Most of us doubt our faith at some time, and it isn’t much fun. Tim Keller said: “Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts”. But the book of James says a person who doubts is “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:7). How do these things fit together?
Taize is an ecumenical monastery in Burgundy, France. The Lakota are an American Indian nation on a reservation in South Dakota, USA. You might not expect them to feature in the same story, but recently they did. It is a moving story.
Jason Micheli joined more than a thousand pilgrims attending a Taize gathering, this time not in France but on the Pine Ridge Reservation, at the invitation of Lakota nation.
During a time of worship centred around the cross, he had some insights into the cross, human suffering and oppression.
It is a circular argument, but it has been made often, from David Hume down to present day sceptics. There is no believable evidence for genuine miraculous healings, they say. But what about all the stories of people being healed? We know they can’t be true, they say, because no-one has ever shown scientifically that healing can occur.
So New Testament scholar Craig Keener decided to break the circle.
When it’s all said and done about the Bible, sometimes more is said than done. But the purpose of the Bible is not to simply read, but to lead us to action. What does the Bible call us to do if we choose to follow Jesus?
But this is only one side of the story. At the same time, a significant number of people from a non-religious background are choosing to believe. I have taken an interest in finding some of their stories.
The Bible is divided into two ‘Testaments’. It is obvious that the Old Testament tells about Hebrew history and religion before Jesus, while the New Testament tells about the coming of Jesus and what happened next.
But is that all? Can the differences between the two Testaments tell us something important about the Bible and how we should read it?
Regular readers will know that one of my ’causes’ is ethical chocolate – chocolate that is grown by free farmers who are paid a fair wage, and not by trafficked children working more or less as slaves. (For background, see Ethical chocolate update.)
So it was with great delight that I received a weighty package in the mail recently and discovered a story of dark criminality and desperate legal actions.
Since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve visited many other blogs and met people, believers and unbelievers, who have been variously friendly, encouraging, challenging or critical.
Tim is one of those people (friendly and encouraging mainly), and he invited me to write a guest post at his blog, “Just one train wreck after another”. (You’ve got to admit it’s an interesting title.)
Writing a guest post isn’t as easy as it sounds, because you are not so familiar with the aims and readership. Anyway, after a few false starts, I have produced a post I was happy with and he has published it today. It’s about the challenge of obeying the Bible rather than just reading it or arguing over it, and it’s titled We need a lot less Bible study …. and a lot more Bible action!
It is a subject dear to my heart, and you might like to check it out.
If you were an aspiring christian missionary, would you take your wife and three young children deep into the jungles of West Papua to a headhunting, cannibalistic tribe who valued treachery as a virtue? Nope, I don’t think I’d have the guts either.
But Don Richardson did. And God blessed his sacrificial ministry.
Christians disagree, and sometimes argue, about many things. Current hot topics include: homosexuality, divorce, hell, evolution and Genesis, the place of women in the church, Biblical inerrancy, war, climate change, and the importance of ‘good works’ like social justice and social welfare.
Some christians get very worried about the failure of many of their fellow believers to keep to the traditional positions on these, and other matters, and the discussion can get quite heated.
But I think change may be upon us sooner than we think, whether we like it or not.
The Anabaptist are a often forgotten part of the christian church. We know about the split which separated the eastern Orthodox churches from the Roman church. In the west we are more familiar with the Reformation, where the Protestant churches split from the Roman Catholic church. But there was a third group in the Reformation, persecuted and maligned by both sides, but growing in influence today – the Anabaptists.
This book outlines what Anabaptists believe, and why they are coming into greater prominence.
LLM posted an interesting quote from Tim Keller in her blog, Enough Light. Here is a part of it:
“in general, religiously observant people were offended by Jesus, but those estranged from religious and moral observance were intrigued and attracted to him. We see this throughout the New Testament accounts of Jesus’s life. In every case where Jesus meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (as in Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (as in John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcast (as in Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Jesus says to the respectable religious leaders ‘the tax collectors and the prostitutes enter the kingdom before you’ (Matthew 21:31).
Mike has questioned the point of my last post (Christians and Chick-fil-a), about when and how christians should speak out in the public arena, and when and how we shouldn’t. So I thought I would clarify in a new post.
Chick-fil-a is apparently a chain of about 1600 chicken fast food stores in the US. Being an Aussie, I wouldn’t know. But apparently the chain has been in the news recently because of an allegedly anti-gay stance, mainly, as far as I can tell, seen through large donations to christian anti-gay causes. Recently protests by gays were answered with a “Chick-fil-a appreciation day”. I’m not really concerned about the details, just setting the scene.
I mention all this simply to link to this post, The morning after Chick-fil-A day. The author, Mike Patz, is a pastor, and offers some very sensible thoughts about how christians relate to non-believers. It is probably most relevant in the US, but I think we all need to learn.