At first I wasn’t sure about devoting the top four featured items here to a single theme, but this is truly the story that never ends…
Paradigm Smashing The Wedding Cake Controversy – The author here sees nothing particularly immoral with gay marriage, but uses a section from The Sermon on the Mount to challenge us with a whole different way of responding, if you happen to find yourself in the cake baking (or invitation printing) business. I won’t include a spoiler here, but once you start reading, it’s clear where she’s going with this, but it is food for thought… (An apologist responds.)
…Which Leads Us to This – Trevin Wax: “One hundred years later, the church is once again being rocked. This time, many Christians are calling for us to rethink the ’embarrassing’ parts of Christianity — specifically, our distinctive sexual ethic. After all, many of the moral guidelines we read in the New Testament were written from another cultural vantage point and are no longer authoritative or relevant today. If Christianity is to survive and thrive in the next century, many of our ancient prohibitions (sex outside of marriage, homosexual practice, the significance of gender, etc.) must be set aside.” Well, you have to read it in context…
…Which Takes Us to Indiana – Matthew Paul Turner: “You guys bake wedding cakes and build houses for Pentecostals. And you do that without blinking an eye. I mean, if you’re so bent on protecting your state’s faith, you might consider discriminating against those Pentecostal people who turn the Gospel into magic tricks, 401k plans, and pony shows every Sunday. They seem far more dangerous to your Christianity than gay people who want to get married… I feel sorry for your Christian business owners because you’ve given them a free pass to stop evolving.”
…Which Ends Up with a Possible Relocation of a Denom’s General Assembly – The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): “As Disciples, we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord’s Table. Our members and assembly-goers are of different races and ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual orientations. They have in common that they love Jesus and seek to follow him. We are particularly distressed at the thought that, under the current version of [RFRA], some of our members and friends might not be welcome in some Indiana businesses – might experience legally sanctioned bias and rejection once so common on the basis of race.”
Six Things Mark Wilson Learned from Robert Schuller – “Some congregations run on positive energy. Others run on negative energy. You can grow a church with either kind — but positive energy attracts positive people and negative energy attracts negative people. If you want a bunch of negative people, all you have to do is run the church on negative energy. You’ll get plenty of them.” He was also a believer in investing your life in a single geographic location.
Giving Children Windows on the Worship Service – “For children the service is an hour and 30 minutes of tedium, or they are sent out to ‘jump in a few puddles’ while the adults do the real thing. Too many churches, in my experience, either ignore the fact that there are children in church or send them out to be entertained elsewhere. There are no ‘windows’ to enable them to participate and adults are often unable or unwilling to hold them up to see over the fence. So the implied message children receive is that there is nothing here for you. In other words, the view, or real worship, is essentially for adults only.”
The LifeWay Bookstores Blacklist – Is the list real? Either way, there have been changes at LifeWay, a bookstore chain associated with Broadman & Holman Publishing and the Southern Baptist Convention (though operating at arm’s length from the latter.) So first, a blogger published a story on a house-cleaning that allegedly took place along with a .pdf list of the authors. Then he updated with a clarification that these authors were not previously carried as part of store inventory, but had been available to order, and now would not be available to order. There’s also more on the story at CT’s news page, Gleanings.
Music Works Its Way Into Our Hearts – On a recent song by Mercy Me: “How easy it is for me to give a nod to the truth of those words without ever letting them seep into my soul. And that is where music works its wonders. Like smoke curling through the cracks and crevices of my heart, the melody carries the lyrics past the high walls and closed off places. Music is the covert agent of God feeding life-giving truth to my weary soul. It reminds me of his awe-inspiring wonder, his ever-present help, and gracious invitation to revel in being his redeemed…”
Image: Postsecret (if you don’t know that website, it’s just as well.)