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Showing posts from 2013

Socrates in the City | "The unexamined life is not worth living"

Today's video-of-interest: Os Guinness. http://vimeo.com/49954525



Via http://socratesinthecity.com/

Finding the middle ground of a "Third Way"?

This morning's group discussion touched on what it looks like to live out the "Kingdom of God" and how we remain engaged yet flexible enough to accommodate (and celebrate) diverse, divergent views.  That brought to mind this recent podcast from the Meeting House in Canada: http://www.themeetinghouse.com/teaching/archives/2013/modern-family/week-4-being-a-third-way-family-5557 This doesn’t have all the answers (and, personally, I’m wary of any denomination/theology that claims it does) but I think it’s good, thought-provoking material for discussion…

Pearls before swine?

How does "evangelism" square with the passage that tells us to not "cast our pearls before swine"? In a Calvinistic worldview (something held by the following folks referenced below in an unpleasant Facebook outburst I witnessed), it makes total sense to reject the non-Christians around them; after all, Fred Phelps sees himself as a modern-day prophet proclaiming God's condemnation rather than preaching the Good News of hope and salvation.



That might be fine... but it's not the Gospel. And I regret that people shout with this attitude while claiming it's one that Jesus shared:



> I find it interesting how {non-Christian friend} consistently disagrees with so many of your posts, {Christian friend}. He makes an awful lot of noise about how untrue he now finds Christianity to be. There is something to the statement of "one protesteth too much." Obviously you continually hit a nerve with him (or is it perhaps the Spirit nudging him?) that he fee…

Initial steps toward the Kingdom of God... as a topic...

This morning's conversation revolved around the concept of the "Kingdom of God" and whether the common American Evangelical perspective of "personal salvation" is a complete picture of what Jesus proclaimed.  (Hint: I'm not sure it is.)  A couple book references:

Scot McKnight and the "King Jesus Gospel" 1: Points of Agreement
Scot McKnight and the "King Jesus Gospel" 2: Points of Concern

Rounding out McKnight's perspective, we touched on N.T. Wright's book on the topic, though he tends to be a polarizing figure.

We had lots of good conversation about the role of the Orthodox church (in all its various flavors) and how Christianity is expressed in human community rather than merely individually, We're looking to explore the work of Rev. Terry Cornett on that perspective of the Kingdom of God.

First post!

Geeks in the audience will appreciate the title; non-geeks will realize that there might be a preponderance of geeks in this community.  I've held the "conforming.us" domain for years, as a theoretical partner to my God.conforming.me website.  Realizing that "perfect" is the enemy of "good," I'm going to post a few notes here based on the latest group study I'm in.

Other group members who are interesting in "officially posting" (rather than just commenting) are more than welcome to let me know and I'll give you an account... but I don't want to throw an account at you and imply that you're expected to post here.

Comments are welcome.  Moderation will probably be turned on to some extent because SPAM is evil (and might be openly mocked here, depending on mood) but legitimate conversation no matter what the perspective is always appreciated.

Enjoy!

Is "sanctification" a process, or a completed event?

1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV



"And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."



See it at YouVersion.com<http://YouVersion.com>:



http://bible.com/59/1co.6.11.esv

"Happy is the man...

...who dashes the heads of his enemy's children against the rocks."



...huh?



Explained beautifully (yes, beautifully!) by Greg Boyd:



"Woodland Hills Church - (Honest to God)"



In order to be in a relationship with another, we have to be honest with the other person. The same is true for our relationship with God. In this sermon, Greg shows how we need to be honest with God in our prayer.



http://media.whchurch.org/2013/2013-8-04_Boyd_Honest-To-God-2.mp3

7CupsOfTea.com

Is this a secular form of spiritual counseling? Hmmm...



http://www.7cupsoftea.com/about/faq.php

Who are today's Samaritans?

In order to understand parable of the good Samaritan, we need to think of modern day non-religious or non-Christian people in the Samaritan's place. Instead of Samaritan, we would say something like Taliban member.



What concerns me is that the "good Christian answer" would be that such a person was not the ones were justified. That we would be forced to say, "No, Jesus, those people who did good thing for the poor injured person were still in the wrong, and those who passed by him were in the right as long as they believed in You."



Any time you have a theology that would have to insist that Jesus was incorrect, you have a problem.



I think I'm going to have to ponder that passage in context a little bit more...

An anti-SPAM SPAM scam

This black-hat SEO tactic is too good not to out; the first time it popped into my Inbox I ignored it, but the second time...? Well, here you go:

Saturday 18th of May 2013 10:20:05 AM
Larson Eric

Dear Larson Eric:

We have learned that unauthorized individual(s) secured a link promoting our website [their redacted site].com on one or more of your web properties.

The links were placed purely for SEO purposes, with the intention of manipulating search rankings, something that we do not approve.

The presence of these links is harmful to our site's good standing with search engines, and unfortunately, retaining them may also be potentially harmful to your own website's reputation.

We would ask that you please remove any links on your site that link to [their redacted site].com
So far as we are aware, there are (or have been) links at these URLs:
http://[my redacted site].com/tag/
padded-adjustable-piano-bench/feed

We would greatly appreciate your help with resolving this problem.

Conforming vs. Transforming

Over the years, some folks have criticized me for using the word "conforming" instead of "transforming" in this site. They usually point to Romans 12; see http://teachingwhatisgood.com/conformed-vs-transformed/ for a typical summary.



But Romans 8 (verse 29) very clearly uses the word "conforming," albeit in the context of God being the Master of the work of conforming us to Christ. See http://bible.cc/romans/8-29.htm



So, which is right — Romans 8, or Romans 12?



Yes, I've set up a false dichotomy here… but it proves the point. There's nothing "more Biblical" about saying we're "being transformed" over saying we're "being conformed," unless I've missed something that I need clarification on?



(And none of it has anything to do with the fact that the conforming.me domain was available while transforming.me wasn't…)

What is "Worldliness"?

Found some really old notes on a Mark Driscoll talk from four years ago. Probably from http://marshill.com/media/trial/temptation-from-worldliness





Notes on Mark Driscoll, Feb 16, 2009. "Temptation from Worldliness" Worldly is elevating culture over scripture. There are two ways to do this: to be traditional, or to be progressive. Some people think that worldliness is acting like it's 2009; it can also be acting like it's 1950. We are to live in this culture to bring people to Jesus; we are not to take our identity or worship according to this culture. Some people believe that all we need to do is to go back to the 1950s, and that's worldliness -- suits, organs, avoiding Song of Songs. That is 1950s traditional worldliness, trying to take the world of the 1950s and impose it on people.





"Our goal is not to go back to the 1950s or forward to 2010, but to go to Jesus."

When did God choose to save us?

At 39:20 in this message from Grace Community Church, the pastor says that God looked out, saw mankind's heart, and decided to send His Son to rescue us. Which sounds poetic, but is an interpretation of 1st Peter 1:20 that I've never heard before:



1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)



So,when did God "make the choice" to save mankind? Granted that He exists outside of time so the question of "when" is an odd one, I think that "before the creation of the world" is more theologically sound than "after observing our behavior"...?



Listen to this link, then come back here to comment:



http://gracechurchmn.org/wp-content/up…

How to engage with people and ministries without losing your grip on reality

With Easter right around the corner, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head at this morning's "Social Media Shepherds" gathering. That group, which is “an ecumenical group that hosts monthly events focused on empowering churches, ministries and individuals in their use of social media,” always reminds me that “church” is an awkwardly complicated thing to describe.

Why? Well… Do I really want to invite friends and neighbors to an unfamiliar Easter services in an intimidating building with awkwardly formal songs and performances that serve to introduce a 30+ minute speech that may or may not successfully convey to them that the God of the Universe wants to reconcile Himself to them, personally?

Maybe.

Maybe that’s exactly what they need.

Maybe.

But, as I said this morning, what I’d really like to do is invite them into the conversations that we have around our tables in our Sunday morning “Adult Bible Fellowship,” or show them the way I and my friends email and tex…

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE?

This just arrived in my Inbox (including the question mark; the FBI doesn't seem very sure of itself, perhaps because it thinks it's the DOJ?) with a return address of "office@fbi.gov" ...so it must be legit, right? I wonder why our FBI is sending their mail through the domain "ertelecom.ru" -- that must be a Glasnost thing.


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division. J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc Customers Service Hours / Monday To Saturday Office Hours Monday to Saturday: Dear Beneficiary This is to officially notify you that investigation has successfully carried out regarding the payment of your over due contract/ inheritance fund worth 8.5 million USD . It is obvious that you have not receive it yet, we have send letter of notification to your home address through mailbox to notify you about the fund but the letter was returned undelivered so we decide to let you know about it through your email address beca…

Everything short is new again

Back when this blog started in... 2002? More than a decade ago?!? ...I used it as the true "web log" of links and passing interests.  Then, the concept of "blogging" transitioned to long-form writing, so that's what I kept here, and my links were tossed out at del.icio.us.

Then, Posterous came along, so I used that for my short, fractured thoughts and slice-of-life captures, and left this as longer writing... which meant that not much got posted here.

But now, Posterous is going away.  Which raised the question... what should I do with all my old Posterous content?

Long story short, I dropped it here.  If you follow the "posterous" label here you'll find all of it.  But, if you scroll through the archives, it'll be mixed in with what's here already.

What's lost are the comments, but there haven't been too many over the years.  Maybe I'll bring all those at once, in a single "update post"?  That's an idea...

Air Force One spotting

That tiny moving speck in the distance? Yes, that's Air Force One! Taking off from the Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport If I didn't have such a horrible track record of figuring out what runway planes were going to use, it would have gone right past me.[wpvideo OG0ZEnkY]

Hot air balloon fun!

Balloons launching at the Hudson Hot Air Affair in Hudson, Wisconsin.[wpvideo hCiMezcI]

A great security idea...

Sure, some bugs need to be worked out... but, still... http://hackaday.com/2013/01/29/this-man-will-take-your-picture-while-macing-you/

Paul's thorn was...?

Ray Edwards has a fascinating argument for Paul's "thorn in the flesh" being not a health problem or besetting sin, but persecution. I'll have to dig into the verses he shares in this episode:

Listening to Spiritual Foundations Podcast (When You Feel Like Giving Up [#003])

When you feel like giving up, there is a way to have faith -- even in the toughest times
You're often closest to your big breakthrough right when you feel like giving up. God provides a way for us to have joy and peace, even when we face real trouble.

Every believer can overcome trials if they will follow the example of the Apostle Paul, and his very explicit instructions. In this podcast, I explain what the Apostle Paul has to teach us today.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 How Has God given you peace and joy, even in the midst of trouble?






A Posterous quirk?

Last month (December 2012) I had emailed a couple updates to two of my Posterous blogs, and noticed that they never went through. Today, I just got the alert that the post was published. I have no idea if they were there but it just wasn't alerting me, or if they didn't get posted until today. And if it's the latter, was it because a delay from my email server (an odd possibility, but stranger things have happened) or were they queued somewhere in Posterous-land and finally made it through now?

IKEA Ramp Glee!

[wpvideo x2QZPzcK]

Documenting Emotional Eating?

I joked the other day that I used to think that “emotional eating” was just a quirky excuse… until I started doing it myself. For the past year or so I’ve been trying to drop 25 pounds.  I’m not trying to become a fashion plate; I just think my back and knees and other aging body parts would be happier if I hovered around 175# rather than 200#.  Those who knew me a dozen years ago can’t believe I weigh that much – I was once compared to a dart (in entertainingly colorful language, I might add) – but once I gave up MSG and my body started digesting food really well rather than just “adequately,” I put on a lot of extra pounds. A lot. Anyway, the “diet idea” I had was a simple one: No eating after 8:00 p.m. Simple, easy to follow, should be helpful.  Aim for losing a pound a week, and in six months I’ll be set!  There’s just one problem: I really like to eat at night. Last night, after a few emails I shouldn’t have read and a few tasks I should’ve put off until today, I decided I deserved a t…