What Teens Actually Think (pt. 1 of 2)

Biblical authority has always been challenged. Post-Enlightenment scholasticism, higher criticism and modernity have challenged widely held convictions regarding biblical authorship, authenticity, authority, inerrancy and infallibility. How can I live without having to submit to or be accountable to biblical authority? How can I create a reality that is free from widely held convictions regarding ethical absolutes? I must challenge biblical authority. I must challenge the absolutes. I must remain autonomous–able to define myself, reality, ethics, etc. without Scripture as a norm. We simply have to refer to Scripture as man-made. Or in the case of Bauer and Ehrman, we have to refer to “orthodoxy” as man-made. Read more…

Marriage vs. Cohabitation? (A Valentine’s Day Challenge)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the first time in America’s history, more adults are single rather than married. What is the difference between marriage and cohabitation, really?

In our society, the institution of marriage is polarizing, and hard-hitting questions about it will generate responses that run the gamut (even from among those who consider themselves Christian believers).

Ours is a progressive culture, yet we hear a lot about marriage. Gay marriage, the legal definition of marriage, polygamy–whatever–the central issue is marriage. Today in our society, marriage as it is traditionally understood (or defined in Scripture) is not as popular as it had once been.

For Christian singles, of whatever age, “what is the difference between marriage and cohabitation, really?”  This is a deeply personal matter. Or is it?

More importantly for this discussion, why is marriage such a priority (or preoccupation) to people of Christian faith?

Read more…

“Modesty is a Precondition of Education”

There are two approaches to reading a text; one of myself as master and the text as slave, or its opposite.

It took me a few minutes (and much mental energy) to completely absorb this article from ACSD.org, but I knew that I needed to. The task of actually reading the article illustrates well the point of the article — it takes effort, focused and distraction-free effort, to tackle complex texts. In some places, I was bogged down and had to re-read a segment in order to pick up the message.

It is pandemic.

As the pull quote mentions, those of us who are “used to multitasking and hopping from link to link will have difficulty tackling complex texts—and college-level reading.” Society is not designed for slow digestion. We have many distractions taking place constantly. We willingly wrap ourselves with more and more ways to escape. All of it robs any chance to invest our time to self-improvement, improved literacy, self-awareness and heightened senses. We are quick to read tripe; however. We can rarely stomach anything more complex.

Time is a luxury in our busy world. It takes time to really read something that’s not already pre-processed and half-chewed. Sadly, we cannot afford to.

The issue that concerns me the most is this–What does this all of this imply about reading God’s Word? Read more…

What you believe absolutely matters

The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 2 asks,

What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Wow, there’s a way to win an audience! But seriously, who/what is the proper authority to prescribe how I ought to govern my life?

One of the most fascinating inquiries taking place within American society today is that of ethics. Have you heard any lectures lately? How can we do medicine ethically? How can we do healthcare ethically? How can anyone determine ethical norms when we have abolished absolute values?

Who/what speaks the truth about ethics? If not the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, what?

Alert Americans may be listening to the narrative, but miss the real dilemma. Read more…

Letters To God

Touching story but a theological disaster. The writing of Letters presents an unfortunate account of the purpose of prayer, biblical suffering and the true meaning of salvation.

There is too much decaf theology in this flick. God did not send Christ so that we can have “someone to talk to about what is in our heart and get help,” but to rescue dying people from the eternal death that we all deserve.

There are two necessary components of a “Christian Worldview” that are seldom mentioned: sin and the cross. Without these, we may as well be watching Oprah.

According to their website, “Possibility Pictures is a team of gifted veterans and category leaders, formed from God’s will to reach out and spread His word through film. Possibility Pictures plans to diversify the choices available to our society and present stories that lift the spirit and spread the word of hope and love.” I’m afraid they didn’t quite accomplish the former of their objectives.

What is America’s Mission?

“Being number one is the result. It’s not the goal. It’s the mission that leads us. So, what’s the mission for the U.S.A? What’s the mission for China?. . . the mission is what drives you. It’s not being number one that drives you. The mission drives you.”

Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, the head of the Alibaba Group discussed competition and the “Chinese Dream” on ABC’s World News on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010.

The Alibaba Group is the largest e-Commerce company in China, with almost 22,000 employees. China has the world’s 2nd largest economy. Ma’s billionaire concepts, which have grown his company, are ideas he admits he learned in the U.S. (while working for a software company in Seattle).

“What you see here [at Alibaba],” exclaims Ma, “is the Chinese dream. It is a part of the American dream. The American dream is what motivated us . . . and most of the world!”

My commentary:

  1. All of us — companies, not-for-profit organizations, churches, schools, individuals — can benefit from spending a few quiet moments pondering the “mission.” I agree with the conviction of Mr. Ma. Illustration: Fitness is a result. We do not wake up one day and say, “I want to be fit.” We wake up and say, “I’m going to eat well and stay active. When I am consistent with that, I will be fit.” The mission is to eat well and stay active, not to be fit.
  2. I also know, however, that man’s ambitions, like his heart, are selfish and darkened. One’s “dream,” (for himself or the organization he belongs to), may not be right or good. Take, for example, China’s one child policy: China’s aim for population control for the past 30 years is directly responsible for countless abortions.
  3. As laid out ad nausea in this past post, the U.S. is in an irrecoverable decline. It has been predicted by P.A. Sorokin in his book “The Crisis of Our Age.” Everyone may see that the glory days are gone. Not everyone sees how far gone they really are. However, an honest look at history and our current decline reveals that China, not the U.S., will be the dominant culture of the world in the not-too-distant future. The U.S. quickly rose to power and will quickly slip from that summit — the fate of every civilization.
  4. Side note: I am not under the conviction that the United States was blessed by God to become a superpower because she is/was a “Christian nation” with “Christian” founding fathers and all of that. Nor do I then follow them to the conclusion that because she has abandoned her First Love, God is abandoning her (insert references to abortion, removal of prayer by the so-called “secular-humnaists,” and all of that).

Whether we struggle to remain number one, or whether the U.S. quietly concedes her seat, there is still merit in considering her mission. What is her mission?

Ridiculous Doctrines – Religious Pluralism


If I were building up to any sort of climax with this series of posts, this is the one I have been building toward. The doctrine of pluralism gets center stage in the arts. I could search out and include dozens of examples from modern movies, music, books and visual arts, but to make my point more briefly, I’ll just use two examples from music–one from 30 Seconds to Mars and one from Disturbed.

If you don’t know what religious pluralism is, great. It is better this way. I also want to set pluralism apart from syncretism. Read more…