health & wealth gospel

this is a video where john piper lets his feelings regarding the prosperity (word of faith, name it & claim it, health & wealth) gospel be known.  he’s not a fan, and i think his message is true for middle class/ well-to-do folks like me and my peers.  

…. but it is interesting to see where this message flourishes the most.  it’s been noted that the balance of christianity is shifting from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, and the theology of these pentecostal faith communities in places like africa and southeast asia is largely shaped by the prosperity gospel. putting your faith in jesus, congregants are told, will yield an improvement on health and social status. Continue reading

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surprised by hope

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Think of Oscar Wilde’s wonderful scene in his play Salome, when Herod hears reports that Jesus of Nazareth has been raising the dead. “I do not wish him to do that,” says Herod. “I forbid him to do that. I allow no man to raise the dead. This man must be found and told that I forbid him to raise the dead.”

There is the bluster of the tyrant who knows his power is threatened, and I hear the same tone of voice not just in the politicians who want to carve up the world to their advantage but also in the intellectural traditions that have gone along for the ride.

But Wilde’s next, haunting line is the real crunch, for us as for Herod: “Where is this man?” demands Herod. “He is in every place, my lord,” replies the courtier, “but it is hard to find him.”

[surprised by hope, n.t. wright, p. 74-75]

this book is good — i highly recommend it.

check out this interview he did with time magazine shortly before the book came out, where he briefly explained why the popular christian understanding of heaven is wrong.  this isn’t what the book is primarily about, but it is one of many insightful arguments he makes.

barack and a hard place

pretty impressive, senator obama.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. 

sojourners & obama

this video is the keynote address obama gave at the sojourners “call to renewal” conference. amazing stuff on the relationship between faith & politics. the way obama’s faith drives his politics is the most compelling reason why i caucused for obama this past weekend and why i hope to vote for him in november.

here’s the written transcript.

… should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount—a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? Continue reading

info for the wa caucus tomorrow…

you can show up at your caucus location (figure that out, here) tomorrow and participate in the big event.

when you arrive at your location, you can: 1) register to vote if you have not already done so, 2) give them your new address if you’ve recently moved, or 3) register as a democrat if you so desire.

i called the nice voter folks this morning and they assured me that i can just show up at the location closest to my address and provide all my new info upon arrival.

checking the endorsement scorecard…

His flair for expression, both in print and on the stump, too easily leads observers to forget that Obama is a man not just of style but of substance. He’s a thoughtful student of the Constitution and an experienced lawmaker in his home state and, for the last three years, in the Senate…… In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long — a sense of aspiration.

[from the la times — check out the awesome endorsement, here]

or in other words, she’s a pc, obama’s a mac.

obama has picked up a some nice endorsements from the la times, moveon.org (web center of the progressive universe), service employees international union (the largest labor union in california), ny post, toni morrison (read her books), and — most importantly for us seattlelites — the stranger. not bad heading into super tuesday. Continue reading