Consistent Life Ethic

If there is something I’ve tried to work on over the years, it would be a philosophy of a “whole life ethic.” It turns out there is a framework for that called “Consistent Life Ethic.” It is truly my life goal to say, “No one is more ‘pro-life’ than me outside of the pope.”

Continue reading “Consistent Life Ethic”

Incarnation — the work of God in a weary world

I remember hearing the story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the writing of his poem, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I was reminded of it again as I read an article by Kristen O’Neal on the subject of the poem.

The entire article is well worth your time to read. These last few paragraphs are deeply meaningful to me as I contemplate the world in which we live right now. Personally, it’s been a blessed year. I leave this year deeply thankful. For our world, however, there is a darkness that ever creeps forward.

Continue reading “Incarnation — the work of God in a weary world”

Why conversations fail and the public square doesn’t want “religion”

This review of a biography on Richard John Neuhaus has a particular insight that I find true generally of our inability to have decent public discussion anymore.

An ethicist friend once told me he had a hard time reading Neuhaus. “I know there is stuff to learn from him,” he said, “but given the things that I find so irritating, I have decided not to make the effort.”

This is the summation of our problem. It is that we may LIKE people, but we don’t like some of their “positions.” So, rather than make the effort to walk through all the “irritations” we just give up on what we may actually LEARN from someone.

Smacking. My. Head.

Why the Church

This reflection from Alister McGrath gives good insight into the importance of the Church.

We have our imperfections. We have our deep flaws. We also have the ability to reflect the astonishing beauty of our Savior. We must know the HEAD of the Church loves the BODY. 

I began to see the church as a place that helps Christians straddle the two worlds of faith—where we are now and where we shall finally be. It’s like an oasis in a desert, equipping us to work and serve in the world while fostering and safeguarding our distinctiveness as Christians.

I began to realize that the church was an imperfect yet important anticipation of heaven, whose worship and ethos were integral to my faith. The church was a community gathered around the public reading of God’s Word, its interpretation and application through preaching, and its enactment in worship and prayer.

Cyprian was bold, but his statement is one I am coming to embrace, even as a Pentecostal: “He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the church for his mother.”

Isn’t it time to grow up?

I have had a couple of significant conversations in the past few weeks with people reaching out to me, thankfully, about being hurt by a church, or disillusioned.

Read enough on the internet and all we hear is angst. The ultimate goal of angst-filled writers is to be quoted on Huffington Post, I think. It’s the Super Bowl of angst-filled believers.

We’ve let spiritual maturity sit on the back burner so long, the pot is blackened and there’s nothing left. We need a fresh start.

For those “disillusioned” I want to longingly say, “Please, visit US!” But I know that’s asking a lot.

This interview on CT’s site has some good thoughts.

Here is a quote that caught me:

We tend to think that maturity means perfection. But the New Testament clearly teaches that spiritual maturity is different from heavenly perfection. Spiritual maturity is presented (in passages like Heb. 5, Eph. 4, and 1 Cor. 3) as foundational in the Christian life. But our popular theology says things like, “We’re all just sinners saved by grace.” True enough, but that can start to sound like what Dallas Willard called “miserable sinner Christianity”: that no progress can be expected in this life.

Or consider the slogan, “The only difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians are forgiven.” Well, that’s simply not biblical. What is the new birth if not something new? We are always tempted to think we can earn salvation, or that God can’t forgive me again. So we need to emphasize salvation by grace, but not at the expense of pursuing maturity. That’s why I love Philippians 3. Paul says we must cling to the free gift of salvation, but goes on to claim that this gift frees and motivates him to run hard after Christ.

Let us press on to MATURITY.