Friday, July 3, 2020

Reflecting on C.S. Lewis—"On Ethics"

Though the world often seems very different today than it did in the middle of the previous century, the truth is that we are still in the midst of the debate between Christianity and Postmodernism that C.S. Lewis witnessed in its infancy. His thoughts in response to it are therefore still highly valuable. And in his essay “On Ethics," he reframes this debate in a way that helps bring fresh perspective to the picture.

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Church and the Armed Services

Today, we're looking at a question that often gets asked around Memorial Day:

Why should/would the church honor military service when Jesus was committed to non-violence?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Extolling Exemptions

As you may know if you’ve been following along with my “Potter’s Process” series, I am currently working to plant a new church in the Greensburg, PA area. One of the biggest sticking points, though really not an area of immediate need, has been making a decision on whether and when to pursue non-profit and tax-exempt status. The biggest issues are that it is costly to get and I could really use some expert help (which would cost more). To a lesser extent, there are some theological issues involved (I say “lesser” only because I am beginning to approach the conclusion they are not problematic).

Monday, April 27, 2020

Darkened Understanding

The internet is an incredible tool that has opened seemingly limitless opportunities for connecting, learning, and communicating. Of course, it has also been subject to a number of abuses just as any tool can be. Some are obvious, but for today, I want to discuss one of the more subtle examples.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Reflecting on C.S. Lewis—"Meditation on the Third Commandment"

This entry in our ongoing reflections on the essays of C.S. Lewis looks at 1941’s “Meditation on the Third Commandment.” Interestingly, I am not entirely certain which commandment he had in mind. And don’t say, “Are you blind? It says the third one right there!” I copied it, thank you very much. My point is that different traditions count the commandments differently. For Catholics, it is Ex. 20:8, “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” For Protestants, it is Ex. 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Lewis does not actually say which one he had in mind, and I do not know what Anglicans (which is what Lewis was) consider it to be.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter in Isolation

In our increasingly fragmented society, churches have been one of the few places where people of many different types can gather together and grow to know one another. Those of us who value that connection have therefore been especially troubled by the isolation prudentially undertaken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Not being able to go to our services, or choosing not to do so for our own safety and that of others, has been a sacrifice.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Putting the "Commune" in "Communion"

I had a conversation with another minister recently and felt that the topic of our discussion deserved some additional thought. He told me about how he had previously made the habit of providing individual Communion packets for anyone who wanted them. These small, hermetically sealed packets contain a small piece of bread and a bit of juice, making them convenient for travel. My pastor friend felt that handing these out made it easier for people to come to the Lord’s Supper wherever and whenever they were.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Theistic Evolution's Trap

I’ve been reading through the book Theistic Evolution, a compilation of essays by some of the leading thinkers in the intelligent design (ID) movement. It’s a very thoroughgoing treatment of the weaknesses of theistic evolution (TE), which is the belief that
God created matter and after that did not guide or intervene or act directly to cause any empirically detectable change in the natural behavior of matter until all living things had evolved by purely natural processes.
—Wayne Grudem, “Biblical and Theological Introduction,” Theistic Evolution, p. 67.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Facing the Coronavirus

When in the midst of a very difficult situation, it is impossible to know how we will look back on it once the crisis has passed. We may discover that we were worried over nothing. Or, we may find that it was nothing in comparison to what happened as it advanced. I hope, and tend to think, it will be the former. But every word of comfort and wisdom is of value while in the middle of trouble. I thought, then, that it would be a good idea for me to share a few reflections on our present challenge with the coronavirus.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Reflecting on C.S. Lewis—"Religion and Rocketry"

More than any other, it was C.S. Lewis’ essay “Religion and Rocketry” that drove me to start this series of reflections. The subject he discussed in it was too intriguing for me to allow it to go without comment.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Reflecting on C.S. Lewis—"The Pains of Animals"

When going through C.S. Lewis’ essay “The Pains of Animals,” I have to admit I was at a bit of a loss. Some of the concepts were hard to follow. I am not sure I fully understood all of the distinctions he was attempting to make. I’ll do my best to summarize them before discussing my main takeaway, though.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Reflecting on C.S. Lewis—"Unforgiveness"

Go through the words and speeches of just about any apologist or preacher, and it stands a good chance that you will quickly come across some quote or allusion from the works of C.S. Lewis. It is certainly true of me. Aside from the Bible itself, I do not think any other source appears as frequently in my own efforts or has been as much of an influence. Hardly an outside-the-box choice, but the glamour of uniqueness is unnecessary when you have something reliable. As one of my favorite strips of Calvin and Hobbes says, “Go with what works, I guess.”

Monday, February 3, 2020

Choosing to Turn Around

While driving home from work one night, I decided to stop for dinner at a local barbecue place that I’m fond of. However, a few minutes later I ended up missing the highway exit that would have taken me there. Instead, I had automatically passed it while taking my normal route home. Angered at myself for forgetting, I turned around at the next exit and headed back for the food.

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Potter's Process—01/31/2020

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Monday, January 27, 2020

What Did Jesus Mean about Hell?

I had an interesting conversation… actually, “conversation” is probably too strong a word. It was really more of a brief exchange. I was in a meeting sitting next to a woman who described herself as an energist, which going by her description sounds like a variety of New Age-ism. In response to my being a minister (which is how I introduced myself to the group), she explained that she does not believe in God. She believes in what may be called “god,” a force in the universe that is in and around us. This force works providently for our good, and the highest good is to seek happiness for ourselves. However, it is not possible for us to specifically know or identify this “god.”

Friday, January 17, 2020

Removal for Immorality?

The recent confrontation with Iran aside, the impeachment of Donald Trump is the biggest story in the news as of my time of writing. I had not intended to say anything about it here. While I don’t shy away from talking about politics, my preference is to cover topics that have a clear church/state connection. This does not, or at least, it is hard to pick out. That being the case, I assumed I would just remain silent.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Iron Sharpens Iron Ep. 3: If God is in Control, Why Bother Praying?

I've had the opportunity to do another collaborative video with DJ Allan of Homegrown Ministries. In this episode of "Iron Sharpens Iron," we discuss the power and purpose of prayer. Check it out, make sure to leave a like and any comments you have, and subscribe to the channel so you don't miss out on any of DJ's great content!