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Athensboy made an interesting comment. After discussing the common complaint of Old Testament “mean God” vs. New Testament “nice God,” he concludes:

I suggest looking into the practice of Zen. Clear mind, no fault, yin/yang balance, be here now, stay in the moment, fetch the wood and carry the water, keep a heart full of peace and grace, keep gratitude in front of any attitude, cause harm to nothing and no one and live today as if you will surely die tonight. No readings or interpretations necessary.

But of course Zen has interpretations. Does the dog have the Buddha Nature? When will the oak tree become a Buddha? From interpreting Chou-Chou to self-participating in the controversy, it is certainly not always obvious to the Practitioner what the true Way is. I don’t believe anyone who has truly tried to walk the Way would think it so easy.
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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 »

It’s been a little while since I’ve had time to write. Other concerns have demanded some attention, and between traveling and working all hours, the universe has reminded me again to slow down. Which is to say I have a cold. And when I have a cold, I generally go to bed for a couple of days, read and otherwise catch up on this and that.

I was several chapters into What’s So Great about Christianity, a book which I recommend others read but which I often wish to throw at a wall, when I began to hear those quiet little questions I only hear when I stop the incessant chatter. Why are you reading this? Are you really learning or just fencing? D’Souza makes some interesting points, but his often reverse causalities are unlikely to sway my thinking very far. When he descended to the defending Anselm’s Ontological argument, I knew there was little left here to be mined.

We have such a little time, and we given one great gift in the universe: our choice of how to use that time. With the thousand thousand limitations we put on ourselves, we still have so many choices we can make. And so I decided to step back and look again at those things that build, and for a time let go of fighting those things that destroy. We must defend the castle walls, but what is the point if we never sing?

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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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As I work on a more comprehensive review of the excellent (though occasionally flawed) The God Delusion, I’ll throw out some thoughts on the two books I’m currently reading. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

For those of you who ran into the broken link to the third part of Mere Christianity, I’ve fixed the links.