May 15, 2019
Where in the Word are you today as you consider the days in which we live?
Carmen is in Matthew 24…
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This is the Word of the Lord and this Word we keep in mind as we walk as people of faith into the very realities Jesus described here.
Do not lose heart. Stand firm. Walk by faith. Bear light. Love others with loving kindness and mercy, serving as a living demonstration of the Kingdom of heaven in the midst of the kingdoms of this world – pointing to the reality of the King and the Kingdom which never pass away.
In the second half…
As Christians we are pro-truth so we are not anti-science. We are also pro-human flourishing so we are not anti-technology nor anti-progress in terms of robotics nor medicine. But we are also interested in discerning what is right, righteous and best and not just adapting ourselves to whatever is possible or available.
We need to talk about AI. Joining Carmen for that conversation is Hunter Baker.
What is it, where is it influencing our lives now, what’s on the horizon and what are the questions Christians must be wrestling with?
Hunter participated in drafting the ERLC statement on AI and walks us through it here.
Carmen and Hunter then discuss the move by some Congressional committees to forgo the “So help me God” at the swearing in of witnesses. Katie Edmondson writes for the NYTims: ‘So Help Me God’ No More: Democrats Give House Traditions a Makeover.
The witness rose from her seat, raised her right hand and swore to tell the truth before Congress.
- we ask: what does it mean to give sworn testimony? Swearing by what or whom? What does it mean to bear witness? What does it mean to tell the truth in a post-truth culture where truth is self-referential?
But four words were missing: “So help me God.”
- we ask: what does it mean to utter or omit, “So help me God” when one is sworn in? Is it more honest than having people who do not fear/revere God repeat a phrase that takes God name in vain?
In the House of Representatives, to the winner go the spoils, and Democrats, the new decision makers, control everything, including what legislation gets a vote and the minutiae of procedural choices, such as whether witnesses must utter the traditional plea for divine aid. Democratic chairmen and chairwomen of several key committees have deemed no such entreaty is necessary.
- we note that elections have consequences but we lament the language of warfare: “to the winner go the spoils.” We ask: is our two party system now best described with terms of war? How might we change that?
- We also ask here whether “so help me God” is, as the article states, “a plea for divide aid” or an “entreaty.” Might it not also (and more accurately) be understood as an acknowledgement of God’s omniscience and recognition that God is a present witness before whom the current witness will one day stand in judgement?
“I think God belongs in religious institutions: in temple, in church, in cathedral, in mosque — but not in Congress,” said Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. What Republicans are doing, he continued, “is using God.”
- we ask:
- What does it mean for a person to relegate God to certain sectors and dismiss or imagine that God could be prevented from specified spaces or places?
“And God doesn’t want to be used,” he said.
- we ask: What do we know about God, His character, His interest in truth, justice and the everyday matters of every day?