Friday, April 28, 2006

More Resources for Bible Study

Here and there I’ve mentioned some good resources for Bible students and teachers. Here are a couple more:

1. Some people have already discovered that the web contains many sites featuring the Bible in various translations. One of the better ones is Bible Gateway. It features a passage lookup and also a keyword search for concordance-type study. The home page address is

2. The Jerusalem Archaeological Park is billed as Israel’s most important place for the study of antiquity. But just in case you’re not planning a trip to the Middle East, the Park has an impressive web site where you can see, for example, a simulated panoramic view from the inside of the Second Temple, a place well known to Jesus and the Apostles. The site also features time lines, as well as maps and depictions of the city of Jerusalem and the two Temples through history. The home page can be found at

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What I Wanted to Say

Something I've learned since entering the world of blogs: My number of readers goes up (way up) when I post a comment at Mike Cope's blog.

And that's true in more than one sense. First, the number of people who read the comments at Mike's blog is greater than the number of people who read the posts at my blog. Second, by commenting at the other place, I get referral visits to my blog from people who wonder about this smart, dumb, or somewhere-in-between "Frank" who posted a comment there.

Anyway, something happened a day or two ago that has me writing back here at home again. I typed a comment in response to Mike's lengthy post about homosexuality. But the comment never got published. When I view it from my computer, I'm informed that "Your comment is still awaiting moderation" or some such. View it from your computer, and you won't see a thing.

So it's like my comment's been given a "time out" or doesn't have a ticket to the game. I don't know why. But I do know that I still want to weigh in about this one. So, for the sake of those who will hear me here, here's what I tried to say.

In his post, Mike says: "The church should not endorse homosexual marriages, but should advocate (out of justice and compassion) for full civil rights for gay couples. Just because we may not endorse another person's decisions doesn't mean we don't advocate for their protection and civil rights."

In response, I said, " . . . I think it's important for Christians to know that current political struggles for the civil rights of homosexual couples are not as socially benign as they might seem. The fact is, legal rights and recourse are currently available to people who live together and/or share business and property interests. I'm convinced that the current push is not for the sake of gaining legal rights, but for the sake of establishing new legal definitions of marriage. That question, and I think you agree, is kingdom business. This is where, trying to be harmless as doves, we shouldn't forget to be wise as serpents."

Now, here's why I wrote that. From my recent experiences in the State of Connecticut, I think that the homosexual lobby has a big plan. If I'm right, then it goes like this:

Since we know that a flat-out declaration of war in favor of gay marriage isn't going to achieve what we want, here's what we'll do. First, preying upon the sympathies of people who would never vote for gay marriage, but who do value fairness, we'll tell the stories; like the time when Jim couldn't even visit his life partner, Steve, who was in the ICU because, after all, Jim is not related to Steve by blood or by marriage (a close parallel to the specter of "back-alley abortion clinics" used to shore up Roe v. Wade).

This will tug at the heart strings and will motivate the anti-gay-marriage people to strike a compassionate compromise: civil unions. But (and this is the part those straight dunderheads don't get) the difference between what we'll call "civil unions" and legal marriage will be the difference between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Then, once this becomes the norm, the shift from "civil union" to "marriage" will simply be a change of language. Hey, it worked for "gay" and "queer." Why not "marriage"?

Next, as the grammatical distinction disappears and the legal realities emerge, it's a simple matter of a couple moving from, say, Connecticut to Tennessee. The question of the legal standing of the same-sex couple will, quite literally, become a federal case. Finally, de facto marriage will be declared "marriage."

I think that's how the play-book reads. If so, then people who oppose same-sex "marriage" should not be fooled into a compassionate support for so-called civil unions. The homosexual lobby is well-funded, influential, savvy, and, above all, determined. Christians should not, in the name of love or any other reason, go along with them.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Emerging Churches?

This just in from the Things-That-Make-You-Go-Hummm Department: A bumper sticker spotted today says, "Home improvement begins with a King James Bible"

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Later this year (August, to be exact) IVP Academic Press will release a new book by Ray Anderson, who teaches theology at Fuller Seminary in California. The title: "An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches." The following is the book's table of contents:

Preface: What Has Antioch to Do with Jerusalem?

1. It's About Theology, Not Geography

2. It About Christ, Not Just Christology

3. It's About the Spirit, Not Just Spirituality

4. It's About the Right Gospel, Not Just the Right Polity

5. It's About Kingdom Living, Not Kingdom Building

6. It's About the Work of God, Not Just the Word of God

7. It's About the Law of Love, Not the Letter of the Law

8. It's About Community of the Spirit, Not Just the Gifts of the Spirit

9. It's About Mission, Not Just About Ministry

10. It's About the Church Ahead of Us, Not Only the Church Behind Us

I haven't read the book, but churches that style themselves "emergent," I suspect, are fortunate to have someone like Anderson providing clarification and giving some expression to what they're about and why. This should be an interesting and challenging read.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's a New Car! (to me)

Tuesday night, I picked up my new car: a 1992 Ford Crown Victoria with just over 60,000 miles. I haven't named her just yet. Stay tuned.

I bought the car from the second owner, a preacher man from the northern panhandle. He knew the original owner very well, an older church-going gentleman who rarely went out and finally got too old drive.

The preacher told me that the car has always been garaged and regularly serviced. I believe him. It's in beautiful condition and rides great.

I know, I know, cars like this often turn into pumpkins shortly after purchase. Anything can happen. But for now, I'm having fun.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Like the other friends of Job, Eliphaz was convinced that Job was suffering because he had sinned. Eliphaz was wrong about that. But he paid Job a high compliment when he said,

You have encouraged many;
You have strengthened failing hands.
Your words have kept him who stumbled from falling;
You have braced knees that gave way (Job 4:3-4).

Evidently, Job had earned the reputation of an encourager. I get the impression that when other people saw him coming, they smiled because they knew he would listen with sympathy and speak with kindness. I thank God for people like that, don't you?

Some of my recent experiences have reminded me of the value of encouragement. I've enjoyed getting to meet and speak to congregations of the Church of Christ at Adrian and Fritch, Texas. Both of those churches provide financial support to the Bible Chair ministry at Amarillo College. During my visits to them, they added some moral support for the director as well. Great people.

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Just a follow up on the Stephen King thing: there was a comment on that post from Greg Stevenson, who teaches a course on popular culture and religion at Rochester College. He's recently started blogging and has a good entry on "Stephen King's Religious Stories." The rest of his blog, called "Caritas," is cool too. You can check it out and welcome Greg at