Fear Of Whales

Archive for June, 2012

Pedantic Word Choices

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There is an old hustler bet where you offer a sum of money (say $50) to somebody in a bar if they can drink an entire pint in a minute. An experienced drinker can often polish off a pint in well under that, at which point you can take their money because they did not finish it in exactly a minute, they finished it in less, so they lose.

We in the Christian community often do the same sort of thing. We will insist there is a moral difference between Murder and Killing People despite the fact that there is nothing about the Hebrew Language to indicate that. We’ll say we don’t like Dating but instead we’ll support “courting” we will insist that it’s wrong to Lie but we’ll say stuff that is deceptive or misleading as if that’s okay.

We are like the expert in the law in Luke 10. We know that we should love our neighbor, but we pretend not to know what the word “neighbor” means

I could write articles about every one of these inconsistencies I see. But frankly I’m just not that starved for topics. At the end of the day the root problem is simply this: It is very easy to follow the bible so long as you are prepared to reinterpret all of the words in the bible to mean whatever you need them to.

So if you believe there is a difference between “teaching” and “preaching” between “submitting” and “obeying” between “drinking” and “drunkenness” between “judging” and “judgement” and between “gossip” and “talking about someone behind their back” then I have to ask you a question:

What then is the difference between believing the “bible” and just believing “whatever you want”?

Written by admin

June 27th, 2012 at 5:14 am

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The People In Front Of You

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A friend of mine who is planting THISchurch dispensed some advice to me that I’d like to pass along to you.

“Work with the people in front of you” he said “Not the people you wish you had in front of you”

What a great word for a person in ministry. (or for any person) It’s easy for me to get excited about results or programs or possibilities. I want to Build a chapter, I want to plant a church, I want to lead a small group. And the people who are involved eventually become like props inside the visionary’s mind. The temptation then is to get upset that the props are not correctly filling the holes you have built for them. They are supposed to be more mature, or less mature, or more evangelical, or more Justice oriented.

But the bottom line is that that’s ridiculous. The people are the point, they are the reason we have churches and small groups and chapters, and if they don’t fit our expectations that’s because our expectations are wrong.
I want InterVarsity K-State to be huge. I want to hire more staff, and have a group for every ethnicity on the campus, and do 101 ongoing service project ideas I have, but that doesn’t matter, because there will be nothing good about any of that in IV K-State doesn’t first become a ministry that deeply impacts the lives of the particular individuals that have become involved in the ways they need to be impacted. Not just the ways I need them impacted.
Lord I believe. Help My Unbelief.

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June 25th, 2012 at 5:29 am

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Gender Identity

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One of the key obsessions of out modern Christian environment is gender identity.

“Biblical Manliness” is a buzzword in our churches and youth ministries. Small Groups gather to read and discuss books like “Wild at Heart” and “No more Christian Nice Guy” Men’s groups are encouraged to do manly things with men to mend the mentality of mendacity that has long prevented men from doing the manly things men love!… For Jesus!

This is understandable. Boys in today’s societies are raised primarily by women. They spend all day with their mothers, their fathers returning from work at 5. Authority figures in schools are mostly female, Sunday school teachers, nurses, and even specialists like child psychologists and social workers tend to be female. Stereotypically Masculine impulses like fighting, cursing, exploring and getting dirty are discouraged and in instead they are asked to sit still and play nice.

This is frustrating. A backlash was only to be expected.

Girls on the other hand are being raised in the wake of the feminist movement. They are being taught to be onmicapable warrior women who can do anything they set their minds to, they mature more quickly than boys, and by the time they make it into the business sector they find it populated by a bunch of sissy boys.

So to review” we have boys that act like girls, and to make up for that men now act like boys, fighting and getting dirty. In response girls act like women, and develop into women who act like men.

And did I mention the social and political conflicts at work here?  Looming large over this whole scenario is the debate over Egalitarianism V Complementarianism all of this creates a perfect storm for angst which can in turn be channeled into consumerism by people who sell books and write blogs.

Here’s the problem though, It’s not an ignorance issue.

It would be great if there were a simple proscribed set of gender attributes enumerated in scripture but there just aren’t. We would have to insert our own experiences into scripture to find those. And to make matters worse God made all sorts of different kinds of people, including macho men and girly girls and effeminate men and tomboys. he even made some people that defy out categories entirely like androgen insensitive men and hermaphrodites which, if taken seriously, should cause us to question any unilateral statements we make about a specific gender.

I don’t have the answers. I only have more questions and the willingness to ask them somewhat loudly. I’ll let you know here if I come up with anything. and if you have any answers, by all means sound off in the comments.

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June 23rd, 2012 at 5:14 am

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Weight as a Social Justice Issue

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If you read my blog, You’re probably familiar with the trendy Social Justice issues in the world today. Sex Trafficking, Creation Care, Multiethnic Reconciliation… I’ve written on most of them in passing, You may see a whole post on each one day. Today however, I want to see if I can’t contribute a new issue to consider.

Obesity.

No I’m not kidding.

It’s associated with discrimination based upon an individuals appearance, it’s systemic, and it is responsible for the early deaths of millions (particularly the poor)

The way an individual relates to food is passed down according to the same patterns as domestic abuse or alcoholism, overeating is comparable to drugs in the way it is used to medicate or mask deeper emotional and spiritual problems, and it nurtures a vicious cycle of self loathing.

The Bible is far from silent on the issue. Condemning gluttony as a spiritual problem in both the old and new testament. Paul  spends a substantial portion of 1 Corinthians discussing food and various issues that arise around it.

The American Church, by contrast is impotent. Our response ranges from pithy and unbiblical, to harmful contribution to the problem. You do know the obesity rate is higher within the church don’t you? It’s no surprise, we want to be a welcoming and accepting place rejecting worldly standards of beauty, but as we’ve learned in a bazillion other areas, there is a difference between accepting a person, and encouraging their behavior.

So why not bring that up at the next potluck?

I earnestly believe that now is the time. Previously we may have had bigger fish to fry, but I think the world, and the church, is ready now for a revolution of biblical thinking about out relationship to food. I think we can see healthy cooking classes, weight loss accountability groups, and action teams that help get healthy eating habits into the minds of the next generation. Who’s with me?

Written by RyanGaffney

June 22nd, 2012 at 4:33 am

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