Reasons Why I Would Reject Christianity

I would reject the Christian faith for the following reasons:

1. The resurrection was found falsified or a lie beyond a shadow of a doubt (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).
2. There was a compelling reason for me to reject Christianity and look to another religion– vis-a-vis something better than Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

We hold tight to the cross of Christ and His resurrection because, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

[Archeology] A Dead Sea Scroll of Stone

A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

The New York Times published an article about a new-ishly-discovered Dead Sea Scroll of stone called Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection.

Joel Rosenberg explains,

A respected Israeli scholar and professor at Hebrew University is making an intriguing and compelling case that it is a distinctly Jewish notion to expect the Messiah to come, die as a “suffering servant” as an atonement for sins and the redemption of Israel, and then to rise from the dead on the third day. … the scholar is also arguing that this notion of the Messiah rising on the third day is a pre-Christian concept that dates back to before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem Ephratah.

This discovery has sparked several articles in Biblical Archaeology Review — see here, and here, and here.

You can also read what Joel Rosenberg shares about this discovery here.

Dispensationalism 2

Charles C. Ryrie explains the dispensational emphasis on consistently literal interpretation as follows:

The distinction between Israel and the Church is born out of a system of hermeneutics which is usually called literal interpretation. … The word literal is perhaps not as good as either the word normal or plain, but in any case it is interpretation that does not spiritualize or allegorize as nondispensational interpretation does. … Consistently literal or plain interpretation is indicative of a dispensational approach to the interpretation of Scripture. And it is this very consistency — the strength of dispensational interpretation — that irks the nondispensationalist and becomes the object of his ridicule.1

If plain or normal interpretation is the only valid hermeneutical principle, and if it is consistently applied, it will cause one to be a dispensationalist. As basic as one believes normal interpretation to be, to that extent he will of necessity become a dispensationalist.2

Dr. Walvoord captures the spirit of dispensational literalism in his dramatic statements:
“History is history, not allegory. Facts are facts. Prophesied future events are just what they are prophesied. Israel means Israel, earth means earth, heaven means heaven.”3

“A literal promise spiritualized is exegetical fraud.”4

Bark River Bible Church expresses Dispensationalism this way:

Dispensationalism – We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to his purpose. Three of these – the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the millennial kingdom – are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (John 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 2 Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25; Hebrews 7:19; Revelation 20:2-6).5

References

1 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), pages 45-46.

2 Ibid., page 21.

3 John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, pages 129-130.

4 Ibid., page 200.

5 Bark River Bible Church – What We Believe

Doubting Dawkins

Atheism has made a huge leap into the public mind. It seems that, ever since 9-11, a new breed of Atheism has come of age. One poem in particular about being an Atheist produces a few questions in my mind:

If you are hungry, I will offer food.
If you are thirsty, I will offer water.
If you are cold, I will offer warmth.
If you are in need, ask and I will give.
If you are in trouble, ask and I will help.

I do not do these things in the hopes of being rewarded, or out of fear of being punished.
I do these things because I know them to be right.
I set my own standards and I alone enforce them.
I am an Atheist

How does an Atheist “know them to be right”? What is right? wrong?

Who is the arbitrator of what is right? The individual person? Society?

What if one society sees everyone else not like them as inferior and decides to pursue all other societies’ destruction? It’s right in one society’s eyes but not others.

What if one society decides to take in and nurture all helpless people, while another decides to end the lives of all the helpless? What makes one society virtuous while another horrendous?

What if a society, at one point in time, pursues justice for all, yet within 1 to 3 generations becomes corrupt and pursues self-interest alone and throws justice out in the street?

What constitutes virtue? horrendous action? justice? injustice? Who gets to define these ideals and why should I follow those ideals?

This way of thinking promotes people doing what is right in their own eyes.

If we are to pursue the full extent of Atheism, then we must follow the natural conclusion provided in the video below.

What hope is there? There is no hope. There is no reason for me to follow any laws or guidelines of society. Because there is no God, I will not be judged by God, even though I will be judged by society, and even then, society’s perception of good will change. And if that is the extent of my judgement, so what? And who cares?

Check the site out: http://www.doubtingdawkins.com/.

Luke 15: The Prodigal Sons

The Prologue and Context of Luke 15

“10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments [robes] of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth her bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:10-11)

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan – the books, and the movie. And if you’ve watched the movie, at the very beginning is what they call the prologue – which actually takes you back 4800 years from the main events of the Lord of the Rings. And here’s why it’s doing this, it talks about the forging of the one ring and the nine rings and the rings that were given to the elves, it takes you through this massive history up to this battle for Middle Earth, and the reason it does that is it sets the entirety of the story in context. So if you don’t have the prologue and you just jump right in to Frodo, and Gandalf, and Sam, if you don’t know the prologue then you might as well be watching Mary Poppins. With a few more decapitations, obviously. The prologue is so massively important.

The Prologue for the Parable of the Two Sons is Genesis 3

The Fall
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
(Genesis 3:1-7)

This is a description of our fallenness. Our nothingness.There are some things we need to recognize in what happens in this passage:

1) God’s Word was questioned – “hath God said,…”
2) God’s Word was twisted – “Ye shall not surely die:”
3) Man was said to be lifted up to be like God – “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
4) Adam and Eve exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served a created thing rather than their Creator (Romans 1:25)
5) They are now characterized by worldliness

Life on the outside (of the garden) is dominated by worldliness. Let me repeat that. Life is dominated, on the outside, by worldliness. So, really the question is, how do we define worldliness? There are lots of definitions out there. What I want to do here is to give us a bottom line description of worldliness. And here it is – worldliness is performance based living. Worldliness is performance based living.

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.(Romans 3:10-20)

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;6 But we are all as an unclean thing , and all our righteousnesses [righteous deeds] are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.7 And there is none that calls upon thy name, that stirs up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.(Isaiah 64:6-7)

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:(Romans 5:12)

Question: What is all of this saying?
1) Our sin is far worse than we can imagine.
2) Our sin touches every part of our being.
3) Our most righteous deeds are as a polluted garment.
4) Our sinfulness demands punishment by wrath and fury.

Question: What does all of this mean?
1) Your best and most righteous thought this moment is so tainted with sin, it is still enough to condemn you.
2) Your most thoughtful and selfless deed is still so tainted with sin, it is worthless before God.
3) Our worship and praise to God today is worthless because of our sin.

Hang with me! I know there are red flags waving in your head right now! Don’t worry! Stick with me, here! Now THIS is what I want you to get. THIS is what I want you to understand:
There. is. HOPE!

3 For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.(Romans 4:3)

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)

11 And he (Jesus) said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” And he divided unto them his living.
The younger son outright rejected the Father.
The Father divided his possessions between the sons.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
The younger son squandered his inheritance.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.’”
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”
The licentious / liberal / squanderer / care free [insert descriptions here] type of person is more apt to come to his / her senses and repent.
22 But the father said to his servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, “Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.”
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

The elder son was angry because the Father took a portion of the elder son’s inheritance and gave it to the younger son. In other words, the younger son received more than what was traditionally provided when receiving an inheritance.

29 And he answering said to his father, “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
(Luke 15:11-32)

Today I want to dive into worldliness. Well, not into worldliness but the subject of worldliness. Back to the Lord of the Rings, some of the most intriguing characters in that story are the Ring Wraiths, these nine human kings, great kings of old I think they’re called, who were given rings from the Dark Lord Sauron. And when they were given these rings they were bewitched by Sauron, they were enslaved by Sauron, and they actually became less than human. So that now they were no longer visible to the human eye. They were kind of in between physical existence and this other world, and they were enslaved to do his will. And you know, if you’ve seen it, they have these suped up monk robes, where the hood comes down and you can’t see the inside and they have these massive arm holes in the robes. And I remember asking the question, why are they wearing these robes? Well, Tolkien actually tells us why they’re wearing these robes. Listen to this, he says, “The black robes are real robes that the Wraiths wear to give shape to their nothingness.” These fallen men have a profound sense of their fallenness. They have a profound sense of their nothingness. And they wear these robes, not because they like robes, but these robes are their way of covering that fallenness, of covering this profound sense of nothingness.

You know the story of the Ring Wraiths is really not a fictional story. Well it is a fictional story, but it’s not because it captures all of our experience this side of the Fall. That we wear robes, we have a profound sense, we can’t articulate it and it takes years in your 20’s and 30’s and 40’s before you can really begin to get a sense of the depth of your own fallenness. But we wear these robes to cover our fallenness. We put on the robe of sex, we put on the robe of money, we put on the robe of power, we put on the robe of vocational achievement, we put on the robe of educational achievement, we put on this robe and that robe and we’re wearing all these different robes in an attempt to cover our fallenness, in an attempt to cover our nothingness. But we do not only put on robes of sex, money and power, we also put on religious robes. This is why James, for instance, talks about pure and undefiled religion, because we are a people, I am a person who will put on religious activity, I will put on social concern as a robe that is my attempt to cover my own sense of fallenness and brokenness. That is worldliness.

Younger Brother
There’s a great little book by Sinclair Ferguson entitled, Children of the Living God. Fairly early on in the book he talks about the prodigal son in Luke 15 to help us understand a little more about ourselves and how we Christians often perceive our relationship with God. He notes that when the prodigal son finally decided that it was time to return to his father, his plan was to tell his father that he was no longer worthy to be called his son. The prodigal son’s thinking was, “I really messed up. I dishonored my father profoundly when I asked for my inheritance and left with it. I’ve blatantly squandered and belittled his love. So, when I return, I’ll return as his slave not his son. It’s the right thing for me to do.” The reality is that the prodigal is absolutely blind to the enormity of the father’s love for him. “After all that I have done, he certainly cannot treat me or love me any longer as a son!”Sinclair Ferguson sees something in the prodigal’s thinking that parallels how we as Christians often think of God and His fatherly love for us: “Jesus was underlining the fact that – despite assumptions to the contrary – the reality of the love of God for us is often the last thing in the world to dawn upon us. As we fix our eyes upon ourselves, our past failures, our present guilt, it seems impossible to us that the Father could love us. Many Christians go through much of their life with the prodigal’s suspicion. Their concentration is upon their sin and failure; all their thoughts are introspective” (Children of the Living God, 27).When the prodigal son says, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants’” (Luke 15:18-19), he is thinking in terms of wages earned rather than extravagant love and grace received.The only people who are truly able to turn their eyes outward in mission are those who knowingly live within and enjoy the loving gaze of their heavenly Father. If we are not confident of His love, our eyes will turn inward, and our primary concerns will be our needs, our lack, our disappointment, rather than the needs of those around us. As a result, we’ll be afraid to risk or do the hard thing even if it needs to be done. Or we will do the externals of missional living as an attempt to earn God’s acceptance or to keep him and our fellow-Christians off our back. We will relate to him as if we are wager earners rather than as His dearly beloved children, the ones in whom He delights. Granted, we may not know that this is why we’re doing what we’re doing, but it is what drives us from deep within. At best our hearts will be secretly ruled by thoughts like this, “I will pour myself out for the mission of God. Maybe then, if I do that, God will be pleased with me.” These ways of thinking or living do not flow out of the gospel of grace. The gospel is good news. It’s joy-news because it speaks to us of the Father’s love that has come to us in Jesus Christ.

Elder Brother
As Jesus makes clear at the beginning, this parable is about two sons (Luke 15:11), both of whom are estranged from their father. The younger son manifests his estrangement by breaking the rules and the older son by keeping them. Neither son lives his life in loving communion with the father, which is the point of the parable. Both sons are prodigals, not just the younger one. The older son may have been on “mission” with the father externally—doing what he was “supposed” to do—but he certainly wasn’t on mission with him internally. Once it became clear to him that the father deals with his sons according to grace and not according to merit, his emotional capital and commitment evaporated. No longer was he capable of “serving” the father, nor did he have any interest in aligning himself with the father’s agenda: welcoming home lost sons.Deep underneath the different externals of these two sons’ behavior was the fact that in reality they were both “sons of disobedience,” “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2-3).

Both of them were profoundly “at odds” with the father. But the beauty, the wonder of the Parable of the Prodigal Sons is that it is ultimately about the father’s love. It is the father’s love that is on display in Jesus’ parable—a love that in uninhibited joy embraces the younger son (Luke 15:20) and goes out to entreat the older to come in and enjoy the celebration (Luke 15:28). In both cases, the father comes to these “sons of disobedience” to bring them into his joy, his home.As gripping as the Parable of the Prodigal Sons is, we must not forget that there is a story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons. Ultimately, the story behind the story is why this parable resonates with us so very deeply. The Story behind the story is the eternal love between God the Father and God the Son in the communion of God the Spirit. When the Son of God became man, he came from the Father’s side (John 1:14, 18).

In other words, the Son who became man was eternally “in the closest and most immediate proximity to the Father” (The Holy Trinity, 385-386), and he came that we might “receive the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).We are the prodigals (both younger and elder) and Jesus, the true and eternal Son, came to bring us home. Man was created in the image of God to participate in the communion between the Father and the Son, but we were cut off from that communion because of our sin and rebellion. As C.S. Lewis puts it, as a consequence of the fall, we all now have a “longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside (“The Weight of Glory”).

The inside of that door, and the story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons, is the communion of love between the Father and the Son. God the Father sent His only true and eternal Son on a mission, and that mission was to bring many wayward and rebellious sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). That is the Story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons.George MacDonald sheds some light on what I mean:

“The secret of the whole story of humanity is the love between the Father and the Son. That is at the root of it all. Upon the love between the Son and the Father hangs the whole universe” (Proving the Unseen, 67) . . . “The love of God is the creating and redeeming, the forming and satisfying power of the universe . . . It is the safety of the great whole. It is the home-atmosphere of all life” (A Dish of Orts; Chiefly Papers on the Imagination, and on Shakespere, 103) . . . “The whole of the universe was nothing to Jesus without His Father. The day will come when the whole universe will be nothing to us without the Father, but with the Father an endless glory of delight” (Proving the Unseen, 72).

Dispensationalism

George Parsons, Pastor of Middletown Bible Church in Middletown, CT, wrote the following to champion and clarify the teaching of Dispensationalism:

When God’s Word, the Bible, is taken in a consistent, literal manner, it will result in dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is the result of a consistently literal and normal interpretation. Do You Interpret the Bible Literally? Six Tests to See if You Do

A dispensation is a unique stage in the outworking of God’s program in time, whereby mankind is to have a believing response, being responsible to be a good steward of the particular revelation which God has given (Ephesians 3:2,9; Colossians 1:25; Exodus 34:27-28; Galatians 3:10-12; 1 Timothy 1:4; Ephesians 1:10; etc.).

In order to be “rightly dividing the Word of truth” it is essential to distinguish things that differ and to recognize certain basic Biblical distinctions, such as the difference between God’s program for Israel and God’s program for the Church (Acts 15:14-17; Romans 11:25-27), the separation of 1000 years between the two resurrections (Revelation 20:4-6), the difference between the various judgments which occur at various times (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15), the difference between law and grace (John 1:17; Romans 6:14-15 Romans 7:1-6) and the difference between Christ’s present session at the right hand of the Father as the Church’s great High Priest and Christ’s future session on the restored Davidic throne as Israel’s millennial King (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12-13; Acts 15:16; Luke 1:32). Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth–What Does 2 Timothy 2:15 Really Mean?

The Church is a distinct body of believers which was not present on earth during the Old Testament period and which was not the subject of Old Testament prophecy (Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:25-27). When Did The Church Begin? In accord with God’s program and timetable, the Church is on earth between the two advents of Christ with the beginning of the Church taking place after Daniel’s 69th week (on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2) and with the completion of the Church’s ministry on earth taking place at the rapture before the commencement of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:24,27). The Rapture of the Church During this interval of time God is visiting the nations to call out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14-16; Ephesians 3: 1-11; Romans 11:25). Indeed, the Church is God’s called-out assembly.

God will literally fulfill His covenant and kingdom promises to the nation of Israel just as the prophets foretold (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:18-21; Deuteronomy 30:3-10; 2 Samuel 7:4-17; Jeremiah 31:31-37; 33:15-26). We believe that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12,15,17), the Palestinian covenant (Deuteronomy 30), the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7) and the New covenant (Jeremiah 31) were made unconditionally to national Israel and that the thousand-year kingdom will include the literal fulfillment of these covenant promises to ethnic Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-37; 33:14-26; Ezekiel 36:25-28, 40-48; Romans 11:23-32).

The Church is not the “new Israel” or the “spiritual Israel,” but rather “one new man” created of two groups, saved Jews and saved Gentiles (Ephesians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 10:32). The terms “Israel,” “Israelite,” and “Jew,” are used in the New Testament to refer to national, ethnic Israel. The term “Israel” is used of the nation or the people as a whole or the believing remnant within. It is not used of the Church in general or of Gentile believers in particular. Saved Gentiles of this present age are spiritual sons of Abraham who is the father of all who believe (Romans 4:12,16; Galatians 3:7,26,29), whether Jews or Gentiles; but believing Gentiles are not Israelites [that is, they are not the sons of Jacob]. The Israelites are carefully defined by Paul in Romans 9:4-5. The Use of the Term “Israel” in the N.T.

In every dispensation God’s distinctive programs are outworked for His great Name’s sake, and in every dispensation persons have always been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8; Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:4-7; Romans 4:1-8). We believe that the glory of God is the determining principle and overall purpose for God’s dealings with men in every age and that in every dispensation God is manifesting Himself to men and to angels so that all might redound to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 3:21; Romans 11:33-36; 16:27; Isaiah 43:7; 1 Timothy 1:17). The Glory of God

Literal Interpretation

The Bible must be interpreted literally which is the way language is normally and naturally understood. We recognize that the Bible writers frequently used figurative language which is a normal and picturesque way of portraying literal truth. The Bible must be understood in the light of the normal use of language, the usage of words, the historical and cultural background, the context of the passage and the overall teaching of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15). Most important, the believer must study the Bible in full dependence upon the SPIRIT OF TRUTH whose ministry is to reveal Christ and illumine the minds and hearts of believers (John 5:39; 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). The natural, unregenerate man cannot understand or interpret correctly the Word of God. The things of God are foolishness to him, he cannot know them (1 Corinthians 2:14), and his mind is blinded (Romans 3:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

See here for the original article.

News, Views and Whatnot for 5/19/2012

If you missed what I’ve posted elsewhere, here’s the complete list for this week:

1. Preaching the Truth of the Gospel without Preaching the Gospel

“It is possible to preach much valuable truth essentially belonging to the Gospel, and yet not to preach the Gospel . . .” ~Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, p. 254

In Preaching Christ by Mark Lauterbach.

2. By Making Him a God, He Can’t Be An Example To Me

In his review of the M. Night Shyamlan movie Lady in the Water, Anthony Sacramone writes:

“Although nominally Hindu, Shyamalan attended Catholic and Episcopal schools before entering NYU’s film school. In The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale, a chronicle of Shyamalan’s struggle to bring Lady to the screen, author Michael Bamberger revisits a Shyamalan quote: ‘I find it much more poignant to think of Jesus as a man, doing what he did purely on faith. … By making him a god, he can’t be an example to me. If you have every piece of magic available to you, and then you walk on water, what’s the big deal? I can’t emulate that. … If Jesus made a blind man see on faith alone, that’s awesome. If he went to the cross as an ordinary man with just unbelievable faith, how inspiring is that? I’d be in awe of that man.'”

3. How does play put God’s glory on display?

“You don’t want to hear God speak these final words: ‘Fool, how did all that pointless play put my glory in display?’ (John Piper, with some words he envisions God speaking) (h/t Bird over at Thinklings)

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)

Read the rest by Weekend Fisher.

4. A thought-provoking (short-ish) piece on The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery

The Prohibition of the Slave Trade v the Abolition of Slavery by Weekend Fisher.