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Babylon Bee: A New Unitarian Universalist Hymnal!



U.S.—A new printing of the Unitarian Universalist hymnal just contains one song: John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

The official UUA hymnal, titled Songs of Doubt, includes the popular song in a few dozen different arrangements and nothing else.

Now UUA church members can sing along with deeply spiritual lyrics such as “Imagine there’s no heaven / It’s easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky.” While UUA churchgoers aren’t required to participate in hymn singing, the preaching of the Word, church attendance, or anything else, church leaders hope this move will encourage more parishioners to sing along.

“The old hymns were problematic because they mentioned Jesus, the cross, and God sometimes,” said a UUA pastor of doubt formation. “Now we can sing that there aren’t any countries, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too, just like the Great Feminine Spirit in the sky would have us do.”

“One day all the world will live as one, as Lennon’s classic hymn says,” she added. “Preferably under communism.”

 
 

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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #2) DOUBT!

In his book Martin Thielen, a United Methodist pastor, challenges us to give up certain beliefs which many Christians hold. Some beliefs ought to be jettisoned. Others, not so much.

The book is divided into two sections: Part 1 lists “Ten Things Christians Don’t Need to Believe” and Part 2 is entitled “Ten Things Christians Do Need to Believe.” Let’s think about the second belief Christians don’t need to believe.

2. Good Christians Don’t Doubt: Thielen subtitles this chapter “Doubt is not the enemy of faith but part of authentic Christianity.” Thielen talks about being “all prayed out,” meaning one begins to have doubts about God’s existence and care. He gives several examples, such as Abraham and Sarah praying for a son, Moses becoming frustrated in leading the people of Israel through the wilderness, Job in his sickness and loss, Jeremiah in his anger and anguish.  [Thielen mentions the Apostle Paul’s praying for healing {presumably in 2 Cor. 12}, but feeling “prayed out” in not receiving his healing.  I would disagree with this example].

Thielen says that “even Jesus felt all prayed out” (p. 10).  Hmmm.  Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane does reveal the Lord’s struggle with dying, but He concludes His prayer, “Not my will, but Yours, be done.”  That doesn’t seem like being “prayed out” to me.

MY RESPONSE:  I agree that some of the early Christians had to work their way out of their doubts (“Doubting Thomas” is a classic example), but remaining in doubt certainly isn’t the answer for the disciple.  Doubt, honestly faced, can lead to CONFIDENT FAITH or UNGODLY UNBELIEF. Perhaps my diagram will help a bit.  Doubt can lead to one or the other.

But God doesn’t want us to stay in DOUBT.  I appreciate Timothy Keller who challenges those still on the way to faith to “doubt their doubts”! The writer Frederick Buechner refers to doubt as “the ants in the pants of faith; [moments of doubt] keep it awake and moving.” (Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking). Alister McGrath states that “Doubt is probably a permanent feature of the Christian life. It’s like some kind of spiritual growing pain. Sometimes, it recedes into the background; at other times it comes to the fore, making its presence felt with a vengeance.” (Alister McGrath, The Sunnier Side of Doubt). The Christian writer Phillip Yancey confesses, “I have found that petty disappointments tend to accumulate over time, undermining my faith with a lava flow of doubt.” (Phillip Yancey, Disappointment with God, p. 23). I have found a lot of help here from Os Guinness’s book In Two Minds: The Dilemma of Doubt and How to Resolve It. As one reviewer says, “Doubt is an untenable position because it is to be in two minds, not choosing one position or another. But humans cannot live this way, claims Guinness. Eventually you have to make a choice.”

For me the issue often is, Do I choose to believe God — or myself (and my doubts)? We need a godly conviction about the truths declared in God’s Word!  Here, the famous statement by G.K. Chesterton is quite helpful.  He writes: “But what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, pp. 31-32).

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2019 in doctrine

 

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Friends Don’t Let Friends . . . Die! (A Study of John 11) Part 18

Jesus’ weeping at Lazarus’ tomb produced two reactions from the Jews who were observing. Some said, “See how He loved him!” Others said, “Why didn’t He keep him from dying? He opened the eyes of the blind man!” Let’s look at this section of John 11 once more …

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

There is no record of Jesus responding to those two reactions, either His love for Lazarus or His inaction in preventing him from dying.

We do read the following: “Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.” (v. 38). I had never noticed the “once more deeply moved” before.

This seems to indicate that Jesus broke down and wept before He went to Lazarus’ tomb and a second time when He arrived there. John the gospel writer could have written, “And Jesus wept a second time,” couldn’t he?

We aren’t told the details of Jesus’ “once-more-being-deeply-moved,” but perhaps it was more than tears of sympathy. Perhaps there was also anger at the devastation that death had brought to those He loved.

But this was not the time for explanations. This was the time for action and Jesus commands those at the tomb, “Take away the stone.” (v. 39).

Not to over-spiritualize, but I’ve got some stones that keep me in a kind of deadness of unbelief. How about you? When things happen to me or my family that Jesus could have prevented, the easiest course of action is to doubt the Lord and His love for me. Am I the only one with these kinds of stones? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in doubt

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (nagging doubts)

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Do you ever have “nagging doubts”? The skeptic Bertrand Russell said, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” Yann Martel in the Life of Pi said, “If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”

May I suggest that doubt is like a fork in the road — One road of the fork leads to confident faith; the other fork leads to unbelief.  And unbelief is sin.

George Macdonald once said, A man may be haunted with doubts and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood.” Os Guinness has a great article found here and entitled “I Believe in Doubt.”

How about you?  Do your doubts lead you to confident faith or immobile unbelief?

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in doubt

 

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Spirituality, Hard Thinking, and Theology (time for a good quote)

“Our folk evangelicalism too often denigrates the life of the mind and FirefoxScreenSnapz541especially critical thinking. Even to raise an honest question about a popularly believed evangelegend (religious urban legend) is enough to provoke prayers on your behalf for your spiritual renewal. We do God no favors by being gullible, credulous, irrational, or uncritical. No special spiritual aura accompanies stupidity or ignorance. All too often, however, contemporary popular Christianity leads people to think that spirituality and hard thinking stand in conflict with each other. God gave us minds and expects us to use them.” (Roger Olson, Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith)

Questions:

1.  How have you seen Evangelicalism denigrate the life of the mind?

FirefoxScreenSnapz5422.  In his book In Two MInds (later republished under the title Doubt), Os Guinness says that doubt is not necessarily a bad thing.  Doubt can lead either to a deeper faith commitment or to ungodly unbelief.  Have we misunderstood doubt in our churches, do you think?  Why or why not?

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in In Two Minds

 

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