I became a believer and began reading the Bible not long before I turned eighteen. It didn’t take long before I recognized that the writers of the New Testament often seemed to be reading a different Old Testament than I was. The gospels or epistles would cite a passage, and like an earnest first-time Bible student, I would look it up, expecting to find basically what the New Testament author said I’d find, but with more detail.
Instead, I often found completely different wording, sometimes completely unrelated or completely opposite what the New Testament author is saying. Other times the quote is correct but lifted completely out of context, the very next verse modifies the meaning. Other times the quote is correct but the original author is clearly referring to something that had already happened or was currently on-going. More Here...
Tertullian (160-225 AD) is an early Christian church father from Carthage. He wrote many great works that were embraced by the Church. He is most known for being the first Christian to create a plethora of Christian writings in Latin and was given the title Father of Latin Christianity as a result. He is also well known for his apologies, writings against heresies, and his teachings on the trinity. As a result of all this he was given the title Founder of Western Theology. Though he was first rejected as a heretic the church later admitted his teachings to be orthodox.
In his writing entitled On Idolatry, Tertullian spends time discussing what type of clothing is appropriate for Christians. He teaches that certain adornments (or uniforms) that are connected to the state authorities are not appropriate for Christians because of their connection with idolatry. From this discussion he moves into the subject of military service.
Some of you may remember that when I was preparing to marry Ike, I struggled a lot with changing my last name. It’s not that I didn’t want to take his last name–I very much did!–but I had been Sharon Hodde for 28 years and that’s who I was. I had earned two degrees under that name, written and published under that name. That name was entwined with my identity, so the name change felt like a loss of self. For about the first year of my marriage, I felt as though I was neither Sharon Hodde nor Sharon Miller. It was weird!
For those of you who are married, you know that this identity shift is not limited to the name change alone. The idea of marital unity is also a reality that, though instituted on the wedding day, requires living into. It was not something that I necessarily felt right away. Only over time did Ike and I grow into that spiritual unity in a way that was palpable to me. We grew into our new identities as a married couple. More Here...
Rob Bell and Francis Chan are two notable figures as it relates to shaping the theology of the American church. Both men are phenomenal communicators, in preaching sermons, creating videos, and writing books.
Both men left the churches they founded, stepping down from their pastoral role. Both men did so after writing bestsellers and speaking at the nation’s largest church conferences. I’m not making a judgement here, just pointing out observations regarding their similarity. I was at the Catalyst conference three years ago when both Bell and Chan spoke at the event. Both can hold a crowd of 30,000 in the palm of their hands.
So both men left their posts in their respective churches, one for television after becoming a Christian celebrity and one citing the need for obscurity after becoming a Christian celebrity.
I don’t doubt that these transitions are part of what God has in store for each man. More Here...
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Two of the hardest passages to read in the Old Testament both involve rapes. One is the rape of Dinah by Shechem in Genesis 34. (I should mention that there is a minority viewpoint that the sex was consensual). The second is the rape of Tamar by Ammon in II Samuel 13. It's interesting to read these two passages together and see some of the commonalities in the two stories. While it's easy to read these stories as some horrifying tale that we hope never happens to us or anyone we love, there are still some worthwhile elements to digest.
1. Both rapists were unwilling to wait. Shechem could have contacted Jacob's family first after spotting the lovely Dinah walking the countryside. Ammon could have confessed his love to Tamar. Both men were wealthy princes. Yet both decided that they were not willing to do things slowly. Sadly, both could have probably married the woman had they only been less evil, and this shows how truly vile their sin was. Rape by itself shows the lack of patience and wisdom in a person, the brutal animal unable to comprehend anything but the immediate short-term sexual gratification. More Here...
"The Lord bless you for showing this kindness..." - 2 Samuel 2:5
After the death of king Saul and his son Jonathan, David was still in the land of the Philistines when he went to God asked if he should go to Judah, the Lord said "Go" David then asked "Where should I go?"...God's answer was "Hebron". So David took his family and so did all his men and they moved into Hebron, then the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. David was told that the men from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them thanking them for their kindness shown to Saul, he let them know that he would show them the same kindness.
David was anointed by God to be the next king of Israel, he spent the last ten years on the run from king Saul who wanted him dead. David mourns Saul's death along with the death of his best friend Jonathan. When you read David's lamentation of king Saul it leads us to believe that Saul was a good man, David's words are so kind. Those unaware of the terrible selfish king that Saul truly was would never know on reading David's lament.
David's reaction to Saul's death is such an example for us, his humility paints a beautiful canvas on how to deal with our enemies and how the trials we face and the hurt our hearts experience, are all things that force us to grow in Christ-likeness. With every trial we face, either we grow or stop growing. More Here...
Nationalist Christians often conflate scriptures referring to Christ or to the church with concepts about America or her heroes. Now, this should not surprise anyone. Christianity is socially powerful; it’s natural that politicians and others who wish to enlist Christians in their cause will cynically twist scripture to their own ends. What should shock us is how eagerly some Christians buy into this abuse of scripture. I’ve reviewed before the American Patriot’s Bible, and numerous pieces of kitschy art. But here’s a piece that takes the idolatrous cake.
This is a piece from nogreaterloveart.com, called Armed with Valor. More Here...
Blue Like Jazz was originally a book, yes, but it is now a film. The nonfiction book, written by the great Donald Miller, chronicles the author’s adolescent journey through faith with many spiritual essays.
Miller’s “sequel” of sorts to Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, followed the adaptation of BLJ – indeed, Miller’s life – into a film, as well as elaborating on what it meant to live life like the fullest, richest story. More Here...