Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Weekly Meanderings

posted by Scot McKnight
Been to Chicago’s Bean?
TheBean.jpg
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Jesus Creed blog will be moving Sept 1 to Patheos. Stay tuned for more information and exact URL. Here is a great example of how Patheos is creating intelligent conversations about issues that matter to those of faith.
Wonderful letter to Anne Rice from Karen.
We are all fundamentalists about something.
Chaplain Mike, who works with hospice ministries, speaks up about healthcare debates.
ChurchRural.jpg
What makes humans unique
Just before we left Ireland, Patrick Mitchel interviewed me and here’s his post.
And just after we left, Patrick and family came to the USA, and drove down the West coast — and here’s a picture of one of America’s little cuddlies.
David Swanson on the HUP and church planters moving into the City.
More with stories about church.
Speaking of church, Kevin’s comments about the Church in Ireland.
Meanderings in the News
1. Gary Gutting on the arguments for God’s existence.
2. I hadn’t seen this until I read it on one of my newsfeeds. The Catholic prof at Univ of Illinois got his job back: “Howell’s reinstatement is a great victory for him, his students, and academic freedom, but he could have very easily been “a casualty of campus ‘tolerance,’” as French points out. “It shouldn’t take lawyers, roughly 9,000 Facebook fans, and an avalanche of media coverage to guarantee the most basic academic freedom.”
3. Choice for health insurance restricted in New Mexico? “New Mexico appears to be heading down the second path. Two weeks ago, a panel appointed by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson recommended that the state establish an exchange that “assumes an active role in driving market reforms and protecting consumers.The panel’s report (.pdf) goes on to explain: “This could include restricting plans from the Exchange that would exceed specified premium growth levels or by requiring cost containment initiatives of plans participating in the Exchange. While some states have developed Exchanges that merely serve as a market organization and distribution center for health care plans, it is recommended that New Mexico develop a strong Exchange that promotes competition between plans based on quality and price in a way that is transparent to consumers.” “Isn’t the idea that the state provides all the information and consumers get to choose?”
4. The Un-Divorced.
annerice.jpg5. Joseph Bottum, at First Things, gives Anne Rice some more things to consider: “A tough row to hoe, logically speaking. The Bible does have a word or two to say about the founding of the Church, as I recall, and the very word Rice chooses, Christ , is a word meaningful in a churchly context. Best, really, to give it all up, if you’re abandoning Christianity–especially if you’re going to denounce all your once-fellow believers as a “deservedly infamous group.” It’s the psychological benefits of the move that make it most attractive, of course. Think of the great sense of superiority donated to the person who gets to claim Christ but rise above all
others who claim Christ. Say that you’re wiser than the rest of them–the fools who don’t see how Christianity has betrayed Christ. Or, in the wonderful pride of humility, say you’re such a sinner that you can see the sinfulness that the congregation misses.  As it happens, there’s not a lot new in this kind of move. But that’s our Anne: a day behind the fair. A beat behind the crowd.

A comment: All those supports for Anne Rice that say “I was there once, too, Anne” or “I’m with you, Anne” just don’t do it for me. You can’t have “Christ” without the Body of Christ, and I don’t lack sympathy for her concerns and the problems she sees. But…. we can’t keep on thinking that we are superior to the millions and millions of Christians who have seen the integral connection of Christ and the Church while seeing the problems and sinfulness of sinners — and all the grace they find. And we can’t keep on thinking that we’ll be part of the Church when the Church gets its act together — because that’s not going to happen. Facts show that the Church isn’t perfect because that’s why the Church connects to Christ: because it is broken, fallen and in need of forgiveness and repair. Maybe Anne Rice now has the best of reasons to participate in the Church. She’s seen through the idealism to the sinful realities of folks who come to the Table of Christ as the Body in order to find grace. At that Table she’ll find folks just like herself.

On this, see John Stackhouse’s post.

6. Have your high school, college and young adult students read this one by David Brooks.
7. I can’t imagine this one: “After seven years at sea, the Crafton Five are coming ashore, but slowly. They are in no hurry to shed the awe they feel about what they have accomplished: an 83-month, 30,000-mile circumnavigation of both the globe and the roughest years of their kids’ childhoods.”
8. Great story and a live worth living.
9. Your one-stop review for Kindle 3.
10. Students and plagiarism: “But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed. It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism.”
Meanderings in Sports
(that’s 26 hits for the Brewers)
(one game)
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If the Reds win 50% of their games the rest of the season, to tie the Reds the Cubs will have to win 41 of 55 games.



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Kenny Johnson

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:50 am


Just out of curiosity, what made you move away from beliefnet? Or to Patheos?



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Kenny Johnson

posted August 7, 2010 at 1:09 am


I’m curious about Gary Gutting’s view that the arguments for God are essentially a draw. I’m not a philosopher, but I’ve read arguments for and against and have seen/heard several debates and I just don’t see it. Yes, I realize that none of the philosophical arguments are “proofs” of God, but I’ve generally seen the theists arguments as much stronger than the atheists.
I do believe there is eventually a “leap of faith” but I’m was a bit bewildered by this claim. Jason Boyett makes a similar claim in his book, “O Me of Little Faith” where he says that the arguments for the existence of God are “full of holes.”
And while I realize that winning a debate does not make the winner’s conclusions true — I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Bill Craig even come to a draw when he’s debated the existence of God. Generally the classic arguments aren’t even challenged — instead the atheist usually focuses on the problem of evil.
With that said, I still struggle with doubts. :) I think I’d make a bad juror too, because I’m usually convinced there is always “reasonable doubt.”



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Ted M. Gossard

posted August 7, 2010 at 7:27 am


Go Reds!
Bravo to the site change, to Allan and Karen’s posts, to the words for Anne Rice,and much more here. Sorry for Beliefnet, and hope they can do better in the future. But Patheos, from the looks of it, looks much better.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted August 7, 2010 at 7:40 am


Excellent point too, by Chaplain Mike. Thought provoking.



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RJS

posted August 7, 2010 at 8:34 am


Patheos looks like a decent platform – and back to WordPress (as on the Patheos Evangelical group blog here).
I think it will be a good move.



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karen

posted August 7, 2010 at 10:54 am


Glad to see you are moving. Patheos looks like a good place for Jesus Creed.
RE: comments about Rice. I’ve said it before — we were designed for community. When a person isolates themselves from that we recognize that they are suffering from some form of illness — depression, agoraphobia, etc. So why do we think it’s okay for Believers to isolate themselves from the Body just because the Body doesn’t perform the way they expect?
At the core of that attitude — and I’ve been there — is not only a woundedness but also an arrogance. It says, “I’m a better Christian than all these other people who call themselves Christians.”



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YourName

posted August 7, 2010 at 11:58 am


I find the idea strange that no matter what the ‘church’ does, one must always pledge allegiance to it.
Say you lived in the South in 1860. Your church is strongly pro-slavery on biblical grounds. I do not think that Jesus would say you are serving him by remaining in that body and supporting it.
If you serve an institution that you strongly believe that is doing wrong, then you are part of that wrong. To make the mental gymnastics required to convince yourself that participating in a wrong is actually right is beyond many people.



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Phillip

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm


I found the plagiarism article interesting and it fits with my experience where I teach. Students are taught what plagiarism is in their first year comp classes, but some apparently don’t think those lessons are transferable to other classes. They also don’t realize that if they found it on the internet, we can too. At times, we have trouble with international students who come from more collaborative environments.
Discovering plagiarism becomes a good illustration of source criticism in some of my classes. If the style and typical vocabulary change suddenly in the middle of a paper (or, as in one case, if a student who has never studied Hebrew discusses the nuances of Hebrew words), I suspect another source and go to Google.



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AHH

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm


My weary pop-up blocker will thank you for the move away from Beliefnet.
To Kenny regarding arguments for God, it is helpful to distinguish between “proof” (which I also think is a pipe dream) and “plausibility” (which I think is attainable).
Of course we must also keep in mind that convincing people of the existence of some anonymous “God” has no value in and of itself — the goal of Christian apologetics has to be God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Thinking we have succeeded when we have convinced someone of “God” is at best like a baseball team thinking it has succeeded when it gets a runner on first base.



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RJS

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm


AHH,
But we will have to learn to live without these fascinating captchas.
Like: “time-symmetric bushis” or “naturist logotherapist”



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kevin s.

posted August 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm


“Say you lived in the South in 1860. Your church is strongly pro-slavery on biblical grounds. I do not think that Jesus would say you are serving him by remaining in that body and supporting it.”
There is an important distinction between “THE church” and “A church”. You may certainly leave a church that is actively promoting evil, but we are still called to find community with other believers.
If your church is promoting slavery, it is incumbent upon you to support a church that does not.
In Rice’s case, she isn’t leaving because the church is promoting evil, but because she disagrees with their application of biblical teaching. She finds Christians to be unloving, and is abandoning the church therefore. I see no scriptural calling for this.



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EricG

posted August 7, 2010 at 3:42 pm


Kevin S – I don’t think that is a valid distinction; at least some of the the things Rice is concerned about are in fact sin by the church. Although I do agree that her “solution” is the wrong one. There are churches not engaged in the sins she identifies.



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YourName

posted August 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm


How about a Buddhist “church”? That is the direction I am leaning.
I look at the sweep of history and I am at a loss to see the difference that this huge organization, the Christian church/community, actually makes in increasing the amount of love toward God and neighbor. If it were a secular organization and were this ineffective, it would be out of business.
The failure of public health care was a watershed event in my attitude towards Christianity. When we, as a nation and as Christians, placed corporate profit and hate of government over the needs of the least of these, I began to question exactly what this institution does in terms of overall good and evil.
So anyway, I pretty sure I’m resigning my job on staff at a church on Monday because God is urging me to do more than simply run the latest capital campaign for the new family life center. It is a very conservative church, and I’m a secret liberal, and I believe it is morally wrong for my salary to be paid by people who are praying for Obama’s death (according to their facebook).



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kevin s.

posted August 8, 2010 at 2:18 am


@EricG
I’m not sure I follow. You are saying that there is no distinction between a church location and the church entire? Is the entire religion accountable for the action of each and every one of its member bodies? That seems untenable.
Given that you disagree with her approach, it would seem that the distinction is not only valid, but necessary. Do I misunderstand you?
“I look at the sweep of history and I am at a loss to see the difference that this huge organization, the Christian church/community, actually makes in increasing the amount of love toward God and neighbor.”
Really? The sweep of history is a very broad category. If you are at a loss to see any sort of difference at all, perhaps you haven’t been looking, or doing so with an open mind. You have conceded that your political ideologies do not align with your fellow congregants; would you allow that this might be skewing your perception of history entire?
“If it were a secular organization and were this ineffective, it would be out of business.”
Secular organizations have only each other with whom to compete for business. Churches have the devil, who has proven himself rather more cunning and capable.
“The failure of public health care was a watershed event in my attitude towards Christianity.”
I don’t understand this point. Are you saying that public health care has failed, or that America has failed to create adequate public health care? In either case, why is this the fault of Christianity?
“When we, as a nation and as Christians, placed corporate profit and hate of government over the needs of the least of these, I began to question exactly what this institution does in terms of overall good and evil.”
In my examination of the sweep of history, I see very few instances wherein a very powerful government has accrued benefit to the least of these. That, and not corporate profit, nor hate of government, girds my opposition to the latest spate of health care reform efforts.
My take on the health care issue, one shared by virtually all of my conservative friends, is that the plan passed by congress will do nothing to alleviate costs, will have almost no impact on the poorest populations, and has already thrown a wrench into economic recovery.
“So anyway, I pretty sure I’m resigning my job on staff at a church on Monday because God is urging me to do more than simply run the latest capital campaign for the new family life center. It is a very conservative church, and I’m a secret liberal, and I believe it is morally wrong for my salary to be paid by people who are praying for Obama’s death (according to their facebook).”
If one of my Facebook friends were praying for the death of Barack Obama, I would call them out on that. Have you tried doing so? If so, and he or she did not desist, did you bring this up to the pastor? If so, was the pastor okay with this rhetoric? If so, did you bring this up to the church elders, or the head of the organization operating your church?
Perhaps you did, and if doing so was unfruitful, you should find another church. That said, if your frustration with your church and its mission has prompted you to post anonymous criticisms on a blog, you should probably take some time off.



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EricG

posted August 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm


Kevin S –
I think you confused my comments with Your Name (#13) on most of this stuff, except the very first part. Regarding my comments, I am not suggesting that The Church universal engages in sin collectively, but instead that local congregations and denominations engage in sin.
Your Name (#13) –
My political leanings are probably more like yours than Kevin’s, but I tend to agree with a couple of his suggestions — i.e., that you take time off, since it sounds like you are very frustrated, and possibly even switch churches if the church pushes you farther from God. I’ve also had frustrations like yours (on similar issues); I had to take a cooling off period from church before I could reengage. As frustrated as I got, I had to try to resist the urge to throw out the baby (the Church universal) with the bathwater (problems with individuals or groups).



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Lived in Wien!

posted August 11, 2010 at 2:55 am


Went to Patheos’ FB page. Eighty percent of the posts are on Mormonism. Disappointing. I don’t mind some Mormon postings (after all I am interested in learning more), but not a majority.



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