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Showing posts from March 30, 2014

Today's Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 20-25

This entire Gospel according to John is my favorite. This chapter is what I like to call "the lost chapter," because when I reflect on it, there has been gaps in my memory. I guess even now, John 7 is a little foggy, like London. Anyway, it strikes me that Jesus is both elusive, and powerful. No matter what we expect of him, and try to use him for, he's greater. At once he is saying, as he will say later, "I lay down my life, and take it up again; no one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own accord." But I hear Him also saying, "Who do you say that I am?" It's a challenge, but it surely is the tenderest invitation: "Trust in God; trust also in Me." I don't want to silence Him, to make him go away. Something my eyes of faith see is that he's the furthest thing from ordinary, though he is humble. He has come from the Father, full of grace and truth.

You Can't Probably Hold A Dogma

Again, this is why Newbigin's "Proper Confidence" is, with all due respect, a load of mess. "If God didn't say it, it doesn't matter." If humility leads one to say, "I cannot be absolutely certain of doctrine x, as opposed to doctrine y," the only reasonable course is to say, "I ought not assert doctrine x as religious dogma ." In effect, this is what the Protestant world has effectively done by saying, "We're all united in the essentials" without saying what those essentials are: relativized doctrine for the sake of unity, caused by the cognitive dissonance of not being able--in good faith--to come to an agreement concerning the truths of faith under the oppressive regime of Sola Scriptura. In fact, someone like Rachel Held Evans isn't being dishonest in rejecting the theo-political Rightist Industrial Complex, because, as much sympathy as it may still garner over here, there is no mechanism, no God in the machine,


The San Antonio Spurs of the NBA have won 19 consecutive games, a team record. They also own the league's best record. They look poised to make another run at a championship. I love the Spurs. They've been underrated the entire time Gregg Popovich has been the head coach. He took over in 1996. The Spurs have managed to win 4 NBA titles without anyone noticing. They are business-like, reserved, fundamentally sound, and all the other things winning teams do, without being despised. "Universally respected" is more like it. You'd like their fans: passionate, loyal, positive, die-hard. In fact, these fans and this team remind me of someone else. The St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, those Cardinals. Despite some recent noise that the Cardinals don't deserve their unofficial moniker as the best fans in baseball, and that their "aw shucks" persona is a pretense, it isn't. It's not for the Spurs, either. They are the quintessential middle-market Everyman

Paging BJ Thomas

5. Winter is over, if you want it. 4. Hail. And the Blessed Virgin is not involved. 3. Nothing says spring like a flash flood warning. 2. The National Weather Service now sends obnoxious alerts to your smartphone. Big Government at its finest. 1. It's all fun and games until a tornado takes your house.

The Parish Priest

I'm surrounded by amazing priests. Really. They know the truth, and they teach it plainly. If you have a good priest in your parish, give thanks. They really aren't so common. Pope Francis is a parish priest who got elected pope. That explains everything he says and does, more readily than reams of analysis you may have read. I'm sure your pastor says inartful things at times; I bet he'd be even more embarrassed by those things if he were--by God's grace--the most important person on Earth (and the most watched) at any given moment. Stew on that for a bit.

According To Whom? Edition 9000

I read this today. I like Derek; he writes good stuff every single time. This piece however remains oblivious to the crushing tyranny of Sola Scriptura. Read Jonathan Edwards's final thoughts in this piece. Isn't the "pope of self" exactly what this debate or discussion is entirely about? To whom are you actually submitting when you purport to test everything by the word of God? You might even be clever enough to defer to the community of which you are part. But that only intensifies the question: from whence did their interpretation come? I might be happy as a clam to defer to the doctrinal and juridical decisions of a Presbyterian General Assembly someplace, but unless you are prepared to imbue them with infallibility, you are simply delaying the inevitable conflict between "what the Scriptures say [according to me]" and what the Scriptures say according to them. But if we recall Jason's favorite axiom, "One cannot be both the arbiter of divine