On the Intense Agony and Joy of Being a Dodgers Fan

On October 20, 1988, the Dodgers won their last World Series.

Almost six years later, on Sunday, August 7, 1994, Orel Hershiser, the last remaining player from that Dodgers World Series winning roster, for the last time in a Dodgers uniform (his later return in 2000 doesn’t count–at that point he no longer pitched like Orel Hershiser) pitched a game for the last time, due to the strike shortened season. That very same day, I was born. Continue reading “On the Intense Agony and Joy of Being a Dodgers Fan”

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On the Intense Agony and Joy of Being a Dodgers Fan

A Personal Spiritual Heritage

Gates, Grant – Spiritual Heritage Timeline

For my historical theology class last semester I had to make a personal timeline of important events from the time of the reformation to the present that directly influenced my spiritual history. (To see it click the link above.) Let me recount the story told by that timeline. I ask you to forgive the melodramatic effects created by any narrative that begins with “In 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 these to a church door in Wittenberg” and ends with “In 2016 Grant Gates started classes at The Master’s Seminary.”

Continue reading “A Personal Spiritual Heritage”

A Personal Spiritual Heritage

A Land Like Your Own Land

In 2 Kings 18, Judah was in deep yogurt. The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians. While Hezekiah was the best king of Judah since David (vv. 3-6), and even though idolatry and contraband worship at high places had been purged from the land, and despite a past successful rebellion against Assyrian hegemony, Judah was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, who successfully destroyed much of the country before besieging Jerualem (vv. 13, 17), putting his general Rabshakeh in command. Rabshakeh then commenced a propaganda campaign against the soldiers of Israel, mocking their king and their God. His speech made five points (vv. 19–35, with a reprise in 19:8–13): Continue reading “A Land Like Your Own Land”

A Land Like Your Own Land

Trusting God When Life is Easy

The biographies of pioneering missionaries, or puritans resisting the English kings, or reformers facing heresy trials, or other heroes of the faith often impress us with great displays of trust in God. These heroes proclaimed the gospel to people about to kill them for it, preached when they’d be thrown in jail for doing so, and relied constantly on God for provision. Perhaps we see great trust as well in fellow church members—those fighting cancer, those with very sick family members, those who end up in severe financial trouble, those who go through great trouble with unbelieving family, and others. While many people go through various difficult trials and have to rely on God, some Christians experience mostly good providences to us, and that their “trials”—finals weeks and annoying people at work—hardly count. How then can such a person trust God? Continue reading “Trusting God When Life is Easy”

Trusting God When Life is Easy

Toward a Theology of the Restroom

Some of the easiest and most common humor in our world is based on bodily functions, particularly excretion. To a lesser and milder extent, these same jokes are common in the conversations of Christians, even educated evangelicals. A common justification for these is the seemingly graphic nature of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament in the Law and histories, when discussing these sorts of topics. However, these might not actually be connected to the issue of determining appropriate humor. Looking at a couple passages will show that this is not crudeness, but actually direct glorification of God. Continue reading “Toward a Theology of the Restroom”

Toward a Theology of the Restroom

Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?

One of the core struggles of the Christian life is the tension between living in the world and being profoundly different from it. According to the Bible, we are in the world, but not of the world. We were once proud of and defined by worldly things and accomplishments, but now we count them all as loss in exchange for Christ. We understand that we are citizens of heaven, merely pilgrims passing through this present world. We know we need to lay aside what lies behind and press on to the goal—Jesus Christ. But in practice Christians usually fall short. Continue reading “Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?”

Is Worldliness Really Such a Big Deal?

Is It Moral to Sucker Punch a Nazi?

No. It’s not. Why do I have to talk about this?

There’s a white supremacist who’s been in the news named Richard Spencer. He famously gave a speech at a conference in Washington, D.C. last November which he started with a Nazi salute and the proclamation, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” It goes without saying that he’s an evil guy. Not only is he evil, but he holds a particularly evil viewpoint, not so much because God is more offended by some evil viewpoints than others so much as because his particularly viewpoint has dangerous consequences on other people. Furthermore, Naziism and racism are the two most vehemently hated evils in modern America. Continue reading “Is It Moral to Sucker Punch a Nazi?”

Is It Moral to Sucker Punch a Nazi?