Friday, September 29, 2006

Mark Driscoll on the Chucks - the continuing analysis

Okay. More on Driscoll's blog post on the Chucks, & his analysis of evangelicalism and doctrine.

Mark uses the current controversy between Chuck Smith, Sr., & Chuck Smith, Jr. as a template to examine the growing divide between more "traditional" evangelicals and the more "progressive" Emergents (he doesn't use that term - that's all me). In doing so, he lists, then analyzes eight subjects/trends:

  • 1. Creationism

  • 2. Kingdom

  • 3. Hell

  • 4. Rapture

  • 5. Masculinity

  • 6. Homosexuality

  • 7. Literalism

  • 8. Certainty

In each of these he presents his perception of the opposing viewpoints, draws distinctions, and concludes with his perspectives. Each of these subjects/trends is a discussion in and of itself, so I think I'll tackle each as it's own blogpost in coming days.

Before we begin analyzing Driscoll's analysis, however, I'd again like to reiterate how much I've come to really appreciate Mark's stuff in the past several months since I've run across him. If Bell and MacLaren represent the more liberal, "worst" of the Emerging/Emergent church, guys like Driscoll represent the best. Aside from some minor church polity, stylistic, missiology, and (decidedly less minor) soteriology issues, I really, really like his stuff. In general. ;D

Friday, September 22, 2006

You Gotta Watch This - Redux

For those who can't access the archived interview between the secular Arab lady and the good "Dr." Ibrahim al-Khouli (pracitioner of the religion of peace) which aired on al-Jazeera, which was very pointed, and very
insightful (and, BTW, pray for this lady, as I'm sure she'll be paying a price for speaking out so boldly about Islam on an Islamic television network), here is a partial transcript...

Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006


Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.


Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?

Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.


Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...

Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to stop this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.

My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What
civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?

I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli:
Are you a heretic?

Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli:
If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...

Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.


Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.


Wafa Sultan: The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.

Also, it appears that Wikipedia has archived the interview here. Well worth a gander.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You gotta watch this...

I was forwarded this link in an e-mail yesterday... it's an archive from al-Jazeera of a televised debate between a practitioner of the religion of peace and a secular Arab-American lady in (I think) L.A. Very insightful (assuming the subtitles are accurate), and very powerful... you have to watch this...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When in Texas...

Was browsing through random blogs on Blogger (tm) today during lunch break, and ran across an interesting perspective on American culture and the differences between America and India from a gentleman who travelled to Texas on business. Interesting how he perceives America, and the differences between my homeland and his...

Of all the things I'd take exception to, his assertion that America has no culture is probably the biggest. We don't have nearly as monolithic a culture as India has, to be sure; but there is, in my opinion, a very distinct American culture. In fact, all I need to do to point out the real existence of that culture is that the French are apoplectic about it and are doing everything they can to prevent America from culturally colonizing them. Sort of like the fact that one of the stronger arguments for the existence of God is the existence of "atheists." You can't hate something with such mindless ferocity that has no real, independent existence (there aren't any "We Hate Sauron The Dark Lord" groups that I'm aware of, for instance).

Anyway, I digress... It's an interesting read just to see how our culture is viewed from the point of view of someone from another culture...

You Can't Hug Your Kids With Nuclear Arms...

It's probably a function of the times we're living in, but it's looking less
and less unlikely that some kind of terror attack might happen on
American soil again in the near-term, and happen big. Reflecting
the current anxiety over the possibility, the new TV show "Jericho" explores what might happen in an Anytown, USA after a terrorist strike hits at least one semi-major city (Denver) and possibly others. Looks reeeeeeeeal interesting.

Anyway, in light of this, it is somewhat comforting to know (and important to point out) that nukes are not the doomsday devices that some make them out to be. It's a statistical fact that in almost any conceivable nuclear event scenario, the majority of the population even in an urban setting will survive the initial blast - and with just a bit of forethought and planning, even the radiological aftereffects are largely survivable.

I haven't implemented any of these (okay, I'm a Pollyanna. Nuke me.), and my lovely and gracious wife are moving into a situation where we won't be able to implement many of these (we're moving out of a house which has a full basement to one that sits on a crawl space), but I provide these links to relevant articles for your consideration and edification...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Muslims peacefully bomb churches in protest

Pope Benedict correctly commented on the inherently violent nature of the religion of peace last week in Germany, and in order to lend the lie to such a horrid mischaracterization of Islam as a violent religion, Muslims throughout the world protested... violently.

According to ABC News (which has historically proven to be sympathetic to the religion of peace, so this is hardly an unbiased source):

Two churches were set on fire in the West Bank, raising to at least seven the number of church attacks in Palestinian areas over the weekend blamed on outrage sparked by the speech.

There was also concern that the furor was behind the shooting death of an Italian missionary nun at the hospital where she worked for years in the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia. The killing came just hours after a Somali cleric condemned the pope's speech.

Police across Italy were ordered to step up security out of concern that the anger could cause Roman Catholic sites to become terrorist targets. Police outside the pope's summer palace confiscated metal-tipped umbrellas and bottles of liquids from faithful.

Golly, how unfair is it that Islam continues to be unfairly characterized as being a violent religion?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mark Driscoll on the Chucks

Okay. First off, I'm no huge fan of the Emerging/Emergent movement.
I'm a bit too much of a doctrinaire to be very comfortable with what I see as a mostly unnecessary uncertainty in what is called the "postmodern" worldview. Whereas I can appreciate much of the ECM's humility in their approach to epistemology, which colors everything else, I find that many foundational things which are spectacularly clear-cut in Scripture are questioned... simply to question them. I call that "being a twit."

Anyway... I digress...

All that being said, there are some in the Emerging side of the movement (yes, Virginia, there really is a difference) whose thinking I have come to appreciate. Chew up the meat, spit out the gristle. And some have more meat than others.

Mark Driscoll, I am finding out, is a meaty fellow. Writing-wise.

This blog post on his Resurgence site is a commentary on the current, growing divide between Chuck Smith Sr. and Jr. CS, Sr., is of course the founder of the movement that I and the fellowship I am blessed to pastor are affiliated with. CS, Jr., used to also be affiliated with the Calvary Chapel movement, but has in recent years drifted quite far outside the parameters of what Calvary Chapel is and has recently disassociated himself from the movement.

Mark's analysis of the divide is a good one. There's no mechanism on the blog to comment unless you've attended one of the Resurgence conferences, so I'm not able to respond there, but in a wee tad, I'll respond here, and give my perspective on Mark's perspective on the Chucks' particular perspectives.

Included is his use of the divide between Sr. and Jr. as a template to analyze the growing chasm between what he calls the "older evangelicals" and the younger "emerging types." Very insightful.

One of the things that I'm discovering (and that Mark's blog post serves to confirm) is that the ECM's longevity is dubious at best, unless it evolves into something much different than what it currently is. Either it will erode into just a hipper form of theological liberalism, or become reabsorbed into Biblical evangelicalism - or both. But however long-lived this particular
flash in the pan proves to be, this, too, shall pass.

But the Word remains.

Anyway, I'm on lunch-hour at tentmaking as I plunk this out; more later.

"6 Years Later..."

Wow...  talk about a great post. 

This one
from Bob Franquiz is... well, stellar.  In it, he's looking at a picture of himself and the group gathered at their first Sunday service there in the Miami area, when they were a brand-spanking-new church plant.  He ponders what he'd be able to say to the kid in the picture who is himself six years ago, and then proceeds to list out the nuggets of wisdom he'd love to pass on to his antecedent self.  Utterly good stuff, stunningly convicting gems, great, great post.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"...Rosie who...?"

Apparently, in a fit of - well, complete honesty, Rosie O'Donnell let her moral equivalency slip show in equating Christian fundamentalists with "fundamentalist" practitioners of the religion of peace (...that'd be "Islam," for those of you in Rio Linda and Miami-Dade County).

One of her more lucid nuggets of wisdom was:

Just a minute, radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

...and it is so simply because Rosie says it is so. Don't bother confusing the issue with facts; the Hollywood glitterati have long lost the capacity to honestly deal with minor annoyances like "facts" or "reality."

One of the things that Rosiegate brings up for me, however, is something that I've long wondered about; why are we in an uproar about her statement? She's a comedian, not an intellectual or a competent social commentator. It's simply her (arguably) celebrity status which affords her even a place at the table (literally; the "The View" chicks do their thang around a table... tres domestique, no?). She's certainly entitled to her opinion, and we're certainly entitled to analyze and comment on it... but to take it seriously...?

I mean, a simple analysis of actual reality lends the lie to her assertion.

After all: how many stark-raving fundamentalist Baptists have comandeered jetliners into buildings lately? In the last ten years? Twenty? Thirty? ...ah... none. They may be charmingly goofy when it comes to short hair on a gal or the KJV or tongues or any of a plethora of subjects, but they're hardly the looming threat that Rosie believes them to be (remember: she said "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." Her words).

How many funeral-picketing fundie wingnuts have beheaded anyone slowly with knives crying the funeral-picketing fundie wingnut version of "Allahu akbar!" in recent memory? ...none.

How many stark-raving, frothing-at-the-mouth evangelicals have gathered at soccer stadiums and lined up blindfolded women whose only crime was putting on makeup or refusing to wear a burkha and shoot them unceremoniously in the head with military-grade firepower? ...oh, right, none.

To be sure, we can point to the really sick sickos who misappropriate the name of Christ and blow up abortuaries, or kill abortionists, or bomb those of a differing theological persuasion (a la those zany Irish over yonder, still arguing about whether one should wear green or orange on St. Patty's Day...). But that only proves the point - they are very obviously the horrific exception to the rule which serve quite well to starkly illustrate that very rule: that Christians - radical or otherwise - aren't "just as threatening as radical Islam". Not by an interfaith dialog mile.

Rosie is obviously not commenting on anything even remotely approaching reality. Well, not our reality, anyway.

But she's entitled to spout off about whatever her little misandrist heart desires; that's the beauty of a free country.

But why get upset at it? Or to view her pontifications as anything beyond the mildly amusing oddities that they are, to garner a good, jolly chuckle, and then move on to other, vastly more important things? Please let me reiterate: she's a comedian. Okay, technically, "comedienne," but you get the point.

This illustrates a greater problem that I've been seeing in America for some time now; our elites are those who know the least about anything, but who amuse us the most - actors, singers, entertainers. Our heroes are no longer... well, heroes. They just pretend to be.

It's indicative of the deeper "form-over-substance" cultural shift that many have observed, where we've become as a people far more concerned with how things appear than we are with how things are.

Anyway, the absolute best response to Rosiegate that I'd read in the article was from an internet contributor identified as "LJS":

"Rosie who????"

Friday, September 08, 2006

Star Trek just won't die...

As an avid Trekkie (note: Trekkie, not the more "I don't want to sound too geeky" Trekker -- an über lame PC-ism if you ask me...) I got a huge kick out of this article on space-dot-com. Even after 40 years, and a failed franchise (ST:Enterprise) that somewhat lost the Trek vision along the way (but got it back near the end there - yay, Manny Cotto), Star Trek is still very much a part of the American legendarium. Even other sci-fi shows pay homage to the excellent, if often cheesy Star Trek corpus; did anyone catch the utterly hilarious episode "200" on Stargate: SG-1...? How about that "set... weapons to... maximum" Kirkian quote by Lt. Col. Mitchell??? Tee hee hee...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

You go, Dr. Larry Taylor...

I like Larry Taylor. I like him a lot. Dude's got some good smarts, there. And the particular phraseology of that last statement's likely to send him through the roof, if this article is any indication.

I have to say: I'm with you, bro. Awesome. And I couldn't agree more... and now I'm going to warsh my cah so's I ken git me som pizzer 'n' pop...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Great Article from a Great Bible Teacher

One of the blogs I read frequently is by former Calvary Chapel Bible College dude Dr. Larry Taylor. This post is absolutely on-target. Read only if you don't mind being challenged.