Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How I Spent My Winter Break

After a month-and-a-half long break, I just returned to seminary for my second-semester. Naturally, this means I've been seeing a lot of people who I haven't spoken to since mid-December and we are all asking each other the same obligatory question, "How was your break?" As I've answered this question multiple times, I've realized that what comes out of my mouth sounds terribly depressing. As I'm sitting here, I'm literally laughing at how bad it sounds. In the hope that you will do the same, here is a list of 9 memorable things from my break:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Wait or Not to Wait?

This is a paper I wrote for my Ethics class at seminary last semester. We were supposed to pick and analyze an ethical dilemma the Church faces today. I chose pre-marital sex. This is an issue I feel pretty strongly about, but please know my intention is not to condemn those who disagree with me. 

True Love Waits: God's Design or Outdated Cultural Ethic?

For the last 2000 years, the general consensus of the Christian Church has been that sexual intimacy ought to be reserved for marriage. As one first-century Christian is said to have written, “[Christians] share their table with all, but not their bed with all.”1

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

He Comes Down Your Chimney To Steal Your Soul

During the holidays some of you may have seen the videos I shared on Facebook of the Christmas Pentecast. If you haven't watched them, you can find them below.

The host of the pentecast - the Rev. Brother Marshall - is a satirical character created by my friend Dan. Brother Marshall is an exceptionally clueless Pentecostal preacher who thinks very highly of himself. In these videos, he takes it upon himself to warn us of the dangers of Santa Claus, who is supposedly a direct agent of Satan ("the spellin' is almost the same!"). Brother Marshall's Scriptural exegesis is atrocious and he sees a demon behind every bush. He tries to sound knowledgeable by adding unnecessary technical suffixes to his words (i.e., -cation and -ism), and defends his beliefs through meaningless non-sequiturs, irrelevant Scripture verses, and appeals to personal revelation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thought for the Day

Sometimes, I think it'd be easier to move heaven and earth than change someone's mind about anything that actually matters.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thoughts on the Cross

This was an essay written for one of my classes last semester. I'm trying to keep this blog alive, so I thought I'd post it here.

The Cross. In almost every Christian church, it occupies a central position in the worship space. It is one of the most common pieces of jewelry, adorning many devout followers, some casual believers, and even a few agnostic seekers and superstitious spiritualists. It is even cut into the doors of many of our homes, which is an easy thing to miss. It wasn't until High School that I realized the pattern on my bedroom door was more than just a configuration of four indented rectangles (two small on top, two long on the bottom), but also a symbol intended to bless the space.

The popularity of the Cross is an odd thing when we realize what it really is: an ancient Roman means of torture and execution. It's like an electric chair or a noose, although less humane than both. And yet this instrument of death has become for many a symbol of life, hope, and forgiveness. Why? When one considers all the death and suffering that has occurred throughout history, why is one man's death on a cross 2000 years ago such a big deal? And what relevance could that death possibly have for those of us alive today?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Movies, Morals, and God

I have always loved stories: books, movies, television shows. I like experiencing them and I like sharing them, and I know I'm not alone. The ever-rising price of movie theater tickets – even in a bad economy – shows that we can't help but be drawn to stories. Good stories grip us. They stir our emotions. They make us laugh, cry, or cheer – and the best can make us do all three. 

I think the reason we tend to be moved by stories is because they appeal to our intuitive moral senses. We sense that things like self-absorption, dishonesty, excessive pride, willful ignorance, and cruelty are wrong and evil. Likewise, we sense that things like love, friendship, bravery, loyalty, perseverance, and mercy are right and good. The best stories engage our emotions by playing off these intuitive senses.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Top 10 Songs of 2012

Well, it's that time of year again. The rule is the same as last year: songs on the list have to have been released in 2012. It was harder for me to make the list this year because I didn't listen to very much new music in 2012. Not that I'm complaining about the quality of 2012 music - I just wasn't paying real close attention. Anyway, in no particular order, these are the songs released this year that had the most impact on me: