Studying the Ten Commandments
Leon R. Kass has written a lengthy, but excellent study of the ten commandments. If you want to know more about these incredible statements from the mouth of God, then I would suggest you begin with this article. Speaking of the Decalogue, Krass states, “It is less a founding legal code, more an orienting aspiriational guide for every Israelite and, perhaps, every human heart and mind.” Check out The Ten Commandments: Why the Decalogue Matters
James K.A. Smith was interviewed by The Gospel Coalition on his new book Imagining the Kingdom. He spoke about several things in the interview, but I was intrigued by what he had to say about worship practices.
We have to “read” practices in order to discern the telos or goal that is implicit in the practices. Practices are not neutral “containers” into which you can pour just any old “content” that you want. Practices are already loaded. For example, I think a lot of the cultural practices of our consumer culture are pretty much essentially defined by an egoism that puts “me” at the center. So even if you “Jesus-fy” these practices—take them up and insert Christian “content” as it were—the very form of the practice “says” almost the exact opposite (and it “says” this, I argue, to your body, to your imagination, at a gut-level). How ironic to package the God-centric vision of Jonathan Edwards in the entirely me-centric practices of the mall!
N.T. Wright on the New Marcionism
N.T. Wright was recently interviewed by Andrew Wilson. Wilson took this opportunity to ask Wright several things, but he was really intrigued by what Wright thought about the new Marcionism. This is the belief that there are vast differences between the God of the NT and the God of the OT. Here is partly how Wright responded,
the fiercest statements of warnings about judgment are on the lips of Jesus. And some of the most dramatically, spectacularly, extraordinary statements about overflowing mercy are in bits of the Old Testament, like Isaiah and the Psalms and so on. So there’s much more of a rich mixture, and you can only sustain the either/or of the Marcionite vision by blinding yourselves to quite a lot of what is there in the gospels.
Check out Tom Wright Skewers the New Marcionism
I only recently became familiar with the writings of Will Campbell and I am glad I did. Campbell did not tow the line. He challenged many people as he tried to follow Jesus. He was a civil rights leader, but he also reminded people that Jesus died for members of the KKK. Sadly, Campbell passed away this week. Lee C. Camp gives his thoughts on Will Campbell here: REMEMBERING WILL CAMPBELL (1924-2013)
What Should We Give?
Erin Straza has written a great piece for Christ and Pop Culture on how we should give when disaster strikes. She states,
Do I send tangible goods? Do I give money? Do I show up in person? All I know is that I want to do something. I want people to know others have seen their loss and hate what has happened. I want them to sense God’s love and comfort even as they are being swallowed by overwhelming sorrow and doubting His existence or sovereignty or goodness in light of their present suffering.
Whatever I may want people to experience through any acts of kindness I may aspire to deliver, it will be for nothing if I focus more on what I want to give rather than on what people truly need.
Alexander Campbell and the KJV
Bobby Valentine has comprised an interesting history regarding Alexander Campbell, The Living Oracles, and the King James Bible. He shows how Campbell and others in the restoration movement were not fans of this translation and sought to improve it by putting out a newer version. Check out Campbell & The King James Version
Are Southern Baptists Calvinists?
Before you answer that question you may want to read this article from the Religion News Service regarding the controversy on Calvinism among Southern Baptists. Check out Why John Calvin is shaking things up for Southern Baptists
Morgan Guyton examines a recent sermon by Brian Zahnd on New Creation (Not Evacuation). Many Christians have created a theology of abandoment over years. You can hear it almost every Sunday in the songs we sing and comments made during worship. Many Christians hope for a day when they will simply fly away and never see this world again. Thankfully people like N.T. Wright and others are challenging these preconceived ideas. Brian Zahnd is also an author and minister who has challenged neo-Gnosticism. Concerning our pilgrimage on earth Guyton says,
To be a pilgrim seeking a heavenly city whose foundations are laid by God does not justify being a nihilistic Gnostic who is indifferent to the creation God has called good. Abraham’s faith doesn’t have anything to do with an otherworldly place anyhow, but rather laying the seeds for a people whose fruit he had to trust God to provide in the distant future. It’s about time, not space.
For More Than Trekkies
Not only is Sir Patrick Stewart a great Star Trek captain, he is also a great human being. One person recently captured Stewart talking about his childhood and how that led him to the work he does in regards to violence against women. Check out Set Phasers on ‘Hug': Sir Patrick Stewart’s Kind Gesture
The Avett Brothers
I got to see the Avett Brothers for the 5th time this last week. If you are a fan, then you must see them live. Not only do they create wonderful music, but they are an outstanding live band as well. They have a large enough repertoire of music that they are able to play different songs each night and add a few covers like the one below. I got to see them perform this cover last week. Here is just another reason to love this great band.