Posts Tagged ‘church’

If you believe that the church has always maintained the same position on homosexual marriage, then here is an article for you.  It provides evidence quite to the contrary dating all the way back to the 8th century. I found to be very interesting.  Is it possible that what Prof. John Boswell has concluded about his findings are correct? Here is an excerpt from the article. Click the link to read the full article with more examples cited.

When Same Sex Marriage was a Christian Rite

A Kiev art museum contains a curious icon from St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai in Israel. It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman ‘pronubus’ (a best man), overseeing a wedding. The pronubus is Christ. The married couple are both men.

Is the icon suggesting that a gay “wedding” is being sanctified by Christ himself? The idea seems shocking. But the full answer comes from other early Christian sources about the two men featured in the icon, St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who were Christian martyrs. These two officers in the Roman army incurred the anger of Emperor Maximian when they were exposed as ‘secret Christians’ by refusing to enter a pagan temple. Both were sent to Syria circa 303 CE where Bacchus is thought to have died while being flogged. Sergius survived torture but was later beheaded. Legend says that Bacchus appeared to the dying Sergius as an angel, telling him to be brave because they would soon be reunited in heaven.

While the pairing of saints, particularly in the early Christian church, was not unusual, the association of these two men was regarded as particularly intimate. Severus, the Patriarch of Antioch (AD 512 – 518) explained that, “we should not separate in speech they [Sergius and Bacchus] who were joined in life”. This is not a case of simple “adelphopoiia.” In the definitive 10th century account of their lives, St. Sergius is openly celebrated as the “sweet companion and lover” of St. Bacchus. Sergius and Bacchus’s close relationship has led many modern scholars to believe they were lovers. But the most compelling evidence for this view is that the oldest text of their martyrology, written in New Testament Greek describes them as “erastai,” or “lovers”. In other words, they were a male homosexual couple. Their orientation and relationship was not only acknowledged, but it was fully accepted and celebrated by the early Christian church, which was far more tolerant than it is today.

Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual…..(read more)

Today, Mike Huckabee was on The Hot Seat on Fox.  During the interview he was asked if he identified more with the Republican party or the tea party movement.  He said that he identified more with the tea party movement based on its dissidence and insurgence.  When asked if he would make a party switch,  Huckabee answered with this;

“It’s not about a party.  The tea party is not a party, It’s not an organization as much as it is a movement. It’s a spirit. It’s an attitude.”  He goes on to say that; “the real power of the tea party is that it isn’t structured.  If it gets structured it will not be as effective.”

The church should be viewed the same way.  It’s not an organization or a party that someone belongs to.  It’s not about the church.  The church is not an organization as much as it is a movement.  It lives by the Spirit.  It’s a way of life.  The real power of the church is in the Spirit not in the structure.  If it becomes structured it not as effective.”

Read more about the organic nature of the church.

I saw this article over at Aaron Snow’s blog. It’s a great analogy about simpler church concepts using the simple equation 2+2=4. Check it out!

I’m always looking for ways to help other churched people understand why I’m a simple/organic/house church guy, because I get asked about it quite often.  I often have used construction terms–the structure of the traditional church needs a lot of metaphorical scaffolding (programs, finances, staff, etc.) to hold it up, where as a simple church doesn’t need any of those things. I may have found a new one.  And it involves my least favorite subjec … Read More

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by Charles R. Swindoll

Galatians 2:4-5

Few things turn our crank faster than being around big-minded, enthusiastic, broad-shouldered visionaries. They are positive, on the move, excited about exploring new vistas, inspired, and inspiring. While others are preoccupied with tiny tasks and nit-picking squabbles, these people see opportunity in every difficulty and helpful lessons in every setback.

Few things turn us off quicker than being around small-minded, pessimistic, narrow-world, tedious frowners. Engrossed in the minutiae of what won’t work and remembering a half-dozen worst-case scenarios, they can throw more cold water on a creative idea than a team of firefighters snuffing out a candle.

It’s not caution we resent. Caution is necessary and wise. Caution keeps the visionary realistic. No, it’s the tiny-focused, squint-eyed, tight-lipped, stingy soul that drives us batty. The best word is petty . . . as in petty cash, petty larceny, petty minded.

“Pettiness,” writes George Will, “is the tendency of people without large purposes.”

Petty people are worse than stubborn; they are negative and rigidly inflexible. While we work overtime to come up with some soaring idea, they’ve already thought up eight reasons it won’t fly.

Whatever or wherever or whoever manifests pettiness isn’t my concern, however. Stopping its effect on us is. Why? Because the church seems to be the breeding ground for this legalistic disease.

Pettiness takes a terrible toll. It kills our joy!

I have been studying the lives of several of the great visionaries of the church. They were extremely different, yet they all have one common denominator: Not one was petty. I mean not one.

Let me remind you of Paul’s reaction to those who “sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus.” He declares, “We did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour” (Gal. 2:5). Nor should we.

Count on this: You will encounter petty types. So when you do, shrug it off and just keep on honoring God as you pursue those large purposes.

“Pettiness is the tendency of people without large purposes” (George Will).

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The Diversity CultureI just finished reading the book The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley.  The author is the senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California.  He writes this book to the evangelical that wants to be a “soul winner” of the “diversity culture” so needless to say this book may not sit well with everyone.  I must admit I don’t think I was the intended audience of the book but found some good things in it none the less.

The Diversity Culture discusses the bigotry, stereotyping, and assumptions that often occur when people interact with others while using the story of Jesus and the woman at the well to present an alternative approach to sharing your beliefs with others.

If you want to read the first chapter of this book for free click here.

If you want to check out Matthew Raley’s blog click here.

7faittribesI am currently reading The Seven Faith Tribes by George Barna.  It looks like this is gonna be a good one so check back with me later for a review.  Here is the description from the inside cover:

The United States harbors a long and deep tradition of faith.  Founded as a nation of people seeking religious freedom, America has always debated the appropriate expression of religious beliefs.  Spirituality remains a hot topic of personal conversation, political intrigue, social commentary, and economic significance.

But what do we know about the faith of Americans?  Most analyses are woefully inadequate, lumping people into generic categories such as Protestant and Catholic, evangelical and mainline, charismatic and fundamentalist.  These general portraits are of limited value.

In The Seven Faith Tribes, researcher and writer George Barna draws upon twenty-five years of research- and interviews with more than 30,000 people- to identify and closely study the dominant “faith tribes” in America.  Who are they?  What holds them together?  And what difference might understanding them make for the future of our country?

Barna offers insightful information on each of these tribes and reveals astonishing insights about how they are influencing our economy, politics, and values.  Most importantly, he predicts what lies next for faith in America- and how we all might come together to set the nation on a better course.

lover's quarrelI just finished reading A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church which I got courtesy of The Ooze Viralbloggers.  As Dr. Alex McFarland has said, “This book is for all who are broken over the fact that our nation is spiritually bankrupt, despite a well funded American Christian industry and thousands of Dolby-surround-sound-equipped churches.

In his insightful critique of the evangelical movement and its excesses the book’s author, Warren Cole Smith, takes on such topics as “The Evangelical Myth,” “The Christian Industrial Complex,” and “Body-Count Evangelism.” Smith helps us to see that, even in the church, bad ideas have bad consequences despite good intentions.

Lover’s Quarrel powerfully declares that “God wants the church to be the church and that even the world wants the church to be the church.  It’s the church that doesn’t want to be the church.  That’s the core problem.”

If you want to check out this book go to the official site for Warren Cole Smith and the book here, where you can read the introduction and also purchase the book.