Grudem, and free–hard to beat. Sign up here. From the flyer:
The purpose of the conference is to help church leaders think biblically about the relationship between the church and civil government. During the course of their ministry, every pastor is forced to deal with people in their congregations to have different opinions on controversial issues. They are also required to make a decision about how they will deal with, or not deal with, these cultural issues. Dr. Grudem is one of the most well-respected theologians in America today, and his knowledge and insight into scripture will provide revealing, and perhaps surprising, answers to these question.
Topics that will be discussed include:
- Will my tax exempt status be threatened if I discuss political issues?
- What does scripture say about civil government and the church?
- Should I care how my church votes, or if they vote at all?
- Should I speak to my congregation about political issues?
- Is it biblical to say “We don’t discuss political issues”
Bojidar Marinov in his helpful article The Self-Defeating Theology of Dualism addresses the inconsistencies of Radical Two Kingdom theology regarding the civil disobedience of Shouwang house church in China:
Those who have been through systematic education in philosophy know one thing about all dualistic philosophies and religions: They die the moment they touch the ground. A dualistic philosophy can exist in the minds of of ivory tower philosophers and theologians, and it can have a good and coherent system of apologetics and of ideology; but when a dualist tries to apply his faith to the real world he always gets entangled in contradictions and confusion that his ideology is unable to solve….
Albert Mohler is one of the most vocal proponents of the two-kingdom theology. He agrees with VanDrunnen that the church should not “trample on the authority” of the common kingdom institutions. He also agrees that the church’s authority comes from the Scriptures alone, unlike the other institutions. He also believes that the laws for the two kingdoms are different – the laws for the redemptive kingdom come from the Bible, while the laws for the common kingdom are based on natural law, which is common to all people and is not revealed in the Bible. Interviewing Peter Wehner, Mohler specifically states that according to the two-kingdom theology the church “ought to articulate general principles bearing social concern, but ought to leave it to individuals to apply those principles in particular cases.” The church, in short, can not talk to the culture as a church; the culture – and specifically, the state – is not bound by the Biblical Law, it has the natural law which the church can not address in its particular applications. There the church is silent and must remain silent.
But in the Shouwang case we have a church that violates Mohler’s prescriptions. The church – as a church – demands specific action from the government, and that in an area that is specifically state’s, building permits, registrations, etc. The church – as a church – organizes its members in open-air church meetings to protest and demand from the government to violate its own laws – and to violate them in their particular application. Contrary to Mohler’s own theology, the Shouwang church has been largely silent on “general principles bearing social concern,” since Mohler himself mentions that Shouwang has “maintained a steadfastly nonpolitical stance.”
Read the whole thing here.
As our culture grows increasingly immodest, women–and girls–are going to increasingly be the victims of sexual vandalism and exploitation. We need to remember that it was the gospel of Jesus Christ that transformed the treatment of women in the time of Roman empire, and it will be the gospel that does it again. When the four gospels were written, women were not even considered credible as witnesses in a court of law. And yet women are the first witnesses in Scripture to see Jesus alive after his resurrection–an event that no one fabricating the story would include. This would only be one more element of foolishness for Christians explaining what actually happened at the resurection. “So who first saw this Jesus come back from the dead?” “Well, Mary Magdalene, a friend of Jesus.” “That woman? The one who was easy with her body and out of her mind?” “She used to be like that until she met Jesus–before his resurrection.” “Yeah, right.”
Easter is a poignant time to remember the influence of the church honoring the image of God resident in all women, and the true feminine mystique of those following the footsteps of wisdom personified as a woman in Proverbs, blessed-among-women Mary the mother of Jesus, the various women who believed on and supported Jesus during his ministry, the women first to the tomb, and the women prominent in the life of the early church. All these are types of the Church, our mother (Gal. 4:26).
Various cultural commentators are noticing the sexualization of younger and younger girls. LZ Granderson just ran a story about an 8-year-old he saw in the airport–tanned, mid-riffed, and tagged “juicy” on her pre-pubescent backside. Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t the only one pushing push-up bras and thong underwear for pre-teens. The City of Philadelphia is mailing condoms to 11-year-olds. LZ’s says some good things in his article, but his approach, taken by so many Christian parents, reveals he has already capitulated to the trend. The punch-line conclusion is that parents should be parents, and not BFFs to their children. As far as this means parents have authority, and should exercise it, that friends do not, this is good. But what kind of a BFF lets a friend dress up like a piece of sexual meat? What kind of a parent is content with their kid having this sort of friend? And the worst assumption, why aren’t parents interested in being the best of friends with their kids? “Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6). Continue reading