This tradtional, well-trod, yet unresolved battleground gets a thorough going over from James R. Aist at iPost, the Christian Post blog site. Many familiar names in the footnotes, including some old friends and colleagues, so it makes for good reading. Aist leans quite heavily on New Zealand researchers/authors Neil and Briar Whitehead, whose facetiously-titled My Genes Made Me Do It! forms the majority of his thesis.
Aist breaks the article into a number of predictable, yet compelling and heavily footnoted pieces:
Therapy and Counseling Results
The Role of Choice in Homosexuality
Models for the Development of Sexual Orientation
Homosexuality Is Not From God
All in all, this is likely a very helpful piece for those lay leaders and pulpit pilots too busy or simply unequipped to research this issue.
Excellent post from Julie Rodgers on the natural tendency to replace God with our own fallen sexuality:
Sometimes I made it the biggest deal ever by embracing all things gay, analyzing all things gay, obsessing over all things gay, and trying to figure out how to be the best gay I could be. Other times I made it the biggest deal ever by embracing not-being-gay, analyzing not-being-gay, obsessing over all things not-being-gay, and trying to figure out how to be the best not-gay I could be. Either way, my gay gazing has frequently shifted my gaze away from the one I love most, which is a much bigger problem than being gay or not being gay (even though we’re prone to believe gay is the biggest deal ever).
Leftist poster boy Barack Hussein Obama has an amazing new title to add to his already colorful resume.
...Rashad Hussain, America’s special envoy to the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Saudi-based body formed in 1969 to “protect” Jerusalem from the Israelis, announced a new title this week for President Barack Obama. According to Hussain, Obama is America’s “Educator-in-Chief on Islam.”
But wait... there's more.
... Hussain has now revealed that the U.S. will officially support the OIC in the latter’s United Nations effort to criminalize “defamation of religion” – widely perceived as a measure to suppress criticism of Muslim practices that violate human rights. "The OIC and the Obama administration will work together in the UN on the issue of defamation of religion, especially in Europe," said Hussain.
If you'd like a little more perspective on Rashad Hussain, his recent speech before a Muslim Brotherhood front group speaks for itself.
Because Arabic nations <smirk>honor all religions<\smirk>. And because the alleged president of the United States is now fully dedicated to imposing sharia law on Europe.
Using fallen angel Ted Haggard as his linchpin, Jeff
Buchanan, Director of the Exodus Church Network, addresses how the church can better
reach those who struggle with same-sex attractions and behavior:
he had been honest from the very beginning? I'm not talking about the beginning
of the scandal, I mean from the very beginning of his ministry. What if he had
disclosed his struggle with same-sex attractions to his church and to the
National Association of Evangelicals at the very start? Would he still have
become president of one of the world's largest evangelical organizations? Would
he still have become one of America's most respected spiritual
leaders? I would like to believe so. However, I am not naïve to the fact that
there are, unfortunately, many other organizations that desire leaders who are
"spiritual lions" but upon the admission of any significant weakness,
they are sacrificed liked lambs. Was this what Ted was afraid of and if so, was
it justified? Do we have a culture in the church today where vulnerability in
leadership is considered a disqualifying weakness? If so, what are we going to
do about it?
question, one that’s been asked for quite some time and for which the church at
large has yet to find a suitable answer. I'm going to be in the Caribbean when Ted's HBO special (proof that money will, in fact, buy anything) airs on Jan.29th, so I'll get my two cents in now. I can't think of a story less worth telling to the general public. Just another reason television is not a part of my life.
had explained the Gospel to me like this when I was four, I would have become a
believer at a much younger age. And perhaps even saved myself a bit of grief in
the process. No, scratch that last part. Anyway, here’s S.T. Karnack on Frosty
disobeys the policeman, a symbol of the law, but if he were in fact to obey he
would melt and die. What saves Frosty is not obedience to the law but Santa
himself, and without Frosty doing anything to earn it. Frosty is saved not by
the law but by the grace of God, in the form of Santa Claus, his earthly symbol
for children. This of course, accords with the Bible, as expressed, for
example, by Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:16: “for by the works of the law no
flesh shall be justified,” and chapter 5, verse 18, “if you are led by the
spirit, you are not under the law.”
annual address to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict mentioned that the Church
cannot accept "gender ideology" because it is contrary to God's
design for the human person. No one even vaguely familiar with Church teachings
could possibly have been surprised by the Pope's statement; it reflects the
constant teaching of the Church. Yet dozens of commentators have professed
shock that the Pontiff would dare say such a thing.
After pointing out some of the more hysterical headlines from alleged journalistic sources, Diogenes brings up the UPI story, which is endowed with a more severe headline:
draws criticism from gays.
If nothing else, the headline is at least accurate; gay activists did actually criticize the Pope. Still it's telling that UPI felt the criticism from gays of the pope was
indeed newsworthy. And here is where Diogenes throws down the gauntlet:
was the last time gay activists did not
criticize the Pope? For that matter, why do we need to know what gay activists
think about the Pope's year-end discussions with the Roman Curia? What did the Albigensians think of the
Pope's speech? Did proponents of the gold standard have any strong opinions?
address ran some 3,500 words, and the reference to sexuality occupied no more
than a couple of sentences. That apparently mattered not the least to the media,
nor to offended gay activists (Are there any other kind?). It goes without
saying that the Church is obsessed with sex -- at least among critics of the
Church. So when a Church leader -- especially the pope -- says something (anything) about sexuality, the
media and Church opponents are possessed by it. Never mind the tone and timbre, nor the balance of
the content. It is thesefew words
that are the significant ones because… well, they're about sex.
Baptist Pastor Wiley Drake bashed Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren this
week, saying “God will punish” Warren for agreeing to give the
invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration next month.
He is kind to you in this punishment that is coming,” Drake wrote in a
widely-released e-mail. In it, the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park
pastor criticizes Warren’s “recent plan to invoke the
presence of almighty God on this evil illegal alien,” a reference to Obama.
1915 on Christmas Day
On western front the guns all died away
And lying in the mud on bags of sand
We heard the German sing from no man's land
He had a tenor voice so pure and true
The words were strange but every note we knew
Soaring ore the living dead and dammed
The German sang of peace from no man's land
They left their trenches and we left ours
Beneath tin hats the smiles bloomed like wild flowers
With photos cigarettes and bottles of wine
We built a soldier's truce on the front line
Their singer was a lad of 21
We begged another song before the dawn
And sitting in the mud and blood and fear
He sang again the song all longed to hear
Silent night, no cannons roar
A king is born of peace for evermore
All's calm, all's bright
All brothers hand in hand
In 19 and 15 in no man's land
And in the morning all the guns boomed in the rain
And we killed them and they killed us again
At night they charged we fought them hand in hand
And I killed the boy that sang in no man's land
Silent night no cannons roar
A king is born of peace for evermore
All's calm, all's bright
All brothers hand in hand
And that young soldier sings
And the song of peace still rings
Though the captains and all the kings
Built no man's land
there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!"
Difficult as it may be to believe, Christmas was complex even way back in 1965. Charlie Brown's disheartened
plea originated back in a day when things were a little less complicated and much
less consumer-driven than they are now… during a time when there were fewer
divided families (and divided Christmases) than there are now.
At our little church we have vowed to keep the Christmas Story simple. I am
weary of gazillion- dollar productions that can never even come close to what a
simple reading of scripture can. Let the profound truth of Christ break through
the confusion of consumer-driven life. We have the One Message that matters. We
have great reason to celebrate.
favorite philosopher hits nuthin’ but net on this timeless video.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the
fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an
angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around
them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will
be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city
of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in
swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with
the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
May your Christmas be filled with the love that
changed the world.
Haggard will have his own HBO special titled “The
Trials of Ted Haggard” at the end of January. It’s produced by Alexandra
Pelosi, and if that name sounds just a little familiar, she’s the daughter of
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Oh, and Haggard is going on the necessary
junket to promote his documentary.
I simply cringed when I heard about this documentary and its promotion, I’m
also aware that we need to uphold the biblical truth that God’s grace and
forgiveness runs deep in all our lives, and is abundantly available and active
for Ted and his family. Certainly we can all pray that God will restore and recreate Ted’s
personal and family life. After all, God did not cast him out of His Kingdom for what he did - although, many
Christians would have liked that, I'm sure - and he is still a wounded member of the Body of
Christ. Certainly, the Scripture verse about being wise as serpents applies here, but God is faithful
to redeem us, even when we mess up so spectacularly.
Obama’s transition site, change.gov gives a breakdown of Obama’s inauguration.
According to the website, Obama will deliver the following oath of office:
solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of
the United States, and will to the best of my
ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
in fact, the actual oath found in the actual constitution. But every President
has added “so help me God” to the end.
Ziegler has leveled the playing field with Newsweekby taking alleged journalist Lisa Miller to the
proverbial woodshed for a well-deserved come-uppance. But far be it from me to
spoil things. First, read Miller’s breathtakingly witless trashing of the Church here. Then continue
with what MZ has to say:
It is no
exaggeration to say the piece was an embarrassment. My analysis of the belly
flop is here. On a radio show
yesterday, the host asked me whether the piece was more offensive to my
sensibilities as a journalist or a Christian. I went with “journalist” since
the piece wasn’t anywhere legitimate enough, theologically speaking, to be
considered seriously. As a journalist, it violated almost every rule in the
book. It failed to accurately represent the viewpoint being scrutinized. It was
riddled with errors. It was driven by emotion. More than a few journalists —
one at a competing weekly news magazine — wrote to me yesterday asking, “Where
was her editor?"
Indeed. In fact, she saves her strongest criticism to answer that very question. It needs to be said here that Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is no slouch, having been widely published on religious matters, ranging from cover stories to American
Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, a well-written
historical portrait of religion and American politics. Indeed, MZ's post carries just a note of surprised disappointment that Meacham could forsake theological (not to say journalistic, as well) integrity for the sake of socio-political expediency:
editor helps shape the story, makes sure it’s well researched and reported,
notices blatant mistakes or errors in logic or of bias. Well, I have bad news.
Based on his editor’s note, Meacham completely failed Miller and her readers.
His note introduces and praises the piece.
what one thinks about gay rights — for, against or somewhere in between — this
conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism.
Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical
attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that
come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that
something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually
bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.
that’s right. The editor of Newsweek
thinks that argument from the Bible is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” Can
you believe that? Can that be serious? Proper exegesis is difficult and
requires a great deal of understanding of languages, types of writing styles,
history and tradition — but determining what the Bible teaches is very serious
work. Lutherans such as myself believe that Scripture is the only divine source
and the norm for our teachings. That may be shocking to a liberal
Episcopalian but to call such exegesis intellectually bankrupt is ignorant. And
Biblical exegesis sort of defines the “great Judeo-Christian tradition.”
Perhaps Meacham’s focus on civil religion and American history has made him
blind to this fact.
The lady is just getting warmed up. Do read the whole thing. And be sure to read the comments, as well.
Things are bad enough for Starbucks. Richard L. Reising at Beyond Relevance thinks they could be even worse off. They could be marketing like the typical local church.
ever tried really hard to make a point and when people say they get it, you are
just not sure they do? Sometimes it takes us seeing our world through new
eyes--something that it is hard to do as believers. Sometimes a little bit of
juxtaposition does the trick.
We made this video because we sometimes struggle in helping churches to truly
understand the disconnection between how we do things and the people we’re
trying to reach. Our thought was to showcase the visitor experience in a
completely different context and in doing so, we might help churches realize
how they might actually comes across to the world we are called to reach.
Starbucks marketed like the local church? It would probably all boil down to this:
Speaking its own private idiom, trumpeting its own unique goals, blithely unaware
how weird it looks and sounds -- and profoundly annoyed with the customers who just don't
seem to "get it."
eHarmony - the multimillion dollar matchmaking enterprise - tries to dodge
criticism for vowing to launch a gay dating site in response to a lawsuit filed
by a gay man, some national headlines are playing to eHarmony’s “ethical
and its founder Neal Clark Warren have built their behemoth on Christian values
– only matching men and women since 2000. Their past honorable endeavors
make their recent decision to capitulate puzzling – to say the least.
as puzzling are some of the headlines announcing eHarmony’s decision - as if
eHarmony was caught between a rock and a hard place. Some of those
Forces eHarmony To Match Homosexual Couples
eHarmony Forced To Match Homosexual Couples
Dating Firm Forced To Include Gays
eHarmony Forced To Offer Same-Sex Dating
on there! eHarmony was not forced to do any such thing. To be
clear, eHarmony was forced to respond to a lawsuit. They were forced to
give depositions, but eHarmony has not been forced to “match homosexual
couples” nor “offer same-sex dating.”
has chosen to launch their gay website by March 31, 2009.
has argued “it was best to settle this case.” eHarmony has stated that
ongoing litigation was “unpredictable” and no doubt costly. (To its credit,
eHarmony had fought the lawsuit for three years.) eHarmony may declare
their expertise of matching men and women is too vital to jeopardize. And
eHarmony may insist their employees have to earn a living.
of these “justifications” hold water - not even the last one.
of Carthage, an early Christian theologian and moralist, was also the pastor of
a church in North Africa about 200 years after Jesus Christ was born. Many historians recount the
story where some of Tertullian’s church members tried to justify their burning
incense to pagan gods as they entered their workplace. They told
Tertullian “even though we are Christians, we won’t really honor pagan gods.”
asked, “Why would you do that?”
said, “Because we have to work to buy food to eat!”
then asked “Why do you have to eat?”
replied with astonishment “Because we have to live.”
who had been converted to Christianity by witnessing the uncompromising courage
of Christian martyrs, looked at them and said, “No! You don’t have to work, or
eat and you don’t have to live. The only thing you have to do is be faithful.”
readers will find this concept irrational. Is it?
Chambers wrote “God will tax the last grain of sand and the remotest star to
bless us when we obey him.” Had eHarmony not caved, we would have
witnessed a blessing – the form of which only God knows, but God cannot bless
It is an
awful thing to fall out of harmony with the Word who became flesh and dwelt
filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order of monks and
nuns in 1984 for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they
would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they agreed. What follows is a
pretty amazing clip from the award-winning 2006 documentary "Into
Great Silence" in which a blind monk talks about blindness and