Earnestly Contending

Larry King, Jennifer Knapp, and Who Cares

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Miller on June 8, 2010

I’ll admit, I never really listened to Jennifer Knapp. I’m not really into her voice or her style of music. When I was young and judgmental I used to call her Jennifer Knappy Hair as a joke. That was wrong, and rude, though her hair was often pretty nappy.

It’s been five years since her last album debuted and the announcement of her Homo-sexual lifestyle is not really that shocking. Certainly this will put her in the public eye and possibly get her more sales after a 5 year hiatus. Although this might be more of a preemptive strike since she’s been in a public relationship with her partner and coming out with another album would put her back into the scrutinizing eye of the Christian media. So whether she is being preemptive or just has a really bad business strategy, she’s out of the closet and on Larry King.

Here’s why it shouldn’t matter to you…

1. This is what happens when we act like the world and make celebrities out of people for nothing more than their ability to pretend they are someone else,

their uniqueness to stand out from everyone else, and their down to earth uneducated representation of the most ignorant individual. That’s right. Just because someone can act doesn’t make them an expert on life. Just because a person won the Masters doesn’t mean he’s the moral standard for society. Just because a person starred on a reality show doesn’t mean that they have a degree in anything. These people don’t deserved the worship that the world gives them and the Christian celebrities aren’t much better.

2. We don’t go around writing articles on why the Pope is going to hell. He holds to a completely different system of beliefs as we do and we can’t expect him to understand or acknowledge our truth. The Bible says to treat those who are willfully sinning as unbelievers. Do you write articles about the gay guy in the next cubicle? Do you gossip about your neighbor who’s living with his girlfriend when they’re not even married? Then why do you feel the need to make Jennifer Knapp walk the line and make a public apology for the way she’s chosen to live her life? Does she go to your church? A lot of people claim to be Christian that are living in sin who never receive the onslaught of abuse that Jennifer Knapp is receiving from the Christian community. To be downright frank, it’s none of your business.

What do we do with Jennifer Knapp?

1. If you own any Jennifer Knapp albums you can do one of two things: get rid of them or keep them. Don’t allow your disappointment in Jennifer Knapp to rattle your faith in such a way that you’re not able to distinguish good content from bad content. If you find some evil hidden meaning in some of her songs then shame on you for not having the discernment to pick it out before you found out she was gay. If you can’t listen to Jennifer Knapp songs then don’t sing “YMCA” the next time you’re at a baseball game. Whatever you do, don’t be hypocritical.
2. Don’t critique her. I’m assuming you’ve never sat down and had a cup of coffee with Jennifer Knapp. I’m also assuming you don’t go to her church. If I’m right, then you don’t have to worry about it. If you don’t have a direct connection to her, then you really aren’t in a position to offer her any helpful advice. She’s getting enough criticism from people that don’t know her as it is. Worry about your own problems a little closer to home.
3. Giver her the same amount of your thoughts as you give to Ray Botlz. That’s right. He’s openly gay too. What a passing fad. Soon you’ll forget about Jennifer Knapp too. I still like some Ray Boltz songs though. That’s right. Don’t judge me.

How do I handle someone who comes out with an unrepentant sinful lifestyle?

1. The Bible says to confront sin. If someone sins against you in the church you are told to confront that person one on one, not blog about it (Matthew 18). If a person is living in sinfulness you are told to cast them out of the fellowship of your church and treat them like an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 5). Note also in this passage that we are not to hold the world to task based on this morality because they are unbelievers. If a person wants to argue about their sinful life, admonish them twice and then if they persist, reject them (Titus 3:10). Don’t give the useless arguments the chance to see the light of day by your ambition to win an argument. Don’t get stuck in that trap.
2. Love them. How would you treat a family member who came out with a sinful lifestyle? Try to see them as God saw you before you were saved. Paul says in Romans 1 that he is indebted to share the gospel. Showing debt instead of disdain might just give you the opportunity to pull them out of the fire (Jude 23).
3. Give them up. When God was dealing with the sinfulness of the world, He made their sins the consequences of their actions. Romans 1 says that He gave them up. This doesn’t mean that you should give up on loving them or sharing the gospel, but it does mean that you shouldn’t work at getting them to live a moral lifestyle apart from the saving work of Christ. Too often we circumvent the very act in which God is purposely using to claim His glory.

4. Live out the grace which you received. Their sin is not any different than your sin. The only thing that sets you apart is grace. Perhaps you are living in sin and you need to acknowledge it and repent. This is an excellent opportunity to show a working model of grace. Allow your repentance to be public so that you can honor God in it. Too often unbelievers look at the church and see perfect little clones and they regretfully acknowledge that they could never be like that. Demonstrating Grace is an excellent opportunity to show the world what truly makes us different from them. It’s not our polished good looks.
5. Pray for them. Pray that they will repent and be restored to the Body of Christ, pray that God will be magnified in His righteous judgment, and pray that you can be a clear testimony of grace.

Let me make something very clear: Homosexuality is sin. I have no desire to belittle that fact. However, I refuse to acknowledge the classification of Christian stardom apart from Hebrews 11 (Note: Some of the men listed in Hebrews 11 committed far worse acts than Jennifer Knapp). Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean we have the right to scrutinize their personal life. If anything we should be criticizing the media for making this issue public. Unless Jennifer Knapp applies for membership at my church I’ll probably never address her sin. Since I don’t own any of her music I don’t have to censor her lyrics or look for any hidden meanings. May God be glorified through her repentance or through His justice.

To check out an article and the videos of the Larry King show click the link blow.


The Best Thing to Happen for Reading Since the Printing Press

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Miller on June 8, 2010

Over five-hundred years ago a man named Johannes Gutenberg invented a device that helped shape our western culture. Up until his time, books were written by hand and very few people were able to own them. With his invention of the printing press, printed materials were made readily available to the public. This one invention thrust the world forward at a rapid pace of information, invention, and industry. We have made quite a bit of progress since Gutenberg’s press. As I sit here on my computer I think of all the advantages we have and how long and strenuous it must have been to carve out a dye instead of type on my Mac. Yet, all of these advancements have simply improved on the printed method and has done nothing for the other problem of finding time to read what is written. On the contrary, the advancements in printing and publishing have only hindered the obstacles one is faced with in finding the time to delve into the plethora of written material. With the dawn of the information age we are inundated with printed and published materials every day, but I have found that I am less inclined to finish a book or to persevere through the drooping eyelids and press on to the next chapter.

Therefore, I was delighted when I found out about audio books. With all I have to do throughout the day that demands the focus of my eyes I realized that I didn’t have much time left over for reading. However, most of this work I was doing didn’t require the use of my ears or rather much intellect. Taking advantage of audio books seemed like an answer to my problem. As soon as I started looking for books on audio I realized that there was another disadvantage. Audio Books are expensive and often times cost more than the books themselves. This makes since because someone has to do the work of reading and recording the books. What I thought would be the answer to my problems was countered with another problem – my lack of funds.

I was just about to give up. I couldn’t find an answer for the problem I had: an ever growing list of books to read, the business of my day, and the limits of my funds. Then I found it; the best website I ever laid eyes on. It wasn’t beautiful because of it’s innovative graphics or for it’s ease in browsing but for the promise that it had in answering my dilemma.

Librivox.org is a website that offers audio books FOR FREE. As it proclaims in the opening banner, “LibriVox: Acoustical Liberation of Books in the Public Domain.” Finally, the answer to my dilemma. Yet, I was skeptical. It took me a while to navigate the cite but once I started searching for books I found that most of the titles that I’ve had on my wish list to read were there for free. I wish I had known about this cite when I was in college because there were several of my textbooks for philosophy for free as well. Where had you been for all my life, LibriVox?

How does it work? LibriVox answers that question for you on it’s home page.

“LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books.”

Librivox is partnered with Project Gutenberg and the Internet Acrchives and therefore all of their expenses are free. It is run purely by volunteers, but this does not deter the amount of books that they have available.

Have you ever wanted to read some classical books such as, Descartes’ Discourse on Method or Plato’s Republic but you’ve found the task too daunting? Well now it has been made easy for you to read and appreciate these wonderful forms of literature without feeling bogged down with the time it will take.

Have you seen movies based on classic literature such as, Alice in Wonderland, The Count of Monte Cristo, or Troy and thought that you might want to read the books as well? Now you can with the convenience of LibriVox.

What are books in the public domain? They are books that were written awhile ago and their patent has expired. There’s nothing illegal here. Everything on LibriVox is free to download and use for whatever you want.

What sort of book does LibriVox offer in audio form? Classic books. LibriVox has authors ranging from Shakespeare to C. S. Lewis. From Plato to Immanuel Kant. There are even great puritan authors such as John Owen and Jonathan Edwards. The selections are endless and the list is growing as more people volunteer.

What types of audio files do they have? LibriVox offers three different files for download ranging from low to high quality, but the neatest little feature on LibriVox is that you can download the files as Podcasts for ITunes. The first advantage here is that you can download individual books faster with one click of the mouse and the files will store and line up chronologically as a podcast. Secondly, when you’re listening to them as a podcast you can stop at any point and the file will save where you are at until you come back. It’s like an audio bookmark. The mp3 downloads don’t allow you to do this.

What’s the catch? There is one disadvantage in that anyone can record for LibriVox. Half way through The Count of Monte Cristo some lady with a thick accent starts reading and it’s hard to understand. This shouldn’t deter you though. I can only encourage you to find those chapters and record them yourself to be submitted as a replacement.

If you’re anything like me, you’re busy. This could be the biggest obstacle in filling our lives with amazing classic literature. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Wether you’re driving, doing the dishes, or mowing the lawn, you can find time to fill your life with remarkable literature and maybe even give back your time to a worthy cause that won’t cost you a thing.

Justice For the Weak

Posted in Uncategorized by Adam Miller on June 7, 2010

Jeremiah 22:3 says, “This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”

I’m starting to get to a place in my theology where I consider heavily my role not only as a Christian, but also as a citizen and a member of society. Though I don’t hold to any allusion that I am carrying the gospel by simply feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or supporting the weak, I do believe that we as Christians mar the gospel when we don’t get involved in what is just and right in our society. Being a part of a Democratic Republic means that we are the ‘Governing Authorities’ described in Romans 13. This means that we have the responsibility to involve ourselves in the politics that will shape our society and shape our world. Though I have certain issues with American politics, and struggle with balancing my ethics and morals, this truth from Scripture is undeniable.

Let me just say that this petition is not a compromise on the gospel. It is not the Manhattan Declaration. It is not an issue of morals (which I believe cannot be shared without a common authority), but it IS an issue of ethics which is a responsibility of all humans alike.

With that, I would encourage you to take seriously your role as the ‘Governing Authority’ of America and sign this petition to help those who cannot help themselves.

Human Trafficking is not something most people are aware of in America today. It’s not something you see commercials for, hear celebrities advocating against, or read about in the local paper, but it affects millions of people globally. American’s like to think that slavery ended after the civil war or that the only affects of it left in society are subjugated to people complaining about what has never actually affected them personally, but the truth is that these heinous activities have continued to persist and are coupled with gruesome acts of drug use, rape, and child abuse. Please get involved. It only takes a few minutes to make a world of difference.