Welcome to the August 11, 2010 edition of the Christian Carnival, number CCCXL. As I did last time I hosted, I’m presenting the entries with some editorial comment. I’ve put a bit of humor, perhaps just a tiny little bit of snarkiness in a couple of cases, but these were all good posts, so I hope you can all take it in the spirit in which I intended it–to encourage people to read your posts. The posts are generally in the order in which the submissions were received.
The blog’s tag-line is “A woman-to-women conversation on all facets of life,” so maybe I shouldn’t admit to enjoying it, but I love the book of Ezekiel so much that I did a 2 quarter hour independent study just on the first chapter as an undergraduate. In the post The Second Ezekiel Aoide-Melete-Mneme discusses reading Ezekiel with the gospels. She notes that “even an avid Bible reader can learn something new.” As my wife would say, “Ya think?”
FMF jumps into a controversial issue with the post Is Bankruptcy Ever Okay for a Christian? and say it’s a very hot topic. Read the comments to see how hot. I was surprised at how long it took someone to mention sabbatical years and the Jubilee, and how small a role that part of scripture played in the debate. As a quick note, the lender knows the impact of the sabbatical year and yet the debtor doesn’t get off completely free, i.e. without consequences. It’s an interesting exercise in Biblical interpretation to apply rules from a culture in which lending at interest was forbidden to a culture practically founded on that practice. In any case, read the comments–they’re quite interesting!
OK, this next one has some commercial side to it, but it has to do with knitting, so it can’t be all bad. Yes, when I was younger, I learned to knit. My mother thought boys needed to know some knitting, cooking, and sewing. I managed some knitting and sewing. I can almost boil water without burning it. Roy Twogood Jr. presents Prayer Items & Prayer Knitting Group Project which talks about knitting prayer items. (If “prayer items” doesn’t make sense to you, read the post!) So prayer, knitting, groups, helping people–why not?
Some of you might not have warm feelings about prayer items, but what I can’t figure out is why top 10 lists are so popular. Oh well, Mike Vogt presents Top 10 Wedding Songs of All-Time posted at Christian Colleges Online. I say, some yes, some no, my top ten list would be different, were I to make such a list, but I didn’t need 10 songs for my wedding, so there!
Ten items weren’t enough for Carrie Oakley, who presented us with 50 Free Activities to Improve Your Christian Marriage posted at Online Colleges. She said, “The article has listed 50 free activities to improve your Christian marriage that anyone can do. Have a look to get you and your husband or wife talking, sharing, and communicating like never before.” I say that my top nine are #37-45.
CoolHappyGuy thinks tithing isn’t so obsolete as some of us think, in a post titled, appropriately, Is Tithing Obsolete? posted at Wealth From The Bible.com. He discusses it drawing on both the Old and New Testaments. Since I’m already on the record with my opinion, I’ll leave it at that.
I know a number of people who don’t know how to say “no.” Sometimes I wish they would. On the other hand, there are times to say yes. In which category are you? Joe Plemon presents “No” is a Great Word. Five Biblical Reasons For Using It posted at Personal Finance By The Book. He says, “Some Christians may think that serving others means always saying “yes”. The bible gives us several good reasons to say ‘no’.” Each reason deserves consideration and discussion on its own, but this is a carnival, not one of my rambling posts!
In Blind Spot posted at Ignorant Historian, Ronnica writes about blind spots. For better or worse, she used an illustration from politics (it’s one I happen to find agreeable), and that’s what the comments were about. Go read the post, but try to answer the question at the end. What is your blind spot?
Kim Staudenraus presents Secrecy Kills Trust posted at Tranquility Financial Visioning Are you looking for total success in a marriage? This article discuss how that can happen and how a marriage can be healed with openness and honesty. I have to note that I would endorse everything said about secrecy, though I know of “good” motivations for secrecy, such as keeping a spouse from worrying, yet even secrecy with good intentions goes bad. (And there are problems with the goodness of the intentions!) My wife and I now operate on two rules for our finances. We don’t discuss them before 9 am and after 9 pm, and we keep one another informed.
In Evangelicals self-sabotage when discussing homosexuality, Ali asks: “Does Western culture today consider Evangelical Christians to have an oppressive and hate-filled voice toward homosexuality just because they dislike Christians, or is there something in the way Evangelicals put their views across that feeds that perception?” That brings up the age old question, “How much of the opposition is the message, and how much is to the way it’s presented?” In modern terms, framing.
Often the most difficult part of Bible study is finding the right questions. We’re often so busy with the answers that we don’t think about the questions. Justin Allison presents 1 Corinthians 3 Bible Study posted at Old Testament Ecology, and it’s a question based Bible study, with a question before and a number of questions afterward. Question the questions!
How many times have you called in to a technical support line for assistance with a specific item, and found yourself talking to someone who is working “from the script?” The person you’re talking to really doesn’t know anything more about the product than you do, they just have a script —a set of questions and specific actions written down on a piece of paper, or in a document they’re reading from a computer screen.
C. S. Lewis is always good for some wonderful turns of phrase. You have to enjoy him even when you don’t agree, and here I do agree. Barry Wallace presents The unrelenting approach of God posted at who am i?. Lewis described his conversion in striking terms–striking terms indeed!
I grew up as the son of missionary parents and I have participated in and led short term mission teams. I can really appreciate what Ridge Burns says in his post Support Teams posted at Ridge’s Blog. Go read it. If you’re not involved in supporting anyone in missions, consider getting started.
Crystal Rodli presents Luke 22: Do Peter and Job Have Something in Common? posted at In A Clay Pot. This one really interested me because I had never thought to connect the two verses. But they do look like they are connected, don’t they? (OK, go read it first, then you’ll know.)
Chris Brooks is to be congratulated on presenting Loving Your Illegal Neighbor posted at Homeward Bound, in which he asks: “Is the Golden Rule the solution to our immigration woes?” But sometimes answers are not that simple. Or perhaps it’s more that simple answers, like the Golden Rule, force us into more complex thinking and action.
Dave Taylor presents Back on the wheel at Disciple’s Journal. He asks “Is it possible that the Lord’s priority at the moment might be to remake his messengers like clay on the potter’s wheel, shaping them ‘as seems best to him’ (Jer. 18:4)?” I’d like to point to one question in his post: What if the Lord didn’t want more of the church as it is? I’ve heard complaints from church members about God not being present or God not acting or blessing. Perhaps we need to ask this question.
Bob McDonald presents The middle of the book – a brief retrospect. It’s the summary of the marathon he is on to read and publish the new frames in every Psalm before the middle of September. And with the work Bob does on a Psalm, that’s an ambitious goal!
I’m adding a couple of posts that weren’t submitted, but I thought were worth noting.
The first comes from Allan Bevere, and I think it makes an important point. Often we are debating “two sides” of an issue, when the issue hasn’t been properly defined or the question properly asked. Allan challenges us to question the questions and debate the debates.
My friend Greg May reminds us of the importance of keeping up our relationship with God in Now It’s the Boat Motor. Greg has a down-to-earth style and message that I really enjoy, especially as a change from the sort of stuff I write!
While Jeremy faithfully announced the carnival he didn’t nominate his own post Ambiguity in Indirect Discourse. For what it’s worth, I do read Hebrew, and I had always interpreted that particular case as a quotation of Jehu, in other words, Jehu didn’t repeat all the words of he prophet to his staff. But I’m going to look at it some more and see if I’ve been right or wrong.
And finally, I present another note about C. S. Lewis. No, I didn’t know Barry Wallace would go and do likewise before I chose this post, but I’m sticking with it. It’s On C. S. Lewis, and the link to N. T. Wright’s comments is more valuable than my notes, but I did want to say why so much of what Bishop Wright had to say resonated with me.