The Bible, Slavery, & Atheists{2b}: Theology & Ethics | Reform & Revive

By the time I finished the next article in the series, it was substantive enough and socially-oriented enough to warrant being posted on my webzine Reform & Revive.  The previous post was on on how secular Philosophy can inform our view of ethics and contribute to the discussion of Slavery, Atheism, and the Bible.  This one is about how Christian theological ethics can uniquely inform our ethics in modern times.  The article covers a LOT of ground and is the longest one I’ve written yet in this series.  Hopefully that’s not a turn off.  This article has more of my thought concerning truth and Biblical interpretation than perhaps any one article I’ve ever written contains.  Here’s the link:

It seems in light of my earlier post I’ve decided to pour more of myself into this series, rather than just quickly finishing it off.  Hopefully it’s helpful.

Lastly, I keep getting private emails, texts, and messages from Christians talking about how much they’re enjoying this series, and how helpful it is to them, but hardly any Christians are publicly commenting.  I’m getting tons of comments from my atheist friends, though.  Discrepancy?  I think so.  If you have a thought, please leave it.  It could be really helpful to get more input on this and diversity of thought on this.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement.  It means a lot.


Some Help for the Journey & the Fall (Matt Chandler, Patrol Mag, & the iMonk)

Melograna - fallingArt by Julia Meolgrana

If you have about an hour or so, I wanted to plug several articles and a sermon.  The sermon is from Matt Chandler.  It is a message he gave during a chapel service at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  There is both audio and video available.  The message is walking through Hebrews Chapter 11 and into 12 to show what the Christian life is meant to consist of.  This message blew me away.  It’s about 40 minutes long, and I was almost crying at work by the end.  It is a call to see the Fallenness of this world, the Beauty of its Savior, and our need to repent.

The main article I want to push now is an editorial from Patrol Magazine, a frequent subject and inspiration for posts on this blog.  These weekly editorials are becoming a highlight of my week.  They are always scathing critiques on Christian culture, but are written so intelligently, thoughtfully, and comprehensively, one cannot help but notice the dearth of such quality writing elsewhere in the Christian world.  This particular editorial is about how Evangelicalism is dead — not only as a term, but as a movement altogether.  Here’s a taste:

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Politics are SOOO three weeks ago…

I know we’ve all had the followng experience: you’re in a group of people and someone makes a really good joke or pun.  Someone else in the group builds on that joke and the laughs increase.  Someone else does it.  This repeats itself over and over again as people build on the joke.  Eventually, the topic changes and the conversation moves on, but your mind is still churning, trying to figure out something else you could have said while the joke was going.  Sometimes you think of something that would have been truly brilliant and inspired if you had just thought about it a minute and a half earlier.  You consider saying it anyway.Whether or not you end up saying the joke says a lot about you, but either way you end up feeling pretty stupid.  You either say it and it’s awkward, or you don’t say it and then feel like an idiot for having exerted so much time and thought to a joke you knew you could never tell.  Why did I go through this whole scenario?

Because I had a thought today that I wanted some feedback on. I can’t remember what started it, but this morning I was thinking about some political idea and became more and more impassioned about it. I was angry and zealous, and felt like I had articulated in my mind the perfect flow of thought and nuanced argumentation that would convinced even my most ardent naysayers. I then thought (of course):

I should put this on my blog!

But then I felt a little absurd.  I felt that same absurdity one feels when the joke has already passed.  And this feeling struck me as a bit odd.  Has the national “joke” that is Politics passed (at least for a time)? Are we really in a relative political peace right now, where impassioned zealous political debate seems out of place?

I mean, the health care thing has quieted down, people seem to at least appreciate the time and consideration that’s being put into a decision on Afghanistan before it’s announced, the economy seems to be at least evening out if not moving back up now, and the biggest political frustration right now has to do with the administration’s opinion that Fox News isn’t a legitimate news organization.  Heck even things that you would think would cause uproar hasn’t.  Gay rights marches, talks with Iran, and the occasional “tea party” (I’m shaking my head right now) are reported on with a relative ho-hum sort of attitude.

Maybe I got too used to the absurdities and loss of decorum that have ruled the both sides of the political world since last November (I’m having flashbacks of a particular outburst during a speech by the President).  Maybe I’m just a bit too late to get in on the joke.  Or maybe I’m just a fighter by nature and I feel weird when there’s nothing for me to give my opinion on that seems relevant and timely.  Maybe I should learn to be content writing/thinking about seemingly inconsequential-to-everyday-life things like theistic evolution and the eternality of Hell.  But let me just ask all of you:

What’s the big political story right now?  Am I missing something?  Is the joke still going on, or has the punchline already passed?  Is the world finally settling in and learning what the rhythms of everyday life in an Obama world looks like? What do you think?

Beauty: The Complete Series

screen-captureIn 2009 I did a seminar at my old church, Epiphany Fellowship, on the topic of Beauty. I spent about nine months doing research, reading, talking, and thinking before offering it to the community. I then separated my overall talk into the series of blog posts you’ll see below. A year later, I updated the main manuscript with some expanded thoughts. Those blog posts represent the material before the update.

On this page you’ll find the audio from the talk and the updated manuscript,, as well as a special appendix I put together offering a complete breakdown of every word in both Greek and Hebrew that the English Standard Version of the Bible translates as “beauty” or “beautiful”, broken down by frequency.  Along with those words (and all their forms), I’ve offered the most literal definition of each so you can easily see the huge range of meanings that the Biblical words for “beauty” carry. I hope it’s helpful. You don’t need any knowledge of Greek or Hebrew to understand it or get something from it.

Series Table of Contents

Resources for this series:

[photo by David Schrott]

The Outline for the Entire Series:

Resources for this series:

[photo by David Schrott]

I’m preaching in Philadelphia.

As the title clearly says, I will be giving the message tomorrow at Epiphany Fellowship‘s monthly event called “First Friday Fundamentals“.  Each month we take a topic and see how the culture, media, and world at large views this topic.  We look at various forms of media, art, film clips, and music to observe the predominant worldviews.  Then someone gives a message on a Biblical perspective on that topic.

This month’s topic is Beauty.

If you can make it, should be a great evening.  The info is below.  If you can’t make it, please pray for me (I’m not very experienced at this stuff).  And also know that I’ll be posting the audio, full manuscript (almost 40 pages long!) and other resources on the topic on this very blog you’re reading, my sermon site, and my podcast.  I’ll also be blogging about it all next week to let people discuss it further.  Here’s the info for the night:

First Friday Fundamentals @ Epiphany Fellowship

Friday, August 6, 2009

17th & Diamond, Philadelphia, PA

8-10:30pm, Free

I hope to see many of you there.  Below is the trailer for the evening: