Posts

Give to the truly needy. Not the greedy.

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I read a number of blogs. Some because I like the writers; some because I like the subjects the writers bring up.In one of those blogs, for the past two weeks, the authors temporarily quit writing articles about Christ Jesus and how to argue with others about how to view him follow him better. Instead they’ve been writing ’bout why their ministry is so meaningful.They do this every December. That’s because they’ve set up a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and can take donations. Since it’s the end of the year, and maybe you’ve not given as much tax-deductible charity as you might’ve liked, perhaps you could donate to them. Plus someone’s offered them a matching grant: For every dollar you donate, the grant throws in another. They’d love to get their mitts on as big a pile of cash as they can. So they’re a-begging.Plus—I kid you not—they’d love to install an espresso machine in their coffee bar. It’d be so valuable! ’Cause whenever people stop by their offices, and wanna talk theology w…

St. Thomas, and healthy skepticism.

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Thomas wanted his doubts addressed. So Jesus addressed them. 21 December is the feast day of the apostle Thomas. His name Tomás is produced by taking the Aramaic word taóm/“twin” and adding the Greek noun-suffix -as to it. John pointed out he was also called Dídymos/“twice,” so likely he was an identical twin. There’s an old tradition he looked just like Jesus, and that’s why they called him a twin, but since Jesus was likely old enough to be his dad, I think they’d have nicknamed him “junior” instead of “twin.” No doubt Thomas had a twin brother, though we know nothing about him.What we do know is Thomas was one of the Twelve, namely the one who wouldn’t believe Jesus was alive till he saw him for himself.John 20.24-25 KWL24 Thomas, one of the Twelve, called Twin, wasn’t with the others when Jesus came.25 The other students told Thomas, “We saw the Master!”He told them, “Unless I see the nail-marks on his hands and put my finger on the nail-scarsand put my hand on the scar on his sid…

Rachel weeping for her children.

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When a Babylonian king killed the children of one town… and when an Edomite king killed the children of another. Jeremiah 31.15-17.A pet peeve of mine is by Noël Regney and Shayne Baker’s historically inaccurate Christmas song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” In it, when Jesus gets born, a night wind tells a little lamb of the nativity. The lamb tells a shepherd boy, who then tells a mighty king, who then tells the people everywhere. In real life, the mighty king responded a bit more like this:Said the king to the soldiers at his gate:“Massacre the toddlers!Everyone below two years old:Massacre the toddlers!Slay all, slay all, leave my rivals deadPut your spears through this child's headPut your spears through this child's headNot at all heartwarming, but that’s Herod bar Antipater for ya.Matthew 2.16-18 KWL16 Then Herod, seeing he was made a fool of by the Zoroastrians, was enraged.Sending agents, he destroyed all the children in Bethlehem and the whole area around it,from two year…

Lying so we can win the debate.

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Christians lie.No we’re not supposed to. There’s a whole teaching about this. (It’s actually not the “don’t bear false witness” command, Ex 20.16 which has to do with perjury. It’s the one about how Christians need to be rid of lying, and tell the truth to one another. Ep 4.25) But we lie just the same. Usually to get out of trouble. Sometimes to defraud.And sometimes when we debate with non-Christians, and wanna score points, we borrow a rather common tactic we see in politics: We ignore whether our “facts” are all that factual.Oh, we wish they were factual, ’cause they really help our case. We’ll psyche ourselves into believing they’re factual. We’re willing to dismiss any evidence which says otherwise. We’re totally willing to perpetuate fraud.Yeah, it’s fraud. There’s a command against that too. Mk 10.19But Christians dismiss this particular sin, ’cause we figure it’s so important to win these arguments, score victories for Jesus… and really stick it to those skeptics. Ends justif…

Two types of worship music.

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And no, I don’t mean gospel and contemporary Christian music. Yeesh. There are two types of worship songs we tend to see in churches.And yeah, some Evangelicals are gonna assume I mean traditional worship (i.e. hymns and old-timey gospel songs) and contemporary worship (i.e. spanning from the worship choruses of the 1970s, to the Christian pop songs of today). I don’t. I consider those styles of songs; the only real difference is in presentation. You could put a backbeat on a hymn and turn it into a pop song; you can put a pop song in a hymnal and sing it with that very same cadence.Type refers to the purpose and content of the song, and generally there are two of ’em.INSTRUCTIVE describes the songs written to deliberately teach an idea—to put it to music, and get it into Christians’ heads. They teach us about amazing grace, about what a friend we have in Jesus, about how great God art, and that he’s holy holy holy. They tend to have a lot of verses, various complicated words… and no …