Report on July

Interestingly, July had as many hits as June, even though readership largely went to the beach over the 4th and I stopped much in the way of writing before the month ended. That’s encouraging. Thanks for reading!

Here are the most popular posts for the month — Continue reading

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A Question about Congregational Autonomy

MergerI get emails. Here’s one with a very thoughtful question about congregational autonomy —

… According to Josephus, there were 100,000 Christians in Jerusalem at the end of the first century (or so I have heard – I have not read that in Josephus myself). But if that is true, where did they all meet? I think we assume there was a Main Street Church of Christ at the time and every Sunday all the Jerusalem Christians assembled for worship. We assume there was one congregation of the saints in one city and everyone knew one another and they all met in one location regularly. Continue reading

Colbert and Congregational Autonomy

Just thought you’d enjoy Colbert’s take, as a Catholic, on the Anglican split over gay priests.

On Slowing Down

Dear readers,

I’m going to slow the pace of posting for awhile. I’m not sure how much or for how long. I just know I need to take a break.

I’ve got some medical issues to deal with over the next few weeks, and I’m feeling pretty lousy. So I don’t think I can do the blog justice right now. (It has to do with my arthritis. I’m not dying, having surgery, or anything like that.)

And so, if I don’t respond to your questions or go several days without posting, don’t give up on me. I’m still alive and kicking. I’m just on an internet vacation.

Jay

Which Gospel? The Gospel of Community (Breaking Bread)

I was about to move on to the next topic when I realized I’d never addressed the description of Christian community found in Acts 2. Immediately after Peter’s sermon and the baptism of 3,000, we read,

(Acts 2:42-47) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Continue reading

Surprised by Hope: God’s Justice and Illegal Immigration, Part 3

Notice how we tend to think about political issues.

* Some of us see political issues as entirely separate from Christianity. Church has nothing to do with illegal immigrants. The Bible simply doesn’t address such things.

* Others see the “spiritual” part, but that’s all. Hence, we should certainly invite immigrants, legal or illegal, to church and share Jesus with them, but the question of whether they should be here in the first place is purely political and quite separate from spiritual concerns. The Bible is only about salvation, not government.

* Contrary to either of those views, I’m arguing that our Christianity touches and changes everything about us. In fact, as politics is often all about nationalism and selfishness, Christianity especially touches and changes politics. Indeed, Christianity condemns nationalism and selfishness, and wrapping those up in the name of politics does not rescue them from God’s judgment (meaning by “nationalism” allowing our concern and love to stop at a man-made border). Continue reading

Surprised by Hope: God’s Justice and Illegal Immigration, Part 2

We are the aliens

The next theological observation is found in several verses, such as —

(Heb 11:13) All these people [in the honor roll of faith] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

(1 Pet 1:17) Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

(1 Pet 2:11) Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Continue reading