Category Archives: culture

praying the Psalms

…watched last night a program on PBS’ Frontline. (a great program by the way, if you can watch it)
Last night was on the global sex trafficking travesty. It was terribly sad, and hard to watch. Some of the things that were done to the women were nothing less than vile.
Did not know what to do after the program ended, except to pray.
I then read this Psalm this morning…

Psalm 15 A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 Those whose walk is blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth from their hearts; 3 who have no slander on their tongues, who do their neighbors no wrong, who cast no slur on others; 4 who despise those whose ways are vile but honor whoever fears the LORD;who keep their oaths even when it hurts; 5 who lend money to the poor without interest and do not accept bribes against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

Eugene Peterson says this about Psalm 15
Moral habits are like building stones. One by one they are added together to form a solid structure, a character that is “steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the world of the Lord” (1 Corin 15:58)

Prayer: Even as you have shown me the way, O Christ, help me to walk in it. Help me to acquire the habits that will make me dependable in your service as I follow in the steps of my Savior. Amen


Jesus & the mosque

I read this on BW3‘s website & decided to copy it – in its entirety here – because it was that good to read. The article is written by Leighton Ford, who worked closely with Billy Graham.


Jesus and the Mosque

“On a shelf at home I have a copy of Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, the story of the Syrian-born writer Mazhar Mallouhi. As a young man who grew up in a Muslim family he had a profound spiritual hunger, read widely, learned of Jesus in the Bible, and became a follower of Christ while remaining loyal to his Muslim culture. His novels are read by millions in the Middle East. Through them he has sought to bridge misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians.
In the book is a photo of him in the famous Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo, sitting with a group of Muslims as they read the Gospels together. It is his custom to say, “I am a follower of Christ. Here is what Jesus said. Tell me honestly, do you think I am living as Jesus said I should?”

I thought of Mallouhi’s question during the heated dispute over the location of a Muslim mosque and community center near Ground Zero in New York. Among the voices being raised – some harsh with anger, some deep with indignation about “rights”- I wonder if the missing voice is that of Jesus? If I were a Muslim I might want to claim rights, but also want my leaders to consider whether another location would work and help to heal some deep hurts. But I am not a Muslim. Those issues are for the Muslim community to decide.

What I need to ask is: what does Jesus say to us who say we follow him? Suppose we, like Mallouhi, sat down with some Muslims in the new community center, and read with them some of the words of Jesus, words like “Do good to those who hate you.” That could apply to radical terrorists who want to blow us up. So how can it not apply to Muslim neighbors who are living among us?

Many years ago my late friend J. Christy Wilson was pastor of the first ever Christian church in Kabul, Afghanistan. Through the good offices of President Eisenhower permission was granted to build the church, attended by Christian expatriates. The time came when the Afghan authorities revoked permission and announced they would knock the church down. When the bulldozers arrived what did the Christ followers there do? They served tea to the workers who were destroying their church building! They were living out a central tenet of our Christian faith – that we are “saved by grace” -God’s grace freely given in Jesus Christ – and they showed grace.

How can we do that? I hope the churches and the Christ followers in New York can figure it out. Perhaps delivering a cool drink to the workers who will build the center? After all Paul went so far as to write (and this was about enemies, not neighbors) “If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”

Does this mean we naively accept real evil? Not at all. I understand the rage that 9/11 stirred. Force is often needed to protect the innocent. But ultimately I have to follow Jesus and his follower Paul in the baffling reality of Paul’s admonition to “Overcome evil with good.” What does the love of Christ compel me to do? Perhaps whether in New York or Charlotte to extend a little more grace – actually a whole lot more. Wouldn’t that be the best witness we could make?” –Leighton Ford

see where you stand in the Global Rich List

Every year we gaze enviously at the lists of the richest people in world.
Wondering what it would be like to have that sort of cash. But where
would you sit on one of those lists? Here’s your chance to find out.

Just enter your annual income in the website linked below & hit ‘show me the money’
Global Rich List

a couple of 4th of July thoughts

For July 4th, a (set of) thought(s)

part of his thoughts:

As for me and my house, though I’m opposed to war for Jesus’ followers, we want to celebrate justice and we want to honor those who take up the causes of justice in this world, and we want to give thanks to God in the midst of this awful mess of how to achieve justice in this world for the justices that are gained and for the injustices that are undone.

Frankly, I can’t think of a better place to celebrate with thanksgiving before God for freedom and justice than in a church, in a place that focuses our attention on God, and in a place where a cross puts before us the price to be paid for those who want that final and full justice.

The Birth of Two Kingdoms: A Fourth of July Reflection

The last part is the best:

As he made clear to Pilate, Jesus came to establish a kingdom that is “not from this world.” The kingdom Jesus came to establish is not a “new and improved” version of the systems of the world. It’s something altogether different. For example, while all versions of the kingdoms of the world resort to violence against enemies when they deem it necessary, citizens of Jesus’ kingdom are called to imitate him by sacrificing themselves out of love for their enemies.

As noble as America’s ideals are, followers of Jesus must never buy into Adam’s delusion — repeated throughout history and still widespread today — that political ideals are a formula for the Kingdom of God. For the Kingdom is not about enjoying “life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.” It’s about looking like Jesus, dying out of love for the very people who crucified him.

difference between Hollywood & British actor…

From David Coffey – a Brit addressing the Brady Lectures at Northern Seminary: “They say the difference between a Hollywood actor and a British actor is – the Hollywood actor will ask, “how will this script be modified to suit my strengths/personality? The British actor will ask, how can I do justice to what the author intended in this script?
The application of this to American Christianity is obvious.

HT: David Fitch

loneliness (quote of the day)

here is why we are doing, what we do…

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” –Mother Teresa

2009-10 mother theresa

wacky Wednesday

this is from a little bit back — but it is classic.
Colbert interrupts Bart Ehrman, as Bart is making his ridiculous claims…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Cross Eyed: Atheist Interrupted", posted with vodpod

Here are some interesting thoughts by Ben Witherington III:
Actually Bart is dead wrong about early Christology, and I think he even knows it. Its pretty hard to miss Phil. 2.5-11, written before any Gospel probably. There it is said not only that Christ is “in very nature God” even before he takes on human form, but then on top of that Paul quotes and applies Isaiah to Christ after the ascension saying he has the name above all names, which very clearly in Isaiah is the name of God. The transfer of the LXX name for God ‘kyrios’ to Christ is clearly enough a statement about his divinity. In addition to which in Romans 9.5 Christ is called “God above all blessed forever”.

Furthermore, the Synoptic Gospels most certainly do view Christ as divine. This is why he is portrayed as Immanuel for example in Matthew’s Gospel, or as the human and also divine Son of Man of Daniel 7 fame who came from heaven to judge the world and will rule in a kingdom for ever (see Mk. 14.62).

Ehrman’s retro arguments about such things don’t even convince most liberal scholars these days, they just say that Paul was divinizing Jesus because they know he had an exalted view of Christ.

As for Colbert, he is a devout Catholic who teaches Sunday school, and is not much interested in making fun of any orthodox Christians.”

if you really want to read an alternative view on Ehrman’s latest book (Jesus Interrupted) – here you go…
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5