Recent Reads

Facebook killed the church? People in previous generations may have complained about the church, but they still went if nothing else to stay connected to people.  Now? “Millennials are in a different social situation. They don’t need physical locations for social affiliation. They can make dinner plans via text, cell phone call or Facebook. In short, the thing that kept young people going to church, despite their irritations, has been effectively replaced. You don’t need to go to church to stay connected or in touch. You have an iPhone.”

I have seen many articles like this, illustrating that the gap between the richest (top 1% make average of 1.1 million per year) and the poorest (lowest 90% make average of 31,000 per year).  This should be an issue for Christians, but I am not sure the left (tax the rich to create government programs to help the poor) nor the right (cut taxes to the rich so they can pay more to workers) offer a solution.  Government programs do not help people in the long run.  And do we really trust people, given tax breaks, to pay their employees more if they do not have to?  How did that work in the medieval period?  Maybe we just need to increase the minimum wage so that if a person works 40 hours a week she will make enough to provide housing, food and health care for her family.  It is not given to her (as on the left) but there are laws in place (minimum wage) to ensure she can get it.  Of course, I make no claim as an economist or to know if this would work.

I also have no problem with increasing gas prices here, since we pay the lowest by far of any industrialized country.  Sticking with economics, what would Jesus cut from the budget? Nice video from Ben, of Ben and Jerry.

I have often heard Christians divorce at same rate as everyone else.  I have also long been skeptical, so I appreciate this article.

Apparently Rob Bell is releasing a book that might hint at universalism.  Even though the book has not come out yet, people online are freaking out: here, here and here.  I think this quote from one commenter hits the nail on the head: “I wonder how many persecuted believers in Palestine, China, or Africa retweeted about this. They most likely had other things going on… like ministry. You know, think of the thousands of LDS missionaries knocking door to door yesterday worldwide spreading their faith while we were yelling at our laptops. Nice work American Evangelicals! No wonder Korea and Africa are sending missionaries to the States…”

I also wonder why it is Reformed Calvinists who are leading the charge here and come off so worrisome.  I mean, I think it is important to teach true theology and there is a place to critique errant teaching.  But in the system of Reformed Calvinism, ultimately, a person is either elect or he is not (God either chose him to be saved, or did not).  If he is not elect, then there is nothing that he can do to change that.  Likewise, if someone does teach false gospel, anyone who buys in is clearly not elect either.

My point is not that false teaching is no big deal.  My point is that those who claim to hold most strongly to the sovereignty of God (I have been urged that if I truly believed in God’s sovereignty, I would be a Calvinist…but that’s another post for another day) seem the most worrisome.  I can’t really think of a better word for it.  Shouldn’t they humbly say, “there but for the grace of God go I”?  If you think people have free will and thus freely could choose to follow a false teaching, then maybe you do have something to worry about.  But such worry does not fit into, at least as I understand it, the Reformed Calvinist view of divine election.  Perhaps I am way off and if such critiques had more confidence (and less worry), I would say they were arrogant and condescending.  At any rate, I am not a Reformed Calvinist, but I do trust in the sovereignty of God, so back to work…

Whatever happens, the lesson is (which I am working on learning): pause before posting something online to think about you really want it out there, because speed kills.

Apparently Mike Huckabee made the mistake of saying what any person who has studied religion knows: Christianity and Islam are very different.  It is things like that which make me like Huckabee.  Then he says things like this which make me remember I am voting for a third party from now on 😉

Bradley Manning has been in prison for months without being charged with anything.  This is a story more people need to learn about: here and here.

Church history in four minutes!

3 thoughts on “Recent Reads

  1. I received an email from a friend, a local pastor, who pointed out I was unfair in my characterization of Reformed Calvinism. He pointed out the center of Calvinism is God’s glory and not election. That changes my middle paragraph on the whole Rob Bell controversy, though I still wish that there was more grace in intra-Christian debates. Of course, my failure to fairly portray Reformed Calvinism makes me guilty of a lack of grace. I deeply appreciate this friend contacting me.

    At any rate, to anyone who reads this blog: I will always try to be fair and if you ever see me being unfair, or un-Christlike, point it out. And if you want to post and discuss with me…well, we can debate anything you want and at the end of the day if we agree on Jesus Christ then we can hug as brothers in Christ!

    Peace and Grace

    1. Are you the Dave Hershey who worked at Michoud in New Orleans East, Louisiana and also attended The church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Slidell, Louisiana in and about the 1980’s.

      If so I am clay Garthwait that we were close in friendship and also fellowship and you planted a seed that I was nowhere ready, but as of October 20 1991 I am a memeber of this Church and now currently in the Hattiesburg Ward in Hattiesburg, Ms 39401

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