The Bible is a Witness to God’s Eternal Word

Nothing more or less. (Of course, being the witness of God’s Eternal Word, Jesus, is a really, really big deal, so I’m not sure why some feel the need to make the Bible also be a science book, a history book, a constitution of church life, a guide to manage money, run a business, etc.)

Chaplain Mike at the Internet Monk has a nice explanation about why Rick Warren’s defense of the Bible as scientifically accurate in light of a phrase in Isiah 40‘the sphere of the Earth’ is a gross misreading of the text. Also, Chaplain Mike has nice picture depicting the ancient Hebrew understanding of the cosmos.

Beside the failure to truly grasp ancient Hebrew cosmology, Warren’s well-meaning but embarrassing defense of the scientific acumen of the prophet Isaiah is based on the false notion that the understanding of a round Earth is relatively recent – say when Columbus sailed west to reach the Orient. However, the ancients did understand the spherical shape of the Earth. The Greeks understood this no later than the Third Century BC!

Anyway, I have lots of experience with Warren’s style of desperately clinging to any little phrase in Scripture in an effort to make the book stand against those evil, secular, atheist so-called scientists. For example, I once had a Sunday school teacher try to explain in a Christian Evidences class (insert snarky comment here) how Leviticus 17:11 (which reads: For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement NASV) proved that ancient and medieval practices like bloodletting were the result of Biblical ignorance. If only those doctors who killed George Washington had been reading their Bibles, they would have known that life was in the blood! Of course, it wasn’t as if pre-modern medical authorities simply thought “Hey! What’s all this red stuff in here? Surely it’s not important; let’s drain it all out!” Even as a teenager, desperately wanting to be a good Church-of-Christer, I couldn’t swallow this nonsense. We were suppose to bring our friends to church with us and let them hear this stuff? Such rank Biblicism obscures the Gospel, and drives people away from the churches (certainly not just Churches of Christ) who teach it.

Anyway, file this away as reason #1563 I joined the Episcopal Church – all truth is God’s Truth, including discoveries made by science. Scientific ignorance is a liability and not to be praised.

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Grasping at Belief

Over at the League of Ordinary Gentleman, Tod Kelly is chronicling his experiences at the Catechumanate classes of an Episcopal Church in an effort to “reconcile [his] lack of belief with [his] desire for belief” which struck me as an insightful phrase that likely applies to many (most?) who warm pews (or whatever megachurches are using instead of pews) on a given Sunday.

I’ll be following his weekly updates. In particular, I admired his commitment to and enjoyed his running commentary on the lectionary readings.

Spiritual Direction

In my service as a Stephen Minister at Christ Church Cathedral, and in my increasing fascination (it’s more than that really) with Christian monasticism, I’ve come across the practice of Spiritual Direction.

My good friend, Daniel Hoffman recently began work as a spiritual director, and should you live in the Indianapolis area and wish to better understand and respond to God’s action in your life, a time of spiritual direction with Br. Daniel-Chad would be a tremendous blessing.

Welcoming our NFL Overlords

Dan Carpenter:

Far be it from me to declare any civic deficiency insuperable when the National Football League deigns to choose one’s city for its annual temporary winter palace.

If we can pour more than $150 million into the struggling neighborhoods east of Downtown and $12 million (mostly federal, but still finite) into a three-block stretch of Georgia Street, what limits are there to the motivational power of fleeting prestige?

Mass transit, library and school budgets falling $10 million to $30 million (depending on who’s estimating) short of the need? Food pantries exhausting their supplies with families waiting? Probation officers, public defenders, prosecutors and child welfare workers with double the caseloads they can reasonably handle?

Have the NFL commissioner decree: This must not stand! Then stand back.

Temporary winter palace. Heh.