Around the Horn :: 5.30.13

May 30, 2013

Around-the-Horn[1]Quit Calling Your Wife Hot
I saw a tweet from a friend last week that said “If I hear one more Christian guy call his wife hot (every time he talks about her), I’m going to throw a plate at the wall.” I suggested that he actually throw the plate at the guy calling his wife hot, or “smokin’ hot” for that matter (tongue in cheek, of course). Maybe it would knock some sense and normalcy into them.  Fellas, calling your wife hot to other people is awkward. We can’t agree with you. That would be really weird. We can’t disagree with you. That would be really mean. Ignoring you is rude, but it’s probably our best option in this case. Do you really want us trying to determine if your wife is, in fact, hot? I’m glad you  think she’s a 10. You should. But calling attention to her hotness doesn’t honor her as much as it creates an opportunity for others to judge. And that’s just awkward.  It’s also subjective.

Should I Start A Grassroots Movement to Change My Church?
At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No.” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer. He thought I was guilty of clericalism and gave no place for the laity to know anything, do anything, or ever question the pastor. That was certainly not what I said, nor, so far as I can tell, what most people thought we were communicating. But his concerns got my blogging juices flowing. The initial question about forming a grassroots movement to change a local church is one I’ve gotten in one form or another several times in the past five years. So perhaps it would be helpful to spell out my answer in a little more detail.

Is This Good News?
Reports from major outlets, including the Huffington Post, express astonishment at the pope’s comments.  What is this strange new teaching? Of course, it’s not new at all.  It has been an emphasis ever since the Second Vatican Council.  What has changed?  We keep hearing from Protestants that, given the Vatican II reforms, if Luther and Calvin were alive today they’d renew their Roman Catholic membership cards. I doubt it. Not even the craziness of contemporary Protestantism could push them to make that move against a Scripture-bound conscience.  What has changed is that Rome has carried its incipient Semi-Pelagianism to its logical conclusion.  I know, Karl Rahner and Vatican II repeatedly condemn Pelagianism and extol grace as the fundamental basis for salvation.  Yet that has always been Rome’s teaching.

What Christians Should Know About President Obama’s Counterterrorism Strategy
In his 2012 book, Between Babel and Beast, theologian Peter Leithart registered serious concerns about American foreign policy entering a more “Babelic,” or worse, “beastly” phase. Using Genesis 11 as his springboard, Leithart describes Babelic empires as coercive, religious, and political homogenizers who try to maximize security and stave off irrelevance and obscurity. He argues they embody over-realized eschatologies, believing they represent, on earth, the sole political telos. Bestial empires take another, darker step. They are not just intolerant of difference; they harass and martyr the people of God.

Is Your Child’s Cellphone Stunting Their Growth?
Instead of healthy, functioning adults, are we raising a bunch of co-dependent, anxious, namby-pambies? The article suggests that the cell phone is functioning as an eternal umbilicus that we are all too happy to continue coddling our children through.

We’re often told by gurus of church-growth and guardians of postmodern values in the evangelical community that we mustn’t erect “boundaries.”  I gather from the way such comments are often bandied about that the word boundaries is supposed to have totally negative connotations. Honestly: I don’t see why.

Clarifying Liberal Christianity?
What is “liberal” Christianity? Is it the attempt to do Christianity in an honest, modern way; or is it an attempt to dodge the hard bits of this faith? I have spent quite a large proportion of my life thinking this through, wondering whether liberal Christianity can be authentically Christian, or whether it gravitates towards a soggy compromise with secular humanism.