Culture Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope

Over at Boar’s Head Tavern there’s been a discussion going on about cultural “wars” between Christians and, well, everyone else. How far should Christians go in confronting the culture at large? Should churches be involved formally in politics, social agendas, or lobbying? Should a pastor use his pulpit to preach only Jesus – or should he also preach what Jesus might do in today’s political climate? The question may seem simple, but the ramifications are not – and looking at history’s various churches and their failed attempts at striking the right balance only makes us wonder that much more. Where is the dividing line between too much and not enough? Where should the people be involved, where the organization should not?

The first question then is “what purpose does the church, as an institution, serve?” If we understand what churches actually supposed to do, we can understand better how to go about doing it. In the times of Acts, there was no clear distinction between the Church as a body of believers and the church as a formal organization. We do see that the Christians met together regularly, and from what I can tell in Scripture, the gatherings served four major purposes. I draw these primarily from the specific examples of the early church in Acts, and I think a good summation can be found in the post-Pentacost gathering described in Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Continue reading Culture Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope

Abiding in the shadow

Afghan Soldier Captured

This is an American soldier in grave danger. Let us pray for him and for his family, for his sweetheart back home, for his friends and loved ones. These sorts of things rarely end well when dealing with the evil which we struggle against over there, but we must not give up hope, if only for his sake. We must honor and appreciate those fighting for us – and especially those who have sacrificed so much.

For those of you who have forgotten about the war in the last six months, since the protests have largely subsided and the daily body counts are no longer published in the papers – let this be a cold and harsh reminder of what this nation’s sons and daughters are facing out there. For those who do not forget – keep them in your prayers, and offer extra supplication for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, of Idaho, and for his family.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—

no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.

When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

h/t: Ace


Elizabeth Scalia is pandering to the Politically Correct crowd, and she’s doing it at Pajamas Media, which is not the best place to do that sort of thing. She criticizes both “the gays” and “the Christians” for behaving “badly” during the Castro district altrication – you know, the one I blogged about the other day in which a crowd of angry anti-Prop 8 thugs surrounded a Bible study and prayer group and poured coffee on them, urinated on them, grabbed a girl’s Bible and attacked her with it, and then tried to molest the members of the group as they were escorted away by the police. Okay, I think we can see where “the gays” behaved badly.

But what are the sins of the Christians? According to Ms. Scalia, it was “singing hymns and praying for them, which might have seemed both separatist and condescending.” She says this “as a Catholic,” who says she’d feel judged by the fact she was being prayed for by strangers.

So on one hand we have a group engaged in physical assault, verbal abuse, and public sexual misconduct… and on the other hand we have a group who was praying.

Yeah. Those eeeevil Christians sure need a good talking to.

Praying is something we are commanded to do without ceasing, and singing hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” are hardly extreme measures. These people were holding a prayer meeting – the same one they held “almost every Friday night” according to the locals – where they prayed for the community and tried to share the Gospel.  This is commendable behavior, not something to be looked down on. I have yet to see a report from anywhere on this issue that says the prayer group did anything wrong, or did anything to provoke the attack other than praying and singing.

Yet Ms. Scalia says that what they did was very un-Christlike. Jesus would never have been so intolerant. I wonder, has she read Christ’s sermons? This was a guy who did not have concerns over coming across as extreme or controversial. Remember, he ransacked the temple and screamed at the Pharisees in public, decrying them as a brood of vipers and whitewashed tombs, hypocrites in every sense – can you imagine someone running up the stairs of the Vatican calling out such a thing? No, Christ was truthful. He was direct. He was loving. But he was not afraid of confrontation, and he was not afraid of what the truth would bring. In the same vein, we should speak truth in love, but be careful that we do not worry so much about appearing loving that it is no longer the truth being spoken.