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Chronologically Listened Through The Beatles’ 12 Albums, Then Ranked ‘Em

I’ve listened to all The Beatles’ albums but had never gone through them in a comparative fashion that explored their artistic development. So, I decided to remedy the problem. Over the past three days I chronologically listened through the core catalogue of the original 12 albums released in their native UK, then I ranked ‘em. As one who most certainly is not a musical connoisseur, my ranking has little to do with artistic originality, production value, cultural significance, or the like. My single criterion was this: What did I enjoy listening to the most? In the videos below I’ve tried to provide the vinyl version whenever possible because, let’s face it, they sound better that way. Read more

Miniblog #344: Why I No Longer Default to Addressing Priests as “Father”

In the historic traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Anglicanism, the priest is ordinarily addressed with the title “Father.” So, for example, “Fr. John” or “Fr. Doe.” The term is one of respect, speaking to the man’s role in providing shepherding as a spiritual father. Over the past couple years, however, I’ve undergone a substantial change in perspective. Read more

Reasonable Proposal: Pay Student-Athletes or Don’t Use Their Likeness (Miniblog #343)

To use a 1992 Mighty Ducks reference, the NCAA is a bunch of cake-eaters. It’s now approaching $1,000,000,000 per year in revenue. Keep in mind that figure doesn’t include the revenue made by academic conferences and individual universities. This helps explain why the Bleacher Report is identifying the fair market value of college football players and basketball players at $178,000 and $375,000 per year, respectively. Meanwhile, just yesterday the NCAA announced that it’s allowing unlimited meals and snacks to ensure student-athletes aren’t going to bed hungry. This while its president, Mark Emmert, is paid nearly $1,600,000 annually. Gee, thanks for your abundant generosity. Read more

Miniblog #342: Helping Baby Boomers Understand How They’re Now Perceived

Dear Baby Boomers,

Let’s get something straight right away. The purpose of this post isn’t to create nor further any generational conflict. Quite the opposite. The purpose is to facilitate understanding. In fact, I for one have long felt like a man born out of time. There are many ways in which I resonate more with your Baby Boomer generation than I do my own Millennial generation.11.There’s a reason I’ve studied so much of that period of American history, love Forrest Gump, The Wonder Years is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I’ve listened to so much ’60s music. Read more

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Miniblog #341: A Healthy Christian Community Will Inevitably Challenge the Business Model

I don’t think all christian community needs to be spontaneous. I do think removing some elements of American busyness and programitization in order to simply spend lots of time with people is indispensable to healthy christian community. It’s Jesus’ model of discipleship and I don’t think there’s any substitute in any cultural context.11.It’s one of those transcendent human elements that’s true in every culture. Human beings are social creatures. It’s how we’re hard-wired. There’s no substitute. Read more

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Miniblog #340: University Abbey’s New Three-Week Rotation

UA logo - No background - CopyLast spring a small group of us here at Baylor University started doing Celtic Evening Prayer followed by board games every Tuesday night. It was an informal weekly gathering of friends. By the time summer rolled around we were mixing it up, alternating every other week between Evening Prayer and paper discussions. This community evolved into and became University Abbey. The group has grown and Evening Prayer has been expanded to include Lectio Divina, the Apostles’ Creed, informal prayer, and some more historical elements, but that alternating two-week format has remained a fixture. This past week, however, we tried something new. As I explained in last Sunday’s blog post, we set aside this past Tuesday night for a social experiment. Read more

Miniblog #339: Why Not Elevate the Conversation Instead of Highlighting Stupidity?

The truth is that I naturally assume the good majority of people are morons. For some it appears they’re wired that way but for most it appears to be a willful, self-inflicted condition. I’ve cultivated an intentional habit of giving the benefit of the doubt whenever there’s any indication there might be good reason to hope, but experience has taught me it’s wise to proceed with initial skepticism.11.In the immortal words of Dubbya, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee–I know it’s in Texas, it’s probably in Tennessee–that says fool me once, shame on… shame on you… you fool me you can’t get fooled again.” It’s not because I have a low view of people. Quite the opposite, it’s because I have a high view of their potential. I think ordinary folks are intellectually capable of a whole heckuva lot more than they’re given credit for and what is ordinarily expected of them. Read more

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Miniblog #338: An Exhortation for Dealing with Hurt & Pain in This Paradoxical World

Life as a human is beautiful. Life as a human is traumatic. We’re creatures who are made in God’s image, but in all ways marred by the fall. We’re living in a period of redemptive history in which God’s Kingdom has already been inaugurated, but hasn’t yet been fully manifest. Human nature being what it is and this epoch being what it is, it’s an inevitability that we’re all going to experience the paradoxical realities of life and death.11.And also peace and conflict, grace and condemnation, hope and despair, joy and fear, rest and exhaustion. Read more

Miniblog #337: John Walton on How We Should Interpret Noah in Genesis 6-9

I haven’t seen the new Noah film nor read any movie reviews. I’ve also managed to altogether avoid the expected outraged commentary coming out of certain segments of the evangelical community. My thought is this: The last thing we need is yet another blogger contributing to the present for and against cacophony. Instead it seems wiser and more fruitful to attempt to elevate the conversation. Read more

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UA Social Experiment: Why Must We Always Make an Excuse for Quality Conversation? (Miniblog #336)

American social etiquette is weird. It seems… unnatural. Is there anything more basic for what it means to be human than people conversing with one another? I mean, seriously, isn’t conversation a distinguishing feature of our species? If so, why is it that we’re always having to make excuses for why we’re going to talk? Read more

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Miniblog #335: Spiritual Growth & Sustenance Is About More than Bible Reading & Prayer

Growing up in evangelical churches, I was taught Scripture reading and prayer together formed the lynchpin for a Christian’s faith. If those things were out of order, everything was. It was a simple formula for spiritual growth and sustenance. In recent years, however, I’ve come to see that things are considerably more complicated. Read more

Miniblog #334: Announcing a Significant Shift Here at “Musings of a Hardlining Moderate”

The time has come for a significant thematic shift here at Musings of a Hardlining Moderate. When this blog began back in 2009, I wrote a great deal about ideas and my cognitive life. Relatively little was written about emotions and my personal life. Somewhere along the way the focus got inverted. Over the past year, in particular, I’ve written more than a few painful posts.11.They explained why my ordination was twice cancelled at the least minute, why I’m estranged from my only brother, how childhood rape has impacted my life, what it was like to watch grandpa die in hospice care, and so forth. Epic, emotive stuff. Read more

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Miniblog #333: Joy Without Peace

While I spent a month away in Minnesota and Oklahoma a number of friends, family, and mentors asked, “Do you feel joy and peace?” You want the truth? I wasn’t aware this was a possibility, but I’ve somehow managed to attain joy without peace. Read more

Miniblog #332: A Theory About Why My Personality Has Been Changing

Although I’ve only in the past few years come to appreciate the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as an imperfect but helpful tool in helping understand people, in retrospect I see how much my personality has evolved. Read more

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Miniblog #331: Learning to Take Care of Myself

Life has been frickin’ awesome recently. (Please note thick layer of sarcasm.) There has been a lot happening. Between grandpa’s hospice care, dad’s chemotherapy, and some other equally awesome stuff, I’m feeling… emotionally empty. (Please note second layer of thick sarcasm.) Read more

Neither Left-Wing Nor Right-Wing. Doesn’t That Leave the Fuselage? (Miniblog #330)

I’ve recently had more than a few anathemas lobbed my way. They’ve come from both progressives and conservatives. Over the past week I’ve responded by repeatedly cracking the joke that if I’m neither left-wing nor right-wing, doesn’t that pretty much just leave the fuselage? I’ve been playing with it, testing its comedic and rhetorical effectiveness. I’ve got to tell you, people seem to get it much better. Black and white persons can and do deny the existence of moderates.11.Last month my brother, for example, declared that if I’m not conservative then by definition I must be liberal. End of discussion. Someone buy this man a dictionary so he can look up “moderate.” Read more

Is Sex an Obligation in Christian Marriage? What Are the Sexual Grounds for Divorce?

In a post such as this, it’s pretty gohl darn important to start by defining your terms. Dictionary.com defines “obligation” this way: Read more

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Miniblog #329: My Response to Mark Driscoll’s Apology & Aspired Change

It recently came out that Mark Driscoll has apologized to Mars Hill and committed to changing his life and ministry. Let’s just get it out of the way in a single sentence that I love that he’s admitting his limitations and, in light of that of such humility, am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s committed to real change. At the same time,11.Not “But.” Read more

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Reflections on the Experience of Watching Grandpa Ben Wither Away in Hospice Care

Three weeks ago tomorrow I rushed up to Minnesota, pulling an all-nighter to be with Grandpa Ben in hospice care. For the better part of two weeks I was with him in the nursing home. No one was there when he actually passed away early in the morning, which surprised few people. I think we all got the sense he wanted to die alone. Read more

Sex, Marriage & Implicit Orthodoxies: Losing Friends Because of My Recent Blog Posts

I’m sad and disappointed but not overly surprised. Over the last month ten long-time Facebook friends have defriended or blocked me, two of whom had become in-person friends. This group ranges from atheists to biblicists, a few self-describing feminists to at least one devout Catholic. The thing that unites them amidst those disparate perspectives is their disapproval of my recent blog posts about sex and marriage–both the content and tone. It’s not just them, though. For my little corner of the blogosphere, the onslaught of objections, denunciations, and condemnations has been rather remarkable: Read more

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In Marriage All Sexual Decisions Need to Be Made By Full & Mutual Consent

My belief is that 1) any and all decisions regarding sexual activity between husband and wife need to be made by full and mutual consent and 2) those decisions should involve no force, coercion, pressure, or the like. Read more

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Miniblog #328: The Cold War Never Ended?

The other day I read the CNN article “5 lessons for a new Cold War” by Frida Ghitis. It was a disconcerting piece to say the least. In it she suggests we’re entering a new Cold War. I agree with her. Czar Putin seems to yearn for the power and prestige Russia enjoyed during the good ol’ days of the Cold War, which is not at all unsurprising since he was in the KGB. I’ve been wondering for years, however, if we’re going to have to reinterpret the events of my lifetime. Read more

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My Greatest Fear: Having Been Sexually Abused, I Will Become a Sexual Abuser

Some people are adrenaline junkies who seem to get a rush out of fear. I ain’t one of ‘em. Fear is not an emotion I enjoy by any stretch of the imagination. I avoid it whenever reasonably possible. Fear is, of course, a useful motivational tool in certain circumstances, but I rarely if ever actively seek it out. My belief is that one of the most important ongoing exercises, however, is being intentional about identifying one’s fears.11.That’s because all too often fear is the insidious motivation that controls our lives. Only when a person has acknowledged his/her fear can he or she overcome it. With that in mind it’s about time I publicly acknowledge my foremost fear in this world. I need to get it off my chest. Read more

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Grandpa Has Died: The Paradox of Celebrating New Life and Mourning Old Death

My last remaining grandparent, Ben Meinhardt, has finished the race. After spending nearly two weeks with him in hospice care, Grandpa is now with the Lord. How do I feel right now? Conflicted. Read more

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Miniblog #327: The Key Is That Each Spouse Should Focus on the Other’s Sexual Needs

Here I’m endeavoring to proceed from a biblical perspective. Bearing that in mind, when it comes to sex in marriage both the husband and the wife are to reciprocate with love, self-sacrifice, respect, patience, and I dare even say a little Song of Songs creativity. Read more

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Top 10 Assorted Thoughts from Last Night

If you want a glimpse into how my brain works and the sort of assorted crap I’m thinking about all the time, here’s a snapshot from last night: Read more

Miniblog #326: The Vital Necessity of Sharing a Similar “Marriage Vision,” Especially About Sex

It seems to me it’s crucial for a man and a woman to be on the same page regarding their “Marriage Vision” before they’re wed. A big part of that Marriage Vision is their view of what role sex should play within the marital covenant. Read more

Miniblog #325: The Surreal Juxtaposition of Grandpa Dying & Dad Starting Chemotherapy

I’m still in Minnesota. The whole family thought Grandpa Ben’s passing was going to be a quick process.1 Instead he’s slowly fading in hospice care. In some ways I sense it has been harder on his children (my aunts and uncle) than on Grandpa Ben himself. Read more

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Miniblog #324: This Visit to Minnesota Has Been an Experience in Fatigue Archaelology

For over a week now I’ve been in Minnesota. My beloved grandpa is in hospice care. I have the closest relationship of all the grandkids. Grandpa has never been anything approaching a perfect man–oh the stories I’ve heard–but I’ve always had an unusual natural resonance with him. Both of us are naturally determined or headstrong, principled or stubborn, convicted or obstinate… It’s the same characteristic. It’s just interpreted differently depending upon the context, I suppose. We’re kindred spirits through the generations, though I hope to be a bit more of a sanctified version. Read more

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Crazy Pentecostals Video: I Was Just Like the Unamused Kid in the Front Row

See that unamused kid sitting in the front row wearing the light polo and the blue jeans? It’s like an out-of-body experience of watching my former self. Delightful! How much you want to bet he’s a critically-thinking introvert? Read more

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Miniblog #323: Damn Pope John Paul & Damn Pope Benedict. I Will Never Be Roman Catholic.

Yesterday I began watching the 83 minute Frontline documentary “Secrets of the Vatican.” It confirmed and expanded all the research I’d done about the child sex abuse scandals. My response as one who repeatedly experienced childhood rape by a person in my church? Damn Pope John Paul and damn Pope Benedict!11.Holy Fathers my ass. Read more

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Miniblog #322: There Are Consequences to Sexually Rejecting Your Spouse

A lot of people may assume that a blog post about the consequences of sexually rejecting your spouse may be directed, whether implicitly or explicitly, primarily at women. Those people would be wrong.11.And need to spend more time at Musings of a Hardlining Moderate. Read more

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Miniblog #321: Yes, Basic Sexual Compatibility Is Essential Even for Evangelical Marriages

It seems to me a basic level of sexual compatibility is essential for a healthy, successful marriage. Yes, I think that’s true even for evangelical Christians. For example, if a wife has a very high sex drive in which intercourse a minimum of three times a week isn’t unreasonable while her husband has a very low sex drive in which intercourse three times a year isn’t unreasonable, that’s going to be a major problem.11.That marriage is likely to suffer and fail. Read more

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Sexual Creativity Doesn’t Always Reveal a Corrosive Influence from the Porn Industry

*Fair warning: This blog post contains sexually explicit elements. If you’re uncomfortable with that or are single and don’t feel these are appropriate themes to be considering until you’re married, read no further.

This world contains artists, audiences, and critics. Artists create, imagining new ways of seeing and doing things. Audiences view, receiving the new ways of seeing and doing things. Critics assess, evaluating the new ways of seeing doing things. This three-part division is, of course, rather simplistic. Artists can also be critics and audiences, there are people who don’t neatly fit into any of the three, etc. Nevertheless, those three roles form part of my general perception of the world. Read more

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“The Talk” Is Inadequate: Parents Should Have The Talk Part I & Part II (Miniblog #320)

I’m not a parent and, in all likelihood, never will be. So take this blog post with a grain of salt, I suppose. But I tend to think “The Talk” is inadequate. In my opinion, parents should have “The Talk” Part I and Part II. Read more

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The Top 10 Accusations About My Recent Sex Posts (Miniblog #319)

Oh, internet. You’re so fun. Here are the Top 10 accusations leveled at me so far in response to my recent blog posts on masturbation, the epidemic of sexless marriages within the evangelical sub-culture, and the importance of single, evangelical women thinking about sex: Read more

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The Importance of Thinking About Sex Now: A Response to Single, Evangelical Women

The other day I posted “Livid at the Evangelical Sub-Culture & Its Epidemic of Sexless Marriages.” Perhaps the most important blog post I’d ever written, it’s definitely the most sexually explicit. More than 1,400 people have read it, which is unusual traffic for this blog. Some enthusiastically agreed. Others adamantly disagreed. That’s fine. My goal, as per usual, is just to get people thinking about the difficult issues and trying to figure out how to discerningly address them. Human sexuality is a complex subject that requires thought and wisdom, especially for followers of Christ. Read more

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Miniblog #317: A Reminder About Why Transparency Is So Important for Christians

Without getting into the specifics, over the past few months I’ve privately confided in a number of trusted people a major problem going on in my life. I’ve been seeking prayer, counsel, and support. Much of the response has been… unexpected. Read more

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Livid at the Evangelical Sub-Culture & Its Epidemic of Sexless Marriages

This blog is Musings of a Hardlining Moderate. The usual tone to which I aspire is convicted civility, restrained passion, and critical exhortation. Yet I’m reminded of Oscar Wilde’s writing, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Every once in a while there comes a time when the only appropriate response is catharsis and denunciation. This is such a time.11.Brace yourself. I’ve been holding in this one for years. Read more

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Miniblog #316: Ever Wonder If You’re Living the Book of Job?

Ever wonder if you’re living the book of Job, only it’s sadly not in iambic pentameter? (It’s OK to laugh. You’re supposed to.) Yesterday afternoon I found out my grandpa is dying of kidney failure. We’re close. I need to get up to Minnesota to see him ASAP. About an hour ago I heard really bad news about my dad. I need to get up to Oklahoma to see him. All of which is in addition to the other major, struggling area of my life that some of you know about, which is why I need to stay in Waco… Read more