Sunday, June 29, 2008

Got Cool Ideas for Ap First?

Lee Ann on sister blog Word is trying to develop what may be an Apostolic first, but needs your ideas on making it better! Surf by and give her some feedback on making a good idea better!

You just never know who you might bless by sharing your ideas!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

High Culture vs. Pop Culture

Ok, first I have a confession to make: I really don't like literature.  I don't mean that I don't like to read, I love to read.  I don't mean that my reading is simply stuck in the banality of the latest little paperback at the grocery checkout counter.  I just mean that I find most of the stuff that classifies as lit-ra-cha is very boring.  Dostoevsky's  The Brothers Karamazov  was rather painful.  Great Expectations should be in the same class as waterboarding.  I think that for something to be considered high-culture, and therefore literature, it has to be deficient in the area of entertainment value. 


I know I'm upsetting people even as I type these words.  There is a certain former English major out there right now shaking her head in disapointment.  But if you have any feelings about my confession one way or the other, you will probably enjoy this article that discusses the benefits of high culture and pop culture in a point/counter-point style. 


Personally I agree with Kevin Corcoran in this discussion.  I think that for every bit of deep philosophy that you could find in The Brothers Karamazov, there is an equally deep bit of philosophy in the films of the Brothers Wachowsky.  I think that depth doesn't have to be boring, and entertainment value is vastly underrated by those who save their approval for high culture.  But that's just me (and I do write for a blog that examines pop culture, so I might be biased), who do you side with?  Find out, read the article here .


Josh R

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dobson v. Obama

Let the battle of the the Evangelicals v. the Presidential Candidates begin!

As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement's biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution.

Personally, I think Barack Obama is one of the wishy-washiest Christians I've seen in a long-time so I'm more than willing to listen to what Dr. Dobson has to say on the subject.

It seems Dobson's criticism surrounds remarks that Obama has made over the past 2 years, including the following remarks made during a speech in 2006:

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?" referring to the civil rights leader.

... examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Seems to me that Barack hasn't been reading his Bible either. Just because Evangelical Christians believe in the literal interpretation of scripture does not mean we believe slavery is acceptable. However, slavery was ok in the old testiment. Slavery was legal in THIS country until 1865. Thankfully, one righteous President and thousands of honorable men gave their lives to end slavery in the United States and I'm even more thankful that Jesus came and shed his blood so that we don't have to live under the law of the Old Testiment, which permitted slavery.

Dobson agrees,

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

"... He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

Dobson reserved some of his harshest criticism for Obama's argument that the religiously motivated must frame debates over issues like abortion not just in their own religion's terms but in arguments accessible to all people.

He said Obama, who supports abortion rights, is trying to govern by the "lowest common denominator of morality," labeling it "a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."

"Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?" Dobson said. "What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe."

You can read the rest of the article here or listen to Dr. Dobson's radio broadcast (for Tuesday, June 24) which discusses Barack Obama HERE (just click on daily broadcast).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

(I.Q.) Forum 2008

Wayne & Claudene Francis will be headlining this year's 20something conference, scheduled to be held on the Gateway College of Evangelism campus in St. Louis on September 26-27, 2008. (Yes, that's September, not October, as General Conference stole our dates this year.)

We're finalizing topics and speakers at the moment, but for $49 you'll be hard-pressed to find a more relevant conference to your needs and today's realities.

Make plans to attend today!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Ap Youth Doing Good

Next Steps 2008, a group of Apostolic teens and 20somethings led by the UPC's Foreign Missions Division, is in the Dominican Republic for 2 months.

They've set up a blog here, as well as numerous picture galleries, if you'd like to follow their adventures and challenges contributing their talents to the kingdom.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft Guaranteed To Have Big Banners At Olympics

Even as native-born dissidents are attempting to hack down China's web firewall, three American corporations are helping the people's republic to maintain that needed control over the masses' access to information.

Seems that Yahoo, Google and Microsoft are more than willing to wink at human rights issues when it comes to their own back pockets:

Chinese dissident Bill Xia is among a group of U.S.-based computer hackers —or "hacktivists" — who send mass e-mails to Internet users in China that contain software or links to safe Web sites that enable readers to bypass government roadblocks on the Internet.
Noble. A shout out to his oppressed people to say the least. Just where do these companies fall at the gate called concern? let's see:

As distressing as is Beijing's control of information, Xia said that the censorship continues with the help of some of America's largest and best-known firms — such as Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.

"United States is based on freedom of expression and other personal freedoms," Xia
said. "However, many of those companies actually help with censorship in countries like China. So I think this is outrageous."Nothing better illustrates this than doing a Google Images search for "Tiananmen Square."

Do it in the U.S. and you get images of the 1989 pro-democracy rally in Beijing and the government's violent military response.

Do the same search in China, however, and it produces tourist photographs of the public square without scenes of civil unrest.

Of course, the mind immediately races from redacted images of China's televised massacre to an assumed and dubious freedom of information regarding the "sins" of Halliburton, the American Slave trade, and George Bush's Pyrrhic, "Mission Accomplished" moment. So if one plans to challenging the patriotism of any of these people, one should also take care to no try Googling the evidence--you won't find it.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ninjas Attack!!

Central Florida has been plagued recently by a rash of ninja robberies in the past week.  Men dressed as ninjas have been stealing from drug stores.  It is widely suspected that the Foot Clan has been revived although their motivations for robbing drug stores remains unknown.  Police are seeking the assistance and cooperation of any local pirates in efforts to thwart this recent crime wave.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Collideoscope: Saving the Environment & Your Wallet

Trying to reduce your gas milage in this difficult economic climate?  What about your oil milage ?  A study out of California found that most drivers are changing their oil more than necessary.  Based on figures established when the only oil available was single-grade with no detergents, most drivers assume they should change their oil every 3,000 miles. 


Of course this is what the oil change places and the auto stores recommend to you.  But auto makers themselves are recommending 5,000, 7,000, or even 10,000 miles between oil changes for normal driving conditions.  Check your owner's manual.  So if you want to go a little greener, or if you just want to save a little green, maybe reducing your "oil footprint" is a good idea.


Josh R

90&9: This Week's Issue

Sorry, we had a power outage and the new issue won't be up until tonight.

Thanks for understanding.

Obama Visits Jesus Name Church

The Apostolic Report is again on top of it:

Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, took part in Father’s Day services near their house at the Apostolic Church of God —a large, predominantly black church in the South Side of Chicago.

The Apostolic Church is a Oneness Pentecostal congregation that baptizes converts in the name of Jesus.
Newsworthy if not for the contrasts of credibility between himself and former President Clinton. After all, his political expediency caused him to resign a church wholly unconcerned with an afterlife gospel of any kind--to this. He may not (yet) be in favor of domestic oil exploration, but the man has no compunction whatsoever about drilling for offshore constituents. Clinton, on the other hand has first-hand knowledge of what he speaks, even if he himself has never put it into practice.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Hard Work Always Pays Off

...Just ask 95 year old Kenneth Shepherd, who yesterday received the most amazing father's day gift. Shepherd, a retired oil man, became a member of the University of Missouri's Class of 2008 - 71 years after failure to complete one class kept him from earning his original degree.

Why hadn't he graduated?

"It was a speech course," her father explained. "I took it three times. Couldn't pass it."

The secret spilled out a year ago while Sue and her father were discussing where Sue's granddaughter would go to college.

Finally, he told her, the dean of the engineering school told him, "You need to get on with your life."

Shepherd took a job with a Conoco seismographic team searching for oil in the southern Plains. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army and served as an officer in the Pacific. In 1946, he rejoined Conoco. Over the next 30 years, he rose to top executive jobs, mostly in North Africa and the Middle East.

He never seemed like a man who'd flunked speech. He found the voice to address meetings of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and to direct the evacuation of hundreds of oil company employees' relatives from Egypt during the Suez crisis in 1956. After retirement in 1976, he helped form the city of Lakeway and served several terms as mayor.

So, Shepherd's daughter wrote to Mizzou to see if they could award him some kind of diploma based on his career. The University was not encouraging but after reviewing Mr. Shepherd's transcripts discovered that he'd completed enough course work to, based on the University's current requirements, have earned his original degree. It seems that the speech class which proved so difficult for Mr. Shepherd is no longer a requirement for graduation.

"We're not doing this to benefit Mizzou, we're doing it because it's the right thing to do," said James Spain, vice provost. "We're not giving Mr. Shepherd a degree. We're awarding him the degree he earned."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blackberrys: Addicting, Erstwhile Lobbyists

As a very recent recipient of the BlackBerry Curve, I can attest to oft-stated side-effects of being addicted to it--and somehow in the name of taking me off the computer, an activity at which too much of my time is flitted away in the first place.
Then I see this article, in which members of congress, including 84-year-old Congressman Ted Stevens, are seen as walking government liabilities; and in Stevens' case, literally walking around the halls of congress, with his Blackberry set to jumbo print, oblivious to any and all foot traffic around him.

But the headline--one which betrays the underlying, addictive properties that ushered the satirical term "CrackBerry," did not point to the little paragraph I find far more fascinating than its anachronistic use by Octogenarian lawmakers:
People who mull such things are beginning to ask whether Capitol Hill’s BlackBerry addiction — seven out of 10 members and staffers have one — is putting too much power into the hands of small groups of well-connected constituents, exacerbating partisan polarization and snuffing out whatever’s left of Washington’s political
sanctuary removed from the parochial concerns back home.
Which makes me wonder: did technology just swing an access pendulum the other way, or am I just off here?

Maybe Mr. Smith needs to text Washington this election cycle.


Oldest Church Unearthed in Jordan

Archaeologists have recently unearthed what may be the world's oldest known church in Rihab, Jordan.  It is located in a cave underneath an already ancient building and its occupation is tentatively dated to a period from 33-70 AD.  The archaeologists who are excavating the site suspect it was home to Christians fleeing jewish persecution in Jerusalem. 


If this site provides hard evidence for such an early date, it may potentially have drastic effects for the field of biblical studies.  The current theory among many Bible scholars is that Jesus never taught that he was divine-that later disciples added myths and legends to a man that early disciples only respected as a moral teacher.  The idea of worshipping Jesus as God did not arise until after Paul's writings.  Even then it took several more years until Jesus was fully identified with God.  Evidence for a community of people worshipping Jesus so early after his death would give extreme historical credibility to the accounts in the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament.  This will be interesting to keep an eye on. 


If you are interested in other stories that explore archaeology related to the Bible you will probably love exploring this site .


Josh R

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Britannica Surrenders To Wikipedia Model

Via Bill Bradley's Weblog:

I think we can post this one under 'it was always going to happen'. According to the britannicanet site Encyclopaedia Britannica is about to launch a new initiative. Expert contributors and readers will be able to supplement the content with their own information. Apparently "the result will be a place with broader and more relevant coverage for information seekers and a welcoming community for scholars, experts, and lay contributors."

You can possibly chalk this up to the overused bromide, "information wants to be free," to an actual materialization of the phrase. While it is arguable that your average, vertical, sentient, anthropological specimen is any smarter than those that preceded our information age, it is true that the river of information practically nullifies the binding, glue, and paper.

Another sea change in information.


Harry Reid De la Mancha

The Mormons should be looking to excommunicate Harry Reid if not based only in his reprehensible grip on economic basics. If not his til-the-death hold on the concept of raising taxes to lower oil prices.

WASHINGTON — With gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, Senate Democrats want the government to grab some of the billions of dollars in profits being taken in by the major oil companies.

Senators were to vote Tuesday on whether to consider a windfall profits tax against the five largest U.S. oil companies and rescind $17 billion in tax breaks the companies expect to enjoy over the next decade.

The Democrats' energy package also would:

— Make oil and gas price gouging a federal crime, with stiff penalties of up to $5 million during a presidentially declared energy emergency.

— Authorize the Justice Department to bring charges of price fixing against countries that belong to the OPEC oil cartel.

— Require traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets to curb speculation.

So instead of uncuffing the hands of the ones who can actually find more oil over here, produce it and alleviate our beholdence to the most unstable human contingent in history, the senate will vote on whether to shackle, taze and pepper spray the only ones who know how to do it.

As much as I'm going to hate $15.00 - a gallon gas, I will at least have the vicarious enjoyment of watching these people ultimately tell the eternally-unvetted environmental lobbies to go pound sand when they reverse themselves on exploration and drilling. Of course, I may have to watch this happen in Arabic, or Chinese, but even The Dixie Chicks are going to have a supply-and demand epiphany when their already-underused tour bus has to cool it's heels in Houston.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Christianity & Football

Big NFL fan. Not a NY Giants fan at all. Luckily for them, they were playing Satan's team, so I was rooting for them in January's Super Bowl. Lucky for me, David Tyree made one of the greatest plays ever (yes he caught the ball on his helmet w/out touching the ground) and the Giants won in the final minute.

Naturally, being from NY, publishers think everyone will want to read about him so Tyree has an autobiography coming out this fall. Happily, he's a Christian. So was Rodney Harrison, the man he beat for the catch. Harrison even wrote one of the forwards to the book. Wow!

Says Sports Illustrated:

"When you lose, Harrison said via text message Sunday, learn from it, congratulate [the opponent] and move forward. They won. They beat us. It's part of the deal. God has blessed me through the whole ordeal. I think the message of faith, belief and trust in God needed to be heard. That's why I did it."

Read it all here, under the Factoid headline.

P.S. I'm kidding about that Satan's team crack. Barely.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Big Brown Comes In Dead Last In Bid For Triple Crown

I meant to post this yesterday.

Reminds me that even if I didn't have spiritual roadbumps to the gambling spectre, that I'd have them because of this:

NEW YORK (AP) - When Big Brown turned for home, something wasn't right.

Triple CrownJockey Kent Desormeaux knew the big bay colt was finished. Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., who guaranteed racing's first Triple Crown in 30 years, knew it then, too.

Big Brown straggled home last Saturday, losing the Belmont Stakes to 38-1 long shot Da' Tara. Eased up in the homestretch, he was so far behind at the end that his margin of defeat wasn't even charted.

My theory is they ran all the good juice out of that poor horse. Sadly though, the first thought that came to my mind was all the money lost by those hedging for at least a photo-finish second place.

Of course this poor guy has to be in a bad way. How depressed must you be to throw your hands up and "get out of" pigeon racing?


South Carolina Stepping Out On . . . Faith?

I'll let the video speak for itself.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Protect Yourself From Post-Rapture, Perceptual Trajectory Theft

If you've got forty bucks a month, and a need to shield your post-rapture absence from thieves and fabricators, well maybe this story is for you: has got you covered:

For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when -- according to Christian end times dogma -- Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist.
62 people? Now I'm going to have to dig out my books by E.W. Bullinger just to figure out which pocket they pulled that one from. My favorite part of this, however, is how the message is entirely contingent on the following:
The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site's five Christian staffers "scattered around the U.S." fail to log in for six days in a row -- a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.
Atheists? Starting a site like this to begin with? At least they've tacitly rejected Eternal Security in the run up. Although, if it were me, I'd be directing the following to my Jewish friends, because I have a feeling my Gentile buddies will be a bit taxed (assuming all my assumtions are square, of course):
Users can also upload up to 150 megabytes of documents, which will be protected by an unidentified encryption algorithm until the Rapture, then released to up to 12 nonbelievers of your choice. The site recommends that you use that storage to house sensitive financial information.
But that's just me. I think the point here is to make sure you make it in the first place. The rest is arguably moot.


Five "Fierce" Women of Scripture

Not to steal Tyra's line or anything but there are some women in scripture who full fit this description. In the latest edition of Books & Culture: A Christian Review, William Griffin discusses five intertestamental beauties (a quick side note here - I'm more than happy to discuss the validity or lack thereof for intertestamental works in another post, for the sake of this one I'm taking them as valid) in scripture who exemplify some often neglected characteristics of the Christian woman: Susanna, Judith, Sophia, Vashti and Esther.

(OK, another note - Esther isn't strictly intertestamental and neither is Susanna - at least I think - so I'm not sure why he includes them or excludes my personal favorite "fierce" lady, Jael - again, I'm willing to overlook this for the sake of dealing with some lesser known but fascinating stories.)

According to Griffin, these woman all posses five common traits:

1) They were smart.

Sophia was the personification of wisdom. Susanna was educated in Mosaic law at her father's request. Judith developed a plan to save her village when the village elders were so freaked out at the threat of capture they wanted to surrender. This is definite proof that education both formal and informal (those ever elusive street smarts) is invaluable to Christian women (OK, and men too). God can use you no matter what but he's able to use you in more ways and for greater purposes when there's something inside your head that he can work with.

2) They were all courageous.

Esther risked her life to save her people. Judith hacked off the Persian king's head and walked out of the Persian camp with it in her basket. Susanna refused to bow to the pressure of some lecherous old men to either sleep with them or be branded a harlot and instead stood up for herself in court. Now I'm not advocating skydiving, crocodile wrestling or other crazy feats to prove you are courageous but having the internal fortitude to stand-up for what you believe is right in the face of people who may not agree is one of the most courageous things any person/Christian can do.

3) They were all beautiful.

OK, I'm going to stop and take umbrage with his point here. I don't think their beauty had anything to do with their character. Sorry. Did their beauty perhaps influence their situations. Sure. Did it make them more important than poor, homely, Leah? No. Never forget, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all to God we're all beautiful.

4) They were snazzy dressers.

You might think I'm crazy but I can see where this one is credible. Whether we like it or not, our appearance to the rest of the world matters. It doesn't mean we have to be unholy but it does mean that we shouldn't look like those ladies from that compound in Texas. Face it. When you look like that people are going to think that you are a) Amish or b) out of date with the rest of the world. And it's really hard to convince anyone that you are relevant or to have any influence with anyone when you look like you've been living under a rock for the past 40 years.

5) They prayerful and observant.

Ding, ding, ding. I think we've finally hit upon the reason these women were so fierce. Susanna prayed to God to save her during her trial and God sent her Daniel as a lawyer. Esther prayed that she would find favor with the king and God answered her prayer. Judith saw a way to stop the Persian invasion and God granted her the wisdom and the strength to carry out the plan.

So what do you think? Do you know any Christian women who meet the Dr. Griffin's criteria for "fierce" women of God? Care to share them with us?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

God Called You To Evangelize Greenland?

I'm sure the housing market's a bit phlegmatic, but the gas prices alone could practically justify buying a Hummer out of the Christmas for Christ central fund:

ILULISSAT, Greenland (AFP) - At a small petrol station dating from the 1960s in Greenland, SUVs queue to fill up with the cheapest gas in Europe, at just 3.77 kroner a litre or 50 euro cents (78 US cents).

The low price is not an advertising coup nor public relations campaign, just the regular price for petrol in Greenland, the biggest island in the world with only 57,000 inhabitants."And I find the price a little expensive," says Julius Saldgreen, 49, at the wheel of his jeep after picking up his two daughters at school.

By comparison, a litre of unleaded 95 cost 1.52 euros in France and 1.49 euros in Germany last week, while diesel went for 1.45 and 1.48 euros, respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Americans are reeling at the thought of paying almost 4.0 dollars a gallon or 0.68 euro cents a litre.


Miami Trumps California's Gay Marriage Anvil By Deputizing Future Islamic Overlords

I'm many times accused of hyperbole, steroidal proclamations, and colorful embroidering. And maybe I do sometimes push the descriptive gas pedal a little too far now and then.

In this case, I wish I was. Miami, plagued by crime, drugs, and an out-of-control homocide rate, have arrived at the same conclusion any rational, thinking person would come to: Allow a subsidiary organization that shares a mailbox with Louis Farrakhan to run the police force:

MIAMI — Controversy is growing in Miami over the city's decision to launch a nearly $1 million crime-fighting initiative that will include street patrols by a group with close ties to the Nation of Islam.

The City of Miami says it plans to give $150,000 to a civilian patrol group known as the Peacemakers, to be run by the Progressive Land Development International, an organization that shares a mailing address with the Nation of Islam in Miami.

At least one person is speaking up:

But not everyone thinks having a group tied to the Nation of Islam patrolling the neighborhood is a good idea.

Andrew Rosenkranz, the Anti Defamation League's Florida Regional Director, said the Nation of Islam has "a well-documented, irrefutable public record of racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism." He said the city had chosen an unlikely group to teach tolerance and civil behavior.

And of course, we all know how far a guy with the name "Rosenkranz" will get criticizing the dubious motivations of the Most Peaceful Religion On The Planet.

Looks like it's a good day for the Nation of Islam all around.


Guaranteed To Increase Sales

or . . . um, not:

CINCINNATI - The man who designed the Pringles potato crisp packaging system was so proud of his accomplishment that a portion of his ashes has been buried in one of the iconic cans. Fredric J. Baur, of Cincinnati, died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati, his family said. He was 89.

Baur's children said they honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township. The rest of his remains were placed in an urn buried along with the can, with some placed in another urn and given to a grandson, said Baur's daughter, Linda Baur of Diamondhead, Miss.
Which makes me wonder if uniformly-warped, stackable caskets are next.

War... What Is It Good For?

Scott McClellan has recently written a book detailing various distortions of truth in the current Presidential administration.  Maybe you've heard of it?  There has certainly been a lot of reaction to it.  Some are calling McClellan a whistleblower, others are saying that he is a turncoat, and still others believe he should have spoken up or stepped down a lot sooner than he did. 


While the veracity of the book is certainly in question (how do you fully trust a man who tells you he is a liar?), there are some arguments that McClellan's voice merely adds more weight to.  One of these is the strength of the evidence that sent the United States into war with Iraq.  For years the left has been pointing to the weakness of the intelligence.  Now, McClellan confirms that the President wasn't as concerned with the truth as he was with supporting the decision he wanted to make.


APs in general take a very strong Pro-Life stance.  Sometimes this is the only issue that concerns them when choosing who to vote for.  But it has always amazed me how the definition of the term never extends beyond the abortion arena.  For instance, many who would feel comfortable protesting an abortion clinic would say of an executed murderer "He got what he deserved."  More importantly, where was the outrage from the AP community over going into a war where many thousands of lives have been destroyed?


The Manual for the UPCI actually states that, even though we are patriotic, as an organization we do not support the killing that occurs during war.  Additionally, many of the founders of the Pentecostal movement were pacifists of the strongest nature.  But even if you do not believe in pacifism, a true Pro-Life stance should should extend justice to more lives than just the unborn.  If Jesus were making decisions for this country, would this war have been waged?  If Jesus were in the position you find yourself today, how would he respond to the deaths of thousands based on an emotional reaction? 


Supporting Democrats or Republicans is easy.  Working for Justice and Mercy and Faithfulness is much more difficult.


Josh R

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Weightier Matters

What is the most important issue to churches this November?  Serving local communities?  Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Or how people vote?   For years the terms "Christian Conservative" and "Religious Right" have dominated discussions of Christianity and politics.  But the emerging generation of Evangelical leaders are not as willing to be classified into such boxes.


Maitaining the important doctrines such as the veracity of the Bible, the physical resurrection of Jesus, and the need for atonement, these younger Christians are trying to see a bigger picture than Republicans vs Democrats.  Not satisfied with merely voting they are focusing instead on serving.  Not content with the single issues they have been given in the past, they are expanding the idea of what it means to vote one's conscience.  Dissapointed with the reputation evangelical political efforts of late have gained, they are reinterpretting what it means to be the church in our current political system. 


Two potential reactions can occur when old systems are challenged by new ones.  Those familiar with old system can become defensive and insist that the way things have always been done is still working and should not be challenged.  Alternatively, those of the old system may abandon it altogether in favor of the new.  Ideally, however, those of the old and new systems will not react, but will proactively put in the hard work necessary to form a synthesis. 


Learning from the mistakes of the old system, and recognizing that there will be mistakes in the new system, leaders from both sides should be able to come together in unity, particularly within the church.  Those from the old system bring wisdom and hindsight to the table which the younger system-changers do not have.  Those who offer a new system bring with them a fresh perspective and a knowledge of the (current) contemporary culture which is important in our rapidly changing society.  Working together under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, both will be able to accomplish so much more than either alone. 


Josh R