September 29, 2004

Christian Carnival XXXVII

It's Wednesday again, and that means that it's time for Christian Carnival XXXVII, hosted this week by

As The Article That Will Not Die, an essay on God's providence that fits in with my ongoing series on God's will, refuses to honour deadlines, I have again not contributed anything to the Carnival this week. Looks like there's some pretty good stuff up, though, and I'll be posting a few of my favourites later when I've had a chance to do some reading.

Rodney Olsen makes a good point about the reductionistic tendency of mainline churches (specifically in this case, the Anglicans) to shrink the Gospel into quasi-secular activism for social justice:

It's all about the Church of England finding ways to lure people back to church. They've decided to offer a fair trade chocolate bar to every worshipper."

[Read What in Heaven's Name are we Doing?]

Baggas raises a thought-provoking question about the relationship between our prayer and God's plans:

But what's the role of prayer in a democratic election? Is it valid to pray that the candidate you favour wins? This is something that bears thought as we are approaching crucial elections in both Australia and the USA. Like the many other selfish prayers I offer up, I'm tempted to pray that the leader I favour is elected as PM, especially since I really can't stomach the thought of the other guy winning. I'll pray for the other guy if he wins, sure, but I'd rather not have to.

[Read Elections and prayer]

Mark D. Roberts reminds preachers that they, of all people, owe it to their listeners to check their facts before speaking:

When I get up to preach, my people need to know that I have made every effort to be as truthful as I can be. The more my people learn that I am trustworthy, the more they will give me their trust. They will believe me, not only about illustrative stories but, more importantly, about the theological content of my sermons. Conversely, if people discover that I really haven’t done my homework when I pass on the latest e-mail tear-jerker, then they’ll be inclined to doubt the main points of my sermons as well.

[Read Dan Rather Meets Teddy Stallard: A Warning]

Brandon at Siris posts a neat literary essay on Dorothy Sayers' radio drama The Man Born to Be King:

One of the most interesting aspects of the play-cycle is her characterization of Judas Iscariot. For dramatic purposes there is some need to develop his character beyond the minute amount we find in the Gospels themselves. This she does by starting Judas out as a disciple of John the Baptist, and building the story of a sort of running debate between him and Baruch, a Zealot, on the course Israel's future should take. In her first characterization, she calls him 'infinitely the most intelligent of all the disciples' (p. 69), and, in fact, makes him almost understand Jesus through sheer native intelligence alone. But always there is a serious problem with intellectual pride. Judas has an idea in his head about how Messiah should operate; he approves of Jesus because Jesus conforms to it. But he never allows that his idea could be flawed.

[Read Siris: Sayers, Judas Iscariot, and Intellectual Humility]

Cindy Swanson posts about her younger brother going to the Middle East to train Iraqi policemen:

I thought he had lost his mind recently when he signed up to go to Iraq for one year to train Iraqi police officers. Yes, the pay is more than good. But every time another news story about a beheaded American flashes on the TV screen, I physically flinch. I don't want my baby brother to become one of those news stories.

[Read "InshaAllah"]

Finally, bLogicus comments on the problem of skeptical "religious studies" courses at college, and worse, the inability of the church to equip young students to face this challenge:

Reportedly, many collegians are 'shocked and awed' by Bible-criticizing religious studies professors, such as the University of Texas Professor Michael White, whose 'Rise of Christianity' class is used to question and undermine the historicity of the Gospels.

[Read Irreligious Studies Challenge Christians ]