I had originally hoped to get this out by 6 A.M. EDT, but I underestimated the amount of work involved. Kudos to all who have done this ahead of me and I offer my prayers for those coming behind. Most of the people who have hosted the Christian Carnival since I have been reading it have had themes for their Carnival, extremely creative themes. Since I had several weeks to think about how I might approach the carnival, I expected to come up with a cool theme also. Sadly, nothing specific sparked my creative juices. Last week, I stumbled across a poem I had written several years ago and decided to use it as my Carnival introduction. Then it occurred to me that the poem itself could be my theme.
At the time I wrote the poem I was trying to determine what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life. I had just closed my office and training center, laid off the last employee, and moved back into my home office, going from 1600 to 120 square feet of work space (don’t ask what I did with all the stuff…). In addition, I was alone during the workday for the first time in several years. As you can imagine, I had arrived at a turning point and the poem reflects my feelings as I worked through what amounted to a death of my vision for a successful software company. In some ways the poem is almost a prayer.
So, please take the theme of my poem, which can be defined as “OK God, now what?”as my theme for this week’s Carnival. Using the poem as a starting point, I want to suggest that as we read each of this week’s offerings, that we prayerfully ask God how He wants us to respond to what we have just read. These heartfelt insights, which were prayerfully submitted for our perusal by a diverse cross-section of the Body of Christ, shouldn’t just become flotsam and jetsam drifting across our memory space. No, we should allow God to use them to engage and challenge our thinking. With that in mind, I include the following poem as both my submission for the week and the theme of this week’s Carnival.
There are many things that I could have been
Many things that I could yet be
Yet one thing lies beyond my keen
God, what would you have of me?
Copyright 2001 William Meisheid Use as you see fit, but only with attribution.
OK God, Now What?
Twenty entries, sorted by author’s first name, when I could find it. What the heck, it’s my taxonomy! Note: Some posts on Blogger or Blogspot.com may not be available when you try to access them. It is the site’s fault, not the poster or yours, so just try again later.
1. Sanctioned by God, Not Government by Andrew P. Connors of Snipehunters.com. Why is the State involved in marriage at all asks Andrew as he takes a thoughtful look at the gay marriage debate, after which he advocates a novel idea to maintain the traditional definition of marriage. I know Andrew’s post is a few days older than the normal begin date, but since he only posts something about every two weeks, I am using host’s discretion on this one.
2. Will Cummins British anti-Islamic columnist by Adrian Warnock of Adrian Warnocks UK Blog. Dealing with a series of articles by pseudonymic columnist Will Cummins, Adrian examines the rights and wrongs of the columnist’s assertions and more broadly, the overall reaction to Muslims in general at this time in world history. As the old maxim goes, let’s be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
3. Reformation by Bill Leug at Minas Tirith. While reading about how God used past reformers, despite their obvious failures, Bill takes from that the assurance to issue a call for a new Reformation in the modern evangelical church, despite our own obvious faults. He argues not only that the church should be salt and light, but it should be a light that is different from the world around it. We have to be different from the surround culture to give people a choice that is different from the post-modern society they live in. On a personal note, I want to recommend John Stott’s book, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, The Bible Speaks Today (originally titled Christian Counter Culture when it was released in 1978), as a good read on this subject.
4. A Thought on the Holy Trinity, Part I by Brandon Watson at Siris. Brandon challenges us to do a little theology in his post on the doctrine of the Trinity. Arguing against the negative theology that has been thrown against this doctrine, Brandon defends this fundamental Christian belief from the charge of inconsistency that has been brought against it. Deep stuff, but handled in a way anyone should be able to follow. You go, guy.
5. God and Science Majors by Donald Crankshaw at Back of the Envelope. There is a lot of debate going on these days about science and theism. In this post Donald considers the tendency of the scientific establishment to embrace atheism as a respectable position while marginalizing theism. Personal plug alert: After reading Donald’s thoughtful post, consider looking at my take on this subject.
6. Evagrius Ponticus, John, and Barsanuphius by Dunstan Boyko at Dunmoose the Ageless. Modern Christianity, especially Evangelical Christianity, has had little contact with earlier Christian writings, especially those from the catholic tradition. Dunstan gives us an overview of three early Christian writers, two of whom were hermits, with some thoughts on their importance. He also explains for those who did not know, like myself, where the list of “The Seven Deadly Sins” came from.
7. Pro Choice by Elena LaVictoire at My Domestic Church. Why does “pro choice” only mean being for abortion and why do those who call themselves pro choice work so hard at attacking all other possible choice’s except their sacrosanct “correct choice”? With that inconsistency in mind, Elena takes aim at Gretchin Ritter’s article in the Austin American Statesman, in which she attacks women who choose to stay home and be mothers instead of pursuing careers. Right on Elena!
8. How to save the USA! by Greg Morneau at Greg’s Truth. Greg does a brief Bible study on praying for our nation and its leaders, in which he argues for the only effective way to change the direction of this nation. His approach is non-partisan and though I have strong political views, I wholeheartedly agree with his approach, since before God we are all sinners and equally lost without Jesus Christ. As Christians, we do not want God to endorse our views, but instead to move all of us into views that are in line with God’s revelation of himself. This is a lifelong, ongoing process.
9. Is this Kind of Realism Useful in a Video Game? Shellshock: Nam ’67 by Hal Paxton at The Great Separation. Like other forms of entertainment, video games continue to test the limits of acceptability, even for the marginal sociopaths among us. In a post, as important for parental responsibility as for personal accountability, Hal expresses his thoughts on the announcement of a new video game glorifying atrocities of war. I guess the game designers were going for the Saddam wannabees with this one, something no Christian should aspire to.
10. Birthday Reflections by Jeremiah at Fringe. Birthdays have a way of firing up the deeper thoughts about our existence. Jeremiah, upon turning 24, finds himself contemplating his life, his closeness to God, and the purpose of his blogging, when asking, “…what is Fringe’s purpose?” Underneath that blog question lies a much deeper and important quest.
11. Lying by Jeremy Pierce at Parableman. Does the Bible teach that lying is always wrong? In a thoughtful post Jeremy argues that it’s not that simple. He postulates that there are some cases, some special circumstances in which the Bible doesn’t condemn those who lied. Using a political milestone as inspiration, he considers some contemporary cases, including those of presidents, where his arguments might apply. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you have to deal with his arguments.
12. August Ninth: the martyrs, confessors, and innocents of World War II by Karen Marie Knapp at From the Anchor Hold The ninth of August holds special significance for our sister, Karen, as she reflects on two Christians and untold innocents who died on that day during WWII. August ninth is the date of the martyrdoms of Edith Stein in 1942 and Franz Jagerstatter in 1943. It is also the day when the second of the two great centers of Japanese Christianity was destroyed in 1945 by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Provocative reading for us all.
13. Jesus Was A Liberal by La Shawn at La Shawn Barber’s Corner. Confronting what she sees as Jesse Jackson’s twisting of scripture and the ministry of Jesus into something she doesn’t recognize, La Shawn questions how a “Reverend”, whom one would expect to know how to interpret the Bible properly, instead seems willing to pervert anything, even the Word of God, for political gain. (My that was a long sentence!) La Shawn has a new website in case you haven’t visited her in a while.
14. Thoughts on Weddings by Matt Hall at matt-hall.net. Matt is thinking about weddings and asking fundamental questions. What makes a wedding a wedding? Is there a central component that defines its purpose? He wants weddings to speak to the grace of God as well as the commitment of those being married. After all, what is it that you and those who are there will remember years later? Shouldn’t the central focus be on what remains? Fine thoughts for those considering matrimony or who have friends or relatives who are.
15. Why God Hates Sin by Miss O’Hara at Miss O’Hara. Sin, a volatile subject, which bounces between the Scylla of Pharaseeism and the Charybdis of antinomianism. Miss O’Hara argues that God doesn’t hate sin just because he doesn’t want us to have fun. There’s a fundamental reason he tells us not to do certain things. This may seem like yet another explanation of the same old story, but it is a story that needs to be told, and retold! Miss O’Hara hopes appreciated it, since she admits that she is a sucker for appreciation.
16. PCUSA and the Selected Divestment from Israel, Part I by Neil Uchitel at Digitus, Finger & Co. Neil takes on a difficult subject: money, especially the Church’s money. This offering is the first in a series that examinations the PCUSA resolution to selectively divest its financial holdings of anything supportive of Israel, due to how PCUSA sees Israels treatment of the Palestinians. This is a post we all need to consider.
17. God’s Omnipresence by Rebecca Stark at Rebecca Writes. If you haven’t read Rebecca, then you should know that she relishes approaching the most difficult of subjects, while also being willing to discuss it with you; I should know. In this post, Rebecca looks at God’s omnipresence and examines what it tells us about the God we worship, as well as what it means for us personally. Consider this another part of your theology 101 lesson for this week.
18. Kingdom Communication by Robert Spenser at Mr. Standfast. Don’t you get tired when you laboriously try to explain something and those you are addressing just don’t get it? Well Bob, thinking out loud about the nature of communication in Heaven, has decided that those problems will probably be a thing of the past. I sure hope so. I get tired of constantly trying to smooth feathers I have ruffled unintentionally. Maybe we should work at bringing a little of that heavenly perspective to our earthly efforts.
19. Purposes in Suffering by Sozo at Reasons Why Finding themselves in a teaching situation, in which impressionable young minds were at stake, Sozo and his wife confronted the idea that suffering and sickness is never God’s will for the Christian. They show that God has a purpose in all things, and has not left us without reasonable council in these matters. I would also suggest the Book of Job as a good therapeutic in this matter.
20. This Week in Church History by Warren Kelly at View from the Pew. Being a historian at heart (my degree is in Ancient History), I appreciate Warren covering this important ground. He examines the French Revolution and its wanton destruction and desecration not only of Christian churches, but of Christian belief. Paraphrasing the angel in the Book of Revelation, “Let whoever is willing to listen hear what history is saying to the churches.”