I think often of Washed and Waiting, a book which has helped me a great deal in the last seven years of my walk with Christ. In it, Wesley Hill talks about his loneliness even in the midst of the crowd. If one were to examine Wesley’s Meyers-Briggs against mine, I’m willing to bet we’d test differently. Wes’ and my personalities more than likely create situations where one of us might be drained while the other was being recharged. The experience of loneliness and desperation, however, are not tied to one’s personality. They are very nearly universal in the lives of those who are human. Continue reading
A couple of days ago, one of my classmates sent me a PM through Twitter, asking me my thoughts about Andrew Wilson’s recent piece for ThinkTheology. We PMed back and forth on the subject, but as I was at work (sorry, boss), I couldn’t think it through as it deserved. Now seemed like a good time.
Lately, I’ve been working through Season One of Torchwood, a BBC spin-off series from the popular Dr. Who. Getting into everything about the show would defeat the purpose of my post, so google it if you need other background.
I just watched the two episodes “They Keep Killing Suzie” and “Random Shoes.” The writing on the show seems to indicate a prevailing attitude that death is the end (which, as an American watching a British show, doesn’t really surprise me much). However, they are dealing with the question of death.
Christ, Sustainer and Redeemer of all that is:
I want no other rock to build upon than I have in You.
Forgive me if I have tried to add anything to the one foundation.
Forgive my hesitancy to carry out the good works You have given me to do.
Give me absolution through Your Word and by Your Spirit: tell me that my sins are so far removed from me that they have no power over me.
Grant that I would serve my friends and neighbors well, even in the midst of hope or despair, to the glory of Your Name.
Is Christian practice of chastity futile? Chastity is, culturally speaking, fairly peculiar as a life behavior. In the rare instances that one finds the broader, western/American culture endorsing chastity, it is for selfish reasons: “Wait to have sex until you’re ready. Find someone you love or at least find attractive.”
In generations previous to ours, there was a sense of shame from the community. “If I have a child out of wedlock, the neighbors will talk. I don’t want them to think I am a whore (or, if a man, a “cad,” perhaps).” This is no longer a concern for most people, having been replaced with a concern for personal pleasure.
There is a total difference between surviving sin and reigning sin, the regenerate in conflict with sin and the unregenerate complacent with sin. It is one thing for sin to live in us; it is another for us to live in sin.
–John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Eerdmans 1955), 145
I am baptized into Christ’s death, John Chrysostom tells me, by virtue of dying as Christ did.
Two days ago, I got to spend some time with some good friends at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the Cards game on FOX. It was quality programming, even if it did have a 3 1/2 hour rain delay. And we won!
At 7:30, I packed up my stuff and went to another friend’s house for the first time and did some reading for Church History. He has some of the same passions I do…we both nerd out on old books and love to talk about theology and liturgy. He and I talked about a wide variety of topics…and yes, we did study. But we had a great several hours to hang out and get to know each other better.
Not a self-punishing ritual, but a ritual of turning away from sin and turning toward Christ.
Whether I sin while sleeping alone or if I sleep with someone else out of wedlock, I need repentance to mark my life.
I need the grace of forgiveness which comes from Christ’s sacrificial death to be applied to me on a daily, hourly basis.
Even my thoughts about others–my bitterness, my lust, my anger, my judgmentalism–need to be subjected to this repentance. God’s kingdom extends even to my bed…and fornication is not the only sin that can happen in one’s bed. Not by a long shot.
I toyed with a couple of different titles, but settled on this one despite its being too narrow for the first installment. It does, however, get at the punch-line of what I’m going to try to say.
This installment will be brief, but I want to begin with a quote from Robert Gagnon because I think he is unusually clear…not on behalf of himself, but clear in comparison to many other well-meaning theologians from all sides of this debate. It’s from the Introduction of his 2001 book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice:
“The whole of what we do and who we are should proceed from a desire to please the sovereign God who created humankind and is working to redeem it. …To love God with one’s whole being and to pray for the coming of God’s rule entails submitting one’s pursuit of sexual pleasure to the revealed will of God. To suppose that God does not have much interest in regulating the human sex drive, one of the most powerful and potentially destructive human impulses, is both counter-intuative and in direct conflict with Scripture. From a Judeo-Christian standpoint, it is a truncated vision of reality to accept various forms of sexuality merely because the participants involved give their consent to a given sex act.”
–Robert Gagnon, “The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” pg. 33. Emphasis mine.
You see, I have several friends who have said to me that a pastor making pronouncements on this or that is fine, but the pastor “needs to keep out of my bedroom” or private life. That sounds all well-and-good for our modern and American sensibilities, but it doesn’t have a lot to do with the overall story of Scripture.
I was reading an NPR article where the following two paragraphs can be read:
Chambers also believes that homosexual acts are a sin because the Bible calls for heterosexual marriage. He says gay Christians must either be celibate, or if they want to marry, it must be with someone of the opposite sex. But he says even if you are in a gay relationship, you can still be a good Christian.
“I believe that once someone knows Christ that they have an irrevocable relationship, that if someone has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that God’s bigger than removing something at the first sign of trouble,” Chambers says, referring to salvation.
Now, having “an irrevocable relationship” is NOT the same thing as being “in a gay relationship [while being] a good Christian,” as the article asserts. Maybe Chambers said this in the actual interview, but in terms of this NPR article, I’m not certain Chambers should be judged on a summary comment written by a (most-likely) non-theological writer.