Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


The Parasite Conundrum and Other News

Is this a good or bad parasite? I can’t tell!

It’s that time again: we’re getting up to speed on the “mish mash,” and then highlighting some of the future treats in store for us.

First, my apologies to those of you who caught two critical mistakes in yesterday’s post, one of which remains to be corrected: the Rwandan genocide was actually in 1994 and resulted in the deaths of more than 800,000 persons; and, the link that I tried to share to the video isn’t working, so we’re waiting on another version via Youtube or elsewhere to share with you- it really is an interesting story, so I hope you’ll come back to view it, and I’ll let you know when it’s really up and running.

Next, in response to the post, “The Problem of Athlete’s Foot,” fellow saint and sinner Saskia de Vries had this to say:

“I think it’s actually a fungus, not a bacteria. But either way, I think this is one of the more interesting science/theology conundrums. What do we make of parasites? Did God create parasites? Some parasites are super cool. Some are super deadly and terrifying. And some make you wonder if you’re actually an autonomous being at all. I highly recommend reading Carl Zimmer’s Parasite Rex.”

(I’ve invited Saskia only half-jokingly to be our resident science and theology columnist/expert.)

Finally, someone who did not share his or her name, wrote the following, in response to “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved;” I’ve decided to publish these remarks even though I had no intention of sparking this response with my original reflections, and find the remarks themselves problematic; still, we are, after all, people who come to this “well” from many places ideologically:

First quoting me, the responder writes: “‘Most of us have come to view conservative and liberal as just code words for a host of implicit political beliefs that have functioned as add-ons to the Gospel– jaded remnants of religiously framed culture wars. If we’re leaving church in droves or finding church irrelevant, it is because these labels have failed us.'”

The responder goes on: “What’s irrelevant and what’s failed us is the false gospel of ‘if you believe in this dead man you will be saved and no you don’t have to change anything about your sick disgusting behavior’…Now if instead of that false gospel, a living Christ who demands repentance were preached…and people were taught they have the ability to repent rather than ‘born that way’ original sin homosexual-moffia propaganda, then Christianity would be worth saving. As it stands, let it fall, let the world be paganized once again, and let God come down and die on a cross a second time and see if he can keep his religion together this time and prevent a Paul, Augustine, and Luther from destroying it.”

I would add here since it now seems relevant in light of this person’s remark, that a couple of you readers have asked me to weigh in on the homosexuality debate.  I’ve not done so here, or yet, because 1) a number of my very good friends are gay in committed relationships and some of the best people I know; 2) I’m not sure that Scripture is actually consistently clear with respect to this issue one way or another, and has little to say about, for example, gay marriage in our time; 3) find the whole debate wearisomely old and at times even a distraction from God’s mission.  There you have it.  My views in a nutshell.  I would also add that, like most views of mine, I don’t see them as having to be set in stone.  I’m a work in process.  So are my opinions.  Hopefully this reality belongs to being a saint and sinner.

As for what to look forward to in the future here at FSS: I hope you’ll check back for my review of an advance copy of Rachel Held-Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood, as well as Michael Frost’s Road to Missional.  We continue with our very irregular series of “Jesus Epithets” (usually inspired my occasional sermons as an itinerant preacher).  And, starting in two weeks, I’ll be assisting Emory University’s Tom Long in teaching div school students how to preach (in Homiletics 101 of sorts), so you’ll probably hear occasional insights from this process as well.  (This may also mean, in addition to some vamped-up work on my book and a few more clients in my job as a corporate chaplain, that my posts will be a little less regular- but I’ll try my best to keep meeting you here at the intersection between life and God as often as possible.)

So, until we meet again…which may be tomorrow, God speed!

 



Previous Posts

Lessons from the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Just over six months ago, a member of our congregation announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer: Steve Hayner, the outgoing president of Columbia Theological Seminary, and his wife Sharol, have come to be most associated in my mind with joy; yet Steve's announcement could not have been

posted 6:16:41pm Nov. 12, 2014 | read full post »

The Prodigal God—Inspirations from Tim Keller's Book
I've missed you! The challenge of writing for a full-time job is that it can relegate recreational writing to a distant backseat. But I want to keep coming back to this intersection, because I find that when I'm away from it, my capacity to carve out space for reflection and find spiritual breathing

posted 10:04:03am Nov. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Neuroscience of Temptation
It's been too long. I hope you're enjoying God and life. That next book I'm working on is now evolving into a book about addiction and mental illness—and how churches can and must learn to love and wel

posted 1:52:23am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Brokenness—as Creative Tension?
This morning a meditation from Paula Ripple's Growing Strong at Broken Places sparks some thoughts about embracing brokenness as the very site where God seeks to form us, like a master po

posted 10:13:15am Oct. 03, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—The Worship Service To End All Worship Services
It's been a while since we've had a mental health break. As a little bit of comic relief at the start of another work week, this clip from a worship service somewhere in America comes from saint and sinner Paul. The comments from readers are just about as funny as the weird break dancing routine in

posted 2:12:30am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »




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