Tag Archives: The Monday Muse

The Monday Muse: Federer or Nadal?

A debate has sprung to life in the wake of yesterday’s Wimbledon championship match. Tennis analysts and fans everywhere have been discussing for quite some time the gap between Nadal and Federer. The once seemingly insurmountable gap between Federer and everyone else has been closed quickly by Nadal over the course of this year. In fact, many people are beginning to make the case that Nadal is the best player in tennis, at least this year. Nadal’s victory over Federer on Federer’s best surface has naturally fired up this debate. Federer has been, without a doubt, the best player in tennis for the last couple of years. However, Nadal has had the best of Federer this year when it has mattered the most. As a matter of fact, it seems that Nadal has had the best year of anyone with two Grand Slam championships to support this claim. Has Nadal overtaken Federer as the best men’s player? Let’s bring this debate to this week’s Monday Muse.

Who is the best men’s tennis player…Nadal or Federer?

Though the year isn’t over yet, make your case based on what has already gone down. Game on…

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The Monday Muse: Christianity & Politics

I recently read that the Obama camp has hired a professor from Wesley Theological Seminary, Dr. Shaun Casey, to be his senior adviser for religious affairs. The evangelical vote has become a major point of interest for Obama as well as McCain. Many people may assume that religious conservatives and evangelicals alike will vote for McCain since both groups tend to associate with the Republican party. However, tension has grown within these assumed associations due to the frustration held toward the Bush administration.

A few months ago James Dobson, a staunch Republican, made it clear that he is troubled by McCain’s candidacy and will not be voting for him in the presidential election (not voting for Obama is a given).

Combine all of these scenarios with the release of An Evangelical Manifesto, a document seeking to give guidelines for evangelical involvement in the public square, and you begin to see the difficulty this presidential election and the current landscape of America is creating. So here’s our question:

What level of involvement should we have in politics as Christians?

I know faith and politics can be a heated topic so while holding fast to your convictions, remember to discuss/debate with respect. I already have a follow-up question for next week that focuses a little more on the issues. Let the games begin.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

The Monday Muse: Benevolence

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were downtown catching a performance by our friend Francesca Battistelli at the Rutledge (also discovered an amazing band called Civil Twilight while we were there). After the show we were walking out to the car to head home when a homeless woman named Shirley quickly tracked us down. I’ve had several encounters with homeless people in downtown Nashville and actually look forward to such instances. However, it had been a while so we were caught off guard and unprepared. Many homeless people have a similar routine. They try to overwhelm you with fast speech and random stories in the hopes that the disorienting effect will cause you to just hand over the cash so you can be left alone. I’ve made it a rule not to give cash anymore to homeless people but to actually take the time to listen to them, find out what they really need, and supply that need to the best of my ability (assuming it isn’t something damaging or illegal). On this occasion, we broke our rule and ended up giving this lady a ride and some money. Looking back on things, we understand that our greatest fault was the fact that we were not prepared for an encounter with Shirley. Though we did get to speak to her about Jesus, we came away from the experience feeling defeated. In the end, we felt like we hurt Shirley more than helping her. So here’s the question of the week:

Should we or should we not give cash to the homeless?

The Monday Muse: Pursuing Purity

Like this weekend’s U.S. Open golf championship, the previous Monday Muse was taken into a “sudden death playoff.” We’ve had some great discussion so far dealing the compatibility of evolution and the Christian faith. Let me encourage everyone to continue the debate because I think it has a lot of implications. I am quite appreciative of everyone who has participated so far. It has turned out to be our best discussion yet.

This week’s question takes us in a little different direction. Yesterday our Sunday school class got into a discussion about pursuing the truth which entails pursuing purity in all of its forms. We said that what we take in certainly has an impact on our lives. Think media of all sorts. The tougher decision comes when we must choose which things cross the line and which things do not. Where do we draw the line with which movies we watch and don’t watch, what music to listen to and not listen to, etc. So I ask you…

Where do we draw the line as it relates to pursuing purity without being legalistic? What are some determining factors? Does it even matter?

On 2 on 2…ready…break! (think football huddle)

Continuing with Evolution…

Last week’s Monday Muse discussion on evolution never quite got off the ground though it had a good start. My friend Jordan Marshall got things rolling with an argument for evolution as the best system or theory in relation to scientific research and inquiry. Jordan is a scientist so he has firsthand, working knowledge of the theory of evolution and the natural sciences. I want to continue this discussion again this week in the hopes that it will pick up a little steam. So here’s the question again…

Can a Christian honestly believe in evolution? Is Christianity and evolution compatible?

We’ll continue the discussion at its original location from last week. Carry on.

The Monday Muse: Evolution

A month or so ago, Annie and I went with our friends Matt and Steph to see the documentary on Intelligent Design called Expelled. I am still planning on sharing a few thoughts from that experience, but it did give me a good Monday Muse question. So here goes…

Can a Christian honestly believe in evolution? Is Christianity and evolution compatible?

I have heard of several Christian scientists (among others) who believe in evolution in some form. The most prominent person I am familiar with who believes in evolution is Alister McGrath (if I am not mistaken on that point). So it seems that people find some compatibility between the two. Can that be possible? Now it’s your turn…

The Monday Muse: Contextualization

There are several buzz words that have emerged in recent years within the Christian community. Emerging, emergent, relative, missional, postmodern…all words that will commonly be mentioned in conversations about ministry in the 21st century. Frequent many Christian blogs and you will find several occurrences of these words. Another such word is contextualization. This word is born out of a particular question. How do we effectively communicate the gospel within the context of our communities, cultures, and lives? It is an extremely valid question that has been asked by missionaries for many years. It has often been ignored by the church within the American culture. The assumption has been made that American culture is homogeneous. It is all the same. If this is true, then a canned product can be used by every American church to reach its community.

However, this is a grave error. American culture is extremely diverse. Smalltown Indiana is very different than inner city New York. This means that a canned product will not be sufficient. In fact, a canned product may prove to be harmful. Each church, each believer needs to thoughtfully consider the make up of its surrounding community and find ways of communicating the gospel in a way that connects with people within that context. So we must be open to people using different methods in different locations. But can there be a danger to such openness, critical evaluation, and willingness to change? So here’s what I’m getting at:

At what point does contextualization cross the line into compromise?