Five Tips for Handling Agnostics

the peasant fight, 1547

Tonight was tiring. I was reviewing James 3 with my bible study. We had moved into the lounge of the host church’s foyer, which someone had already occupied. I wanted to discuss how James’s critique of the tongue was contextualized with a preface on teachers, and how his analogies for the tongue controlling the body could just as well apply to a teacher managing a student body. However, the stranger was invited to join the conversation. The stranger was an agnostic. The bible study almost completely abandoned James 3 and turned into a slogged debate on Christianity. Despite numerical and … Continue reading “Five Tips for Handling Agnostics”

Obligation to Invest

This is the second part of a three-part series in which I wish to speak about ethical investing from a Catholic perspective (though there is a debate!) This series was prompted by an interview of Jacob Imam by Pints With Aquinas. In my first article, I will address the question of ethical investing and how the USCCB has recommended Christians navigate the modern economy. In this piece, I will discuss the responsibility to invest. In my third piece, I will break down usury and why (most) modern investing would not fall into this category. “The Conference should exercise responsible financial … Continue reading “Obligation to Invest”

On Haman and Pettiness

Our Bible study finished Esther this month, and we decided to celebrate it by watching the 2006 film One Night with the King. It was partly well acted and very well-funded but laughably inaccurate and overall rather bad. You know your film is a poor retelling of the biblical story when it’s based on a fiction book that’s based on the book of Esther, rather than just being based on the book of Esther. Don’t worry; I watched Big Idea’s Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen myself afterward and so did not go to bed angry. While I could fill … Continue reading “On Haman and Pettiness”

1 Corinthians 13 interpreted

1 “If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good. 4 Love is patient, love is kind, … Continue reading “1 Corinthians 13 interpreted”

Surveying the Wondrous Cross

Centurion at the Cross

Like the prophet in Isaiah 6, the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” vacillates between describing the awe of beholding God and reflecting on our own changed state: When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them through his blood. See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did … Continue reading “Surveying the Wondrous Cross”

A Response to Jacob Imam

This article series will be a three-part series in which I wish to speak about ethical investing from a Catholic perspective (though there is a debate!) This series was prompted by an interview that Jacob Imam had with Pints with Aquinas. In this article, I will address the question of ethical investing and how the USCCB has recommended Christians navigate the modern economy. In my next piece, I will discuss the responsibility to invest. In my third piece I will break down usury and why (most) modern investing would not fall into this category. I want to first acknowledge what … Continue reading “A Response to Jacob Imam”

God Is Real: Surrender with a “Yes!”

Lionesses

When Sally was in elementary school, she was sharing God with her fellow students. Her teacher scoffed and walked up to her. “God doesn’t exist!” Sally responded patiently, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” The flustered teacher said, “There’s never been any evidence of God, so He can’t exist!” Sally remembered what her parents had told her. “Have you ever been to Zimbabwe?” “Well, no, but—“ “Do you know anyone from Zimbabwe?” “No—“ “Then by your definition, Zimbabwe doesn’t exist either! But you believe in Zimbabwe, don’t you?” I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of unbelief out there! Jesus … Continue reading “God Is Real: Surrender with a “Yes!””

The Damnable Doctrine of Eternal Security

eternal security?

My contention in this polemic is twofold. First, I contend that the Calvinist doctrine of eternal security—i.e., that it is impossible for a justified and regenerate Christian to lose salvation—is false. Secondly, I contend that it is, in a sense, damnably false—not that one cannot believe it and be saved, but rather that, instead of being a purely speculative doctrine with no bearing upon our lived sanctification, a false but firm belief in eternal security can lead genuine Christians into apostasy and, finally, Hell. The New Testament is rife with warnings against apostasy. Prima facie, all of these warnings ought … Continue reading “The Damnable Doctrine of Eternal Security”

Life Isn’t Fair, and That Is a Good Thing!

Throughout history, when injustice strikes, the oft-made complaint by many people, in our nation as well as any other, is the powerful outcry, “this isn’t fair.” So strong is this invocation for justice that political movements grow and flourish when injustice occurs. Yet, whether politically or personally, these crusades for justice often find themselves causing injustice that spawns a crusade against the initial victim!  At this point, I should make clear that justice in the above sense is not actually justice but the desire that everything be split evenly. In a world void of love and evil, splitting things “fairly” … Continue reading “Life Isn’t Fair, and That Is a Good Thing!”

Chaplaincy: Prophets

Before moving on to an examination of the early history of the chaplaincy, I want to make one more observation. Mr. Daniel Sutkowski and I recently held a conversation comparing the prophets of the Bible with the chaplains we see on television who, say, give a prayer before a national ceremony. As with the Levites discussed in my previous post, prophets often worked in the secular realm, affirming or criticizing the established institutions of their day. The Bible portrays a general cultural expectation for prophets to serve political objectives; certainly rulers (e.g. Balak, Ahab) expect as much, as seen by … Continue reading “Chaplaincy: Prophets”