Saturday, November 25, 2006

Where is the Wisdom?

I recently was introduced to Ravi Zacharias and RZIM(Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) through a link on a youth ministry news letter that I receive. The link was to an insightful little article called 'Where is the Wisdom?', concerning the failure in the church(and more generally, the world) to "challenge the mind of this generation" and to, ultimately, serve God with our minds as we are commanded to.
This is always an issue worth revisiting in my mind, and I fear what will happen to many followers of Christ in this next generation who fail to think, to ponder, and to 'test all things'.
Again, the article is very short, and, I think, quite good.

-N

Friday, November 24, 2006

Richard Bauckham on Jesus and the Eyewitnesses


Chris Tilling, on his blog Chrisendom, has recently had an awesome chance to interview Dr. Richard Bauckham concerning his new book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. I'm pretty excited about the book release itself, and have been since the Bishop N. T. Wright mentioned the project in a lecture on The DaVinci Code in Seattle, so the interview on this blog came as a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that. Check out the interview(and, if you like, the SEVERAL posts following the interview dedicated to the book as well) at Chrisendom.

-N

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gloria-Deo gets a face-lift

Gloria-Deo, Daniel Hixon's blog(linked to the right), recently received a face-lift on her layout and features. Make sure to check it out if you're not already a reader!
Also, don't forget to check out the Relief-Aid Organizations links, where you have a chance to show the love of Christ to the lives of those facing spiritual and practical needs the world-around.


-Nance

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

C. S. Lewis says...

I thought I'd offer up another Lewis quote for today, partly to satisfy my desire to write something, and partly because I really enjoyed this when reading it this morning.
I've seen it suggested that a team of people -- the more the better -- should agree to pray as hard as they knew how, over a period of six weeks, forall the patients in Hospital A and none of those in Hospital B. Then you would tot up the results and see if A had more cures and fewer deaths. . . .
The trouble is that I do not see how any real prayer could go on under such conditions. 'Words without thoughts never to heaven go', says the King in Hamlet. Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men for our experiment. You cannot pray for the recovery of the sick unless the end you have in view is their recovery. But you can have no motive for desiring the recovery of all the patients in one hospital and none of those in another. You are not doing it in order that suffering should be relieved; you are doing it to find out what happens. The real purpose and the nominal purpose of your prayers are at variance.

This is from a selection entitled Prayer is Not a 'Gimmick' in the Lewis Anthology The Business of Heaven(Nov. 14th), amidst a number of selections concerning prayer and the efficacy of prayer. I'm not sure what work of Lewis's this was originally taken from for the anthology.

-N

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Harry Potter

I posted before on this topic almost a year ago now, but this morning following my bi-weekly run in with our local LSU "megaphone guys", decided to approach the topic again, as it is in their minds on the many sure tickets to eternal damnation and separation from God.
A friend once argued to me against Harry Potter on the grounds that interest in the occult arose with the popularity of the series. I can't dispute that; I have a old friend that who was at one time a Harry Potter fan, and did dabble in the dark arts a bit once he had started himself down a self-destructive path, and perhaps the wouldn't have occurred away from his familiarity with the boy-wizard(although this isn't a certainty).
But we'll return to Mr. Potter. I want to begin with a broader stroke.
What is sin? Well there are several definitions, disobedience to God being a nice, general one. Oftentimes a fine definition to 'sin' is a perversion of something. Fornication and adultery are perversions of the sexual experiences that God designed for us, for pro-creation, yes, but also for pleasure; outside of God's intended venue(marriage) is where sex becomes something sinful. Likewise covetousness is a perversion of the thrills and joys that we get from X, whatever that may be, a person, an experience, a thing, and so on. It's the attachment to the thing that leads to the inordinate desire for it that is sinful. It's outside of God's intention for it. The same could be said of drinking and drunkenness or gluttony.
What about Harry Potter? We're getting there, if you don't see it already.
Throughout history is hasn't only been actions that we have perverted into things the are against the will of God, but we have perverted things as well. Christianity is a perfect example. Christianity has been the banner of persecutors, subjugators, and murderers for almost two millenia. It has been a sign taken up by the most un-loving, and thus un-Christian, people of all times, 'justifying' everything from persecution of Jews, to witch hunts and abortion clinic bombings. Christianity is not bad. It is the perversion, the thing that these people create and label as the faith that is so terrible and opposite the movement of God's kingdom.
And this is where we bring Harry Potter and quidditch and Azkaban back into the picture. Anything can be misused to terrible ends, but considering J. K. Rowling's intent was not to convert a generation to proficiency in witchcraft, it is indeed a misuse that leads readers to such ends. Stupid decisions cannot be stopped and are to be expected to a degree from anything. If it is in the heart of a reader to distance themselves from the Lord and His church, that they would do so in this manner, then it is the heart of the reader that takes him there, not the words of the author. It is his choice.

The second arguement that I frequently is that the Potter books shine such a positive light of witchcraft and wizardry, and there are two responses to this:
1) this is actually not so true, as both the protagonists and the antagonists are witches and wizards. Lord Voldemort, who is a personification of all things selfish and evil, is a wizard. That's hardly positive. Harry Potter, who fights the darkness and actually shines of many virtues is also a wizard. There's no universal here. It's the same fallacious arguement made when people say that the New Testament shines a negative light on Judaism, apparently ignoring the fact that Jesus and all of His disciples(from Peter to Judas Iscariot) were Jews, and that Christianity at that time was founded and seen as nothing else than another form of Judaism.
2) Harry Potter doesn't have a monopoly on witches and wizards in the world of fantasy literature. Other prominent appearance of theirs include The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, nominally even, and in the Star Wars mythos, simply by another name. One simply cannot throw out the Dumbledores and Weasleys yet cling to the Gandalfs and deeper magic of Narnia(which is a beautiful symbol of God's covenant with His people), or the Jedi--there's a double standard being unjustly used there. And we know that Christians love at least their Narnia, if not their Middle-Earth and Star Wars also, and well they should.

Something to chew on.
I may follow up with my thoughts(which is all that this is) on more disputed topics in the coming days and weeks.

-N