Theology Feed


My Christian friends have a love and concern for non-believers. It is deep, sincere, and passionate. My atheist friends have their own concerns. Those concerns have to do with respect for their dignity and right to choose their own destinies and beliefs.

I first posted this in 2006. I think it still needs to be read. We can be faithful to truth and respectful of people:

There is a dialogue I happened upon by two of my friends, Henry Neufeld and Carol Roper. Henry is a Christian and Carol is an atheist.

Henry calls his article, "Witness without Being a Pest." Read it all. Then read Carol's entry in Philosoraptor to which Henry is responding, "Sick and Tired of God Stuff - an Open Letter to Thesists."

We can learn much by reading each blog and considering the comments as well.

You, my Evangelical friends, will not get this opportunity often. Carol is an utterly honest person. I've known her for many years. She is not an atheist for lack of hearing the message of Christianity. She simply does not believe it. I don't know if she ever will or not. What I do know is that it can't be beaten into her. When she tells you how it feels to be her, she is telling the truth and we can learn from that.

Henry is an extremely effective witness who does not feel compelled to alienate non-believers as a way of validating his fidelity to truth. He senses no burning call to be "mean for Jesus." Yet, he is a faithful witness with enough integrity to be who he is, believe what he believes, love those who disagree, and let God be God.

Carol clarifies her message even more in the comments to Henry's offering.

Henry draws an extremely insightful conclusion with this excerpt:

"Think about it this way.  You might be a pest, rather than a witness if:

  • You knock on doors belonging to people you don’t know, but can’t name your own next door neighbors
  • You know all the details of soteriology*, but don’t know where to get help for a homeless person
  • You think salvation is equivalent to joining your church congregation
  • You talk to people you despise so you can “save” them, and yet continue to despise them
  • You’re sure your relationship with Jesus makes you more special than everybody else
  • The only language you know how to speak is “church-ese”
  • You set a mental timer counting down until you will break off a friendship if the stubborn jerk doesn’t accept Jesus
  • You can’t carry on any conversation that isn’t about your religion
  • You try to befriend someone only because you think you can get him to attend church"

        (c) 2006, Henry E. Neufeld. All Rights Reserved.

I post Henry's words here because I want to make sure I don't forget them ... ever!

How to Pray in Time of War

Those of us who pray and, specifically, those of us who pray publically, are often caught in a theological and ethical crisis when confronted with certain issues. We are called to pray the prayers of the people, but also called to attempt to ascertain the general wil of God in prayer. How do we pray when there is a war between two groups of people whom God loves?

Here are some wandering thoughts I have gathered on the matter:

  • Pray for policy makers, military commanders, and strategists that they will be guided by God and will be wise and truthful.
  • Pray for our enemies that God will bless them. This is a non-negotiable command from Jesus.
  • Pray that we will have our understanding of what God's blessing is tempered by God and accept His definition of His blessings to us.
  • Pray for the sergeants and chiefs that they will be able to maintain discipline and morale.
  • Pray for the soldiers, sailors, and airmen that they will be strengthened by God's grace and protected from harm—physical and emotional..
  • Pray for a minimum number of casualties on all sides.
  • Pray for the civilian populations that they will be protected from harm, hunger, and despair..
  • Pray for righteousness, justice, and peace.
  • Pray that many will turn to God, in a global movement of seeking and awakening that will turn the hearts of people toward one another as well.
  • Pray that terrorists will voluntarily submit themselves before the bar of divine mercy and human justice.
  • Pray that they and others will be saved from sin, anger, and bitterness - this is what blessing ultimately means.
  • Pray for the success of every righteous cause.
  • Pray for an end to terrorism and injustice.
  • Pray for the will of God to be done in every dimension of human affairs and for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven.
  • Pray for repentance and forgiveness regarding our individual and corporate offenses against God and other human beings.
  • Pray for oppressed people wherever they are to be liberated and that will be dealt with in a just and merciful manner.
  • Pray for comfort and healing for victims of terrorism and war and for their families.
  • Pray for families that are sending their sons and daughters to war.
  • Pray that we will hear whatever God may be saying to us in this hour and will comply with His will.
  • Pray that we will choose to be on God’s side rather asking Him to be on our side.
  • Pray for a new era of understanding, cooperation, and justice in the world.

A Flair for the Dramatic

A Flair for the Dramatic


Our God has more than just a flair for the dramatic. He uses drama at every turn to communicate the mysteries of His truth. Two great dramas are interwoven into the history of Christianity and give us insight into God’s ways with humankind: baptism and Lord’s supper. Both of these present the story of redemption with such vivid poignancy that men and women through history have been drawn to their compelling message But that is not the whole of it. Everything God does evokes worship. 


A Flair for the Dramatic

God stepped out on stage

And every member

of the orchestra

knew it was He.

He took the baton in hand

And breathed forth


Down came the baton


And the pattern was given

With every eye upon Him.

The strings

The horns

The percussionists


Yes, the lights!

The dancers,

The actors,

The Children,

The artists !

Suddenly, the stage was filled

With performers.

And He conducted them.

And every art

And every part

Conformed to the rhythm of His Baton.

And someone in the audience remarked,

“He certainly has a flair for the dramatic.”

And all creation applauded.



Roses On Our Noses

    First, I must credit Pastor Terri Purgason of Fresno First Baptist Church for inspiring these thoughts.

Next, I must decide what these thoughts my be.

Finally, I must type them, but not necessarily in that order.

Terri was straining to hear me in our pastor's cluster meeting today. That does not happen to me often. Perhaps she was trying to read my lips because she asked me to move the vase of roses that was sitting in front of me.

Now I've heard of rose colored glasses obscuring the truth, but these were real, home-grown, mother-in-law nurtured, picked, and arranged roses - and they were blocking my words.

"It's hard to hear you through the roses."

That's what she said and it immediately rang poetic in my ears.

This is going to require some thought. Generally, if people can't hear me, the obstructions are not so sweet and attractive. I have been known to get in my own way - not so rosy. Nor is my ego pleasantly fragrant, though similarly effective. Frankly it stinks. But roses?

You can plant roses almost anywhere assuming all other conditions are conducive to their growth. Roses can cover  numerous eyesores and perfume unpleasant odors.

Most biblical references to "rose" are the past tense of "rise."

An exception would be the Rose of Sharon from the Song of Solomon. Isaiah notes that even Sharon would waste away.

So here I am, loud mouthed man that I am, unable to be heard through a vase of roses - lovely, sweet roses.

In fact, from the moment guests began to take their seats at the lunch table, the roses started moving much as the menus in a Denny's move when I want to see the person behind them. There was no disrespect intended and no offense received. They were beautiful (the roses not the menus), but they were in the way. In order to appreciate what we were present for, we needed to see the people with whom we were meeting. In order to fully receive their words, we needed to see them.

I do appreciate the roses; they just needed some adjustment for the sake of conversation.

I want to see the person.

I want to see you.

Stop hiding behind flowery language, hyperbole, and posturing. Let me see you, smell you, and hear you as you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and uniquely beautiful without decoration or obscuration.

I will be reflecting on this in the days to come - reflecting, refining, and rewriting - but I needed to get started. There are so many applications of this truth. It really is a problem for many people. We just can't hear through all the roses.