Showing posts from February, 2014

Faithful Compromise
Compromise has increasingly been a lost art in our public life as we have come to prize ideological purity over brokered effectiveness.
February 27, 2014 - By James K.A. Smith
"Faithful witness is an abstract ideal, which can take no form in the world as it is; compromise, therefore, is the law of our being, and no-one, not even Jesus himself, can get by without striking bargains."

Many of us will be both puzzled and disturbed by this provocative claim from ethicist and theologian Oliver O'Donovan. It counters our gut-level intuitions and also runs counter to the spirit of the age in which "compromise" is a dirty word. For Christians, the word evokes a sense of capitulation or assimilation, the sort of "friendship with the world" that James describes as "enmity with God" (James 4:4). To compromise is to give up and give in, to abandon one's principles, to surrender. Indeed, resis…

What in the World are We Here For?

That’s the question I keep coming back to in the recent dust-up over providing services for gay customers.What are we, the church, here for?From the various blogs I’ve seen at least the following answers to my question can be deduced:

1.To stand for our faith in every area of life
2.To pass judgment on gay people
3.To impose our view of sexuality on others in whatever ways we can
The common thread here is exclusion.In a faith mandated to take the non-exclusive and unconditional love of God to the word, the Christians involved in this brouhaha seem more focused on drawing lines in the sand and excluding those who don’t have the right qualifications.
While it is surely right to stand for our faith in every area of life, whatever faith we are representing by exclusive actions is certainly questionable.
To pass judgment on someone, or to declare that they stand under the judgment of God should be an impetus for us to befriend them and show and share God’s love to them.
To impose our view of sexu…

Why I Don’t Go To Church

Image 25, 2014 By 6 Comments There has been a lot of buzz online in recent days about the value of church attendance.  Initiated by a pair of posts by Donald Miller, ( The initial post… and the followup.), who bravely confessed that he rarely goes to church, Miller’s posts were followed up by this piece on Christianity Today’s PARSE blog, which dug a little deeper but had more of the feel of an expose, and didn’t get to the heart of what seems (to me anyway) to be the crucial issues about church.

I appreciate Donald’s honesty — and Brian McLaren’s as well, in response to the PARSE piece — and I have no interest arguing for or against the positions that they described.  Rather, I want to tell my own story reflect on what we mean when we talk of church attendance or “going to church.”

I grew up going to church, and continued to do so in college.  In fact, it was almost a necessity. I went to Taylor University, which has …

Atonement and Divine Child Abuse

It seems the charge of “Divine Child Abuse” has gone from being a marginal critique of an aberrant expression of one version of atonement theology to a constitutive critique of any sacrificial or penal view.Scot McKnight ( effectively if briefly debunks this development. Feb 25, 2014 @ 0:05 By Scot McKnight

About a decade ago it became avant garde theology to contend the classical Christian theory of atonement was nothing less than divine child abuse. That is, the image of a Father punishing a Son, or exacting retribution at the expense of his own Son, or punishing a Son for the good of others — each of these became a way of deconstructing classical atonement theory.
Unfortunately, this approach works from a very simplistic image: a father, a son, and a brutal death and attributes intention to the father as one who brutalizes a son. As an image, it connotes abuse. The image, however, abuses the Bible’s i…

Why the Traditional Church is Extremely Unlikely to Become Missional

1.Unless and until we can imagine and experience God as the Great Lover of the World whose face we see in Jesus Christ, and not the “God-with-a-Scowl” whom so many identify him with, the church will never become missional. 
2.Unless and until we can see and experience Jesus Christ as the Lord of all reality (Bonhoeffer), the world’s rightful king who is on a mission to subvert and overcome the attitudes, actions, patterns, and structures and ourselves as his divinely armor-clad soldiers (Eph.6:10-20) who implement and spread the fruit of Christ’s victory at the cross and in his resurrection and ascension, the church will never become missional.
3.Unless and until the Holy Spirit is a reality in the lives of traditional churches (and released from the narrow confines in which Pentecostal churches tend to keep him), God’s struggle to spread the fruits of Christ’s victory throughout the world through his people will never be brought to completion.God’s will, of course, will not be frustrat…

Looking for Those Disaffected with Church in Longview, TX

If you are in the Longview, TX area, and if you have been damaged, disgusted, or disappointed by the church, or if you just wonder, "There has to be more to church than this," or if you wish the church was more like Jesus, contact me here or at and let's see if we can get a group of folks together to explore what we might do to deal with our disaffection with church as we have known it.

To Will One Thing

Posted: 22 Feb 2014 10:10 PM PST Father in Heaven,
What are we without You?
What is all that we know,
vast accumulation though it be,
but a chipped fragment if we do not know You!
What is all our striving,
could it ever encompass a world,
but a half-finished work if we do not know You:
You the One, who is one thing and who is all! So may You give to the intellect,
wisdom to comprehend that one thing;
to the heart,
sincerity to receive this understanding;
to the will,
purity that wills only one thing.
In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing;
amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing. You that gives both the beginning and the completion,
give Your victory in the day of need
so that what neither our burning wish
nor our determined resol…

Exclusive Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State
February 21, 2014
by Mike Lofgren
Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought out nothing but loads of dung. That was their return cargo.
The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade (1871)

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of …