Congrats to the Women of the Church of England!


female-woman-bishop-anglican-communionI thought it would make more headlines this week in the U.S, but it didn’t, so I thought I’d put it here. Two days ago, the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to allow for female bishops in their ranks. They had for twenty years now allowed for female priests but–as is the odd logic that accompanies church hierarchies such as this–they thought it a step too far to allow women to be bishops. I don’t know. But either way, let us rejoice their is one more place in the world where women can fully and freely exercise the gifts God has given them.

Click here for more posts in my occasional series on Women in the Church.

Where on Earth is Jesus’ Bethlehem? | Luke 2.1-5

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In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2.1-5

Recent archaeological evidence suggests that this Bethlehem is not the traditional site, but “Bethlehem of the Galilee” (which would make sense). The traditional site is 150km from Jerusalem, whereas this other, newer proposed site is only 7km. A lot easier for Mary. Although some dispute this, pointing out that Justin Martyr in the 2nd-century identified the traditional site as the correct site. Who knows?

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

This is my 1,000th Post. WARNING: You cannot un-watch this.


This is my 1,000th post. Thank you all for the chance to write this blog these past (almost) 10 years. It has grown me in countless ways. It took seven and half years to get to 500 posts, and less than two more to double that. Here’s to 2,000. Thanks for the encouragement, commenting, and criticism. It means a lot. Really.

As is my custom, here is your blog milestone dancing video:


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Mark Driscoll: Now just another fundie, but it still hurts


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Let not those who hope in you be put to
shame through me, O lord God of Hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to
dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
Psalm 51

I have written before how much I enjoy my own ignorance of the Christian blogosphere. Things happen in evangelical corners of the world, that I have no idea about. I am happy to know more about the Ukrainian crisis than whatever crisis some mega church or celebrity pastor is going through.

And yet, somehow (usually Facebook), I always seem to keep up with whatever is going on with Mark Driscoll. He has lots of critics, and I am certainly one of them, and many of them seem to be grasping at whatever they can to “bring him down”. There seem to be so many Driscoll obsessions out there, be it plagiarism, making fun of “effeminate” church leaders, extreme church discipline, messy staff turnovers, un-credited ghost writing, or buying his way onto best seller lists. (If you care about those “scandals”, just Google them.)

I have big problems with how a lot of folks criticize Driscoll and the glee they seem to feel in each new thing we all find out. Lore Ferguson has the best and most beautiful articulation I’ve read of the unhelpful ways people levy these criticisms his way.

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Weekly Must-Reads {2.12.14} | Creation, Masturbation, & Communism


guy-newspaper-reading

Well, it’s been a good long while since I’ve posted a Reading List for you all to enjoy–too long, in fact. These were some of my favorite things I read this week. What were some of yours?

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In defense of creationists | The Week
Michael Brendan Dougherty

I referenced this at the end of my post yesterday, but this is a stunningly beautiful piece that wrestles with humanizing those that frustrate us the most in the Christian family. A must-read for sure.

Escaping the Prison of the Self: C.S. Lewis on Masturbation | First Things
Wesley Hill

Don’t overlook this piece too quickly. It is an incredibly powerful piece that speaks to how all of us–married, single, gay, straight–engage our sexuality in this world. It showed me how having celibate unmarried people in the world is necessary for healthy marriages, as well as how masturbation ruins even good friendships.

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I think we all need a reminder: Ken Ham is on our team.


ken-ham-banner

Okay, this one is a tough one to write.

Most all of us know by now about the Great Debate that happened a couple of weeks ago between Bill Nye and Ken Ham on whether or not Creationism is a viable model for human origins. If you’ve followed this blog for an real period of time, you know it’s no secret that I do not think it’s a viable model, and I’ve been quite vocal about that in this space.

So I felt the frustration when Ken Ham was treated like the stand-in for every Christian that wants to take the Bible seriously. I felt better when smart Christians responded well. I chuckled at those that poked fun of him and other Creationists, debunked their logic, or discredited the historical stream in which he finds himself. I gave into the private mocking.

I was then really encouraged when I read this report in Christianity Today that shows that Americans are not as divided on this issue as some polls make it seem. I was overjoyed with knowing that more Christians than ever were leaving the Ken Hams of the world in the dust of irrelevance, their budgets and voices shrinking in the distance.

As the discourse went on, I began to thinking to myself: I think we’re winning! But then yesterday, I felt like I woke from a fog and thought: Wait. Who are we fighting?
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This is why Genesis was written (and Ken Ham doesn’t see it)


Bosch-Garden-Earthly-Delights-Outer-Wings-Creation-WorldIf my Facebook feed is representative of the general population at all, then I can confidently say that most of you have heard about the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye about creationism and evolution.

On this blog, I try not to get too much into issues of great contention in the church family when I don’t think it’s necessary, especially when I think it would unnecessarily prevent someone from reading this blog with a free conscience, or just mess with their head too much. But this is the one issue that I have felt the freedom to be blunt, bold, consistent, and loud about my opinion. So, I don’t have too much to add to everyone else out there that was more or less lamenting this debate more than celebrating it. Maybe I’ll have some thoughts next week coming at it from a different angle, but we’ll see.

Today, I wanted to share with you a video from the in-person portion of my Hebrew class a couple of weeks ago. To get an A in the class I have to translate, memorize, and recite a section of the Genesis 1 in the Hebrew. To help us with that, my professor made a video of him reciting it and acting out the recitation in front of us.
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Christians, Contraceptives, & Civil Disobedience (iii): conclusions


sit-inOver the past couple of posts, we’ve been looking at Acts 4, to see if it has any lessons to teach us about how Christian engage with the political realm when they disagree with what the government is doing.

So far, we’ve talked about three things: (in Part 1) how Christians should engage with a political realm that comes in conflict with their faith; what is worth Christians disobeying the civil authorities over; and (in Part 2) the cultural and societal work we are called to that facilitates our Christian living and possible disobedience.

Today, we’ll finish this up with some principles and applications for moving forward.

Some Personal Contraceptive Conclusions
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Christians, Contraceptives, & Civil Disobedience (ii)


Nicolas-Poussin-peter-john-healing-lame-manOkay, I lied. This will be three posts, not just two.

Last week, in light of Catholic institutions moving more towards Civil Disobedience in light of certain provisions in the Affordable Care Act, we looked at Acts 4 to see if there was any guidance we could get in this. We talked about how (1) Civil Disobedience is not warfare against the laws of your geographic home, but simply living in light of your spiritual home–the Kingdom of God. We also pointed out (2) that the State is not around to comply with our every theological preference and whim, and therefore some discretion needs to be used to evaluate what’s “worth” Civil Disobedience.

Today we keep going. I want to offer some summary conclusions, but first let’s point out the last thing the Acts 4 passage helps us see: the work we do in society prior to our Civil Disobedience.
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Christians, Contraceptives, & Civil Disobedience (i)


laureti-triumph-christianity-pagan-statueWith the Affordable Care Act kicking in, it has certainly stirred up its fair share of controversies. It’s regulations are pretty far-reaching and have started to encroach on some territory held pretty sacred by some major parts of our Christian family. The biggest friction has been with the ACA’s requirement that non-church and ecclesial organizations still have to cover contraception coverage for their employees. Catholics who run non-ecclesial organizations have not taken too kindly to this. NPR recently had an interesting profile about this intersection of faith and politics.

Catholic leaders have vowed Civil Disobedience in response to these regulations, insisting on a religious exemption, even for private companies. In the past, religious organizations have done similar things in response to abortion regulations as well as gay marriage statutes.

Reading through Acts 4 the other day, I read again the account of Peter and John being arrested in Jerusalem and thought it had some powerful things to say about this and how Christians in America have been acting towards their government recently. So, I thought we’d walk through that passage over a post today and on Monday, and discuss some principles behind when and how Christians should fight their government tooth-and-nail for their convictions.
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My concern with Obama’s NSA surveillance reforms


obama-flagIn case you haven’t heard, President Obama laid out new reforms on surveillance at the NSA today (more helpful coverage HERE and HERE). These were a direct response to the concerns raised by the leaks of Edward Snowden (can we please we start acknowledging that he has helped us more than hurt us now?).

The reforms are already getting mixed responses among privacy advocates, some praising it as a “major milestone” while other still think it to simply be “reconfigured unconstitutional program”. I am inclined to be mostly happy about these reforms (and this issue has been a big issue for me), but I just have a couple of concerns apart from the reforms themselves I wanted to throw out there. If I’m wrong on any of this, please let me know.
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An idiot defends the Patriot Act


paul-american-flag-coffee-mug-12-03Perusing around, I ran across this response to an article by Dana Milbank from 2003 on the anniversary of 9/11. The article originally appeared in The Washongton Post, but I could only find it at this odd site. Here, the commenter offers a summary of the article and an opinion:

This article is about recent comments President Bush made recently on expanding the Patriot Act of 2001.  These are surprising comments due to the fact that the Patriot Act is already one of the most controversial Acts ever passed by Congress.  The act extremely expanded federal police powers by severely restricting the civil liberties of terrorism suspects.  Under the act, federal officers need less than ever before to find “just cause” in apprehending, detaining, and punishing those accused of terrorist acts.  The “Patriot 2” as it has been dubbed, would contain clauses allowing for the issuance of subpoenas without grand juries, holding of suspects without bail, and the pursuance of the death penalty in a broader spectrum of cases, still involving murder.  Many politicians are telling the media that the Bush administration is trying to fight sudden “Anti-Patriot Act” feelings by going on the offensive: Talking of expanding the original Patriot Act.

In my opinion, the comments made by Bush were so logical and fair.  As a strong supporter of the original Patriot Act, I see nothing wrong with Bush asking Congress to give federal officers the exact same powers to apprehend terror suspects as they do to apprehend embezzlers or drug traffickers.  Many of the politicians are also putting these negative feelings on John Ashcroft, when he has apparently been doing an incredible job.  Ever since September 11th, there has not been a single other terrorist attack on American soil.  In my opinion, he needs to be given the ability to continue whatever he is doing.

The person that wrote this was me. I wrote it over 10 years ago as an assignment for my High School AP Government class, where we had to read and respond to current event articles.

If you have ever stumbled on any political post on this blog (after 2007 or so), you know that I am not of this same mind at all. In fact, this was my “one-issue” that determined my Presidential vote this year. (Hopefully, you can also see that my writing has somewhat improved–yikes!). Shortly after this was written, I sat deciding on whether to go to a large urban university or Liberty University. My decision was made when my dad told me that he thought I “grew better in thorny soil”. That’s where I went, and that’s what molded me.

So let this be an encouragement that neither the environment you’re raised in nor the zeal with which you hold an opinion can close you off from change and growth. Always keep your mind open, pursue knowledge, and doubt your doubts. And spend some time in thorny soil. Happy New Year!