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The World We Made: Coming soon...

UPDATE: There’s been lots of interest in this podcast, with about 2000 listens from 30 countries and counting! If you haven’t subscribed yet, we’ve added a few links to make it easier for those of you who aren’t on iTunes, which is most of you. (Welcome non-Apple fanboys.) Don't miss an episode. Scroll down and subscribe now.

"These are the confessions of American Christians recovering from American Christianity. This is the world we made."

Warhorn Media is pleased to announce a new podcast hosted by Jake Mentzel and Nathan Alberson and featuring Tim Bayly. The World We Made is designed to help ordinary American Christians think through the difficult issues we face in our culture today. Season 1 is about homosexuality.

Over the course of the first season, we talk with Tim about how we went from having anti-sodomy laws in all 50 states (just 50 years ago) to where we are today. What are the changes Tim has seen in his lifetime? What exactly do they mean? What part did the culture play and what part did the church play? How are regular Bible-believing Christians supposed to respond? What has Tim learned as a pastor to help equip us for the challenge of ministering to men and women tempted by homosexuality?

These are the questions we'll be unpacking over the course of eight 20-minute episodes. We'll start out slow and easy, and things will pick up steam as we get closer and closer to the end. You won't want to miss it, so check out the trailer (above), and go ahead and subscribe now in iTunes or Android (or wherever you listen to your podcasts—Google Play Music, Stitcher, TuneInRSS feed) so you're ready when the first episode drops (July 17). 

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Where you can find masculine affection today...

I saw two men hugging in public last weekend. Actually, it wasn’t two, it was about two hundred. And they weren’t just hugging, they were lung-burstingly singing and dancing with their arms around each other.

No, it wasn’t a same-sex “wedding.”

It was a soccer game.

Never seen men, mostly white and in their 20s-40s, let out all of their emotions and show affection with other men? Go visit your local Major League Soccer game, sit near the “supporter’s section,” and see what happens.

There’s glory, there’s conflict, and there’s male emotion in spades....

Why men leave church...

When I was serving my former churches (a yoked parish of two congregations) an hour north of Madison, Wisconsin, a young man working toward a graduate degree at UW(Madison) served the congregations as a pastoral intern and we became close. As time went by, he decided to enter the ministry and to train at the Christian Reformed Church's Calvin Seminary.

Even then, back in the eighties, Calvin Seminary was going down the tube. Turning our backs on God's Order of Creation, Adam first then Eve, was all the rage and Calvin was drowning in this rebellion. Dutchmen were reaping the fruit of their diffident-to-cold relationships with their wives and children and, having sown the wind, they were about to reap the whirlwind.

Ortega y Gasset pointed out that true thinking begins with exaggeration, you understand.

Another pastor in the area was on the board of Calvin and he told us the school was going liberal and it was only a matter of time before the Christian Reformed Church would follow...

Happiness on the Fourth of July...

...consists of a big firecracker and a friend brave enough to light it.

Five Aspects: another excellent ministry to commend...

BillMouserThis past October 1st, we were blessed with a fly-by visit from Father Bill Mouser and his wife, Barbara. On sexuality, if would be hard to do better than taking our churches through the Mousers' Five Aspects curriculum--Five Aspects of Man/Woman. My closest friend, Pastor Robert Woodyard, is using Five Aspects with men in his church and has found it excellent. Here at Clearnote Church, Bloomington we have a Saturday morning program...

Sin, temptation, and the Campuscrusadification of the Church...

When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).

Again, here's a response to a question asked by "Jay" under the post, "Must a gay man go straight?" I thought it best to put the response here on the main page as a post.

Jay asked: "I do know other men and women who struggle with homosexual temptation, who not only reject copulation but also gay identity and culture, but who do not have any heterosexual desires. Are they saved?"

Sorry for the lack of response. The post took all my time for the blog yesterday so I'm playing catch-up.

First, I'm doubtful these men and women you know who struggle with homosexual temptation actually reject gay identity and culture as clearly and with the finality you indicate. If we live in a culture that hates sexuality as God made it; if we pursue androgyny in the pulpit in the way we preach (see the category of Baylyblog titled "gelded discourse"), in our appearance--hair length and style, for instance; if our  men are physically vain (whether macho buff or femmie bling and piercings or a sweet combination of both); it's likely no Christian tempted by homosexuality has really turned away from androgyny to Biblical manhood and womanhood. Made an effort, sure, but today within the Church there are precious few heterosexuals who pursue Biblical manhood or womanhood.

So being "straight" in our sexuality as the Bible presents manhood and womanhood is exceedingly rare, today. Men are narcissists and refuse to man up, taking responsibility for themselves or others...

Must a gay man go straight?

Under another post, a longtime reader named Jay asks a question that seems worth answering on the main page.

* * *

Dear Jay,

Answering a question like this by writing rather than in person is very difficult, pastorally. How can I show you I love you and am very concerned that you know the mercy of God for your particular set of temptations, especially in a time and place when any condemnation of sodomy is seen as at least shrill, and likely smug, insensitive, and grounded in self-righteousness, to boot?

Still, I will work to answer you because you say others are unwilling to do so, and because you are a precious soul belonging to the Lord of us all Who bought us each with His Own Blood and has called us to be holy as He is holy. If you want, I can put you in touch with those struggling with your particular set of temptations who are a part of our church here in Bloomington and you may ask them if what I write here is from love or censoriousness? You may ask whether you’d find our church to be loving of all regardless of their particular besetting sin, or loving only of those with more acceptable besetting sins?

So on to the difficult work others have avoided.

You wrote, “I would not consider myself heterosexual at all. Is being straight a requirement?”

Let’s clarify the question. The opposite of straight is gay, so another way of asking the question would be, “My psychological and emotional identity and inclinations are completely homosexual, so can I be give in to them as long as I don’t go all the way?” Or another way of saying it would be, “May I give myself to gayness rather than straightness in everything but physical intercourse, and will this please God?”

The answer is...

So this hip-hop star walks into our art gallery and he's like...

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:5, 6)

(NOTE: helpful obscenities ahead) Almost always, an absent father, father-hunger, and hatred define The New Yorker profiles of the purveyors of our Godless culture. Here we have a profile of the hip-hop group, Odd Future, and its best rapper, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (alias Earl Sweatshirt) who at the time of the song's release was sixteen years old. From The New Yorker's profile, "Earl Sweatshirt begins one track by sneaking some autobiography into...

Classic rock and manly zeal....

"'s indie or classic rock that moves our spirit."

(Tim) You all know ClearNote Church is filled with classical musicians but we worship mostly under the leadership of amplified instruments. This EP just released by our worship musicians gives you a good feel for how we're led. What distinguishes our worship leaders is that they use instrumentation and tunes and rhythms that are familiar to those who attend. We're not asked to go back into genres of previous centuries when we sing God's praises and pray.

Then too, we believe our music should be characterized by masculine zeal. The congregation should have men pushing us to express our joy and firm commitment and worship for the majesty and glory of God. Faint spirits and cold hearts are challenged when singing God's praises, here.

So you'll notice how well-matched the music and instrumentation and beat are to our goal. If you were to worship with us one Lord's Day morning, you'd notice this is how we pray and preach, also--we don't give people space for unbelief and ambivalence...

"He started disciplining me like I was one of his sons..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Read this wonderful story and ask yourself where the church turns boys--undisciplined angry ones, at that--into men? Youth groups? Home school co-ops? Christian school science labs? Crew? Membership classes? Men's retreats?

You say your church is not a parochial school filled with inner city kids and your own fathers are the ones training their own sons. I say, "Yeah, right."

Face it. Each of our churches has a bunch of young men every bit as much in need of the discipline of playing on Bob Hurley's basketball team as the kids at St. Anthony High in Jersey City. In the ministry today, we're surrounded by man-boys whose fathers have turned their backs on them. These young men crave discipline--which is to say they crave fatherly love...

Wasted days and wasted nights...

(Tim, w/thanks to Scott) Some of Church of the Good Shepherd's work is a Saturday men's class called David's Mighty Men. Stephen Baker and I teach, then the men meet in smaller groups for accountability and recitation of their Scripture memory. It's a two-year course of study and as practical as true godliness will always be. We teach male and female, courting, marriage, childbearing, work, authority and submission, fatherhood, church, doctrine...

Right from the beginning, we tell the men that we're out to kill "guyland." What's guyland?

Particularly for young men, guyland's almost always pornography, sports, or video games. Do you know how many men in your church are flunking out of life because...

Social class or the Gospel: pick only one (part 1)...

(Tim: This article originally appeared in ClearNote Fellowship's newsletter. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, please send us an e-mail.)

Each time we sat under the ministry of our much-loved Iain Murray at the old Banner of Truth conferences, the Bayly brothers could predict at some point during the Q & A sessions Murray would strike a plaintive note, asking, “Why is there no evangelism in Reformed churches?” After a while, we realized it wasn’t a question, but a lament.

No one ever suggested he was wrong. The question brought on a guilty silence.

But if Reformed congregations don’t have new births, why aren’t our churches dying? Some pollsters even say the Reformed slice of the conservative Christian pie is growing. Doesn’t this prove Reformed men have changed their priorities and are giving themselves to evangelism--that we're all missional, today?

Sadly not. Our converts have simply moved up the social register. To keep our pews filled, we depend upon men and women raised in Christian homes getting their graduate degree and trading in their parents’ Arminian church for a more respectable Reformed congregation...

Mexican drug cartels and John Eldredge...

(Since publishing this post, I've realized some of our readers may never have heard that John Eldredge opposes Scripture at key points in his writing. So, I'm adding several links here (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) as a warning to our readers not to be snookered into buying Eldredge's books or listening to his false teaching. Many have been harmed by him and there's no need for any others to fall into the trap.)

Eldredge is likely the most popular proponent of the heresy known as

open theism. (He) is not a trustworthy teacher of the Word

of God. While he presents an attractive message and often does so in an

attractive way, much of the content simply does not line up with

Scripture. He denies many of the truths orthodox believers have long

held to. I do not recommend his books and encourage you to exercise

extreme caution when dealing with his teachings.  -Tim Challies

(Tim) Speaking of the perversion of Biblical male sexuality sold in books like Wild at Heart (see final comment under "Sacred Swooning" post), the most recent New Yorker has a piece on the murderous drug cartels displacing the rule of law in much of Mexico. The article delves deeply into one relatively recent cartel known as La Familia, reporting that La Familia's leader, El Chayo or El Mas Loco (the Craziest), "is inspired... it has been reported, by the muscular Christianity of John Eldredge...

Training your toddler to battle porn...

(Tim) Here's the beginning of a post by Michael Foster from our ClearNote Fellowship Blog:

* * *

The battle against porn starts while your son is still in diapers…

Pornography and faith...

(Tim) These wise words were made as a comment under the recent post, Stats on internet pornography, by Alex McNeilly, a young sax student in Church of the Good Shepherd. Thank you, Alex.

* * *


of how guarded any home is against sin, particularly the sexual sin of the media, in the world opportunities to indulge in it will abound. But even as we build larger and stronger walls against these sins

in the home, worldly access to them becomes ever more

available as we see in the stats in this post. As a result, I agree

with Kevin that the strongest defense against these things lies in the

spiritual battle.

We must teach our children the dangers of sexual sin and

pornography, so that when they go into the world (a friend's house, a

computer lab, a video store, etc.), where there are no guards, their

hearts will already be fortified against these iniquities...

McDonalds surrounded by haute cuisine...

(Tim: Under the post, What godly eldership looks like with a 30something single man..., PCA teaching elder and church planter in Taiwan, Joel Linton, made this comment. It's so good, I'm promoting it to the main page.)

* * *

If men pick godly, mature Christian young women, these women would not be turned off by lack of money.

The question I think for the women (if they are mature and secure in the Lord) is are these men "with it" in the sense of being responsible for their personal lives and for others -- or are they barely getting by as single men. I think women do not want to have to be "moms" to these men. Women want to find men to whom they can willingly submit and follow.

I meet so many single 30's men who are passive, do not take the initiative or responsibility, and just seem lost as far as what their life is all about. They might hold a steady job (some do not), but they are just working to work. They might have a decent car and a decent house and lots of videos, video games, sound systems, etc. installed in their homes, but they do not really know what to do with each day...

Building unity among men...

Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. -1Thessalonians 5:26

(Tim) Not to express the slightest opinion on any part of the Brett Favre debacle... And yet, pastors and elders would do well to learn from this statement at the end of the NYTimes' article on Favre's welcome to NYC by Mayor Bloomberg, and his statement about how he plans to win the support of the men who are his new Jets teammates:

I want these guys to know me, know what I’m about. I’m
not going to call team meetings. I’m not going to rah-rah. I’m going to
do what I have to do, pat guys on the back, hug them, pick them up off
the ground and hope they do the same for me and hope that’s enough to

Father-hunger and pastoral ministry...

Yet most I thank thee, not for any deed,
But for the sense thy living self did breed
That Fatherhood is at the world’s great core.

-George MacDonald (1)

(Tim) Some years back when I first entered the pastorate, I sat in a small-town café listening to the son of a prominent church member summarize his relationship with his father: “Nothing I did ever pleased him.” In his late twenties, the son was a neer-do-well; divorced and not able to hold down a job, his children were shunted back and forth, week-by-week, from one broken home to another.

He came to church only on Christmas and Easter so our breakfast appointment was about the only chance I had. His eyes revealed the last flicker of what once had been the bright flame of father-hunger—that hunger God places in the heart of every son. None of my seminary professors had mentioned this hunger to me and I was at a loss as to how to cure his soul. Not knowing how to respond to this great sadness, I was silent...

The Titanic and women in combat in the PCA...

Women and children first?

July 6-24, the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University put the following question to 1,010 men and women:

You may recall that male passengers on the Titanic agreed to give up their places on the lifeboats for women and children. If there were a similar situation today, do you think men should be expected to die and allow women to live, or is this an old fashioned idea?

Among men, 63% of men agreed to die for women; 23% thought the idea was old fashioned; and 14% couldn't make up their minds. "Quick, the boat's sinking, Mr. Bayly: What'll it be--you or your wife?"

"Well um... Ahem... On the one hand..."

Among women, though, 43% said men shouldn't bother sacrificing for them while only 39% still thought it was good for men to give up their spots in the lifeboats for women; 18% were undecided. "Quick, the boat's sinking, Mrs. Bayly: What'll it be--you or your husband?"

"Well um... Ahem... I don't know--Tim's the man of the house; let him decide."

We all know the world has lost its way on the meaning of sexuality, but what about the church? I'm reminded of two experiences in my own denomination, the PCA, where the state of affairs became clear.

Several years ago, I served on a study committee of our general assembly assigned to produce a study paper on women in combat. As you might guess, I was agin' it but there were a number of pastors and elders on the committee who would have fit right into this poll. Some were military officers (chaplains, sadly), while others were pastors of local churches. Just short of half our committee believed..

Lots and lots of mirrors...

Could Archimedes have set the Roman warships on fire? MIT's geeks say yup and prove it.