Discussion Topic

More specifically, who are the prophetic vocal-musical artists among us?  Who is the person who speaks the Word to us through music?  Who challenges our assumptions? Who questions our practices? Who calls us to repentance?

For the purposes of this conversation, let’s limit our search to...

December 16, 2013 0 1 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Fri, 11/22/2013 This two-part webinar is an opportunity to explore the changing cultural dynamics inside and outside the CRC, and the effect they have on the churches we attend.

November 22, 2013 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Tue, 11/19/2013 This two-part webinar is an opportunity to explore the changing cultural dynamics inside and outside the CRC, and the effect they have on the churches we attend.

November 19, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Apparently we are launching an effort based on five streams to slow the rate of attrition within the denomination. And apparently we have asked agency heads and pastors to spearhead the effort. I appreciate the good intentions, but really, how many of them have the highly specialized training of...

November 6, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Sometimes I think that we have trouble truly understanding the gospel because we are too wrapped up in the whole story of the gospel. Don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful for the fact that I am inextricably wrapped up in God's great story of redemption. Rather, my problem is that...

November 5, 2013 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic

Not long ago I was studying an issue of biblical theology, and in my reading I came across a fascinating discussion of metaphors. The author claimed, rightly, that we can learn a lot about how we view an issue and its potential outcome—be it an issue in the home, in the church, in society at...

October 22, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

Last weekend Rose and drove to Grand Rapids “kidplay” with grandchildren while their parents took a weekend getaway. (Kidplay—invented by our daughters: NOT babysitting, but playing with kids.) Friday morning while the kids were in school, we took a cheap date to Grand Rapids’ spectacular “Art...

October 14, 2013 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

At least one delegate to synod indicated that the 'homosexuality' question will become the denomination's next major issue.

I disagree. There is something much more prevalent eating away at the congregation's fabric.

If national statistics hold true for the church, just one per cent...

July 30, 2013 0 5 comments
Q&A

Hello I am new here and have a question on Hebrews 4. I have been in a discussion with someoneon  creation and they say that Hebrews 4 where it says about our rest, the rest we will have, being scripture proof that the world was not made in Six days. I take what Genesis says as literal that the...

July 26, 2013 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

Aside from a very thorough treatment of Calvin College's fiscal mismanagement in a Canadian Christian periodical, Christian Courier, I haven't seen or heard much about it in The Banner or on The Network.

It must be disheartening for all of those donors to Calvin's various capital campaigns...

July 23, 2013 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

There must be CRC churches etc, with damage in Calgary. The one in High River AB is a loss + the manse.. 22-24 other communites are affected, flooding spreading to Saskatchewan.

June 25, 2013 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

On Sunday, two seemingly unrelated events came together in what turned out to be a timely lent lesson for me. I was an assistant for children's church and our lesson was about the final hours Jesus spent with his disciples. To their surprise, Jesus dresses down like a servant and starts washing...

February 27, 2013 0 4 comments
Discussion Topic

Guest post by Janelle Dykxhoorn

Diversity is a big word in my world right now. I’ve come to realize that, professionally-speaking, we work with a very diverse group of people who display a large diversity in skill sets and abilities. I get that and I appreciate that. What I didn’t realize...

February 26, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Dordt history professor, Paul Fessler, asks the question  “How should Christians, as athletes and fans, engage sports in our society?”

On Monday, March 4, Fessler will discuss this question during his First Mondays Speaker Series presentation titled “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and...

February 22, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Hi all,

There's a big difference between "being engaged in conflict" and "engaging conflict." And so, I'm curious: has your congregation intentionally worked at engaging conflict -- transforming it from being a destructive force to becoming a constructive resource for growth?

I (...

December 10, 2012 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 11/28/2012 This webinar will reflect on the stories of gay Christians and encourage transformational dialogue that honours our convictions and commitments.

November 28, 2012 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 11/14/2012 This webinar will explore the topic of forgiveness and introduce a new resource from Faith Alive called (Un)Hurt designed to answer your questions in a Bible-based, four-step process that equips participants to actually forgive real hurts.

November 14, 2012 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

The Cultural Engagement Committee at our church serves to help us become more actively involved in the bringing of and the encouraging of true justice and righteousness in society.  On September 12 & 13 the committee is bringing in pastor and author Dr. David W. Hall who will present "...

August 23, 2012 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

We've been having a drought here in Michigan, much like many areas across the United States and Canada. For over a month it's been hot and dry and cloudless. Crops are parched and people seem that way too. Even non-farmers are getting interested in the weather, turning their faces to the sky...

July 20, 2012 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

"The BOT recommends that Synod 2012 adopt the salary grid as detailed below for

use in fiscal year 2012-2013. The Board is proposing a 3 percent increase over 2012"

This what I read in the  2012 Synod Agenda supplement. It goes on to list the upper and lower Salary ranges at the...

May 30, 2012 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

As a 65 year old Canadian member of the Christian Reformed Church, I have been a keen observer of our denomination and the way it works or doesn't work. For some time now I have come to the conclusion that  it's time for the Canadian churches to have our own synod- to determine the will of God...

May 29, 2012 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic

Who was Adam?

 

This simple question has become the great controversy of the day in not only the Christian Reformed community but in Evangelical Christianity as a whole. New scientific advances in investigating the human genome have raised some serious questions concerning the...

April 25, 2012 0 5 comments
Q&A

Our church is in the planning stages of forming a non-profit organization to minister to homeless in our community. We will take up residence at a local motel. We need to formulate a training program for our volunteers. We also need to develop a safety policies. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel...

April 18, 2012 0 2 comments
Q&A

I just a got question from a co-worker who is assisting a church in Colorado.  Can you provide a recommendation for retreat speakers or facilitators? They would rather get a recommendation from another church than dive into the process blindly when they plan their next retreat.  Can you help?

January 20, 2012 0 6 comments
Discussion Topic

Recently the Christian Reformed Church was mentioned on the CBS prime-time television program The Good Wife.  In the episode "Parenting Made Easy” a character who is involved in a legal arbitration case is accused of being homophobic.  The character states her views are based on being a...

December 8, 2011 0 6 comments

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Haha thanks for sharing, Jill! It is really crazy how these memories stick around. I've never attempted to make gravy but I bet your mom's recipe was amazing!! 

Staci:

 

What a wonderful article!  I just found it today!  I have many, many memories of my mom cutting out newspaper recipes and trying them out on us.  We had to suffer through the good and the bad.  One memory of my mom that stays with me is making gravy.  She wanted so much to teach us to make gravy!  She would never let us make it but we had to "watch" her make it to learn.  To this day, I cannot make the same gravy my mom did which was fabulous.  I finally gave up and bought it in a jar!  Ha! Ha!

Thanks, Carol! I appreciate your post and have been a witness to your gifts of loving people through delicious food! =) Thanks for living this out so well! 

Hi Cindy! I completely agree. I love the cookbooks that are "worn-in" with grease marks and smudges. Cookbooks are not meant to be kept clean =) Thanks for reaching out!

Thanks for sharing! I completely agree that food and family times are wonderful gifts.

Let me know what you think of the cookbook! 

I agree completely, Staci! I will probably never get rid of my favorite cookbooks and favorite printed recipes. There are several that I am particularly attached to for many different reasons. These include the ones that have been passed down to me through the generations and the ones that I at some point yanked from a magazine and fell in love with. I am so glad you wrote this post about faith and food. For me, just like for Shauna, the two are very closed related. Feeding people (family, friends, neighbors, people at church) is one of the ways that I love them and show them hospitality. I love food and I find a lot of joy in sharing it with someone else. One of my favorite books on food and connecting with people around the table is Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. Great recipes and great stories to go along with them. A very dear friend gave me this book as a gift and I thought it was just the perfect gift. Thank you, Staci. Keep up the beautiful writing!

There is something personal about a cookbook that you just can't get on a computer or smartphone screen.  I love those little notes added to the recipes in church or school cookbooks.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in high school, and didn't have much spending money, but one year for Christmas she typed out about 50 of her treasured recipes on cards and put them in a little file box for my "hope chest."  That was on a manual typewriter, rolling each card in individually.  Forty years later, I use those cards regularly, complete with the grease splatters and smudges.  If my house was on fire, that box is one thing I'd grab. 

I'm looking forward to checking out the cookbook Extending the Table- thanks for the recommendation! 

 

Food is such a precious gift from the Lord, Our Provider. Its also refreshment for our souls through family meals together!  So enjoy your writings, Staci!

Your promise to your wife would be like my promise to our Pastor to do next week's sermon!  You probably thought for years that your wife's shopping was just fun. NO, it is hard work and probably double so on a Pastor's salary. In the end she turned out to be the guide you needed. You are not alone in that.

Thanks for the comment, Michael.  A few years back I reviewed the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with the Pawtucket RI "Creche" case.  The folks who supported the manger scene on public property also emphasized the "value" of bringing people into the city for purposes of shopping, not to mention the "good will" engendered among Christians,i.e. prospective shoppers.  Rev. McKinney makes what I consider to be a compelling case for unblending the two traditions.  Let the people who want to celebrate the non-Christian aspects of "The Season" - this would include Christians who are so inclined -- do so under a new name, e.g. Winter Holiday, culminating in early or mid December.  The Christian Christmas would begin with Advent (thus some calendar overlap) and continue through to Epiphany.

Unfortunately, the word Christmas is so entrenched in secular imagery and music that confusion may be hard to eliminate.  But at least we should be able to offer an alternative to the Fox News-inspired "War on Christmas" by asking Bill O'Reilly which Christmas he's talking about and how serious he is about celebrating the birth of Christ without the commercial trappings.  And how he proposes to do this in a pluralistic society in which all Americans -- not just Christians -- have certain rights.

I am hoping that some productive discussion will help flesh out the details of disentanglement. I think the proposal is interesting enough to get some media attention, don't you?

You’re right, Gerrit. I listened to an NPR story about non-Christians (agnostic, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, etc.) celebrating “Christmas.” They had no problem with it, and in fact celebrated the commercialism of the season, because that seemed to be the common denominator – after you remove “Peace on earth to all men on whom his favor rests.” It seems crazy that Christians should rebel against ‘Christmas,’ but it may become more and more necessary as Christ is strained out of the celebration.

If any such reformation is to be accomplished, it will have to be initiated by faithful Christians, since most non-Christians appear to be quite content with using the term "Christmas" for a wide variety of secular activities.  That in itself speaks volumes.

 

Thanks for this post! Testimonies bring praise to our Lord as people get to see a little piece of the work that He is always doing. Our church has a tradition of sharing testimonies during the Sunday School hour during the month of January. People are selected ahead of time so that they can prepare. It's amazing to hear about all the different ways that God is working. Added benefits include getting to know the people we worship with each week on a different and deeper level, gaining understanding about various issues that people face, or realizing that we are not alone in our struggles. May the Lord help all of us to be more open, ready and willing to share testimonies of how the Lord is real to us in our everyday lives, and may it bring him praise.

Agree with much of what you say, Daniel.  We often love people in spite of what they have done, just as God does love us in spite of us sometimes.  But, loving God seems to me a bit different, because maybe I'm wrong, but all of God's names indicate what He has done or is doing, yes?  God has identified himself to us by what he has done.  His divinity, personality, and identity cannot be fathomed without his actions.  Even God loving us while we were still enemies in sin, is part of who God is.  Our desire to love God, is part of who we are.  

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that what we do is inseparable from who we are, as it is for the God in whose image he created us.  

EXCELLENT point, John! However, I think you're mistaken identifying Deists as being people who just worship who God is as opposed to what He has done. The true definition of a deist (as I understand it) is someone who believes that God set stuff in motion in the beginning, but now allows things to progress on their own without interfering. If I am correct in that, then there are two more problems that arise: 1) A Deist could (theoretically) worship God for "what Has done" just as easily as a person worshipping Yahweh--it just so happens that the "things" that God has done have occurred much further in the past and have ceased occurring. 2) The issue of whether it is difficult to talk about someone without thinking about what they have done is very different from whether it is right to love/worship (in the case of God) that person/being for who they are vs. what they have done. 

I guess I just feel that sometimes we exclude who God is from our consideration when we're thinking about our gratitude and/or our love for Him. God certainly does not love us for what we have done: He loved/loves us "even while we were still enemies." This is the model: God loves us "just as we are" (not "just as we have done"). In a like manner, I think we are called, ultimately, to love Him not for what He has done, but for who He is.

Again, don't get me wrong: what God has done/is doing/will do for us is beyond comprehension, and we should be infinitely thankful for it. But, as Timothy Keller points out in "The Prodigal God"--both sons don't love the father for who he is, but rather only want to get stuff (aka what the father can do for them). We, if we are to fulfill the question left hanging at the end of the parable of the Two Lost Sons, must learn to love the Father simply for who he is.

Lastly, John, some speculative questions for you. I ask myself: would God be worthy of our Love even if we didn't know Him, or what He had done for us? Of course! Silly question: it ultimately doesn't matter (theologically speaking) whether we know about what God has done, or even if we know Him at all--He's still worthy of our praise/worship/love/adoration, etc. Further, then, should those who are condemned eternally love and worship Him? Of course! Even those who are condemned will "bow the knee" and worship Him--and they should love Him too. What about if Jesus had not come to save us? Should we love God still? Of course: all the people of the Old Testament who loved Him, loved Him before they had seen Jesus face-to-face, and many of them seem to have had no idea about Jesus, and they loved Him still. You can go back and back in this question, until (I believe) you are left with the underlying truth that even if God had done nothing for you and I, He would still be worthy of our love simply because of who He is. If that is the case, then shouldn't we embrace that reality a bit more in our worship, devotion, words and deeds?

I don't think we should stop praising God for what He has done! By no means! I just think we need to be a bit more proactive in recognizing that ultimately healthy love between people and other beings is not based on what they have done, but simply on who they are.

Very, very difficult to talk about someone without talking or thinking about what they have done.  What they do is what identifies who they are.  Without knowing what they have done or what they do, how well do you really know them?   The difference between worshipping Jaweh and simply being a deist, is knowing what God has done, and what He promised to do, and knowing what he wants us to do.  James says faith without works is dead.  A person (or God) without his actions ... who is he? 

I think this too is a really valuable comment, Keith. Though I don't know any millionaires or billionaires myself (that I'm aware of), I've heard the same thing about the loneliness. I wonder, with regards to church-volunteerism and the wealthy, whether there's an assumption that if you're wealthy, you must be extremely busy (else how could you have gotten wealthy, perhaps?). 

While perhaps not an always true assumption, it does point to a mistake that we often make when recruiting staff/volunteers: we either decide for the people whom we might ask that they are too busy before we even ask ("Oh, she's a single-mom. She would be too busy to do this.), OR we recklessly pressure people who may actually be too busy into doing stuff that they really would rather not. 

If we were to engage in the kind of process outlined above, perhaps that would be another pitfall we could avoid (at least to a greater degree). The more we allow the Spirit to speak into these decisions through all of us, the more likely we are to "get it right."

Great to hear from you, Keith! I'm really glad for the experiences that you've had with Christian business owners. I think that yes, indeed, the Church could learn a lot from these businesses that you mention. I think that too many times we treat finding church volunteers and staff as either "just business" and utilize a very "secular" model for hiring/recruiting, OR we use the "warm body" procedure of just putting in place whomever we can find who is willing, regardless of qualifications, job description, fit with the rest of the team of even regardless of God's will!

This certainly resonates.  I do get the impression that some people think being reformed means to do what the world does, and then color it christian.   I don't think that's what the reformation was about.

I couldn't agree more. The whole point of hiring according to God's will is that He has plans for the business into which we're hiring, and we're looking for the men and women He has invited into His Kingdom work here. So for His will to be carried out following their hire, they (and of course we) need to be submitted to Him, living Christlike lives in the workplace and not just in church, seeking wisdom and guidance from the Spirit while using to the best of our ability all the gifts, experiences and abilities (and personality) that He has uniquely given us.

Of course that isn't easy and we all fail at times, sometimes massively. But this is a place the church has a role to play that it has largely ducked - supporting and equipping, celebrating what God is doing, challenging one another to focus more and more on God's work in our work.

... I need to add something. There is a recurring refrain among the Canadian Christian business community (and they're a broadly ecumenical lot): If you're involved in business, you're involved in ministry.

I know hundreds of men and women who feel 'called' to their ministry in business, and who refer to that same sense of calling when they hire CEOs, managers or sales people.

Here's a digression: I recently spoke to a group of Christian multi-millionaires and billionaires. They told me two things: they're lonely (their friends want their money) and they have left the organized church (the church just sees them as walking ATM machines or, at best, a potential chair of a capital campaign).

They don't seem to be valued for their leadership skills or their spiritual needs.  When's the last time you appointed a very wealthy member to the Diaconate or used his/her gifts as Sunday school teacher?

Your comments make a lot of sense. In fact, I regularly come across employers who approach most of their decisions this way. I am the executive director of the Canadian Christian Business Federation and I regularly connect with about 3,500 Christian business leaders across the country, from small operations to multi-national corporations. Our membership also includes a half dozen Christian universities and 15 Christian non-profits.

Hundreds of Christian business leaders meet monthly over breakfast to deal precisely with the kind of issues that you raise. But why stop at hiring practices? Why seek God's will only when we're hiring an employee ... whether that's in a church or in a business?

We claim that God owns everything ... even the church!

I regularly come across men and women who live and breathe their faith at their work. When they develop long range plans for their companies, it's a prayerful process, balancing THEIR plans with God's will.

When they create their corporate budgets, they include a set amount for 'kingdom causes' ... rather than simply giving God 10 per cent of their net profits ... if they have any.

They responsibly value their employees, providing mentoring environments and appropriate maternity and paternity leave.

 

Your suggestion to employ the spiritual disciplines when hiring staff and appointing volunteers seems to me to be a foundational practice that every church should employ.  Certainly this should all be done prayerfully and pastorally.

Here's one more tip when it comes to the appointment of volunteers to head up various church ministries. Pay them a dollar a year. They're now considered 'paid' employees and the appropriate church body now has the right to 'fire' an employee if he/she isn't doing a good job. It's virtually impossible to fire volunteers. After all, they volunteered. If nothing else, it conveys a message to the volunteers that they're accountable and that they can be released from their responsibilities if there are valid reasons.

The Church can learn a few things from their members who genuinely reflect Christ in their business.

 

Keith Knight

 

This approach seems to make obvious sense when hiring in a Christian context. But does it also have application in a "secular" context? For example, if a Christian manager in a secular organization is hiring, which of these steps still apply? If we believe that "there is not one square inch" over which God doesn't rule, then we see His sovereignty in every hiring decision. We also see the Christian worker or manager as being at God's disposal for His Kingdom purposes. The interesting question is how this plays into a hiring decision when non-Christians are applying, or when questions about faith are not permitted by company policy. Clearly God uses people who are not part of His elect to carry out His plans (for good or ill - think of Cyrus and Pharoah!) 

Food for thought - and good preparatory dialogue for tomorrow's CRC Webinar "Every Square Inch" at Work - sorry for the shameless plug!

Thanks for your comment, Bev. The original book was written for just the kind of scenario you suggest: elders, deacons, and other church volunteers. I think it'd be really good to implement in our churches, but what do you think about trying this kind of strategy in the workplace?

hmmm... maybe the Church could try that with elder and deacon selection?   it's done to some extent, but this probably takes it beyond the level most churches select their council members?  or not?

Thanks for sharing this, Sam! I really appreciate the practical steps for how to respond to a bully. 

posted in: Church Bullies

One of the workshops at a Safe Church conference was entitled: Bullying, it's not just for children. That's so true, as this helpful article points out. Thanks. Church leaders, who by their position are granted tremendous power (more than most realize), must constantly resist the urge to misuse that power for their own ends. We must prayerfully uphold our church leaders in this regard. And all of us need the constant reminder to follow in the way of our Lord, who in humble submission did not demand his own way, but rather gave himself in love. May the Lord's Spirit guide us, revealing what is needed, aiding us to honor him, as we honor others.

posted in: Church Bullies

Good article!

 

Rob I think you have done your best to provide a good insiteful balanced approach to a discussion of who Adam is/was.  However, within your "many" words, there seems to be a tendency in a few cases to look for problems where none exist.  For example, when you mention Nod, you assume there was a community there.  But Nod (which means wandering), is simply an identifier, like the name of a river, of an area.  There is no indication that there was a community there already.   

Also you mention that it is unlikely that Cain would have married his sister due to levitical laws.   But you know that these laws were not given until later, and that even Abraham married his half sister.  To suggest that this is a reason for proving other communities existed is simply not logical.  Rather, it would be much more logical to assume that Adam and Eve had many other children, and that brothers married sisters at that time.  I just saw a family on "America has Talent" which had 12 children in 18 years, and no twins.   Isn't this also scientific evidence of such a likelihood for Adam and Eve that they also had many children even before Seth was born? 

I think your synopsis of the meaning of "Adam", which is related to red, to earth, and is sometimes plural was well done, but it is certainly no indication that Adam was not a real singular living created being, created by God from dust in his own image.  In fact, it would suggest that he was created from the earth itself, wouldn't it.  

An explanation would be valuable, of why Genesis 4:26 would say that at the time of Enosh, Seth's son, men began to call on the name of the Lord, when obviously Abel and Cain were already sacrificing to God much earlier.  At least this should highlight the value of context in understanding the meaning of a phrase or verse.  

posted in: Who was Adam?

George:    You hit the ball out of the park with this excellent piece.  Sincerely,  Ed Tigchelaar

Love it, Janet. Amen back at you!

posted in: Because

Just a short note - I have a rooster sitting on my kitchen window (stuffed kind) because he reminds me of Peter.  I can also relate to Peter so much. I know Jesus  loves me and uses me - because of Peter. Amen Mavis.

posted in: Because

Anton, It is not appropriate to for Network users to be snarky to one another. I am sorry if you have expeirenced that on The Nettwork. One of our comment guidelines states that comments should be "friendly and polite in tone and language, even when you strongly disagree."   If you find a comment that you think is in violation of our comment policy please click the "flag for review" link below the comment. This will notifiy us of the comment and we will make ajudgement if the comment should be removed. Thank you Anton for participating on The Network and I do hope you find it useful towards your ministry needs. Jonathan WilsonNetwork Community and Content Manager

Keith Green... the music the Spirit gave him (and his wife Melody) was prophetic...

"Asleep in the Light" is just as relevant now as when it was written 30 years ago...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em5gL0Rw4Aw#t=76

 

Soften Your Heart (view link #1), My Eyes are Dry (link #2), So you wanna go back to Egypt, and To Obey is better than Sacrifice, all by Keith as well, are also prophetic challenges that are relevant for the Church today... and that's just a few the powerful songs Keith composed and played with the help of the Holy Spirit...

#1 Soften Your Heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exQAD74YOUA

#2 My Eyes are Dry

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vsWO3-we-Y

 

 

 

 

 

In the latest issue of The Banner, there was an insert  called," Ministry report 2013".

when you come to Canadian Ministry, you would be led to believe we are only about Aboriginal Ministry north of the 49th parallel . It seems our interim Ministry Director has not made much headway in the year since his appointment. Another item that points to the broken bi-national structure of the crcna. Let's fix it or forget it. The congregations already are becoming dis-engaged to the denomination

Thanks, for pointing out Lewis' "Space Trilogy". I've enjoyed the series quite a few times myself, and love the way Lewis explores these topics. Two things to note, though: in the one book "Out of the Silent Planet", Lewis explores a kind of precursor creation to our own, in which the characters of the planet Malachandra don't seem to be fully equipped to "choose" sin over obedience— I seems like an utterly foreign concept to them. In the second book "Perelandra" we discover a kind of "alternate history" version  of a race very similar to our own who face a "redemption" before they even fall.

I, however, am interested here in thinking about two things that are not really addressed in Lewis' books:

1. What might "redemption" look like for a race utterly foreign to us (ie, a colonial being), and how might Christ's "once-for-all" sacrifice for our redemption might be connected to other beings/races' redemption story?

2. What a reflection through completely "other"/alien lenses might say about our own understanding of the gospel.

Thanks again for your thoughts, everyone! I'd love to hear more from all of you.

 

     C.S. Lewis explofes  these topics in his (fictional) trilogy, OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, PERELANDRA, and THAT HIDEUS STRENGTH.  You might find a lot of provocative and stimulating stuff there.

I might agree that putting solutions (5 streams) ahead of analysis may not be a wise move. In defense of SPACT I appreciated the detailed analysis that the denominational office prepared.  Before we jump into action we need to know the situation we are facing.To say,  "pick up the tools and do the job"  is too simplistic. Read Nehemiah.

Wow, you guys have awakend me this morning. What if?  What if all those other planets in all those other galaxies (upon which we so far  have discovered almost nil) had at one time sentient creatures that had come under judgment and we are the last viable planet in the universe? And we are apparently losing ground every day.

     luimes, it is a comman fallacy to view the angels on the head of a pin debate as useless, but you have to remember that during the first few centuries of the Church, they were still trying to figure out what we now take for granted. There was a HUGE debate over whether Jesus was the EXACT SAME substance as the Father or only SIMILAR substance. The debate over angels was in the same vein. Do they occupy space? If so, then how much? If not, then what are they? It was not a waste of time, it was vital, at the time, to understand that thought experiment.

Now, to the main question. I once read A Case of Conscience by James Blish, which dealt with this same issue from the perspective of a Jesuit Priest encountering a new alien race that seemingly exists without original sin. It provokes the same questions.

At the risk of sounding unthoughtful about the issue, I'll quote the Godfather of Christian Rock, Larry Norman's song, UFO:

and if there's life on other planets
then I'm sure that He must know
and He's been there once already
and has died to save their souls
 

That is, if they needed it in the first place. 2 Peter 3.9 characterizes God in this light, He is "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."This is the starting point.

 

Until such a time as we meet another extra-terrestial being to ask them these kinds of questions, isn't this a lot like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Here's a link to the article about how many planets there may be out there: 8.8 billion habitable Earth-size planets

Just to add to this... in case you're tempted to think: What's the possible relevance of this!? Scientists have recently calculated that there may be about 8.8 BILLION stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone that have earth-sized (and possibly habitable) planets around them. Considering how many galaxys there are... well you do the math....

I peter 2: 19 For this finds [u]favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds [v]favor with God.

Doing this would reduce a lot of conflict. 

Jim, we got the designation through an unscientific survey, a web-based poll. So Grand Rapidians (including me) voted themselves in as Beer City. But all is not lost. Besides Christian publishing, we gain a certain fame--and notoriety--from Art Prize, but the Christian world also sees us, though the work of Calvin Institute for Christian Worship, as a major stimulant and resource center for worship renewal. Through industrious work, we have also managed to become a metropolitan region of more than one million people -- by census counting. Still, your main point is right, that our prominence as a theological center has declined significantly.

posted in: A Tale of 3 Cities

An update, World Renew Disaster Response Services is setting up a long-term reconstruction site and we are committeed to approximately two years right now. 

Keith, the issue with homosexuality is not the numbers but how the church as an organization deals with the subject. If the media would deal with the subject  based on your percentages (which I agree with) there would rarely be an article on it.  Maybe the church might be wise to treat the subject as 1% of its issues?

Your comments on pornography are well taken.

I'm not taking issue with any of the comments but I find it interesting that for hetrosectuals it is so easy to talk about gays and lesbians but we say nothing about hetrosexuals who are living together outside of marriage. I experienced that 99.9% of non-Christian couples and not much better for Christian couples live together before marriage and sex before marriage is a virtual given.

In the old days it was "Blacks" who were the target because they were "different"...how much of the attention about gays and lesbians today isn't because of the same reason?

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