It's a Confession of Faith (external link)

December 13, 2016

Wilson is right: the new “community guidelines” required of all users by Airbnb is a confession of faith. Of course, we’ve been lying for years and accepting terms of service agreements that we’ve never read, so we’re well prepared to simply click “Accept” this time also.

The difference this time is that these terms are very simple, and we have read them.


From ye old Wikipedia: “A creed (also confession, symbol, or statement of faith) is a statement of the shared beliefs of a religious community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets.” We recite these kinds of things in our Sunday morning service all the time “I believe in God the Father, maker of Heaven and Earth,” etc. Before you can do anything on Airbnb’s website, you must agree to the following: “I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.” Wilson’s point, with which I agree, is that that is a creed, and they are requiring us to recite it with them before they allow us to use their service. I do not believe that Christians can “recite it” in good conscience. In Roman times, Christians who simply refused to declare “Caeser is Lord” could be convicted of treason and executed. This is similar, and it’s only the beginning, so far as I can tell.


Why We Don't Offer PGP (external link)

December 10, 2016

There’s some really interesting stuff about email security in this post.


The Culture of Death Marches On (external link)

December 08, 2016

If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that our nation is in full scale rebellion against God and His created order. If you think this sounds shrill or out of proportion, you haven’t read your Bible.

Just today, the New York Times, that gleeful chronicler of said rebellions, has the following headline: Malta Outlaws ‘Conversion Therapy,’ a First in Europe.

We must pray, and we must get to work.


The Real War on Science (external link)

November 28, 2016

This is an important article about the state of Science (all rise!) in these United States.


A Review of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden"

November 20, 2016

East of Eden

I just finished John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. I’ve been working on it since early spring.

It’s a good book. The best thing about it is that it wrestles seriously with the question of our own depravity in a way that doesn’t glorify or even excuse our wickedness. I’m convinced that Steinbeck’s knowledge came from a deeper understanding of depravity than even Evangelical Christians now possess.

Steinbeck’s insights about motivations and desires really leaped off the page. In many cases, I had only recently learned about them by reading Dan Allenders book, Wounded Heart. In fact, I’m not sure I would have understood what I was reading if I hadn’t read Allender first. Allender writes about how the suffering we experience causes us to put up self protective barriers around our souls, and that’s really the question that Caleb faces: is he going to love and live, or is he going to shut himself off in bitterness and anger?

There’s much to like about East of Eden, but I probably wouldn’t give it more than 3.5 stars. Why?

The philosophical foundation of the book comes from Steinbeck’s understanding of the Cain and Abel story in Genesis 4:

4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

The point of the book pivots on the meaning of the Hebrew word timshel in verse 7, translated must above. Steinbeck believes it should have been translated “may”, meaning that we have a choice between good and evil, and we must choose the good. The two sons in the book inherit a whole boatload of wickedness along their family line, and Caleb must decide if his fate as a wicked man is sealed, or if he’s going to fight to be good.

It’s interesting, though, that the ending depends on Adam Trask, Caleb’s father, giving Caleb his blessing and releasing Caleb from the guilt he feels. So there is not just a recognition of or wickedness, but also recognition of the pardon we so desperately need. To live, Caleb must have his fathers pardon:

Lee’s breath whistled in his throat. “Adam, give him your blessing. Don’t leave him alone with his guilt. Adam, can you hear me? Give him your blessing!

It’s powerful stuff, and most surely better than much of the claptrap that passes for literature these days. And yet it’s sad, since it’s the last gasp of a liberal Christianity that has turned away from Jesus Christ. According to the page about the book: “As much as we inherit Cain’s curse, we also inherit his ability to redeem himself.”

It’s a Christless Christianity, which is like a ship on the sea without an anchor or a rudder. It’s a kiss and a promise — or perhaps a hope deferred, leaving me feeling sick.