Archive for October, 2009

An Open Letter

October 29, 2009

Dear All Southern States Like Virginia and North Carolina That Voted for Barack Obama Last November,

How’s that working out for you?

Sincerely,

Aaron O’Kelley

Advertisements

Pushing the Boundaries

October 29, 2009

Is anybody else out there a bit weary of medical researchers playing God?  Every few months it seems there is some story that brings us one step closer to an Orwellian nightmare.

Good Analogy

October 27, 2009

One thing I love about Douglas Wilson is that he can always come up with a fitting (and usually humorous) analogy for any situation.  This is the most recent one that caught my attention, from his post on the health care debate:

The unfunded obligations of Medicare and Medicaid are about 50 trillion dollars, give or take 5 dollars or so. The economic liars who are pushing Obamacare want you to believe their lie that the future will not go the way the past has gone, and that government mismanagement of programs like these, and Social Security, are no indicator of future performance. Things will be lots better this time around. Having floundered and almost drowned in the kiddie pool, we are now going to swim to Hawaii. If you predict unfortunate results, this is no doubt the result of you being full of spite and malice. For humanity.

Now, lest you think incorrectly, Wilson is no partisan.  He has harsh words for Republicans too, and most of the time I agree with him on that.  Read the whole thing.

Thought for the Day

October 10, 2009

I think of President Obama as a Nobel Prize winner the same way I think of Paris Hilton as a “celebrity.”  Both are famous for being famous.

How to Be a Pilgrim

October 5, 2009

I am so thankful to God for the years I spent in the youth group at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Texas.  It was particularly when I was in the sixth grade that I first began to understand that the claims of Christ over my life are total and absolute.  Thus, my Christian faith cannot be tucked away in a private area of my life.  It must shape everything I do and think.  God knows I needed to hear that message at that particular time, and my life has never been the same.

But at the same time I was also introduced to textbook American evangelical activism.  I don’t mean that my youth group meetings were political rallies (we didn’t discuss politics).  I mean that, under the instruction of my youth minister, I dove headfirst into the “transform the world for Christ” mentality.  It has taken me years to recover from it, and I am still in process. 

Of course, a lot of good came out of that teaching.  I became more attuned to the public claims of the Christian faith.  I grew strong and bold (at least more so than I had been before) in personal evangelism.  I developed leadership abilities that have carried me through years of ministry.  I certainly don’t want to suggest that everything I learned in this regard was wrong or of no value to me.

But I also got entrenched in evangelical triumphalism.  I overestimated my own (and the church’s) ability to “build” God’s Kingdom on earth (as though that is something any human hands could do!).  I dreamed big dreams, and more often than not I ended up with big disappointments.  I still wrestle with the ramifications of those dreams today.  And in some cases I have had to smash those dreams because they were nothing more than sugar-coated idols.   

This article by Michael Horton strikes me as one full of biblical and theological wisdom.  Please read it for insight into the relationship between the “already” dimension of the Kingdom of God, the “not yet” dimension of the Kingdom, and the church’s role in between. 

Does God expect me to go out and change the world?  Probably not.  Imagine how few people in the history of the human race can claim to have done such a thing.  We are not all, as Christians, called to be world changers.  But we are all called to be pilgrims, wayfarers on the road to glory who may not pull off a global makeover, but if we faithfully worship, pray, love, and work, day in and day out, as the New Testament calls us to do, we may just end up leaving this place a little better than we found it.  Evangelical triumphalism may not be satisfied with that idea, but if I read the New Testament correctly, it seems that God is.  And that’s so much the worse for evangelical triumphalism.

At the command of God the Father and at just the right moment, the Lord Jesus will bring the consummation of the Kingdom.  It is not yours or mine to build.  Maybe if we lowered our expectations a bit about who we are and what we are capable of doing, we might just find that there is a depth of joy and contentment to be found in living a life of simple faithfulness.  Sure, every once in a while a Paul, an Augustine, a Luther comes along and turns the world on its head, but in between those unusual moments in history, millions of faithful believers pass out of this world unnoticed by the earthly multitudes even while they are welcomed as heroes among the hosts of Heaven.  If I can be one of them, then that will be enough for me.

Bold Statement

October 4, 2009

In the context of his review of Jim Belcher’s book Deep Church, Kevin DeYoung makes this bold statement:

I don’t think there is a single insight from the emergent church that cannot be gleaned from the best of the evangelical, and specifically the Reformed, tradition. We don’t need a third way between emergent and traditional. We need a revitalized, reformed evangelical church.

If this is the case, then it would mean that the primary value of the (artist formerly known as the) emerging conversation is not what it offers to the church.  Rather, its primary value is what it reminds the church: that there is a richness in the roots of evangelicalism that we ignore (and have ignored) to our peril.  If the (artist formerly known as the) emerging conversation plays any role in sending us back to our roots, then we owe it a debt of gratitude. 

What do you, O plenteous multitude of readers, think of DeYoung’s claim?