thoughts

End of the Month Links: August 2017

 This all can’t be ‘fake news’ can it?

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Virtue signaling as self-justification

I posted about this a week ago, but the new-ish fad of virtue signaling is just same old living by the law when we should live by grace instead.

Excerpt: “Virtue signalers want to appear virtuous, to be considered good and to be affirmed as such by others.  But often they are signaling their virtues to people whom they do not consider virtuous.  Virtue signalers aren’t interested in gaining their approval.  But they are also trying to gain self-approval.  They need to think of themselves as virtuous. So why is this? It points to our primal need to be justified.  And our inability to justify ourselves.  We are actually not good because we fail to keep God’s Law.  So we make up our own laws that are easier to fulfill.  But we generally fail at those too. This is all evidence of our need for Christ to justify us.”

Beware (and Embrace) the Power of Story

Stories are powerful but we very rarely know their impact on other and ourselves. Today there is a new narrative: one that teaches virtue signaling and moralizing in the name of love that is not love.

Excerpt: “We tell such stories to encourage believers and to persuade unbelievers. Our stories serve as ministry to the saved and evangelism to the lost. They add flesh and experience to what may otherwise be mere theology, mere ideas. Ultimately, we hope these stories will lead others to investigate and accept the great story God is telling in and through his world. This new gospel is hijacking the power of story and Christian respect for story in order to achieve its goals. “I find stories are a lot more compelling than arguments,” says James Martin. “One of the stories I like to tell people is about a gay friend of mine named Mark. Mark was in a religious order and left. He ended up marrying his partner, with whom he’s been together for 20 years. One of the things he has done is care for his partner through a long-term serious illness. I often say to people, ‘Is this not a form of love?’ I just ask that question. So I think it’s less about argumentation than it is about stories, more about what Pope Francis calls a ‘culture of encounter.’”

Love Is Not Whatever You Want It to Be

The power of Lub is taking the place of what love it. We need to go back to what the Bible says about it.

Excerpt: “Love” is now a universal term for nothing in particular, which makes conversations about it difficult.Thinking ourselves wise, we made a bad deal. We’ve been snookered, sure that we were upgrading when in truth we were sold a clunker. But enough with the finger-pointing. Being right about others being wrong is useless unless we’re willing to correct ourselves by turning to God’s Word. Here are five things the Bible says about love.”

Fake Christian Emotions and Real Christian Affections

We need to make sure we are not mere sentimentalists or emotionless robots. Our emotions should not be on just the happy but on the good, pure, and holy.

Excerpt: “Why would we strive for holiness, or live sacrificially for Christ, if we are emotionally neutral regarding the truths of the gospel? But if we see ourselves, poignantly, as sinners rescued by his death on the cross, and if we rejoice in his triumph over sin and death in the resurrection, then we are prepared to act. That’s why we need the right kind of emotions, passions, and affections, which are typically stirred under exposure to the truth of the Word.”

How to NOT shelter your kids from ideas: Make a case for Christianity’s truth, goodness, and beauty

A 3rd part in a great series. This one gives the approach to talk about the beauty of the Gospel and not just the intellectual reasons for it.

Excerpt: “Where I am deeply compelled to believe is that, in addition to the intellectual case, I find the Christian thesis so very attractive. So as we make a case for Christianity to our kids, I think they need to know that it is the greatest story ever told. And the story of Christianity provides us with a story and a purpose. It should also profoundly motivate us to live as Jesus lived, full of grace and truth. He loved the unlovely and the humble, but called out arrogance and religiosity.”?

Swag Seminary

 

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Repost – All You Need is ‘LUB’! No, We Need True Love

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C.S. Lewis once stated that anything taken to the level of God become a demon. What he meant by this is that even a virtue can become a deadly vice if it becomes a idol. In the past decade there has been one virtue that culturally has become Godlike in its worship. The culture calls this emotion ‘love’ but because this new vice is not really what love it we for the sake of argument and this article call it ‘Lub’. This concept of Lub vs. love has been addressed before here already and will be addressed again in the future, but let’s dig deeper for right now. What is Love and how it that different from ‘Lub’?  (more…)

End of the Month Links: July 2017

What I would give for sometime not Game of Thrones?

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Tolkien, Lewis, Disney? The Greatest Pre-Evangelists of Our Age

The stories that are told set the ground for worldview seeding.

Excerpt: “For all of the weariness we certainly feel from the worldly admixtures that fill these sorts of tales, where our efforts or our supposed innate goodness solves the problems of an imbalanced world—and the Disney franchises certainly are chief among these offenders—I was reminded that their breathtaking reach is a kind of pre-evangelism that we must mine for the sake of the Kingdom”

Entertainment and Worship

A warning not to be swayed by entertainment focused worship as those are an oxymoron of terms.

Excerpt: “One of the more dangerous drifts happening in our local churches today is within our corporate worship. In many churches there is a de-emphasis on the means of grace (Scripture, prayer, and the sacraments or ordinances), and a reliance on entertainment. Some try to balance the two in the name of reaching more people with the gospel, but there is an inescapable danger in overvaluing entertainment and implementing it in corporate worship.”

Students Love Answers More Than the Church Loves Answers

Speaking of entertainment, the youth at church hunger for answers and not mere experience. This is great news!

Excerpt: “Many of my youth pastor colleagues thought I was crazy to make “apologetics” the sole focus of my weekend meetings, but the students we prepared in this way were ready for life in the “real world”. I discovered something important: Students want the truth. Don’t let the pundits or cultural observers fool you into thinking students are more concerned about experience, entertainment or storytelling. Students want answers. In fact, I think young people want answers more than the Church knows or understands.

What Is a Worldview?

A good overview of what a Worldview is. This is a good basic primer on what every Christian needs to know as they confront the world.

Excerpt: “A person’s worldview represents his most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe he inhabits. It reflects how he would answer all the “big questions” of human existence: fundamental questions about who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where (if anywhere) we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now. Few people think through these issues in any depth, and fewer still have firm answers to such questions, but a person’s worldview will at least incline him toward certain kinds of answers and away from others.

Make Time To Be Bored

I wrote about this same idea here, but rest is one of those things that we see as a vice not a virtue.

Excerpt: “When we were children and teenagers, boredom seemed like a bad thing, because idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right? But boredom should not be confused with idleness. Idleness is laziness and indolence. It is refusing to do what needs to be done. But boredom is simple inactivity, a break from the hustle and bustle and busyness of life. Boredom is the pause between activities or the deliberate escape from activity altogether.”?

Top 10 Failed Doomsday Predictions

The end of the world is always being predicted, but we need to be careful as Christians to stop ending up with these false predictions. I have written about this before and we ought to learn our lesson and not be crazy as the world is with these.

Repost – Dare to be Dull

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People protesting the most recent democratic election

The time has come for a modest proposal. Everyone everywhere is told to have a ’cause’ or something they must rail against or for. At the same time we are also told to keep out religious views private. While this is contrary viewpoints, it is not to the world – who does not see that everyone has worldviews, some of which are based in reality. What is this modest proposal that can change the world: Enjoy the gift of appearing dull and enjoy the pleasure of being ‘bored’. (more…)

Repost – Hidden Role Board Games and False Teachers

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One of the kinds of board games I like to play are social deduction games. The basic thrust of this genre of games is that all the players have to work together to win, but some of them may be working against the group. Those who work against the group are smaller in number but will try to blend in and mislead the other players so that the game is lost. If that happens those traitors will win instead.

There are many games of this type and these games are also a perfect way to illustrate the danger of false teachers and why apologetics and polemics are important to the life of a church.

(more…)

End of the Month Links: June 2017

At least my TV loves me… right?

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

How Objective Beauty Fuels a Culture

Dr. Reynolds makes the case that this a proper belief in the existence of objective beauty fuels a culture and voluntary love will die as we lose our belief in objective beauty. [the whole lecture is at the end of the article as a video]

Excerpt: “When we believe in objectivity, we are free from the beholders…. If subjectivity is the only reality when it comes to beauty, and a girl goes to school and everyone says, “You’re fat and unattractive,” and she picks up magazine after magazine, and there’s not one woman of color in it, not one woman with her body shape, not one woman her mother’s age, then beauty being “in the eye of the beholder” is not liberating; it is the ultimate tyranny because the only reality is what those guys in high school say in judgment about you…. The reality becomes, ultimately, what a few people tell us…”

Love Needs an Education

Greg of Stand to Reason offers thoughts on what true, biblical love is versus the kind of love that simply makes people feel good.

 

Once upon a Time: The Enduring Appeal of Fairy Tales

The fairy tale is alive and strong in the world today. This is a very good thing and should give us hope. Stories are what Christ used to preach Truth, and stories teach us much more that mere propositions do.

Excerpt: “We respond so powerfully to fairy tales, Tolkien says, precisely because they resonate with truth at a level much deeper than we realize: “The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairystories.” Here is what C. S. Lewis called “myth made fact”: as Tolkien puts it, “This story has entered History and the primary world….The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. […] When we respond imaginatively to the happy ending of a fairy tale, we are, possibly without even realizing it, responding to the gospel, which has the same joy as that evoked in a fairy tale: “But,” Tolkien tells us, “this story is supreme; and it is true.” The happy ending of the fairy tale gives us, as Tolkien shows us, a foretaste of the Good News. For we are all Cinderella: the gospel is the story of the Prince who rescues us from the ashes and brings us to his wedding feast.”

7 Reasons Why the Medieval Sensibility Tends to Be More Biblically Grounded Than the Modern Aesthetic

Worldview matters, and the Aesthetics have been under attack from since the separation of Truth, Beauty, and the Just from it.

Excerpt: “As the Enlightenment progressed, education moved farther away from teaching the Liberal Arts (Trivium and Quadrivium). This change in emphasis skewed perspectives, ideologies, theology, culture, and the arts into new directions and trajectories that continue to inform how society thinks. In addition, the change in aesthetics from the medieval period to a modern sensibility reflects broader changes in how we view the cosmos and what we think about divine order..”

Children of the ‘80s Never Fear: Video Games Did Not Ruin Your Life

Some good news! and if this is true then the fear mongering of other things do not mean the end of the world.

Excerpt: “There is a particularly American tradition of becoming enthralled with new technologies of communication, identifying their promise of future prosperity and renewed community. It is matched by a related American tradition of freaking out about the same objects, which are also figured as threats to life as we know it”?

Changeover

Beware where we place our heart, we could love for the wrong reasons with consequences.