Month: September 2011

The Scary Other, Or If You Are Not For Me You Are Against Me

Yesterday, Alan commented on my recent post on “Risking the Ethics of Critique.” He did not understand why someone of John Piper’s stature would feel the need to engage Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost so negatively after reading only a paragraph of a referenced book. Maybe, he wrote, it had to do with Piper seeing himself at the headwaters of the Reformed stream and he needed to keep conflicting influences away. Gatekeeping? Could be. Certainty requires me to know the mind of John Piper. Not happening.

But, it appears some know the mind of God better than others. The result is a stridency about his or her position that they frame all others as “scary.” In Piper’s post in question, the “scary other” is euphemistically referred to as, “false to the gospel.” Any good conservative knows false to the gospel could well be short-hand for false teacher – and so scary. What will Piper say of McKnight after reading a paragraph of his new book, The King Jesus Gospel?

My tribe often has high-profile figures who convey that sentiment to others. I recently read a post by John Stackhouse who evidently is aiming at a bit of controversy. Notifying his readers that a book to which he contributed was forthcoming he vetted those who dared to read further.

The book, The Spectrum of Evangelicalism, is one of those “four view” styled books. Out of the gate, Stackhouse admits the writers are far from representative of the diversity found among Evangelicals. Read More

Weekly Video – David Bazan, “Hard to Be”

We work really hard to manage our lives. Often we find ourselves worn out by managing to live in spite of our nagging passions that run afoul of the Way of Jesus. Dallas Willard suggests we have lived under the weight of “the Gospel of Sin Management.” Our aim is always to be a little better today than we were yesterday. We construct our own set of “laws” to help us manage our behavior. More often than not we end up violating our own codes.

What would happen if we would engage the hard work of living the life of Jesus in our own life? In other words, what would happen if we intended to be different people. We would recognize the hard work it is. My friend the Ex-Reverend has a short-hand for this goal, “Don’t be a douche.” Most would find this an objectionable way of putting it. But, if we realize that our behaviors often can come off as objectionable maybe we would work to reconstitute our way of being around the life of Jesus.

David Bazan captures the reality – It is hard to be human. Our ways are often less than human. I am still thinking about the Epistle text from this past Sunday. The subversive move Paul calls us to is to love one another. Read More

Risking the Ethics of Critique

Social media creates any number of occasions for errant critique. Ernest Goodman interrupted his regularly scheduled programming about Scripture translation to raise the issue of the ethics of critique in a global social media world subject to the whims of those able to push “publish.”

John Piper and the Gospel Coalition took aim at missional authors Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. Incidentally, I facilitated an online course with Hirsch on his book The Forgotten Ways for Biblical Seminary a few years ago. According to Piper, in the video, he received a paragraph of a recent book by Hirsch and Frost, The Faith of Leap, from the Gospel Coalition. I have not read the book so any opinion I formed about the book would be un-informed. Too bad others refuse to assume such a position.

Goodman likened Piper’s critique to a MacArthurian move. May be. I think it follows the pattern set by D. A. Carson. Rather than investigate the claims of some in the Emerging Church at the time, Carson read what he felt he needed to then wrote a book that suggested he knew how to be conversant. I realize that in a bygone day that meant something like becoming familiar with and so reading someone’s thoughts may well have sufficed. That was then, this is now. Read More

Friday Photo – Halona Blow Hole

One of the amazing sights on Oahu is the Halona Blow Hole. The natural wonder is part of the coastal lava rock formations on the island’s southeast side. We came upon the scenic lookout as we drove on the Kalanianole Highway. The first photo captures the initial water spout not unlike what one witnesses from a whale. The second photo captures the rush of water as it fills the rock formation producing quite the water show.

Another feature of the photos is the contrasting blues in the waters off the island. While we were taking in the scenery we spotted a Green Turtle bobbing in the waves. I did not have my long lens with me to capture the turtle but it was quite fun to watch the turtle negotiate the crashing waves.

Enjoy! We did.

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