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Ben Simpson has an interesting question under “Gospel Tracts a Thing of the Past?”

Is the tract still a viable means by which to communicate the gospel?  Or, has it ever been?  What are your thoughts on tracts?

He also suggests that the Blog may be the modern replacement for the tract. For anyone unfamiliar with tracts, they are generally short cartoon books that evangelize Christianity in the most propagandist terms you can imagine. They’re often focused on raising strong emotions and fear of damnation and Hell. Associating homosexuality, other religions and drug use with demonic influence is a common theme. Chick Publications is a leading producer. Read the rest of this entry »

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I sat around yesterday with a coworker/friend of mine on the phone whining a bit about workloads and schedules and unreasonable expectations and poor management and all the things that work-a-days have whined about since somebody first suckered other people into calling him boss. We’d gotten on a bit of roll when I had to stop. Now everything we’d said was true, and there are a lot of things that are pretty broken. But I asked, ok, so what other team would you rather be working for? What other company? What other career? Here we are, work on cutting-edge stuff in a field we love. We get pressure to work more after working nights and weekends, and we get fussed at for this and that, but it’s all just “fussing.” There’s no real danger of losing our jobs. We get a team full of really exciting people to work with. We get to work out of our homes if we want. What exactly would “good” look like if not this?

And then I figured out some of it. It’s the fear of losing it. The fear of our team being broken up and forced to work on stupid things. It’s the fear that they’re going to make us come into the office. it’s the fear that “senior management” may not look on us with favor in the future. It’s not that it’s happened; it’s the fear that it might. I think this is why some rich people can be pretty miserable. You’ve got everything you want, but now you’re afraid you won’t be allowed to keep it. You’re afraid that others don’t think you deserve it enough and that they’ll take it away. My whole life has been like this. I live in a city I love. But it’s growing very rapidly, and my wife and I know that we won’t be able to stay here for long. Maybe only another 15 years or so before it’s just too crowded, but it’s fun while it lasts.

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Three months of silence. I won’t even try to explain it away, only begin anew.

A friend pointed me to the online “Civic Literacy Quiz.” It’s a good quiz. Go take it before reading the rest. It’s short. I’ll wait.

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In A Biblical Church, I note the commune nature of the Church of Acts, and my position that this is the Biblical example that modern churches should follow if they consider themselves Bible-based. I’ve discussed this with several people, but Polycarp’s comments are the most considered rebuttal I’ve received.

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I was reminded again of the modern church’s unbiblical views on marriage. If one were to believe in a Christ-like life, you could look to Jesus as an exemplar, and say that men and women should not marry because Jesus did not marry. But of course this is weak evidence. One might also say that people should not wear polyester because Jesus did not wear polyester. I think there are many places that modern Christians are the opposite of Christ-like, but that’s not the strong Biblical evidence against marriage.

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In my discussion with Ben Simpson on what a Biblical church would look like, I mentioned that the Biblical model would be a theocratic commune. Will asked that I go into more detail on that.

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It’s worth at least skimming over the article in Newsweek on Obama “Finding His Faith.” There are several interesting points to glean:

  • We live in a country where political candidates are raked over the coals to see if they are “Christian enough” while we have American Christians claiming they are the subjects of persecution on the scale of Jews in Nazi Germany. To put this in perspective, try imagining Hitler being grilled by an interviewer on whether he went to Synagogue often enough. Societies generally don’t demand that their leaders be part of the group the society is busy persecuting.
  • Somehow Fox News will quote the above statement in order to compare Obama and Hitler.

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I do seem to be escalating faster and faster into the posts that I always knew I would write, but always meant to put off to some later time. But I’ve been reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and he spent a lot of time discussing abortion in ways that I find discontinuous with the rest of the morality he discusses. Frankly, I think he starts with his final position and works backwards to rationalize it with assertions that I don’t think he would apply to any other situation. That led me to posting on his forums, where there is a 25+ page thread on the topic. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s amazing how things come together at the same time. I was sent a very interesting study today by a new friend and began an interesting conversation with an old friend. They started in different places, but now they have collided. First the study.

The second part of the Pew Forum’s US Religious Landscape Survey came out today. Really incredible stuff about the nature of belief in America. What struck me more than the study, though, was the reporting of it. Here are three different headlines about the same study:

San Francisco Chronicle: “Study finds contradictions among Americans’ religious beliefs” American faith is poorly considered.

Associated Press: “Religious Americans: My faith isn’t the only way” So American faith is tolerant.

Los Angeles Times: “92% of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit, Pew survey finds” Subtitle: “Californians, however, are less likely to consider religion ‘very important.’ Of the 36,000 people surveyed, 42% said they think Hollywood is the corrupting influence.” American faith is sound; nothing to worry about. God is in His Heaven, and California is going to Hell.

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Another Solstice come and gone. Blessed be the sun. Here in the American South, we’re entering his time of power. The days may be getting shorter, but soon the heat will be upon us. Marking the times of year brings us back to the Here and the Now. Our modern life hangs timeless, without location. I hop on a plane and see a friend three thousand miles away. I chat with another friend half way around the world. I write these words and they might be read tomorrow or a year from now, in the summer or in the fall. There’s a lot that is good about that. We shouldn’t cast that aside. 

But there is a lot that is good about rooting ourselves in the moment, in our own space. The Earth reminds us of this when we eat out of season. Yes, you can have your asparagus in December, but doing so is its own punishment. You can get your tomatoes from another hemisphere, but would you know what they were blindfolded?

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