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When the Christian church collaborates with a pagan culture by covering up death, it seals its own death warrant. For the whole reason for the church’s existence, its whole message, is a “good news” or gospel about a God who became man in order to solve the problem of death and the problem of sin, which is its root. Whether the story is true or false, it is fundamentally a story about resurrection from death, conquest of death. The resurrection is the heart of every sermon preached by every Christian in the New Testament. For the church to cover up death is for it to cover up the question whose answer is its own meaning. Nothing is more meaningless than an answer without a question. The “good news” of Christianity claims to answer the “bad news” of death. Without the “bad news,” the “good news” sounds like a charming but superfluous fairy tale, a melange of commonplace ethical platitudes inexplicably encumbered with miracles and mythology, an echo of parental imperatives already long known and disobeyed. The “good news” becomes neither good news nor even news. The Sermon on the Mount does not answer the problem of death. The resurrection does. But teh answer presupposes the problem, presupposes facing death as an enemy. No wonder teaching that answer without facing the problem strikes the hearer as irrelevant mythology to be ignored as death is ignored. If the question is a stranger, the answer will be a stranger too. (23)
— Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
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posted 8 / 12 / 2014
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Meet the B Siders: Celibate LGBTQ Christians

An interesting read.

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posted 7 / 7 / 2014
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Why I Gave Up Alcohol

My peers, most of them traveling along upwardly mobile career paths, constantly reference alcohol, especially on social media. Posting pictures of a frothy, dark Guinness. Tweeting about needing a glass of wine after a long day with a toddler. Hosting a birthday party in a hipster whiskey bar. Churches are hosting small groups like “Think and Drinks,” talking theology over craft beer. And with every picture, tweet and event that centers on alcohol, I wonder: Isn’t anyone friends with alcoholics?

And:

I absorb these statistics, and I also see them played out in front of me. Alcohol starts to become an integral part of the brokenness I witness every day. violence, mental health issues, sickness, and premature death. I see how it becomes a form of oppression in marginalized communities. I see how easy it is for someone like me to proclaim Christian liberty and freely drink in moderation, in celebration. And I see how that reality is not the reality of many of my brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors. “Do not get drunk with wine,” the Scriptures say. For many
the disease with which they are afflicted makes them unable to drink without getting drunk. So what is a Christian supposed to do?

And:

The problem arises when our neighbors and peers are people who are just like us. Churches in a consumerist. Western landscape can easily cater to specific demographics, ethnicities, and theologies. Social media allowus to curate our friends and acquaintances and influencers based
on how similar they are to us. We gravitate toward people who look like us, think like us, and drink like us. And when we think about enjoying alcohol as Christians, this might be the real sin.

If you wear an “I heart bacon” T-shirt, I will have to assume you don’t have many Muslim or Jewish friends. Likewise, if you are posting about how “Mommy needs her wine,” I will assume you don’t know anyone struggling with alcoholism. At best, the progressive Christian  social
media world appears tone-deaf to many realities at the margins of society. At its worst, it speaks to a relational divide that is much more problematic than the question of whether or not Christians should drink alcohol.

I didn’t give up alcohol because I wanted to flee the evils of the world. I gave up alcohol as a way of engaging the evils of the world.

A very thoughtful article that looks at alcohol use from an entirely different angle than the more common approach of my liberated evangelical peers.

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posted 6 / 13 / 2014
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Same-Sex Attraction in the Church

Good stuff. There is a lot of room for growth in the way Christians engage issue with tenderness and humanity, without also giving away the store.

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posted 5 / 13 / 2014
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To hear [Derek Webb] sing about his faith, love for the church, marriage, and struggle with sin and obedience, and now know that at that time he was living contrary to that — and, upon reading his recent announcement, to feel that he makes marriage look like it’s not worth fighting out – feels antithetical to everything Webb stood for. And for those of us who have found hope and strength in his music, it’s rattling and sad. It feels like an unspoken contract between him and his audience has been broken.

Should Christian artists be held to a higher standard?

I keep thinking about the announcement, and it just makes me sick.

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posted 5 / 12 / 2014
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Are Christians in America Persecuted?

woody:

The short answer is “Yes, all the time.”

The not as short answer is: “Yes, Christians in America are persecuted, but not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”

For a longer answer, keep reading.

This paper is deeply flawed - no where in this report on American Christian persecution does it mention that 80% of americans self identify as believing in Abrahams god, nor does it mention that the single most unelectable belief structure in the USA is atheism.

It also tries to use the “biblical” definition of persecution - not a REAL definition of persecution, as in, trying to say “well the bible says we will be persecuted!” is silly. Lets talk about real world examples here, and real world meaning of the word “persecuted” - and btw, if Christians are so persecuted, why does every single major member of the US government publicly pronounce to be christian? why is god on our money, in our pledge of allegiance, in our national anthem, etc, etc, etc (none of these inconvenient truths are mentioned).

I’m curious why you think it odd that Christians would define persecution by what the Bible says. How would you define it? I’m guessing you would define it along the lines of what DeYoung describes as martyrdom.

As to your second point, everything you described is simply a veneer of Christianity, the vestiges of a Christianity-influenced heritage of a culture that is very clearly post-Christian. You really think that because our money says “In God We Trust” that this actually means American contemporary culture isn’t hostile to Christianity? It’s like seeing the homeless guy in a tattered Armani suit but whose shoes still have a slight gleam in them: “Look at that shine! He must be wealthy!”

(Source: sds)

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posted 4 / 16 / 2014
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If John 15:20 is true, and 2 Timothy 3:13 is true, and the expectation of the entire New Testament is true, then no amount of PR work is going to rescue the church from being thought by some as backwards and bigoted. Where in the gospels did Jesus promise that the world would love us if we just kept our heads down and tried to be good neighbors? Where in Revelation is war with the dragon presented as anyone’s fault but the dragon’s? I know many outsiders think of the church as being very “unchristian” and evangelicals as being political operatives for the Republican Party. So let’s have the humility to see if we are as obnoxious and unintelligent as many people surmise. But let’s not assume that bad press with the world means we’ve done wrong by God. This is Holy Week after all, where Jesus was hated by the crowd and abandoned by his own disciples.
Kevin DeYoung - “Are Christians In America Persecuted?”
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posted 4 / 16 / 2014
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Are Christians in America Persecuted?

The short answer is “Yes, all the time.”

The not as short answer is: “Yes, Christians in America are persecuted, but not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”

For a longer answer, keep reading.

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posted 4 / 16 / 2014
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Why Is This Issue Different?

christianity:

Kevin DeYoung explains why homosexuality isn’t simply another issue that Christians can agree to disagree on.

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posted 3 / 28 / 2014
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Is Being Gay Sanctifiable?

I continue to enjoy Wesley Hill’s thoughtful and irenic engagement on the intersection of Christianity and human sexuality.

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posted 2 / 26 / 2014
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Bill Nye’s Reasonable Man--The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate
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posted 2 / 10 / 2014
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Today, Christians who begin to realize they’re gay—or, in a great Onion headline that captures my freshman and sophomore years of college pretty well, “Gay Teen Worried He Might Be Christian”—have options beyond tweezering at their relationships with their fathers and praying for change.

Gay Christians may end up married to the opposite sex, because life and sexuality are complex: Spiritual Friendship has a few married contributors, although none consider themselves “ex-gay.” But most gay Christians who accept the historical teaching are accepting a lifetime of celibacy. We can’t plan on marriage or wait around for it. So we’ve had to be much more intentional about asking how we can give and receive love. To whom can we devote ourselves, and on whom can we rely?

In order to help answer these urgent questions, some churches and individual Christians are rediscovering a broader understanding of “kinship” that goes against a culture in which marriage is the only chosen form of adult kinship we recognize. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus promises that those who lose their homes or families for His sake will receive new homes and families, “a hundred times more now.”

But the church has rarely deigned to provide that family for its gay members who are estranged from their families of origin, or who suffer from loneliness and lack of purpose because they’re unmarried and unable to pursue marriage. Gay Christians are finding “chosen families” in many different ways. Some live in intentional communities: in my forthcoming book I interview a man who has found that community life offers him the kind of lasting, difficult love that chastens and rewards us. Others look to the nearly forgotten Christian traditions in which friendship was treated as a form of kinship that carried obligations of care.

Eve Tushnet, “Coming Out Christian.” This is the best thing you could read if you want to understand the group I’m talking and writing with these days over at spiritualfriendship.org. (via wesleyhill)
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posted 1 / 29 / 2014
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Now it is true that an atheist can know certain things by means of this natural law, and he can be right about those things. But he is not right about the source of that knowledge, and he is not right about the context of his moral knowledge. If a natural law theorist wants to flatter this atheist, and act like his moral knowledge is a valid bit of knowing, even within his atheistic context, then that natural law theorist, in my view, has given away the store, not to mention the farm, and to switch metaphors a third time, is five thousand dollars down. In other words, nature does not just show us morality, suspended in midair. Natural law delivers the whole package, and the true Creator of it.
Douglas Wilson
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posted 1 / 15 / 2014
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Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity (FREE EBOOK)

This book is by far the best “apologetic” I’ve ever read–precisely because it’s not one in the classic sense. It’s personal, pastoral, and passionately exhortative. Greg simply lets his dad’s questions and hang-ups drive the conversation. The result is a transformation.

The Kindle version is currently FREE.

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posted 1 / 13 / 2014
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Why Faith? | RedState
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posted 1 / 6 / 2014
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