Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review: The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (with answers) by Mark Mittelberg

As a progressive Christian, this book grabbed my attention and I hoped to gain some insight into difficult questions that people ask about Christianity. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. I read the first chapter ("What makes you so sure that God exists at all?") and agreed with the conclusion that of course God exists, but disagreed with much of Mittelberg's supporting evidence, which used circular reasoning and other faulty arguments. For example, he states that apart from God there can be no objective moral standards, but we clearly live in a world that has objective moral standards, so there has to be a divine moral lawgiver. Why do moral standards necessarily come from God though? Or: one of the ways we can know that God is real and active in our world is that he's real and active in our lives. What?

So I turned to Chapter 7 ("Why do you condemn homosexuality when it's clear that God made gays and that he loves all people the same?") Mittelberg takes a step in the right direction by saying we shouldn't condemn gay people, that we should seek to understand them, etc. But his answer to the question is essentially "love the sinner but hate the sin" or "we condemn gay people because the Bible says we should." He especially turned me off when he essentially said "notice I haven't used any scriptures to condemn homosexuality because they can be used to make people feel bad" but then goes on to outline them all. Ugh. I had hoped for something more progressive here.

I figured I would give the book one more chance. So I read Chapter 5 ("How could a good God allow so much evil, pain, and suffering?) The answer was basically "that's just how it is and we have to live with it", and gave the standard answers I hear at church every Sunday -- pain can deepen our character, it gives a spiritual and eternal perspective, he uses pain to protect us from ourselves (what?!), etc. real answers here for a non-Christian asking the question, let alone a Christian sincerely struggling with the issue.

I read the summaries of the rest of the chapters, but disappointingly it was more of the same. Mittelberg is a good and engaging writer, and (from my perspective) comes from a loving, caring, but conservative and traditional approach. For a more hopeful approach, I would recommend "A New Kind of Christianity" by Brian D. McLaren.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update and crushes

Well, I haven't blogged for awhile (obviously).  I guess that's probably because things have been going pretty well, and since a lot of the time I use my blog to vent, I haven't needed to write anything.  I don't know that my life is any better than it has been in the past, but lately there are definitely more good and neutral days than bad days. I have 3 awesome roommates and we get along well. And spring is almost here!

I kind of want to write about crushes.  As usual with my blog, this will likely be fairly disorganized since I'm just kind of putting my thoughts on paper (well, computer) as they come.  Lately I've been crushing on guys more...I think this is probably a good thing, since it probably means I'm over Mr. Doofus Face who stole my heart and kept it hidden away for awhile (hahaha sorry sir, since I know you sometimes read this blog).  The thing is....I've decided I hate crushes.  It's kind of fun when I first start getting to know a person and start sort of liking them, but after that comes the overthinking and insecurity and awkwardness and trying not to be overbearing.  And ultimately, the rejection.  I had one crush where I liked the way it was going...I was confident about it and didn't project any negativity, as far as I know.  And I was successful in not getting emotionally attached to the guy. But then the guy got distant and clue why. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes I really hate trying to meet people. Trying to find my Prince Charming (for me) is like looking for a needle in a haystack, even though it seems so easy for other people. But if I give up and stop looking to avoid the rejection and negative feelings I'll never find what I'm looking for. And I'm highly pessimistic that he'll just fall into my lap, hence the need for being proactive.

I'm crushing on a new guy that I've been talking to for about a week.  We seem to have alot in common, although there are some big differences also.  I enjoy talking to him and my introvertedness hasn't been a barrier, which I take to be a good sign.  But now I'm starting the negative phase, second guessing myself, overthinking things way too much (am I texting him too much? or not enough? why would he even want to consider giving me a chance? is it just all in my head that there's a possibility there? he hasn't texted me today, what did i do wrong? i'm way too old anyway. etc, etc.)  There are a couple of other guys that I would also really like to get to know (one just to be friends with, the other friends also but with the potential for more) , but for some reason they intimidate me.  I've only interacted with them briefly on facebook (friends in common, comments on posts, that kind of thing). I've texted a bit with one of them, and I've tried to engage the other one a bit more with limited success. I'm sure I'll have the chance to meet them in a social situation at some point (and I actually don't think I'll have a problem doing that) but it just bugs me that I feel intimidated by them. Stupid social anxiety.

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