I read the following words this morning on a Christian publication’s Facebook feed:
Easter is a notorious time for skeptics to launch attacks on Christianity. Christians should be ready to respond to skeptical arguments.
I confess that the way this is worded makes my skin crawl. “Calling all Christians, the skeptics are coming! Easter is nearly upon us, and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and defend the resurrection!” I’m sure Jesus would be so pleased.
Having (grouchily) said that, I have always taken the words of 1 Peter 3:15-16 very seriously: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” We tend to major on the “always be prepared” part and minor on the “with gentleness and respect” part, but that’s probably another blog post for another time.
At any rate, because Easter is a time where these questions tend to come up, and because the resurrection is the reason for the hope that I have, and NOT because I think Christians should be arming themselves for fiery combat with the skeptical hordes at the gate, I submit to you the following piece on the resurrection that was written by my brother Gil a few years back. It is important, in these lightly informed and noisy times, to at least make sure we know what we’re talking about when we defend or attack the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Read more
As I vaguely alluded to in my previous post, freedom has been in the news here in Canada with Québec’s proposed “secular charter” and all of the commotion this is stirring up. Freedom from religion? Freedom for or of religion? Whose freedoms win? How do we prioritize? Of course, these questions extend far beyond the boundaries of Québec cultural and political realities. They are alive and well wherever we turn in our increasingly globalized, post-Christian world.
I started to write a post about some of these themes, but then came across this piece that my brother Gil wrote a few years back. Not being able to improve upon this, I am reposting it here. His challenge to critically evaluate our love affair with freedom is a timely one, as is his reminder that, for the Christian, love, not freedom, is and has always been our true north. Read more
Over the last few days, my commutes have been spent listening to the 7 part CBC Ideas series called “The Myth of the Secular.” I’m not finished the series yet, but it’s been very interesting thus far. Is “the secular” simply the absence of religion? Or does it require religion and lean heavily on versions of religious eschatology in its vision of the future? Is religion a private exercise in a kind of generic, value-free public square or is it public truth with private implications? Basically, what I’ve picked up from the series thus far as that “the secular” owes considerably more to religion than it often cares to acknowledge and religion is often fundamentally secular in its presuppositions and expectations. The lines are often very blurry indeed. Read more
Our community is in the middle of a four-week sermon series on the nature of the gospel. We are discovering that “the gospel” is an expansive and inclusive thing—perhaps much bigger and deeper than many of us have considered it to be at various points along our journeys of faith. The gospel is good news that goes far beyond individual souls and their eternal destinies, and has implications for all of life and all of the world. Read more
Over the last few months, one of our adult classes at church has been reading through Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity. We’ve had some very interesting conversations, a few of which have revolved around the issue of what the Christian approach to pluralism ought to be. Is McLaren endorsing universalism? Relativism? Do all paths somehow lead to the same God? Is he advocating the abandoning of religious particularity in favour of a kind of fuzzy quasi-Christian humanism? These questions and others have animated some lively discussions about how we ought to live and think in our pluralistic context. Read more
On the drive in to work today, the radio airwaves were abuzz with conversation about “Occupy Wall Street”—a series of demonstrations in New York City against the economic inequities created/sustained by the global financial system. Too many resources in the hands of too few, too much greed and corruption, too much abuse of power, etc, etc. The voices on the radio were full of passion, moral outrage, and conviction that this movement was the beginning of “something big.” Read more
One of the unfortunate features of the blogging world is that many interesting posts/discussions disappear into cyber-oblivion as soon as new content replaces them on the front page. To address this lamentable reality, I have thus decided that from time to time I will drag out the odd blog post from the basement (my own, or someone else’s) and give it the opportunity for another look, another round of conversation. Read more