Nuff Said: Cannabis, biblical tithing, Mars Hill church falls, science supporting God, and hindered immunity
For those of you new to Notes from the Trail, “Nuff Said” is a recurring feature that highlights posts/articles from around the web that have drawn my attention in the following ways:
Made me think
Made me wonder
Made me feel
I’ve got a lot for you to peruse in this entry! Here we go…
These You Ought to Have Done Without Neglecting the Others
There are personality types like Eeyore and Puddleglum and Charlie Brown that see the dark side of almost every situation and have to work a lot harder than others to feel hopeful. But if you have a theology like mine, pessimism is a living contradiction of God and just can't hang on for long. [My] theology puts Isaiah 64:4 and Romans 8 at the center and believes that a sovereign God works for those who wait for him; and that he works all things, even the hardest things, together for our good, and that nothing can separate us from his love—not financial shortfall or broken relationships or terminal disease or war with Iraq [think Russia-Ukraine], or anything else in all creation.
This article/message by John Piper back in 1991 is masterful. He tackles the anti-Christian spirit of pessimism and uses it to encourage biblical tithing. His “10 reasons why your labors and investment is not in vain” when given to the kingdom of God is worth reading.
A Tale of Two Mars Hills
I’ve listened to the disturbing/challenging podcast about the fall of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I mentioned it in the Round Up here. Eric Geiger wrote a prescient article back in 2014 comparing two Mars Hill churches. Both pastors have since left devastating impacts on their congregations - Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll.
A drift in life lowers the credibility of the message, as the leader’s life is watched as much as the sermon is heard… A drift in doctrine, a drift from the truth, has a devastating impact.
Some ministers rocket into celebrity and notoriety quickly without the depth of character or conviction to sustain their orbits. When more closely examined, they weren’t orbiting around the Son at all, they were trying to get others to orbit around them.
I deeply appreciated Geiger’s comments about a “third church” and pray that this is more reflective of mine and others:
A third church comes to mind. It is the church led by a pastor you don’t know, a church you have never read about, a church that has never had a staff visit it to learn the “secret sauce” of its growth and influence. The pastor doesn’t have an audience outside of his church. People don’t download his sermons across the world. A decade ago, some in his church wished he were creative like Bell or edgy like Driscoll. But he didn’t change. He simply stayed the course of the ministry the Lord gave him. He watched his life and his doctrine closely. And a decade later, he continues to plod down the same path. His hearers have benefited greatly from his steadfastness.
From Adam Ford:
This comic begins with the question, “Does your preacher teach the Bible?” and a response of Well, yeah.” The rest of the panels are sadly funny because I’ve personally had this conversation with many “churchers” over the years.
Ford’s prophetically profound and funny comics are available for free at adam4d.com.
Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God
The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all… Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart… Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing… The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all.
This Wall Street Journal article by Eric Metaxas back in 2014 is worth reading for how it demonstrates the growing convergence (even more so in the past eight years!) of science with theological explanations of origins.
Study shows mRNA vaccines may impair long-term ability to fight Covid infections
Been vaccinated and gotten covid and wondered why? This article at Becker News examines a recent study that joins hundreds of others in affirming the superior benefits of natural immunity.
“…vaccinated individuals had impaired ability to produce specific kinds of Covid-relevant antibodies versus those who were unvaccinated but had natural immunity from prior infections.”
Cannabis causes psychosis. Psychosis causes violence.
Alex Berenson points out that the Uvalde shooter who killed 21 people this year in an elementary school shooting was known to smoke weed. Profoundly, references to this habit were scrubbed from a New York Times article. It doesn’t fit the narrative of cannabis being “safe and effective” (or is that the vaccines?).
Meanwhile, cities like Portland, Oregon have suffered an explosion in violence following the legalization of cannabis. Portland had 16 murders in 2013, the year before voters in Oregon approved full legalization. Last year it had 90. It’s on pace to have even more in 2022. It has gone from being one of the safest medium-sized cities in the United States to one of the most dangerous. Denver has seen a similar trend.
Before Berenson wrote Pandemic: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives (highly recommend), he published Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence in February 2020. Its release may have been overshadowed by a pandemic thingy.