Thursday, September 29, 2011

Food for Though: Forgiveness Requires . . .

“Forgiveness requires healing grief. Forgiveness hurts, as all grief must, and if it hurts to forgive, it hurts equally to be forgiven. We can feel magnanimous when we forgive – in which case it isn’t real forgiveness because it does not involve grief. True forgiveness involves fellow-feeling with the one forgiven. When we accept forgiveness we accept ourselves as sinners, which is not popular today, even in the church.” - Madeleine L’Engle

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vote! An Accredited UPCI College?

If you've heard, Gateway College of Evangelism (in St. Louis) approached UGST (Urshan Graduate School of Theology) about the possibility of being acquired so UGST could start an undergraduate program--essentially giving the UPCI a Christian college (not strictly a Bible college but not strictly a liberal arts college).

UPCI General Superintendent David K. Bernard put together a task force to consider this opportunity. The task force is gathering feedback to do a presentation and proposal to the General Board at General Conference in mid-October.

Care to voice your opinion? Vote here to be heard.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Switchfoot: Dark Horses

Switchfoot's new Vice Verses album releases on Tuesday. It's quite different--not in a bad way, just different--from their usual heavy guitar, sunny California sound. Here's the first release & i s a good sample for the entire album:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick Thinker? You probably believe in God. Situation Analyzer? You probably don't believe in God

An interesting report published by some cognitive science researchers at Harvard reveals that people who are more intuitive in their thinking are more likely to believe in God. In contrast, more reflexive people are less likely to believe in God. Intuition in the study was defined as instinctive and "as the tendency to rely on first instincts and to reach decisions quickly and then stick by them. Reflection, on the other hand, is a slower process that involves questioning initial instincts and looking at a wider range of alternatives."

 The head of the research is adamant that there is no bias in the study and I tend to agree because if someone was doing a polemic against people who believed in God, there are several other more degrading words than intuition.

 Nonetheless, for me, the topic touches on an all too awkward issue.... that people's brain capacity and the way certain people think has a correlation with whether they believe or not... or in other words, heaven is that much easier to attain for those who are more intuitive whereas, if the study is accurate, reflexive thinks are less likely to believe by way of how their brain functions...

 It's these scientific arguments that make me sympathetic to the predestination arguments. However, the fact that what we are dealing with here is correlation, or an association between intuition/reflection, belief/unbelief reminds me that we are not dealing with a fact of causation where if one is intuitive in their thinking, they will definitely believe in God
  The article is here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Words to Live By: Finding God

“If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. And whoever will find him must go to the foot of the Cross.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today's Teens are Amoral, not Immoral

David Brooks of the New York Times reports on a book that reveals how young people today are incapable of defining morality. While that's hardly news, it does make you wonder how hard we Pentecostals are working to make sure the next generation is learning how to define the great truths in their own words.

Say Brooks:

“Not many of them have previously given much or any thought to many of the kinds of questions about morality that we asked,” Smith and his co-authors write. When asked about wrong or evil, they could generally agree that rape and murder are wrong. But, aside from these extreme cases, moral thinking didn’t enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner. “I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” is how one interviewee put it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alzheimers = Death = Divorce

Apparently Pat Robertson said that Alzheimer's is equivalent to death, so a Christian spouse could divorce their loved one with Alzheimer's. Really? That's a pretty interesting reading from the Gospels.

Like Jessie Jackson on politics and race, Pat Robertson has long, long ago stopped speaking for Christianity, but lazy members of the media just can't stop quoting them as if they're authorities. Still, it's the latest example of how society will paint us (or allow ourselves to be painted) if we don't work hard to counter stereotypes through love.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Facebook Church?

The link of the day is an article in the ever illustrious New York Times.... 

Which continues with our theme of from last week about the difficulties/advantages of church oriented activities happening online and more specifically on Facebook (Last week we had an evangelist "Type in tongues" on her Facebook posts),,,

At the surface the article is about the popularity of a "Jesus page" on Facebook which is more popular than Justin Bieber's Facebook page (I don't understand why the New York Times would think that would be such a shocking fact)....

But the more interesting issue which the article seems to be really getting at is the validity of church communities that not only interact with members online, but also exist as a church community through online alone.

The most open to such a viable "online-only" community was a rabbi...

"There are some people who will always prefer the in-person, face-to-face experience, who love being in a room with other Jews and smelling the freshly baked challah. And some people will prefer being online,” said Rabbi Baum, 31, who is one of the leaders of “There are those people who prefer to check out our tweets on their phone or listen to our podcast. I don’t think the use of technology needs to be for everybody. But we have found a community online. Many of them have never felt a connection to Judaism before."

The Rabbi gets to a very important question.... It's not about real or virtual in terms of church. Rather, it's simply about what about those who would never go to real church in the first place? Do we draw the line of where Christianity is active/inactive and just choose to not reach out to those who will only go to church online?

Words to Live By: True Love

"The native language of love is lavishness." -William Hendriksen

Which is true, you know. Don't tell me you love someone. Show me how generous you are to them with your time, money, and willingness to change for them and I'll know how much you love them.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Women preacher types in tongues

So I initially came here to post one thing. And now I am no longer posting that one thing and instead posting on another thing. And by another thing, the source can be found here. Basically a big time Pentecostal Televangelist, Juanita Bynum has taken to typing tonges within her own Facebook status...

Normally, I probably wouldn't blink twice about such things, but I stumbled upon the story on a secular "pop news" website which usually could care less about religious matters. And sure enough, other secular websites seem to be picking up on the story......

I don't know what to think yet. Really, I'm dumbfounded. Not that I would ever judge the authenticity of someone's Pentecostal experience, but I'm more so confused about what this implicitly says about social media (Facebook) and it's accommodation of church matters..... I honestly had thought that in many respects Pentecostalism was completely unique in many ways that it could never be imitated online. And the case of "typing in tongues" puts up a challenge to that notion....