Again, who’s responsible?

As I asked in my post below several days ago, I will ask again.  Five Afghan children were killed yesterday by NATO forces in a botched artillery strike.  Five people created in the image of God, people sustained actively by God.  People who, if we have an consistent pro-life ethic, should be bitterly mourned.  Who will be prosecuted for their deaths?  Where will their parents turn for justice?  

Who is responsible?

To the tune of “Oh, how I love Jesus”

“Oh, how I love church signs…”

Just in case you were wondering, your local Bible Church wants you to know…

church sign 1 church sign 2

In other news, what in the world? I’ve tried to think about this last sign semi-seriously over the last two weeks, and the only serious messages I can extract from it are unethical. Wow.

church sign 3

Twisted God-thinking in action…

”I said, ‘Lord, if he makes this, these two, we’re supposed to be national champs. And if that’s your will, I’m fine. And if he misses them and we’re not, I’m fine with that, too.’ That’s what I said in my mind. I’m probably not supposed to say that, religiously, but that’s what it was.”

–Memphis coach John Calipari after missed free throws contributed heavily to the Tigers losing the national title game.

”[If] God put me in Denver, it’s no question they would be a better team”

— Sacramento’s Ron Artest

*UPDATE TO ADD*

Consider the lilies…what a load of crap.

— my friend Dustin Miller

Any more? 🙂

N.T. Wright says most Christians are wrong about heaven

I’ve had this (what I would call) Biblically-driven suspicion for a long time that this heaven business with naked baby angels flying around and people floating on clouds is something that has little or no connection with what it means to be faithful to God.

I’ve grown tired of people saying, “(Insert name here) is in a better place” or “We know (insert name) is with the angels now.”I’ve heard persons like Brian McLaren suggesting that this is not so (or at least is not the central point of our lives), and in response to Brian’s suspicions, I have gone back to Jesus and Paul and found in letting the Scripture speak for itself that this concept of heaven as our culture sees it is driven 99% by unScriptural realities.

 N.T. Wright slams this point home.

 Forcefully.

Read the article.  All the way through.  Then go back to Jesus and Paul and read what they REALLY said.

 You can thank me (or flame me as a heretic) later.”

Christians Wrong about Heaven, says Bishop” 

I’m gonna be that guy…

 When I found out this morning that Sean Taylor (Washington Redskins safety) had died from a gunshot wound, my stomach immediately dropped through the floor.  I agreed with his family friend that this was a senseless death, a frustrating one for a guy who was honestly committed to growing up and being a responsible man and pro athlete. But what came next from the friend stuck in my craw all day long.  Here’s the quote in full;

“Maybe he was trying to say goodbye or something,” Mr Sharpstein said. “It’s a tremendously sad and unnecessary event. He was a wonderful, humble, talented young man, and had a huge life in front of him. Obviously God had other plans.” 

Seems normal, right?  You hear this kind of comment all the time in our culture.  But it frustrates the crap out of me.  Why put the responsibility for Taylor’s death on God?  What did God have to do with this at all?  This was an evil act of aggression by a human being who destroyed the life of another human being.  Maybe this shouldn’t bother me, but it does.  Badly.  At best this sort of comment is syrupy sweet and feel-good.  At worst it makes God an unfeeling tyrant who found it right in his providence to guide the hands and body of a man to break into Taylor’s house, kick in the door, and wreck his wife and family’s life in cold-blooded murder.  

Tell the honest, raw truth; Taylor’s dead because of the twisted actions of a twisted individual.

Just stop, stop it already. 

Desperate message from an acculturated church…

easy

The church might not know this is a desperate message because it seems like a fun little whimsical product, but it is; look at the picture, read Matthew 25:31-46, then read Revelation 20:11-15.

Now tell me if the picture is accurate, or even relevant to discipleship.

Now I’m gonna channel a little Schrute.
Fact: Family Christian Bookstore (the maker of the catalog I ripped the page out of), like most “Christian” bookstores, cares a heck of a lot less about equipping the church than making as much coin as possible.

Not that I wouldn’t buy it, you should too! Link to purchase here.

On Prayer and Religion…

 From John Koenig, a quote;

*point of note; Koenig is distinguishing between “religion,” which is historical and traditionally rooted and “religion in general,” which is more of a pop spirituality that often consists of shallow stabs at transcendence and is unwilling to put in the work to find the freedom on the other side*

“In recent years the great devotional classics of both the Eastern and Western traditions have become available to the reading public on an unprecedented scale. Many contemporary works are also of excellent quality. The popularity of retreat centers for prayer and meditation continues at a high level, and there is no shortage of people ready to offer their services as spiritual guides. In addition, the various twelve-step programs have helped tens of thousands find their way to a lively relationship with a Higher Power. As whole new body of writing on spirituality has developed from such programs and from other groups and movements that are best identified by the term New Age.

Yet there is a difficulty with this recent upsurge in devotional practice and literature, for much of it seems to reflect and foster a diffuse kind of religion in general, only marginally related to the biblical forms of faith. While I empathize with people who find the worship life of their local churches and synagogues to be less than inspiring, I cannot quite believe that the present growth of non-institutional or para-institutional religion signals a real deepening in our communion with God.

I mean that religion without a solid base often falls prey to peculiar romanticisms, which in turn lead to the very opposite of spiritual truth and freedom. Moreover, religion in general, as I perceive it, frequently lives in deprivation. Always standing just outside the houses of the ancient traditions, it does not get properly nourished at any one of their tables. Religion in general often searches for esoteric experiences but turns away from daily sustenance. Such a tendency, I believe, nearly always proves to be self-defeating. And it is far from necessary.

From Rediscovering New Testament Prayer, pgs 1-2