Archive for January 15th, 2009

glass slipper(or I thank Thee that I am not as other men )

In the Cinderella fairy tale, the prince is trying to find the owner of the glass slipper in order to make her his bride. Driven by their greed for the monetary rewards to be had by such an occurence, each of Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters tries to cram her foot into the slipper to “prove” that she is the rightful owner. This, of course, doesn’t work.

In short, the shoe didn’t fit.

In the last few days, there have been two posts at major Christian blogs that have been of the “if the shoe fits” variety. Both were personally convicting for me and both were — to one extent or another — also pointed partially at the authors. Maybe not a confession, per se, but an admission that “here’s something I need to think about, and maybe you do too”. One even specifically asked for input on the issue.

Happily, there were some commenters on each post noting that they, too, were convicted (or at least had their minds churning). Unfortunately, the majority of the comments at each blog — when not running off on non sequitur rabbit trails — were so full of self-justification, it was sickening. Sometimes, it took the blatant form of “that doesn’t apply to me”. Sometimes, it was a bit more subtle, with so much word-parsing and caveat creation, the greatest defense lawyers in the world would be jealous.

In either case (blatant or subtle), the commenter was saying “that shoe doesn’t fit me”.

Why are we like this? Why are we so afraid of — gulp — God actually speaking to us? Neither post was beating its readers over the head. In fact, as I stated, both blog authors somewhat blamed themselves for the problems they discussed.

I’m not “without sin”, so I’m not “cast[ing] the first stone”. But if a writer or speaker isn’t pointing fingers (at least without pointing one back at himself), aren’t we really just being defensive with God?

Howzat workin’ for ya?

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Well, I have recently become a big fan of Mark Driscoll because he preached a sermon from 1 Timothy that was timely and helped me a lot, but today I became a bigger fan of Ingrid Schlueter. Thanks to Ingrid, I now have a couple of very important links to VERY important web pages. (Sex.) Since I don’t read Mr Driscoll’s sex stuff, I would have never known about these links if not for you! Thanks! (Sex.)

On the other hand, I have to sort of chastise Mark Driscoll today. You see, I have steadfastly avoided his ’sex’ talk (sex) because, in my humble opinion, I don’t think there is a place for it in the pulpit. I know, I know. That runs against the grain of many people in my generation, but sex in the pulpit is to me like sex in the oval office: There should be more respect. That’s my opinion and I’m not trying to foist it upon anyone else. (Sex.) Like I said, the best person to ask about sex within a marriage is your spouse. As a preacher, I won’t talk about it; as a parishioner, I don’t want to hear it. But that’s me and it doesn’t have to be anyone else. I don’t preach in Seattle. (Sex.)

That said, Driscoll really let me down today with this post: Spiritual Disciplines: Chastity. Man, Mark, are you nuts? Here’s what Driscoll wrote:

Chastity is the fasting from all sexual activity for the purpose of holiness. The best example of chastity in all of Scripture is Jesus Christ, who never married and never committed any sin, including sexual sin (Hebrews 4:15). As an unmarried man, Jesus is the perfect example of appropriate male-female loving friendships that do not violate propriety or holiness in any way. The Scriptures command God’s people in numerous different verses to remain chaste in both their actions and appearances [...]

I was starting lose confidence in Driscoll, now he goes and writes something like this. I’m wondering if there will be any blog posts from certain bloggers today praising Driscoll for this post? No one even uses the word ‘chas…’…what was it again?…chas…’ oh, nevermind. (Sex.)

Attention Mark Driscoll: Boring! (Sex.)

I’ll let ‘the remnant’ have the last word:

God help you, Mr. Driscoll, and God help the so called Christian leaders who support him in it. You’re no longer going to do it in a corner, because the remnant is blowing the whistle. [My emphasis.]

Mr Driscoll, be afraid. Be very afraid. (Sex) It appears that now, God help you, you have been handed over to the satan. (Sex.)

I’m done.  I’m going home. All this talk about sex is making me anxious.  :)

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All too often in the Christian blogosphere, we’re overwhelmed with the pseudo-pious ramblings of holier-than-thou harpies and armchair quarterbacks that we forget to notice so many examples of the kingdom of God at work, both in big and small ways.

Brant Hansen, of Kamp Krusty fame, posted a link to his facebook page, which I found to be a rather touching example of followers of Christ finding creative ways in which to advance the kingdom.  From the article:

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team’s fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, “Go Tornadoes!” Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

For those of you who aren’t from Texas, or w/o Texan friends & family (I’d make a subtle jab at Texas here, except that Zan lived there for a small bit of her life and still takes the second-largest state in the union way too seriously) – high school football is, in some ways, the end-all be-all of existence.  Which makes this story all the bit more strange.

So what was going on?

Gainesville is a maximum-security prison, 75 miles away from Grapevine, and its high school team plays every game on the road.   The coach from Grapevine arranged to have half of his school’s fans (along with cheerleaders) cheer on the other team.

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”

[...]

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that’s when Isaiah [the Gainesville QB and DCB] surprised everybody by asking to lead. “We had no idea what the kid was going to say,” remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: “Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank You, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”

Go ahead and read the whole article – with a box of tissues (in case you get something in your eye while reading).

You see, it’s little things like this which demonstrate the Kingdom of God – the heart of Christ – something far different than sniping at pastors who preach in cities in which you don’t live, in churches you don’t attend, to people you wouldn’t know from Adam.

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I’ve been reading Asphalt Jesus by Eric Elnes recently, and though I cannot necessarily endorse all of it, it raises some good points.  In one chapter dealing with the issue of homosexuality, he offers the following quote by William Sloane Coffin taken from an open letter to the Conference of Catholic Bishops.  The quote is the following:

“For Christians, the problem is not how to reconcile homosexuality with scriptural passages that condemn it, but how to reconcile the rejection and punishment of homosexuals with the love of Christ.”

I was immediately challenged when I read that.  I’m interested in what others’ reactions are to it.  I was also wondering how well the quote would work if we replaced the words “homosexuality” and “homosexuals” with something like, “drug addiction” and “drug addicts”.  It seems to me that we don’t have a problem accepting the fact that we need to show the love of Christ to drug addicts a lot of the time, but for some reason the specific issue of homosexuality gets special treatment.

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