Here are some thoughts I had today . . .
* After hearing news of the plane crash in Lexington, I couldn't help but think about the questions which will inevitably be asked (usually on Larry King Live) as they were when 911, the tsunami, and Katrina happened. Questions like "Where was God that Sunday morning?" or "How could God allow this to happen?" To take the paradigm of Rabbi Kushner who wrote Why Does Bad Things Happen to Good People, the argument goes that either God is all-powerful or all-good, but he cannot be both. Some would argue that he could not be all-knowing, for if he were to know that this would happen and didn't stop it, he would not be a good God, and if he couldn't stop it, he wouldn't be all-powerful. These are important questions which Christians must think hard about and humbly respond to with grace. Too many leading evangelicals will want to dismiss God (as Tony Compolo recently has) and say He has nothing to with it. Such an unbiblical response is neither helpful to those suffering nor honorable to God. May God give us wisdom, compassion, and seasoned speech to give an answer for the hope that is within us with gentleness and kindness.
* On another note, I usually don't listen to the radio on the way home from church. I usually listen to my wife and talk about the mornings message or Sunday School. She was back in Athens this weekend, so I turned the radio on to the Christian station here in Louisville. A prominent charismatic preacher was on there foretelling (once again) that the rapture is going to take place in "four to six years." When I was in college in 1997, I was told this very same thing (except that Jesus would come back in 1998). He went on to say that there was a pyramid-shaped oil reservoir underneath Israel which would suck all the oil from the Middle East and bring wealth to the nation of Israel. The text he was eisegeting had the word "spoil" in it somewhere, and he proofed his interpretation by saying, "Just take the "s" and the "p" off, and what do you get? Oil." I didn't know to laugh or to shout at the console. It was deplorable - one of the worst messages I have ever heard. Scary and crafty, but horrible.
* After helping my dear friend Terri move her stuff before leaving for D.C., I went to Books-a-Million to catch up on some reading before church tonight. I decided to go down the magazine section in hopes of finding the latest issue of Christianity Today. Guess what? Out of the hundreds and hundreds of magazines there in the store (some I have no idea who in the world buys them), they did not have Christianity Today. Ironically, I did find two issues of Biblical Archeology. Some things I just don't understand.
* Dorcas Hawker linked up to my previous post on worship and has some thoughts as well. I mentioned in a comment that we need to recover a healthy balance of transcendence and immanence in our worship, which is very difficult to do because of our man-centered, existentialist approach. Her comments prompted me to go back and read some of A.W. Tozer regarding worship. Two books I would recommend to you are Whatever Happened to Worship? and Tozer on Worship and Entertainment. I hope to post some quotes sometime soon.
* I spend a lot of time this weekend researching Universalism and Hell (if you have read back in previous posts, you would know this is a major topic for me this Fall). I hope to provide you with a bibliography of some resources very soon. In the meantime, let me provide you a quote and see if you can guess who penned it. Here it goes:
(No Googling - that's cheating!)
"There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ's moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. . . . I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture."
Have at it. Blessings and see you tomorrow.