Book Review: Through My Windows

The rap artist known as Soup the Chemist a.k.a. Super C (probably best known for his project S.F.C.) recently released a book titled “Through My Windows”. The subtitle of the book, “The History Behind Holy Hip Hop”, is a bit misleading. In reality, this is Soup’s autobiography. He was one of the earliest “holy hip hop” artists, and he was involved longer than most. So one does learn some about “holy hip hop” from reading his book. Yet the book is Soup’s reflections rather than a history of the genre.

Soup moves between telling stories and sharing things he’s come to believe in. He does more of the former early on, then shifts toward the latter late in the book. The teaching part—or almost preaching at times—I felt was the weaker Continue reading

What Does It Mean To Be Loved?

It’s one thing to define love, but what does it mean to be loved?

I believe many people are familiar with the “love languages“. Understanding these can be very helpful to marriage. However, I think it’s unfortunate that they’ve often only been applied to marriage or dating relationships. This is because—as I’ve said before—our love languages don’t change in our other relationships outside marriage/dating.

  • If someone’s primary love language is words of affirmation, are they being loved if they aren’t routinely receiving encouragement and appreciation?
  • If someone’s primary love language is acts of service, are we loving them if we never do anything for them?
  • If someone’s primary love language is gifts, are they feeling love if they Continue reading

“Heaven”—A Beatiful Horizon

It’s been brought to my attention more than once how the common vision of heaven is far from the picture we get from careful study of the Bible. The popular ideas of heaven have us floating on clouds like we imagine angels do (which also aren’t very biblical in many cases). Or if not this extreme, at least we think of heaven as an existence in some spiritual realm. What if I told you that followers of Jesus won’t spend eternity in heaven? Does that shock you? Do you know that this is what the Bible tells us?

I found it interesting how N.T. Wright points out that in America, we seem to be much more interested in debating the nature of hell than we are heaven. I think that’s because the gospel of evangelicalism is that Jesus saves us from Continue reading

Honoring Truth — Allowing for Questions (A Follow Up)

I think some people are afraid of questions related to their beliefs. They fear that they may not have all the answers. More importantly, they fear that their beliefs may be found to be deficient. However I don’t think we should dissuade people from asking questions. After all, if they are seeking the truth and what we believe is true, shouldn’t that be the conclusion they eventually come to? And even if we’re worried they won’t, can we effectively keep them from wondering by preventing them from asking the question?

Unanswered questions don’t mean that a belief is false. Many people consider science to be among the most reliable knowledge that we have. However there’s hardly a limit to the amount of questions science hasn’t answered. Continue reading

Questions: Worship

How important are worship services? Is it important to have the best music possible? Is it important and/or effective to have a lot of people attend just because they like the music? What’s the difference between worship music and a concert? Is there always a difference? Is it a problem to have mediocre music? What style should worship music be? Should it cater to everyone or only the majority? What if people don’t like the style of worship music? Ought they be engaged in the singing anyway? What if a person would rather play an instrument than sing? Is there a place for them to worship? What about people who would prefer to dance or paint or pray or something else? How should the worship leaders (including a band or choir if present) Continue reading

Being the Church

Keith Giles recently hosted a roundtable discussion on his podcast. His guests included John Zens, Neil Cole, Herb Montgomery, and Kent Williamson. This discussion was so good that I’ve listened to it a handful of times already. I highly recommend you take time to listen to it as well. Here are some of the key points I took from the discussion:

  • Focus on Jesus.
  • Church has a DNA, three areas which should be balanced:
    • Divine truth — Jesus (up / relationship with Christ)
    • Nurturing relationships (in / community)
    • Apostolic mission (out / outreach / service / evangelism)
  • Seek Jesus’ guidance.
  • The church is to be a spiritual family on a mission together.
  • Listen to Jesus.
  • Church meetings aren’t so much the place to receive connection to Christ as Continue reading

Questions: Could God Use an Imperfect Bible?

Does God use people in his work? If so, are those people perfect? Is everything they say perfect and correct? If not, does that negate their message? If God can use imperfect people, and our imperfections don’t rule out everything we say or do, do we need to take an all or nothing approach to the Bible? Does the entire Bible has to be literally true in every way in order to be trusted? If God can use imperfect people to accomplish his purposes, could he use an imperfect Bible also? Or could he use a Bible that isn’t precisely accurate in certain ways, such as scientifically or historically (for example, using story which is partially true and partially not to make a point)?

photo credit: knowhimonline via photopin cc

Book Review: The Spirit of the Disciplines

The Spirit of the Disciplines is a book written by Dallas Willard. I admit, it’s not what I had expected. I’ve previously read “Celebration of Discipline” and thought that this book would be similar. The books both have to do with spiritual disciplines but diverge from there. Richard Foster (author of Celebration of Discipline) examines twelve different spiritual disciplines, always considering how they may be practiced.

Willard embarks on a completely different, more philosophical journey. He seeks to make an argument for the need of spiritual disciplines and the reasons they are important. Willard is very intelligent, which in this case makes the book feel more academic rather than one which would appeal to a broader, general Continue reading

The Key to the Driscoll Controversy

Controversy regarding pastor Mark Driscoll has come to a head recently. The responses to this generally fall into one of two categories in my mind. I believe there is an important, key difference between the responses. I think this difference is worth examining because it can help us understand how to respond in other situations besides this one.

Certainly all people make mistakes, and if you are a public figure, you will have some critics. Is this all that is going on here? Some people, including Driscoll himself, recognize mistakes he has made. I believe Driscoll is a sincere, dedicated follower of Christ. Driscoll has acknowledged and apologized for the poor actions he has taken in certain instances in the past. Shouldn’t we forgive Continue reading