I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Ben Witherington had a recent post on the Da Vinci Code movie entitled: Are You Ready to Rumble? The basic gist of it is that this new movie will probably be a blockbuster event in our culture and will provide Christians with an opportunity to engage people on a spiritual level about the Christian faith.

I tend to agree. It is exciting to think about the opportunities for spiritual conversations that could come out of this movie. A friend of mine who is a good Christian and whose name will remain strictly anonymous, said that she “loved movies that made Christians look stupid.” Well, uh…I’m still trying to figure out what that one means, but I think that what she is driving at is that sometimes a distortion of the truth (which the Da Vinci Code most certainly is) gives us the opportunity to bring the genuine truth to the forefront. (This could be what Stephanie was talking about, but who really ever knows what she means!?!?)

One the one hand, if Christians do not engage this movie and discuss it with our friends and family then the errors perpetrated in the Da Vinci Code will stand out as actual errors in the minds of many people. I can imagine that in this scenario many people will say, “Gee, who really knows what the deal is with that Jesus guy?” But on the other hand, if Christians engage in conversation with people and are successful in defending the realness and legitimacy of Jesus and Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah and Son of God then the question people must ask themselves is this: “Gee, what do I do with this Jesus guy?”

The difference in these two scenarios is critical, but either way it brings people face to face with the person of Christ. Like it or not this movie will be big. How the Church responds is yet to be seen.

Link of Interest:

Monday, April 17, 2006

Man Trading Up From Paper Clip to House

“Kyle MacDonald had a red paper clip and a dream: Could he use the community power of the Internet to barter that paper clip for something better, and trade that thing for something else — and so on and so on until he had a house?”


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Friday Meditation

Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

- Isaiah 53:4-6

In our human way of thinking, God is incapable of falling,... and yet he falls. Why? It cannot be a sign of weakness,but only a sign of love: a message of love for us.
Falling beneath the weight of the cross, Jesus reminds us that sin is a heavy burden, sin lowers us and destroys us, sin punishes us and brings us evil: in a word, sin is evil!
Yet God still loves us and desires what is good for us; his love drives him to cry out to the deaf, to us, who are unwilling to hear: “Abandon sin, because it hurts you. It takes away your peace, your joy; it cuts you off from life, and dries up within youthe very source of your freedom and dignity”.
Abandon it! Abandon it!

Lord, we have lost our sense of sin! Today a slick campaign of propaganda is spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishnessas if they were new heights of sophistication.
Lord Jesus,open our eyes: let us see the filth around usand recognize it for what it is, so that a single tear of sorrow can restore us to purity of heartand the breadth of true freedom. Open our eyes, Lord, Jesus!

All of the above are excerpts from the Vatican's website:

Summer Fashion

With the coming of spring it is time to discuss fashion.  The topic: Sandals and Socks.  This issue has been near and dear to my heart because my sister is debating whether to continue dating a guy who wears socks with his sandals.  My other sister has a firm rule that she will never date anyone who wears socks with his sandals.  Yep, it’s a toughie!

A recent post by Scot McKnight brought this explosive issue to the forefront of Internet discussion - so needless to say this is a hot button topic.  Some say that socks and sandals are acceptable only in Europe, while others buck the trends of American fashion and proudly display their stockings beneath their summer footwear.  And then there is the whole issue of those cool soccer guys who wear sandals with their soccer gear, which of course includes long socks.

As for me I am undecided.  I have never worn socks with sandals, but I am considering taking the plunge and seeing how society reacts.  Hey, if Scot McKnight does it, then it can’t be so bad!

For more research you can check out this website:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gay Christian buses - Coming to a conservative college near you!

A group of gay Christian students are touring the nation on a bus to engage a group of Christian colleges and universities that they consider to be hostile to gay and lesbians. Some of the colleges, including Biola University, are engaging the individuals and holding meetings with them. Others are a bit less friendly. Liberty University, for example, had the members of the group arrested for trespassing as soon as the students stepped off the bus.

With the rising acceptability of homosexuality within our culture there is a growing need to discuss how to react to gays and lesbians who also claim to be Christians and desire to engage conservative Christian circles. One method of dealing with this issue is to arrest any homosexual that comes near your organization. Another way to address this phenomenon is to engage in conversation and dialogue. This, of course, means providing solid reasons why a conservative believes that homosexuality is, in fact, wrong and immoral despite the fact that the homosexual with whom he or she is speaking may be very sincere about their desire to live the Christian faith.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Secular music in church worship

I ran across a recent article on a U2 Eucharist. It brought to my mind a question that has been bouncing around in my cranium of late: Should churches use secular music in their praise and worship time?

On the one hand you would have those who would be so appalled by the idea that they wouldn’t even be able to give it serious thought.  For these folks it is typical that only traditional hymns and other sacred songs should be used and the music should be simple and traditional so as not to detract from the heart of worship.  On the other end of the spectrum are those who would welcome any and all forms of music into worship, even music written by non-believers.

A couple of points here:

First, I wonder if it is truly possible to have a non-believer write music that truly glorifies God or Christ.  How can someone who, as a general rule, does not desire to glorify God compose a lyric that is truly worshipful. I would think it would be particularly difficult to write lyrics that praise Jesus as the Savior of the world. Of course, having said that, I think it is certainly possible to write about Jesus as Lord, but not actually believe it. Furthermore, it is also possible to write love songs that are vague enough so that they may be used in worship service, but recontextualized in such a way that rather than singing about love for a person the church turns the lyrics of love upward in an expression of worship to God.  So, although I express doubts, at the outset, that any secular songs could be used in a meaningful way, I certainly see it as a possibility.

My second thought here is one I owe to my friend Stephanie MacMillan bringing to my attention. In today’s view of writing and art, the work of art is not seen as synonymous with the author or the author’s intentions. A text is seen on its own terms, or a painting stands on its own, or a musical piece is its own composition. In the postmodern world the intentions of the author matter, but the intentions of the author no longer define or limit the potential of the work. I recently experienced this in a very vivid way as I was going back over some things I had written many years ago. There are some things that I have written so long ago that I don’t even hardly remember writing it, or the state of mind I was in, or even my purpose for writing. It struck me as I was reading that I felt a very real detachment from the writing – and I had written it! How much more detached is a piece of music, poetry or other forms of art.  Again, the author created it, but there is certainly a sense in which the work stands alone and brings different experiences and interpretations to others who come in contact with it. So, can we bring a sacred meaning to a secular song? It certainly seems possible.

My third and last point is simply to encourage thought on the issue of sacred versus secular. In previous generations we have seen churches erect massive but artificial barriers between the sacred and the secular. This seems to have been born out of fear of being contaminated by the world. Hence there was a desire to isolate oneself from any secular influence. Some would even go so far as to call playing cards wrong because they were used for vices such as gambling. I also remember those who would say that rock and roll music was immoral because secular artists played this type of music. Such examples are extremes to avoid, but is there still not some sense in which we must clarify what is sacred and what is secular? Myself and many in my generation tend not to see any distinction, at all. Is this a fault?

We do not want to hide from the world – this is clearly wrong. We wish to engage it in a real and relevant way, and this can be risky.  We risk being corrupted and we risk immoral influence. But we must engage. We cannot hide. And yet we are still, in a very real way, strangers in the world. We are different. And if we sell out the key things that make us followers of Christ, then we will forfeit the power that drew us to Christ in the first place.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A very revealing ministry

A new ministry has flashed onto the scene, which I feel deserves some exposure.  And I’m so excited to tell you that I can hardly bear it!

Here is a link to an article on the NUDES (Naturists Unashamedly Doing Evangelism and Surfing): http://www.emergingchurch.info/stories/nudes/index.htm