There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for Faith and Life

let’s really define our terms here: fellowship

if you’ve been in the evangelical sub-culture for any length of time, you’ve probably heard a word bandied about that people outside that sub-culture tend not to use: fellowship.

It’s definitely a biblical word so its use is warranted, but so is having a clear definition, lest we dilute its meaning into something less potent than its intended meaning. For fellowship certainly entails a warm and welcoming environment, but it has purposes much larger than just being together.

I don’t want to sound like a drill-sargeant about a kind of gathering that many times has no structure or noticeable purpose other than coming to know one another more fully, but fellowship, as the following words argue, does have an ultimate goal beyond “having a good time together.” Read the rest of this entry »

so evangelism doesn’t always provoke perseuction…

…apparently it can sometimes prevent it.

YouTube – Elderly woman witnesses to man trying to rob her

Bill Maher and his gift to believers

He’s crass, but funny.  Admittedly despises children, but probably could still make them laugh. His brief interlude off the air after his….inadvisable comments on his erstwhile talk show on HBO notwithstanding, he’s back true to form: teaming up with the director of Borat, he’s taking his comedic pot-shots at religious faith.

Paste Magazine :: News :: Bill Maher and Ben Stein facing off with religious docs

Tim Keller’s recent book, The Reason for God, instructs believers to do the counter-intuitive thing of musing on the reasonable doubts people have about the Gospel. Only by grasping their substance enough to be able to articulate them can believers show pre-believers the respect they deserve in voicing their doubts.

So Maher’s mock-umentary (think This is Spinal Tap with an edge and an agenda) gives us an opportunity, not so much to plumb the depths of deeply reasoned arguments, but to get a quick summary of where most Americans come down on their problems with religious faith.  Read the rest of this entry »

He came that you might work and work abundantly

I don’t believe we can ever think too much about how our work–in whatever field–finds its meaning in our faith.  I do believe we think too infrequently about that relationship.  I’d even bet we unconsciously rank work according to how explicitly it deals with our evangelistic callings.

So, we’re overdue for another comment on the meaning of whatever work that we do.  Here’s a short comment on the subject with an opportunity to follow it into a wider discussion.

He came as a child that you and I might learn to work as children of God.

engaging Advent

Perhaps you’ve already seen it. You didn’t plan for it, but as you scanned the channels, there it was. And even if the thought of spending the couple of hours it takes to view it turned your stomach, once your eyes deciphered just a few frames of its technicolor grandeur you felt yourself strangely led to stop and stare, and even stick with it. Read the rest of this entry »

turning the Day of thanks into a Life of thanks

wherever you might be flying to, or riding to, it might help you pass the time to download and listen to this track, and add to your thinking and praying about the centrality of thanksgiving. (It’s free so long as you register with the White Horse Inn’s podcast; don’t worry, you’ll receive no emails).

And do let us know your initial impressions of trying your heart at that ancient spiritual practice of Lectio Divina we explored last Sunday. (Here and here are the front and back sides of the bookmark instructions we distributed). Anyone feeling the need to go through detox from your need for stimulus? Tozer’s words, written well before laptops or ipods, are even more relevant to our situation:

Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.

A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men

So, pause, reflect. Sit still.

May your attentiveness to His grace lead you to thanks that is real and abiding.

You, your cell phone: a match made in….

Last Friday there was a bit of a ruckus on our street.  A high school sits around the corner and when school let out that afternoon, a couple students took it upon themselves to provide a little entertainment for their comrades by getting into a rumble–at first nearer the school (the policeman’s use of all the features on his new-fangled siren package was apparently all he was interested in doing to break it up).  Undaunted, the warring pair relocated the festivities to our neck of the woods.

I’d seen fights before in public school, and the crowds they usually drew.  What was new about this one was how the spectators quickly morphed, whenever the combatants raised their fists, into citizen-journalists.  They, with one accord, all raised their camera phones to snap a shot or record a short video-byte of the ruckus.

Old scenario, new scenery–this time with technology encroaching a bit further into the lanscape.

We’ve pointed  you to Cynthia Rosen’s work before–previously about how the virtual realities we inhabit in the cyberworld might have an effect on our sense of actual reality.  She’s written several pieces about technology recently, the first of which we’ll point you to today.  This one’s about your cell phone.