Satan’s ordinary attacks

We often think of the Christian life in terms of spectacular events and experiences, but vocation teaches us that Christianity is to be lived in the most ordinary spheres of life.  By the same token, Satan also tries to attack us in those ordinary spheres of life.  Pastor Matt Richard draws on John Kleinig’s spiritual classic-in-the-making Grace Upon Grace to show how that works. [Read more…]

The Bible TV show

The Bible on the History Channel is a smash hit, even though most critics hate it.  The mini-series reportedly takes a reverent stance towards its source material.  I have not seen it.  Have you?  How is it?  (After the jump, a critic of the Hollywood scene discusses the show.) [Read more…]

Civil war within the Republican party?

The John McCain wing of the Republican party and the Rand Paul wing of the Republican party have been attacking each other over military policy and who is to blame for losing the presidential election.  Now at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, the so-called establishment Republicans and the so-called tea-party Republicans ridiculed each other.  Observers are seeing schism, if not civil war.

Interestingly, Mario Rubio and Jeb Bush are being described as “establishment” figures, though they used to be considered hard-core conservatives.  So I suspect some of this Republican break-up talk is wishful thinking from Democrat-leaning pundits.  But here is a prediction:  Both the “pragmatic” professional politicians in the Republican party–the ones fixated on winning elections–AND the newly insurgent libertarian wing associated with Rand Paul will come together to advocate gay marriage.  If this happens, where would that leave you (us) social conservatives?  [Read more…]

Have an unglorious Passiontide

This is the week before Holy Week, a part of the church year known as Passiontide.  Contrary to those who think that liturgical worship is the same old thing every week, the liturgy, while following the same structure, actually changes each week, with different Bible readings and collects, and it features meaningful variations according to the church year.  Sunday, our pastor explained and put into effect worship customs for Passiontide that I never knew about before.  [Read more…]

“Radical” Christianity vs. regular Christianity

The latest thing in contemporary Christianity is “radical Christianity.”  From the Christian bestseller lists to programs in megachurches, Christians are being told that Jesus was “radical” and that they should give up their “middle class” “mediocrity” and start helping the poor.  But how is this different from just liberal mainline Protestantism?  And isn’t just another form of works-righteousness?  For all the talk of the “demands of the Gospel” (doesn’t that turn the Gospel into Law?), I don’t hear anything about the Gospel.  That is, Christ on the Cross atoning for sinners.  Some of these teachers are making valid criticisms of typical evangelicalism, it seems to me, but they are slipping into some of the same mistakes, just in a different key.  And it also reaches for the spectacular, minimizing ordinary life, a serious “theology of glory” rejection of vocation.  (After the jump, read an account from Christianity Today and give me your take on this.) [Read more…]

2013 NCAA Tournament

The NCAA basketball tournament is all set.  You may fill out your brackets:  2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket – March Madness Tournament Brackets – ESPN.  While a good part of America’s workplaces will be turned into gambling parlors, we will host a simpler pool:  What two teams will play for the national championship, and which one will win? [Read more…]