Archive for May, 2011

I call to your attention this on-line posting by Josh Harris, Senior Pastoral authority at the Sovereign Grace Ministry’s flagship church. Of particular note to me is the acknowledgement of harm done to fellow believers in the area of their approaches to dating.

I have greater issues with some of the methodologies and thinking in the SGM movement than just this, but this is a huge thing.

In my lifetime I have both witnessed and experienced pastoral abuse of the type vaguely referred to insofar as dating and courtship is concerned. I imagine that ministries like sgmrefuge.com and sgmsurvivors.com helped in their own way to bring the Holy Spirit’s light — and the light of open discussion — to these things. Time will tell if real change is coming to SGM.

Why comment on these matters again? Because of the way some single Christian men have been treated in some fellowships for things like taking a woman out to eat, or otherwise socializing with her in purity. These things being both sinful and offensive to the man as well as his Father.

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It so happened that I met a lady some time ago on ChristianCafe; and in the course of the getting-to-know you dialogue she was reading my profile. She did not think very highly of this posting and wanted to dispute it with me, so she did; but not by any straightforward measure. E-mail, to start with, is not the best way to communicate; all kinds of contextual clues like facial gestures get stripped out, and people often write very differently than they speak. Those are givens. She was, however, pretty sure it was a RED FLAG!! in her words that I declined to discuss it further unless in person. Apparently she had found evidence that I was lacking in integrity in my unwillingness to discuss the matter unless in person.

The real red flag was her combativeness; but it was a red flag for me; she was comfortable with making an accusation against my integrity not for something I wrote, but because of the way I handled the dialog. She was in error.

Why this posting? Not to kvetch about her. I’m glad she revealed herself. My point for the Christian brother: Women will show “red flag” behavior as well. It seems pointless that this even should have to be voiced, right? But I think it needs to be, especially for the believing single man in a fellowship that does not admit that women have an old nature as well, and a need to mature; just as a man does.

This is not a bad idea to think on; neither shameful nor evil. They both ate, and you have corrupting influence of original sin in your own human nature, as well. I’m just advising you not to pedestalize women, even Christian ones.

You are no hero for bravely condemning someone with an honest and ernest question.

Bad Theology is a harsh taskmaster.

Credo #29: The influence

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Credo, For brothers

The primary influence of the organized fellowship, and also the life of the individual believer, on culture, politics, and on “secular” culture generally; is one that is a byproduct of the Christian life well lived; not the focus. It is so very rarely the focus of a life.

To put this another way, there are a very few whose calling is, say, to engage the culture in the political realm in a direct and pronounced way. Your life as a believer will no doubt touch the political realm, perhaps only on election day; perhaps in the dialogs that come your way in life. Generally speaking, the latter will be the the case, not the former. This is not a Credo about politics; rather; it is an admonition to not lose your way in making some ministerial focus a substitute for your life with God. One can see people who, say, spiritually fetishize the poor, or conservative politics; or progressive politics, or their own notions of sacred music, say. All these things are so much easier than actually becoming a submitted and wise follower of Him in the role you are specifically called to. If you do this – if you fail this way – it will leave you powerless at the level where it really counts.

Credo #30: The Pit

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Credo, For brothers

Remember that it was Joseph’s brothers who threw him into a pit.

Remember that these narratives in the OT are given to us in the NT age for our benefit; they are “types and shadows” to illuminate our understanding.

If you are going to be a modern day Joseph, you may be finding yourself mis-treated by an existing local church structure that has only a tenuous, or at least only partial, hold on physical and spiritual reality. You may be mis-treated in a severe fashion.

I have seen idiot pastors rebuke single men for going on a date; and for not going on a date. I have seen men disinvited for even asking questions about mandatory tithing; a practice that did not begin until the State co-opted the organized fellowship. I have seen men with college degrees claim that the biblical Christianity requires one to accept that the physical evidence supports a young earth interpretation of the facts; and then challenge the faith of those who object.

… .And these were men who were in the pulpit.

A new age is coming. Just accept — without whining about it — that your brothers in faith may not be your allies. This does not mean that they are no longer your brothers.

Random SXM observation

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

It so happens that I have a little bit of interest in Astronomy; something that a very few random “Church Ladies” can be offended by but usually not. It is offensive to those few in that they do not parse out the difference between Astronomy and Astrology. Most of God’s children love nature in all its expressions.

Background to my comment: The etymology of “Planet” is planetos from the Greek, meaning “wandering.” Looking into the night sky one sees a planet as moving along the Ecliptic plane rather than staying relatively put (though from a fixed observation point on earth one sees the stars “move”.) So, the Planet Mars came be associated with Ares and Mars, gods of war to the Greeks and Romans, because of how it seemed to be hastening across the sky (the position of Mars relative to Earth makes this apparent speed under the right conditions). Venus with beauty, etc.

How about the “Star of Bethlehem” that some want to blame on Haley’s Comet, or various configurations of planets, stars, etc.? Here’s my two cents worth, noting that I am not a professional Astronomer (but check out Hugh Ross, a believing professionally trained Astronomer) nor a Greek exegete. By report to me from reliable sources, the Greek word for star is applied in various sources to all sorts of things in the sky that need a label, not just stars or stars that wander about — meteorologic phenomena, for example. It seems to fit the context to me that this light in the sky was just that — a light in the sky; perhaps an angelic visitation or some such thing. (Hopefully no one takes offense at the lyrics that spring to my mind: “…wheel in the sky keeps on turning..” which is perhaps from Journey.) So the Magi saw this “light” which might have been in our own planetary atmosphere, for all it matters, or even a few hundred yards off the ground; and they followed it to Palestine. Or it could have been some orbiting body reflecting the sun’s light. Who knows.

All these musings are generated by the morning’s news, which will have me out with my binoculars observing this phenomena. Church ladies of all inclinations as always will be welcome, but snarky comments are not, since I am not biblically obligated to receive snarky and unwarranted shame from Church Ladies. And neither are you. And this is light for some who have been conditioned to think otherwise.