Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Gay mole!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

So I bought The Unlikely Disciple, a new book by Kevin Roose about his semester at Liberty University. Not usually interesting, except that Roose is a liberal Ivy Leaguer from Brown. The result is intriguing, enlightening, and downright hilarious.

The biggest mix (for me) of sorrow and laughter comes from the rampant gay jokes that permeate the campus. At the end of the semester, Roose is on the verge of being found out by the local rebel (who happens to have a knack for recognizing other rebels). Here’s the exchange:

Joey glances up at the ceiling, then shoots me a suspicious, sideways glare. Oh no. I know that look. I’ve been afraid of that look since the day I got here. That’s the look of a guy who is putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Right now, Joey is thinking: student journalist . . . came to Liberty from secular school . . . scored an interview with Dr. Falwell . . . leaving after one semester . . .

“You know, Rooster,” he says, “I almost feel like you’re a mole, and when this semester’s over, you’re gonna go back and write an article in Rolling Stone about being different at Liberty.”

I laugh — an involuntary, nervous laugh — and stammer, “What do you mean . . . different?”

“You know,” Joey says. “Gay.”

This semester, Joey has called me gay approximately ten thousand times, but this time sounds different. . . 

“So . . . are you?” he asks.

“Gay?”

“Or a mole.”

We stare at each other for fifteen seconds, tension filling the space between us. Head spinning, gut churning, I spurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

“You got me Joey. I’m a gay mole. Actually, I work for Elton John. He sent me here to recruit innocent Christian kids for his army of homosexuals. He told me to become friends with the Liberty students who seemed like closeted gays, and I picked you. Want to join?”

Joey laughs. “Suck my balls.”

He turns back to our video game, chuckling, apparently convinced of my innocence for now. Five minutes later, he looks at me again, shaking his head.

“Man, Rooster, you are one weird bastard.”

Roose is, indeed, a “weird bastard,” but he gives an amazing outsider’s look at evangelical concepts of sin, perspectives on sex and dating, and culture wars (the “God Divide“). While we obviously disagree on core issues, it’s a great book. Buy it, borrow it, read it.

Worldview Journalism

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I am not a fan of American evangelical media.  I think the movies, with few exceptions, are cheese; Christian comedy isn’t; and most magazines should turn in their presses to the local media police. Not that the secular versions of these are morally satisfying fare, but rather they don’t pretend to mediocrity — their quality is not judged secondarily to their worldview.

When it comes to journalism, I appreciate honesty and objectivity. I used to like the New York Times, but their super-liberal bias clouds their ability to effectively relate the facts, and they’ve lost the ability to be honest about what they believe and who they are. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t pretend, and while I see a great failure to answer many pressing social issues, and a total lack of journalistic compassion, at least the WSJ doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

I liked Newsweek, until the December 15, 2009, issue that declared “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.”  I’ve heard the same arguments before, but this article, and the editorial column that preceded it, claimed something that had heretofore not been part of the discussion: that those who believe otherwise are irrational, worthless fundamentalists who might as well give up.  “A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.”  All this in the guise of journalistic objectivity.  

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The Secular Message of American Christianity

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Michael Horton (Christless Christianity, p. 49ff) mentions sociologist Marsha Witten’s analysis of the secularization of American churches (All is Forgiven: The Secular Message in American Protestantism).  Ms. Witten recalls listening to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, when the mail arrived with a promotional flyer for a new church: “Why not get a LIFT instead of a letdown this Sunday?”

Witten uses this juxtaposition — St. Matthew Passion vs. the flyer — to frame the conclusions of her study.  As Horton summarizes:

While the former is fed by a rich sense of God’s majesty, holiness, and mercy, as well as the genuine struggle of faith, the latter is “optimistic, untroubled, purely mundane,” like any other advertisement for a product.  American Christianity today lives in this contradiction between “the spiritual and the psychological, the transcendent and the pragmatic.”

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Diagnosing the Illness

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

We humans need to exercise in order to stay healthy. Exercise protects against disease and early death, and keeps us mobile and able to perform daily tasks.

Walking is an easy, free and enjoyable form of exercise. But is a nice stroll enough to confer the life-saving benefits we know come from exercise?
We posed this question to five specialists in the field.
  
Jackson Fyfe, lecturer in applied sport science, Deakin University
No: Walking is of course better than no exercise at all, but to maximise health benefits, a combination of aerobic-type (running, cycling, swimming) and strength-type exercise (lifting weights or bodyweight exercises) should be performed regularly. We know being unfit shortens life, and countering the losses of muscle strength/power and bone density as we age can improve our ability to perform daily tasks, while reducing the risk of falls and associated complications. These are the best true wireless earbuds for long walks.

Experts' favorite walking workouts

 
Experts’ favorite walking workouts
Walking alone is simply not sufficient for most people, although it may provide a platform to more specific, intense exercise. So moderate- to high-intensity aerobic and strength training should also be incorporated into regular exercise programs. Of course, this does not mean walking does not have benefits, but there are aspects of the health-promoting effects of exercise that walking alone cannot provide.
3 research-based tactics for your weight loss effort
Carol Maher, National Heart Foundation senior research fellow in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep, University of South Australia
Yes: Physical activity is linked to important and wide-ranging health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart disease, excess weight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety, osteoporosis and many cancers. Walking at a moderate pace (5 km/hour, or 3.1 mph) can largely achieve these benefits, especially if it’s done in continuous bouts (say, 10 minutes or more at a time). Of course, the benefit is even greater if you can get some higher intensity exercise in such as brisk walking or walking up a hill, and throw into the mix some physical activity that challenges your strength and balance. Visit discovermagazine for more information about.
 
Julie Netto, lecturer, Curtin University
Bad heart? Time to hit the gym
Bad heart? Time to hit the gym
Yes: Walking brings many benefits. Walking is an activity that can easily be graded up or down to tailor to your personal goals. You can easily change pace or intensity, or the distance covered. Using Nordic poles (hiking sticks) can also modify the activity so it’s more than just a lower limb exercise. Walking on different gradients and surfaces or carrying a load while walking can add variety and challenge to your workout. In terms of convenience, you can easily walk on a treadmill too. Walking has been shown to have many physical health benefits and holds promise in alleviating depression. There are also socially supportive aspects to walking, where you could get to know people in your neighbourhood or community, especially if you’re a dog owner.
Kids’ fitness is improving — but they still aren’t as fit as their parents were
Kevin Netto, associate professor, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University
Yes: If you can walk independently and maintain a speed of 4-6 km/h (2.5-3.7 mph) for half an hour per day, then walking is sufficient exercise. Walking needs to sustain your interest in the long term. Walking can protect against chronic diseases, and there is less risk of injury compared to other forms of exercise. It’s also free (shoes and active wear aside), and your family, friends and pets can be included. In fact, these have been shown to be a great motivator to continue walking for exercise (the pet and friends, not the active wear). Make sure to learn how does peak bioboost work.
How much exercise do I really need?
How much exercise do I really need?
Walking in challenging environments can be difficult, with pollution and climate being factors that detract from participation. A treadmill may suffice but who likes walking in one spot! Investigate walking groups that use shopping centres or other indoor areas in the early morning in situations where it’s too hot or wet to walk outdoors. Most importantly, enjoy the experience … exercise can be the best medicine you ever take.
The ideal female body type is getting even harder to attain
Tim Olds, professor of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Yes: You’ll get there by walking, but running will get you there so much faster. The average Australian adult walks recreationally for about 30 minutes a day, and that makes up about 40% of all of their physical activity. We used to walk much more. In a study simulating life in the early Australian colony of Sydney, researchers recorded people walking 4-6 hours each day.
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A moderate walk requires about three times your resting metabolic rate, running and sport require much more — typically about seven times. Both walking and vigorous sport will reduce your risk of dying prematurely at any age. But you have to spend much more time walking: one minute of vigorous sport is worth 3.5 minutes of walking. To reduce your risk of dying by 20%, for example, you would need to walk for 56 minutes a day. You’d get the same benefit by running for 16 minutes.

What to do now?

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Obama won the election, mostly fair and square, and is obviously the choice of the people.  So what do reasonable Christians do now?  (Fleeing to Canada, or any other place, was never really a reasonable option!)  Says Doug Wilson on BLOG and MABLOG:

Christians should pray for the new president (1 Tim. 2:1-2), giving thanks for him. We should speak of him respectfully, rendering true honor as we do (1 Pet. 2:17; Rom. 13:7). We should pray for his true conversion to Christ (1 Tim. 2:1-2), wishing him the best as we do so (1 Tim. 2:4). At the same time, we must oppose the very bloody idolatries he will seek to advance, and we must do so with clarity and outspoken courage (Acts 26:29). We must identify all lawless thrones for what they are (Ps. 94:20). Only the grace of God can teach Christians how to honor the emperor, while at the same time considering him as one of the heads of the beast (Rev. 13:4). This is what the first century Christians had to do with Nero, one of history’s great lowlifes, and this is the kind of thing we obviously need to learn how to do.

Comment by Michael Hutton on the same post:

Where we go wrong is in thinking that any system, any institution, any bunch of laws can uphold godliness when the people no longer want it… What Americans have now is the will of the people. Christians need to preach and pray that that will might be submitted to the gospel of Christ. Only when the people are regenerate will the government be reformed.

Doug Wilson also has a great list of Ten Things to Keep in Mind After the Election, written before the results started coming in.