Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bush's Books

Read about what Bush reads.

Hat Tip: JT

Great Sports Story

I rarely say this but you gotta read this.

Hat Tip: Vitamin Z

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music for Snowy Days

I am working on a favorite albums list for 2008 but for now I wanted to share to some perfect music for a snowy day from my favorite new artist, Bon Iver.

Download Skinny Love here for free.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Would Jesus Twitter?

Scott Thomas asks the all-important question.

Just Part of Christmas in Birmingham

On public access channel in Birmingham.  I have always dreamed of being a part of this...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Quotes from Culture Making: Chapter 4

"Because culture is cumulative - because every cultural good builds on and incorporates elements of culture that have come before - cultural creativity never starts from scratch.  Culture is what we make of the world - we start not with a blank slate but with all the richly encultured world that previous generations have handed to us." - 73

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Not Much Blogging but Here's A Few Links

Patrol is a new favorite site.  Check it out.

Here is Driscoll from the A29 Boot Camp in Dallas.

Tim Keller interview (Part 1 and Part 2).

I am listening to these guys right now. Mellow.

ESV Study Bible is now available as an app for the  often-imitated but not yet duplicated iPhone.

I have a couple sermons posted I preached the last of couple of weeks on Luke 5:27-32.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get Better at Contextualization

Jonathan Dodson gets all historical on us over at the resurgence.

The Faith of Obama

Here is a very telling interview on Obama's faith.

Hat Tip: Tim Challies

Monday, November 17, 2008

Suburbanism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice in a Liberal City?

I would not agree.  Southerners are the only people you can always berate and ridicule and never worry about the repercussions but this is a good argument.

hat tip: Subtext

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Simply Missional

One of the best articles I have read in a long, long time.

ESV Study Bible Going Mobile

This is awesome news for those of us with an iPhone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Culture Making: Quote from Chapter 3

"The only meaningful use of the phrase "the culture" is embedded in a longer phrase: the culture of a particular sphere, at a particular scale, for a particular people or public (ethnicity), at a particular time.  And even this much more careful way of speaking needs to always be accompanied by the awareness that the culture we are describing is changing, perhaps slowly, perhaps quickly." - 60

(Check out the Culture Making website.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Religious People Angry

Scott Thomas over at the acts 29 blog discusses one of the more provocative paragraphs in Timothy Keller's phenomenal new book The Prodigal God

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Culture: Quote from Chapter 3

from page 58

" earthquakes, revolutions are much better at destroying than building.  There is an important asymmetry here, whose roots go all the way down to the laws of physics: It is possible to change things quickly for the worse.  It only took two hours after the collision between a 767 and the South Tower of the World Trade Center to destroy it.  But no one can build the World trade Center in two hours.  the only thing you can do with Rome in a day is burn it.

The revolutionaries - and terrorists - of the world put their hope in cataclysmic evens.  But they are likely to be disappointed by the long-term effects of their actions.  After the 2005 bombings in the London Underground, the Economist observed, No city ... can stop terrorists altogether.  What can be said, though, is that terrorists are unable to stop cities, either."  the attacks of September 11, 2001, undoubtedly set in motion huge, and very likely tragic, changes.  But they did not change as much as all of us who witnessed them thought they would.  At the largest scale of culture, even horrific revolutionary events cannot easily destroy.  All the more so, the most beneficial events possibly have little positive effect in the short run." (emphasis mine)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quitting Church: A Short Review

So it only took a few sittings to finish Julia Duin's Quitting Church.  While not all was wrong I struggled to not...well struggle through her observations.  Full interesting and lots and lots of polls and stats, there was a lot to digest.  But the gist of the book is that people are quitting church.  OK.  So I am not sure that would be a surprise for anyone besides those who have just emerged form the cave.  Duin couches what I can only assume are suggestions for improvement in chapters, each with an observation.  I think it would be easy to say that Duin longs for a church with the community of the Jesus Movement (which she was a part of) that is Charismatic (she is) where women (like her) can be ordained.  She would like for churches to be more mindful of singles over 35 (like herself) and I think she would prefer good teaching but I was not sure.  The catch 22 of her criticism is that she rails against seeker-sensitive churches while being more specific than any other person I have ever heard about what she wants.  The book only "works" if you really listen to the reasons people are leaving.  Therein lies a huge assumption.  If you dare to criticize the thinking behind anyone who leaves, you then become further proof of the reasons they left in the first place.  The unsatisfied customer reigns supreme.  

All that brings us to what is not even on the radar of Julia Duin and her friends and family. First, all the complaints she puts forth are born of living in a place where there is choice in where you worship.  There may be this problem in China but their lack of choice makes such worries and complaints ring a tad bit hollow.  Second, there was no discussion but the glory of God for which we were made and saved (Eph. 3:21).  This book was in no way a metaphysical discussion. Third, the cross was absent except for her (veiled) complaint that, physically speaking there was no cross displayed in many churches today.  It really made it hard for me to listen to her complaints when the very thing that beget the church was for the most part a tertiary given(1 Cor. 1:2; 8:11; Eph. 5:25).  Fourth and lastly, I appreciated her looking at Mars Hill in Seattle but she gives no indication she talked with any of the staff.  And she never mentioned the Acts 29 network and os of course dialogued with no one involved in it.

Because of the above reasons I just can't commend this book as being helpful.  A more helpful book would be this one.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In God We Do Not Trust

Mark Driscoll waxes upon the election.

Making Culture: Quote from Chapter 2

"So when we speak of "ethnic" culture we are referring to these extraordinarily complex, rich collections of traditions of culture making, each rooted in a particular set of times and places.  But we should not be misled by the common associations of the word ethnic.  In many American supermarkets you can still find and "ethnic food" aisle - as if only some kinds of food participate in a cultural tradition. Nonsense - all food is "ethnic"(41).

OK, so the first time I read this quote something struck me as odd.  And here is why.  When he discusses the word ethnic, I know what he means by the term.  And when he discusses the "ethnic food aisle" at a grocery store, I also know what he means.  But I also know what he means he discusses the ethnic food aisle and he assumes I and others know what he means.  So, how can he call it "nonsense" for us to call it that simply to differentiate that aisle form the aisle with chips?  In our culture that is what we call it!  To call it nonsense is to assume a culture's understanding of the term "ethnic food aisle" is without sense.  Actually it has immense sense.  Or does he mean something by "nonsense"?  ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama is My President

It is the height of unbelief to not have a category for being thankful for what happened last night.

1. We should be glad and thankful we do not live in the country we lived in 40 years ago where Jim Crow laws were still in effect.  The fact that a biracial man has been elected to the highest office in the land when just a few decades a job would have been hard for him to find is simply incredible.  Christians more than anyone should be glad to see this.

2. We should be thankful to our Sovereign God who is always doing his people good.  Romans 8:28 says, "All things work together for good for those love him and are called according to his purpose."  And just to make it more specific, Paul says 5 chapters later in Romans 13, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities, resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment...for he is God's servant for your good." 

3.  For those who fear hard times because of oppression or economic difficulty, let me ask you one question, "Do you really think ease and wealth are the best soil for which the gospel to grow and flourish in our land and world?"  Again, God is working for our good, and our good should be the propagation of the gospel and the exaltation of the name which is above all names.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Culture Making: Quotes from Chapter 2

"Culture requires a public: a group of people who have been sufficiently affected by a cultural good that their horizons of possibility and impossibility have in fact been altered, and their own cultural creativity has been spurred, by that good's existence.  This group of people does not necessarily have to be large.  But without such a group the artifact remains exclusively personal and private.  it may be deeply meaningful to its owners...but it has not reshaped the world for anyone.  At least not yet.".

"Until an artifact is not shared it is not culture."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Culture Making Quote from Chapter 1

"... creativity cannot exist without order - a structure within which creation can happen.  On a cosmic level the extraordinary profusion of species could never survive if the world were an undifferentiated soup of elements.  This is true of human creativity too.  Without the darkened box of a theater, films would lose their compelling power.  Without the lines and spaces that make up written English, this book would be a soup of letters.  Creativity requires cosmos - it requires an ordered environment.
So in a way the Creator's greatest gift to his creation is the gift of structure - not a structure which locks the world, let alone the Creator himself, into mechanical repetition, but a  structure which provides freedom.  And those who are made in his image will also be both creators and rulers.  They will have a unique capacity to create - perhaps not to call something out of nothing in quite the way that God does in Genesis 1:1, but to reshape what exists into something genuinely new." (Culture Making, 22)  

Culture Making

Last week I picked up Culture Making by Andy Crouch after reading a review by Sean Michael Lucas.  I read the introduction fairly soon after buying it but I only really got into the first chapter last night because I wanted to finish another book I had been reading before going to sleep at night.

So like I said, I read the first chapter last night and it really blew me away.  My body was sore and tired after a run and then DCF but I could not put it down, only forcing myself after finishing the first chapter.

I have been enjoying reading a fellow blogger's comments and quotes as he reads through Total Church so I have decided to do the same with this book.  I hope it will drum up discussion from my 5 readers (none of which is my mom btw).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Story by Brandi Carlile

This is the best song not by Coldplay I have heard in awhile. 

What's God Got to Do With It?

Newsweek has an article on the Osteens.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Prodigal God

Tim Keller discusses his new book which will be out next week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homecoming Queen

Check out this article about a girl with Downs Syndrome becoming Homecoming Queen.

"Kristin has a lot of friends - she likes everyone.  It doesn't matter if you're tall or short, pretty, not pretty, smart, not smart - she likes everybody.  She has great friends."

This reminds me of a line in a song by Bill Mallonee that I have never been able to get over.

"I suppose there are benefits of being retarded/At least your life's a string of moments unguarded."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

4 reasons Driscoll Loves Piper

Driscoll loves Piper.  I love Driscoll.  I love Piper.  Piper loves Driscoll.  They do not know I exist.

Update:  Number #5 - He is a good sport.

Grudem and Birmingham

This story has made my day.  My brother, Wes and his family attend this church.  I love Wayne Grudem and I love his Systematic Theology.

Here is the Baptist Press article about this phenomenon at Hunter Street Baptist in Birmingham.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Understanding the Financial Mess

Here is a place with 5 links to sites that will certainly help.

Thomas Sowell is always the most helpful voice among economists.

Ann is just plain hilarious.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Death by Love

Thomas Sowell on the "Economic Crisis"

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite writers and always makes more sense than anyone else as he does here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Not Lasik?

So if you know anything about the Emergent Movement, you will notice there is with in it a penchant for really cool glasses... so I am just sitting here thinking, "Why not just get can't be all that more expensive than the glasses?

And then I immediately answered myself, 

"The cool factor really gets lost without the glasses."

The Erwin McManus Challenge

Phil Johnson challenges his readers to find some good sold gospel-truth coming out of the pen or mouth of Erwin McManus.

Hat Tip: JT

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ray Boltz

Here is the best post on the story that Ray Boltz is gay.

Some Refelections on Reading About Einstein

I have been reading Einstein: His Life and Universe and really enjoying it. The following are some thought s as I hit the half-way point of the book...

1. I have next to no understanding of physics.

2. I knew next to nothing about him before reading this book.

3. Einstein was a jerk to his family.

4. Einstein was a womanizing cad.

5. Einstein's genius was completely localized. He had no smarts when it came to people.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin Breathes Life into the McCain Campaign

So far I have nothing but reasons to like Palin. It really was brilliant for McCain to choose her and actually bolsters my confidence in him. It is just brilliant on so many levels.

She is pro-life. When her and her husband found out their son was going to be born with an extra chromosome and therefore have Down Syndrome they didn't ask the question "why us?" Their question was "why not us?"

She is a mom who has a son serving in the US Army. She is the direct opposite of disgruntled moms who have sons serving. She is proud of her son's sacrifice. And she places all her confidence in McCain who has unflinchingly supported the troops and the war in Iraq. She has a real vested interest in the decisions made regarding the military. She is also the commander of the Alaska National Guard as the Governor of that state.

She is after all a woman. And this will certainly concern the Democrats who are supposedly the party that cares about the advancement of women. I think alot of women will take stock of what happned when Hillary was not chosen in favor of a man with hardly any credentials to speak of.

Lastly, the timing of the announcement was superb. No one was talking about Obama's weak speech on Thursday evening. Many were only talking about how it had virtually been forgotten.

The following are links to get you some info on Palin:

Al Mohler writes on her fifth child.

The Washington Times

National Review

Mark Steyn

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bon Jovi Gets It. And We Don't.

Why rock and roll sounds more like the Psalms than Praise and Worship songs.

Hat Tip: 22 words

Now It Get's Interesting

I was very bored with the election till now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


This past Sunday Night the Student Ministry of Metro East Baptist Church began something very new and exciting. We started a class we are calling Engage. It is a class for students and parents who are part of the MEBC Student Ministry. This first Fall Semester we are discussing having a Biblical Worldview by asking, "How does the gospel help us think about the World around us?" Last week I did an introduction.

When we starting thinking about doing this class, we thought we were doing something really off the wall. We knew we would be working and planning from a philosophy of ministry idea instead of a demand. And so we assumed that this class would be well attended and we would be encouraged if about 8 families attended the first week (20 -25 people) and then ended up with about 4 or 5 families for the remainder of the class. We thought that would be a success.

Like I said, this past Sunday Night was our introduction...we had 105 people there. Now I know that numbers are not everything and should not be the sole gauge of success. But you gotta understand how unprepared we were for such a response. We are simply overwhelmed by God's power and faithfulness and our familys' interest and encouragement.

I think what we are doing is unique. But the idea of ministering to students in the context of their family and being a resource for parents is not new. If you would like to read more on the subject I suggest reThink, which is absolutely the best book on youth ministry out there.

Dever Interviews Guinness

Mark Dever (whose book I am reading) interviews Os Guinness.

Hat Tip: JT

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I am Listening To

There are two ways I discover new music. I have a subscription to Paste Magazine and a subscription to emuisc. I got my newest issue of Paste late last week and I get my 30 downloads for the month from emusic on the 25th, which was yesterday. So because of these 2 means I have been listening to...

Greg Laswell's album Three Flights from Alto Nido is really good. I have not listened to it alot yet but his voice and some of the sounds remind me of Chris Martin and Coldplay.

Jars of Clay's new EP Closer is incredible and has made me want to listen closely to all the other albums since their first. The song Closer is absolutley beautiful and I could not help but be reminded of Joy Division.

Adele's 19 is just plain gorgeous.

I think before it is over I will really like Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full. He is after my favorite Beatle.

The Myriad's With Arrows, With Poise is amazing from beginning to end. It has some great melodies that are oh so modern with all the reasons we loved some of the brit bands in the 80's.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Music I am Listening To

I am still listening to Coldplay's Viva La Vida almost everyday. It has been the soundtrack of my summer. I really cannot think of another album that has aressted me like this one has. And I really only enjoy the music on this album if I listen to it straight through. If I just listen to one song, I feel like I am trying to look at only a piece of the puzzle. The question I keep asking myself is "why?" Why do I love this album so much? I was never a Coldplay fan before. I never owned any music of theirs. So why? First, I think I can safely say this album more than most is an artistic piece. It is not merely entertainment. As a matter of fact, while it may be entertaining, to call it entertainment in the sense that most pop music is entertainment misses the mark. It is art. Second, is music is really sparse. There is not a lot of noise. Almost every note played is apparent. It draws you in because every note has the potential to become a memory. Third, the lyrics are full of images begging you to wrap your mind around them. Chris Martin is not a believer but this album is full of religious and biblical imagery. Therefore, it is very interesting to listen to his take on the world around him. Fourth, musically, I do not have another album like it. Some of the music is beautiful and arresting, violent and forbodding. Am I off the mark to suggest there are alot of borrowed sounds and rhythms from World Music? Lastly, one of the things I love about Jazz is how the voice becomes an instrument and not just a way to say something. Martin's voice does that on this album.

Viva La Vida is not the only new thing I am listening to...I am also listening to The Myriad. Indie Music made by believers. Weird video below but great song.

The Death of Protestant America

The article is here. John Piper makes observations here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

From PCA to SBC: Part 3

I apologize that is has been so long between posts (part 1, part 2) on this subject but I have never been so busy in my life and the blog has taken a backseat.

Someone may ask, "what does the Sabbath question have to do with Baptism"? Well, for me a lot! About a year after I got conviction and clarity on the Sabbath I started thinking about Baptism. I had grown up in the SBC but after college left the SBC and joined a PCA church. Although, I never was able to buy the arguments for infant baptism, I loved the PCA as a denomination enough and felt comfortable enough among them to actually go to their Seminary. While I was there, my love for the PCA increased. And into my second year, I bought into the argument for infant baptism. I say "bought into" not as a pejorative about the belief that we should baptize our children as infants. Actually any pejorative implication should be directed at me. To be completely honest, I began to love the PCA so much that I wanted to believe in paedobaptism. So, I looked for reasons to believe...and I found them.

What were thsoe reasons?

1. There really is a beautiful logic to the theology behind paedobaptism. I love theology and doctrine and the deeper I go, the more I happy I can be. Paedobaptism goes very deep and so I enjoyed the depth of the arguments.

2. I liked the storyline behind paedobaptism. The argument of "one covenant" with two administrations and the picture of baptism being for the new administration what circumcision was for the old was attractive to a guy who longed to have children and have them enjoy all that comes with being part of the "covenant community."

3. There was just enough ambiguity in Scripture to help me along.

4. The patience of those professors and friends who discussed these matters with me were a huge apologetic to me. they admitted there was a lot of ambiguity and good arguments for both sides.

I am not proud of my attitude at that time. But it sure made my life easier to simply stay in the PCA and enjoy the "home" we loved.

So back to a little over a year ago...I had to reckon with my own lack of conviction just as I had with the Sabbath issue. So I decided I must study the issue further and that was when I set out on a 6 month adventure of reading and discussing baptism.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Music on Monday

A few months ago I ran across a band I had never heard of. I was pretty impressed after downloading some free tracks and then kinda forgot about them. But then I heard them on Pandora and decided I needed to hear some more.

Robbie Seay Band is one of the best bands I have heard in a long time. Thanks to iTunes and EMusic I believe I have all of their albums. To get a listen I would reccomend their MySpace page and their website. My favorite album of theirs so far is Better Days...although their new one is really, really good. They are a great mix of acoustic rock with lots of songs that go full-boar on you. None of it is lazy and all of it is thoughtful. They do a number of Hymns that are very moving and some original "worship" tunes.

Also they are excellent live...on the way back from Chicago, the group I was with stopped in Decatur, Illinois to see a free concert of theirs. It was only an hour long but it was unreal good. The sound was huge and great. They have a very good live EP for those interested.

To tell you how much I like this band, only one album has really been competing for my attention in the last couple of weeks. And that album is Viva la Vida by Coldplay which may be a musical masterpiece.

Below are a few videos of Robbie Seay Band for your listening and viewing pleasure...

I Am Back

I apologize for being gone but I have been out of town for over a week on a missions trip to Chicago with some college students. And befpre that I was just so inordinately busy I had no time to sit down in front of my computer. I will be trying to post at least once a day for the next week or so as to catch up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

2009 Gospel Coalition Conference

Uhhh, Todd, if this is not a reason for a road trip, I don't know what is.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's Going On

Now that I am starting to feel a little more comfortable in my new postion at MEBC I feel like I can get back into blogging more. This is a catch up post.

I have been reading a lot less since moving but I did read Persuasion a few weeks ago and right now I am reading Christ and Culture Revisited by D.A. Carson and Harry Potter and the Cahmber of Secrets.

I have been listening to a variety of music lately. I love the new Coldplay album even though I have never enjoyed their previous albums much. A few weeks ago I discovered a new band, Seabird that is very, very good. Their new album is solid. And just this week I have been introduced to Hillsong. I can't get the song 'Mighty to Save' out of my head! And I consider that a good thing. Cue killer video...

Do you like "period pieces"? Are you a junkie for any movie set in 19th century England? My wife and I are and we loved the series, Cranford. The acting was phenomenal, it was laugh out loud funny and had some of the most profound and beautiful scenes I have ever watched on screen. It is available through Netflix.

Happy 499th Birthday!!!

John Calvin was born 499 years today!

Hat Tip: Desiring God Blog

Sunday, July 06, 2008

From PCA to SBC: Part 2

OK, so where was I...when we last left the story I had come to some conclusions about the Sabbath. To be honest I was not too concerned about these convictions though they certainly veered from the Westminster Confession of Faith. As a matter of fact I knew that I would be taking an exception to the teaching of the WCF but I had no idea of the controversial stand I was taking in my Presbytery. You see, every PCA church is part of a Presbytery. A Presbytery is a regional group of churches. Every Presbytery has things that make them a little different from the others. Some are little more lenient on issues such as the Sabbath, creation, etc. For instance I am told on good authority a Presbytery one state away from where I was actually expects and encourages my convictions regarding the Sabbath. However, the Presbytery I was a part of actually wants no pastor to take any exceptions whatsoever.

I did not know this when I took to the floor of my oral examinations with my convictions in hand to defend. The following is what I remember happening...

1. A continuous hot flash running down the back of my neck.

2. A finger being pointed at me and an elderly gentleman telling me I was an Antinomian.

3. A few people standing up to defend me.

4. Lots of angry looks.

5. A recommendation to read the worst book on the Sabbath ever.

6. My embarrassment and confusion when I was on the losing end of a vote to indefinitely postpone the vote for my ordination so I could study the matter more fully.

7. My own anger and frustration.

I applaud the men who stood by their convictions on this matter. I really do. I never lost one night of sleep over that vote. It was a bitter pill to swallow. But I was not mad at these men for what had happened.

What frustrated me was their attitude of condescension towards me during while being grilled and afterward in emails and phone calls.

I was bringing up arguments that had biblical and historical precedence within the Reformed community and no one was willing to do any dialogue with those arguments. What I found instead was many had done little study on the matter at all and they were willing to simply sign off on a debatable theological point. And what surprised me the most was how many men were willing to concede my point and admit they agreed with me but were not willing to go public with such a conviction. In other words, the inconvenience of going public with an unpopular position outweighed any other consideration of honesty and integrity. Granted, almost to a man who confronted me I could find no one who without equivocation would say they lived out the WCF's teaching on the Sabbath...they would all defer to a belief of individual conviction on the matter.

What frustrated me the most and certainly had the most long term effect on me was the fact that no one really cared how I lived on the Presbytery only wanted me to sign off and say the WCF was right on the matter. In other words, I must sign off on the theological argument with no concern to the way I actually live. No violence was to be done to the theological system. This was my greatest sin...I challenged the theological system. My convictions on the Sabbath did not fit into the system of the WCF. And so that is what got me thinking over a year later about baptism...

Reasons Why I Love My New Church

I love being a part of MEBC. The following are only some of the reasons why...

1. The gospel of grace is preached with intensity and conviction and excellence.

2. The gospel of grace is believed.

3. The gospel of grace is exhibited.

4. I am part of an amazing Pastoral Staff and we have amazing support staff who alos love MEBC.

5. I have an amazing Student Ministries Staff.

6. The sovereignty of God is preached fearlessly.

7. The music on Sunday morning is perfect.

8. I get to be a part of the discipleship of dozens upon dozens of Junior High and High School students and college students.

9. The parents of my students are unreal encouraging.

10. There is a palpable affection for the lost among the people of Metro East Baptist Church.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reflections on Juno

Last night My wife and I watched Juno for the first time. Only one person actually told me to not watch, a number of believers actually told me how great it was.

Wow, was I disappointed. It was terrible. Not because the acting was bad, the acting was fine I suppose. It was just terrible...the following are my observations are my reasons for thinking so.

1. It used big issue (s) to entertain us with quirkiness.

2. It was ridiculously crass and gross. And should be a reason in and of itself for saying "no" to it and rejecting it outright. The crass and gross humor was not peripheral but central.

3. I am sure the desire for reality was at the forefront of the reason for all the crass and gross dialogue. But if reality is the goal then why create a character like Juno who talks like a sitcom character full of obscure pop-culture references in every line? Not only does no person converse like that but certainly no teenager.

4. We live in a world of small thoughts and small dreams and small visions and small affections. Juno is the textbook example of that. It sprinkles in enough seriousness to justify a world of silliness and triviality and quirkiness.

5. Light-hearted, random quirkiness is the order of the day. Its prevalence and acceptance by believers everywhere of every age is out of proportion to blood-earnest seriousness of the mission of God's people to display his greatness and glory.

6. Funny is a terrible and God-dishonoring single litmus test for whether a movie is good. Should there not be something more? It is so small.

7. I felt like I needed a bath.

8. I should have listened to Murry Adams.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From PCA to SBC: Part 1

The story of me leaving the PCA over the subject of baptism actually begins previous to my deciding to revisit the subject just over a year ago. It actually goes back to my ordination exams and the drama over my convictions regarding the subject of the Sabbath.

Previous to my ordination exams I was told by a wise friend to make sure I had some good firm convictions on a number of subjects, one of them being the Sabbath. So I decided that I should really study the Sabbath issue. Now, I expected to come out on the other side of this time of study a Sabbatarian…one who believes that the only things allowed on the Sabbath are public and private worship and works of mercy and necessity. This was reinforced by the reading I was doing in the beginning.

But the more I read I was becoming more and more dissatisfied with what I was reading. The hermeneutic that I kept seeing was Christ-less for the most part and had no reference to the gospel at all. How can I preach and teach Christ crucified and still teach the Sabbath law as it is laid out in the Torah? This was my dilemma.

So I decided to try this study of the Sabbath differently. I decided to sit down and study every passage dealing with the Sabbath in the OT and NT. Then I looked at all of them in the original languages. I started comparing the teaching about the Sabbath in the OT and the teaching on the Sabbath in the NT. Then I decided to look at the teaching on the Sabbath previous to the crucifixion and then after the crucifixion.

I knew I was onto something when I could find no Sabbath commands post crucifixion except Paul’s warning in Colossians 2:16, 17, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things that are to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

I was sure I had found something of substance and the emotion that welled up in my heart when I saw that the Sabbath was a shadow of Christ I knew I had not only found some biblical direction I found the hermeneutic I was looking for right there in the Scriptures. Next I knew I must not be alone in seeing these wondrous things, so I started digging.

The first resource I found was a book edited by D.A. Carson, From Sabbath to Lord’s Day. I paid $60 bucks for it and it made more sense than anything else I had read. Not only did I find more support for what I found on my on, I actually found theological supports and historical resources. I was becoming more sure and now only needed some more study and prayer over these convictions. And so the following is what I went to my oral examination on the floor of Presbytery (regional meeting of elders) with…

My Sabbath Position

Matt Redmond

1) There is not one place in the New Testament where it is commanded that the Sabbath is to be kept.

a) In the OT we have approximately 50 places where the Sabbath is commanded starting in Exodus 16.

b) After the resurrection of Christ there are only 11 mentions of the Sabbath. None of them are commands.

c) Paul in all of his letters to Gentile churches only uses the word Sabbath once.

i) In Colossians 2:16, 17 Paul wants them to stop keeping Sabbaths.

ii) He never tells the Gentiles to keep the Sabbath.

2) Every other command in the 10 Commandments is reiterated in the NT. Whereas Sabbath-keeping is called into question in Colossians 2:16,17; Romans 14:5; and Galatians 4:9 – 11. See points 4 and 5 below.

3) The Sabbath is called the covenant “sign” and set apart from the other commands in Exodus 31:12 – 17, And the Lord said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’

a) No other command in the 10 Commandments is ever called a sign.

b) This is the last thing God says to Moses before giving him the “tablets of stone.”

c) Notice God’s words, “above all you shall keep my Sabbaths for this is a sign.”

d) The Sabbath is also called a sign in Ezekiel 20:12.

4) There is not one place in the New Testament where it is commanded that the Lord’s Day be kept. All discussions are descriptive and not prescriptive.

5) There is not one place in the NT where the Lord’s Day is explicitly or implicitly called or treated as a Sabbath and vice versa. In other words I can find no reason to transfer the commands regarding Sabbath observance from the seventh day to the first day of the week.

6) Theologians often call the Sabbath a “creation ordinance.” They believe the Sabbath command can be traced to creation in God’s resting. The problem with this view is there is no record of a command to keep the Sabbath till after the Exodus which makes it part of the Mosaic Law. Indeed, the Bible itself tells us the Sabbath command was given at the Exodus.

a) Neh. 9:13,14, You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments, 14 and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant.”

b) Exodus 16 is actually a commentary on the giving of the Sabbath. Even a cursory reading makes it clear how unclear the Sabbath command was for the Israelites.

7) The only place in the NT where the Sabbath is discussed (apart from time considerations and measurements) is in…

a) Matt. 11 and 12, which are healing passages (and it’s parallel passages in the other gospels)

b) John 5 which is also a healing on the Sabbath passage where John says Jesus broke the Sabbath.

c) Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or Sabbaths. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

d) Hebrews 4:8-10, “for if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”

8) Paul is clear on not judging others in regarding one day above another

a) Romans 14:5, “One person esteems one day better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

b) Galatians 4:9 – 11, “how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”

9) History points to an abrogation of the Sabbath

a) The post-Apostolic church rarely references it and never commands Sabbath keeping until the 8th century.

b) Not until Constantine do we have a principal of rest on the first day of the week under political and social control but not with any formal theological relationship to the 4th commandment.

c) It was not until the 8th century that the 1st day of the week was called the Sabbath

d) The Reformers (including Calvin and Luther) were united in not making Sunday a Sabbath

e) The English (and American) Puritan branch of the Reformation termed the Lord’s Day the Christian Sabbath

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Move to Wichita: Part 2

I once again apologize for not posting much lately for my regular readers. I do not think I have ever been so busy in my life. Moving in to a new house and starting a new job have become formidable tasks. But it is all getting more managable as the house gets in order (thanks to my incredible wife) and I start to get into a groove as the Associate Pastor of Students at Metro East Baptist Church.

I am posting because there have been more developements in our adventures in moving. As I pointed out in my previous post, Ultimate Van Lines is the company who we used to move us. They did a terrible job.

So last weeek I called them to try and talk to someone about this. I left a message on Thursday. No one ever called me back. So I called them yesterday. It was the single most unproductive discussion with a customer service representative I have ever had. The following is a list of all the ludicrous things I heard while on the phone.

1.) "Why should I believe you"?

2.) " you want me to kill them for being late"?

3.) "The reason you could not get in touch with anyone is our phones were down."

4.) (A week later) "The reason I did not call you back is our phones were down."

5.) "If you continue to laugh at my answers I will hang up on you."

6.) "We have not broken contract untill we are more than 3 days late."

7.) "If we are more than 3 days late we will compensate you for $25."

8.)"Yes, if we are a week late we will only compensate you for $100."

9.) "Why should I trust you"?

10.) "We made a mistake in billing and now you owe us $507."

All that said, we are enjoying Wichita...especially the convenience of being near Target, Lowes, Movie Theaters and lots of restaurants. Also, the weather is incredible.

Stay tuned for more updates. Also in the next couple of weeks I will be posting on my change of convictions regarding baptism.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Th Move to Wichita, Part 1

Well, it has been quite an adventure moving from greenwood, MS. to Wichita, KS. Moving is always a hard thing if all goes smoothly. We are leaving behind some amazing friends and and a youth ministry that is dear to my heart and full of friends who will always be in my thoughts and prayers. So it was an emotional time aready. Plus we are moving further away from our hometown, Birmingham and our family. It was simply a difficult move for a number of reasons.

Enter Ultimate Van Lines. This moving company took what was a difficult and did their darndest to make it hell for us. Below is a list of all our grievances against them.

1. They were supposed to show up on Friday morning. They did not show up till Saturday afternoon. We were counting on it being done by then and just enjoy fellowship with our friends for the rest of the day and then get up early and head for the Plains.

2. We were told that they would be at our house by noon on friday and then when they did not show up by 1:30 we called and were told it would be closer till 6. When they once again did not show up we called and could not reach anyone. Someone finally called us on Saturday morning at around 10 am telling us they would be there in a couple of hours. At 1:30 pm they finally showed up. Yes, your calculations are correct that is over 24 hours later than our contract stated.

3. We were told that a big crew was coming who would not the job out quickly. When they finally showed up, it was 2 men with a full truck. Oh yes, more were coming! They showed up around 9 that night.

4. When they left to go get a hotel room, they told us they would be back at 8 am on Sunday morning. When did they show up? 9 am.

5. Also, they were not Ultimate Van Lines. They were a smaller company contracted out for Ultimate Van Lines. They were not going to accept our method of payment. So I spent all of Sunday and Monday talking with both companies about how to pay for this train wreck of a move.

6. We were not able to leave Greenwood till 10 am. and the movers were still not done. We thankfully had a great frind to stay and supervise the movers till they finished at 2:45.

7. We were told the movers would unload our stuff on Monday morning in Wichita. Guess again!!! they did not show up till 6 pm on Monday and did not finsih unloading till 10 pm.

8. Over 2/3 of our boxes were not labled and significant amount of them were labled wrong. For example stuff that belongs in the Living room were labled Master Bedroom, etc.

9. As of yet, no one has called to apologize or to compensate us for our little trip through moving hell.

More later...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Busy Week

For those of you who are faithful readers of this site, I want to apologize for the lite posting as of late. Many of you are aware that I am moving this weekend to Wichita, KS. to be the Student Pastor at Metro East Baptist Church. This is a big change for me and my family. First, it is a move to a place where to be sure where it was we had to pull out a map. Second, we are leaving the PCA, a denomination we love but can no longer minister in because of my convictions on baptism. I will post more on this in the next few weeks. Third, we are leaving behind an amazing group of friends and a youth ministry I have enjoyed leading. Tonight is our last Wednesday Night Bible Study and it is going to be hard to say "good-bye" to these kids. Fourth, I will be leading a much larger youth ministry at a much larger church. However, I am nothing but excited about ministering to and getting to know these kids. Actually thanks to facebook I have been able to get to know some of them already.

O.K. enough of that...How about some short posts...

I have been listening to a lot of different music lately including but not limited to Duffy, Peggy Lee, Van Morrison, Lena Horne, and Daughtry.

I have been reading Sex, Sushi and Salvation by Christian George and also before going to sleep at night I have been reading The Magician's Nephew.

Alot of my time is spent playing with my new toy which I still look at and stand in complete disbelief that I own such a thing. Worlds would have been conquered for such a thing not too long ago. I am still very pleased with it. It is easy to use and I am still learning all that it can do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Music on Monday: Duffy

Last night one of my students was talking about a song she heard that she liked. Now usually I have little trust in the musical palette of any of my students. But she kept talking about this song called "mercy." Well, since I am always looking for an excuse to use my iPhone, I looked it up on itunes and listened to the sample.


I was blown away by the sounds of Duffy. All at once I was hearing the sounds of Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse and Van Morrison.

Duffy is 23 years old and from Wales. She knew nothing about music outside of the top 40 till just a few years ago but she sings like she was steeped in soul, jazz, Motown and R&B. She has already had a #1 hit in the UK and is just now making a splash over here though she has only played a handful of dates here in the states.

I love hearing something so new with a sound that is about 40 to 50 years old. My student who introduced me to her also noted while watching her videos that she has never so much cloting on a young female singer. Duffy us more than a little refreshing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My New Toy

I want to thank all the students and others who contributed to make a dream come true. I love all of you and will miss you terribly.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

C.J. Mahaney has a new book coming out.

My Take on the "Evangelical Manifesto"

There are a number of you who will wonder why I am commenting on the Evangelical Manifesto. First, some will wonder what it is and their wondering will last no longer than the time it takes to read this post. That is fine with me because I have no reason to believe the EM will have much lasting effect. It will cause bloggers like me to blog and it will get more than a few pastors and theogians talking over lunch for the next week or so. But beyond that it will get lost in the heap of so many other "manifestos." Cynical? Maybe, but certainly realistic. Second, I'm a student pastor and the EM seems tailor made for my ilk as far as such documents can be made for those who do what I do. Hopefully, I am so not so unusual a student pastor in my theological and ministerial concerns that I am alone in being concerned about those attempts to define what it means to be "evangelical."

So, for those who might care, allow me a few moments to state in bullet point fashion what I thought about the document. Why bullet points? beacuse they are easier to read and to write and I do not have too much time to invest on a document that will be most likely forgotten in a few weeks.

1. It does say a lot of really true things.

2. It says nothing new.

3. It is a PR move intended to put a respectable face on the signatories who want to be deemed evangelical but without the bad press.

4. It claims that Evangelicalism should be defined theologically but is not a very theological manifesto. A theological manifesto would have spelled out the specifics of those theological points which offend the most (the depravity of man, sin, hell, etc.)...after all it is a manifesto.

5. I frankly am unconcerned if someone thinks I am a fundamentalist weirdo who cares nothing about Kyoto. If anyone needs a PR firm to shore up respect for me as an evangelical it is me. I am a white, male, southern Pastor. Geez, I can't win for losing. But I have no confidence a document such as this, if I carried it around or posted a link to it in the sidebar of my blog, would help me be better understood as an evangelical.

6. Jim Wallis, Jack Hayford and Dallas Willard signed it.

Ok, so for really good analysis go to these places: JT, Al Mohler and Denny Burk.