February 14th, 2014
So, my pal JT told me about this film The Sunset Limited, which is free on YouTube. The whole film takes place in the dank apartment of a subway janitor (Samuel L. Jackson) and a professor (Tommy Lee Jones). The professor is an atheist who tried to jump in front of a train but the janitor stopped him.
The prose begins in the apartment and the rhetoric is fantastic. The whole movie debates morality, the Bible, angels, God, the problem of evil, sin, etc. It’s a conversation and not an academic debate. They each have good points to make, which is why both Christians and atheists should watch it. For instance, the professor says, “Why not give up? God gives up. As far as I know there’s no ministry in hell.” Now, that objection has answers but rhetorically, wow, that’s hot! Also, the story about how the janitor became a believer (spoiler: beats a man badly) and the professor questions if disfiguring a man was worth his belief in God. It’s amazing.
The janitor isn’t the most educated person, scholastically speaking, but he’s very intelligent. Just watch out for his semi-Pelagian switching around in his rhetoric when they discuss original sin and the Bible.
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December 21st, 2013
Let’s start giving a full disclosure concerning Christmas: Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. (That’s what I mean by Christmas. I’m referring to its date.) I think most people know that, but what’s important is knowing when Jesus actually was born (approximating) and the origins of the date. Spoiler alert: the date has pagan origins. Is that a problem? I don’t think so and we shouldn’t be up in a twist about it. The main point is marking a point of celebration. Christmas is about the incarnation–God becomes man. Does our celebration of the incarnation have to be on a specific day? No. It has simply become Christian tradition that we do celebrate the incarnation. The birth of Jesus is another way of looking at it but a theologically rich view of Christmas views the season as a celebration of the incarnation of God.
1). Dating the account requires synoptic correlation by referring to Matthew’s account of the same events.
- Mt. 2.1: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.”
- Mt. 2.19: “But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt.”
2). Herod died in 4BC. Jesus had to have been born before this, which would be between 6-4BC. During this time, Herod was sick and there was much turmoil. Augustus would have wanted a census taken.
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December 16th, 2013
For the last 6 [or so] years Ergun Caner has buried himself in a controversy of lies. I was a Liberty University student who sat in during many of Caner’s false claims of debating several Muslim apologists, which he claimed were misstatements, and apparent falsities concerning his history. I was a graduate assistant during the exposure of these problems and whilst talking with some other GA’s who knew/worked with Caner I was told that he wasn’t “allowed” to defend himself. As a student who sat under dozens of his sermons I feel particularly invested in Caner’s restoration.
This has been [rightly] dubbed The Great Evangelical Coverup–and it’s true. The evidence is incredibly overwhelming with so much evidence falsifying his claims of history and experience (see this account, which has is several years old but still worth noting–more has since been uncovered). Unfortunately, Caner has resorted to suing a pastor in good standing with his congregation [Southern Baptist] over use of a publicly available talk of Caner speaking to US Marines that contain documented lies.
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November 20th, 2013
Several years ago I was taking a [required] course that teaches creationism. I have a few comments about the course I’ll keep to myself [as in it shouldn't be in the university] but I think most readers know where I stand on university and academia issues and standards. I was asked the question, “Is it surprising that scientific evidence supports a young earth perspective?”
My response is simply that this is a loaded question. I don’t think I can say there’s no evidence for a young earth; however, I find the record of nature to support the proposition that the universe is old (billions of years) by overwhelming evidence. There is hardly any evidence for a young earth, if indeed there is any at all.
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November 19th, 2013
Most of us are quite familiar with the seven deadly sins: Pride, Greed, Wrath, Luxury/Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth. However, these are much more profound then they seem to be at face value and they go much, much deeper, penetrating the depths of our soul to bring about a conviction and guidance needed during some of the darkest times of our lives. This brings us to John of the Cross…
John of the Cross (1542-1591) was committed to Catholic reform and was imprisoned, or put in confinement, by those who opposed the reform. During this time he wrote his most famous work, The Dark Night of the Soul. The concept of the dark night is key to one’s spiritual journey. It’s not when one is experiencing joy and light but rather sorrow and darkness.
When enduring through the dark night there is a loss of pleasure. After you first become a Christian, God cares for and comforts the infant soul. You will pray with urgency and perseverance and engage in all kinds of spiritual activity. What’s important to know is that this whole gauntlet is an act of God. God will bid you to grow deeper and remove precious consolation from the soul in order to teach it virtue rather than developing vice.
The following is a list of [seven] sins that makes clear the soul has begun to misuse its spiritual consolation and why God must take it away in order to purify the soul from imperfections.
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November 18th, 2013
Alas, the plaguing problem of the lightbulb… After a complete survey of several churches and denominations this is what the results yield*:
Charismatic: Only one because their hands are already in the air.
- Pentecostal: Ten—one to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
- Presbyterian: None—the light will go on and off at predestined times.
- Roman Catholics: None—candles only.
- Baptists: At least 15—one to change the light bulb and three committees to approve the changes and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.
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October 28th, 2013
Why I am a Christian: I was raise by Atheist parents, I had in my youth learned most of the atheist arguments against God and used them to please my mother and convince myself I was right. In my teens I had followed the path of Atheism and remained antagonistic to Christians and Christianity. Where I was raised were many Mennonites, these farming community kids had nothing to say against my ideas and had even less interest in being in my company while I lived as drug dealer in my High School.
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October 21st, 2013
The disciples were not expecting the Christ and Messiah to be a spiritual Messiah, rather, they expected the Messiah to be a political Messiah redeeming indentured Israel from Roman captivity and rule. According to church tradition, eleven of the twelve disciples (later apostles) died for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. What can account for such belief and fortitude? It would be unlikely that the disciples contrived the resurrection as a means of social, spiritual, or a political influence. All eleven died independently from each other and never retracted their belief. There are martyrs today but there would be no reasonable explanation for why the disciples would die for something they knew to be false and never retracted it, independent of each other’s influence, before their deaths. Paul accounted for the disciples’ belief in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.9-11 and Galatians 2.1-10
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September 8th, 2013
America prides itself for ultimate equality in opportunity. The Atlantic’s recent article “RIP, American Dream? Why It’s so Hard for the Poor to Get Ahead Today” has drawn the attention back to the ripe Americana philosophy of setting and achieving goals. When we often read sociological reports and statistics on family incomes, university graduation, etc. we have the tendency treat the American Dream as the par of success.
Every American has the same possibility to set their personal goals and accomplish them. That doesn’t guarantee that it will be as easy for all but it does guarantee the opportunity should the hard work and determination arise in the individual.
There’s no blaming the system for our personal short falls in America. There’s no oppression of competency. However, American Christians may often find themselves in a conflated competition. The athlete does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. Which race are we running? —The race for the American dream or the race for the Kingdom of God?
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