|—||Dr. John Lennox, “The Magic of Christmas" (Washington Post, Dec. 24, 2011)|
- Christian Wiman articulates something I think I believe but could never put into words.
(For those of you who haven’t brushed up your Latin lately, “sine qua non” basically means an essential condition or ingredient…)
Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.
Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.
Jesus lives, I know full well
Nought from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief, hence forth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.
Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (July 4, 1715 – December 13, 1769) was a German poet and philosophy professor at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Although he earned a degree in theology, he never entered the ministry because of extreme shyness and health problems. However, those maladies did not hinder him from writing … “Jesus Lives, and So Shall I.” … Each verse (except the last) ends with that glorious confession, “Jesus is my hope and trust.” It is sung to Johann Crüger’s tune, JESUS, MEINE ZUVERSICHT.
Make no mistake: if He rose at allit was as His body;if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the moleculesreknit, the amino acids rekindle,the Church will fall.It was not as the flowers,each soft Spring recurrent;it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddledeyes of the eleven apostles;it was as His Flesh: ours.The same hinged thumbs and toes,the same valved heartthat - pierced - died, withered, paused, and thenregathered out of enduring Mightnew strength to enclose.Let us not mock God with metaphor,analogy, sidestepping transcendence;making of the event a parable, a sign painted in thefaded credulity of earlier ages:let us walk through the door.The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,not a stone in a story,but the vast rock of materiality that in the slowgrinding of time will eclipse for each of usthe wide light of day.And if we will have an angel at the tomb,make it a real angel,weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linenspun on a definite loom.Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we areembarrassed by the miracle,and crushed by remonstrance.- John Updike
… I believe that when Christians offer unqualified criticisms of feminism, or frame feminism as an enemy to faith and family, what we unintentionally communicate to many people is that we do not support the full humanity of women.
Let me be clear: There is certainly no denying that some aspects of some feminisms have had negative effects in our culture and are contrary to our faith. But the truth is that many feminists disagree with each other and critique each other, so to use the word “feminism” without any qualification communicates nothing. We don’t need to agree with all aspects of all feminisms to agree with the one foundational tenet that all feminisms hold in common: the idea that women and men are created equal. In fact, as Christians, in the Bible we have the strongest philosophical framework for defining the full personhood of women. …
In truth, we don’t need “feminism” in order to champion the full human rights of women. We only need the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because we live with the global reality that women are regularly treated as second class citizens, we must contend clearly and vehemently that the gospel of Jesus proclaims that women are fully human, equal in worth and value to men.
But until the day when the church is known for championing the rights of women around the world – until the day when our passion has caused “Christian” to become synonymous with “passionate about the full human rights of women” – let’s quit fighting against the word that most people of my generation already define that way. …
A thoughtful and, I believe, important essay about the vast discrepancy between the way many North American evangelicals perceive and portray “feminism” and the way most people outside conservative Christian circles understand it. I think that on the whole, particularly in the “post-Christian” world of the 21st century, we evangelicals need to be a great deal more careful about the terms we use (or reject) and the way we define them, when we talk about what we do or don’t stand for.
There was a time when I would have been horrified by the idea of anyone calling me a feminist. As I understood it back then, feminists wouldn’t want me in their movement anyway: what possible interest or sympathy could they have for a woman who voluntarily wears a head covering and remains silent in meetings of the church? I expected most feminists would consider me an ignorant tool of the Patriarchy, at best pitiable and at worst an enemy, and that we’d have little or no common ground.
But since then I’ve met a lot of thoughtful feminists with a diverse range of attitudes, including a lot of ideals and convictions that I’ve always held myself. And I’ve come to believe that anyone who takes the Bible seriously on the subject of human worth and dignity in the sight of God, and wants to obey what it teaches about how we should treat one another as men and women, is a “feminist” in at least one meaningful definition of the term, whether they choose to embrace that label or not.
Anyway, it’s a good essay and I recommend it.
#Jesus Among Other Gods #ravizacharias #apologetics
Jesus Among Other Gods is a good and thoughtfully written book which I currently have in my library (I need to re-read it one of these days).
I’m grateful for writers and speakers like Ravi Zacharias, because they show that it’s possible to hold and defend the claims of Christianity, including its exclusive tenets, in a gracious and compassionate way instead of an adversarial, condescending one.
If more Christians spoke about their faith “with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience,” as the apostle Peter instructed the early Christians to do, then there wouldn’t be so many people justly hurt and offended by ignorant, rude, pushy or insensitive attempts to present the gospel…
of the glass furnace. A radiant shadow
cast onto mist. Think of Icarus:
his shadow huge and haloed
on the backs of the clouds.
The higher he went, the larger
it loomed. To go into glory, then,
is to walk into fire.
And the angels begin as they always do:
Don’t be afraid.
"Glory, in the dictionary" by Erin Bow
I love this.
So I realized a while ago that I was scared to tell any of my Christian friends that I’m asexual and I couldn’t figure out why. In theory they should be accepting because it’s not against any of their “rules”. I finally came to a conclusion a short time ago about why I don’t want to tell them.If I tell them they would refuse to accept it or to believe me. Not because it’s unbelievable, but because if they accept that my sexuality is real and something I was born with then the same logic would have to apply to all sexualities…
Came across this post browsing the asexuality tag (which I’ve been doing for months now, because of fiction-related reasons). I’ve actually been wanting to talk about the subject of asexuality and Christianity for quite some time, but held back because I was sure somebody else was a) saying it already and b) probably saying it better.
However, nobody does seem to be saying this, so I will.
The fact is, the Bible — in both the Old and New Testament — does not at any point condemn asexuality. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that it is asexual-friendly.
um… what? this is incredibly gross and problematic and full of hyperbole and assumptions, starting with the implied assumption that a) religious people don’t read any other books aside from their primary religious text and b) they don’t even take the time to properly read and study that. sure, plenty of religious people “barely” read — since I am a Christian and have the most direct experience with Christianity I’ll stick with it for examples — the Bible, but that’s hardly reflective of Christianity as a religion as a whole. my father doesn’t make a big fuss about it, but he reads his Bible every night before bed. (I know this because I’ve been camping with him and sometimes I’m a little tetchy because ARGH DAD TURN OUT THE LIGHT but also I really respect that.) he has also studied it through many times through many different lenses, both during the times when he was in school (he has a Masters degree in religious studies with a concentration on missions, and over the last several years was taking online college courses to beef up said degree so he can go on to get a PhD so he was studying a lot of different areas of the Bible, including doing a lengthy essay on the book of Job) and when he was working as a pastor and was preaching a sermon every week, and in between times because like me he is a person who goes out and learns about stuff just on instinct. he has dozens of scholarly books on the Bible and will read different books on differing opinions of how to interpret one single section of the Bible when he’s studying that particular book. his office is also piled with hundreds of books — there’s a shelf that cracks me up because next to each other it has, like, a book of Dali paintings, the Koran, a book on sociology, a biography of Van Morrison, and a book on church building. he has really terrible eyesight and reads very slowly these days, but he still tries to read a lot despite that, and listens to a lot of audiobooks while driving. he loves biographies; most of his are about folk musicians and presidents. (I stole his Woody Guthrie biography. oops.) he doesn’t claim to know everything. even though he has the kind of personality that makes him be a know-it-all my-opinion-is-fact sort sometimes, he does not claim to know everything about the universe or about Christianity. I mean, he’s studied the Bible enough times to know that JESUS SAYS TO QUESTION EVERYTHING. Jesus doesn’t want blind followers, he wants informed belief! the Bible does not encourage acting as though you know everything! some things just aren’t possible for the human mind to comprehend! and that’s okay, and kind of beautiful, that we’re freed from having to UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.
now, my dad isn’t necessarily the Average Christian — for one thing, like me, he’s a big intellectual artsy nerd. but I wouldn’t say he’s SUPER RARE, either. (I do not read my Bible often enough, but nor do I claim to know everything… okay, except in youth groups; I have had many many terrible youth group experiences in which I knew far more than the twenty-something youth leader and/or had to correct their mistakes and/or was the only member of the class who knew the answers to questions and THIS WAS REALLY AWKWARD, OKAY. IT WAS ACTUALLY NOT VERY MUCH FUN AT ALL.)
also this implies that Christians cannot be scientists. which is, of course, absurd. (Creationism vs. evoluution debate aside; I’m not even going to go near that can of worms on the internet.) anyway if you are a scientist I CERTAINLY HOPE YOU READ MORE THAN “DOZENS” OF BOOKS THAT IS NOT A LOT OF BOOKS.
lastly, if the jab this is meant to be making is “how dare religious people claim their religion is the true one”, well… personally, I don’t see the point in following a religion I do not believe is based on truth. yes, I do believe that there is a God, that this is an absolute truth, that he created the world, that Jesus was the Son of God and lived on this earth and died for our sins. if I didn’t believe these things were true, I would not even bother with Christianity. honestly, something has to be true. everything cannot be true. there has to be something that is the truth. I will respect others’ rights to believe that their religions are the truth, but that means I may also retain my belief that what I believe is factual: because if I did not believe it was, then I would not believe. (and the only people who believe all religions lead to the same place, I think, are people who do not know the various major religions very well. they are compatible in some parts, but to say that they are all the exact same thing in different guises is frankly insulting to everyone.)
I’m not explaining this very well, but in short: this post is simplistic and deliberately incendiary and problematic and also incorrect, and it is not okay with me.
Reblogging for truth and beauty (by which I mean the commentary, not the rubbishy and bigoted statement that inspired it).
That statement is also an insult to my husband, who is a career biologist with a degree from a well established and respected non-religious university, and who regularly carries out scientific experiments and writes up papers and reports on his research which are valued by many people in his field — yet is also a committed Christian who believes in the reliability and integrity of the Bible.
Plus I’ve just spent half the day doing hard scientific research for the novel I’m currently writing, because I am anxious not to get my facts wrong. I most certainly do NOT think I “know it all,” or I wouldn’t be doing that. So this kind of ignorant mud-slinging really grinds my gears.
Over the past few years, I’ve come to find that the way I perceive the world around me is a little different than the way most people perceive things. Growing up I was never aware of the fact that I had (have) what’s called synesthesia. Essentially, my senses uniquely react with each other, creating effects such as seeing sound, or tasting color. It may sound crazy, but up until recently I thought it was completely normal. I would have never questioned my perception of the world had I not tried to convince my husband that M&M’s tasted different from one another based on their color (which was dismissed upon failing a blindfolded taste test). After I tried to explain to him that letters and numbers had genders and personalities, he told me about synesthesia.For awhile, I didn’t think about it much. I joked with my husband about the different tastes I experience when I see, hear, or touch certain things (both the pleasant experiences and the disgusting ones), but I didn’t truly understand what synesthesia was. Recently, however, I’ve become more interested in learning about it, and began looking into the details. As I continued through my research, I became a little frightened and uneasy. I realized that throughout my life, I had been experiencing things that were abnormal.
The most frightening moment was learning that normal people don’t see colors in their peripheral vision upon hearing specific sounds. This lead me to wonder if something is wrong with me. What if this leads to insanity? What if I’m mentally ill? Why am I so crazy? But this morning during our Shabbat worship service, I realized two things which are not only helping me get over these fears, but teaching me to experience worship in a new way.The first revelation, and possibly the most obvious, is that synesthesia, much like intelligence or artistic ability, could be a gift. As I stood in service this morning trying to ignore the colors and tastes I was experiencing, I considered the possibility that this is God’s work. It’s not always comfortable to admit that God has given you such an unusual and weird gift. But once I was able to relax, and let go of the distraction of worry and fear, I began to witness God’s glory in the way I perceived the worship.
I’ve been experiencing ”colorful sound” all my life, and I’ve never really payed it much notice. But now that I’m aware of how unique it is, I’m forced to acknowledge it, study it, and observe it. As the familiar music of worship filled the sanctuary today, I was suddenly in awe. I had never noticed how the instruments worked together, creating not only a wonderful sound, but beautiful colors which flow together. The sound of the recorder creating a light green, the drum a midnight blue (sometimes burgundy depending on the type of drum), the guitar a shade of orange, and the chimes a soft baby blue.
As I marveled at this thing before me, something that has always been so simple, so regular, so ordinary to me, I began to wonder what else we are missing. Not just experiences of synesthesia, but the everyday experiences we don’t take notice of. My husband, who as a child had eye issues, has moments where the observance of normal 3D vision stops him in his tracks. I had always found it odd, and I admit a little silly, but there’s really nothing odd or silly about it. He’s aware of an awesomeness that’s missed by people who have grown so accustom to it, they’ve lost their appreciation.
The fact that color exists at all. The fact that sound exists. The fact that we are mobile creatures. We’re comfortable with and oblivious to the existence of normal everyday things, which render us unaware of the amazing gift God has given us. Whether it’s the beauty in God’s creation through His way of coloring and shaping things, or our ability to create music in his praise, or the opportunity for us to dance before him in worship, they sometimes grow ordinary and usual, often going unnoticed, when in reality, it’s all part of the indescribably amazing works of God.
So as I stood watching the colors, the same colors I’ve been seeing all through my life, I began to wonder what else I’m missing, and what we all are missing. What other gifts from God do we shy away from, whether it’s from confusion, fear, or simple lack of awareness? What other miraculous things do we miss, because it’s an everyday detail we give no thought to? And more mind boggling, what are the things we can’t see at the moment, but are awaiting us in the future?
"As it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—" (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV)
Lovely thoughts, thank you for posting them.