Nailing Five Theses to the door of the church

A Christian friend who came from a non-Christian background explains some of the differences in that vantage point compared to people who were raised in church :

  1. Talking about God’s presence in a situation honors Him and recognizes His role.  It’s a privilege to recognize him.  vs. Let’s be quiet about our faith in Jesus because we don’t want to overwhelm people.  Why don’t people in the church want to talk about God?
  2. When we tell each other problems in the church, we should pray for each other.  vs. Why do these people tell me their problems?  I have enough garbage in my own life to deal with.  Why don’t they take responsibility & just pray about it?  Why don’t people pray for each other in person as problems come up?
  3. The church is the body of Christ.  vs.  Biological family is the main thing that holds people together in groups.  Why don’t people offer hospitality to one another and include others in their lives even if they aren’t related by blood?
  4. How can I be growing as a follower of Jesus Christ?  vs.  What, a daily quiet time?  I know I should, but the pastor is asking too much of my time this week.  I have so much to do.  Why is spending time with Jesus not a priority?
  5. How can we give glory to God with the spiritual gifts he has given us?  vs.  Why practice so hard to do the arts well?  It’s just for us, and we don’t care if it’s in tune or not.   Why does the church settle for mediocrity when it comes to the arts?

Any questions? Any answers?

The world has always been post-Christian.

The UK-based Anabaptist Network announces the publication of a series of books, beginning with Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World by Stuart Murray. “This book explores what it means to be Christian in a world in which Christianity is no longer the dominant paradigm in our society.”

Except that Christians have always lived in a world in which Christianity is not the dominant paradigm. Maybe it used to be different in your society, but it’s always been this way for the vast majority of human beings throughout history. The Christians in China, India, and Africa know that. Ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, we’ve been living in a “post-God” world. Continue reading “The world has always been post-Christian.”

Fifty years of Alzheimer’s

We think of Alzheimer’s disease as something that affects the brains of older people. Actually, half of older people are never affected by it, and many who have it will die naturally before the disease is even diagnosed. One of the most interesting, and influential, books about Alzheimer’s Disease is Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives
by David Snowdon.

I’m fascinated by Dr. Snowden’s report that researchers have found Alzheimer’s structures (plaques and tangles) in the brains of 20-year-olds. Continue reading “Fifty years of Alzheimer’s”

Real Christians don’t dance.

“So is this it? This is what it comes down to: real Christians don’t dance? Moses parted the water for this? Rahab tucked the spies away in her closet for this? Jael drove a tent peg into the head of Sisera for this? Jesus died and rose again, martyrs were sawn in two, and the Church has prevailed for almost two thousand years against the gates of hell so that Christians today can live out this ever important testimony to a waiting, watching world: real Christians don’t dance? ” (more…)

— John Fischer, Real Christians Don’t Dance

Always trust the men in the white (rain)coats.

In 1948, the world was fascinated (or repelled) by Alfred Kinsey’s claim to have uncovered the truth about what really happened in America’s bedrooms. The problem is that his claims were inherently fraudulent. In 1948,  it was not possible to gather a valid sample of American sexual practices (“Hello, I’d like to ask you a few questions about your love life”). It would be difficult today. And in 1948, just as now, it was impossible to gather ethical data about the sexual responses of baby boys. Weapon of Mass Distraction provides more information about exactly what Alfred Kinsey did instead. Continue reading “Always trust the men in the white (rain)coats.”

Should Christians have special privileges?

David Nussbaum in Anabaptism Today gives British examples of how “Christendom” (the medieval concept of a political or geographical Christianity) still has governmental and cultural support. Many American Christians believe that it should. They teach that removing prayer from public schools and removing religious words from public buildings is a denial of a special covenant that God made with America.
Continue reading “Should Christians have special privileges?”

Wanting to be noticed

I hadn’t been looking very carefully at the log files of, so I was unaware that my site was mentioned on the discussion boards of the New York Times and Beliefnet this year, as well as on Joe Kissell’s Interesting Thing of the Day. Probably it wasn’t my site that was so interesting — Joe was linking to the Anabaptist classic history Martyrs Mirror which I have been hosting for a couple of years.

As a new blogger, I’ve been submitting my site to the usual blog aggregators, directories, and search engines, such as Feedster and technorati. I have a problem with self-promotion, but I figure that if I have something to say, I shouldn’t make it too hard for people to find it and read it.

Worship Tricks

An English Christian leader named Jonny Baker has compiled one hundred of what he calls “worship tricks.” Many of them require multimedia resources. Others resemble sophisticated object lessons, such as those used in children’s church, only these are for adults: music videos, mystical poems, spiritual labyrinths. One of them involves a flame-throwing sermon illustration — for the feast of Pentecost of course.
Continue reading “Worship Tricks”