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I have been reading a few of the many great novels I have missed.  Currently reading "A Passage to India."  Have read "Absalom, Absalom," and "Anna Karenina" in the last year.  These and others are classics for good reasons.

I have a hard time following the technical and linguistic arguments on "status confesionis."  In practice, would accepting the report disallow pro-gay marriage positions, and imply excommunication for them?

I can't see why it would.  This issue is not doctrinal, at least in the sense of addressing doctrines of God, soteriology, Christology, etc.  It was those issues that the historical church debated in its councils.  And it was those kinds of issues that established orthodoxy, and brought about church ruptures.

The recent political season has shown just how far apart we can be on many important political, moral, and economic issues.  But while I may internally question the intelligence, knowledge, or even good will of some people in my congregation who take opposing views, I have no desire to exclude them from fellowship.  In fact, such members may be the toe of the body that my big mouth badly needs. 

It seems to me that our beliefs on the un/acceptability of homosexual marriage falls into such a category.  It is a social/moral issue about which we might disagree.  Moving it into the category of heresies along with Arianism, or tri-theism, etc. crosses far too many bridges. 

Debating what some term meant in another language in 500 year-old documents seems to miss the point. 

All true!  As a former missionary I can affirm them.  Though, in a good sense, I think it's true that "once a missionary, always a missionary."

Posted in: Music as Mission

Terrific to hear.

I met a missionary who is an ethno-musicologist.  She works in Africa trying to track down local music.

A problem she runs into is that the African music scene has been taken over by western pop artists, and earlier, by European hymnody.  Curious if you did or can blend in the local traditions.

The classic definition of justice is "rendering to each his due."

That's a good start, but invites lots of questions:  Due to whom?  What things?  Due on what basis?  Etc.

N. Wolterstorff has two recent books on justice, if you want to pursue it in depth. 

I am told that Bono was at an awards ceremony and heard a Christian Artist thank God for "giving" him a particular song.

Bono's response was, "I'm sorry to hear that God has no sense of rhythm or melody."

I suspect that 99% of the songs our kids listen to today won't be heard 30 years from now.

So?  Hold our noses and ears and listen to some good stuff, hoping they outgrow the bad?

Amen!  The problem is, our theology in the West is not aimed at shame and cleanliness; It is aimed at sin and guilt, e.g. the Satisfaction Theory of Atonement.  Therefore we are rarely effective evangelizing in the East.  But the Bible and ancient theology from the East does address our condition in this way.  Do you know any western theologians who are working in this area?

A colleague turned me toward psychological studies on this.  Makes sense.  A name to pursue is Brene Brown.  She has two TED talks that are instructive here.  She points out that shame is quite common in our culture as well.

In general, shame says, "I am not OK," rather than saying, "I have done wrong."  Thus the solution is acceptance rather than absolution.  God in Christ sees us for who we really are, and nonetheless loves us, and is proud to call us his children and friends.

You could check my "From Cairo to Christ."  It tells the story of my fellow Calvin Sem. grad who converted from Islam 40 years ago, and has been working as an evangelist to Muslims every since.  IVP 2017

We cannot face racism without "keeping records."  And racism in this country has a long and spotted record.  This is not an individual, isolated event.  It is part of a long story of inequality and dismissiveness in the U.S.  And it has been most obvious in the South.  Saying that we must address an event, rather than its history or causes is like trying to treat an alcoholic by getting him to stop drinking only rum.  No, this is a systemic problem.

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