“We live in a world that glorifies youth, uncommitted sex, and bodies that require a ridiculous amount of self-serving time in the gym.  Let’s turn that around.  Let’s affirm the bodies of women who have generously and selflessly produced life for one, two, three, or four babies.  Let’s appreciate those men who work hard to support their families and who don’t have time to stop off at the gym and lift weights because they’re eager to get home and play with their kids.”

 

(Dr. Kevin Leman, Sheet Music, “A Whale of a Tail,” Chpt. 16, p238)

For Women and For Men

“With the emphasis on power and the immediacy of the transcendent within the immanent, the charismatic tradition can err on the side of expecting too much now.”  [Therefore], “the power of the resurrection can eclipse the weakness of the cross . . . [and] success and celebrity status can be sought as signs of power and blessing rather than a commitment to suffering and weakness in the ordinary of everyday life.”

 

(Mark Cartledge, Encountering the Spirit, p 135, 2006)

The Charismatic Movement and Unrealistic Expectations

The Best Use of the Time

It has been over two weeks since I last posted something that wasn’t quote or a video.  The tank is nowhere close to being empty, but I have been distracted.  Some of the blogs that I follow have gobbled up my time as I endeavor to post thoughtful comments.  Any amount of writing takes discipline and energy; however, I am starting to realize just how much energy is necessary.  After reading a blog entry, and then collecting my thoughts for a comment, I find it no different than what I do here on Kingdom Scribe.  My seemingly “innocent” comments divert attention and energy away from the priority: this blog.  I’m sure that there is a necessary tension here between maintaining Kingdom Scribe and staying current on key blogs for current events and cultural analysis.

In fact, some of those blogs spur me on to write the pieces that I do.  They function like a well from which I draw inspiration, ideas, trends, and so on and so forth.  I think it goes without saying that responsible, online discourse will continue to be difficult to achieve, let alone sustain.  Part of me desires to do my part, which sounds like “doing my duty” rather than complaining and doing nothing.  The downside to this is a prideful spirit, or a condescending attitude that looks down upon others in my sphere of influence.  At the end of the day, the blogosphere is what it is, which means that perspective is crucial.  Basically, I have come to the conclusion that the blogosphere is both an asset and a liability.  The latter refers to its capacity for spawning internet trolls, whose presence never cease to amaze for their sheer ingenuity in creating disharmony.

We live in a day and an age where it is easier to express opinions without being seen (blogs, discussion boards, and the like) rather than face-to-face.  One has to search far and wide on the world wide web in order to find anything that would be characterized as civil or respectful discussion.  The internet seems to attract those who are the lowest of the low while simultaneously drawing out the worst in those who would be deemed as decent or good.  If I may use an analogy, online comments’ sections or discussion boards remind me of rubberneckers slowing down to view a freeway collision.  Now, the sad reality is that what has been taking place online with respect to discourse has infiltrated the public arena.

When it comes to politics and the academy (universities), those two fields represent the epitome of my rubbernecker analogy.  Both are fascinating to observe as a bystander, but sometimes horrifying to experience on a firsthand basis.  It does not take much to set ablaze the pundits, the critics, the now-it-alls, the blogosphere, you name it, for saying or doing something that is either politically incorrect or outside the status quo within the political and academic spheres.  There is something riveting about the online, feeding frenzy.  If this was not the case, then my current entry makes no sense at all.  What I have come to realize is that maintaining my blog needs to be a priority because other things swoop in and take its place.

C. S. Lewis said the following famous words, which are quoted regularly and deservedly so: “When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”  There are only so many hours in a day, and my energy has its limits.  It is much wiser to save my best for the best.  I believe that this is what the late C. S. Lewis was driving at in the quote.  It brings to mind this verse: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, ESV).  The text in boldface type pierces me like a dagger.  Those words convict me of wasting time over the last week by observing the online, feeding frenzies (comment sections, discussion boards, etc.).  There are better things to do, nobler things to do, than gawk at humanity’s worst moments.  In fact, the Spirit of God commands me to behave differently through that passage in Ephesians.  This is another rubber meets the road moment in time.        

 

 

 

“‘They had one of the best running backs in college football (Duke Johnson); the best tight end (Clive Walford); the fastest wideout (Phillip Dorsett); one of the best O-linemen (Ereck Flowers); one of the top linebackers (Denzel Perryman); and the guy who was the most impressive player at the East-West game (DE Anthony Chickillo), and I know they got a young QB that’s a stud too (freshman Brad Kaaya),’ one long-time NFL scout told FOX Sports in Indy.  ‘They had more front-line talent than half the teams in the SEC.  They didn’t have as much talent as Florida State, but they were still pretty loaded.  How does that team not win at least nine games in that league?'”

(Unidentified NFL Scout, quoted by sports columnist Bruce Feldman, “Big Picture: How Miami wasted so Much Talent in 2014 and More, Feb. 24, 2015)

 

The U = The Epitome of Poor Player Development

“Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic.  It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment.  But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, ‘embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion’ that neglects ‘what their religion has historically and legally required.’  Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an ‘interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.'”

 

(Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants, The Atlantic, 2015)

The Effect of the Interfaith-Christian-Nonsense Tradition

“Contemporary secular culture is well to the left of the Bible on most things it teaches.  Non-Christian Britain, like America, thinks the Scriptures are backward on all sorts of topics, including judgment, evolution, tradition, war, marriage, slavery, sexual ethics, holiness, gender roles, and the idea of teaching doctrine in the first place.  So when we push to the left, we are almost without exception moving closer to what the culture around us thinks, and that makes the process much more comfortable for us.  (I’m not saying, of course, that pushing to the left is thereby wrong, merely that it is easy – and therefore that, if I know my own heart, the temptation to distort the Bible to get there is likely to be more acute.)  Moving to the right, on the other hand, makes us more likely to be ridiculed by The New York Times, Stephen Fry, the writers of sitcoms, our social network, and all the other cool-ade people we desperately want to like us.  It shouldn’t, but that does make it harder.”

 

(Andrew Wilson, “Complementarianism and Courage,” http://www.thinktheology.co.uk, 10 Feb. 2015)

The Comfort of Turning Left

“…if I had to predict, I’d go with a gradual realization of the conservative nightmare—only it won’t be a nightmare, and plenty of straight people will thank us for it.  Maybe gays will preserve marriage precisely by redefining, expanding, and reforming it—and maybe then it can be palatable to progressives, as one of a multitude of options.

“We can entertain these divergent visions of the future because same-sex marriage was really a campaign, not a movement.  For a moment, it brought together liberals, progressives, and even some conservatives.  But now that its goal is within sight, the center cannot hold.”

 

(Jay Michaelson, “Were Christians Right about Gay Marriage all Along?The Daily Beast, May 2014)

The Agenda behind the Agenda