Friday, June 7, 2013

Good Without God (Book Review)

"Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity." This is the definition I found on the website of the American Humanist Association, an organization that has been in existence for about 70 years in the United States and whose motto is Good without God. Humanism, of course, has existed far longer in the history of mankind. One of its greatest periods was during the 16th/17th century Renaissance, and hence called Renaissance Humanism, when learning and rationalism in the arts and sciences triumphed over centuries of medieval superstition, supernaturalism, and ignorance. In recent times, humanism has been on the rise again; last month the British Humanist Association, called into question again, the Church of England's position as the established national church of the United Kingdom in light of the new attendance statistics they had just released. I have often been complimented as a humanist myself. Many followers of Jesus subscribe to aspects of humanist philosophy (indeed it is hard not to do so and it is not always wrong either) without realizing it; the danger arises when we are unaware of our own deep-seated influences, prejudices, false idols, and the many blind spots that may be hindering the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Therefore, it is my delight and honor to present Don Major's review of Epstein's Good Without God.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Freedom from Darkness: Living in the Light

Quality of life. Freedom from death. This weekend I heard just such a story of freedom. I was so touched that I want to share it as widely as possible.

Sunday was the second teaching from Colossians in a dramatically titled new sermon series, Playmaker, Prophet, Priest & King: The Supremacy of Christ. It was on Colossians 1. 9-14. In verses  9-11 Paul is joyful having heard from Epaphras about the faith of the Colossians. He prays with high expectations for the Colossians to be filled with Christ. Pr. Scott asked: Do we pray with high hopes or low expectations? How much joy do we have when people come to know Jesus? What is the transformation from darkness to living in light? Then, we heard from Barbara B. Grace. Dignity. Joy. In Christ. I give you Barbara, in her own words, below.

This is a story of beginnings and endings, light out of darkness and hope.