Archives For Religion

I shot this video almost three years ago @ Wycliffe College, when Dr. Denis Alexander of the Faraday Institute of Science and Religion was in town. My primary reason for producing it at the time was that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk was engaging in conversation about this topic. Michael shared the video then — I don’t believe I have ever put it up here. (Note that there are many good comments on Michael’s post.) It’s almost 48 minutes long, but well worth your time — in my never humble but always accurate opinion, of course. 🙂

In light of the present discussion on this topic and those who want to make YEC a first order issue, I thought it might be helpful to point to it again. (And when I find the original master on one of my many drives, I’ll update the file to HD.)

One of my loyal subjects readers accused me of ornery hubris last week. I would suggest that’s better than cognitive dissonance. But it’s still sinful. And I will repent. Eventually.

But. In the spirit of “more teapot”, I continue.

A Little Less Honesty, If You Don’t Mind

I heard Paul Young speak @ Refresh last week. Paul wrote a little book that some of you might have read, The Condo The Shack. Unfortunately his little book has fallen precipitously on the New York Times Best Seller List. Where it once occupied the Numero Uno position on said list for more months than certain of the brethren care to admit, it has sadly fallen to the Numero Dos position – further proof that G_d is not behind it. If He were, of course it would have remained at the Numero Uno position. Forever! (7.5 Million Copies in print in English, in case you were wondering.)

Now, of course, Paul is a heretic. At least that’s the opinion of a number of prominent people in the evangellyfish community. (One or two actually read the book.) I even heard it from a sister at St. Paul’s this past Sunday.

Paul’s primary heresy; portraying G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman. We all know that G_d, the Father is a white male, with white hair and a white beard. (Does He wear a red suit? I can’t remember.) G_d, the Father could never be a breakfast-baking, big black woman. Especially since that person plays the Oracle in the Matrix and she bakes cookies. At least Paul Young’s G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman doesn’t smoke.

What’s really odd to me is how many of these prominent evangellyfishes all loved the Matrix and wanted to claim it as a Christian parable. But. When Paul Young dares allow G_d, the Father to materialize as a breakfast-baking, big black woman, HERESY!

However. I’m not convinced that’s really the reason all these white folk (predominantly) think Paul’s a heretic. (Paul Young. Not the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul is only a heretic in certain circles. Which is truly a new perspective.) I think they are frightened by Paul’s transparency.

Last Wednesday night, Wm. Paul Young stood in front of an audience that filled one of the large theatres @ the University of Toronto MedSci building and, metaphorically, stripped naked. (Thank you for doing it metaphorically, Paul.) He revealed himself. As completely as anyone I’ve ever heard.

He must have missed the memo on how Christian males were supposed to be strong and silent. You know. That woman’s voice in 10CC’s I’m Not in Love half-whispering, “big boys don’t cry, big boys don’t cry.” Still waters run deep and all that stuff.

Paul spoke of massive personal failure. And eleven years of healing. And radical transparency with his wife as part of that healing. How frakin’ scary is that? And he did it again on the CBC’s The Hour. Radical Transparency. I think he even scared Strombo.

The only other male I know who is almost as publicly transparent is the Internet Monk. And Michael gets almost as much flak as Paul. He may even have been called a heretic a time or two.

BK-Shattered.jpg

What’s so scary about transparency? Every-freaking-thing!

If I dare to be transparent, then you’ll know just how broken I am. And that will never do. You’ll know I don’t have it together. I’m not that great of a Christian. (Those who read my blog know that about me already.) I’m not much of a father. Or a husband. Or even a friend.

My brokenness will reveal me as a sinner. And I need you to know me as a saint.

Honestly, honesty is overrated. It’s all about the facade. The one with the best facade wins! (I’m not sure what we win, but…) But enough about me.

I Found This Humourous in a Sad Sort of Way

I heard some other good speakers last week. One quoted a friend of mine on the importance of community in missional engagement with culture. What was funny was the friend quoted hasn’t been engaged in any real Christian community for the better part of a decade. But. At least he’s being quoted. Maybe that’s better than community. In a brokenness kind of way.

And Over the Weekend Obama Got A Doctorate from Notre Dame and Spoke Lots of Words

All the nice people said nice things about the President speaking at Notre Dame and how good it was him receiving an honourary doctorate. The mean, nasty people questioned why the most radically Pro-Abortion president in history would be so honoured by a Catholic university. (The mean, nasty people were in agreement with the mean, nasty American Catholic bishops who in this one area are at least attempting to be consistent.)

No doubt about it, the President has got himself some very good Teleprompter™ programmers – the many words were well put together. But. At the end of the day. President Barack Obama is still the most radically Pro-Abortion president ever elected. With a real desire for us all to be nice when we talk about it.

And speaking of those nice people, being the mean, nasty person that I am (which is part of my brokenness, of course) I can’t help but point out how the Usual Suspects marched in lock step with the President in his appointment of completely pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. [HT]

It’s pure Orwellian doublespeak to suggest her “record demonstrates a commitment to results rather than rhetoric on life issues.” Can the “evangelicals” who wrote this statement explain to me how their position on abortion is functionally any different than that of incoming Episcopal Divinity School president, Katherine Ragsdale. I mean, really.

Speaking of Episcopalians

The Presiding Litigator with her Teleological Degree in Marine Biology continues her Blitzkrieg through Episcopal Church Canons whilst bringing suits against any diocese who dares challenge her new position as TEC’s Pope. The former bishop of the smallest, fastest-shrinking Diocese in the USofA claims, “all your base are belong to us” and “sure Jesus might be one of the most bestest ways to God, but you must be some kind of Neanderthal to suggest he’s the only way.” 815 later issued a statement to Neanderthals apologizing for any suggestion that they weren’t as bright as all the people wandering the corridors of the National Office.

Finally A Fish and A Marxist

TommyMertonHead pointed to a very good blog post at the NYT by Stanley Fish that led me down the rabbit hole to a lecture series on Religion and Science by Terry Eagleton delivered a year ago at Yale. Eagleton’s well known as a Marxist Theorist and is one of the funniest essayists I’ve read or heard in a rather long time. He has great fun at the expense of his conflated character, Ditchkins. (Dawkins and Hitchens as one.)

Oh. And This Before I Go

In light of last week’s meanness from me, I thought you might like to know that I was ordained near the turn of the Millennium at a predominantly African-American church in Pittsburgh. You may call me Pastor Bill, if you must. 🙂 Though I’d prefer to be known as Bishop.

Though I'm no fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalist movement, a younger friend quoted him on Facebook today and I found the quote particularly appropriate for a myriad of reasons. (And no this had nothing to do with the too young belly dancer @ Pan tonight.)

"What you do speaks so loudly, that I cannot hear what you say."

A Little Broken Bread

kinnon —  March 5, 2008 — 2 Comments

As one who firmly believes that the Lord’s Supper is supposed to be a meal, I’m always amazed at the impact the Eucharist has on me in Anglican Churches. (Particularly those that use real bread.)

‘Twas the Eucharist that broke through to an avowed atheist, liberal journalist and lesbian, Sara Miles. I received her book, Take This Bread a week ago and have only had the chance to read the first twenty or so pages – but look forward to getting the time to actually read the book.

My wife, Imbi did take that time. She found the book challenging, somewhat maddening and an important read. If you’re a card-carrying right wing evangelical – then only read this book if you have low blood pressure.

I don’t have the time to do a proper book review right now (and since I haven’t completed the book, how could I) but what little I’ve read makes me agree with Imbi that it is an important book. And I would wager we would both agree with the iMonk:

If you review Christian books with an eye to making conservative Christians and their pastors say a happy “amen,” I urge you to save yourself time and ink. Sara Miles’ Christian profession won’t survive your scrutiny and your example will probably upset you. Review another book on the atonement.

This is a book that will offend you, hit you below your theological belt, make you ashamed to call yourself a follower of Christ when you do so little in imitation of him and hopefully motivate you to rethink the connection between Jesus in the Gospels and the Jesus we’re offering to the world. This is theological agitation, a modern day Confessions and a left-coast version of In His Steps, all rolled into one.

Miles has written a book not unlike Capon’s Between Noon and Three; a book that needs a warning for the usual conservative Christian audience, a book that will delight and upset, and a book that will deeply impact a person’s perspective on the Gospel, even with some remaining substantial disagreements.

I’ve been rethinking the meaning of the Lord’s Supper for the past two years, and Miles met me right where I am–connecting God, Passover, Jesus’ ministry table, the Lord’s Supper and the continuing Eucharist in the church. This is a book that validated my hunch that Jesus’ inclusive invitation to eat and the Christian instinct to install boundaries and purity codes are not able to co-exist peacefully. Few Christians will come to every conclusion of Miles and the St. Gregory’s community, but their approach can’t be flawed for consistency, or for failing to seriously engage what Jesus means today.

Liam on Philip Pullman

kinnon —  November 7, 2007 — 1 Comment

Liam has written a good post on Philip Pullman and his Dark Materials trilogy, one of which is about to be released as a movie. (He reveals a few of my fundegelical roots in the post…but, hey, I am human. And humans can change.)

UPDATE: Ben Witherington weighs in with his own commentary on the movie.

The Toronto Star reports this morning that the Prayer Palace has hired both a forensic accounting firm and a crisis management PR firm to deal with the TorStar allegations from a week ago. Unfortunately, the Melnichuk family are still unavailable for comment – but

…reporters involved in the story have been inundated with phone calls from angry Prayer Palace members.

“You have touched God’s anointed! Be careful! Be careful that you don’t drop dead one of these days,” shouted one caller who identified himself as Roger.

Other callers said that to ignore their warnings would be to invite tragedy into reporters’ lives, including leprosy and possible physical harm.

One caller issued a death threat; another called a reporter a “Mormon … a racist.”

Perhaps this sunday PP pastors will preach that Christians are to bless people who curse you…or not.

The PP has also brought their lawyer into the fray:

Last week Marek Tufman, a lawyer for the Prayer Palace, threatened to bring an injunction against the Star unless the newspaper agreed to stop publishing stories regarding the Prayer Palace. The Star responded, saying such agreements run contrary to the paper’s policy.

In response, Tufman told Star lawyers: “Your clients have been warned. We trust that they will understand the wisdom of conducting themselves properly.”

Lawyers, accountants, PR firms, cult church members have joined the merry chorus – but the Melnichuks themselves stay silent. How very interesting.

Technorati Tags: ,

Jackie’s Reading G.K.

kinnon —  January 30, 2007 — Leave a comment

And offers this wonderful Chesterton quote:

If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.

Technorati Tags: ,

Alan Hirsch is a very interesting Australian voice in the Missional Conversation. His blog/website may not be the most eye-friendly site, but there is much great material there. This post (which I quoted in the comment section of my previous post) really hit me:

About four years ago I attended a seminar on missional church where the speaker asked the question “How many Christians do you think there were in the year 100AD?” He then asked “how many Christians do you think there were just before Constantine came on the scene, say 310AD?” Here is the somewhat surprising answer…

100AD There are as little as 25 000 Christians
310AD There are as many as 20 000 000 Christians

He then asked the question, and it has haunted me to this day, “how did they do this?” “How did they grow from being a small movement to the most significant religious force in the Roman Empire in two centuries?” Now that’s a question to initiate a journey! And delving into this question drove me to the discovery of what I will call Apostolic Genius (the inbuilt life force and guiding mechanism of God’s people) and the living components or elements that make it up. These components I have tagged missional DNA or mDNA for short.

So let me ask you the question—how did the early Christians do it? And before you respond, here are some qualifications you must factor into your answer.

  • They were an illegal religion throughout this period: At best, they were tolerated; at the very worst they were very severely persecuted.
  • They didn’t have any church buildings as we know them: While archaeologists have discovered chapels dating from this period, they were definite exceptions to the rule and they tended to be very small converted houses.
  • They didn’t even have the Scriptures as we know them: They were putting the canon together during this period.
  • They didn’t have an institutional leadership: At times of relative calm prototypal elements of institution did appear, but from what we consider institutional these were at best pre-institutional by comparison.
  • They didn’t have seeker sensitive services, youth groups, worship bands, seminaries, or commentaries, etc.
  • They actually made it hard to join the church. By the late second century aspiring converts had to undergo a significant initiation period to prove they were worthy.


In fact they had none of the things we would ordinarily employ to solve the problems of the church, and yet t
hey grew from twenty five thousand to (around) twenty million in two hundred years! So, how did the early church do it? In answering that question, we can perhaps find the answer to the question for the church and mission in our day and in our context. For herein lies the powerful mystery of church in its most authentic form.

But before the example of the Early Christian Movement can be dismissed as a freak of history, there is another perhaps even more astounding manifestation of that unique and explosive power inherent in all of God’s people in our own time—namely, the underground church in China. Theirs is a truly remarkable story: About the time when Mao Zedong took power and initiated the systemic purge of religion from society; the church in China which was well established and largely modeled on Western forms due to colonization, was estimated to number about two million adherents. As part of the this systematic persecution, Mao banished all foreign missionaries and ministers, nationalized all church property, killed all the senior leaders, either killed or imprisoned all second and third level leaders, banned all public meetings of Christians with the threat of death or torture, and then proceeded to perpetrate one of the cruelest persecutions of Christians on historical record.

The explicit aim of the Cultural Revolution was to obliterate Christianity (and all religion) from China. At the end of the reign of Mao and his system in the late 70’s, and the subsequent lifting of the so called ‘Bamboo Curtain’ in the early 80’s, foreign missionaries and church officials were allowed back into the country, albeit under strict supervision. They expected to find the church totally decimated and the disciples a weak and battered people. On the contrary, they discovered that Christianity had flourished beyond all imagination. The estimates then were about 60 million Christians in China, and counting! And it has grown significantly since then. David Aikman, former Beijing bureau chief for Time magazine, suggests in his book Jesus in Beijing that Christians may number as many as 80 million. If anything, in the Chinese phenomenon, we are witnessing the most significant transformational Christian movement in the history of the church. And remember, not unlike the early church these people had very few Bibles (at times they shared only one page to a house church and then swapped that page with another house group.) They had no professional clergy, no official leadership structures, no central organization, no mass meetings, and yet they grew like mad. How is this possible? How did they do it? (emphasis and link added)

Join the conversation at Alan’s blog and check out his new book. I’ve just placed a pre-order for it at Amazon. Might I also recommend that you read Jesus in Beijing – the book Alan mentions above and one that had a profound impact on Imbi and I.

For more great Missional material, also visit Allelon and watch for the new Allelon website coming on February 1st.

Technorati Tags: , ,

NomoremrniceguyUsing the same scholarly skills shown to such shocking advantage in his book, Charismatic Chaos, Dr. John reveals the evil behind the Emerging Church movement. Minutes, if not hours of strenuous research has gone into this work that reveals the very heart of this Satan-influenced movement in the Church:

,,,its proponents are much more interested in dialogue and conversation. As a result, propositional truth (which tends to end dialogue rather than start it) is scorned and rebuffed as an outmoded vestige of twentieth-century modernism. 

I must heartily agree with Dr. John; we need more propositional truth to end dialogue – one can never avoid enough "dialogue and conversation." We just need to sit at the feet of such erudite expositors of the correct exegesis of scripture as Dr. John.

Dan-Kimball-2Poor Dan Kimball attempts to respond to the powerful arguments of Dr. John, but one feels he’s not up to the challenge. I mean, what does dear Dan really know about the Emerging Church. Oh sure, he’s written a couple of books about it, The Emerging Church and Emerging Worship but what does that say about him. Good grief, Brian McLaren wrote the forward to TEC. Need I say more. (And just look at his hair, for heaven’s sake. Dan’s not Brian’s. Brian is follicly-challenged)

Granted, Dan has actually been to numerous churches that call themselves Emerging and even co-leads one  –  but how important is actual research & experience – surely there’s enough information on the interweb and in DA Carson’s book for Dr. John to come to his most scholarly conclusions. He is Dr. J, after all. He’s read the Bible from cover to cover more than once. I doubt any of the emerging church folk even own bibles – well, at least not translations that me and Dr. J would approve of.

No. If you want to be safe, you must adhere to the gracious wisdom and knowledge of Dr. John. Let him do all the thinking for you. You’ll be a better Christian for it.

(Please note: This post in know way means to confuse Dr. John MacArthur with that other Dr. John, Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., the infamous New Orleans based boogie woogie piano playing miscreant.)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Dan is one of the best writers in the mysterious world of blogdom. He turns a phrase with the finesse of a Robert Frost. These sentences alone make his latest post worth perusing.

How can I castigate anyone if my saggy posterior’s parked in some hoity-toity coffeeshop tucked away from the hardscrabble life faced by most of the world’s people, my pinkie righteously extended as I sip my vente triple mochachino?

Technorati Tags: