A Fear of Whales

A Fear of Whales


posted by rgaffney

Pictured: "Art"Once upon a time there were only two jobs a person could have: Hunter or Gatherer. There were no Pastors then, no Artists, no Personal Enrichment Gurus. Over time our economic system expanded, we developed farming for plants and animals, and then began to specialize ourselves, such that If I became good at raising pigs, and you became good at growing rice, we could trade with one another so that each of us would have both.

Later on, society developed to the point where not all of us needed to be constantly devoted to our immediate survival. So we began to see specialists in religion, and education spring up, being supported by the rest of their society in order to go about their business full time, while still being able to eat.
Fast forward again, and you began to see professional artists, sculptors, musicians and poets develop. Still supported by the community, but this time indirectly. Rather than the tribe or city as a whole committing to give in order to reap the benefits of these specialists we saw individuals, some of whom had managed to amass substantial personal wealth, paying artists in order to enable them to keep making art. Such people were called “Patrons of the Arts”


Pictured: "A Good Investment"One of the most famous and important patrons of the arts was the Catholic Church, who supported the likes of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. This was done on the belief that good art would be glorifying to God, and therefore a righteous cause for the Christian church to support. (also our ceilings would be boring otherwise)

This system persisted as the primary means for artists to support themselves until relatively recent memory (it continues even today in a diminished capacity for operas and such) but nowadays artists of various kinds generally support themselves the same way everybody else does, not by large donations from a small number of wealthy contributors, but by small donations from individuals who immediately benefit. So now even art has become capitalized.


Now in America we don’t hunt or farm to survive, we fill a hyperspecialised role, for which we receive a salary, and then we use that salary to patronize any number of other specialists and receive their goods. Art, Religion, and Education are now in the same free market as everything else, fighting for their share of your patronage.

But somewhere along the line we lost that clear understanding we previously had that being a patron meant supporting a benefactor in what they were doing. And being a Christian patron meant choosing a benefactor who was glorifying to God. That concept was so obvious historically, it went without saying.

I think our problem is that we don’t know we’re patrons. Or we don’t understand what that word means, hence the history lesson. We as Americans, just as much as kings and wealthy financiers in ages past have become patrons of whatever we choose to purchase. And we, like them, have a duty to use that power for the betterment of the Kingdom.
The secondary means is DodgeballThis, in my opinion, is the primary means by which Average Joes are able to participate in the redemption of the world. If we can learn to leverage our buying power to support truth and justice at all times, we can accomplish more for the cause of Christ than we could dream about accomplishing in an entire life spent volunteering in the nursery or doing PowerPoint for a church.


So you’re going to buy a coffee? That’s great, what kind of coffee are you going to get? Is it going to be Fair Trade? What’s the markup on that coffee? Is it from a local shop, or a chain? Do you want more shops like the one you’re buying your coffee at to exist, or fewer?
You’re going to the movies? I love movies! Which movie are you going to see? Because the studios are going to look and see which movie makes the most money, and make more like that one. What do you want to accomplish with that $15 of yours?

You want to give to charity? Fantastic!!! Which charity do you think will do the most good with your money? What cause are you most passionate about? What percent of your donation should be spent on overhead? How much time do you want your charity to spend on the cause itself, and how much time do you want it to spend on “raising awareness” for the cause and recruiting more donors?


You make these decisions over and over, day after day, and every decision you make is a vote. “I support this” “I believe in this” “I want more things like this” and with every dollar, you help create the world of the future, and shape it to be more or less like the Kingdom of God.

What are you a patron of?

Incidentally If you’d like to become a patron of my ministry at K-State contact me at


Micro Or Macroevolution?

posted by rgaffney

As far as I’m concerned, when someone asks the question “do you believe in evolution?” there are two responses.
If you do believe that the diversity of life on earth is the result of a hereditary process similar or identical to Darwin’s theory, you should say “Yes, I believe in evolution”

If you do not believe that theory is basically correct, you think life arose according to different means, then you should answer “No, I don’t believe in

But for some reason, I have never heard a christian say “No, I don’t believe in evolution” in answer to that very simple question.

For some reason, somebody somehow has convinced every christian I spoke to about this that the best answer to “Do you believe in evolution?” is to ask “Micro or Macroevolution?”


…Please… Never do that!

Here’s why:

1. It’s not Necessary:
You know exactly what they mean when they ask you “Do you believe in evolution?” they are saying “Are you one of those Christians who disagrees with Darwin?” and you know the answer “Yes I am!” so why would you ask a clarifying question? has there ever been a person who’s benefited from that clarification? Somebody who’s said something like”Oh I’m just asking about microevolution, thanks for clarifying. I’m not sure if the fact that I tan more easily than my parents is a sign that they’re not really my parents after all!”

2. It’s not Pleasant:
You want them to want to talk to you, this does the opposite! Not only did you know what they meant, but now that you’ve asked, they know what you should have answered! Nobody ever asks “Micro or macroevolution?” if they believe both (or just macro) people only ask if they basically disagree with the theory. But now the asker has to sit there and follow the script anyway saying “I mean both” just to hear you say what they already knew you were going to say from the start.

3. It’s not Strategic:
Sometimes it’s useful to do some pre-debate posturing before you begin a discussion to help things go in your favor later. Establish some favorable parameters maybe, or preemptively stop an argument you think they are going to try. This tactic seems sort of like that, except that it doesn’t help you in any way. All that’s going to happen is they’re going to say “I meant both” and then you’re going to say “well i believe in micro and not macro” and they’re going to say “I believe both” and you’re going to say “I’m glad we have that established” and then it will never be referenced again. What good is this?

4. It’s not Winsome:
Let’s face it, this is a discussion to have with non-believers. Even if you’re talking to a christian, it’s probably for practice so you’ll be ready when it comes up in evangelism. The most important thing then is that you make your worldview seem compelling and attractive. it’s much better to lose an argument in an evangelistic setting while still seeming reasonable and attractive, than it is to win a debate at the cost of embittering your “opponent”. Asking this question isn’t winsome. it immediately starts the discussion on the foot of “I’m using big technical words, I know more than you, and I’m going to put you on the defensive”

5. It’s not Intelligent:
Even if this tactic weren’t Necessary, Pleasant, Strategic or Winsome, it could still be worth something if it would help you to prove yourself as educated. Evolutionists sometimes assume that anyone who doesn’t believe evolution just doesn’t know their science, if you lay down some good scientific categories right at the start that might change things a little. But Macro and Micro are NOT good scientific categories. We discovered that there’s no good “line of demarcation” or dividing line, between what should be called “micro” and what should be “macro” so Scientists have stopped using those terms. Now the only people that use them are Creationists. That means it does the opposite of what you want. Rather than make you sound more educated, it immediately informs the skeptic that you are either uninformed about recent scientific development, or getting all of your information from biased Christian resources.


Newsletter Article

posted by rgaffney

This is an article I wrote for the newsletter at the church I used to work at. It was published, in a modified form. Now that I have this audience I thought I'd share it with you. In case you can't tell or didn't know, I was the Youth Pastor of a small youth group on the grounds, and for a while we had youth coming and hanging out on the campus, this resulted in some graffiti,and the sprinklers having been left on one night. So older congregants began telling anyone young they saw to leave and quit causing trouble. This was my response.

I had the opportunity this past month to meet some of the young people who have been hanging out in our prayer garden. I have a report for you that should be very disturbing.
They said that young people don’t often come around anymore, they used to, but the bench has been removed and the hedge has been trimmed, and they don’t feel “safe” here any longer.
One young man expressed to me that he knew one of the vandals, didn’t think highly of him, and would have liked to step in if he could have, another expressed that nobody who came around was a criminal, so much as troublemaker. We’re dealing with hooligans, seeking independence from their parents through anti parental activities.
I told them we had a couch and an air conditioned youth room, they were rather interested in that. I talked to them about our mission, told them if there was any way to bless them I would be interested to hear it, because this was a place where we served Jesus the Christ and we were interested in sharing his love in non-judgmental ways.. and the news took a turn for the worse
“People here don’t trust us”, they said, “they don’t seem to want us around”. “When we’re approached people assume we are going to destroy something”. “One kind act could do a lot.”
I’m Livid!
I don’t know if it is coming across without tone of voice but I am very very angry at our church right now. Because I am here, attempting to reach the youth of La Mirada, and I’m not sure that’s something this church is actually willing to do!
Yes, I’m aware that there has been some vandalism, that it has cost our church time and money, I know there have been nefarious activities at this campus. If we are successful in reaching the well-meaning youth, we will probably attract troublemakers too, problems will almost certainly increase, and maybe one of those troublemakers will have his or her heart changed for Christ. That is the business I’m in. That we’re in…I hope.
So It’s time to make a choice. Do you want this to be a place that is open and welcoming to people who are different from you or not? Because you have to understand that if you do it is going to mean sacrifice, picking up the cross and following Jesus means moving out of our comfort zones and opening ourselves up to problems, but it also means the real possibility of affecting people’s lives.
And if not we will earn the opportunity to live and have church in the manner to which we have become accustomed for a while longer, but I warn you, if we do that this church will not be empowered through any gospel that is true, and it will wither, and it will die!
If we proceed down the second path, the rest of my interaction here will be entirely missional. Because if that’s how we do things then we need Jesus
As I finished taking with the unchurched youth, quite a crowd had gathered, and one mentioned it was hot. I left them with a couple bottles of soda, a pitcher of water and some paper cups.
What will you do?
Matthew 25:35


A Humble Proposal to Reform Our Dating System

posted by rgaffney

I wrote previously, and hopefully humorously, about some of the problems with our current conceptions in the church regarding dating. Essentially we've made it way way too complicated, resulting in way way too much pressure being put on an interaction which, to my mind, should be fun. Since I'm not one to criticize without providing a better alternative, here is an explanation of how I do it. I think it makes good common sense.
A typical first date (a movie and a unique dinner) will cost me $50 for both of us.
If It's worth $50 to me to get to know you better for an evening, I'll probably ask you on a date. Unless of course I'm concerned that you will misinterpret that gesture and it will lead to social awkwardness. Unless you are so repulsed by me that the prospect of spending the evening with me is not worth a free dinner, you should say yes.
A second date is usually much cheaper (maybe a picnic lunch and a walk) averaging maybe $20 for the evening. For this reason, if the first date went even alright, I'll probably invite you on a second. At this point in our interaction there is absolutely no commitment implied or intended. We may both be dating other people at the same time, that's fine, if not, that's fine too. If it doesn't go that well, I might even recommend that one of my friends take you out, that's okay, we're not getting married anytime soon at this point.
By the time I'm asking you on a third date It's safe to assume that I like you, I want to kiss you, I'd like to see this go farther. My idea of a third date could cost $100. I may still be interested in other people at this point and unsure about where I stand in your book, but if you got this far it's a safe bet that you are the most interesting girl in my life at the moment. If you are totally uninterested, you might consider at this juncture turning down the opportunity rather than letting me waste my time, But more than likely you are at least a little curious and it's worth it to me for a chance to impress you.
It might be, that for any of a number of reasons, our third date doesn't look like that and we just grab coffee or something. That means I'm not sure how I feel. It's a bad time to ask me. Either it will level out into a real third date and beyond, or it will slowly devolve into a friendship (or there will be some hysterical crying and throwing things at my car, but we're not going to go there)
After a while, if things are going well, it will get to the point where we are going on dates at a steady pace. This is called "going steady" or being in "a relationship". If you are seeing anyone else, now would be the time to stop (with one of us or the other). If you're not sure whether or not we're at that place, check facebook. It'll say "In a relationship" with you in my profile.
Simple enough?

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