I’ve been accused of being a thinker, but I just bluff well. Fact is, my Myers-Briggs is strongly ENFP, which makes me a feeler instead. Still, I’m always in my head, though the heart rules.
Some things I’ve been pondering…
Prayerless House of Prayer
I don’t have any figures to back me up, but my own experiences over the years tell me most evangelical churches spend about five minutes praying corporately during any 60-90-minute Sunday meeting. Mainline Protestant churches may up that to 10 minutes out of about an hour. Either way, it’s slim pickings prayer-wise.
When Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the temple, He referred to the temple as a house of prayer. While it’s an error to conflate the OT temple with a NT church, the idea that corporate prayer matters still exists. Consider how many references to prayer the Bible contains.
Consider this also: On your own, you can listen to a recording of a teaching/sermon, sing songs to God, and find out about goings-on in your church, but you can’t pray corporately without a corpus, the Body of Christ.
So what the heck is our problem on Sundays with praying as a group of believers and actually spending some time doing so? Isn’t that one of the purposes and tasks of the Church? Do we simply not believe our own mantra concerning the power of prayer?
Makes you wonder if one reason people eschew church meetings is because the church isn’t doing what it should be doing anyway, so what’s the point?
Is Premarital Sex an Oxymoron?
Facebook’s trends sidebar recently included “news” of celebrity couples who “saved themselves” for marriage by refraining from the wango tango before the wedding. How bizarre that this qualifies as something we need to know.
We think of fornication as sex before marriage. Adultery is sex after marriage but with someone who is not one’s spouse. Both trend high on the “really bad sins” list in the minds of most Christians.
A challenge: What does the Bible say constitutes a marriage?
Almost all Christian wedding ceremonies quote this verse from Genesis:
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
—Genesis 2:21-24 ESV
Here’s the baffling reality: For as highly as God and Man hold marriage, there’s no proscribed marriage ceremony in the Bible. No set words to say. No vows to make. Nothing. We have other examples of things to say or do as shown in the Bible for hallowed events, but weddings, nope.
When you look, almost nothing is said except that a man who defiles a virgin must pay a bride price for her and make her his wife, but if her father objects, the man still must pay dad the money (see Exodus 22:16-17).
So does the wedding ceremony really mean anything?
If we get down to the purest essence from that Genesis passage, we find these elements:
- Leaving parents
- Holding fast (cleaving) to a spouse
- A sexual union that formally makes the couple one flesh
So, is marriage simply the following?
- Have sex exclusively with one person, leave your parents, and set up your own household.
Because it seems to me that’s the definition of marriage from a biblical perspective. Which makes the whole issue of premarital sex an oxymoron. The sexual act itself creates what God recognizes as the formal union. There’s no ceremony there, just the intention to start a separate household.
We understand why adultery is wrong. But what if the real sin in fornication isn’t the sex itself but having sex without any intention both to stay true to the other person and to establish a separate household with them?
Really changes the perspective, doesn’t it?
Super Bowl as Church Meeting
Heard more arguments for making Presidents Day the Monday after the Super Bowl. I don’t see any drawbacks in doing so.
Except that the Super Bowl has become an alternate Thanksgiving Day, only with friends instead of family members. It’s the religious holiday for people who feel no compulsion otherwise to do anything religious.
Used to be that Sunday evening church services didn’t bow to the Super Bowl, but now they do. Many churches cancel whatever Sunday evening meetings they ordinarily hold in deference to the Big Game. One could argue that all the elements of a church service (communion meal, worship, separation from other events, identification with a restricted group, and fellowship) exist within a Super Bowl party.
Makes me wonder if instead of decrying our perpetual slide into worldliness and placing too much emphasis on things that will pass away (such as Super Bowls), we Christian instead try to understand what we have done to our church meetings that so many people would rather be at a Super Bowl party substitute.
False Football Prophets
Dear Lord, I hope it’s not true that some self-proclaimed prophet said revival would only come to America if the Panthers won. Looks like my hopes are dashed.
Are there any genuine prophetic voices left out there?
Of Kingdoms and Politics
Christians I know continue to line up behind their chosen presidential candidates, and it’s a hot mess honestly, much more than usual. It says something about the beliefs of the supporters and how they read the Bible.
- Those who feel the need to upset the establishment, to turn against the Pharisees and usher in a new kind of Kingdom, so to speak, support Trump or Sanders.
- Those who desire a kinder, gentler, humble Kingdom are falling in for Carson.
- Those who want a Kingdom that transcends boundaries and makes peace between factions look to Rubio.
- Those who instead want the King to come, winnowing fork in His hand, to separate the wheat from the chaff support Cruz.
- Those who nostalgically recall the way the Kingdom used to be are in for Christie, Bush, Kasich, or Clinton.
- And I’ve got nothing for Fiorina. 😉
Want to rebut or endorse any of my musings from above? Please comment below. Your comments make Cerulean Sanctum a great place to be, and I appreciate them very much.