Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Statistics Always Tell The Truth

54 percent of all pastors admit looking at porn.  

If you are a pastor, then, you have a more than 1 in 2 chance of being a porn addict.  

Therefore, if you are a pastor, you need to stop being a hypocrite!

A Modern Version of the Ten Commandments?

A British pastor, J. John, has released a video called Just10 which gives a new version of the Ten Commandments.  His version creates positive affirmations instead of negative "shall nots".  So "Thou shalt not steal" becomes "Prosper with a clear conscience", "Do not commit adultery" becomes "Affair-proof your marriage" and "Honor your father and mother" becomes "Keep the peace with your parents."

Some have complained about not needing a "modern" version of the ten commandments.  Some have called it "taking away from God's word" and others have said that it is unnecessary to have a new version of the ten commandments as the old one works fine.

While I agree that a new ten commandments is unnecessary, I would disagree as to the purpose of this new ten commandments.  The fact is, we create "modern" versions of Scriptures all the time.  They are called translations.  Every translation is a slightly different interpretation of the Scriptures, and we have been doing this for thousands of years.  Why switch from Latin to English?  And the Greek Orthodox would wonder why we switched from Greek in the first place-- Latin is just too "modern" for them.

The fact is, re-translating and reinterpreting Scripture is a practice we find in Scripture itself.  Ezra interprets the Scripture when he told the told the Judeans to divorce their foreign wives.  The earlier Scriptures say not to marry Canaanites but it doesn't say what to do once you have married a Canaanite, and Ezra seems to ignore the fact that Tamar (wife of Judah) and Ruth were both foreign wives-- ancestors of the very people he was commanding.  Ezra was facing a crisis and he re-interpreted the Scripture to fit that crisis.

This practice, of course, continues on in the New Testament.  Jesus re-interprets Moses' law in Matthew 5 to fit the law as interpreted by "Love your neighbor as yourself".  Paul, in Galatians 3, re-interprets the story of Sarah and Hagar to speak to the law and grace.

There are two ways of interpreting.  One is changing the words of Scripture and still calling it Scripture.  The Living Bible is that kind of translation, as is The Message.  Another way we can interpret is to apply, but recognize that our application is not necessarily "God-breathed".  I believe that J. John is actually attempting to apply the ten commandments, not to claim that his version is a translation.  This is what every pastor does in every sermon, so this shouldn't be so surprising.

And even if he did call this a new translation, and we strongly disagreed with it, then what should we do?  We should speak to his translation.  As a translation, I would certainly disagree with "Affair proof your relationship", because that changes the meaning and intent of the original.  However, I could find nothing wrong with the translation "Don't screw around on your spouse" because it accurately reflects the original meaning of the text.

As an application of the seventh commandment, however, I don't really have an objection to "affair proof your relationship", and it isn't much different than Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's book Kosher Adultery: Seduce and Sin with Your Spouse.  It's clever and a way to think about the command in a different way.  Nothing wrong with that. We shouldn't limit new interpretations, but they should initiate discussion as to whether they reflect the original intent or not.

As for the individual who said that he quotes the ten commandments all the time and hasn't had to update them, does he really quote all four verses of the Sabbath commandment?  And does he quote that we shouldn't be coveting another's male and female slaves?  If you leave it out, then you are guilty of "modernizing" Scripture.

This is based on an article by The Christian Post

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


When Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations, he first wrote the Theory of Moral Sentiments, about how society works by empathy.  Economics is supposed to be based on compassion, on concern for one's fellow man.  If economics is based on greed, then even the greedy find that they have starved to death.

It is time to revolt against greed, wherever it is found.  Beginning in our own hearts.