Purpose can be defined as “the application of one’s self, with its talents, to a noble task.” This begs the question, what are the available noble tasks here on earth? And what makes a task noble? I submit that we must pursue an ethic that promotes life and
happiness health for all living beings, and especially humans.
Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement.
The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by 25% this February, from 72 to only 60. The rationale for the cut was the increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife. Read more
Currently, I attend a small country church of about 100 people. And I do mean country – many of the members are farmers, and I’d bet that more of them own shotguns than computers. But a strange thing is happening – as the fields yield to housing developments, more middle class suburbanites are coming to church, and the question has arisen – what kind of church do we want to be in order to serve both our existing and new populations? This is not an easy question to answer.
But while we are thinking about it, a number of things have come up that we do NOT want to do. Church membership rolls are an interesting thing to study, and our view of them will color how we view people and ministry. But needless to say, our membership commitment means nothing if we are not a vital, active part of a body of believers. While you can become a Christian without belonging to a local or intimate body of believers, you can’t become a mature Christian without vital church involvement.
Many pundits are now using the term “angry left” to describe the liberal analog of the “angry right.” Sites like When Angry Democrats Attack are springing up to document acts of vandalism and rage from the left, and many are saying that the angry left is hurting the Democratic party.
But I think that the angry people in each party are those farthest to the extreme left or right – the fanatics. But my question is, who do we think represents the far poles, and what specific things to they believe?
In response to the recent spate of in-depth pro-gay theology comments, I have been reading and researching, and came across this debate between Christian exegete James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and liberal activist Barry Lynn, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. Their debate covers many of the scriptures and contextual questions discussed, and I thought it pertinent. However, it does not address all of the arguments at hand, but merely a good number of them. I have excerpted the arguments against homosexuality by James White below. White has also penned a book entitled The Same Sex Controversy: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality.
From Part I of the Fall 2002 Francis Schaeffer Lectures:
Christians should be welcoming repentant homosexually inclined people with open arms, as family. The reuniting of all God’s lost children as family into the fellowship of the church, with everyone on the same level, equally needy and equally loved, that is what Christ died for. That is the Church’s most important demonstration of love, and love is the most potent weapon that the Church has in any cultural controversy.
Here, he is trying to address the sins on both ends of the spectrum of the gay issue.
Because Christians are most often harping about immoral sex, and say little about the joys of sex within marriage, they are often viewed as “against sex.” David Wayne at jollyblogger makes a very good point when he writes
Somehow, those of us who want to preserve sex for marriage need to come up with a more compelling picture of marital sex than we are doing.
Liberals and Democrats often complain that they are being unfairly characterized as the amoral and irreligious party, and that conservatives don’t have a lock on morality. Of course, this is true. Both parties have their own set of morals and ethics that they aspire to and try to
push use as a basis for their approach to legislation.
And while being a "moralist" is now a pejorative label (see EO’s In Defense of Moralism), both parties do want to be seen as not being in opposition to morality.
The problem with liberalism, however, is that it has lost ground in the moral arena, in both reality and public opinion, because it has (1) taken mature movements like black civil rights past the point of justice to supporting injustices like reverse discrimination, and (2) has taken their love of freedom to a point of supporting irresponsible behavior and trampling the rights of others in the name of freedom.
The whole immigration thing is all over the news. This got me to think about all of the groups fighting for what they consider "civil rights" – all compare their causes to that of black Americans, who are of course, sometimes insulted by the comparison. Nevertheless, the three civil rights areas today I want to discuss are the homosexual, pro-life, and immigrant movements. How are they similar to the black American civil rights movements, what rights are they looking for, and how do they differ? I’m not an expert on any of these, so wanted to open it up for discussion.
Aaron, nice post. However, while you are addressing some extremes that need attention, I would like to also present some extremes we should correct, along with some balanced principles which I think xians should be pursuing. But my concern is not so much with making unbelievers happy with us (although that may happen as some imbalances are fixed – and of course, that is a laudable goal), but with making believers mature.
The Journal of Law & Family Studies (Univ. of Utah) has published a paper entitled Gender Complementarity and Child-rearing: Where Tradition and Science Agree. They review current literature on hetero two-parent, single-parent, and same-sex parenting and outcomes on children. Of course, these guys are from Utah, so you might assume they have a pro-family, anti-gay bias. However, their paper is worth reading, and full of scientific references.
The article discusses at length homosexual parenting and adoption, and though it has some of the "classic" arguments against gay and lesbian adoption, it has lots of data that we should not ignore just because it is unpleasant. While this entire post is free of moral judgements, I’m sure someone will find the data "hateful", or some authors as less than trustworthy due to some reason or other, but the data itself is meaningful. As my old scientific mentor used to say, "All data means something – it may not mean what we want it to mean, but it means something."
Daniel G. Sinclair
1452 Angus Street
Patterson, CA 95363
To obtain an Associate Pastor or Pastor’s position in an evangelical church that believes that small groups are central to church life, and that has a vision for serving and reaching the local community.
I am searching for a church that will be glad to nurture me in Christian ministry, as well as allow my wife to participate and lead in music ministry, ministry to couples, mothers (My wife is founder and Coordinator of our local MOPS chapter), and young women.
We are also a bilingual family (English/Spanish).
Harvest Community Church | 2003 – Present
Crows Landing, CA | harvestcc.blogspot.com
Associate Teaching Pastor
Part-time, pro-bono work performed for the church includes
- Preaching once or twice a month during main Sunday services. Audio of my sermons may be found at www.wholereason.com/category/podcasts
- Preaching at Men’s and Women’s events
- Participation in Worship Team
- Shared preaching responsibility and small group leadership as part of the
40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life Program
Husband / Father
As a father of three young children and husband since 2003, I have seen God multiply my understanding of service, leadership, and balance. I hope you can appreciate the truth and humor in my listing this as experience.
- Spiritual Leadership – Faithful small group and church participation
- Sacrifice – Serving wife and children with very limited personal time
- Time Management – Learning to maintain personal disciplines with limited time
Southwinds Community Church | 2000 – 2003
Tracy, CA | www.southwinds.org
Small Group Co-Leader
- Led small group on alternate weeks, studying through various curriculum, including 40 Days of Purpose, various Willow Creek bible studies.
Worship Team Member
- Participated (with wife) on contemporary worship team for church of 900 members.
Time Away from Christ | 1994 – 2000
San Jose, CA
I feel this part of my life is relevant, not only as part of my spiritual biography, but as an experience that contributed to my personal maturity, the sincerity of my faith, and the development of a kind and merciful approach to those who have doubts, both unbelievers and those who have left the faith. During this time, I healed from the injuries of a spiritually controlling organization, explored other faith systems, and then returned to Christianity.
Recovery from Toxic Faith
- Benefited from Christian books on toxic faith and gender identity healing
- Benefited from secular books on inner child work
Exploration of Eastern Spirituality
- Explored and benefited from Buddhist mindfulness meditation and yoga
- Have developed an integrated view of Christian faith and other faith traditions that is not syncretism, but honors general revelation where it is found, and creates bridges for the gospel to people of other faiths.
- Benefited from receiving clinical counseling, both alone and marriage (not merely pastoral counseling) in a Christian setting
Washington Valley Chapel (CMA) | 1992 – 1994
Morristown, CA | www.washingtonvalleychapel.org
Small Group Leader
- One of a handful of trained leaders pioneering small groups
- Led small group on a weekly basis
- Pioneered contemporary worship service in a traditional church
- Led worship weekly
- Trained worship teams and leaders to carry on the ministry
Youth With a Mission | 1992
Kona, HI | www.uofnkona.edu
- Led worship for fellow students in Discipleship Training School and on outreach
- Open air preaching, evangelistic drama and music, logistics
- Experienced full time missionary life
Kings Park International Church | 1986-1992
RTP, NC | www.kpic.org
Children’s Church Leader, Ages 2-5
- Chose curriculum for preschool children, coordinated teacher schedules
- Led classes for 2-3 and 4-5 age groups
Worship Team Member
- Learned to follow direction, enjoy worship
I have been employed in Software Development since 1995, mostly as a Business Systems Analyst and Project/Product Manager. During this time, I have acquired the following transferable skills:
- Team Leadership
- Meeting facilitation
- Project and resource planning
- Web and mobile usability and design
- Public speaking (via Toastmasters)
- Masters in Divinity, Fuller Theological Seminary (in progress)
- BS Biochemistry / BA Chemistry, N.C. State University (1987)
Below is a short list of books that have been influential in my life and have helped shape my current theology and outlook on life and ministry.
Church Life and Ministry
- Handbook for Missions Groups by Gordon Cosby
- Journey Inward, Journey Outward by Elizabeth O’Connor
- Where Do We Go from Here? by Ralph Neighbors
- Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
- Bones of Contention by Marvin Lubenow
- Addicted to Mediocrity by Franky Schaeffer
- Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig
- Evangelical Theology by Millard J. Erickson
- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner
- The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee
- Romans by John R. Stott
Inner Life and Healing
- The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman
- Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald
- Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian by George Fowler
- Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands
Preaching and Leadership
- Communicating for Change by Andy Stanley
- Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
- Spiritual Authority by Watchman Nee
- First Things First by Stephen Covey
- The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin
Missions / Evangelism
- From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker
- The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
Relationships / Sexual Wholeness
- Pursuing Sexual Wholeness by Andrew Comiskey
- The Real Man Inside by Verne Becker
- Unconditional Love by John Powell
Many gay apologists have attempted to interpret scripture in a way that views homosexuality as normative, rather than sinful. While some of their arguments have merit (like the primary sin of Sodom being a lack of hospitality), ultimately, they fail to justify homosexuality. In fact in his booklet Same-Sex Partnerships? John Stott refutes this argument well (synopsis of it here). In the synopsis, you can see Stott’s response to each of the common pro-gay interpretations of scripture, and why he feels that they are not correct. He closes with a biblical call (vs. the twin extremes of an unbiblical, truthless, and humanistic call or a loveless fundamentalist call) to Christian faith, hope, and love. Again, I think it can be summed up in Jesus’ words “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more.”
The main new testament proof text regarding homosexuality, however, is Romans 1:18-31. Rather than give my opinion on it, I have transcribed a section of John Stott’s Romans: God’s Good News for the World. Stott is one of the most prolific and respected Christian theologians of our time. Enjoy.