Found it on the Web 18.09.12

I’ve wondered for a while if I’m allowed to do this. Tim Challies has an A La Carte post he does where he amalgamates interesting things from the web into a post, by providing links and a little blurb. These cover theology and beyond. I wasn’t sure if I should do this because often the things I’d want to post are just things he’s posted already. (Spell “redundant” for me please.) However, I’ve started to read a bit more far and wide, so I think it’s about time to give this a try, if only for the sake of organizing all these extra ideas I’m putting into my head.

On the gospel, expressed in the idea of 3, 2, and 1. Clearly expressed and the most logical I have heard thus far, perhaps because this way of presenting it is novel to me and not full of over-used phrases.

On our responses to times in our life when we thought we were walking with and following God’s will on the road to blessing, but end up in a mess. How should we perceive these events?

On the wrong way to be faithful – the notion of “I must try harder” which is hopelessly oriented towards self-achievement.

On the criteria for baptism of children. A well-reasoned discussion that gives good points to extrapolate to understanding what conditions should be met for an adult baptism.

On solid advice for youth ministry.

On the right way to “wait” for those who are single. “I Don’t Wait Anymore” also inspired another post.

On observing the responses to the anti-Islam video from the Muslim world. Consider the premise of Islam as a religion compared to Christianity: the effects of valuing honour versus valuing humility.


On 20 things that are useful to know for those in their 20s.

On the magic of photography and the lapse of time, juxtaposed.


A room with a view: why I’m starting to like Christian Hip-hop/Rap

Redeemed an iTunes gift card to get Lecrae’s new album, Gravity. Not disappointed with the choice. This from the Classical girl who found Rap a distasteful genre. [cueing epic soundtrack] This is my journey.

“Why you hatin’ on Rap?”

First of all, as a sheltered Classical musician trained in sight-reading Haydn’s sheet music, I never really embraced pop, rock, country or any of those newfangled genres completely anyhow: it wasn’t just Rap. But Rap was the epitome of what I didn’t particularly appreciate in modern music. It had swearing, vulgarity, angry voices, angry beats and tunes, empty values, and just didn’t put me in a good frame of mind. That kind of music gives you an aural headache, and it hertz. (Yes, that just happened.) The premise of the genre of Hip-Hop/Rap is sort of an angry defiance about sociopolitical matters like gang violence and racism, but spread amongst the gangs themselves to idolize a materialistic hedonism (a quest for pleasure: money, booty, drugs etc.) in the now more popular rendition of Gangsta Rap. Hence the bling: bling is a statement of wealth unabashedly displayed, whether the wearer is wealthy or not. I gained this general understanding from one of my favourite courses in undergrad, which was an introduction to popular music after WWI. It was probably the most useful course offered at the university for my social knowledge needs.

“Now why you lovin’ Christian Rap all o’a sudden?”

Just listen to Gravity, and it may speak (or rap) for itself. A major concern of mine with Christian music is whether it sounds lame or not. That might sound like a vain concern, but I think sincerity and a mind to how well something fits in a situation are important for the integrity of a message so important as the one from the Bible. Valuable ideas should be well-implemented. There has been much Christian music that has sounded lame to me in the past, but this doesn’t. First hurdle crossed. I’ve known for a while that Lecrae’s message is solid. Another hurdle (already) crossed. Now this album mixes more Reggae, Soul, and other styles in, so it isn’t as heavy as the previous ones (like Rehab or Rebel), so it’s also less of an aural headache. Next hurdle. I suddenly also crossed the mental hurdle of how Christian rap fits into the genre. It doesn’t glorify gang lifestyle and material hedonism like much of the other music in the genre, but it sings against it. It’s returned to those roots of defiance against sociopolitical problems, and this time not just in the slums of the states, but the slums of our human hearts. And they don’t just sing about it, but give the answer from the Bible for how to root it out: don’t you see the dirt on yourself? – then repent and turn to the Lord Jesus – done that? then why do you look back on your old self? – leave it behind and make good.

I’m not just saying it’s a good album: Gravity has topped iTunes charts, so even people who don’t care much for evangelical Christianity are buying it. See news articles below:
In any case, I’ve gone from disliking the genre to liking it, and even choosing to spend my gift card on it over some more mellow album choices saved on my wishlist (my usual fare).

His testimony only adds to complete my understanding of how there is great integrity between his music-making and his Jesus-believing, and convicting in how he is totally using his gifts and talents in proclaiming the kingdom of God. Now rapping isn’t my talent, but something is. (Wonder what?) That’s been an area in focus on my mind recently.

One last exciting fact: on a roadtrip to Florida with friends some years ago, we stopped in Atlanta, Georgia on a Sunday morning and randomly dropped in at the first church that seemed like it would preach a solid message. One of the pastors was standing outside Blueprint Church greeting people and started a friendly conversation with us. It was a great Sunday morning! Anyways, according to Wikipedia, Lecrae and his wife are small group leaders there. Nuts.

“lest I build on someone else’s foundation”

Thinking a bit about Paul. (Failing hard at keeping up with the reading plan btw.) But thinking about what Paul said in Romans 15:

… 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.” (ESV)

I know that missions often advocate preaching “where Christ was not known” (NIV) in a geographical sense. Paul was directed by the Holy Spirit to travel to new places he had not been to preach to those who have not heard. This is a huge principle in the vision for Asian or African missions. You travel to some place where there is a high concentration of people to whom Christ is not known. We think in a geographical way when ask the God’s fairness question, “What about those who haven’t heard?”

Hearing about and being at kids’ daycamps has made one thing clearer to me: Christ is not known to a high concentration of people demographically too.

Obviously there is a difference between kids without foundations and adults without foundations: you expect different levels and speeds of growth.

Chapters of frustration

Walking down the ‘Christianity’ aisle at Chapters book store is a little infuriating. Maybe extremely infuriating. “Why?” you say, “Aren’t you into Christian stuff?”

First question: what is the point of the Bible? Or a more simple question: why did Jesus come and die on the cross?

The Green Bible (NRSV) and The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation are not legitimate versions of The Bible. They thoroughly distort the gospel of Jesus Christ; he did not come to hug trees or slap the backs of self-righteous comrades, but to testify to the truth (that he’s the Son of God) and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Before you think I sound like a crazy conservative fundamentalist because the content of the three are still ‘mostly’ the same, think about the absolute importance of titles and context. The Bible is all about the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The Green Bible is all about a 21st century fad of planet-earth-loving. The First Egalitarian Bible is all about people struggling to make all people of equal greatness (but some are more equal than others). These other versions are completely raining on God’s parade, hence are not God’s Word. Green/Egalitarian emphases take things other than God and make them the greatest (i.e. idolatry) and hence misquote The Bible. Yes, God wants us to be good stewards and to love other as ourselves, but God’s first consuming purpose is God glorified. Glorify being exalting, honouring, highly esteeming… designating importance.

[As a side note… NRSV translators allowed this Green version to be published. How does that make them look as those entrusted with the gospel of God?]

I hadn’t realised the priorities were so badly skewed. This creates a strange urge to be a submissive housewife and to throw the recycling in the trash.

These and many other worthless books are wrongly stocked in the Christian section of bookstores that are not run by Christians.