“If only you would tear apart the sky and come down!” Advent 1

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What Kind of Friend is God?

I believe it was Philip Yancey who observed that if God is my friend then he’s always the kind of friend that I imagine myself as wanting to be.

If I imagine that I have the power of God and a friend is in trouble I would do what would be necessary to help that friend out. Need money? Healing? Rescue from violence?

Christians of course pray for these things, good things, and no answer seems to come.

Our contemporary skepticism sometimes seems to imagine that this is a new problem for believers, it is not. The Old Testament prophets deal in these questions all the time, not simply at a personal level but at a national level.

What Has Happened to the LORD’s Favor? 

Last we talked about Israel’s story being the world’s story and our own story.

The foundational part of the Hebrew Scriptures was the Torah, the first 5 book. Those books contain what we know as “the mighty acts of God”. In them Israel’s identity is formed as God’s chosen people, his special possession by which the LORD will reveal himself to the nations and under the curse of death over the creation.

While believing egalitarian Americans consider individual “friendship with God” a foundational relationship Israel saw themselves as the LORD’s vassal. Such a relationship assumed that the LORD would look out for and protect Israel and in return Israel should serve, love and be obedient to the LORD.

Israel’s prophets majored on the breakdown of this relationship? Why was Israel weak, corrupt, violent and eventually subject to the abusive whims of greater nations that lived in her neighborhood? Was it Israel’s failure to keep up her end of the deal? Was God moody or negligent?

When Israel and Judah were swallowed up and carted off into exile and slavery once more the prophets wrestled with these ideas over and over and over again. This week we’ll look at some of that wrestling in Isaiah chapters 63 and 64.

Is it really better to have loved and lost?  Continue reading

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Gwyneth Paltrow is just more honest

The Week

Thanks to carefully-maintained Instagram and Twitter feeds, as well as easily-manipulated tabloid magazines, it’s become all too easy to feel as though we really know celebrities. We get to see them getting ready for awards nights, enjoying a lazy Sunday, and even breastfeeding their newborns. The result is a sense of artificial intimacy that makes us believe that maybe US Weekly is right; stars really are just like us.

Paltrow is one of the few celebrities who seems unwilling to take part in this little pact. She isn’t anything like us. She is rich and famous and beautiful and sleeps in pajamas more expensive than our nicest winter coats.

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Phil Vischer Podcast Headmaster Santiago Christian School

Brittany Maynard came up, Phil read from MedicalDaily.com

Maynard made the choice because life as the way she wanted to experience it should have been full of youth, vigor, beauty, and love — not pain, suffering, and a gradual wasting away of her mind and body. But to the physicians arguing against the law, dignity meant embracing the fact that life’s value wasn’t only found in beauty, youth, and independence — things our society values so much. Life itself was dignity, they claimed, even if it meant becoming deteriorated, old, and dependent.

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What is a slave?

A well-known legal formula, attributed to a Republican lawyer named Quintus Haterius, brings this home with particular clarity. With the Romans as with the Athenians, for a male to be the object of sexual penetration was considered unbefitting to a citizen. In defending a freedman accused of continuing to provide sexual favors to his former master, Haterius coined an aphorism that was later to become something of a popular dirty joke: impudicitia in ingenuo crimen est, in servo necessitas, in liberto officium (“ to be the object of anal penetration is a crime in the freeborn, a necessity for a slave, a duty for a freedman”). 110 What is significant here is that sexual subservience is considered the “duty” only of the freedman. It is not considered the “duty” of a slave. This is because, again, slavery was not a moral relation. The master could do what he liked, and there was nothing the slave could do about it.

Graeber, David (2011-07-12). Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Kindle Locations 4076-4083). Melville House. Kindle Edition.

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New Yorker posts a piece on a man dating a horse

From Linker

Rather, it’s a culture fervently devoted to the moral principle of equal recognition and affirmation — in a word, to an absolute ethic of niceness. Moral condemnation can be mean, and therefore it’s morally wrong — that’s the way growing numbers of Americans think about these issues.

Of course, these nonjudgmental Americans would think differently — they would continue to publicly affirm notions of human flourishing and condemn acts that diverge from the norm — if they confidently believed in the foundation of these judgments. But increasingly, they do not. Judeo-Christian piety used to supply it for many, but no longer.

Get married and have kids? If that’s what you want, sounds good. Live in a polyamorous arrangement? As long as everyone consents, have fun. What about my intense desire to copulate with a horse? Just make sure no one gets hurt — with hurt defined in the narrowest of terms (covering physical harm and the violation of personal preferences).

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Ferguson Missouri

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Thomas Lessl: Why the Galileo Story functions as myth for a science warfare narrative

Link

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