Category Archives: Christianity

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.

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

TRUSTING GOD IS LIKE TRUSTING YOUR MECHANIC

Esther Meek wrote a terrific book entitled, Learning to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People.  In it, she describes how finding a reliable mechanic helped her better understand how we use certain clues to determine whether God as known in Jesus Christ is who He claimed. 

More generally, how do we know what we know?  It is an important branch of philosophy called epistemology. Too many people, including plenty of Christians, don’t think about how and why they think the way they do.

I read Meek’s book several years back.  At the time, my experiences with mechanics was mixed.  Some were okay while others had clearly taken advantage of me.

Enter Joe Ruiz.  Joe’s shop is here in Austin.  Two friends I implicitly trust told me how Joe kept their cars running. Many times, Joe told Gil or Mike that they did not need all the other “recommended” stuff other mechanics had tried to sell them.  

My experience with Joe mimics what Gil and Mike have experienced.  Our car (with 210,000 miles) recently lurched forward from a stop. I figured the transmission was going since it is the original one.  I took it into Joe.  Joe told me the catalytic converter may be responsible.  He thoroughly checked out everything else including the transmission.  All looked good.  He recommended adding five gallons of high octane fuel which I did.

Our car is back running just fine.  Joe charged $107 for all the work.  I was dreading a large expense that would have been challenging on our budget.

Meek’s argument that we pick up clues to determine whether God is trustworthy is inspired by the great philosopher of science, Michael Polanyi.  I highly recommend it!

And if you live in the Austin area, I know a great car mechanic!

https://www.amazon.com/Longing-Know-Esther-Lightcap-Meek/dp/1587430606/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517415640&sr=1-2