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Thursday, September 02, 2010

The thoughts I had regarding the "Historic Church Documents" page here are thus: There is quite a variation in confessional position represented by the documents here. Reformed, Anglican, Lutheran, and of course, creedal documents from the early undivided church are here. I must conclude that their presence represents affirmation by the proprietors, which presents problems by the fact of the variance alone. Possible Reasonable Explanation: The differences between them, say the authors, are less than the gulf between all of us and Tridentine Rome. But if it were a united Protestant front, wouldn't they unite ecclesial governments? I cannot conclude that the documents' presence was an act of mere reportage, because there is nothing overtly contrary to the Reformed tradition on the page. That they believe all these traditions can broadly be called Reformed is astonishing, and is an insult to anyone holding the other confessions. Still, perhaps it's a way of affirming a soteriological monergism that they all share (to some extent). Even if that could describe all the documents (which it doesn't) it's pretty reductionistic to say the Reformed faith is wholly about soteriological monergism. If that weren't enough audacity (and not the hopeful kind, I'd add) for one web page there's this mind-boggling quote: The delivery of Christ’s doctrines and commandments by men does not make them the doctrines and commandments of men. ... Their dogmas are not man's, they are God’s dogmas." --J. Girardeau. Which would be a refreshing recovery of the dogmatic principle if I knew which communion I should worry about getting tossed out of! But they don't seem to know. On a personal note, when I saw the Baptist Confession of 1689, I almost flipped out. Nothing personal, but I feel more comfortable among people who believe God's saving work happens objectively in some sense and in keeping with how God has always done things (see Passover, circumcision), not by way of articulation or knowledge in every case. ("Believers' baptism" is dumb.)

(Sigh.)

[In Defense of Baptists, and Other "New Testament Church" Types: I know lots of you, and by and large, you're lovely people who love Christ. And I'm all for people understanding their faith as much as possible, too. And I don't see the papists force-feeding their infants the Eucharist, so you're not entirely insane. But I guarantee you, there will be about a bajillion infants and other young children who confessed diddly-squat before they left us for whatever reason, and God will embrace them, because that's just how God is. Please tell me you're not giving an aptitude test for the sign of the New Covenant. Please. "Please tell me you have something more, counselor. These men are on trial for their lives. Please tell me you haven't pinned their hopes to a phone bill." Sorry. I get movie quote-itis at times.]

JK

Sorry, that turned into a rant, and a blog post.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I would say I'm pretty conversant with pop culture; maybe too much. Then again, I think I'm pretty discerning. All prospective (Protestant) pastor-types learn to develop a little voice in our heads that affirms (in some sense, if possible) and challenges everything that we, or our parishioners may watch or hear. Like every twentysomethingish (American) dude who happens to be a Christian, I have my odd list of famous or influential people that I'd love to befriend and testify to Christ in their general direction. In my dreamworld, it's set up like this: "You have one hour to tell influential person X whatever you wish about Jesus and the gospel, and they won't run away." It's a rotating list of sports heroes, political figures, pop singers, etc. I realized today I had to add a name to my list, even though he's not American, and he is, in my words, an "awesome pariah": George Michael. You can't grow up in the 1980s (especially listening to pop radio) without encountering him. When I read his Wikipedia page, I didn't even realize how successful he's been. That is of course knowing a big handful of really well-known songs, not as one who's scoured the man's catalog. But I know that my mother bought his greatest hits compilation--one of them, anyway--and I remember thinking that I had heard of all of them, and really liked a lot of them. Whether as part of "Wham!" with schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley and others or as a solo artist, the guy definitely made an impact. As you can read from various sources, George has some problems. Drugs and alcohol, as well as sexual sin are present. But when God-given talent is made so plain in a person, you say, "It's a shame that's being wasted, in some sense" even though you don't know him. Every time I listen to Sirius/XM satellite radio, if I listen long enough, George will come on. Gut reaction every time: "Yes!" Even if I haven't heard a song by him, he's in "I Gotta Hear This One Out" territory. Try not to laugh. I had a friend play a trick on his mother using Madonna's greatest hits once: he put it on, and didn't tell her who it was. Result: she liked it. Sometimes, famous people have done bad things or weird things, and they have earned a fair amount of mockery, scorn, or whatever. But if you try this test with George Michael, it may surprise you. Now, don't get carried away. How might Bryan or Larry say it, if they listened to every song? "He has disordered desires." Undoubtedly. Still, most famous people are famous for a reason, and there's no sense denying the ordinary gifts of God in people and running to our Christian cultural ghettos, as good as separateness can be at times. In truth, I share a ton of cultural reference points with non-Christians that some of my brothers in Christ don't because of how they grew up, (though of course there's loads of good about that, as well) and that makes me feel comfortable when the uncomfortableness of the gospel shows itself.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Casino Royale" was on my TV when I returned tonight. I love this movie; it once again demonstrates that Texas Hold 'Em is "BA," Daniel Craig did a superb acting job, and you can take this character seriously now. However, I hate the final climactic scene. I had to turn it off. Yes, I am a sap. Worse still, I logged into Facebook, and there is a feature called, "Friend Finder." It then informs you which of your friends found friends with it. And the cursed thing keeps showing my current "like" interest. For the record, we saw 1 movie, ate ice cream, and had one other thing fall through. In any case, I'm trying to forget her, because it's a hopeless cause, but even one inch square, she takes my breath away. Sheesh. Someone punch me.