WHY DO WE ALLOW IT?!

From Pastor Mike Woodruff:
Years ago, while traveling in troubled parts of Africa with Tim Dearborn – then a senior member of World Vision’s leadership team – I wondered why God allowed so much suffering. Dearborn reframed the question, asking why we allow it. He noted that if Christians gave ten percent of their income away, which he argued was a starting point, we could: 1) Wipe out extreme poverty; 2) Provide a 6thgrade education to everyone; 3) Provide clean water to everyone; and 4) Double every church budget and double every mission budget in the world and still have hundreds of billions of dollars left over. He argued back then that the question is not: when is God going to provide, or when are we going to be generous, but when are we going to be faithful and obedient? 
 
I called Tim last week to see if he wanted to update his thinking. He said the numbers still hold, and then observed that there were four things that got the Jews in trouble during the Old Testament era: 1) a failure to circumcise; 2) a failure to tithe; 3) a failure to keep the Sabbath; and 4) a failure to welcome the stranger. He argues that these were all issues of trust. In every situation they (we) were being asked to give something up something they did not want to give up. With circumcision – well, there is no desire to give up anything on that front. With the tithe, it’s money. With the Sabbath, it’s time, and with our home, it’s control / privacy. On all four fronts, obedience protects us from idolatry and helps us learn to trust God.

PREACHING PREPARATION…IN PICTURES

First, bombard a notepad (find a good one) with my favorite black pen (links provided).

https://www.amazon.com/Bienfang-11-Inch-Notesketch-Horizontal-Lines/dp/B001KZH1KQ

https://www.amazon.com/Pilot-Retractable-Premium-Roller-Extra/dp/B00006JNJ8

I am taking down anything I see, questions I have, possible connections, illustrations, etc.

Second, cross off those things that start to go in the first draft.

Third, tighten and edit first draft.

Fourth, make final draft.

Fifth, practice several times in bathroom with fan on so as not disturb my wife’s own studies.  I asked if she could hear me downstairs and she said the neighbors could!  That’s good!

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH FLEMING RUTLEDGE

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/02/10/interview-fleming-rutledge/

The Amazon link to her terrific book can be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/Crucifixion-Understanding-Death-Jesus-Christ/dp/0802875343

Two caveats:

First, this book is a meaty, yet beautifully written book of 600 plus pages.  I made over 550 marginal notes in my copy.  I read and discussed it with a friend which made it a very rich experience.

Second, even though her book is rightfully heralded in “conservative” theological circles, there are some things that you might find objectionable like Rutledge giving room for the possibility of universal salvation.

JEN HATMAKER

Whether you are following the theological changes Jen Hatmaker has made or not, this is a valuable piece.

I have two slight issues with Kruger’s piece.  One is that Christianity in America is more widely anti-learning that he suggests.  The other is that Bible-believing Christians are more widely nasty than he suggests.  Even so, this is an important essay.

The Power of De-Conversion Stories: How Jen Hatmaker is Trying to Change Minds About the Bible

MARY BEARD: HAPPY SCHOLAR AND TROUBLEMAKER

I am grateful for John Fea recommending this piece on the inimitable, Mary Beard:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/30/mary-beard-the-cult-of

A few sections I culled:

She is not afraid to take apart her own work: at that same conference in the early 1990s, she presented a paper that repudiated one of the scholarly articles that had helped make her name a decade earlier, an influential study of Rome’s Vestal Virgins. It was an extremely unusual thing for a scholar to do. “She doesn’t let herself off – she’s not one of those scholars who is building an unassailable monument of work to leave behind her,” Woolf said. “She is quite happy to go back to her earlier self and say, ‘Nah.’”

When I asked her if she would countenance taking Isis’s ideology seriously, she said: “That’s the wrong question. There is no argument that I won’t take seriously. Thinking through how you look to your enemies is helpful. That doesn’t mean that your ideology is wrong and theirs is right, but maybe you have to recognise that they have one – and that it may be logically coherent. Which may be uncomfortable.”