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Category: Lighting Up The World

Chasing the Culture

Chasing the Culture

A recent court decision has legalized same-sex mirage (yes I meant that) in North Carolina, yet many church clergy members are forbidden by their ecclesiastical authorities from officiating at such proceedings. This, of course, puts the church on a collision course with the state.

One United Methodist minister however, sees it more as a game of follow the leader. With his encouragement, a homosexual couple in his congregation has filed a complaint against him, with the denomination (here’s a link to the story). It’s not that he didn’t want to officiate their mirage, but he is bound by the denomination.

Set aside the problematic nature of the idea that a homosexual couple are members in good standing in the congregation. What’s going on here is the exploitation of this couple, by their pastor, to precipitate a confrontation with his denominational bosses. The purpose of the confrontation is to force a change in policy at the denominational level.

So while wearing a coat of pastoral concern for his parishioners, his shirt is sporting an ideological slogan he has supported for years, even prior to becoming their pastor.

He previously wrote, on the subject:

The national opinion and political culture is rapidly changing on the issue of gay marriage. Our United Methodist denomination has failed to lead the way in this struggle for equality, and will once again have to catch up to the culture.

So, he sees a path leading in this direction (toward same-sex mirage) and makes the assumption that we all must travel this path, either as a leader or a follower. He doesn’t see a valid option for not traveling in that direction. After all, everyone else is going this way. And so his concern is that the culture got out front and his church denomination is left trying to catch the culture, when they should be leading it – in this direction.

Mr. Carpenter is completely confused. He wants the church to lead the culture into sin, and is upset when the church must play follow the leader as the culture leads into sin. I say he’s confused because he claims to be a minister of the Christian gospel. The church’s call to the culture should be, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Which is a call to turn away from sin and toward Christ. Instead, Mr. Carpenter is calling out to the church to turn from Christ and race the culture toward sin in an effort to get out in front and lead. The problem is that he is leading in the wrong direction.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14 ESV)

Say Your Prayers Before Dessert

Say Your Prayers Before Dessert

Over at First Things, they are now blaming Facebook for our prayerlessness. The article has much to commend it. I agree that we, as Christians, don’t spend enough time with the Lord in prayer. And I believe Mr. Bauerlein is correct in saying that people generally don’t like to be left alone with their own thoughts. A Harvard study from earlier this year showed that people would administer a mild electrical shock to themselves, rather than sit still with their own thoughts for 15 minutes!

I agree that people don’t seek isolation, for prayer and rest, as we ought. And I agree that Facebook, and other social media platforms including that piece of technology in your hand, are designed to grab our attention at every available moment.

Lay aside Bauerlein’s obvious errors concerning prayer stemming from his Roman Catholicism. But there are a couple problems with the article.

First, he plainly blames our lack of prayerfulness and failure to seek isolation, on Facebook. He titled the article “Prayer In The Facebook Age” and he states at one point,

Social media is the culprit. Text­ing, selfies, updates, chats, snapchats, tweets, multiplayer games, blogs, wikis, and email enable people to gossip, boast, rant, strategize, self-promote, share, collaborate, inform, emote, and otherwise connect with one another anywhere and all the time. The volume is astounding.

Well yes, the volume is astounding, but that doesn’t make social media the culprit. That just makes social media our self-administered drug with which we attempt to inoculate ourselves against solitude.

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Robot Love and Cultural Confusion

Robot Love and Cultural Confusion

There seems to be a good of bit of cultural confusion on the subject of love. It seems love is a pit into which the unwary traveler may fall, if they are not vigilant. And once you’ve fallen, any subsequent choices you make are not yours to own responsibility for. You can’t help it, you fell, and you can’t get up.

Love has become something of a cultural trump card. If you want to redefine marriage, how can anyone stop you if your motivation is love? It seems you can get away with just about anything, and all you need is a little love.

To prove my point that we’re confused about what love is, and what it is for, consider this article in which we’re told that people are already falling in love with robots and in the very near future, will be able to purchase a robot to love.

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