Issue #50

Secular Resurrection in Films, Not So Dark Ages, Sexual Abuse in the Church, and more...

Issue #50
Photo by Compare Fibre / Unsplash
Lament (We Cannot Wait) | Robbie Seay Band

As we continue to lament the violence and destruction caused by war in Eastern Europe and around the world, this song came across my shuffled playlist, and I think it's appropriate. As Christians we are called to lament that the world is not as it should be, to weep with those who weep, and pray, "Come, Lord Jesus."

We've seen mothers bury sons
And we're begging you to come, oh

The broken fill our towns
And the hopeless shout aloud, oh

We cannot wait
We cannot wait
Oh, we cannot wait

When the poor are thrown aside
The sick are left to die, oh

We need your grace, oh God
Your grace, oh God
We need your grace

You are here, your kingdom come
Rescue us from all we've done
Help us move and be the love
Save us now from all we've done
We've seen mothers bury sons
We are begging you to come
We are begging you to come
Oh, God, come

We need your grace, oh God
Your grace, oh God
We need your grace
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Consider the Culture 🎨

Matrix, Motherhood, Metaverse: Secular ‘Resurrection’ in Recent Films | Brett McCracken 📃 →

McCracken takes a look at three recent movies that have a type of “resurrection” as a core theme. This isn’t always physical resurrection. The Matrix Resurrections looks at a resurrection of gender self-identity. The Lost Daughter shows us a resurrection of independence. Spider-Man: No Way Home shows a resurrection of a second chance after being “canceled.”

How do these resurrections compare with the ultimate physical resurrection found in Jesus of Nazareth? Digging into films is a good way to grasp and share Christianity with others, and McCracken gives us a guide to doing that in these three films.

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Living This Christian Life 🤴👸

Christians Talk about UFOs | Gary Bates and Joshua Lewis 📽 →

This is an interesting discussion on UFOs. Dr. Bates takes the view that it’s unlikely, theologically, that there is “alien life” out there and I tend to agree with him.

Dr. Bates believes that the majority of UFO sightings are easily explained naturalistically, but others are harder to explain. They discuss Genesis 6 and the Sons of God a bit because Bates thinks that some “alien abductions” may be demonic.

It’s been a little while since UFOs were in the news, but there’s still a cultural fascination with them. The idea that there’s more out there than what we can see and explain is helpful for Christians, whether we agree or not with the underlying reality of the claim. The world is stranger than we know, and there are spiritual forces. I’ve found that many, probably most people believe in more than we can see. Affirming that belief, even if we disagree about the nature of the underlying reality, can help us make the case that Christianity is true.

Christians Talk about UFOs with Dr. Gary Bates | Remnant Radio Youtube

For More:

Family Focus 🏡

Help! My Kids Keep Talking Back | William P. Smith 📃 →

We’ve all been there. You tell your child to do something, or you try to help them see something about themselves or the larger world, and they respond immediately with some kind of verbal push back.

And it stings. You thought you needed to say something to your child, and they told you they disagree. You made the effort to care about them, and they made the effort to push you away. That hurts. It’s offensive.

But now the ball is back in your court. What do you do? Two things: 1) see the bigger picture for yourself, and 2) help your child see what they’re really doing.

Smith helps us look at those two things in-depth, and as a father of a three-year-old, it’s really helpful. It can be difficult to see any disobedience at the moment rightly, but that is what Smith helps us with. Our concern must be for our children and their relationship with God, not with our hurt feelings or anger. Training a child is a long process, made up of moments. I know as well as you how difficult it can be to believe this, but it is the truth: each moment is an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

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Christianity Is True ✝️

Debate: Is Christianity Dangerous? | Aron Ra and Michael Jones 📽 →

This debate between Christian Youtuber Michael Jones, also known as Inspiring Philosophy, and Atheist Youtuber Aron Ra has an interesting premise. It is not a debate on whether Christianity is true (though Aron Ra travels into that territory several times), but on whether it is dangerous.

Aron Ra argues that Christianity is dangerous based on examples of personal experience, the interpretation that Christianity teaches people to believe things without evidence—it doesn’t, by the way—and other points.

Jones argues that Christianity is not dangerous based on empirical studies that survey religious experience. I do wish that Jones had counter-argued against Ra's twisted scriptural interpretations, but I understand why he didn't. It wasn't necessary for his point, which he believed that he had proven (truly, I think).

Read and Reflect 📖

Why Christians Need to Understand Hebraic Thought | Dru Johnson 📃 →

Many problems I faced as a pastor resulted from people failing to understand and apply the full teaching of Scripture. They didn’t seek consistency between their thought and action (too many times, I don’t either). They would cling to false caricatures of theology (e.g., the goal is for our souls to get into heaven) and twist them to justify their preselected life choices. The most obvious symptom was withdrawal from the Christian community (other than worship services) or appropriating church activities for their own ends.

I wish I’d had the words as a young pastor to tell them, as I would now, that the biblical authors thought and taught about the principles undergirding their life choices…

To think more deeply about the Bible requires that we understand the culture that its writers and readers were immersed in. It’s too easy to read the Bible with American / European / Asian Christian eyes. But we must love our Hebrew author neighbor and understand the culture that God spoke through to produce his word.

Church History Corner ⛪️

The Not So Dark Ages | John Dickson 🎧 →

In this episode, John up-ends a four-hundred-year-old fallacy that has been promoted since the Enlightenment: the Christian faith is a brake on scientific and literary progress. The Dark Ages - were they really that dark?

This is a short, 12-minute podcast, and very much worth it to learn the truth about this misunderstood era.

The Not-So-Dark Ages | Undeceptions Podcast

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Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️

Sexual Abuse Scandals and Power in the Church | Preston Sprinkle and Russell Moore 🎧 →

Russ has been very public about addressing the crisis of sexual abuse scandals in the church. In this episode, we talk about what leads to such scandals, why and how they are covered up, how the church needs to move forward in addressing such scandals (and abuse in general), and how we should think about the otherwise good content produced by Christian leaders (books, sermons, music) who later come out as abusers. We also talk about the polarized cultural moment we’re living in and what the future holds.

This is not a new issue, but it has been increasingly unveiled in the evangelical church. Our institutions are under scrutiny. How will we address these issues? Will we deflect or cover-up? Will we investigate? And what about the leaders who are revealed as abusers? We must model Christ not only as individuals but in our institutions as well. This isn’t just a problem for leaders. All Christians must be aware of these dangers, and all Christians are called to be watchful.

Sexual Abuse Scandals and Power in the Church | Theology in the Raw Podcast

Keep Your Mind on Things Above

I will be praying for you this week.

So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

— Matthew 6:31–32 (CSB)

Joel Fischer