I'm honored to be hosting the 83rd edition of Christian Carnival. I've read through every post to be mentioned below, and can attest that, as usual, there is a lot of excellent thought put into these posts. There have been a great number of folk who have hosted CC before it made its way to my humble blog, and many of them have categorized the posts they received for their given week in very creative ways. I'm not feeling so creative at this point. I'm big on quotes, and had originally hoped to assign a quote I felt appropriate to each submission, but after the first 15 or so this got a little laborious. So, instead, I'm grouping the submissions into themes, and each theme gets one/some applicable quote(s) assigned to it. Happy reading.
Jami Leigh at JamiLeigh poetically presents It matters
not! - a proclamation of faith, standing against an unknown illness!
Lance at Ragged Edges blesses us with Real Following, discussing the virtues of my (now former) church and it's current undertaking to help the suffering in Sudan.
Kim writes over at Sharing Spirit
about Painful Adversity; Joyful Growth Through all our painful adversities, once we let go of the struggle and the outcome into God's plan, purpose and hands, we will eventually experience joyful growth.
Dadmanly blogs on Forgiveness: Wrong, or Wronged: We step forward in faith, we do what He would have us do, we do what we need to do for ourselves, and then turn the hurt, the wrong, the working out of our salvation over to Him.
Robin Lee at Write Thinking: Miscellaneous Musings of a Christian Novelist muses about the potter's hands: Sometimes being shaped and molded by the Potter is uncomfortable for the clay, but it's a necessary process if I'm to become a useful pot.
Cindy Swanson at Notes in the Key of Life presents Carrie McDonnall is a hero.
Donna-Jean at Liberty and Lily writes
of a friend's new journey with a brain tumor. Elyse is determined to live and trust God vibrantly through this, and her inspiring response to this daunting news is written about in I Never Tire of That Joyful Feeling.
John over at Bezahlt(dot)Org tells us about Derek - a guy who's fallen on tough times lately - and asks for our help in supporting him.
Suffering is the very best gift He has to give us. He gives it only to His chosen friends. – Therese of Lisieux
No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in a wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through fire. The greatest poets have ‘learned in suffering what they were taught in song.’ – George MacDonald
Deep in unfathomable mines,
With never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour:
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
– William Cowper, 1774
On God and government (and other matters socio-political):
Will at WILLisms.com shows up with an industrious double-submission, sporting dual trivia tidbits: Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 136 -- Religious Denominations In The Senate., and Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 137 -- Religious Denominations In The U.S. House Of Representatives. Nice job Will, but what about the other 2 arms of government?
Jay at Stop The ACLU presents ACLosers and Victory For Free Speech
Diane at Crossroads takes home the Post Title Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dr. Seuss Book Award, with Dr. Price Pays the Price Like Canada, the United States is coming closer to silencing pastors who teach what the Bible says about marriage...and what it says about homosexuality. We see a recent example in Los Angeles with an action by the city council there.
Byron has a ticking time blog on his hands but instead of trying to deactivate it he's writing about God or country: To what or Whom do evangelical Christians ultimately pledge their allegiance? Byron takes home the Friends with a Professor from my Alma Mater award if in fact he is friends with Throckmorton, as his side-bar indicates.
John Bambenek at Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek presents Morality and Liberty - an article on why morality and a community-minded population is needed to maintain a free society.
Tom, the Thinking Christian, writes on how Religious Leaders Decry Imposition of Faith on Public Life noting that they are upset that faith is impinging on public policy--a matter that is addressed by Nancy Pearcey in Total Truth.
When Phil's not busy eating Another Man's Meat, he writes about stuff like Purple Heart: In the light of Cidny Sheehan I felt compelled to re-state what I believe is the real reason we need to be in Iraq - THE MORAL CASE.
Lennie at Cross Blogging speaks out on Education
Responsibility, saying I have a letter to the editor from someone proposing parents pay for their child's education. I am asking the following questions because of it:
1. What is responsibility of the Parent in paying for their child’s education?
2. What is responsibility of the Society in paying for all childrens education?
3. Do you believe your perspective is different if you are a Christian?
Julie Anne, a more feminine Fidler On The Roof asks What Are My Politics?
Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. - Ronald Reagan
Had the people, during the Revolution, had any suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, the Revolution would have been strangled in the cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect. In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. The great vital and conservative element in our system is the doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. - the House Judiciary Committee Report March 3, 1854, in response to a request that all reference to religion be removed from government
Finally, the ACLU - we talked about this yesterday and I - and, you know, I have to pick on the ACLU because they're the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now. There's by far. There's nobody even close to that. They're, like, second next to Al Qaeda. - Bill O'Reilly
On the Creation of us:
Dadmanly also posts over at Gladmanly on
Divine Evolution: In his continuing series of articles on Evolution, Frederick Turner has now hypothesized a synthetic framework (as in “synthesized,” rather than “ersatz”) for reconciling Evolution and Intelligence Design.
Dick at Viewpoint gives us Teaching ID (Pt. II), where he sketches an outline of how ID might be approached in a public school science class without interjecting religion into the discussion.
Kevin at Technogypsy presents Evolution, ID, and some common sense. Kevin's bit is mainly a link to another article.
Scientists have shown that the moon is moving away at a tiny yet measurable distance from the earth every year. If you do the math, you can calculate that 85 million years ago the moon was orbiting the earth at a distance of about 35 feet from the earth's surface. This would explain the death of the dinosaurs. The tallest ones, anyway. -- Unknown
What is required of you is faith and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect or deep knowledge of the mysteries of God. – Thomas a Kempis
On Sex / Marriage:
The Bloke ...in the outer... presents some
ideas and reflections on the issue of masturbation, sexual fantasies and Jesus' apparent injunction against committing adultery in one's mind. This post is actually the third in a series on the Matthew 5:27,28 passage in which the bloke attempts to upack what the meaning of the passage beginning in verse 17 is actually trying to say.
Funky Dung at Ales Rarus gives us a review of the Virtual Red Light District. Sayeth the Funk: I really cannot fathom why the Bush administration, the Family Research Council, and other conservative groups are against the implimentation of a .xxx domain. In this post I fisk two press releases from FRC on this matter. [NOTE: There's no naughtiness in the the post. The only "adult" word is pornography itself. No sex acts are mentioned. Also, I can assure you that I'm against porn and this post in no way defends the porn industry.]
Ron at Northern 'burbs blog writes on something I've CC'd about myself in the past: The
purposes of Marriage: Part V - A few More Its a continuation of my series on marriage, wrapping up the final purposes of the institution.
Hang up philosophy!
Useless philosophy can make a Juliet.
- Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 3
We regard love not as the search for a mate, but as the search for an orgasm more apocalyptic than the last one. [For us] God is located in the senses of the body—not the God of the churches, but the unachievable whisper of mystery within sex—the paradise of limitless energy and perception just beyond the next wave of orgasm. – Norman Mailer, The Beat Generation
A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
On the internet and fellowship:
(Providentially, the first two posts here are from homeschooling mothers. I'm the oldest of 6 homeschooled, so I'm thankful for moms like you.)
Kim at The Upward Call gives us
Life With the Machine - a piece that reflects on the impact of the internet on Christian thinking and socializing.
DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room presents Going from House to House.
Louie at The Marshian Chronicles blogs about Blogging For Blogging's Sake - Some thoughts on why believers blog, how and why we should do it, and what it all amounts to anyway. Louie wins the Using the Word Blogging Twice in His Title Award.
What is meant by fellowship in this verse? Gossip? Cups of tea? Tours? No. What is being referred to is something of a quite different order and on a quite different level. "They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, and break bread and to pray. A sense of awe was everywhere. All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common. With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy as they praised God" (Acts 2:42-47, New English Bible). That is fellowship as the new Testament understands it, and there is clearly a world of difference between that and mere social activities.
The Greek word for fellowship comes from a root meaning common or shared. So fellowship means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has. Give and take is the essence of fellowship, and give and take must be the way of fellowship in the common life of the body of Christ.
Christian fellowship is two-dimensional, and it has to be vertical before it can be horizontal. We must know the reality of fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ before we can know the reality of fellowship with each other in our common relationship to God (1 John 1:3). The person who is not in fellowship with the Father and the Son is no Christian at all, and so cannot share with Christians the realities of their fellowship. - James Packer, Your Father Loves You
Bill at faithCommons points out that Faith is not a belief or an agreement. Faith is the ardent pursuit of a worthy goal or a commitment to a worthy principle in his post Believing the Unbelievable is Not Faith.
Phil at PhilThreten posts on The Myth of Eden, asking: Is our relationship to God based on works or on faith....you may be surprised what RC Sproul's response is.
Ray Pritchard talks about Harry Bollback’s Advice noting that A wise friend recently gave me some good advice about making decisions. There comes a time when you need to make up your mind. If you sit around forever talking about your options, all you will do is sit around forever.
I’m a pretty calm sort, and I try to make choices in an informed, deliberate way. But from simple decisions at the hardware store to bigger life questions, I’m often reeling from the sheer volume of options I face each day. In fact, many people I know are caught in a similar love/hate relationship with choices—reveling in all the opportunities available, but also feeling downright oppressed by them.
Our choices seem especially fraught with anxiety now as the clothes, schools, jobs, food, homes, and cars we select are more than ever declarations of who we are. You are not just buying shoes or wine or gifts for the kids; with each decision you are constructing an identity for all the world to see and judge you by. This raises the pressure on making the right decision. You may feel increasingly frustrated by how little time you have to sort through all the options. You may continually question whether you’ve made the best decisions. Knowing what you really want can sometimes seem impossible. – Karen Olson, Too Many Choices?, Utne Reader
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. - Corrie Ten Boom
On Christ and Him crucified:
Bob at CrosSwords does some Franklin Graham Festival Preparation - Corpus Christi, TX is preparing for the Franklin Graham Festival to be held August 19-21. Some interesting things have been happening that remind all Christians of our need to examine our lives in the midst of Christ's call on our lives.
James at Points of Light talks of the Tree of Life - A tree at sunrise reminds the photographer that Jesus Christ is the bridge between earth and heaven.
Rick at Brutally Honest gives us The Emergent Jesus - New and Improved... Really..., telling us how the post modern Jesus is appealing but it's tough to let go of the Christ of Scripture.
Richard (or "Mr. Anderson" as he would be referred to in The Matrix) at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos theophilus - dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke writes on Cultus Atonement Metaphors. Sayeth Richard: In my discussion of "The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors," I explained how Paul could "portray an individual as a sacrifice and scapegoat at the same time."
For family devotions, Martin Luther once read the account of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22. His wife, Katie, said, "I do not believe it. God would not have treated his son like that!" "But, Katie," Luther replied, "He did." -- W. Wiersbe
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run:
His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
– Issac Watts
Jesus… told people that their sins were forgiven… This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic- on the level of a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. – C.S. Lewis
On the Word:
Reynaldo at The Bible Archive blogs on Wacky Scriptures, just answering a question about some portions of Scripture that have questionable authorship and why they’re still in our Bibles.
Michael over at Tantalizing if
True makes the interesting point that You
are not in the Bible - A theater/religion major presents a novel method of understanding the Bible better.
Brad over at 21st Century Reformation gives us a summary of Jesus' discileship method as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount in his post Discipleship 101 – A Practical Guide to Entering a Truly Heavenly Quality of Life This essay is a helpful guide to entering into the heavenly quality of life Jesus called the kingdom of Heaven. May you be blessed by learning to practice the ways of Jesus.
I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know none of them are like this. Of this [gospel] text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage…or else, some unknown ancient writer…without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern novelistic, realistic narrative…. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned how to read. – C.S. Lewis
When Jesus says to Simon, “Follow me,” the response is a single act of faith and obedience; there is no gap between a mental action of believing and a bodily action of following. The human person is not a mind attached to a body but a single psychosomatic being. The implication of this, of course, is that the gospel does not become public truth for a society by being propagated as a theory or as a worldview and certainly not as a religion. It can become public truth only insofar as it is embodied in a society (the church) which is both “abiding in” Christ and engaged in the life of the world. – Lesslie Newbigin
On other people's words:
Pastor Ed at Attention Span asks the question, Astronomer Or Astronaut? A quote in a third rate sequel got me thinking, "How does God want me to live?" The two choices are astronomer, exploring exciting places from the comfort of home, or astronaut, risking all to go.
Shaun over at Postscript Posthaste observes On the Legitimacy of Magic in Fantasy Literature, asking: Can Christian's read literature which includes the magical or, by doing so, are they sinfully participating in something condemned by God in the Bible? Responding to Doug Phillip's recent condemnation of Harry Potter, I demonstrate that magic in fantasy literature need not be that which the Bible condemns, but may actually be an act of virtue. As Tolkien put it, "in such "fantasy," as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator."
Doug at Apprehension writes on Mere Christianity - Right and Wrong - More Than Just Convenience
- C. S. Lewis is distinguishing right and wrong from other human conventions. I've added some detail from Minnesota ecology and American history. Come on, you know you have to visit now.
Tim at Callmeteem a response to the book The Grieving Indian.
Mark Olson at Psuedo-Polymath presents The Reformation: more thoughts - he's been reading more of Diarmaid MacCulloch's history of the Reformation and shares some semi-random observations along the way.
Dawn at DawnXianaMoon.com: Randomness happens to be the only contributor to CC this week that I have had the pleasure of meeting in person. She writes about Popularity at 23: In the last couple of days, more than one friend has told me that I'm popular. And it's a funny thing for me to hear. Dawn was voted "Most Popular" in her high school year book. Ok I made that part up.
I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware this is a rash adventure. Fairy is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. And overbold I may be accounted... – J.R.R. Tolkien
If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Ad astra per aspera - A rough road leads to the stars.
On living in His will:
Pastor Bill over at Chapelccino is home from vacation, and he's asking the question, "Why Even Come Back?"
WeekendFisher at CADRE Comments talks on a Food Fight at the Banquet of Life. As God tries to feed us, we often manage to make a mess of things.
Irene over at ireneQ • unravelled supplies us with Communication with God: mystery & minefield. Irene finds herself frustrated because she finds communication with God such a dicey thing.
Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes. – Oswald Chambers
On doctrinal issues:
Bill at Minas Tirith (didn't realize they had internet service to Middle Earth already) gives us The Tragedy of Eastern Orthodoxy - A passionate plea to evangelicals considering Eastern Orthodoxy.
Tim at Church Voices gives us Just a Virgin Birth.
Jeff at Anti-Itch Meditation gives us The War Department. This post uses the ELCA Conference's argument over their hymnal to raise a larger question about singing in church--why do we do it and why does it cause so much trouble?
Jeff takes home the Blog Name Sounds Most Like a Business Award.
Karen at From the Anchor Hold gives us .... to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. She explains why the pre-reformation Churches celebrate and define as doctrine the Dormition (also known as the Assumption) of the Mother of God.
The Spirit of God first imparts love; he next inspires hope, and then gives liberty and that is about the last thing we have in many of our churches. – D.L. Moody
Sound doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. – John Charles Ryle
On everything else:
Grab your Bibles for the box scores. Paula at Listen In has insight into how life is like baseball after the excitement of the recent All-Star game. She's making her pitch with "Having a Baseball Attitude."
Penitens at A Penitent Blogger provides us with Soak the rich - A somewhat long reflection on material possessions and the things of heaven.
Barbara at Tidbits And Treasures posts on The Last Appointment, about how we need to be ready for The Last Appointment in life, death, which is one appointment we all have to keep, unless the Lord returns first.
From cwv warrior over at Christianity is Jewish we have Lest Ye Be Judged, who points out that Moses was receiving the Law from God while Aaron took over leadership of the people and goes on to compare Aaron's weakness with today's religious leaders' allowing idolatry into the churches. Join the debate!
Wayne at the Better Bibles Blog...well what can I say. Wayne takes the cake, in my book. For those of you not aware, I've been looking for help in making sure I get the trackbacks right for CC, as its something I've never done before. Wayne's post Trackback for Bible users gives us
Materialism is an obsession with material things. Asceticism is the denial of the good gifts of the Creator. Pharisaism is binding ourselves and other people with rules. Instead, we should stick to principles. The principle of simplicity is clear. Simplicity is the first cousin of contentment. Its motto is, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can certainly carry nothing out.” It recognizes that we are pilgrims. It concentrates on what we need, and measures this by what we use. It rejoices in the good things of creation, but hates waste and greed and clutter. It knows how easily the seed of the Word is smothered by the “cares and riches of this life.” It wants to be free of distractions, in order to love and serve God and others. – John R.W. Stott
Someone outside Washington has been shooting men and women without concern for race or age. The attacks have been both methodical and random….
We are always looking to make some sort of sense out of murder in order to keep it safely at bay: I don’t fit that description; I don’t live in that town; I would never have gone to that place, known that person. But what happens when we can’t say that—when there is no description, no place, nobody? Where do we go to get our peace of mind?....
The fact is, staving off our own death is one of our favorite national pastimes. Whether it is exercise, checking cholesterol, or having a mammogram—we are always trying to find out what the profile is—and then make sure we do not fit it. But a sniper taking a single clean shot, not into a crowd but through the sight, reminds us horribly of death itself. Despite our best intentions, it is still, for the most part, random. And it is absolutely coming. – Ann Patchett, New York Times Magazine
What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game.... There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife's fidelity and his mother's respectability. ~George Bernard Shaw
Thanks again to everyone. Next week CC is over at Wallo World.
Update: Late additions
Greg at incarnatus est writes on Real Revival - we do not have to wonder what it is like if Christ was present in our church. In the Lord's Supper, he is bodily present to give us assurance and new life.
Miss O'Hara at Miss O'Hara presents What do you see? How we perceive the Bible - for instance - the words of Jesus and how they are said - makes a world of difference.
Jeremy at Parableman gives us Do Evangelicals Have a Moral Podium? It raises the question of whether evangelicalism has moral clout with the culture to justify evangelicals trying to speak as a group on moral issues, given that we don't appear to be a whole lot different morally speaking from those in the surrounding culture.