A kind of neo-Calvinism sounds so spiritual -- especially to people who've been burdened down in human-centered, legalistic churches. "God has already chosen your future mate." "God has already selected our new minister." There is so much about John Calvin -- especially the young, bold Calvin -- to love. But what's known as Calvinism is at times just determinism with religious dress. I like these words from Brian McLaren: "Whether it's God who makes us puppets, or whether it is genes, physics, socioeconomics, or psychosexual aggression, it doesn't matter much to me. I have little time for determinism. If it's true, then I can't help but not believe it, because after all, I have no choice." "I do not believe that this universe is a movie that's already 'in the can,' having been 'produced and shot' already in God's mind, leaving us with the illusion that it's all real and actually happening. I find it hard to imagine worshiping or loving a deterministic, machine-operator God." Some, fed up with legalism, have supposed that the hyper-Calvinist understanding is better. That God, the Sovereign One, has chosen who will be saved and who will be lost. That they are chosen and can't lose their election. That he has decided exactly what's going to happen and we're just going through the motions. But that doesn't match up with the biblical story very well. It sounds so spiritual, but it doesn't fit what we learn in the reforming narrative of scripture. There, God in his sovereignty has decided that we are partners, not puppets and that our choices matter a lot. McLaren suggests that the TULIP teaching of Calvinism (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the Saints) should be this to better match the biblical story: Triune love Unselfish election Limitless reconciliation Inspiring grace Passionate, Persistent Saints Now there is a TULIP that fits with the narrative! - - - - For those of you following the story of the ACU homecoming play, here's an excellent piece in yesterday's Abilene Reporter-News from a professor of voice at Hardin-Simmons University. - - - - As of this morning, we have a seventh-grader in this house! Just four months ago, I was pushing him to sixth grade in his wheelchair. We're so thankful for his progress.