Singing falsetto...

From Al's FB page:

20 incredible years as President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (I) made many commitments 20 years ago. Have those commitments been fulfilled? Don't miss (my) passionate, grace-filled message to the Southern Baptist Convention.

And this:

Passionate leaders attract and motivate passionate followers. Together, they build passionate movements. When this happens, anything is possible.

This endless parading of our grace and passion is bathetic...


Baby-slaughter and speaking the truth in love...

Nice, nice, very nice.

- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Last week the director of a neighboring state's Right to Life Political Action Committee sent our church an e-mail saying that, while he was reading internet discussions between baby-slaughterers, he came across accusations that some of those sidewalk counselors witnessing against the slaughter here at the Bloomington abortuary had insulted the serial murderers' helpers by telling them their actions were "vile." Not using these words with the mothers, but the abortionists and their assistants.

He e-mailed our church because his google search turned up our church's name as the church home of some of those active in offering help to the mothers outside the abortuary. He said the abortionist's accomplices were claiming someone doing sidewalk counseling had told them they were "vile" and "wicked." He added that he hoped this was not people from our church because we seemed like "a strong Christian church committed to God's Word and sharing the Gospel." But if some member of our church had, in fact, said such offensive things, this is "not a productive way to show God's love."

To which I responded...

Hey Tim, why do you use the word 'sodomy'...

Some time back, one of my seminary professors who remains a dear friend wrote taking issue with my use of the word 'sodomy' to refer to same-sex carnal knowledge:

I find your use of the word 'sodomites' a bit inaccurate, because the sin of Sodom was not solely homosexuality, but also (maybe primarily) lack of concern for the poor.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Jude 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

I hear this objection frequently. Just yesterday, a reader commented:

Using a word like sodomite , while largely accurate , is not helpful or proper in dialog .  Here's why.  Many in the world ,especially young people are just cruel to homosexuals ,  calling them such names , showing no mercy or opportunity for God's repentance  .  So  'Gay' folk are conditioned by this verbage to see it as name calling .    And I don't see Jesus calling folk 'names', except for the religious hypocrites .     and thirdly ,  we don't like folk using names on us that we don't like -  haters ,   anti- choice , etc .     4)  Jesus was friend of such folk .    One of things I really like to do is go to a local gay pride type event .  These folk are used to Christ followers only heaping pointing fingers at them .  They really open up each year I go and just begin to friend them and dialog .   I met some deaf guys this year who still text me .     Who wants to go sometime and be 'friends of sinners '  ?

One of my closest friends agrees. He told me he thought my use of 'sodomy' and 'sodomites' made me look to our readers like I was a member of the lunatic fringe.

First, a little street cred...

What is God (part 1); Playing dress up...

God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. WSC Q4 (emphasis mine)

That's how the Shorter Catechism answers "What is God?" The Westminster Confession has more to say but the focus is the same: a description of what amounts to "attributes" concluding with the Western formulation of the Trinity. None of these descriptions are wrong. I affirm them wholeheartedly. But should we start with attributes?

What are we describing when we begin with the "attributes of God"? Let me rephrase that: Who are we describing? 

At first it's difficult to answer the question. If "what" is in view, we're probably describing God's "essence", His "substance" or "nature." It's of no small consequence that the possessive "his" or "God's" precedes this "what." But even so, we're left with "Who?"

Detectives do their best to determine whose body they've found before turning it over to the coroner for an autopsy. But here we are, giddy as we pick apart the parts of God long before we've stopped to consider Who God is...

On the necessity of reading the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments...

Thy words were found and I ate them... - Jeremiah 15:16

You accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. - 1Thessalonians 2:13

My dear children: Throughout much of our lives, we have read the Bible together. Why did we do that? Why should you do it on your own?

Reading the Bible plunges us into a spiritual bath...

Why choosing a Bible translation has become a mine field...

Les traductions ressemblent aux femmes – lorsqu'elles sont fidèles, elles ne sont pas belles, quand elles sont belles, elles ne sont pas fidèles. - French proverb

Since first seeing an early proof (pre-publication) of one of the new translations being done by renowned Evangelical Bible scholars like Don Carson and Gordon Fee back in the early nineties, it became clear to me that the English-speaking church's blessing of many translations was about to become a curse. All through these proofs, words inspired by the Holy Spirit had been changed or deleted. And the ordering principle was fear of offending groups with certified victim status in the Western world--principally women and Jews.

If the original Greek was 'men,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'those' took its place. If the Greek was 'brothers,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'Christian friends' (and later 'Christian siblings') took its place. If the Greek was 'Jews,' it was removed and 'they' or 'Jewish leaders' took its place. If the Hebrew was 'adam,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'human being' took its place. It's all a project called the removal of "phallogocentricism in language."

Today, almost twenty years later, Evangelicals have been betrayed by their Bible scholars and are reading, preaching from, and memorizing Bibles that have, in countless places, betrayed the Greek and Hebrew inspired by the Holy Spirit. And now we read that...

Humility in deeds, not words alone....

It's important to remember that pride is made clear by both word and deed and not by words alone in assessing pride and humility. 

Neglecting this truth leads to false accusations. In Numbers 16, Korah, Dathan and Abiram lead a rebellion against Moses and Aaron saying, "You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” 

They accuse Moses of lording it over the people by speaking for God. Moses "angrily" defends himself before God by saying, "Do not regard their offering! I have not taken a single donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them." His defense lies in his deeds. He is not proud simply because he speaks for God. He has done them no harm, nor has he profited from them in any way.

So, how many of these can you define...

The New York Times has given the world a list of the fifty most looked-up words on their web site.

Here are the top ten:

  1. panegyric
  2. immiscible
  3. Manichean
  4. inveighs
  5. crepuscular
  6. legerdemain
  7. churlish
  8. risible
  9. anathema
  10. recognizance
Go beyond the jump to find the full list...

The case--please hear me out--against the em dash...

Speaking candidly, I'm addicted to the em dash. I know it, yet seem incapable of change. If this irritates you, dear reader, check out this piece from Slate--I think you'll enjoy it.



Weasel words...

(David) Several words immediately raise my hackles when used in reference to living religion and the worship of the one true God. Among these words are...

When a writer refers to Christian faith as "cult" I assume he probably doesn't know Jesus. And when a writer speaks of denominations or theological viewpoints as "traditions" I assume there's probably no hunger for orthodoxy. 

Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes...

A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. - Deuteronomy 22:5

(Tim) Speaking of mishmash, take the words 'sex' and 'gender' as an example. Until the past few years, there were two sexes, but three or four (or more) genders. 'Sex' was body parts and core identity flowing from those body parts while 'gender' was kind, sort, or class. Which is to say in the old days biology was destiny and sex was anything but plastic. From conception, God made man man or woman, and precious little escaped that physical division.

But today, language has become one of the principal weapons in the rebels' arsenal and Exhibit A is the death of 'sex'. Suzi was born a boy, but the doctor botched her circumcision and no one wants to hurt her feelings; Zoe was born a hermaphrodite and no one wants him to feel odd or left out; Johny grows up dressing like a woman and no one wants to hurt his feelings.

Anyone can see sex is really much more complicated than the two wooden categories used by all those ignoramuses who came before us. It's a continuum--not just body parts. It's endless aspects of personality and taste and clothing and family of origin stuff..."