Saturday, August 29, 2009

All The Things Jesus Said About Homosexuality

(insert sound of crickets chirping here)

Friday, August 21, 2009

You continue to impress me Mr. President

This is one of the many reasons I voted for Barak Obama. In the following video, he respectfully extends his best wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world for the month of Ramadan. He is taking us in a new direction.

Video at Youtube
HT: Bruce

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jon Stewart on CNN's Crossfire in 04'

Perhaps many of you have already seen this, but I just found out about this clip today at Out of Ur. It is amazing to watch someone who is independent befuddle two intelligent men - because they cannot see beyond their own partisanship. Stewart is sarcastic, but I do not actually believe that is our main draw. Sarcasm yes, but honest. That is why he makes the other two seem like buffoons. They are so tied to their partisanship that they can see and hear nothing else. I think the coming generation is rejecting, and laughing, at partisanship.

Jon could not have been any more profound in describing what is wrong with our discourse in America.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Conservatives Are Usually the Last to Get On Board

Universal health care is coming. Be it today, or tomorrow, or next year... it is coming. Many conservatives will rant and rail against this, but in the end they will come around. They always do.

When it comes to looking backward, they tend to see clearly. The reforms fought by them in the past would now be admitted by most to be good things.

For example:

In the 16th and 17th centuries, conservatives fought against medical and scientific advances (often on religious grounds). Progressives were threatened with torture and death.

Conservatives typically defended the Aristocracy and the Right of Kings.

Most conservatives in the past fought against:

The Abolition of Slavery
Humane Treatment of Prisoners
Child Labor Laws
Worker Safety Laws
Worker Rights
Voting Rights for Women
Civil Rights Laws

In all these cases, the arguments made were similar to conservative arguments today: businesses will fail, families will break apart, government encroachment, etc.

Of course, once the reform becomes commonplace and the world fails to implode, conservatives move quietly on to the next issue they will be behind the curve on.

So, I am not worried. Universal health care is coming. Conservatives will moan and complain the whole journey, but in the end they will get on board; failing to make the connection to their previous track record on issues.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Frank Schaeffer Speaks Out On Right Wing Protesters

Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author and helped found the religious right movement. He is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood.

More on Frank Schaeffer here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I do not care what the critics thought, my wife and I just returned from seeing this movie and we both loved it. Parents of 11 year old daughters are going to be extra susceptible to it's tear jerking moments. I think folks who didn't like it probably had trouble staying with it's "non" linear story line.

The story tells the relationship of Henri to his wife. He bounces uncontrollably about time. Because of this, his wife has known him since she was a small child and is already in love with him when he meets her for the first time when she is 20. If you can follow it, the Time Traveler's wife is an endearing love story with just enough fantasy to make it magical. A+

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Joy and Beauty Without Christianity

If you travel at all in Christian circles, you may hear a theology about how depraved we all are; useless and good for nothing. The logic behind this brand of Christian thought is that apart from Christ we cannot do anything good. Probe a little deeper and you may hear that only a Christian can really do anything "good", and that only through Christ.


I choose to quote a scripture in Acts uttered by St. Paul.

"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."

Good is good and does not need a label.

The scripture above was actually a quote taken by Paul from a Greek poet, Epimenides (c. 600 B.C.) If Paul shared the above version of Christian thinking - that good things are only good based on their Christian labeling - I hardly believe he would have been quoting Greek poets in such a positive fashion to make his case for Christ.

This whole thought came to me because of a video I saw today. It was beautiful and filled me with joy. I believe its goodness stands independently. As a Christian, I also believe that its goodness pleases the heart of God because He is good; but its goodness can happily stand apart from Christianity.

Watch Matt as he lives, and moves, and has being :

On a related note, this video also made me think of people who always have to thump their chests saying "America is the greatest nation in the world!"

I don't think so. I think America is a pretty good place, amongst a lot of other pretty good places. All of them together make a pretty great world.

An HD copy can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yesterday I completed my 300th blog post. I started this blog on April 22, 2003 with a few random sentences. I think my initial intention was to keep a diary of sorts, but instead it became a place for me to editorialize on life.

The first 3 years were kind of thin as far as posting goes. I used to hate to write. Back in college, I would drop classes that had any serious amount of writing required. It just took too long for me to construct a few paragraphs. I would stare at a blank screen or page and endlessly re-write. Now I wish I could write full time.

A few facts about this blog:

I usually get about 35 visits a day, but I had one freaky day two years ago when I got 215 for some reason.

Half of the people who come to my site have never been here before.

About a quarter of my visitors come straight to this site, whereas the other 3 quarters get bounced from other sites or through search engines.

The Truth Project Part 2 is my most frequented page other than my home page. It naturally is also the article with the most comments (51).

I love when people comment on my posts, even if in disagreement. This awareness has made me more intentional about commenting on the many, many blogs I read.

The good folks of Troy, MI come to my site more often than the next 3 cities combined.

After America, most of my hits come from Canada and then Austrailia.

I really want to know what happened to Jim of the Burrs and Mike from Ifs of Og.... I don't think bloggers should be allowed to drop off the map like that. :)

I get hits from IP addresses on a regular basis from people who NEVER comment. Who are you? Don't be shy. :)

I have made one "real life" friend through blogging. Thomas and I meet with a small group monthly to discuss life and God over coffee.

I type most of my blog entries from my computer desk in the family room while looking out at the mountains.

The busier I am the more I write. When I have lots of time on my hands, my writing slows to a crawl. Weird.

My wife proofreads my blogs 9 times out of 10 before I post. She most often corrects my awkwardly worded sentences.

I am grateful to have gotten to "know" so many of my regular readers over the years. I feel I have a band of friends whom I have never met. I wish I were a rich man who could fly you all out here so we could spend an evening around a campfire in the mountains discussing this thing called life.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Central Piece Is Missing

I think it becomes clearer to me daily as to why Christianity is failing on the world market. We have jettisoned the nature of God, his defining attribute, that which makes him tick.... and then we wonder why the god we present to the world is not desirable. Rather than consider the possibility that there might be something wrong with our presentation, we attack and speak down to those who reject our vacuous message.

One example of this hit me as I was reading an interview with John MacArthur recently. John speaks for a fairly large section of Christendom. When asked to define the church, he stated:

" I believe the church has one function, and that is to guard the truth, to proclaim the truth and to live the truth. So you take the Word of God, you teach it, you proclaim it, you protect it, you defend it, and you live it, and that’s a church. The Word of God rightly divided, rightly understood. "

His definition is all about disseminating and defending theology. Notice anything missing?

Then there was the test of my "Worldview" I took today over at Worldview A friend of mine signed me up for their newsletter last year. Through it, I am treated to the most extreme in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. The test labeled me as having a Secular Humanist worldview (this was of course considered bad and they had many suggestions for how I might cure myself). The test was about 40 questions long and asked about my politics, economics, theology, and so on. Here are some example statements, which you would rate from strongly agree to strongly disagree:

Making the incomes of its citizens as equal as possible should be one of the top priorities of any legitimate government.

When you study the Bible as a whole, it becomes clear that God is very supportive of an economic system that is based on private property, the work ethic, and personal responsibility.

The Bible says, judge not lest you be judged, which means we are not to judge the choices or behavior of a person as right or wrong. We all make mistakes, and thus we should not judge someone's actions or behavior according to any particular standard.

These 40 questions were written to determine whether or not I have a "Christian" worldview. Interestingly enough, I found it had the same omission as John's definition of the church.

The word LOVE is not to be found.

The bible says that God IS love. Not that He works at being loving, or that He chooses to love; it states that love is who He IS.

I find it incredible that we can define His church, or determine if someone's worldview is aligned with His, without once using the word (or even hinting at the concept) that best describes HIS worldview.

Let's face it, most of the American church likes to avoid that word. They feel it would give people license to not obey, I mean God. When it does get used, there will often follow a string of qualifications.

We are way off the path....

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Christian... But Tainted...

I read a blog recently where a friend was stating his frustration with Christians. Though he is one himself, he recently had a Christian friend reject him because he had the "wrong" view on homosexuality.

This is a rampant problem in Christianity: the myth of having the right view. In most Christian circles, divergence of opinion is not tolerated. There are rarely friendly disagreements. This is because many Christians view someone of an opposing view as being "tainted". Claiming Christ, but having a wrong view makes you a dangerous individual. Your wrong view may be spread, or caught. You become a carrier of a very harmful virus. This is why there are tens of thousands of splits within the Christian faith. They all claim the same God, and will have some interaction, but overall they keep a safe distance lest any harmful views be catching.

This fear of catching something can be as subtle as just thinking oneself superior (more pure) or as obnoxious as working to violently stamp out all views but your own.

One of my more impactful run-ins with this phenomenon occurred last year. Most folks in my church who know me are aware of my lack of orthodoxy. To some my views are intriguing, to others comical, and a few are just glad that this non-christian is coming to church on a regular basis. :)

However, the following e-mail conversation started over a blog entry that a church member had read (I knew this blog would get me in trouble some day). I was commenting on a Mormon/Evangelical event I had attended, but clarified that I was neither Mormon nor Evangelical.

This was her email (name changed):

Andrew – I found it interesting that in your blog ... you said that you were neither Evangelical or Mormon. Can you clarify why you would not consider yourself an Evangelical?

I was not looking to offend or shock with my response, but here is my reply:

Hey Deb,

I kind of started to avoid the term Evangelical a few years back. It just didn't seem to fit as a descriptor anymore. Though the term is broad, it tends to focus on folks who have certain political and religious leanings. I started to notice it was easier to say I wasn't one and then find areas of commonality than it was to say I am an evangelical and then have to talk over various untrue assumptions.

But to be more specific:

Evangelical and Republican have been nearly interchangeable in the past few decades. Though I think some of those ties are starting to weaken, they are still two peas in a pod. I have been becoming less republican minded over the years, so I feel less "Evangelical".

Evangelicals tend to be very certain about things that I am rather agnostic about.

For example, I don't necessarily believe in a triune God. I think the Shema had it - “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” As I read Paul, there are just too many times he sets up a hierarchy between Jesus and God. I don't see equality and interchangeability being presented in the New Testament. I think if I had never heard a trinitarian teaching prior, I would have been hard pressed to develop such a notion through scripture reading. Still, as I said, I am rather agnostic on this point. I am not sure what to make of it, so I am trying to keep my views limited to the ideas I see about Christ presented in Scripture.

Another place I would probably defy the definition is in my view of Biblical inerrancy. I don't believe the Bible is inerrant. I do believe it is the writings of people who encountered the True God in their time bound circumstance. I believe it is inspired. I believe God accepts it as a human reflection of him and as such speaks through it to draw men to Himself. It is the foundational cornerstone of my theology. I don't think that, as a Christian, I need to think any more of it than that.

My views of salvation are probably a little too fuzzy for an Evangelical definition. I would need pages to type my theses on this but, simply put, I see redemption much more as a God act than a man act. I think some of Paul's offerings of "this is how this may happen" in our hands have become "this is how this does happen". I think our present systems of salvation theory are much too limiting and do not let God be God.

To be clear, I love my Evangelical brothers and sisters, I just don't think the term fits me at the moment.

Not sure what ya might make of all of that so feel free to ask a follow-up.

Andrew Hackman

To which I got this reply:

Andrew –

Thanks for your thoughtful and honest reply. I like your ability to not just jump into the “Evangelical Box”.

I do however have concerns about your roles at [our church] and wonder if you would fill in some blanks for me. During the application/interview processes for joining the church plant team, joining [the church], becoming a Sunday School teacher, and/or a small group leader (don’t know if you have been or not), did anyone ask you if you believed in a Triune God or if you believed the Bible was inerrant or any other faith based questions?

I love your heart and your desire to learn and to grow, I just wonder if being in leadership roles in an “Evangelical” church is where you should be at this point in the process. I believe that we are all on a journey, just like you are, but I do think that Evangelical families attending an Evangelical church would expect that the leaders/teachers would at least believe the basics of their own faith. I believe that the Trinity and the inerrancy of the Bible are essential to the Christian faith.

I think there are a lot of roles that you can play at [our church] because of your strengths and your ability to think outside the box, but I would hope that as you are asked to fill different positions that include leading others, that you would let the [church] staff know where you stand on issues that are essential to their beliefs.

Just some thoughts for consideration.


While I was pondering this and how to "fill in the blanks", I got this follow up email:

Andrew, I felt it was in the best interest of [our church] to let [our pastor] know where you were at with all of this, so I forwarded your email to him, I believe he plans to talk with you.

I have a dozen thoughts on this event (ex: what makes certain beliefs essential... and essential to what?) and maybe will write on them one day, but today I want to deal with the "tainted-ness" that is communicated here.

I think the unspoken concern in her email was that I taught a Sunday school class (actually assisted) and her daughter happened to be in it (Kindergarten). I don't write the curriculum, I just implement it. There have been two occasions when I had a problem with what was being taught. I spoke with the directors about it, and since it wasn't seen my way, I just opted myself out when the occasion arose. Otherwise, I am doing the lesson as given to me. Even if I were tempted to go off script, I am not going to get into a theological discussion with a 6 year old.

I may be wrong in thinking those things would be obvious, but I am going to assume they were. So what was the real issue? I believe it is taintedness... other-ness.... Whatever I have could be catching, and we don't want our children or anyone impressionable to be around someone who doesn't hold the right views.

My church's stance on my teaching Sunday school was up for debate for a while, but never seemed to come to a decided conclusion. However, at that point I had kind of lost my taste for it anyway and bowed out at the end of the semester.

I share my friend's frustration with Christianity and the irritation at being rejected for having the "wrong" view. There are times when I get tempted to bag the whole thing.

But then I read the sayings of Jesus and his call to love God and our neighbors, to do good to those who harm us, to bring life .... and I think, "This is how I want to live!"

But the how is something I am still working on......

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Love Turns 40!

My wife turns 40 today! We were discussing this yesterday, and she indicated that this is the first birthday that gives her pause. Growing up, she remembers when her folks and neighbors turned forty... and she thought that was so ancient.

Now here we are! (I did the turn last year).

I am blessed to be married to a talented, gracious, beautiful, and loving woman. She is humble about these things, but she brings life to every soul she touches and every circumstance she is involved in.

Mary Lee makes our home an inviting and warm place. Her patient, wise, and loving ways have guided our two wonderful children. She is loyal and giving to everyone who is blessed to call her friend.

And I am the one she calls husband. I am truly a rich man!

We have been married for 13 years; so there are a number of her 40 years that I was not a part of. But I am thankful that I am the one who shall be with her for these next 40 and beyond.

Happy Birthday my Love!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Seems about right....

My Political Views
I am a left social moderate
Left: 5.64, Libertarian: 0.96

Political Spectrum Quiz
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