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
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.—
I keep thinking about the announcement, and it just makes me sick.
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?”
— 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)
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.
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