Archive for March, 2015

Apologetics, Liturgies, Postmodernism

March 31, 2015

Here’s a conversation with Nancy Pearcey about her recent book Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. While I appreciate the things I’ve learned from worldview, I’m sympathetic to the argument that it is too cerebral and too analytic, that our faith and life are more than ideas. Pearcey responds to at least aspects of that critique. And regardless, worldview is part of the picture and learning more about it can certainly be helpful.

Getting up late

March 31, 2015

I always like an article that defends my preferred practices. Let’s hear it for night owls!

Food Self-righteousness

March 31, 2015

Megan McArdle shares some thoughts on the self-righteousness of many on current “food wars”. She compares the issue to questions about obesity, recognizing the biology and genes have a lot to do with this and that¬†moralizing against those with a less fortunate biological inheritance is foolish at best. She continues:

And so is moralizing the food you had the time and resources to put on your table this evening.

Three terms for the church

March 31, 2015

An interesting glance at three key terms and how each shapes our understanding of what the church and its mission is. From Scot McKnight.

Reflections on Liturgy

March 31, 2015

Is liturgy attractive for its subjective impact or for its objective elements. J. David Nolan suggests that there may be more to the objective side:

Higher liturgy emphasizes objectivity in worship and thus a more objective connection with God.

For a contrary take (which prompted Nolan’s reflections), this article on Why Millennials Long for Liturgy highlights more the subjective aspects (e.g., community).

Both are worth a read as we reflect on church and church practice.


March 31, 2015

Peter Berger makes some interesting parallels between supercessionism for Israel and the Church on the one hand, and Catholics and Protestants on the other.

At one level, his point stands – there are profound discontinuities between that can be lost in anti-supercessionist thinking. On the other hand, I don’t think he quite gets how theological anti-supercessionism actually embraces those differences in ways that supercessionists actually don’t. Once again, not an either/or but a both/and. Many theological supercessionists actually discount the discontinuities he describes (Israel is the OT church; the church is the new Israel, absorbing or inheriting all the OT promises in some form), while some anti-supercessiionists (dispensationalists, in particular) actually emphasize the discontinuities (so much so that Israel maintains a real, separate existence in at least some important respects). So the parallel breaks down, I think.

Evangelism in Honor-Shame Cultures

March 19, 2015

Some interesting thoughts on contextualization.

On Evangelicalism and History

March 19, 2015

Two recent posts on evangelicals and history.

The first is a response by Scot McKnight to an article about Al Mohler’s comments about evangelicals leaving evangelicalism. Here is the last line:

My own research (in Finding Faith, Losing Faith) on why evangelicals become Catholic revealed some crises were created when evangelicals discovered the minefield called church history and, in particular, the patristic era.

The second is from Carl Trueman’s observations about McKnight’s post. Here’s part of what he says:

A Protestantism which fails to acknowledge those historical roots and indeed to teach them to its young people leaves itself vulnerable to Canterbury and Rome. There is an historical dimension to Christianity which is important and which needs to be an integral part of pedagogy and discipleship.

Important points all.


On Harry Potter

March 19, 2015

Two links on the Harry Potter books.

First, an interview with Jerram Barrs (author of the book Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts).

Second, an old review on the series with a lovely title: Harry Potter is Dreadful and Vulgar (and it’s mostly positive!).

Progressive Fundamentalism

March 19, 2015

I thought these two articles were interesting conversations on the quest for purity (and for solidarity) on the left side of the evangelical blogosphere that mirror problems that are often highlighted in the more conservative world.

First, there is a fascinating essay on purity in progressive Christianity. Particularly the near requirement of rigid orthodoxy and the toll that takes psychologically on some, at least. Here’s an early paragraph that sets the tone:

The one thing I want to draw attention to his how a purity mentality ran through the leftist and radical groups Aurora worked with. Interestingly, this purity mentality was oriented around a set of “sacred beliefs”–an “orthodoxy.” This is exactly what you see among evangelical Christians. More, this orthodoxy is used to separate “the good guys” from “the bad guys.” Beliefs create warrants for social exclusion, expulsion and scapegoating.

And it happens in every group, I fear.

And here’s a specific example. How individuals and groups deal with allegations of abuse. And particularly related to the controversy about Tony Jones. The specifics of the charges are less my concern than the “circle the wagons” mentality I’ve experienced along the way. Again, I think it’s a sociological phenomenon – we try to protect our “tribe.” We just need to be aware of the tendency.