Theology of Bull

Bulls

There are far too many who have a theology that is full of it. Perhaps that’s a bit crude, but the facade that people often create under the guise of theology is astounding. The legalist’s eyes turn brown as he disguises himself as a pious Christian, yet rambles on about the good he does. And far too many of us have one foot in the legalistic grave as we think we are far better off than we are. We think, “At least we aren’t like those sinners.” Or, equally as dangerous a legalism, “At least we aren’t like those legalistic Christians.”

Brandon Bennett, in a post on Mockinbird, introduced me to a brilliant book by a philosopher Harry Frankfurt that helps us define and describe bulls*t.   Check out this definition he uses (he uses humbug as a synonym for bull) and see if it applies to the legalism that we often find ourselves trapped in.

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Man Turned in On Himself

turned in

This post is a guest post by my friend Heather Choate Davis.  Heather is a writer, speaker, theologian, creator of The Renaissance Service(TM) and co-founder of icktank. Reclaiming the Wisdom of Homo Incurvatus in Se was her MA Theology thesis at Concordia University, Irvine and is now available as Man Turned in on Himself: Understanding Sin 21st-century America. You can find out more about her work at heatherchoatedavis.com or follow her on twitter @faithinwords.

Nothing clears a room faster than the word sin.

Sin. Sin. Sin. Sin. Sin. That’s all you Christians talk about and we’re sick of it. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. And we don’t believe in it anyway. So says the culture in 21st-century America.

But denying sin’s existence doesn’t make it go away. And without the recognition of sin, the gift of grace means nothing.

So where do we start?

How can we even talk about sin when it’s linked like a keyword to leeches and bloodletting and Da Vinci Code drama, to hateful zealots, hypocritical priests, or wagging fingers all worked up about sex?

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4 Values that Influence My Ministry

Four values

If you’ve been on this blog for any period of time, you’ve likely come to realize that I want to talk theology in the language of ordinary, everyday people. I’m not afraid of complex doctrine or difficult church-language, but when I communicate the ancient truths of the Scriptures, I want the 30-year old dad to understand how this theology affects the way he does his work, loves his wife, and cares for his children.

This shapes the way I think about my writing, my preaching, and the every day ins and outs of ministry.

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We Sing to Remind Us Who We Are

Sing to remind

There’s a legend about an African tribe called the Himba.

In this tribe each child has a unique song.  When a tribe learns that a woman is pregnant, the tribe will go out into the wilderness and come back with a song that is unique to the child in the womb.  The tribe will sing this song when the woman gets pregnant, they’ll sing it again when the child is born, again as the child enters school.  They’ll sing it as the child becomes an adult and gets married.  At milestones along the journey of life, this song will be repeatedly sung by the tribe.

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The History of Vocation

History vocation

Vocation, which commonly in our culture, refers to a person’s job is actually rooted in significant theological roots. Vocation, which comes from the latin vocatio, literally refers to God’s calling.  And within the Christian understanding, a person’s work is often connected and properly understand as one’s calling from God.

The theological understandings of vocation have not always been the same.  At different periods in history, the way that theologians primarily understood vocation has put the weight into different components of the doctrine.  While none of these periods abandon vocation all together, in each of them you’ll notice that there are different points that are over or under-emphasized when it comes to a biblical understanding of God’s calling.

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15 Voices to Listen to in 2015

Voices

I read a ridiculous amount of blogs and listen to a ton of sermons.  While there is certainly no shortage of availability of blogs to be reading or podcasts to subscribe to, over the past year a number of new voices have really become prominent in my feeds.

As you prepare for 2015 and look for new material that you should be reading, subscribing, and listening to, here is my list of 15 voices that you should be listening to this year.  In no particular order…

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Why Do I Blog?

Why blog

It’s the beginning of a new year and that has me thinking about goals, ideas, and dreams. Some of those goals are personal and others of those are directly related to this little place here on the web. And since I’m thinking about goals and dreams, it’s been helpful for me to also ask myself, “Why do I do blog anyways?”

Blogging can be a bit odd at times.

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The Post-Christmas Call

Post christmas

What happens after Christmas? I’m not talking about what happens with our empty boxes, our endless piles of wrapping paper, or even the post-Christmas blues that come with the realization that it’s all over.

But what happened after the first Christmas?

“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” – Luke 2:15-20

We know the story; we hear it every Christmas. The angels announce this scandalous message of grace that arrived in the birth of a baby boy. This rag-tag group of shepherds are for some crazy reason the ones that hear about this message and so they go to meet the baby Jesus.

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When Advent Meets Hanukkah

Advent

Every year as we decorate the house to celebrate the Christmas season, I always make sure to get my menorah and put it out on the mantle.  I usually also tell my wife that we should put it in the window so people can see, but I haven’t been able to convince her yet.  As our house gets all decked out for Christmas with our stockings, our Christmas tree, and our Advent wreath, I have this odd tradition of lighting the candles on my menorah during Hanukkah.

I’m not Jewish and my celebration of Hanukkah is likely a bit sacrilegious in the lax way that I go about celebrating this holiday.  But I think there is something significant about the Jewish feasts and festivals and so I celebrate Hanukkah.

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