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Jonathan
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That is a great article on Tebow, Vinceation. It cuts through the mocking of the Realists and the praise of the True Believers and hangs the intangible fervor around Tebow on faith itself. What you think of faith is what you will think of Tim Tebow. He hasn’t given room for anyone to call him a fake, to separate the beliefs from the man and call them dogma. His lifestyle has been consistent on and off the field, and he has one major advantage over other modern heroes of the True Believers: His faith is arguably paying off in a very quantifiable way in a very public arena. (“For now,” say the Realists. “Hallelujah!” say the True Believers). I’d also add that it’s the way that Tebow wins that really sells the faith connection to his on-field performance. He’s not a top-tier quarterback (yet), and he doesn’t engineer 30-point victories. He ekes out last-minute heart-attack wins by a field goal when the game seems all but over. Which is more or less how you’d expect faith to work. Sorry, a bit OT to the post at hand, but the article grabbed me.
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The file appears to be broked...
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I equate goodness with love in this question, as opposed to a system of morality or ethical behavior. Ethics are easy to concede - certainly anyone can be good to others, based on any variety of social, spiritual, or even selfish convictions. But is it possible to perform loving actions towards others and *be* a loving person without God? I'm divided on it - on the one hand, as you say Dave, who are we to say someone is not good, or that we are more good? And what is the value in proving that anyway? On the other hand, isn't God's goodness central to who he is? I think of when Moses asked to see his glory, and God showed Moses his goodness. If there is goodness apart from God, then what good (so to speak) is a relationship with God, if not for a "better" sort of goodness? Or does all goodness really come from God, and people either are aware or not aware of the source? (substitute "love" for "goodness" in those questions and it gets really sticky)
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Thanks Shane - the article is an interesting read. I'll try and track down the book too. Merry Christmas!
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This is a really excellent question. I've been wrestling with it recently, especially because if the events and realities described in the Bible (and particularly the New Testament) are historically reliable, and not simply spiritual metaphors or eschatological myths, then they have huge bearing on what life - even everyday life today - really is. I've done only a little bit of digging in several directions - and it seems there are many directions to go - but I would be really interested in any resources any of you have found to be helpful in addressing this question (from both sides). What are books or authors you've read who have made some apparent sense of the origins of the Bible and its fantastic (and often seemingly contradictory) elements?
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I completely identify with the yearning for God that music connects with for me. I spent many years in my 20s in worship bands where those two things were one and the same (if I can toss the "art" blanket over any and all worship songs), but before that in my teen-angsty years, and since then in my finding-my-own-way-in-life 30s, music has been the voice of that ache. It seems especially in times when my actual connection with God has suffered there's always some tune I'm humming that connects with my heart.
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Hey Brent - thanks for your response. I know I'm a bit off topic, and I appreciate your news from the inside. That's some great stuff going on. I just hear of things like this and I...grrr.
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I am far out of touch with actual Muslims - there aren't many I have come in contact with at all in Cincinnati and its suburbs (I know there must be some here somewhere and I can't wait to meet them), so the part of this story that resonated with me most was the puzzlement of the young Muslims that no one was doing anything about the extremist Christians. Just issuing statements apparently was not enough; they needed to see someone act. It's a sentiment I've heard echoed by atheist friends as well - if the Fred Phelps and Glen Becks get all the press (for whatever misguided reasons they do), where are the Christians who disagree with them? Are they (we) speaking up and just not being heard? What if anything is anyone doing about it? In the gamut of things followers of Jesus are best advised to spend their time on, I'm sure this sort of activity isn't near the top. And I'm not advocating we begin "discernment ministries" or other whistle-blowing types of activities. As a matter of fact, it seems it could be a pretty thin line between rebuking in love and responding in kind to extremists who egregiously overstep the faith. But I throw this out there because it's something I struggle with in addressing the cultural baggage around Christianity. In the case at hand, say, who should be the one to say to the pastor in Florida, this is not the best idea? Or should anyone step in at all? Or is this not even the point?
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What a wacky country we live in. Reading the article, I think both sides have a point. The school leadership seems right to want Keeton to be nonjudgmental towards GLBT clients, which perhaps is the goal in this entire situation - or was, until the guns came out when the school prescribed their plan. Keeton seems to have a valid point that the school should be nonjudgmental towards HER, but she responded in kind and threw the lawyers at them. The issue at stake doesn't seem so much to be "right" or "wrong" as respect and love for people, but then neither side is carrying on as though that's the case.
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The Matrix is one that motivates me on a faith level, which I'm sure is also true for many other readers of this blog, so I'll just be the first to say it. Another movie I saw years ago and still can't shake is Ordet, a Danish film from the 50s about two Christian families with clashing bounded-set ideologies who are brought together in the end through suffering and some pretty out-of-the-box faith.
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Hello Mr Spam
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What an intriguing statement. And off-putting. It strikes at the heart of the intellectualism/spiritualism dichotomy. Of course it seems ludicrous to continue believing in a stage 2-ish way in principles that time and again are circumstantially disproved. On the other hand, the faith and the hope in her statement point to a stage 4-ish belief in a God who operates within the physical universe he made but entirely transcends it. As you have quoted her, Heidi may not be saying we will not let experience have any bearing whatsoever on our theology, but that we will not use our experience as the source to define our theology. Allowing experience its place in the process I think is something I relate more to.
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The numbers are disappointing, but not altogether surprising. It's a me-first, sue-you culture, and when something so racially charged and high-profile hits the news it's no shock that we Americans tend to blame the other person. That said, I think taking a stage 4 approach has something helpful to bring to the discussion - namely, the willingness to listen and withhold judgment on both sides. From that perspective this situation is at its core could be seen as a misunderstanding between two men, which was escalated by the racial subtext and propelled into iconicity by the media.
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Great thoughts Chad. I resonate with your idea that there is a need in the world for this. Not that the world needs conversion to Christendom - we've seen how that went over. But that there is something powerful and necessary in the life and teachings of Jesus that satisfies a need in the world, and perhaps along these lines that the voices of men are key to that. Cool stuff.
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Araz's point and much of the other recent conversations here on masculinity and initiative seem also to point to the larger issue of doing the stuff, to invoke some John Wimber. Conversations and church services and small groups (and this blog, as has been noted on prior occasions) can certainly all be in service of motivating folks to boldly and lovingly do something for good in the world - and hopefully they are! But Christian communities as ends in themselves are effectively benign without engaging with people, issues, culture, etc. In the context of our current discussion about male initiative, I think the initiative of Christian men is key to this process, which is a large part of why it is such an important topic to me and others here. As Araz more eloquently points out, when men have only been taught essentially to be nice to others and not to sin, we've lost something vital. I don't mean to diminish the importance of the initiative of women at all either; I say this because there is something unique and dynamic that proactive men bring to this. A good friend of mine who is an atheist challenged me on this topic recently in an email. While his examples are perhaps a bit blunt or extreme, I think they speak to his perception of Christians in general. He gave me his permission to share what he wrote: "The people at your church are marketers - they want to sell me, don't just send me a postcard about music and a good time, send me one that says I am a Christian and I don't kill doctors. Make it very pointed. I am a Christian and I am not so stupid I think Obama is an Islamic terrorist. I am a Christian and my Christ preached love, not shooting at holocaust museums. I am tired of getting happy feel good letters and postcards - Come visit us. I want to see where they stand. I want to see them take a stand. It is my hope that rather than run/hide/rename that more Christians would protest, fight, take back what they see as the tenets of the religion." I think men are key to this fight, and in my experience there are a lot of Christian men (myself included) who feel like they don't quite know how to go about this, or don't feel empowered in their current church/community setting, or in some other way are just looking for a place to start.
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