Journalism

Once upon a time I thought I might like to have been a journalist.

Can you even imagine what it must be like to try to be a legitimate journalist in today’s marketplace?

Chemistry turned out to be a better career choice.

What Mask and Vaccine Mandates Mean for Religious Liberty

Someone may resent having to wear a mask on a Disney cruise. Someone might think the local public school system is too demanding on mask policies with young children. A nurse might resent having to have a vaccine to work in her hospital because she doesn’t trust the injection. Those are all legitimate points of debate, I suppose, but they are not religious liberty matters. Thinking that a mask restricts your breathing the way God intended or that FDA approval of the vaccine didn’t meet your standards or whatever—these are not religious liberty questions.

Russell Moore

https://www.russellmoore.com/2021/08/26/what-mask-and-vaccine-mandates-mean-for-religious-liberty/

Reflections on Hebrews 1:1-4

We’ve only just begun …

Jesus is

  • God’s Son
  • Heir of all creation
  • Creator (with the Father) of the universe
  • The reflector of God’s glory
  • The exact image of God
  • The sustainer of the universe, by merely speaking
  • The one who made purification from sin
  • In God’s position of power, even now
  • Extremely superior to any idea we might have of angels

I am struck with how important this foundational theology is, and how lightly we treat it in the church. We might give new believers some kind of initiation into how our church works, but we don’t usually have series of classes in basic Christian beliefs. Thus, we have a church full of folks who pick up a little theology here and there—from Oprah, from TV, from music—and who are pretty much misguided.

Most of the sermons I hear are aimed at changing some kind of behavior, or some other therapeutic end, rather than understanding who God is and who Jesus is and why it all matters.

Most of the classes offered are about how to improve your marriage or how to manage your money or how to be a leader, rather than about what it means to be a Christian.

Many of the prayers I hear in church reflect some kind of modalism rather than solid trinitarian thought. It’s as if there is just one Godhead and you can call him whatever name you want, depending on the situation.

Recently, I asked who might be available in our church to lead a basic Bible study on the Gospel of Mark. I asked people who should know if there is anyone who could do a good job leading such a study. Crickets. And this is in a church of 500 on Sunday mornings.

I wrote recently about my despair. It is a real despair. I bet I could find several people who would be willing to teach a class about COVID and vaccines and the Christian, or about a Christian view of politics.

My response to this despair is to pull in. That may not be the right thing to do, but I’m old and sick and incapable of action. When I study the Bible, it has always been, for the last fifty years, aimed at what I can share with others. Now Bible study is just my personal refugee, the only place I can go and just be myself.

Please accept my very sincere apologies. I didn’t start this post in a cranky mood, nor did I intend to rant and rail about the church. Sometimes my stream of consciousness just takes over and you have to read me like I was James Joyce, if you read me at all.

I love Jesus. He is king of the universe. He is worthy of our trust and our loyalty.

Job Done

I finished my two-month-long study of Job on Friday morning. I shared some stuff from the study, but most of it was too intensely personal for me to write about.

I’m working on Hebrews now. It’s been a while since I’ve studied that book, and I’ve been reading a lot of OT in recent years, so I hope this fresh reading will be enhanced by that focus.

And maybe I will have more to share.

The older I get and the sicker I get, the more I cling to God’s word. I can’t see very well these days, but I thank God I am able to read on the computer screen pretty well.

His word is a lamp for my life. The journey would be a dark one without God’s revelation of himself in the Bible.

Despondent

I am despondent over the way Christians disregard the gospel and wrap themselves up in conspiracy theories and politics. I swear, I could walk away from the evangelical quagmire right now and never look back. My heart is simply broken.

Anti-antichrist-anti-vaxxers: or, why the vaccine is not the mark of the beast – Bible Background

Here is some real biblical sanity, for a change. Craig Keener is one of the best students of the Bible I know. Please pay attention to him.

Anti-antichrist-anti-vaxxers: or, why the vaccine is not the mark of the beast – Bible Background:

“To Christians who promote every conspiracy theory (QAnon, mark of beast in vaccines, etc.): you are actually part of a grander, demonic conspiracy: so that after you have cried wolf too often, no one will believe you when REAL trouble comes.”

Life After Life

I will finish my study of Job later this week. It has been a fascinating and frustrating time. This study has brought with it more introspection and deep thought than any other study I’ve done.

One of the things I’ve realized is just how little we really know about the afterlife. Christians fall into at least a dozen different categories in terms of what they imagine happens when we die. These ideas range from a Hellenistic blissful disembodied state existence in the heavens to a continuation of our earthly life after the resurrection. And I suppose there are some Christians who believe that life is over when it is over.

What camp do I fall in? I fall in the camp of those who admit they have no idea of what happens after death.

We are given an extremely measly amount of information in the Bible. Most of our ideas are philosophical constructs built on tiny little pieces of conversations in the Bible. Indeed, whole systems are built on “I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Or is it “I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.”? Anyway, what is paradise? It is only mentioned a couple times.

I expect to be surprised when I die. That’s about all I can say about it.

My hope is that I will have an enjoyable life with my loved ones in the direct presence of God himself. In my thought, this will be on a renewed earth without the problems that plague us now. I hope we will still have work to do and things to learn.

But this hope is built on my interpretation of the Bible and others see it significantly differently. I guess, in a way, it’s all folk theology, since we don’t have much in the Bible to teach us. I don’t know how anyone could feel bold enough to pontificate.

So, I will wait and see. And it won’t be long.

Gen D – Joshua McNall

Gen D – joshuamcnall.com:

To be clear, religious fundamentalists haven’t cornered the market on dogmatic shrillness and false certainty. There are dogmatic forms of secular Liberalism that are every bit as strident. For that reason, I suggest that one of the best ways to wrestle through seasons of doubt is NOT by binge reading a stack of New Atheists in the morning alongside some simplistic or rationalistic apologetic literature at night.

Rather, the Spirit often works on our “split brains” (more on that in the book…) by virtue of embodied habits, healthy community, ancient voices, and a willingness to cling to Jesus in spite of our many questions. In that way, folks of all generations can pass through the wilderness doubt rather assuming “deconstruction” is a destination.

Two Sides of the Coin? Faith at the Neanderthal Museum – BioLogos

Two Sides of the Coin? Faith at the Neanderthal Museum – BioLogos:

I recently visited the Neanderthal Museum in Neander Valley, Germany. While I was there, I learned much about our evolutionary ancestry. What I saw there gave me reason to hope. Perhaps, after all, there is a growing realization that science and faith are not in conflict.

I wonder if my church would sponsor a trip to the Neanderthal Museum?