Monthly Archives: January 2006

Obsession With Certainty

The series of posts and comments on the leadership blog Out of Ur have been interesting reading as of late. Everyone is blogging about Brian McLaren’s post regarding homosexuality and our treatment of homosexuals, a rather immature response by Mark Driscoll, and then Brian’s response to Mark.

I appreciate Brian’s thoughts, but have my own views on the matter at hand, so I’m not exactly hanging on his every word. It’s interesting reading and worth a look if you have not thought long and hard about the topics he’s discussing. Mark’s banter and the gloating that follows in the comment section are poison for the body of Christ.

Whatever the case may be, I think there are some larger issues at stake. One is our obsession with certainty and nailing down people on issues. Why can’t we be vague? That is what drives so many evangelicals CRAZY about Brian McLaren. He’s doesn’t flip flop. He just won’t let you pin him down. Is that so terrible? The other issue that Brian focuses on quite a bit is the way we handle scripture. I posted a few of my own thoughts below on that topic.

Certainty
Mark Discoll writes in the comment section:

“Brian, as someone who has known you for many years I will, out of sincere and true love for you, ask one simple question and kindly request that you answer it.

Do you personally believe that all sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is always a sin?

I hope this question is simple, clear, and personal enough to result in an answer of either yes or no. Perhaps my attempt at some prophetic sarcasm which is commmon in Scripture was not well received. So, rather than repeating my tone I would like to simply ask your forgiveness if your have been wounded and get to the point of all this controversy. People like me who have known you, followed you, and learned from you for many years would simply like to know the bottom line for you personally with all of the other issues set aside for the time being. If you refuse to answer I am sure you can understand why accusations and concerns will be coming from both the right and the left and your answer will at least enable you to speak for yourself. So, with all respect would you please answer the question my brother?” (Jan 30, 11:02 am)

Further down is a comment by Mike Morrell, which I should note was probably written without knowledge of Driscoll’s comment. Leadership held all of the comments until they were viewed later in the day in order to weed out malicious and inappropriate comments.

“Is this the present state of the evangelical church? Are we so addicted to certainty on every minutiae of doctrine that we come out, guns-a-blazing, to assassinate the character and explorations of anyone who gently challenges the party line?

For shame. Saints, the church of Jesus Christ is a really diverse place, and we’d do well to realize appreciate this. I’m sick of how US evangelicalism manufactures consent, turning us all into fearful, plastic, nodding yes men.”
Mike Morrell

Scripture
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The Danes

One of my favorite books is by Jasper Fforde: Something Rotten. Part of the plot is that the CEO of the Toast Marketing Board is taking over England (Whales is a separate Socialists Republic), and makes war with the Danes at the top of his list. That of course is fiction.

This is not.

There are a lot of Arab nations who are ticked off at Denmark and 12 particular cartoonists who committed a major taboo: they drew Mohammed. I’m not up on Islam and its laws, but apparently no one is allowed to draw Mohammed.

With classic European panache, the Danes decided to push the envelope, invoke the wrath of a large people group, and then claim it’s about freedom of speech (or something like that).

What do you think? View the cartoons.

Articles to read:
Boycott of Danish Goods
Threats to newspaper
Angry Saudi consumers
Muslim Rage

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Git Er’ Done

< %image(20060128-maplefloor 003.jpg|244|325|me with pad)%> A few sore fingers and aching knees later, and our maple floor is almost done. My father-in-law and I tore into it today and made some great progress. While the first star goes to him, the second star goes to my Ryobi mitre saw that I bought last week at Home Depot (on sale!). I come in third because the saw was clearly more valuable than myself. It made cutting everything so dang easy. I even experimented with cutting my trim angles and found that it did a top notch job.

So I still have all of my digits and we’ll wrap up this job tommorrow with some laminate panels to spare. It’s now time for a photgraphic run down of the day. The dog in one of the pictures is my in-law’s hound/beagle/mystery mix. He didn’t help very much, but he always made sure he was laying right where the next piece of laminate was supposed to snap in. I’ll put a few more pics up on Flickr. See the link below.

The picture here is of me putting down the pad, I wasn’t just posing on the floor to look like I was working. Real work was being done when the picture was snapped.

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Faithful With a Little

Names and some details have been slightly modified for privacy reasons, but the rest of this is true. Most of this is not made up, James Frey be “darned.”

A conversation with Janice confirmed my deepest, darkest fears: my desire for a leadership position anywhere in ministry is fueld by a burning desire for some kind of status and career advancement. Yes, too often I find myself wanting a position in ministry because of where that could take me or the doors it could open.That has to stop.

I’m tired of being a self-serving leetch who’s not fit to lead a warren full of bunnies. “How will holding this rabbit make me look?” “Should his ears be up or down to maximize the attention drawn to me?” Of course I’m not quite like that, but I’m close enough to the flame of ego to singe my eye brows.

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Our New Floor

This weekend Julie will be running away to spend time with a friend and that means I get to tear the place apart. It’s my largest undertaking for quite some time and my father-in-law is going to be a big part of it: we’re putting in a laminate floor in our kitchen and bathroom. I got most of the flooring from IKEA with my own modifications here and there. It’s a pretty sharp maple look.

I need to get up tommorrow morning and stain the quarter round and take up the carpet tiles. The tiles have served us well, but we both find that carpet can be tough when you get messy with spilling oil, sauce, and who knows what.

Here are some before pictures:
< %image(20060127-kitchen before2.jpg|210|285|before)%>

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Hitting the Links This Morning

On Open Source Theology
My thanks to Andrew Jones for linking to an article titled: “Towards an emergent pneumatology.” That long “P” word is Christian Scholar-ese for “study of the Holy Spirit.” The article points to a gaping void of the Holy Spirit in some key places of the emerging church.

While I know that many prominent emerging voices do in fact hit on the Holy Spirit a lot, most of the EC books and blogs seem to focus more on culture, deconstructing church, and new ways to do church. The disconnect here is that our theology of the church should flow right from the Holy Spirit. Talk about getting things arse backwards.

As If the DaVinci Code Wasn’t Bad Enough . . .
Priest told to prove Jesus lived: “An Italian court is to decide whether a priest should be called to face questioning over whether or not Jesus Christ actually existed. A court in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, is considering a case brought by Luigi Cascioli, a devoted atheist.”

I Believe This Story, but Man Do I Wish it Was Part of a Sinister Liberal Scheme to Deceive Us
Sea level rise ‘is accelerating’: Global sea levels could rise by about 30cm during this century if current trends continue, a study warns. Australian researchers found that sea levels rose by 19.5cm between 1870 and 2004, with accelerated rates in the final 50 years of that period.”

Good News For the World?
Quickie Bird Flu Vaccine Created

Income Gap in New York Is Called Nation’s Highest
“ALBANY, Jan. 26 — New York continues to have the highest income disparity between rich and poor of any state, according to a new study by two national economic policy groups.”