Featured Post

Does God Care About Football?

Today I finally received the answer to the question I’ve asked nearly all my life: Does God care about football? Richard John Mouw informs me [TU, Voices of Faith, 2/3/18¹] that “God cares much about how the game is played. And it is not simply about how the players treat each other.” Has Mr Mouw read the New Testament? I get that the Old Testament is quite football-worthy, what with all that smiting and so forth, but it sure seems that the NT becomes quite un-football-esque in places. But maybe that’s just me.
It’s not as if Matthew 25, or the Sermon on the Mount comes down on the side of how we treat one another. Did not Jesus say it best when he offered us, "Do to others what you want them to do to you...and hit ‘em hard! Knock his block off. Role the replay!"
No, he didn’t say exactly that, but one can imagine him saying it...if you pretend for a moment that you live in the universe of Richard John Mouw.
I’d leave football out of the equation. No spectacle wherein particip…

J. K. Rowling Manifesto

I've just come across a piece by J. K. Rowling, she of Harry Potter fame, and I wanted to showcase it. It is from years ago, concerning an election in the UK but I think it still applies, especially in the current dawn of the neo-fascist Trump era. So...

From The Times Online, J.K. Rowling writes: I’ve never voted Tory before, but . . .” Those much parodied posters, with their photogenic subjects and their trite captions, remind me irresistibly of glossy greetings cards. Indeed, the more I think about it, the more general elections have in common with the birthdays of middle life. Both entail a lot of largely unwelcome fuss; both offer unrivalled opportunities for congratulation and spite, and you have seen so many go by that a lot of the excitement has worn off. Nevertheless, they become more meaningful, more serious. Behind all the bombast and balloons there is the melancholy awareness of more time gone, the tally of ambitions achieved and of opportunities missed. So here we are …

Fix It--and Move On

Could a strategy of one issue voting work to improve life in the US? I am thinking of a process whereby one particular issue is decided as THE issue for a political party's focus. It wouldn't eliminate other issues within the platform, but the party could focus on that particular issue.

The issue could be decided at convention level or as a result of polling within the party.

Americans seem unable to agree on a party's vision. For instance at this juncture the Democratic Party is seen as drifting at sea, unable to agree on what the party stands for (I do not agree with this sort of opinion but I do find it widespread). Also, Congress achieved so little in the last few administrations that on occasion it has dipped to single-digit approval ratings. Even the major accomplishment of ObamaCare and banking regulations are now being taken apart. We cannot seem to get anything done, and perhaps if we concentrated on one single thing we might be able to.

Take for example gun regul…

Typical Evangelical Sermon

I’ve just finished listening to a sermon by Erwin Lutzer, at the  Word Of Life Florida Conference Center (January 28, 2018: “How to Die for the Glory of God”). It concerned our attitude towards our own death.
I won’t attempt to transcribe it, or outline it. But I do want to say something about it, as it seems to me to be emblematic of evangelical sermons written today. It contains the chief elements necessary for a sermon to be “evangelical.”
These are: Placing ultimate value on an individual’s grace God is Supreme Call to circle the wagons Reliance on cliche Showing the divide between the Saved and the Damned, the Christian and the...well, damned, using biblical evidence picked, chosen among many verses leaving out any that might show another viewpoint.
Jesus is supremely valuable, says Lutzer. He says, “My death is my win [my emphasis].” To live is Christ, to die is gain. --Philippians 1:21 The evangelical sees death as a win...his win. There is so much of a kind of capitalism of the spir…

Am I A Christian?

I’ve been asked if I am a Christian.
I said that No, not in the way that most people think of the term. I wanted to say more--so much more--but felt that there wasn’t enough time and besides, I was too tired to get into it.
So I’d like to get into it. When someone asks me Am I a Christian, I want to say Yes, but… or No, but… I also want to just say what someone wrote in a blog on Patheos (apologies but I cannot find the source) when she said that she was “a human being.” It would be nice to just sometimes leave it at that.
I do and I don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus. I do and don’t believe in his divinity. By that, I believe in the narratives (there are more than one) and their power and their truth. But I don’t understand those narratives to be some overarching historical artifact.
Because I don’t feel that there is any overarching historical foundation to any narrative. In other words, there is only narrative. That is it. There is nothing beyond that. Nothing that we can po…

The Insincere Christian

Evangelical Christianity has failed, and has failed for want of sincerity.

In order to explain, here is a paragraph from "Hugh Kenner's "A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers" (pp 203-4):
One thing very engaging about the first half of the book [I.A. Richards' Practical Criticism] is Richards's genial aplomb as he sorts out the comments, never soliciting the knowing snicker. It's clear how his auditors could feel they were helping with a scientific inquiry, not being trapped into acts of self-exposure. And it's exhilarating still to watch the co-author of The Meaning of Meaning make a useful word out of such a rubber stiletto as "insincerity." This Richards defines as "the flaw that insinuates itself when a writer cannot distinguish his own genuine promptings from those he would merely like to have, or those which he hopes will make a good poem. Such failures on his part to achieve complete imaginative integrity may show themselve…

God, Music, Language, Art

Given the notion of a creator God, it can easily be guessed that it--this creator-god--would communicate with its creation, yes? One might imagine a less collaborative deity, I suppose, one that just exists, theistically, and that was the view of many of our own founding fathers. That view, however, seems such a blind alley. A creator without the interplay, the teamwork, of its individual creations, that is just a stifling thought. So what would this communication be like? Would it be in language, in words, that men use? How could words work to convey the mesh of a creator’s inner-workings? Can language hold that much meaning? Even if so, the best language can do is to hold it within one language at one time. Anyone who has attempted the fool’s errand of translation knows how impossible it is. But I guess it is possible for a creator to speak in one language. Maybe he chose Hebrew, then Greek and Aramaic. But what of the native tribes out there? Where is their Bible? What of the Slav’s…