March 27, 2014

God sanctifies our labor. The Apostle Paul enjoined us to work with our hands (1 Thes 4.11) and provided the example, stitching tents as a common tradesman (Acts 18.3). Though we might mistake it as part of the Curse, work is a holy undertaking. Sometimes the church makes this point in explicit terms, other times in subtler language. Not long ago I looked at an icon of Archbishop Luke of Simferopol and Crimea, a recent Orthodox saint who lived from… Read more

March 26, 2014

Well, now. World Vision has reversed its decision on same-sex marriage and employee conduct, according to World magazine. Christianity Today reproduced a letter sent by WV, explaining in part, The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. . . . [W]e made a change to our conduct policy that was not… Read more

March 25, 2014

The news from Britain that aborted fetuses were incinerated to heat hospitals is both shocking and banal. First, shocking: Over the course of just two years more than 15,000 humans living in a modern, Western democracy with protections for human rights were nonetheless disposed of and then utilized for their carbon. This is the inversion of ancient paganism. We aren’t crafting wood in God’s image. We are turning God’s image into mere wood. It still amounts to idolatry, but the… Read more

January 13, 2014

I’m taking a breather. I’ve tried a noise fast unsuccessfully in the past: no social media, broadcast media, etc. I couldn’t hack it. This time I’m going to do it a bit differently. I’m going to put my blog on hiatus for a bit (longer than Phil Robertson’s benching) and discontinue use of social media. No Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for a while. In the meantime, I’m going to read novels, listen to jazz, and ride my bike. If the… Read more

January 13, 2014

God raises up prophetic voices from time to time, and it’s our loss when we miss their appearance. One such prophetic voice was Nikolai Velimirovich of Ochrid and Zhicha. Many of us missed him because he was born in Eastern Europe and, though he ended his life in the United States, died more than half a century ago. Thankfully, there is a wonderful documentary about his life, Saint Nikolai the Serb. It captures some of his presence and importance, particularly… Read more

January 11, 2014

In this video Kenneth Copeland and David Barton argue that soldiers returning from war should not suffer PTSD or self-condemnation because of their experiences. I know they mean well, but their treatment of the scripture is baffling. “Look how many people in Hebrews 11 faith hall of fame are warriors,” says Barton. “Almost the whole list, man,” says Copeland. “The whole thing,” affirms Barton. But, no, not actually. Here are the individuals listed in Hebrews 11: Abel, not a warrior…. Read more

January 10, 2014

Florence King once called George Orwell “Every conservative’s favorite liberal and every liberal’s favorite conservative.” Why? Conservatives invoke his critiques of totalitarianism. Progressives appeal to his attacks on reactionary politics. Orwell is easily bent to many ends — like the Bible. Here’s an enlightening quote from a review in The New Statesman: Since whoever we are (save for a few sad Leninists) we all agree with George Orwell, it usually follows that Orwell must agree with us. Whatever our 21st-century… Read more

January 9, 2014

Ben Franklin once said that “three removes is as bad as a fire. . . .” He might have been understating things. Megan and I found a wonderful house, much closer to our church, family, friends, and familiar haunts. Happily, we had a contract on our own home in a very short period of time. The realtor was a rock star. The movers were great, too. But then it got crazy. I realize mortgage companies caught a lot of flak… Read more

January 7, 2014

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has a list of books you should read. His selection concerns works of profound and lasting influence, such as On the Origin of Species and The Wealth of Nations. Topping the list — not too surprisingly — is the Bible. But curiously Tyson slanders the book. Why read it? “[T]o learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself,” he says. It reminds me… Read more

January 6, 2014

While undertaking a revision of the traditional christening (or baptismal) service, the Church of England has pretty much negated the whole enterprise. Whereas once parents and godparents were asked if they “reject the devil and all rebellion against God,” along with “the sins that separate us from God and neighbor,” the new language prompts disavowal of “evil . . . and all its empty promises.” It’s a fine thought, but hardly an adequate baptismal renunciation. The revisions are, as the… Read more

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