Friday, July 29, 2005

Marriage Proposal #4

Marriage, as an institution is in deep trouble. We should take it over.

The state should let go of marriage. It probably shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place. Government should only deal with civil-unions/social-contracts. They can let whoever they want get such a contract: Christians, atheists, heterosexuals, homosexuals, etc. Religions should handle marriage*. Each religion, then, can make their own rules regarding marriage**.

Do you support Marriage Proposal #4?***

*In this scenario, Christians wouldn't even be obligated to get a contract/license. Instead, a 'marriage' would be a spiritual covenant. This would, of course, create certain financial problems since the state has had its hand in marriage so long.
**Indivual religions, denominations, even churches, could set specific policies.

***This is my personal view of what SHOULD be. But I doubt it'll ever happen, so my 'realistic view is option #2. I would also, personally, consider getting married w/o a 'license'

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Marriage Proposal #3

Marriage, as an institution, is in deep trouble. We should get out of the business.

Pastors should simply stop performing weddings*. Let the state take complete control of the institution**. It'll even be good for the economy b/c businesses will have to build facilities and couples won't get any more of those cheap (in some cases) church weddings. Pastors can still preach and teach about Biblical marriage/divorce issues***. Churches can still offer counsel to those struggling with their marriage. They just won't perform weddings anymore.

Do you support Marriage Proposal #3?

*In this scenario, pastors wouldn't have to struggle with the ethical dilemna of performing a wedding for: Non-Christians couples, couples of mixed religions, homosexual couples, unrepetant common law couples, etc. No one could get mad that their pastor rejected them specifically b/c their pastor said no to EVERYONE.
**After all, in some cases it seems they have complete control already/anyways.
***They'll even have more TIME to think about such things...having summer Saturday's off for a change

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Marriage Proposal #2

Marriage, as an institution, is in trouble. We should double our efforts to save marriage.

The church should...
-Study marriage to see what works*
-Teach the sanctity of marriage
-Speak out more boldly against divorce**
-Provide helpful ministries to couples***
-Fight against liberalized marriage laws****
-Mandate extensive pre-marital counseling

Do you support Marriage Proposal #2?

*Statistically the chances of divorce go down 30% if the couple make over $50,000/year, 24% if the couple doesn't have children until a year after the wedding, 24% if the couple is older than 25, etc. There are tons of stats. How can the church utilize this info?
**Since the Catholic church tolerates divorce least AND has the lowest divorce rate in the Christian church, shouldn't we consider copying them?
***Many such ministries exist and seem to be having positive results. The divorce rate is slowly dropping nation-wide.
****Most legal results so far have favored the 'traditional marriage' side. Should the church take part, lead, endorse this fight?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Marriage Proposal #1

Marriage, as an institution, is doing fine. We should maintain the status quo.

It's okay that...
The divorce rate is around 50%
25% of adults have been divorced
'Christian' divorces are just as common*
Homosexual marriage is increasing**
Some churches are okay with that
It's normal to live common-law now

Do you support Marriage Proposal #1?

*Some statistics show 'Christian' divorce as an even MORE common than average. Evangelicals tend to have a HIGHER rate than mainline denominations. Baptists seem to get divorced most, Catholics the least.
**I make mention of this not b/c I see homosexual marriages as a greater (or even equal problem) as 'Christian divorce', but because early statistics indicate that homosexual marriages result in divorce 3x more often than the already alarming traditional marriage rate. This would suggest that liberalized marriage laws would INCREASE divorce rates.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Stupid Kids

Stupid things I believed when I was a kid

1. We have a coal burning powerplant in my town, when I was a kid I believed it was a cloud making factory. 2. I thought old black & white TV shows were colorless b/c color itself hadn't been invented yet. 3. I was sure there was a ghost in the toilet. His one chance to get out was when I flushed. Needless to say, I often ran out of the bathroom 4. For a while, I thought the road moved, not the car. 5. I believed everything far away was supposed to look super blurry

Were you a stupid kid?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Somewhere along the line, a ton of Christians became convinced of the following rule for Biblical interpretation: Interpret the Bible literally unless it is obvious the passage is not literal. I have no problem with that rule in general, but it seems that more & more I disagree with what's obviously not literal. That's why the actual wording of the literal principle of Biblical interpretation is better: Interpet the passage according to rules of the genre it is written in. This keeps us from assuming something that shouldn't necessarily be assumed.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

God's Great Pursuit

I always find it interesting preaching twice in one morning. You'd think the 2nd sermon would always be a little better, but that's not what I've found. Some weeks I feel better about the 1st service, other weeks I feel better about the 2nd service. No reason or rhyme . Today I felt much better about the 1st one.

Today's sermon was kind of a 'Holy-Hound' type message. God is after us. Not to punish us, but to love us. Kind of a strange sermon b/c I used Daniel 1-4, Romans 1-3, and a CS Lewis quote synonymously.

Daniel 1: God whispers to Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 2-3: God speaks to Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 4: God shouts to Nebuchadnezzar

Romans 1: God whispers through creation
Romans 2: God speaks through conscience
Romans 3: God shouts through Christ's pain

CS Lewis: God whispers in our pleasures
CS Lewis: God speaks in our conscience
CS Lewis: God shouts in our pains

Saturday, July 16, 2005


I don't think I like preaching as much as I like teaching. Maybe it's my view of preaching that's flawed. Nevertheless, I am going to bed so I can preach in the morning.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Garden State

Zach Braff wrote, directed, and stars in a fresh look at staleness. The young Ray Ramano clone plays a character named Andrew Largemen, a depressed & pill-filled young actor, who comes home from LA to attend his mother's funeral. There he finds most of his old friends in seemingly meaningless existences as well. It's a pretty miserable world until he meets Sam (Natalie Portman).

As soon as Sam enters the picture Andrew's life begins to regain its long-lost color. The rest of the movie is filled with interesting characters, Portman's cuteness, and a quest for the meaning of life. The best thing about this movie, however, is the realistic dialogue. A lot of the conversation was familiar to me, very down-to-earth. The movie kinda peaks in the middle, but has a good ending. The commentary (Braff & Portman) is worth a listen as well.

Rating: 8.1
Status: Must Own

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Unnecessary Restraints

A couple days ago I was watching the end of the movie Contact. Some aliens had sent some blueprints to build a space-ship of sorts, but they didn't include a seat-belt (basically). So the cautionary humans added to the blueprint, but when they used the 'ship', the additional restraints busted and proved to be unnecessary. They had good motives, but that doesn't mean it was a good decision. They should have just done it the way the authors intended.

Today I was in a discussion about membership in the Wesleyan Church. See, God sent us a blueprint for the church in the book of Acts, but He didn't include anything like membership as we know it. But us cautionary humans added to His blueprint, and it has brought a lot of problematic situations. We had good intentions, but that doesn't mean membership was a good idea. We should have just done it the way the Author intended.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is Jesus Reigning?

I've been debating futurists a lot on various message boards and the major area of disagreement I have with them is whether or not Christ is now reigning. Many futurists are SO focused on the future victory of God, that they've seemingly missed His victory on the cross. Here is a quote from one futurist:

"The world is much much too evil now
for Jesus to be reigning"

Here is my response:

The problem people seem to be having with the idea that Jesus is reigning NOW is the same problem the Jews had with Jesus. They were looking for a physical/political kingdom, but Jesus was speaking of a spiritual kingdom. That kingdom exists now because Jesus is King and Christians are His people.

There are many verses showing that Satan was defeated by the cross. For instance:

Hebrews 2:14-15
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Another poster said:

"I'm having a real hard time believing sat*n isn't in this world now as we speak"

And my response:

You don't believe Satan is actually in a physical pit somewhere do you? His exile is not one of 'location', but of 'power'. He has no power over those in the Kingdom of God. Anyone who fails to enter that kingdom still lives under his power.

Monday, July 11, 2005

No Control

This is kind-of a stupid post, but I was just watching some news coverage of the hurricane. They were interviewing a guy at a car dealership and the reporter wondered why some of the car windows and trunks were opened. The guy said when the water gets into the electrical system, it can make the car do pretty much anything. He had noticed cars blinking lights, popping trunks, rolling down windows, etc. One truck started a demolition derby. A mini-van slipped over to a nearby McDonalds.

I was kinda sleepy during the interview, so I may have mis-heard a thing or two. Just goes to show you, though, we're never really in control.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

True 4U, But Not 4Me

I finished this book a while ago, but left it in my car and never reviewed it till now. Paul Copan's book is a worthwhile read. The secondary title is quite descriptive of the contents: Defeating the slogans that leave Christians speechless.

Besides the title accusation, Copan deals with a lot of 1-liners that I've encountered:

"Who are you to judge?"
"Christians are intolerant!"
"What about Gandhi?"
"You can't trust the Bible!"
"What about those who've never heard?"

And many more. It's basically a refutation of relativism and an argument for the uniqueness of Christianity. The best part about it may be that each chapter is quite short and so it's a nice quick reference for on-the-go apologetics.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

What Are You Looking For?

Here are the last 14 things people have searched for to get to my blog:

NY favorite foods, questions to ask girlfriend, God created satan, God provided a Ram in the bush located, nursing home bible lesson, sicilian splash olive garden, Ark Christ imagery, kidnapped woman and purpose driven life, what is president george w. bush favorite foods and drinks, amusing ourselves to death neil postman, steve deneff, tom cruise is insane, Bible study in Chinese, chai milkshake

My visitors are interested in:
Religion (6) Moreso the Old Testament it seems
Food (3.5) Half a point for Pres. Bush's favs
Celebrities (2.5) Ok, Deneff may be a stretch
Dating (1) I doubt they found good advice
Books (1) Great book, Review here

Friday, July 08, 2005

2 Fatal-isms 4 Churches

Building walls instead of worshippers
When a church gets in a build, build, build mode, their church begins to crumble. It's good to have quality facilities, but a great building doesn't always indicate a great church. The early church didn't even have official buildings. It's not about buildings. You don't go to church, you are the church.

Pleasing the crowd and not God
When a church gets in a sell, sell, sell mode, they end up selling-out the Gospel. It's good to have a large quantity of people, but more people doesn't always equal more disciples. The early church was quite often offensive to the community around them. It's not about numbers. You don't grow a church, God grows a church.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Art of War

Here are my favorite 5 quotes from The Art of War by Sun Tzu:

"In antiquity those that excelled in warfare first made themselves unconqueraable in order to await the moment when the enemy could be conquered"

"The victorious army first realizes the conditions for victory, and then seeks to engage in battle. The vanquished army fights first, and then seeks victory"

"When the men have been unified...the courageous will not be able to advance alone, the fearful will not be able to retreat alone"

"If you impose punishments on the troops before they have been attached, they will not be submissive...if you do not impose punishments after the troops have become attached, they cannot be used"

"The ruler cannot mobilize the army out of personal anger"

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Clever Humanists

I didn't notice this until yesterday, but the secular humanists (headquartered in wny) have revised their manifesto. They've taken out the 'religious' sounding phrases because they no longer want anyone to think of them as a humanist religion.

Historically, they were proud of being a new religion, but now they've realized that religions aren't allowed to teach in public schools. Currently they are trying to be religious enough to keep their tax-exempt status, but not so religious as to lose the right to spread their teachings. So far so good, for them. Quite clever.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government Full Text

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Knew NHL

The Matthew Never Knew is like a variety get a little bit of everthing. Sermons. Songs. Fears. Favorites. Opinions. Objections. And whatnot. But the time has come for The Matthew Never Knew to become a Network!

Each summer I hope to add another section to what I call 'The 94 Network'. This summer's section:

Saturday, July 02, 2005


When minds don't interact with the world, they deteriorate

This is a truth I've learned via nursing home ministry. The less one encounters the world, the less one can communicate with that world. The sad reality, however, is that I've only been applying this truth to old ladies in nursing homes, when it applies equally to me.

In the past 6 months I've become increasingly forgetful. For example, I've forgotten to zip up my pants more in 2005 than all other years combined. I find myself stuttering through lyrics to songs I've known for years. I'm starting to have trouble expressing myself well without lengthy preparation. One Sunday I only shaved half my face (luckily I got to church early enough to finish the job).

I think I have the same problem as an old lady in a nursing home. My life is extremely routine. There's no adventure. I rarely even go outside. The only difference is I've chosen this lifestyle and they haven't. Shame on me.

Who can help?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Best Month Ever

Well, The Matthew Never Knew just had its best month ever. Not only did it have a better social life than me this month, it also achieved the following statistics in June:

Unique Hits: 1,513 (all time high)
Reloads: 4,742 (all time high)
Total Hits: 6,255 (all time high)

The Matthew Never Knew also passed 30,000 all-time hits. You've had opportunity to know Matthew better 69 days in a row