Come one, come all!
Welcome to the 26th weekly Christian Carnival. Thanks to every one of the 37 blogs which submitted posts this week; I have been reading and re-reading every one of this fine collection of Christian thought.
First of all, there are some excellent Scriptural meditations and Scripture studies this week.
The study group that sits in A Dusty, Sunny Corner has begun a study of Mark P. Shea's "Making Senses out of Scripture" and have submitted their comments for part one.
At Deo Omnis Gloria, Joe probes: Was Matthias Really an Apostle? Matthias was given the seat of Judas early in the book of Acts. But was Matthias really an apostle? Did Peter make a mistake in deciding to hand down Judas' seat to another? Joe examines the Biblical evidence.
Andy, at Musings of a Catholic Convert, reflects on John 3:1-21, which post he also calls "the pain and beauty of conversion." [unfortunately, he doesn't have working permalinks, so you'll have to scroll a little, to July 12th; the Scripture address is the post title] The post is a glimpse into Andy's own conversion to the Catholic faith, but it's much broader than that. The passage's application is global, calling us all to continual conversion and sanctification.
Then, there are several fine posts having to do with Church polity or governance, and with specific doctrines.
Father Shane Tharp of the Catholic Ragemonkey wrote about who really owns the church he pastors, brought on by a piece of junk mail, in Priceless.
Joe Missionary asks: What Is a Missionary? Are you a missionary who hates it when "common" people call THEMSELVES missionaries? Do you consider yourself a missionary, even though you don't work overseas in full-time ministry? Just what defines "being a missionary" anyway? He wants to explore the issue with us.
Original Sin? is the topic proposed for discussion by Intolerant Elle, and she says she wants lots of imput, so let's not disappoint her. By the way, she equates Original Sin with Total Depravity --- and that's a new one for me!
Jerry at Truth Be told thinks the church ought to be Building a New Foundation. Jerry believes the church needs to rebuild it's foundation based on the word of God from the beginning, meaning that the church has to begin to proclaim the historicity of the bible, Genesis in particular. He contends that the compromising of the accuracy and historical meaning of scripture, particularly in regards to evolution and secular reasoning, has caused the church to not only compromise on the truth of scripture but to justify immoral behavior, and even the dependance on government by many churches to do the work of the Lord.
Replying to an article from last week's Carnival, Rebecca Writes about Hebrews 6's warnings against committing apostacy in relation to the doctrine of Monergistic Regeneration --- which is, if I'm understanding her correctly, the belief that someone truly born again cannot backslide or fall away --- in her submission, Doesn't Hebrews 6 Negate The Doctrine of Monergistic Regeneration?
Lots of folk had lots to say about politics, and they do not all agree.
Mark, who yawps the Vociferous Yawpings, ponders how a Catholic (or any believer, for that matter) is to decide who to vote for, with some discussion on forming a conscience that does not lie, in Our Obligation in the Public Realm.
Robert Reich, who once was the Secretary of Labor, recently wrote that the greatest danger to our society, rather than being terrorism, is the belief in God and timeless realities, and two submissions address this article. Mark D. Roberts takes Mr. Reich on in The Greatest Danger We Face? Eric Jay the Neophyte Pundit also takes Reich on in his Greatest Evil Facing Mankind.
The proposed Federal Marriage Amendment gets its share of pondering this week also. At LaShawn Barber's Corner, she argues that, though we do need laws to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, a constitutional amendment isn't the way to do it, in the post The Nationalization of Marriage. Bob Sacamento at between a rock and a hard place, however, thinks the proposed amendment is a really good idea, and encourages his readers to support it in his submission, This Week the U.S. Senate Votes...... And in his post American Politics and the Unjust Christian, Neil at Digitus, Finger, & Co. has been reading other bloggers' writing about the amendment, and has come to be very uncomfortable with any efforts to restore or preserve the United States as a supposedly Christian nation.
Michael of Christian Conservative says that the Christian right should not presume that God is on the side of the Republican Party, or on the side of the United States, in his offering, Don't assume God is on our side. Jesus is not a conservative. Jesus is not a liberal. Jesus is God. The question is not "is God on our side?" the question is, "are we on God's side?"
Just as the USCCB has been brainstorming about what to say about things that, though they are religious and moral, touch on politics, so has the National Association of Evangelicals been hard at work. The Parableman in his submission Evangelicals and Politics reviews what has been leaked about the National Association of Evangelicals' draft statement about evangelicals and politics.
And others had excellent ideas about culture.
T.S.O'Rama gives us a rambling meditation on the nature of human work in his Of Human Bondage at his site, Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor, otherwise known as "the blog with the really long Latin name".
At Beyond the Rim, William is inspired by the increasing argument between science and the Christian faith to question the true mandate and presuppositions of science in his submission, Science and God
Aaron's Message takes us down The Narrow Road in a discussion of conservatism and Christianity among Black Americans.
The Barna Group recently released a study about the beliefs of Christian teenagers, with some very, shall we say, interesting, results. Jared discusses those rather disturbing results at Exultate Justi in his post In, But Not Of --- How? He tries to draw a line in the sand about what it actually means to be a Christian, quite ambitiously.
At Baggas' Blog, Paul is reading about cosmology, and he couldn't help but see God behind what was written about the origins of the universe and Big Bang theories.
Douglas at Belief Seeking Understanding recalls that his hometown newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, had a Bible verse for its masthead motto. He ponders this, and wonders if any other larger-city papers do the same, in What the Motto with Your Newspaper?
What is the best way for Christian young people to find their spouses? Kris of Sculpting Souls proposes the concept of courtship as a superior model to that of dating in Can courtship work?
Growth in the Faith and sanctification remain popular this week.
Ray Pritchard's Crosswalk Blog writes in Broken, then Blessed about how we must be broken by God before we can be blessed by God, for this is how He moves us from where we are to where He wants us to be.
In Perspective, the fine Mr. Standfast reminds us to keep our Godly perspective when we endure various trials. It's also a fine critique of the good old worm theology.
Jin at What If I Stumble reminds us that God is Greater Than Mobster Bosses & Presidents. If even mob bosses and corrupt presidents take care of their own, how much more will God take care of us, who are His own dear children?
At the Wanderings of a Post-Modern Pilgrim, the Pilgrim finds that his inquisitiveness, or nosiness, about another person was used by God to get his attention and challenge him to prayer, in the post A Challenge to Pray.
Bryan of Spare Change writes of a conversation about God with his very young son (out of the mouths of babes!) in More Questions for Heaven.
Anachronisms, Depression and Interpersonal Conflict is the offering from Pruitt Communications. King Saul meets Judas the Betrayerin this piece of readers' theatre written for an adult (college-age) Sunday School class whose major problem was interpersonal relationships, and not necessarily the romantic kind.
Grace is a gift from God. Tom of Effortless Grace points out to us; is it not quite Dangerous Grace? If grace is a free gift, then why is it we think we have to try real hard, then, to become more like Jesus. The post talks about the truth that when Jesus prayed to His Father for our sanctification, His prayer was answered, yes! What does it mean for us today? Throw away the checklists, urges Tom.
Steve Bogner at Catholicism, Holiness and Spirituality is reading a collection of writings by the martyred archbishop Oscar Romero and contemplates the violence, the wild untamedness and intensity, of true love in his submission, The Violence of Love.
The King of Fools shares with us a eulogy, and we watch with him as his children mourn the death of their beloved dog, in Frodo's Last Day.
Has it ever happened that you were going right along, doing God's work, when suddenly stuff happens? And the work comes to an impasse? How can you discern whether this is God shutting doors, or the work of the evil one, or just remnants of the world being fallen? Reynaldo of The Bible Archive discusses this in his offering, Knowing God's Will in the Work.
Mercy and forgivemess are not the same thing, John da Fiesole of Disputations reminds us, and he contemplates the depths of that difference in Mercy and forgiveness.
Alicia the Midwife is also pondering the depths of the mercy of God, and also of His judgment, in Either or? No, both and on her site, Fructus Ventris
The Curt Jester offers the Carnival Prayer and Punditry, an exposition of the pitfalls abounding in being a christian pundit, and the tensions between being incisive and funny and being truthful and charitable.
And one fine gentleman, Tim at Mission Safari, tells us of Yet Another (inventive mission-field) Use for Duct Tape, just for fun
And, my own contribution ---- The great mystery of forgiveness, an eyewitness testimony to that most scandalous teaching of the Church, the mercy of God and the command that we forgive, witnessed by a confessor of the faith during the depths of the Soviet era.
Enjoy, the Carnival, you all! It's been fun assembling it for you, and I hope to be allowed to do it again someday. Your host next week will be Mr. Standfast, whom I hope has as good a turnout and as much a good time as I've had.