Welcome to the 24th Christian Carnival. We've got a full house this time around, twenty submissions. I haven't been counting every week, but this may be a record. It's at least one of the top few. With more entries, it's getting harder to say something about each entry, so sometimes I've just given the person's own description. Sometimes I felt compelled to alter it for clarity or to add a comment based on my own response to the post.
I've found myself disagreeing fairly strongly with some submissions, but I've tried to be a good host and say as little in those cases, though I have trouble putting a link on my own blog to something I disagree with without saying something. I have to say that every post here is a worthy submission, and I think there's something of value in each one, even the ones I've expressed disagreement with. Please don't take my disagreements as anything other than a difference of opinion on matters not absolutely central to the Christian gospel. Now on the the Carnival...
Politics and Current Events:
The Dawn Treader warns us that, while we shouldn't put our hope in politics rather than Christ, that doesn't mean politics is a worthless field of influence. God doesn't recognize a sacred/secular divide.
Sovereign God Blog agrees: "With Monday's Canadian Election results, I am
reminded of the biblical injunction to honor those elected, knowing God is Sovereign in even Politics."
The Great Separation says: "Sun Myung Moon crowned the Messiah in a U.S. Capital Hill event by Senators, Congressman, and religious leaders. Lawmakers now claim to be dupes. Can the return of Christ be that far off the horizon?" I can't say I agree with all his conclusions, but I agree that it signals weirdness.
Between a rock and a hard place expresses surprise at the recent Supreme Court decision on school prayer in California, a decision that he wholeheartedly endorses.
Christopher Corts gives his take on the merits of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act currently before Congress and what opposition to it reveals about the pro-abortion lobby in America. It's amazing that people could be so opposed to the mere act of informing people that a 20-week fetus can feel pain and offering anaestetics for the fetus if they still choose to abort. It shows that not everyone calling themselves pro-choice is really pro-choice but is pro-abortion even at the cost of informed choice.
IntolerantElle asks the same questions, concluding that the abortion industry is fighting against a woman's right to choose. What rights are they fighting for? "They are fighting for the rights of abortion doctors to take advantage of women and children during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives."
Theology, History, Apologetics:
Back of the Envelope continues the discussion on evangelicalism and fundamentalism from a while back. This time the focus is on being born again. A later post begins to talk about how one becomes born again. I assume the payoff in how this related to evangelicalism and fundamentalism is still to come.
Matt Hall commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Theodore Beza. Although most Christians have never even heard of Beza, he was one of the most influential of the Reformers and his influence continues to our own day.
At Another Think: Islam teaches that Jesus was a mere prophet. Christianity teaches that Jesus was the Son of the living God. Judaism teaches that Jesus was just a simple rabbi caught in the jaws of Roman justice. So who is he, this Jesus, and how do we separate myth from reality?
Truth Be Told says: "This particular post focuses on the loss of truth from behind the pulpit in regards to holding scripture up as true and accurate both spiritually and historically. This is most evident in regards to Genesis the first eleven chapters. There are many Christians who do not hold the book of Genesis as historical truth but place it on the same plain as Jesus' parables. It is viewed by many as merely an alegorical tool for explaining our origins and was not meant to be considered historical or factual, especially in regards to the 6 days of creation. We have allowed evolutionary thinking to permeate throughout society and the church in particular." Even though I disagree with his example, his main concern here is crucial.
The Christian Life:
A Likely Story discusses why her heart is touched by the old hymns, though she gives reasons why the newer hymns (often called worship songs or choruses) also have a place. I have to agree with her choices as better examples of both.
Mission Safari gives a step-by-step account of how God answered their step-by-step prayer requests in a step-by-step manner.
Proverbial Wife asks why we like themes. What's the personal significance of themes we are drawn to?
Beyond the Rim... has some thoughts on the dichotomy between fast and slow, immediacy and impatience, especially when considering God is not in a hurry in anything. Interestingly, Jollyblogger posted on the same subject on the same day. (See the comments on William's post for the link.)
Rebecca Writes looks at a few lessons some mentoring Mennonite mothers taught her. Good stuff.
Mr. Standfast has a series of four posts on salt. (He only submitted the fourth one, just in the interest of fair reporting.) I tend to think favor more straightforward understandings of the biblical texts, but this series is informative about how different cultures over time have had different associations with the image of salt, and all the practical advice in the series is excellent regardless of what you think of the texts.
Randomness says: "Why is it so hard to be vulnerable? To feel confident that someone else cares? We hide from each other, and when we do reveal those deep parts we're often hurt. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually we all fail each other."
Neil Uchitel reviews Lt. Col. Dave Grossman�s book on the psychological cost of killing in combat. An expert on the history of the military's efforts to subdue soldier's natural inclinations to avoid killing says that popular culture, especially video games, has accomplished the same trick without the proper context of combat, and it's led to expert killers who don't distinguish between different moral contexts that should affect the morality of killing. It's a much more convincing argument than the usual connections between violence and killing, which usually leave me thinking only disturbed people would be affected by Arnold movies and dismissing it.
My own submission is a review of the PCA Pastoral Letter on Racism. This document gives an excellent biblical theology of race and race relations, along with a biblically sensitive discussion of how to respond. I highlight some great insights, discuss a couple minor problems with their formulations, and raise some question about some of their responses.
Jollyblogger deals with the idea that the Christian community is to live in antithesis to the world around it. It is a distinctive community that neither synthesizes itself into the culture around it, nor creates a parallel, kind of �Bizarro� culture. David is timely and balanced in his critique of both Christian culture and of Christian assimilation of worldly culture.