What Constitutes Christianity?

On his blog today, Al Mohler takes issue with some recent comments from Joel Osteen: Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care?

Mohler:

Joel Osteen is in the news once again, this time for saying that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity.

The main point of concern in Joel’s latest comment is the lack of any biblical standard of judgment and the total abdication of theological responsibility.

He doesn’t “get hung up” on doctrinal issues, nor has he “really studied them or thought about them.”

Not to heap criticism on Osteen, but Mohler is right that all Christians need to think deeply about what constitutes Christianity, and what beliefs separate authentic Christianity from non-Christianity.  We are constantly bombarded with different ideas about what “Christianity” should look like.  Are these different ideas just different opinions from various Christians, or do some of them deviate from actually being Christianity?

 

Antipsalm 23

Justin Taylor links to a David Powlison article, where Dr. Powlison (among other things) explains, “From Jesus’ point of view, there are two fundamentally different ways of doing life. One way, you’re connected to a God who’s involved in your life. Psalm 23 is all about this: ‘The Lord is my shepherd… and his goodness and mercy surely follow me all the days of my life.’ The other way, you’re pretty much on your own and disconnected. Let’s call this the antipsalm 23: ‘I’m on my own… and disappointment follows me all the days of my life.’ ”

I took Dr. Powlison’s Antipsalm 23 and put it alongside Psalm 23 for a phrase-by-phrase comparison.

The text is in a PDF so that it will display correctly.  Click here to download.

App Launcher

I want to say a few words about some useful software for finding and launching programs and files on your computer.

The old way to launch programs:

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  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Move the mouse to Programs.
  3. If you’re using “Personalized Menus,” some of the Program folders may be hidden, so you have to click or hover on the two little arrows at the bottom of the list.
  4. Remember which of your many folders contains the program you’re looking for. You may have to browse multiple folders and subfolders to find it.
  5. Finally, once you find it, click on it to launch the program.

Alternatively, if it’s a frequently used program, you can put a shortcut on the desktop. This works fine if your desktop is showing, but if you already have one or more open windows, you first have to minimize those windows before you can click the icons on your desktop. You also have to decide in advance which icons to put on the desktop. Personally, I like to keep my desktop icons to a minimum.

Another alternative would be to create hotkey combinations (eg., Ctrl-Alt-M, Ctrl-Shift-W, etc.) for your frequently used programs. This allows you to launch selected programs without navigating through the Start menu or minimizing open windows to expose the desktop. However, in addition to deciding which programs are worthy of having hotkeys (usually only a small number of programs), you have to remember what all those hotkeys are.

I have come to prefer a specialized application launcher. My current favorite is Find And Run Robot (FARR). Another popular choice is Launchy.

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Personal Finance

Finances can be complicated. Do you feel overwhelmed by the difficulties and options of managing money? The Simple Dollar is a blog dedicated to helping average people improve their financial situation.

If you’re looking for a starting point, the author of the site has provided a 49-page “book” that he says, “weaves together most of my favorite ideas on personal finance and a lot of other goodies into one document.” It starts out with a single page covering “Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance,” then explores the basic concepts throughout the other pages.

Click below to get it:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/onepage/

Give for Free

How would you like to donate to a cause without actually spending any money? The following sites will make (small) donations to a specific cause when a visitor clicks on a link.

http://www.thebiblesite.org/

At the site, click on the button that looks like this:

After clicking the button, you will be thanked “for your donation of one book of the Bible, which will be provided to a persecuted Christian who has never had their own copy of God’s Word.”

http://www.thehungersite.com

At the site, click on the button that looks like this:

After clicking the button, you’ll see that “you have given the value of 1.1 cups of food to the hungry.”

The Hunger Site is part of the GreaterGood Network operated by CharityUSA.com. Visit either site for links to their family of sites that allow you to make no-cost-to-you donations to charities supporting children’s healthcare, literacy, breast cancer prevention, animal rescue, and rainforest preservation.

spamgourmet

Here’s a free service I use to help minimize spam on my primary email address.

http://www.spamgourmet.com

There are quite a few varieties of “disposable email addresses.”  spamgourmet happens to be the one that I use, and I find that it works very well.

Here’s an example of how it works:

You want to sign up for that free sample of Chocolumps cereal, but you don’t want your inbox flooded with more “free offers” from everyone and their brother.

Instead of giving the makers of Chocolumps your real email address ([email protected]), you give them a special “made-up” email address: [email protected]  “Keyword” is your spamgourmet username, and is the same for any address you make up.  “Chocolumps” is a word you make up on the spot when you “create” a disposable email address.  “5” means that spamgourment will forward up to 5 messages sent to [email protected] to your real email address.  If the makers of Chocolumps keep sending you more email after that, or if they sell/give your email address to someone else, any additional messages get “eaten” by spamgourmet and you never see them.  You can pick a number from 1-20, use a letter of the alphabet, or another word instead of “5.”  For example, “1,” “a,” or “apple” all allow a single email to get through; “4,” “d,” or “dog” will allow four emails to get through; hopefully, you get the picture.

The advantage over other disposable email address programs is that you don’t have to go to a separate website or login to a separate account to get your email; spamgourmet forwards it to your real email address.  You don’t have to go to spamgourmet to configure a disposable email address; you just make it up on the spot (you do have to go to spamgourmet once initially to configure your account).  If you give someone a disposable email address, then decide you want to keep getting email from that source, you can do that too, and you can make it so a particular email address only accepts email from a particular address or a particular domain (for example, allow unlimited emails from generalmills.com to your [email protected] address, but email to that address from any other source gets eaten).

There are other features and ways to use the service; just go to spamgourmet.com and check it out.  If you are in the habit of signing up for things on the internet, I know you will find this helpful.  Did I mention that it’s free?