Saturday, October 11, 2003

I received my first paper back in Religious Studies. I expected an A, or something close. I got a C+. You have got to be kidding. I loved that paper. So much did I cherish it! Part of the problem stems from my use of the word "orthodoxy." No, I did not try to shove my beliefs down anyone's throat. I merely was trying to say that the new religious pluralism threatened traditional notions of Christian orthodoxy. I shouldn't have to tell my instructor the contours of what that might look like. I wasn't trying to put forward my view of orthodoxy, just to say that those who define what it is feel threatened. Duh. Also, I defined sacred space as any place where the presence of God is, or was. Which, in my view, seems self-evident from Exodus 3:5 and the rest of what I would call the Old Testament. To refute my basic definition, my instructor referred me to Jonathan 2 (which doesn't exist). I hope you're reading this, Chip. Because I expect better from you as well. If you're going to challenge my knowledge of the Bible, you'd better be right. Not to sound arrogant, but I know more of the Bible than the entire department, with the exception of Dr. Friesen. And yes, I'll put money on that. How does anyone expect to understand the religions and the people who practice them if you don't know their Scripture? They spend so much time talking about cultural forces, their analysis is always wrong. It's all about hermaneutics, Chip. Good hermaneutics creates lasting Biblical worldviews, and bad hermaneutics creates religions that are reflections of the changing cultures in which they live.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I think I should make something clear today. Today, I want to talk about fundamentalism. You hear the term thrown around a lot in Religious Studies departments, but no one seems to be able to define what it means. Among these folks and religiously committed types, it seems to mean, "A religion with a bunch of zealots that scares me." After much refinement in the field, they came up with something similar to, "A religious movement characterized by stringent committment to certain doctrines." Positively stunning. You could call any Christian a fundamentalist by that definition! Right now, I have dozens of old lectures and conversations with my Religious Studies professors floating back to me saying, "You're only saying that because you have a personal narrow view of what a Christian is." Well, it's not a personal view, but you're darn skippy I have a narrow definition. I ask you, "In whom do you trust?" and you'll probably give me an answer pretty close to the Apostles' Creed (Or the Nicene). And the key is, you really mean it. And not only that, but those words you've spoken form the central, guiding reality of your life. The work of God to act in the world to save sinners, ultimately through the work of his Son, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate truth of this world. The price of tea in China, nor the societal debate between classical liberalism and classical socialism doesn't alter this fundamental reality. Christians have always had a way of impacting the world around them without being altered by it. Stained by it, or tempted, but never altered. And that's the bottom line.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Please don't click on the ad banner above this site if it says, "A New Christianity for A New World" by John Shelby Spong. He's a heretic, and a liar. Just trust me on that. (Going into rant mode) We don't need a new Christianity, we need the old one. Things got all messed up when we started changing things, and adding things. Like I don't know who said Mary didn't have sex after the Lord was born, but that's just silly. Seriously, who did that? Scripture teaches us this. Just what do you think a "marital duty" is anyway? Ever-virgin, my foot. Joseph is liable to be the unhappiest married man ever, if that were so. (And if you're Catholic, and that last remark really bugs you, well, too bad.) And don't let anyone get away with saying, "Christians think sex is wrong," because that's easily the second-dumbest thing I've ever heard. And third, Christians think drinking is wrong. Where do people get this stuff? If you're a faithful Southern Baptist, it's cool. You don't have to drink alcoholic beverages. But I would like to point out that one of our sacraments (sacred rituals) involves bread and WINE, for all those incredulous folks who still don't believe me. Sure, we hate fermented drink. Yeah, you're right. The wedding at Cana (John 2) must've been a clever cran-apple blend. Ocean Spray would be pleased. Returning to discussions of sexuality for a moment, why do they call them "adult" movies, and "gentleman's clubs?" There's nothing adult about pornography. We don't call it that because of kids. If so, how come teen boys hide that Playboy collection from their mom? If it's so adult, it won't be a big deal right? C'mon, we all know sin when we feel shame in our hearts. There are no gentlemen at those clubs, either.