Search This Blog

Thursday, March 29, 2012

October Baby

A couple of days ago my wife and I went to see the movie October Baby. I'm not a huge fan of films. Too often the characters are underdeveloped, the plots thin, or the solutions a deus ex machina ending. I thought this movie was well done, well acted and a good story line. I encourage you to see it.

It's a prolife message without being preachy. We need more stories like this. Stories are what will move people to reject the evil of abortion and still meet the needs of young scared women who are in trouble.

The movie tells the story of a young woman dealing with the effects of abortion in her life. She survived one, and was not supposed to live. But here is her story. But think, there are over forty million - 40,000,000 stories that never were. Who will tell their stories? Who will speak for the silent voices?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

God, The Bible, and Christianity

The Bible study group that I "lead" during the week has been studying a book by D. A. Carson, entitled The God Who is There. We're also watching the video. I can't recommend them highly enough. The audio and visual are available online as well.

I was privileged to take (I believe) three classes from Dr. Carson while I did my doctoral work at Trinity. We also were members at the same church for several years during that time and he helped me pursue a university teaching position (which didn't work out). He is a godly, gracious, and learned man. He also has a way of cutting through to the heart of the matter without losing sight of peripheral issues.

So what is the book about? Whether you have been in the church for a short time, a long time, or whether you are only interested in Christianity, you need to read the book or watch/listen to the audio-visual material. Do you want to see how theology leads to awe and worship and service?

I remember how when at seminary I came across the term "salvation-history." That is, the Bible is more than doctrine (although it certainly is that); it is the story of how God is working to redeem humanity, the world, and the entire universe through the person, sacrifice, and victory of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of the Bible and of the nature of Christianity, therefore, must flow from knowing the story first and our place in it. To use an analogy (and have it backwards, I know), "salvation-history" is the Christian equivalent of the history of Middle-Earth as told in the Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings.

Here's the blurb from the site that has the a/v material I mentioned above:
In February 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way. The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God Who Is There” engages people at the worldview-level.
Are you interested in learning about Christianity or the Bible? Do you lead a Bible study or Christian small group? Are you looking for something to read that will challenge the way that you look at the world? Are you curious about God? Read the book or listen/watch the a/v material.

And may your life be forever changed as you meet and surrender to the ultimate reality, the God Who is There.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What kind of leader?

Here we are, in the middle of the next American electoral season. Up for grabs is the presidency and the direction that the country will go. What are some important guidelines that we can use as we examine the (currently) three major candidates that are running?

I just began reading How to Pick a President, one of Christianity Today's new line of ebooks. (Yes, I'm reading it on my new Kindle.) The first criterion that the author discusses is virtue. The virtues specifically mentioned are moral courage, temperance, commitment to justice, commitment to keeping one's word, and prudence.

The importance of picking leaders who exhibit these virtues is that we can trust them to make hard decisions in the reality of political life. If a candidate says that he (or she) will do x, y, and z relative to immigration, the reality is that by the time that Congress has had its say, and that various realities have been dealt with, x, y, and z may have changed into m, n, and o!

Instead, we should pick a leader who tells us what justice toward illegal immigrants who are already here looks like. And what it means to her to protect our borders. And how we will guard the rights of citizens as opposed to those who are here legally or illegally. And so on. Then we can decide whether or not we agree with those values. And then we decide whether these values are in fact just, and whether the candidate has had a record of keeping his word and exhibited the moral courage to stand up for what he believes to be right even if it costs him power, money, or prestige. And if that person is elected, then we trust her or him.

The book I mentioned above mentions that it is important that we look to a candidate's commitment to these values in their public and (hopefully) also in their private lives. This means that what a candidate said and did before and after they entered public life is very important. How else can we measure their fitness for leading us? Those who wish to lead us but who keep their private lives hidden perhaps shouldn't be trusted.