Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Weekly Meanderings

posted by xscot mcknight

Chicago’s Offense is up in the air now that Hester’s just too good to kick to…
The Ten Plagues Bowling Game:
(Available at TEN PLAGUES BOWLING SET: $20, plus shipping and handling, from Hamakor Judaica, 7777 N. Merrimac Ave., Niles, IL 60714; 800-426-2567.)
Yet another “case for book” …. The Case for Lee Strobel.
Just in case you didn’t see this, Eugene Cho weighs in on Buy Nothing Day (Black Friday) and explains a few things many of us need to hear.
Dave Dunbar‘s got another edition of missional journal posted. Good stuff again from a seminary that is setting a trend on missional orientation.
A New Report from Leadership on the variety of Christians in the USA. This report is worth having at your fingertips, esp the brief conspectus of facts at the bottom of the piece.
Erika Haub’s reflection is a good reminder of the value of sacred space and memory.
Good missional students at NPU.
Talk about the good ole days.
An Advent resource, available online, from Brother Maynard.
1. Good piece on the faith of science.
2. Sunday School for atheists.
3. Anyone know much about green burial? I read a piece in the Tribune this week about it.
4. Dan Reid, who deserves 50 honorary doctorates for his editorial work on the IVP dictionaries, has a blog that is always worth reading … and the one about what to say when you’ve bought too many books is priceless.
5. 1. Is this consumerism or missional?
6. Should we “rap” the Creed? See David Neff’s Dr. Luther, Rapmeister.
7. The Innocence Project: quite the story.
8. Here’s a pastor’s new blog and it gives me the impression of another pastor’s blog I like — but I won’t mention the name.
9. Brad Wright, a sociology professor and a good thinker on statistics, has now finished an 11-part report on the Willow study. Ben Dubow links to all eleven; it is worth your while to begin with #11.
10. Any response to this history of marriage and marriage law?
Baseball’s biggest scandal for years.

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posted December 1, 2007 at 12:22 am

I have to admit that I see Buy Nothing Day as little more than slacktivism. Look how many people “participate” without even intending to.

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Tyler Braun

posted December 1, 2007 at 12:45 am

Is the Black Sox scandal why you are a Cubs fan Scot?
That bowling set is hilarious. If I had extra money I would buy it.

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Ross Gale

posted December 1, 2007 at 2:58 am

Chicago and baseball scandals go together like Sammy Sosa and steroids. Or Sammy Sosa and corked bats.

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Brad Cooper

posted December 1, 2007 at 2:58 am

Slot, I mean Scot, ;)
A host of great links! I especially liked the Case for Lee Strobel…had me laughing out loud. :) That bowling set got me snickering, too.
Thanks! Have a great weekend!

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Bob Robinson

posted December 1, 2007 at 7:34 am

I love how Lee Strobel’s books all have the subtitle, “A Journalist Investigates…”
How long can a guy who was a journalist in the ’70s be allowed to claim he still is one? (As if he isn’t actually writing a polemic for his side of the “case” but is doing an unbiased journalistic investigation…)
It cracked me up when I saw his ninth “case for” book (published this year, over twenty five years since he was a reporter) entitled The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ.

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John Frye

posted December 1, 2007 at 8:33 am

Thanks for sharing the light-hearted spoof about Lee Strobel. With tongue in cheek I wonder, “When will it end?” Next: THE CASE FOR CHURCH COFFEE: A JOURNALIST INVESTIGATES CHRISTIAN CAFFEINE ADDICTION, etc. :)

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posted December 1, 2007 at 9:06 am

The article on the Faith of Science by Physicist Paul Davies is concise and to the point. I just recently finished There Is A God by former atheist Antony Flew which I highly recommend as a counterpoint to Richard Dawkins. Flew draws on Davies and many other men of science to explain why he changed his mind about the existence of God after 50 years of being the world’s most influential atheist philosopher.

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posted December 1, 2007 at 11:14 am

And don’t forget about World AIDS Day! Peace.

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posted December 1, 2007 at 1:12 pm

On the marriage article: Churches already determine whether or not they will marry gays. Many churches endorse gay marriage and I have several couple friends who consider themselves married on that basis.
As far as the state legal system goes, I completely agree that gays deserve the same rights that go with legal marriage as straights, interracial couples and so on. My chief concern for the last decade plus has been trying to understand why the church directs its energies toward controlling how the state issues marriage licenses when America is a pluralistic, non-religiously controlled system of government. Meanwhile, there are numerous churches who have bypassed state influence who have joined homosexuals into married couples. And there are plenty more churches who never will.
Until Christians can separate their theological reactions to homosexuality from the dispassionate execution of fairness in law, they will find this debate an uphill (and losing) battle. I like the way this article explains the history of marriage, the church’s role in it and the resolution which would serve the needs of citizens better than what we have now.

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Jim Martin

posted December 1, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Glad you mentioned Dan Reid’s blog. I was not familiar with his. His most recent post on visiting Powell’s Bookstore made walk to spend some time in this store today. Thanks!

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Michelle Van Loon

posted December 1, 2007 at 5:20 pm

The 10 Plagues bowling game would make a really upbeat stocking stuffer.

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Michael W. Kruse

posted December 1, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Concerning the marriage article?
Marriage is not a contract. Marriage is a civil status. Civil status is regulated by the state. The marriage contract relates to contracts between people that accompany marriage. The article falsely casts marriage as a contract rather than a covenant to enter a civil status with all its obligations. As Miroslav Volf notes in ?Exclusion and Embrace,? a covenant is an indefeasible commitment that contemplates perseverance through open-ended and diverse circumstances. A contract is performance oriented with limited commitment related to performance.
The effort to reduce marriage to a private contract between any two persons has profound consequences for a free society. Like most ancient empires, the Greco-Roman world was a totalitarian society where the family existed at the pleasure of the state. The Judeo-Christian tradition developed the concept of the family as prior to the state and independent of the state. The family was established by God prior to all other human institutions. The family is an inviolable institution formed by a marriage which the state recognizes (solemnizes as a civil status) but does not create. The institution of the family as it is enshrined in custom and law limits the power of the state. It places the state at the service of families and individuals.
The reduction of marriage to a contract is important to two polar expressions of modernism: Individual sovereignty (rights arise from individuals) and state sovereignty (rights are derived from the state.) Both see the civil status of the family as obstacles to their respective agendas of laissez-faire individualism and state run societies. The former creates a highly unstable environment for bearing and nurture of children. The later renders parents as the caretakers of the state?s children.
The Judeo-Christian tradition of marriage is about the ?two becoming one.? It has both visible and invisible expressions. Complementary physical engagement of male in female in sexual intercourse is the physical expression of a growing inner unity. For centuries marriage was sacrament of the church (on outward expression of inner reality), the covenant of two people be united as one. (It still is a sacrament in Roman Catholicism.) The separation of sexual intercourse from the understanding of marriage is an expression of body spirit dualism where the complementary ?two becoming one? is reduced to an individualistic ethereal sense of connectedness devoid of a physical expression. A same-sex marriage is physically impossible.
The same-sex movement, whether backers are cognizant of it or not, has the consequence of demolishing the family as an inviolable institution. The family ceases to be a civil status outside the state?s authority to shape and merely becomes a contract existing at the pleasure of the state. It places individuals naked exposed to the machinations of the state. I find it ironic that so many emerging church types embrace this modernist agenda of dissolving the family as an institution rather than recovering the pre-modern biblical narrative.
I?d suggest The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals for some good essays on marriage.

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Brad Cooper

posted December 1, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Nicely put. I appreciate your insight on all this.
There is a clearly instituted divine plan that all the talk of the same-sex movement will not undo. Those who balk at it will only undo themselves.

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Scott Watson

posted December 2, 2007 at 11:14 am

Michael #13
Doesn’t your point highlight the politcal theological matter at hand:Christians have to decide whether they want the state as a crutch for its values or not. There’s always a price to be paid. We can’t have it both ways!The state has its own interests while the church has its own.

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Brad Cooper

posted December 2, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Scott #14,
You have a clear assumption: “The state has its own interests while the church has its own.” What do you base that assumption on? Romans 13 makes it clear that the government is God’s servant. Other Biblical passages clearly imply the same thing.
Frankly, I’m somewhat divided about what kind of influence the Church should have on government issues myself. It can sometimes make us look pretty bad. And Paul makes it clear that it is not our business to judge those outside the Church: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (1 Cor. 5:12-13a, NIV).
However, Paul was not writing to citizens of a democracy or the type of representative government that we have. Should Christians just sit back and let non-Christians make all the decisions in this country? Or should we take an active part in its decisions? And what determines the kind of part that we have in it? What do you think?
I honestly would like input on this from you or anybody who has any thoughts on it. This has been a conundrum for me for some time.

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Houghton G.

posted December 2, 2007 at 4:09 pm

The NYTimes piece on history of marriage is typical NYTimes half-truths. Christian sacramental marriage in the Middle Ages was not merely a contract between two families–it was that, of course, but it was more than that, namely, a sacramental covenant. The requirement of marriage in a church was not the key moved by the Church to “control” marriage. That came already in the early Middle Ages with the insistance that two families might arrange a marriage but the two children must consent freely and could not be coerced. By the 1100s northern and western Europeans Christians had finally accepted this principle. The NYTimes secularizes this, portrays marriage more as it had been before Christianization, places the Church’s role as largely external and legalistic, ignores the fundamental transformation from contract to sacramental covenant achieved by the Church. Marriage was the last major aspect of culture to be largely, even if incompletely, christianized in this way and, with the slow but steady permission for divorce (incompatible with covenant/sacramental marriage) arising from the Reformation (think John Milton as a poster-case), it did not last long. Which is another way to say that the dechristianization began a few centuries after it finally succeeded, at least in this area. The Times has no interest in that, preferring to portray marriage as a natural/secular phenomenon into which the Church intruded but thankfully lost out.

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Scott Watson

posted December 2, 2007 at 4:34 pm

On the contrary,those of us who’ve been reared in so-called deomocratic political systems are more inclined to look at an realistic sense.Rom. 13 should be looked at in a minimalistic sense,as circumscribing the state,not as legitimating our religious duties or overlooking injustice but serving basic human social functions.It’s under God’s judgment too when it overeaches its bounds,as the OT prophetic literature amply shows. If anything,Rom 13 attacks an overealized Christian political construals of its role vis-a-vis the state,in which our kingdom mandate means that this takes us out of the human community and our links with others,so that we can dominate others as in a Christian nationalist sense.First and foremost the Church has its own agenda.It can exist in any political system,and the Bible attests to political theologies which are flexible to deal with the justice and social coherence issues.

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Brad Cooper

posted December 2, 2007 at 6:16 pm

Scott #17,
Thanks. Some interesting thoughts. I’ll have to read it over a couple of times and chew on it. But my first knee-jerk reaction is that I’m having trouble seeing where you get any of these ideas from the Scripture (thought I can somewhat see your interpretation of Romans 13 and know that it was a popular interpretation among anabaptists of the Reformation era….but I’m not sure that I agree). Perhaps you could fill in the pieces….

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posted December 5, 2007 at 11:38 am

Mid Week Round up | Byrnesys Blabberings

[…] – The Editors at IVP have a blog which I only just discovered through Jesus Creed, though I dont think Ill be grabbing the feed with my current RSS obesity, but I really enjoyed this "Top Ten Things to Say on Returning Home with Conference Book Plunder" the best excuses have to be "7. ?Look! I?ve taken care of a lot of our Christmas shopping!? (When he/she tells you that no one on the Christmas list wants those books, you act disappointed and rejected, and absorb them into your library.)" and "6. ?Oh, so you?re going to complain about your husband/wife squandering money on books! Do I blow money on alcohol? tobacco? gambling? drugs? sex? stadium box seats? No! Just books on justice and peace, Jesus and Paul, trinitarian theology and the evils of, uh . . . consumerism!? […]

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