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It appears that Rob holds what Francis Schaeffer described as a two story model of knowing where in the upper story we have faith (what Bell calls “3D objects”) and the lower story which contains science, reason and all that jazz. So how about it? Is it possible for a person living in flatland to know, with any degree of certainty, anything about 3D land? Are we forced to make a blind “leap of faith” into the upper story?
Copernicus described his idea with mathematical models based on a Christian worldview which taught him that metaphysical constructs like mathematics comes from the same source the physical world. So the analogy Bell uses is not only scientifically and philosophically flawed, it is also epistemologically and apologetically deficient.
Its possible for the two worlds to coexist without putting one above the other. Its possible for someone living in flatland to accurately describe something in 3d land.
It just takes some effort.
The schools exacerbate the problem of bullying by their stance that all fighting is wrong.
The first time I came into contact with my wife was when I was in the 8th grade and she in the 7th. Her house had just burned down and a group of kids were picking on her because her clothes smelled like smoke. I didn’t know any of that at the time, all I knew is that a girl was getting picked on and that wasn’t right so I told her bullies (2) to stop it and when they didn’t I bitch slapped the leader and dared him to continue picking on the girl.
Schools should be in the business of promoting chivalry, not the notion that the state (or, educational system) will handle all your problems.
Notice in the interview Casey’s reaction when asked if he were a hero. I love his response and hope it gets more attention.
The world needs heroes.
I’ve written on the problems with short term mission trips before. But what should or could we do instead to both use the resources we have access to more wisely and, at the same time, prevent the problem of dependency (HT Missional Edge).
Several years ago the church we were in at the time hosted a missionary couple who described a radical (to me anyway) way they were approaching missions. Their approach was to plant a for-profit business designed to raise the local workers’ standard of living. After hearing how they operated and how their missionary efforts actually ended up turning a profit for the International Mission Board1, I developed quite a fondness for this Business as Missions model of changing lives, and hopefully hearts. This struck me as a perfect opportunity to help the poor in other nations while at the same time honoring them by helping develop long term sustainable economic growth wherein all the people around them would hopefully be blessed.
It has become hugely popular for short term missionaries (or vacationaries) to 3rd world nations to We go over to 3rd world countries, notice the poverty and complain about it. But complaining and handouts don’t lift nations out of poverty. The only thing known to do that is capitalism.
Capitalism is what makes a country go from 3rd world to 1st world. Handouts will not only help a country grow economically, they will actually end up hurting them.
Where as our current approach to missions tends to produce dependency , a focus on economically developing an area through micro loans given to local people through a trustworthy agency has the potential to radically change an area for the better. Organizations like Kiva, who seek out local partners that are interested in the long-term growth and development of an area have been shown to produce real, lasting results.
For those who still are inclined to travel the world, the focus of such trips should be on the long-term growth and development of the people. Not the short-term decision-for-Christ-so-we-can-count-another-notch-in-our-belt.
Selfless entrepreneurs can and should be sent to selflessly serve and help setup businesses in the 3rd world to help left their culture out of poverty.2
Here are a few videos to help you understand what we as a Christian community can do if we stop wasting our money on short term vacations and, instead, seek to be responsible with how we invest our time, money, and energy.
Bonus, Hans Rosling mentions microfinance in this Ted Talk video on the statistics of global poverty:
- For some reason I do not think this couple remained with IMB. I don’t think this model of missions fits the hand-out view of missions most Southern Baptists seem to favor. [↩]
- People whose only gift is preaching are almost wholly worthless in my estimation for the long-term growth and development of an area in my estimation. [↩]
In a conversation regarding the post, Why I don’t want to go to your church, I came to the revelation that even if pastors and church staff are aware of the issue of declining church attendance that plagues most churches in America today, they still manage to miss the reason for the decline and thus their proposals for fixing the problem are doomed to failure from infancy.
First off, we need to look more closely at the problem.
When we define “the church” as a 501c3 non-profit organization, its little wonder that people are not enthusiastic about participating in programs that amount to glorified marketing schemes.
Rather, what we should do is step back and ask some hard questions about how we view the Christian life. What does it mean to walk in obedience to Christ, our Lord? What does it mean to live in fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters who are also “in Christ”? And finally; What does it mean to let our lights sigh before men?
I believe that among other things, social media will help produce as significant an impact on the body of Christ as the printing press did.
So what of the solution?
Well the solution is not to merely get mad at people for not being enthusiastic about joining yet another civil club. Its also not to encourage them to be more active in your particular civil club. Its also not to get mad at them for preferring a more entertaining civil club down the street (you know, the one with the disco lights and full screen projector1 ). The solution is for us to admit that what the reformation started, it did not complete.
What I mean by that is this: The reformers correctly identified the dependence on the priests of the Roman Catholic Church as a problem. They also correctly identified the Bible as the primary source of authority. However in splitting with Rome they neglected to get rid of Rome’s worst habit, viewing the church as a business.
The solution to the plight of the American church, therefore, is to work on reclaiming a Biblical understanding of “church”.
We’ve been attending a home church with our 3 small children for a couple of years now. At first the whole “we’re going to church” used to confuse our kids when we would switch between going to a building erroneously labeled a “church” and a small gathering of believers living out the Biblical concept. Now, however, our kids are well aware of the two seperate and distinct meanings of the word “church” and they ask us whenever we tell them “we’re going to church”, “the building or the people?”
Believers in general need to come to the realization that the 501c3 non-profit club they have “membership” in is not the church spoken of in Scripture. Oh I’m not saying its wrong to be a member of such an organization, but we need to stop lying to ourselves and others by expecting such membership to amount to anything more than membership at the local YMCA.
So why am I not enthusiastic about your church? Because I’m not impressed by your programs, your entertainment, your pastor, etc.
However I am enthusiastic about the church, headed by Christ alone. Now that is something worth getting excited about.
- I’m thinking about Andy Stanley’s church in particular here. [↩]
What gain has the worker from his toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Work is a blessing given to us by God (Gen 2:15). Sure, it was marred by the fall (Gen 4:12), but that does not negate the fact that we were designed for work and that, because of that design, we delight in work well done.
Also notice how work is given before the fall and how “eternity in the hearts of men” is sandwiched in between a discussion on work. Work is not something we should dread, as the author of Ecclesiastes points out, taking pleasure in our work is God’s gift to man.
Mike Licona interviews David Wood on what Mike describes as “the most important challenge facing theism today”, the problem of evil. David explores, using questions and examples from his own family, the range of issues involved. David also offers what I believe are excellent responses to them.
And here is an excellent debate David participated in with John Loftus on the topic of the problem of evil.