Christian Carnival LV

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The 55th Christian Carnival is at Wittenberg Gate. My Sider on Evangelicals Mirroring the World is part of it.

3:17 has an impressively balanced presentation of a few very different biblical strands related to suicide. I'm the sort who doesn't think about my emotional state -- ever. It's nice to read those who do so I can remember that God put that sort of thing into the Bible, not just for those who will identify with it but for people like me who will consider it and reflect more on our emotional states. The post itself wasn't written for someone like me, though, and its insights are intended for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts. The Bible acknowledges the reality of such thoughts and included them within its pages. It doesn't stop there, though. The fundamental message is one of hope, not just the wishful thinking kind of hope that we now use the word to mean but the certain hope of the early Christians who had seen the resurrected Christ.

Proverbial Wife noticed something about gluttony that isn't true of other sins. It has a direct effect on your appearance. She then wonders what would happen with other sins if they had a similar effect. He conclusion is well put. "[T]he next time you start to judge a fat person as being spiritually inferior, put yourself in check by being grateful that all your sins aren't exposed in your flesh for everyone else to see...then again, maybe we would all have more compassion and accountability if that were the case...not to mention less emphasis on physical beauty. "

One thing I like about IntolerantElle is her succinct way of putting profound truths. Her post on whining has two such moments. "Though our sin is often the source of our suffering, it�s not all about us." For some reason many who see a strong doctrine of God's sovereignty in the scriptures, as I do, tend to see those purposes God has in everything to be simply about them. If God meant something by it, that doesn't mean it was meant to be about you. The second point she makes is a most brilliant way of putting a point that somehow isn't normally as obvious as she makes it: "Imagine: Why do I have to display the works of God in my life? I don�t wanna display the works of God! Whaaa, whaaaa, whaaa! I don�t think I�d whine as much if I had to use those words."

Speaking of God's sovereignty and how we display the works of God, Rebecca Writes reflects on exactly that. She points out that the great trouble, including persecution, that we should expect as Christ's followers (because we are like our master and he suffered greatly) is not just some natural effect of being a Christian. It's part of God's plan. He intends for us to experience great suffering, not in a masochistic way but for our good and for the working out of God's purposes through us, or as IntolerantElle put it, for the displaying of the works of God. She gives the example of the early Christians in Acts 4 as our model. Indeed their attitude is far from what I often see in other Christians and exhibit myself.

Wittenberg Gate offers a sane perspective on how to encounter the world. While many who use the culture war metaphor are right to talk about weapons, they're actually using the world's weapons, those Paul says are carnal. Our weapons are not of that sort because the war is not what people who tend to use the culture war metaphor see it to be. It's not against any human beings but against spiritual forces, and therefore the primary weapons are those in Ephesians 6.

Eternal Perspectives has a lengthy book review that makes a number of substantive points in interacting with the book in question. It's on the complicated situation with Israel and Palestine. The book in question focuses entirely on one side of the problem, and this set of two posts tries to separate out where the book is right and where it fails to deal with the complexities of the situation. I think many will accept it as stands or reject it outright, but perhaps that's too quick.

Brandywine Books looks at Jesus' ancestry, noting that a number of steps along the way involved immorality. Ruth, a Moabite, was descended from Lot and one of his daughters. Yes, Moab was a son of incest. Ruth was in the line of David. Her husband Boaz came from the prostitute Rahab of the book of Joshua. Solomon was the product of David's wife Bathsheba, whom David had acquired through adultery and murder. Judah and Tamar are also mentioned in Jesus' genealogy. That was another case of incest, but this time it was the result of Onan's refusal to provide an heir for his dead brother, with Tamar taking things into her own hands by seducing her father-in-law Judah while pretending to be a prostitute. I think it's funny in the light of all this that the two racist websites that like to link to me as a perverted race-mixer (thus ironically helping my ecosystem ranking) will go out of their way to try to prove that Ruth wasn't really a Moabite but simply an Israelite living in Moab, all to avoid the conclusion that Jesus was descended from a race-mixer (and originally from an incestuous union, but that's secondary for them as far as I can tell). There was a point to Matthew's mentioning most of these people in his genealogy. He wasn't just not hiding the immorality in the line of Christ. He was emphasizing it.

A Physicist's Perspective summarizes and quotes heavily from a Richard Pratt lecture on the image of God. There's a lot in it. Just as he can't do justice to the whole lecture, I can't do justice to his whole post. The one thing that stuck out most to me was that our being images of God, now restored in our redemption to what being an image of God is supposed to be, means that we are representing God to those around us. Pratt uses the analogy of statues of kings throughout the empire, and I think that's an apt comparison. The king's statues were all over, reminding every subject that the king is real and is to be obeyed. His authority is represented by the statues. In the same way, we fulfill our calling as images of God in our representing him and his authority over all reality as his ambassadors in the world that has largely rejected his rule.

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