Archives for posts with tag: Christian

Dr. Ball wrote an article for Anthony, over at WattsUpWithThat.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/18/climate-change-baltic-herring-and-the-reformation/

Very insightful article.

The rule of thumb regarding questions in headlines is that the answers must be assumed to be “no.”

So, is the Pope worried about prosperity? I’d say probably, but not in the general sense as asked in the question. The Pope may be getting such bad advice, and so much of it, that he thinks our current prosperity is only increasing as a bubble, and the crash is coming, and it will be worse than the dark ages.

Given the long view the church must take, I understand, but if the leadership of the church is trying to mitigate against loss of adherents, it has lost sight of the reason for the churches existence. Besides, Jesus himself declared He would build the church and hell would not prevail against it.

I’m innately optimistic. I’m naturally joyful and not prone to melancholy. Yet, for our time, pessimism weighs upon me.

I truly believe MLK Jr. was right when he said that the arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward justice. We will see freedoms increase. We will see more justice and more opportunity, and less imposition by state and political forces. The various other PTBs that people worry about will diminish over the generations. That is a long time for us mere mortals.

I see the signs for a cycle, as oft repeated in history, of evil times before more good times.

I hope I’m wrong. I doubt that I am.

Regardless, those of us who claim faith, especially those of us who follow Jesus, we must remain faithful.

Who among us will bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue? No one? What about the POTUS or SCOTUS? What about Apple or Facebook? What about Hollywood or regular old peer pressure?

What about the biblical mammon?

I happened to watch Pale Rider again. That mammon thing, it just won’t work.

Every person has to stand for what is right.

Every person must walk in love, and love in this sense has nothing to do with sex.

The story goes that the three Hebrew children refused to bow.

“…But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.d 18But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

The book of Daniel tells us they received a miracle. Miracles are by definition exceptional, rare.

Are we ready to stand anyway?

Are we ready to stand with Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.“?

I truly doubt that we or our near descendents will every face most of the persecutions of history, but we see today the executions, the beheadings. It isn’t just Christians being killed, and we must never forget.

The saying is “going to hell in a handbasket.”

Recent SCOTUS decisions have made the world a harder place to live for all. Persecutions of churches and ministers will increase. Activism is not sated. The activisms of our era are like the grave, never saying enough. Accomplishing goals is no longer an objective, but destroying all who may oppose or disagree. That is where harm lies, and only blood and suffering will reset. (Again, I hope I’m wrong.)

More worrying to me is the state of science. Science in its several forms are no longer seen as a set of tools, but as ends. The tendency is Scientism, and that is one sad and gruesome religion.

The saddest of all, though, is the apparent willingness of the Pope, the leader of so many faithful believers, to step back to earth-reverence and sacrifice.

Cardinal George’s words may yet prove prophetic:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

 

http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2012/1021/cardinal.aspx

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

 

 

Regarding a Christian’s responsibility, or responsibility of every good person for that matter, we must live rightly personally.

We must live justly, do justice, walk in mercy, show kindness, and keep sight of the fact that we are not the center of the universe; we are not the judge; we must remain humble.

That seems to me to require that I NOT try to impose what is right on anyone else. Just because certain things are obviously good for society, it does not follow that I, or the government, or any other powerful agent should impose on society.

It is all about relationships. Jesus told us to follow Him. Jesus told us to make disciples. It must be about our daily, personal walk and individual relationships.

It’s not about the President. It is not about SCOTUS. It is not about laws. It is about individuals choosing to do what is right and choosing to be involved in the lives of those around them. Involved relationally, not nosily. Involved lovingly, and considerately, not with an eye to gain an edge or leverage. Understanding, not meddling.

I always enjoy reading BioLogos. The site is an extraordinary resource in so many regards.

I shared this on my Facebook page without comment. Then I shared it again with a short comment.

http://biologos.org/blog/embracing-faith-accepting-ambiguity

Now, after reading it a second time, I just have to write more.

This young woman opens her story in a depression suffered six years ago. Her depression was at least part physical, but it seems clear it primarily arose from a lack of truth and understanding. She had never found sound teaching and solid information. She had been led to believe she had only one option, of accepting or rejecting fundamentalism. She described it as thinking her only options were a fundamentalism she could no longer believe, and empty agnosticism. While certainty is certainly absurd, claiming ignorance in the ultimate sense is, in my view, irrational. I consider agnosticism as the abandonment of all reason.

Our story-teller explains that her upbringing had been fundamentalist, Pentecostal, and settled. She said any questioning was simply not accepted. The truths were known. That was not much different from my own upbringing, but my Baptist grandfather was a man of science. (An eye doctor, but he could have been anything, from a machinist to a physics or mathematics professor. He was a practical engineer, inventor, tinkerer.) He helped me learn to question everything from my earliest years.

I forget how early I started. I never accepted any notions of a young earth. From earliest school days, the unimaginable age of the earth and universe were given. I would unreservedly rebuff any assertions regarding merely some few thousand years for earth. It was just not reasonable.

It took me longer to come to grips with evolution. Gradually, by about 20 years of age, I accepted that biological evolution and common descent were simply how God created man from the dust of the earth. I accepted it based on general science, but since some of the breakthroughs of genomics, there is simply no excuse. Nothing, absolutely nothing in any aspect of every facet of science having anything to do with life in any way, including human life, makes sense without a Darwinian evolutionary framework. Theodosius Dobzhansky made this statement in the early 1970s, long before I realized it. Theo was, and remains, right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_in_Biology_Makes_Sense_Except_in_the_Light_of_Evolution. It has only been recently that I became aware that people have been thinking like I do for so long.

These words of hers are particularly worth repeating:

Nearly every day for the first year or two after we moved, I prayed the words of the Roman centurion over and over and over again, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” Sometimes it was all that I could manage, but over time I realized that I wasn’t clinging so hard to those words anymore, and I became more sure that even if everything else that I had ever believed passed away, I knew that Jesus was the Son of God, and that was enough. From there I began slowly and painfully and uncertainly reworking my faith.

I don’t suppose I’ve ever fallen so deep, but I’ve had similar times. Jesus is enough. Sometimes, that is all that matters, all that is real.

By the way, it has never been any aspect of science that has hurt me, only people, usually in betrayal of trust.

Impressive list of authors she found to help her learn truth: Matthew Paul Turner, Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Donald Miller, Scot McKnight, N.T. Wright, Timothy Keller, and Greg Boyd.

She mentions that questions specifically about evolution didn’t come up with her for a long time. She’s not specific, but I suspect it was after college and marriage. For me, it was early. I accepted it very young, but drew a distinction at the special dignity of humanity being in the image of God. I now can hardly even remember what my arguments were. I now see the miracle of in-breathed-ness as simply something God did at the right time, and science and biology will never be able to define it, much less pin down the when of it.

Mainly noting for my own mental processing, she indicates they had four children in the space of about six years up to last year, 2014. She mentioned being busy as a mother. Busy indeed. Blessed indeed. They thought to homeschool as an interim. Liked it. Kept homeschooling. Again, blessed!

Another quote-worthy comment:

As I began researching which curriculums I wanted to use next year, I realized that all of the Christian homeschool science curriculums were likely to be written from the young-earth creationist perspective. I did not want that for my kids, so I began researching other options. That’s when I discovered BioLogos. The BioLogos team helped me find a science curriculum, but much more than that, they helped me to practically and articulately answer questions of how faith and science can be reconciled.

To this, I relate! Ask my wife. She too.

Our family moves in fundamentalist and Wesleyan circles. It comes with the territory of taking one’s faith seriously and homeschooling, especially when raised that way.

I expect to run into young-earth views and antievolutionary views, and I expect some derision, but I don’t expect hate and viciousness. Sadly, that is exactly what we occasionally see. Sometimes first person, in the flesh. Other times, more secondhand. There are periodicals we used to get, but not anymore. We dropped/avoid such because of articles that call me sinner, or compromiser, or worse, because I don’t accept their take on a few bible verses that they interpret in nontraditional ways. (Yes, check the history. YEC is a modern, post-WWI phenomenon that was based primarily in fear, but also in racism–which included southern US racism, anti-German racism, and anti-Semitism.) It is hardly compelling, but it is noteworthy that the majority of Christians reject young-earth notions and accept evolution, at least in a general, nonspecific sense.

So, for our family, finding or assembling curriculum for our scientifically inclined boys has been a challenge. My elder son is as adamant about all things science, and more so than me, with the exuberance of youth. The younger cares less about all things controversial, but the intricacies of all of creation enthrall him. That includes most all scientific topics as well as all things artistic.

Many talk about “world view.” They use it as a code word meaning narrow fundamentalist dogma.

To me, worldview must be summed in commitment to truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is truth. I cannot cotton to lying for Jesus. I’m certain Jesus doesn’t either. Clinging to a narrow interpretation of certain scriptures does not make a worldview. Simply refusing to accept obvious, demonstrable facts and processes is dishonest. In all practical aspects life, that is lying. I seem to remember scripture explaining that liars have their place in the lake of fire. Literalist somehow have a more liberal view on that than I do.

Our story-teller explains that her growth and realization was slow, gradual, even halting. She supposes it is that way for most of us. I suppose so too. I tend to forget, though, that I have been at this longer than she has lived. I literally have been building my faith, my views, my understanding of all things science for over four decades now. Hardly any time at all. I’m still such a novice. However, I have much more experience than most people addressing such issues.

Life is a nonstop journey, with scarcely time to rest. Thank God there is a rest in Him. Still, though life is often hard, and often challenging, even thrilling, it can be so ridiculously shallow if we don’t deliberately dig deep. There is more to everything. The ultimate question, why, is never completely answered. There is always more. There will always be more. Always.

If you didn’t click the link and read her article, you really should, especially those last two paragraphs.

 

http://biblehub.com/nasb/philippians/3.htm

7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

http://biblehub.com/esv/2_corinthians/4.htm

16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer selfd is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Some have it harder than others, but this applies to each of us equally.

The title comes from the words of our Lord. Note, Jesus added “mind” to the quote from the Jewish Law. Mark tells us Jesus said it, adding mind, and the lawyer answered back wisely that we must love God with our whole understanding. It is clear that part of our service to, and love for, God includes our thinking and knowledge. That is science and philosophy. It is unwise, according to the scripture, to hold that there is animosity between science and faith. In fact, I hold that there cannot be one without the other.

Shannon Medisky wrote an article for BioLogos, http://biologos.org/blog/soul-strength-and-mind-how-biologos-brought-me-out-of-hiding, explaining how she felt shunned by her fellow Christians for accepting science without twisting it to certain dogma. I’ll add that the dogma in question is not even orthodox.

Ms. Medisky explains how she grew up as excited about Jesus as she was about science, but she soon realized that most Christians won’t stand for that. She closeted herself.

She correctly states:

We’re called to love God with all our soul, strength and mind. My scientific pursuits and interests were an important part of the latter. Learning more about the world—including how we got here—was simply another facet of honoring God. And to do anything less than wonder, question and learn would be to deny a very important part of the potential God so graciously gave us all.

That is how I have always felt. Like her, I’ve always stayed quiet about my acceptance of science, especially after I lost all reservations regarding biological evolution, but I’ve never been one to back down or equivocate. If you ask, I’m going to answer, and I’ll be as honest as I know how to be.

She wrote for BioLogos. It makes sense that she praised them highly. While she felt alone, I learned long ago there were plenty of Christians like me who accepted science as simply part of God’s creation. Still, BioLogos is a comfort to me too, and it is an excellent resource. If you want to learn, BioLogos is an excellent place to start.

Of course, if you’d rather just be fundamentalist, go ahead and take the indoctrination and talking points of the young-earth creationists, and be confrontational and sure of yourself. However, I strongly recommend following the words of the prophet Micah, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Yes, this is what the Lord requires of each of us.

Regarding Jesus statements regarding creation.

Mike listed, “Mark 10:6: Mark 13:9; Luke 11:50-51; john 5:45-47 links Jesus to Moses- Exodus 20:11 plainly says God created the world in 6 days. Pretty strait forward teaching by our Lord and savior.”

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

but from the beginning of the creation, a male and a female God did make them;

6 ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/10-6.htm

2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,a 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Context here has hardly anything to do with creation. It is about divorce. It is about the hardness of their hearts. It is about submitting ourselves to the order God establishes. There is no hint of Jesus sanctioning some interpretation of the creation hymns over some other.


Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
But from the beginning of the creation,…. Of the world, or of man: , “from the beginning of the creation of the world”, is a way of speaking often used by the Jews (r): the phrase “of the creation” is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; and so it was in Beza’s most ancient copy, and it is only read, “from the beginning”, as in Mat_19:4,8; see Gill on 
Matthew 19:4, See Gill on Matthew 19:8

As Gill points out, the creation reference is simply “beginning.” It seems unlikely Jesus added more than “in beginning, God.” No elaboration regarding how or what.

Seem to have missed something with Mark 13:9. Seems more of a Freudian slip. Perhaps the reference is to verse 19.

I’m not quite sure how this apocalyptic statement applies to “creation,” but:

http://biblehub.com/mark/13-19.htm

For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.

for those days shall be tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the creation that God created, till now, and may not be

19 ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/13-19.htm

The language is hyperbolic, not making any commentary on creation. Mike, I certainly hope you understand that I hold God as creator.

http://biblehub.com/luke/11-51.htm

from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.

from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar and the house; yes, I say to you, It shall be required from this generation.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-35.htm

What am I missing here? How does this have anything to do with commentary on some interpretation of the creation hymns?

http://biblehub.com/esv/john/5.htm

45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Again, what am I missing? Jesus believed in Moses. I believe in Moses. How does this enlighten us regarding some interpretation of the creation hymns?

I’ll throw in this: http://www.godofevolution.com/did-jesus-believe-in-a-six-day-creation-and-a-literal-adam/ I find Mr. Francke a bit hard to take at times, but I generally agree with him.

The symbology of the creation week in the first creation hymn of Genesis is not in question. I do wonder how someone can take this particular bit of the story and make it literal while ignoring such assertions about a firm dome that separates the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but there is nothing firm up in the sky, and there are certainly no waters up there for such a dome to keep from falling on us.

http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7549.htm

One can pretend the word just means “expanse,” but it clearly indicates the firm separation of waters above and below the earth. The notion is elsewhere in the bible, including http://biblehub.com/2_peter/3-5.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology

http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/gre13.htm

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/11/ancient-hebrew-cosmology.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/cosmo_bibl2.htm

Don’t forget the fact that the first three chapters of Genesis contain two separate hymns. The two are different in so many ways that asserting they are somehow the same, by the same author, is simply disingenuous. I suspect that if Moses were around, he’d tell us that the two creation hymns were the stories of his people, God’s people. I further suspect that if Moses were to deny such an obvious and simple explanation and attempt to prove in a court of law that he was the original and sole author of the two stories, he could not convince a jury, especially if Shem and Ham were able to speak up and claim authorship of one each before Moses.

So, Mike, for the record, I agree with Jesus. I cannot find evidence that Jesus ever said anything about creation that could help us know how to interpret the creation hymns. Any assertion regarding Jesus’ teaching about creationism is simply wrong.

The clear teaching of Jesus was to love one another.

I consider this a central tenet of Jesus, “28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

I consider Jesus’ addition of “mind” to be significant, and I choose to love the lord with all my mind. My mind includes the knowledge that several different, independent disciplines in science confirm the usefulness of the aspects of biological evolution day in and day out.

I routinely post information related to evolution, and the weight of evidence, the breadth of evidence, the practicality of the evidence is overwhelming. I could not honor truth any other way than accept that evolution is a theory is as established and as useful as the theory of gravity.

As a closing thought, consider ebola. It is big in the news right now. Please review this article: http://thenaturalhistorian.com/2014/10/24/fossil-virus-found-in-hamsters-points-to-an-ancient-origin-of-ebola-virus/

(I reblogged that blog article previously.) Consider that virus DNA sometimes gets mixed up into animal DNA, and it goes along for the ride through the generations. The Natural Historian discusses an example of such with regard to ebola and hamsters and voles. Do hamsters and voles fit your definition of “kinds”?

Consider this: http://biologos.org/blog/the-evolutionary-origins-of-genetic-information-part-1

That set of articles goes in-depth explaining what we know of biological evolution in genetics.

Regardless, there are plenty of confirmable examples of speciation. It takes a determined, a predetermined, mindset to ignore the evidence and keep asking for more. Jesus had it happen to him, and he replied that the only sign would be his resurrection. Well, I can’t and won’t make such claims, but I find it insulting to be badgered about examples of speciation when a simple Google search can find many, many examples in the published literature in seconds.

Further, evolution does not depend on confirmation of a common ancestor for all of us apes. In fact, the practicality of evolution doesn’t depend on any aspect of it being proven. The fact remains that it is useful. It is probably the most useful and most beneficial theory in all of science, in all of history.

Finally, let’s go so far as to suppose some knowledge and evidences are discovered that are so profound that all of biological evolution is “disproven” and abandoned and replaced by new theories that work even better. Then what? Would it prove God? Would it lend any support to creationism? No. It would not. God would still be approachable ONLY by faith. The railers would still rail. No new thing would be under the sun.

Accordingly, I close with a question: Why fight me and others who accept the obvious? Why tell me I’m wrong to acknowledge evolution? Why badger me for evidence you won’t accept? Why pretend some society or organization will give me money if I “prove” evolution? You know good and well that no one will ever collect on such an “offer.” The criteria set are simply impossible. Why not admit that such offers are only grandstanding? Admit that such offers are disingenuous.

Obey Jesus and love.

I am struck that it seems to be Reform (as in John Calvin) teachers who are trying hard to reconcile faith with science.

Greg Cootsona is an associate pastor at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico, California. (Home to my favorite meteorologist, Anthony Watts, since Gary England retired.) Anyway, he has written a short article about determinism.

http://cootsona.blogspot.com/2014/05/genetic-determinism-materialism-freedom.html

I’ve never understood the notion. If determinism is true, how could we tell? I mean, if my brain is determined to think by outside forces that I can in no wise control, how can I know I know anything at all?

Here is the fact: I am accountable. I will be judged, ultimately and in the absolute sense, and I can trust that I will be judged justly. There will be a day of reckoning, balancing the books. The fact is that there is such a thing as justice and right, and evil is so easy to understand because it too is real. Choose! You are responsible for your choices, so choose wisely.

I’m trying to internalize this fact into all I am and all I do. I hope you will do so too.

I availed myself of an opportunity to see Ray Comfort’s video. It was worse than I could imagine. What bothered me most was that while he shoved microphones up people’s noses and badgered and bullied them, the Christians watching tended to cheer. So sad.

I suppose that many in that room felt they had been bullied, either for their antievolutionary views, or more generically for just being Christian, but when you can make PZ Myers look like a generally good guy, better than you make yourself look, you have failed.

We teach our children not to bully. We teach them not to cheer on the perpetrator when someone pays back the bully or other generally bad children. We teach our children to repay good for evil, as our Lord taught us. We teach our children to walk in love and to go the extra mile, even to turn the other cheek. The adults in the room watching Ray Comfort badger and bully people seemed to have forgotten that, or that it should apply doubly to them as teachers, those to whom much has been entrusted.

I viewed the video as an utter failure in all regards. It seems impossible, but I assume Comfort thought he was doing something akin to evangelism in the making of the film and the derogatory treatment of his victims both in person and in the cutting room.

One can only guess how many people simply walked away when approached by Comfort, being treated so rudely. One can only wonder how many people gave more cogent answers, or how many became obviously terrified. How many people were interviewed who did not give answers that fit the narrative Comfort cobbled together?

There was no truth, no honesty, and no compassion in the video. Are those who condone the video simply saying all is fair in love and war? If so, they got the war part right. The interviews were essentially hit and run warfare on the unsuspecting people attacked in the video. Perhaps they assert they are making war on us, so we must make war on them. However, I again remember our Lord telling us to love those who persecute us.

I tried to Google search for anyone else calling Comfort a bully. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find any.

I agree with this article.

http://www.godofevolution.com/evolution-vs-god-denigrates-science-using-technology-that-science-makes-possible/

I really think it wise to recall a song from one of the legends of country music, Marijohn Wilkin, and her song God is Love.

http://www.valentinemusic.co.uk/home/music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music/marijohn-wilkin-buckhorn-music-tracks (scroll down a bit)

The opening lines are the point. The fire-and-brimstone preacher seems to always forget that God is Love!

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,a but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;b 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I don’t think I find any of this in Comfort’s video, especially what I underlined.

We saw the movie, Son of God, today. I guess my bottom line up front is that if you are looking for an emotional ride, you should be satisfied. Other than that, well, I just don’t see serious bible believers finding much in it. I don’t see much value as an evangelistic tool either.

I didn’t take time to read reviews beforehand, but a quick perusal of such at this point indicates mostly similar to my on review at the summary level.

The bible is hardly taken serious in telling the story. It is a story, plain and simple. It is almost dreamlike in flow, cutting from scene to scene, depending on audience familiarity with the basics. I’ll say the dreamlike characteristics flowed back and forth from magical fantasy, in a good sense, to nearly nightmarish at times.

With regard to scripture, much is put in, but altered, some left out, other details jumbled around for the impact of the moment. Nothing highly objectionable, but notable–too much to ignore.

My wife pointed out to the children that movies based on books are almost never the same. She found it satisfying in looking at the story in a new way. She admitted that knowing the story well from the bible was essential to her enjoyment of it. Having sound knowledge and deep faith let her appreciate the differences and ignore the discrepancies. (I do that a lot with SciFi.)

I had been forwarded information that objected to the movie doctrinally. Well, having gone in to it looking for such, I missed it if there was anything that orthodox or evangelical Christians should object to with any force.

I will say there was a strong sense of magic and mysticism to Jesus and the miracles. Jesus called Peter by reaching down into the water from Peter’s boat. Not objectionable, but it was presented mystically, as though Jesus simply had that magnetic attraction for fish, by simply swishing his hand in the water for a bit. There was generally no attempt to depict the power or awe of God.

I was quite disappointed in the depiction of two of the miracles. While the overall scene of Jesus walking on the water was a fair retelling, the Peter part was pathetic. Sorry. I hated it. Likewise the raising of Lazarus. I cannot declaim that scene strongly enough. No adherence to scripture, and no impression of the point of the event, other than to tie it into the fears of the Jewish authorities. Mystic, simplistic, and fully unscriptural.

The feeding of the 5,000 was in between for me. That magic factor detracted. The overall telling of the event was reasonable, and the emphasis was on God’s provision and the inappropriate response of the masses, but it just didn’t fit well. I suspect those who are not thoroughly familiar with the actual texts in the Gospels will find the scene rather bewildering.

I am comfortable with women among Jesus’ disciples. I thought the treatment of Mary Magdalene quite appropriate. Some will object as it was, others will decry it went not far enough.

Again, some of the emotional aspects of the movie worked quite well, and I suspect most movie goers will appreciate it, religious or not.

There were a couple of scenes early that worked this way for me, but the epitome was Simon of Cyrene. The scene was well written, and was superbly acted. Cyrene is in Libya. Good choice of actor.

Overall, I appreciated the entire cross sequence. It was entirely different from The Passion of The Christ. Passion focused on the power, the awesomeness of what our Lord did for us, the sacrifice of The Father, the compassion and terror of Mary. This rendition in Son of God focused on the poetic. It was beautiful in a sense, a harsh sense, but beautiful none the less. The flogging and actual crucifixion were rather glossed over. Oh well. It is Hollywood after all. The stabbing with the spear was simply lame. It seemed included just because someone insisted on being that much closer to scripture.

I must say I did not appreciate the extreme closeups. Aside from just not working, I also found it unnerving, like an IMax aerial acrobatics scene. Bad choice. I also found the makeup inconsistencies distracting. Further, I didn’t appreciate the scenery. There were some lovely shots here and there, but the handful of followers spread on the rocks seemed odd at best, and some of the other scenes seemed contrived, seemed to be going for an effect that was simply missed.

An extraneous note: contemporary Christian music is contemporary with me. I know many songs that depict many of the events of the movie more meaningfully for me.

Some may object to the depiction of Judas. Well, Judas is difficult. I’m okay with how they worked his character and his part of the story. Likewise Peter’s betrayal. It worked emotionally. It was human, though it just didn’t square with the scriptural details.

For a relatively long movie, they dealt with much rather quickly, giving only a shallow rendering of many of the events dealt with in the story, and much was left out. Compromises of a storyteller, I suppose. Again, it seemed the audience was expected to already know the basics of the story.

The ending was weak overall. The resurrection scenes were pedantic, merely gotten through. The meeting with Thomas was unsatisfying. The hole in the hand was shaped like an eye. The device seemed trite. Likewise the closing scene with John. It seemed just stuck on for a closing. It seemed someone was impressed with the hole-in-the-hand special effect.

So, overall, I was happy to have seen the movie. Though, I wasn’t impressed. As I said, if all you are looking for is an emotional ride, you should be satisfied. If you are looking for much else, I suspect you will still be looking afterward.

I find it somewhat of a concern that churches seem to have enthusiastically jumped on board with this movie. Perhaps I’m making more of it than I should, but I really don’t see most denominations squaring well with at least some aspects of this movie. While I’ve already stated I see no grounds for objections from doctrine, I do not see it as sound teaching. It is a well told emotional story. It is not really a representation of Jesus as reveled in the Gospels.

Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Nicholas:

“Research that is done to challenge God, has the disease of prejudice. Research is done to discover scientific truth. What problem is there with someone wanting to broaden the horizons of their thoughts and knowledge? God is approached better this way. God is not an ideology that we should by all means defend, but we believe in Him because He is Truth. In this sense, even scientific truth reveals Him. If He is still questioned, it is time to find out about Him. A believer who fears scientific research, fears the truth. Perhaps he is a believer who does not believe.”

Biologos.org is an excellent resource.

On Valentine’s Day, they posted this love note regarding the #hamonney debate:

http://biologos.org/blog/origins-news-round-up-for-friday-february-14-2014

I’ll second this one:

http://thefederalist.com/2014/02/06/letting-go-of-the-god-of-the-gaps/  Read the rest of this entry »

I noted  of the Heritage Foundation in my last post. Ms. Corona appears to have many useful articles. At the link for her byline I find this noteworthy article as well. http://blog.heritage.org/2013/11/07/letter-to-catholic-bishops-catholic-schools-should-reject-the-common-core/ These Catholics see Common Core as a threat to all the church stands for, especially in education.

I agree with these Catholic Professors. Quoting from the article:

“We write to you because of what the particular deficiencies of Common Core reveal about the philosophy and the basic aims of the reform. We write to you because we think that this philosophy and these aims will undermine Catholic education and dramatically diminish our children’s horizons.… Common Core was approved too hastily and with inadequate consideration of how it would change the character and curriculum of our nation’s Catholic schools. We believe that implementing Common Core would be a grave disservice to Catholic education in America.

The Common Core national standards’ mission is to impose one set of standards to define what every public school student will learn. The Catholic Church’s mission in education is to provide an excellent education while orienting students to the values engrained in Catholic teachings. The one-size-fits-all approach embodied in Common Core rejects the premise that individuals have different goals of education.

Common Core is a centralizing force over the content taught in public schools throughout the country. But its influence on private schools and homeschoolers—as a result of textbook spillover, some state regulations, and alignment of college entrance exams—is already being felt.

But for Catholic schools to willingly hand over their curricula and educational authority to the administrative state is terribly misled. Catholic education necessitates that educational decision-making stay within the Church and at the smallest levels of civil engagement: parents, teachers, schools, and churches. And it has flourished from this principle of subsidiarity.”

Common Core is NOT OK!

If we can agree for the moment that Wikipedia is a reasonable source of information on the topic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism, then evangelical is Protestant. Yes, that fits me. However, I will point out that there is an evangelical movement, or subgroup, in the Catholic Church. Second, wiki indicates Christian. Yes, again. I live my life intentionally trying to follow Jesus’ words and example. I’m a follower of Jesus; I hold him as Christ and savior; that generally defines me as Christian.

Wiki indicates evangelicalism arose with John Wesley’s adherents and Methodism. I’m certainly Wesleyan, Arminian through and through.  Read the rest of this entry »

At biologos.org, Ted Davis writes an article titled Motivated Belief: John Polkinghorne on the Resurrection, Part 4.

Here are a couple of large excerpts that I liked particularly well.

I believe that when the truth of Christianity is under consideration in the context of science, it is with these issues relating to the resurrection that the discussion needs to begin. Only when a case has been made for the belief that God was present in Jesus of Nazareth in a unique way does it then become possible adequately to attempt to enquire into the significance of his crucifixion. The doctrine of the incarnation implies that in the spectacle of that deserted figure hanging on the cross, God is seen to be more than just a compassionate spectator of the travail of creation, looking down upon it in pity from the invulnerability of heaven. If the incarnation is true, then God in Christ has truly been a fellow-participant in the suffering of the world, knowing it from the inside. The Christian God is the crucified God…

…Christology from above […] conceptual exploration of what it might mean to believe that “the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). […] If theological argument from above is to find a cousinly parallel in the context of science, it lies in those creative leaps of intellectual imagination of the kind that enabled Newton to conceive of universal gravity or Einstein to write down the equations of general relativity. Even the most bold of theological speculations scarcely exceed in daring the conjectures of the string theorists. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: