Monday, January 19, 2015

A Little of This; a Little of That

I had another kid, so I think that bought me an excuse to take a few months off from the blog? LOL. I sure hope so, anyways. Yes, I am a father times 2, and what a great adventure it has been since my son was born. Wanna know a secret, just between you and me? I can't say the phrase "my son" without thinking of Darth Vader's conversation with the Emperor. Haha ... I am imagining the readership of this entry dropping in half after that little excerpt ... we went from 6 to 3 readers before the end of the first paragraph =)

Here's my favorite shot of the little guy, so far. Behold, I present to you, my son, Connolly Kevin:

The trouble with taking such a long vacation from the blog is knowing where to begin again. What I'd like to do is briefly catch y'all up on a few personal items, transition to what I'm studying and reading, and conclude with a few thoughts on the primary book I should have finished months ago (but will finish next week). Here goes nothin'...

My family is wonderful. God continues to bless Emily and I, and we now have two marvelous kids that fill our home with laughter, and other high-pitched screams =). As a quick side-note, I recently tried to watch "Children of Men" for a second time and couldn't finish it. It was too depressing. The idea of a world entirely without children is very sad to think about, and I'm thankful that is not the world we live in.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. You have to understand that Christmas for me begins the day after Thanksgiving, and goes well into the first week of January. It is quite an event. Decorations galore - we had TWO Christmas trees this year (both fake, of course), multiple parties, friends, family, presents, the whole bit. The best part this Christmas was being able to explain to my three year old the real meaning of why we celebrate Christmas: the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Isn't it remarkable that God the Son condescended by willingly taking on a second nature of humanity to live a perfect life of obedience to God's Law so that He could die and raise again for our justification? We've also started going through a children's version of the Bible together; what a joy and an honor it is to teach my children about the only true and living God who came to save sinners.

Last year I chose to do something that would further increase my geek-dom (is that even possible?) by beginning to collect the 1991 X-Men comic book series. There are approximately 207 total, so it won't be terribly difficult to own them all (and thankfully, not too expensive either!). Also reading the original Superman comics, at least the first two volumes of reprints, then I'd like to move onto a more modern Superman series. And the last two geeky things I'll comment on here is that I've also begun reading the Star Wars novels beginning at shortly before Episode IV, and would someday like to read everything after. Ambitious, but hey, I've got time ... at least, someday I'll have time =). It would be unconscionable for me not to mention that December 18 will be a day long remembered. Star Wars: Episod VII arrives in theaters. 

Finally, just a few thoughts on a book that I'll (finally) be wrapping up this coming week: "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics" by Robert Gagnon. If you haven't heard of this book, let me be the first to recommend it to you. I am about four-fifths of the way through and there have been many "aha" moments that quite-metaphorically blew my socks off. Gagnon's book is *the* book if you're looking for an all-encompassing overview of the subject of homosexuality in history and with how it relates to Biblical Christianity.

It is a sure thing that I'll have more to say about Gagnon's book in the coming weeks, so for now I'll hone in on two examples that have helped me. The first is simple, but very impactful. He takes the time to respond to a common argument made by homosexual advocates:

The concept of a homosexual couple in a loving, committed and life-long monogomous relationship was utterly foreign to the ancient world. Therefore, the Old Testament Jews and Paul in the New Testament were only condemning exploitative relationships, and not the kind of relationship the modern LGBT movement is promoting.

Gagnon takes the time to look at the nations surrounding Israel that practiced homosexuality in the Old Testament, as well as periods leading up to the 1st century A.D. What is clearly seen are all forms of imagined homosexual practice: exploitative, non-exploitative/consensual, pederastic (another form of exploitative), homo-eroticism related to cultic worship. Just a few hundred years prior to the New Testament, the Greeks and Romans had seen all of these, and then some. Therefore Gagnon makes a strong case defending both the Old and New Testament witnesses were aware of this type of relationship, and yet, God still condemns the practice because it goes against the general revelation given to all people - the complementarity of men and women, and even that the biological parts match (go figure).

Next, Gagnon responds to the argument that we shouldn't use verses that condemn homosexuality because they may be used in a cruel fashion. Rather than comment, I'd like to quote part of this beautiful response:

"If the eternal destiny of unrepentant, practicing homosexuals is at stake, or even a full relationship with God in the present life, then it would be a "cruel abuse of religious power" to give false assurance that these texts do not condemn homosexual behavior. It can be as much a cruel abuse of religious power not to say what Scripture says, however unpleasant it is to hear, as to say what it says in a cold and callous manner. To think otherwise is to indict Jesus himself, who was not shy about using Scripture to warn people of impending judgment. Similarly, within the story line of Genesis 2-3, should we say that the serpent, upon reassuring Eve that she would not die if she ate from the tree forbidden by God, was adopting a more loving and inclusive stance than God?" (Gagnon, pgs. 331-332).

You can expect this kind of brilliance throughout his book. I recommend it.

Until our next meeting,

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