Archive for the 'Biblical Worldview' Category

Pat Lynch and CFM have a new podcast on religion and culture

December 23, 2014

Here is a new, and important, outreach from Christian Foundations for Ministry, Inc. The new podcast “Reconciled” is on the internet and this is your invitation to give it a try at:

http://reconciled.podomatic.com

The plan is for a daily cast (usually five days a week), under five minutes, dealing with religious and cultural affairs.

You can help! Listen (it’s free) “like.” comment, share, subscribe, and tell your friends. This kind of thing does not just mature overnight. It takes time and work. Fortunately, the work is not back breaking.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement in 2014. We have (God willing) a big announcement coming in January!

May you enjoy the blessings of the season,

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ACNA Archbishop asks his bishops and clergy to hold off on signing The Marriage Pledge | Virtueonline

December 1, 2014

Archbishop Foley Beech is right to ask ACNA clergy to pause before signing the currently circulating pledge concerning the lawful recording of marriage certificates. This action serves people who have come to ordained clergy seeking what ordained clergy do. The legal documentation is beside the point and has nothing whatever to do with the very unfortunate situation in which same gender marriages are permitted.

This will require a bit of time and patience. There are two links immediately below. The first takes you to a widely circulated source which, in this instance, I presume to be accurate. This item brings the reader up to date on what is frequently called the “Radner-Seitz pledge.” The second link takes you to the Roman Catholic canon law page of J. N. Peters, whose reputation and qualifications are, to the best of my knowledge, unblemished. Please put aside old prejudices (if I did, you can too!) and careful read the arguments. In my humble opinion, Peters makes a sufficient case as to why the marriage pledge is a bad idea, no matter how much we may oppose same gender marriage.

ACNA Archbishop asks his bishops and clergy to hold off on signing The Marriage Pledge | Virtueonline – The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism.

Peters view, which seems fairly clear headed to me, is understood by following this link to “A chronology of (mostly) my comments on ecclesiastical cooperation with civil marriage.” Abp. Beach is well advised to avoid the knee-jerk response that provides little more than instant gratification

 

 

 

The war on Halloween. Really?

October 31, 2014

I follow the headlines. Sometimes that is all I can take.Now is rather late in the game to find out that me and my Satanic buddies have been trying to destroy Halloween. Take it from me, getting rid of Christmas has been a full-time job. This is a shocker.

Just in case some of you still do not understand the Lynch humor, that first paragraph is intended in a sarcastic way. It is what is technically referred to as a “joke,” and I am going someplace with it.

Actually, Halloween has been in trouble for quite a while. In fact, the only real use it seems to serve in neopagan America is to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The biggest problem, of course, is the threat of poisoned candy. While this is nearly impossible, we are such hopeless frady-cats that children must be shielded from all possible risk. I am told that kids do not go freely from house to house. Things have changed a lot. It is a shame to lose such a fun and playful date.

The real enemy is November 1, but hardly anybody observes All Saints Day. This year the “red-letter” day falls on Sunday, but even liturgical churches like mine will probably not say a single collect or sing a verse of “For All the Saints.” They forget, if they ever knew.

UPDATE: I have erred and fallen short. Of course, All Saints Day is on November 1 which fell on Saturday. The Anglican church I attend did indeed recall the day on Sunday morning and even sang “For All the Saints” with the Gospel readings. I was wrong in fact and by failing to have sufficient faith in my fellow man.Mea culpa.

All Saints Day surpasses the modern idea of spirituality. On November 1, we remember flesh and blood humans, just like ourselves, who struggled with the forces of darkness. The day celebrates holy people who now stand in the blessed perfect light of the Triune God. There is nothing abstract about it. Real people in the presence of the Creator God The Church Triumphant.

Here is the Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through* Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The NFL’s blind eye and divine healing #NFL #domesticviolence

September 21, 2014

Of course they knew all along. How could anybody not ingest and understand the decades of scattered arrest reports and other public misconduct perpetrated against by women by the NFL’s finest. You would have to be a complete out-and-out moron not to realize that there is a serious problem, except that management did not consider the assault of various wives and girlfriends to be much of a problem. For the men at the top, it’s just another day at the office.

They are damn good at making up excuses too. Boys will be boys. If we ask men to play with intensity, they are going to play with intensity. This is what winners do; they win. And the best of all: most of these women like to be knocked around anyway. Oh yeah, there is nothing quite as fun as an evening at the Emergency Room. A broken nose, some missing teeth. Now tell me. Does life get any better. This stuff is so rich, the guys in charge might actually believe it.

Since I have not played in competitive sports, this is surely an opinion to which I am not entitled. How could one not admitted to the special Sunday afternoon priesthood possibly understand the needs and the pressures. The NFL pretense of ignorance just will not do, especially as we observe the deliberate provocation of violence for the sake of winning and building ad revenue.

It is a good thing to see that the players are (with some exceptions) also knocking each other senseless. Those concussions are making you crazier than you already are. Maybe the brain damage is part of the anti-social conduct. Seriously.

Let’s not fool around with this. The fans are every bit as guilty as the management and long past time for Christian fans of the National Football League to stop supporting the oout-of-control cry babies that are determined to have their way no matter who gets hurt. There are probably some Christian high schools that could even learn a lesson here. The lousy misdeeds of some players is part of man’s rebellion against God.

The physical assault against another human being amounts to vandalism against God’s own icon. Man is created in the image of God and such mistreatment as what is done by the athletes is absolutely forbidden. The second great sin recorded in scripture is Cain’s anger with Able, an evil emotion that led to the first murder. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus forbids anger and speaking harshly about another. That kind of conduct keeps the offender from being heard by God.

That NFL players should not hit women ought to be obvious. They should not hit anybody, nor even give a home to hateful thoughts. Their problem is the very human tendency to believe that the individual is in charge of his own life. It denies the possibility of a higher power working in our lives. It is dangerous to be humble, kind, and generous, but that is what Jesus demands. I have a hard time with that and the only solution is a genuine life-changing repentance. That would demand a gentle manner, turning the other cheek, protecting the weak, and giving up the mega paycheck. What a terrible trap.

And it is not only a few NFL players that must undergo the real change. Each of us, including women, must fight the tendency toward egotism and greed.

Chaos is the new normal #RayRice #AdrianPeterson #ISIS

September 15, 2014

That headline is probably not new, so if I swiped your intellectual property, I apologize profusely. I should have known better. This short essay deals with NFL players, their spouses and children, and international terrorists. There is a connection, so stick with me.

Is there anyone else on earth who sympathizes with Ray Rice’s wife? Her life is certainly ruined and none of us is able to look inside the mind of another. It is very possible to love someone who does great harm without being mentally ill. God loves us and he is not crazy. Having been knocked senseless in a public place, it is going to be a big task to drum up much understanding for the offending mate.

Even though the Ravens star has been given an economic death penalty, plenty of women experience a real death sentence at the hands of demonic husbands. Did the NFL go to far with Ray Rice? You might make that argument except for decades of turning a blind eye from the rich and powerful business interest. The NFL is saving itself while it punishes some serious misbehavior.

If the troubled couple is really working on saving their marriage, good for them. There are plenty of interests in this society that hate enduring relationships. Without approving the atrocious misdeed, Christians should support all married couples. This particular couple needs extra help and I wish them well.

Another professional athlete has been charged with a criminal offense after switching his four year-old son. If you have not seen the pictures, it is just as well. They would make you sick. The child has struck with such force as to draw blood several times. The pain of this uncontrolled anger was severe. You can’t imagine how much it hurts to be beaten bloody.

Football players are often not held accountable for misdeeds and many (not all) have a sad and undeserved sense of entitlement. Sometimes the pendulum swings to an extreme in another direction. On ESPN’s College Game Day, video was shown in which a prominent coach described his “zero tolerance” policy toward players who strike women.

I dislike all “zero tolerance” arrangements. First of all, there is always a special case for a favored person and the “zero” mark is easily moved. Secondly, despite what genius coaches might think, there are sometimes “shades of gray.” What if both parties share some blame? Also, there is in the law something called the doctrine of fighting words. There are some things people say when they are just asking for it. Third, what about the poor bastard who just happens to be innocent? It happens. Sometimes a person can be falsely accused. How can supposedly educated people preside over a system where there is no, zero, nada for due process. Sorry to be a stickler for such odd and worn-out ideas, but maybe this hard problem needs just a little thought.

There is a much larger thing at work here. How dare anybody lay a hand on another human being. It is bad to harm a woman, and much worse to mercilessly whip a child. Why not pick a fight with one of your teammates. Why not put on the gloves and take a swing at somebody who has been working out every day? That brand of cowardice makes me want to throw up. Worse by many degrees is the mistreatment handed out by ISIS. What kind of people behead their enemies and post the film? There are no words.

These are symptoms of our abandonment of the notion of man as created in the image of God. Man wills, thanks, praises, and gives  thanks. At least that is what man in the proper order does. Man is by nature rebellious but there seems to have previously been a counter-balance to the worst instincts. Now that man has given up on God (the real one who creates,, intervenes, rules, commands, forgives, and loves us enough to come among the fallen humanity) man has departed from beauty, respect, compassion and the optimism that foresees a better world ruled by the King of Kings. That is the disease. What we have in the news are the symptoms.

Middle East horrors and consequences #ISIS #Evangelical #theology

September 5, 2014

The point of an execution is mostly to get people’s attention. It is judicial theater intended to remind the buttered popcorn crowd who is really calling the shots. We in the USA prefer our executions to be quiet and private. Like an old liturgy, the priests put up walls and curtains so as not to disturb the mysterious quality attached to such ceremonies. The people of ISIS have shown more than sensible modern people desire to see and such indiscretion must be punished.

Here is the opinion of a non-professional observer and I am certainly glad to be held accountable if this is seriously awry. The main problem with ISIS is that it cannot be bought off. Yes, I suppose they could be rightly classified as “nuts,” but they are a special type of nut. ISIS consists of a hard-nosed faction that exudes hatred of modern culture and anything that does not adhere to its version of Islam. They despise with such fervor that even an untrained eye suspects that we are seeing that is profoundly dangerous. They are a danger to every country in the region, Europe, Russia, and the United States. China? Why not China too.

Only God knows the solution and we are not on the best of terms with the heavenly court. Nonetheless, the prayers of devout believers are heard on high and are effective in seeking peace and safety. It might also be useful to remember that vengeance is the exclusive work of God and forbidden for mere humans. It is probably a bad idea to extend the vengeance prohibition past personal rivalries. Nobody should expect that a short-term solution such as the old-fashioned “eye for an eye” would do any good with ISIS. These folks are completely unimpressed with anything that attempts to match up to their acts of public butchery.

Things are already out of control and there are real limitations on government retaliation. Nobody should think that this is some sort of positive development that will give Jesus the opportunity to land back here and grab the believers at the very moment they are most needed. The church has been in tribulation since the Roman persecution. John’s epistle tells us that the man of lawlessness has been around since the earliest days. These are hard times, but our mission has not changed. Baptize and make disciples. If we are leading others to a new life in Christ and teaching our faith, that is the best most of us can do.

 

Why is passing on the faith a big deal?

July 29, 2014

Christian Foundations for Ministry just wrapped up a series of classes at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Little Rock. The concept is born from the apparent departure of many young people from Christian belief. In many ways, they are like their parents being over-worked, suspicious of authority, and unwilling to get mixed up in demanding social activities. There are plenty of reasons, and the truth is that most of us walked away from organized religion in the younger days.

Today is different because Christianity is being forced to accept its place as a cultural minority. For the modern believer, this new situation may not result in martyrdom, but a life of enforced irrelevance is certainly no fun. This reordering may or may not be permanent. The elements are present for all  sorts of misbehavior. The point is that young people will be in a very much worse environment than their parents.

The supposed “grown ups” are often disconnected from the realities that personally demean and discount the individual follower of Christ. For one thing, if one is entirely clueless about postmodernism, he is missing the foundation of much contemporary thought. The traditional apologetics does not fit into a world that is, first, relational, and otherwise suspicious of absolutes. Yes, this is very similar to a lot that was happening in the 70s, but the “other side” has all the presumption of place that was formerly the sole possession of Christians.

This is not very pleasant, but here we are at the beginning of the decline. Yes, we have the biblical hope for final victory, but Jesus has placed the gospel in human hands and evangelization is our responsibility. It is a direct order from the Head of the Church, the Great Commission. That’s the big deal.

A question for Arkansas Senatorial candidate Tom Cotton concerning “once-a-week-Christians”

July 15, 2014

Let me tell you that things down in Arkansas are a mess and I find the pending November elections to be an awful puzzle. The candidates are terrible, which is such a departure from the time that this small southern state produced national figures like Joe T. Robinson, J. William Fulbright, and Dale Bumpers.

Republican candidate for the United States Senate Tom Cotton recently accused incumbent Mark Pryor of being a “one-day-a-week-Christian.” Such accusations have no place in political campaigns in the first place, and the Constitution clearly says that government may not require religious tests of office holders. Yes, I do get the distinction, but I also understand the background and what should be a rule in all elections.  Furthermore, I am willing to stipulate that Pryor’s response was tepid, shallow and absolutely dreadful.

Since Mr. Cotton has taken it upon himself to publicly question the religious faith or another candidate, and presumably somebody he would count as a brother-in-Christ, I am wondering what steps Cotton went through before using the nuclear option. Did he follow the procedure laid out by our Lord, Savior, and Living Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, in Matt 18?

Did Cotton go in private and outline his concerns? (18:15)

I’m not making this up. If Cotton had done so, He might have won his brother. That is what Jesus says. If Prayer would not listen to Cotton, did the GOP candidate go again with others and address the issue in front of Witness? Again, Jesus says this is what Christians with disagreements are bound to do. (18:16) Some churches actually follow these steps. No foolin’.

The final step is to bring it to the Church. My reading on the subject, which is not exhaustive, SUGGESTS to me that Cotton should bring the issue before Senator Pryor’s church. (18:17) Some might hold that Pryor be questioned in Cotton’s Church. I doubt it, but this is an area in which I am open to instruction.  I should add that my readings about the following aspect of proper order, point to the purpose of church discipline as eventual restoration. I might mention here the writings of John Calvin and the Anglican Articles of Religion in support of my opinion. Looking at the words of Jesus in v. 17, it seems that even tax collectors and Gentiles are capable of repentance.

Since Mr. Cotton apparently holds himself out as something more than a Sunday-only kind of guy, it would be good to hear about his theological and biblical reflection on Mark Pryor’s alleged shortcomings. There are one or two further questions that need Mr. Cotton’s attention.

Why did he take church business, stuff that Jesus himself instructs to be kept inside the church, into the political arena?

Does Tom Cotton believe that the name of Jesus is glorified by the public airing of accusations among Christ’s followers?

Duke’s Final Day: A Reflection

July 15, 2014

Thee is a set of photos concerning a black lab’s last day that has gone viral. I have seen it and you probably have too. It is beautiful and at the same time it is hard. If you have recently lost a pet, watch at your own peril. This is a great story told with powerful images. Here’s the link.

This Dog’s Final Day Proves We Should Live Every Day Like It’s Our Last.

We lost Molly a year-and-a-half ago, so this subject is still upsetting. Who cannot be moved by a dog enjoying the things dogs enjoy, especially poured out in abundance. Two thumbs up for these striking photographs because I only have two thumbs.

It is possible that we do ascribe too much humanity to animals. There is a tendency toward sentimentalism in modern life and it is not one bit pretty. Still. dogs know when they are seriously ill and they understand when the end is near. It is very possible that a well-socialized dog like Duke would realize that the time has come for farewells.

Duke’s story certainly reminds us of God’s goodness in creation. Everything in the material order is good. It is my opinion, and this is probably no earth shaking piece of theological insight, that animals who become our pets foreshadow a time when everything will be reconciled and put in perfect order. This marvelous relationship of a family and Duke hints broadly that someday we will live together in peace. Humans will be at peace with their neighbors, at peace with the cosmic order, and finally  in God’s favor.

As to the rainbow bridge, I tend to doubt that our pets are waiting anxiously to meet us on the other side. I don’t know if we get out pets back in the Kingdom of the Heavens, but I sure hope so. Since we will be resurrected and reigning with Christ on earth, it would be difficult to imagine a world without dogs, so why not our favorites? It is just a thought and whatever God has in mind is right.

Good boy, Duke.

Should lay people study theology?

June 17, 2014

It is obviously a loaded question. What am I going to say? Heck, no! Why bother? It all turns out the same one way or the other. (By the way, that is a better argument than you may think!) If you come down the line of Anglicanism or some other liturgy-heavy form of worship, you have been confirmed (usually around age 12) and that is the PhD of religious studies for regular folks. Study is a load of work and, if you are not careful, it might change your mind. If could change your life. If things are going well, that is the very last thing you might desire.

In Matt 25, the Lord describes the Last Judgment and the process of handing out final grades. There is not the first hint of academic achievement but plenty about taking care of the least among us. So there! Case closed! No more Christian Education (and most of us hated it anyway!).

But how are we to know in advance of the Last Day? What source tells us that kindness towards the sufferers is one of the final manifestations of our Christian life? And what’s all this business of eternal punishment anyway? And, beside the fact that he is a really nice man, where did Jesus get that kind of authority?

Christians are obliged to take up the cross and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23). That does not sound very appealing. You can be darned sure that Jesus’ public relations consultant sat him down hard after that little slip-up. Most people do not have much of a stomach for executions, especially their own. What if Jesus really meant it? If the Christian life that hard? Why would anybody follow Christ, except to avoid that eternal punishment thing.

Is it possible that Christ has in mind something more than the avoidance of spending all time in a burning pit of suffering. If God has something more in mind for his righteous people, something very good and beautiful, we could only learn about it by study. That would take time and effort and the guidance of a knowledgable teacher.

God has a good future for his holy people. He intends for each of us to become students and to make students of others (Matt 28:18-20. Jesus set the example. Look how he quotes the scriptures and teaches from the law and the prophets. See how Jesus both teaches the written word but lives it out. That is what we must do in this world today.