brett’s morning blend (04jan11)

The Gender Debate: Women in Church Leadership

Interesting discussion over at The Gospel Coalition on complementarian versus egalitarian views of church leadership.  The writer is a complementarian and wonders if scripture isn’t enough — on its own — to settle the discussion.

Homosexuality and Derek Webb

Stephen Altrogge writes about Webb’s recent interview in the Huffington Post.  He talks about homosexuality, sin in general, and reaching out to the lost.

How to Write About Africa

This is one of the best satire pieces I’ve read on Africa.  I’ve included below several of the essay’s tips on writing about Africa.  [Each is a direct quote.]

  • Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.
  • Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these.
  • In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country.
  • Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can’t live without her.
  • Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West.
  • Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa.

Bacon Healed by Jesus

image courtesy of

Obvious Scientific “Discoveries”

Scientists were paid money in 2010 to “discover” that waitresses with bigger breasts get bigger tips.  Others were paid to find that little boys tend to like playing with cars while girls prefer dolls.  Oh, and lest we forget, performance-enhancing drugs enhance performance.

Only the Coolest “Game” Ever

This engineering / woodworking site offers visitors a free online test to determine how good you are at eyeballing right angles, midpoints of lines, and the like.  It’ll take you 3-4 minutes total, and your score is measured in average units of error (low scores are better).  I probably shouldn’t brag, but (in seven games) I scored a 2.17 on my first try, my best was a 1.76, and my average was a 2.07.  See if you can beat me….




Filed under morning blend

11 responses to “brett’s morning blend (04jan11)

  1. Thanks for bringing the Granta article back to my attention. It was high time for me to re-read it. Despite its tone (or because?), reading it as a how-not-to is actually rather helpful.

  2. love the obvious scientific discoveries! I think some people think they don’t have a sound argument unless its been proved by science – and therefore we have to study pretty common sense things. Oh well, glad someone else wasted their time, not me.

  3. Eagle

    Seeveral of those articles are interesting. Thanks!! I read the Derek Webb article and have some thoughts. I think becuase of how the church in the past has handled the issue of homosexuality, I think in many ways they lost the right to really discuss it and in the process lost a lot of credibility as well. Towards the end of my faith one of the things that bothered me immensly was seeing how subjective Christians are about sin, and what is sin. More often than not it was situations where people were labeling sinful behavior on things they didn’t deal with. But I was stunned and shocked (and this was after regular Bible reading, etc..) to realize all the sins God and Paul “attacks” and to realize that how many are routinely ignored today or not defiend as sinful. I hate to keep going back to this…but having been in Mormonism once, I noticed that there are many similarities between the two. Both take a warped approach to sin also.

    • eagle, i’m not sure what you mean about christians having lost the right to discuss homosexuality? can you explain that bit?

      but i do agree with you that christians often conveniently overlook the sins that are closest to them, while crying out against those with which they do not struggle.

      • Eagle


        This is what I mean. Christians have largely lost their right to speak on homosexuality because they don’t know how to address the issue. Christians don’t know how to love gay people, nor show compassion. They are afraid of condoning homosexuality and thus don’t realize that you can actually love someone without agreeing or approving of it.

        I would venture to suggest that Christians have lost a lot of face value with society at large, and their own culture because of how they have treated gays. And I think this issue has affected communication between Christians and their culture on other issues as well. Many I venture to suggest will dismiss what Christians say in regards to morality, or other issues becuase they saw and watched how Christians have treated gays.

        I live in the Washington, D.C. There was a spectecle to follow at Liberty Unviersity (Jerry Falwell’s school) that got attention in Virginia. If I remember correctly Liberty offered Carrie Praejen (the Miss California who spoke out against gay marriage) a scholarship or something like that to attend Liberty. The school and community rallied to her defense on supporting regular marriage and her views of morality. Jerry Falwell’s son spoke in her defense. Then pornograghic images from the web started to surface showing her in explicit poses. When that happened I wondered how some Christians could honestly face themself and continue to address the issue given the morality conflict.

        I’m suggesting Brett that becuase of homosexuality and how Christians have and continue to address it, that many people are more likely to dismiss the gospel message becuase of who is preaching/teaching/spreading it etc… I do think its sad becuase I do believe there are going to be some Christians who will tragically be grouped into the wrong crowd by many…just because of name association.

        For me homosexuality is personal. My former Bible study leader, who’s a close friend came out and told me he is gay. It really challenged a lot of what I believe. I would venture to suggest that many Christians who talk tough about homosexuality really don’t know anyone who is gay. Becuase I don’t think they could honestly say what they say if they did.

        Hope you are not offended. And please understand that I do respect you, and I am not trying to lump you in with that crowd by name association.

        Thanks for your time.

        • i will agree, eagle, that there are many christians who haven’t shown — and don’t show — love to homosexuals. and i think that’s a horrible thing. but i wouldn’t agree that they’ve lost any right to discuss the matter as a result; rather, they need to do a better job of discussing the matter.

          i believe much of the problem for christians — not that i’m excusing them altogether — is that we want them to respond to homosexuality in the same way they respond to adultery or getting drunk. and generally speaking they can’t. this is a generalization, but most homosexuals (who think of themselves as being mistreated by the church) don’t view homosexuality as sin. and so, they have no intention of repentance or change. i don’t know any christians who have had affairs, though, who didn’t believe it was wrong. so it’s a difficult place to be, i think, if you believe something to be sin and therefore have a responsibility to call those whom you love away from that sin, and they refuse, saying it is not indeed sin.

          the closest biblical example i can think of off the top of my head is 1 corinthians 5, when the church is told to kick the guy out of their fellowship who was sleeping with his mother-in-law and had not intentions of repenting. removing your fellowship from someone is not seen as love in our modern society, but i would argue that indeed is. sometimes love is tough; we don’t like that today, but i don’t believe it changes that it is truth.

          however, i’m not at all saying that christians have handled this well. i’m merely explaining the difficulty in handling it — especially when the loving thing to do may not be perceived as love to others.

          also what i’ve said here doesn’t at all speak to those homosexuals who indeed believe it is wrong and are striving not to participate in such activities. but i also know from experiences that these individuals have been treated much “better” in most churches.

  4. Eagle


    Let me ask you this question. Do you know anyone who is gay? Family member or close freind? Before being agnostic I felt and believed as you. Trouble was…I really didn’t know any gay people. In 2003 my small group leader told me he dealt with homosexuality. He hated it. I spent a lot of time talking and discussing the issue with him over the next 7 years. He tried counseling, tried changing his orientation in reparitation therapy, invovled in same sex programs in church trying to have the issue go away. He spent lots of time in prayer, and in my shock gave his testinoney in front of a young adult group of 20 year old people (about 200) and talked about dealing with homosexuality. After spending most of his life trying to change he began to accept the fact that is what he is. Today he lives in a state that has gay marriage where he hopes to be married one day. The issue that drove him out in his coming out letter to me, his family and other frineds was being an evangelical in California, wrestling with homosexuality and then watching the church and how they handled the issue with Proposition 8. It was the pushing point for him.

    In the process of coming out he’s had to deal with his Baptist family, his parents who thought they knew everything there was to know about homosexuality becuase of reading up on this issue on Focus on the Family publications, etc.. His sister is convinced he’s going to hell and some people have distanced themself from him.

    Now I lost my faith in God in about 2008/2009. But when he came out to me I decided to keep the freindship open. But I have to tell you its a hard issue. Lots of Christians like to view things in black and white…as that line of thinking is much simplier. But this is not a black and white issue, its very complex and not cut and dry. After seeing how subjective the evangelical church is about sin today I couldn’t call him out on the carpet and say he’s living in sin. Becuase I don’t know his heart after knowing his history. I can’t imagine he “choose” this given the conflict he’s endured. And I wonder if science will come up with an explanation one day. Also in my years as an evangelical I’ve seen too many people going through smack downs and “discipline” while many people covered their tracks and hid from the church. So I’m really weary of calling someone out on sin.

    In regards to 1 Corinthians 5, I hope you’re not comparing homsoexuality with incest. I think too many “Christians” have compared gays to being pedophiles, etc.. For me that’s just as outragerous as saying that a black man is going to rape and molest a whote woman; yet some people said that when the south was being integrated. As for me this is one of the problems I have with the Bible, despite verses such as Joshua 1:8-9, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, etc.. there is nothing in the Bible from my understanding that says that those 66 books from Genesis to Revelation are divine in its intended form and to be used as many Christians use it. I know the Bible is flawed (perhaps that’s due to man and not God) however the Bible also has contradictions in it as well.

    Hope you are not angry…

    With respect


    • eagle, first of all i’m not angry in the slightest. you’ve always spoken to me with kindness, and i try to do the same. a disagreement is merely that.

      to answer your question, i have known several homosexuals, but none of them were my close friends or family. i have seen them struggle with homosexuality, wanting to be different and finding themselves unable to make that change. i’ve seen some simply say that despite how they feel and what they want, they will remain celibate and not marry in order to follow God. i’ve known others who decided that if this was the way they were made, it is not God’s intention for them to refrain from having gay relationships and marriage. ALL struggled immensely and had a really hard time with this.

      i do believe, unlike many christians, that homosexuality as a sin is not nearly as cut and dry as we’ve made it out to be. however, after my studies, i still believe it is sin. BUT, in my last comment i said, “it’s a difficult place to be, i think, if you believe something to be sin and therefore have a responsibility to call those whom you love away from that sin, and they refuse, saying it is not indeed sin.” i’m not wanting to argue whether or not homosexuality is sin. i’m simply saying that if christians believe it is sin and their homosexual friends do not, then they are all in a very difficult place. and i would argue that, in many cases, gays are treated in this situation no different than someone who steals or sleeps around and doesn’t believe it to be sin.

      with 1 corinthians 5 i wasn’t comparing homosexuality to incest; rather, i was simply demonstrating what love looks like when someone remains in sin and is unwilling to be called out from it.

      in my mind, much of this argument comes down to personal experience versus the authority of the bible. you and i disagree about the authority of the bible, so i can’t imagine that we’ll ever see eye-to-eye on this issue. though we do both agree that christians have in the past treated homosexuals harshly and without love and that this should change. where we differ, though is 1) whether homosexuality is sin, and 2) what love looks like when given to a christian who refuses to turn from sin.

  5. Eagle

    Thanks for the response. Question do you mind if I email you a list of theological questions?

    Also I personally don’t know what to think about homosexuality. The one thing I do believe is that it is not a choice. I don’t think my small group leader chose to be gay, any more than you or I chose to be straight. But I’d be happy to discuss this and other issues with you.

    • i don’t mind at all, eagle. though i don’t know how good i’ll be at answering them or how fast i will get to them. but i’m more than happy to give it a shot.

      i don’t necessarily think homosexuality is a choice either; i actually lean pretty far towards it not being. but i don’t think that means it’s not sin. everyone is predisposed to evil and sin; but that doesn’t make our desires pure or good.

      others may argue they naturally desire to sleep around with every hot girl they meet. or that they can’t help but get drunk or high. or that greed and materialism is innate within them. and i don’t guess i’d argue with any of them. if we live in a fallen world, then i expect us to act fallen — without Christ in our lives. so my question is not whether or not God allowed homosexuals to be born that way, but does he want them to stay that way — or to put those desires ahead of him and his purposes? are their actions in keeping with his nature?

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