Around the Horn: 11.24.11

November 24, 2011

Should Churches Issue Altar Calls?
Before I had arrived, the previous pastors had always given altar calls. I was now one month into an interim pastorate, and people were beginning to ask whether I would ever give them. I remember a long, meandering car ride with one sweet brother—a good friend to this day—devoted to the question.

Into The Wild
From Reel Thinking: There is a rather awesome movie that not many have seen. It is Into the Wild. The screenplay is based on the book by Jon Krakauer, that seeks to account for the final months of a man’s life. Directed by Sean Penn and with a fine, fine cast, it tells the story of a recent college graduate, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), who decides to quit normal life and go live somewhat recklessly around the US while chasing a dream of a great Alaskan adventure.

Navigating the Holidays
Hello, my name is Erin, and my parents are divorced. Sometimes, I feel like I’m a member of a club that I can’t get out of, even if I fail to pay my dues. It’s the Adult Child of Divorce Club, and there are times when being a member is no picnic.

Being Offended for Someone Else
I’ve noticed the phenomenon of someone getting personally offended on behalf of someone else, who, in fact, has not been personally offended.  A complaint has been filed against Catholic University for being insensitive to Muslims–basically by being a Catholic university–even though no Muslims have complained.

Making God a Monster
Reformed theology has maintained consistently that Scripture teaches God’s exhaustive sovereignty and human responsibility. God does not cause evil. In fact, God does not force anyone to do anything against his or her will. And yet, nothing lies outside of the wise, loving, good, and just plan “of him who works all things after the council of his own will” (Eph 1:11).That God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are true, no serious student of Scripture can deny. How they can be true is beyond our capacity to understand. As Calvin put the matter, following Luther, any attempt to unravel the mystery of predestination and human responsibilty beyond Scripture is a “seeking outside the way.” “Better to limp along this path,” says Calvin, “than to rush with all speed outside of it.”

George’s God
As a reader who has compulsively consumed the ever-expanding body of Beatles literature for 40 years, I have trouble picking out a favorite anecdote or most memorable quote. Is it John’s “If there is such a thing as a genius, I am one”? Or the note Paul sent John one day in the waning days of the group: “You and your Jap tart think you’re hot s—”? Or maybe it’s the time an airline stewardess offered George a glass of wine, not knowing he was deep in meditation. “F— off,” the spiritual Beatle replied.


One response to Around the Horn: 11.24.11

  1. I grew up in a SBC church and the “altar call” is somewhat of a modern invention starting with Charles Finney(my favorite heretic). In my later years I realized that the AC was being confused with communion. SBC churches normally have communion once a quarter. That’s my take on it anyway.