In the wake of another mass shooting, we have plenty to read and plenty to post on the issue. There is hardly another thing that can be said on the subject that hasn’t already been said. But it still needs to be talked about. As long as life is lost, the conversation needs to continue. But the conversation should sound different within the walls of the church. The conversation about loss of life and the weapons used to that end should sound different coming from a group of people who have placed their hope in a higher, omniscient, omnipotent, loving power.
It should… but it doesn’t.
Instead, the loudest voices in Christendom echo the loudest voices in the public forums, and the public forums do nothing to resemble the Kingdom of God. Continue reading
The blog awakens. The cool thing about having a blog that brings in zero income is that there is total freedom to stop writing in it any time you want. My absence from the blogosphere over the last year+ can be explained by a two main elements: my 2014 free time being directed toward the search for a new ministry, and the fact that I just really…didn’t care to write. But it’s 2015, and you know what THAT means…
2016 is coming.
Ever since the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage and the troubling news regarding Planned Parenthood, my Facebook feed has returned back to what it once was: a clickbait-infested ticker dripping with logical fallacies that remind me why I’m losing my hair at 31. Continue reading
Guys, I’ll be honest. I felt a little bit torn during Easter services yesterday. Don’t get me wrong – our Easter experience was fantastic – I sensed an incredible spiritual unrest among many folks in the room. But I’ve always struggled with the religious aspects of Christian holidays in general. It isn’t that I don’t recognize and appreciate Jesus’ role as Savior. Rather, it’s because I try my best recognize it. I try my best to always be in a state of awareness that recognizes Jesus’ living and active role in every corner of my life. So religion doesn’t really interest me. In fact, it really bothers me. For example: why is Easter the only day you hear some people talking freely about the risen Christ?
Why not every day? Continue reading
I suppose hypocrisy is so easy to spot in others because it’s something pretty much all of us are guilty of. A man in the church passes judgement on the young folks for not tithing, and yet his offerings always come with strings attached. A Sunday School teacher gossips about a young mother for not taking her children to Sunday School, and yet never prays for or reaches out to the woman. A family stands out on a street corner protesting same-sex marriage, and yet their own marriage, rife with infidelity, deceit, and superficiality, looks nothing like their stated “biblical model” of marriage. An alcoholic looks down on a drug addict. A compulsive gambler says a pedophile lacks self control. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Throw a rock in any direction – you’ll likely hit a hypocrite. We’re all walking this earth with logs in our eyes. Continue reading
I admitted something to my wife the other day that took me a long time to be able to admit to myself:
Facebook isn’t fun anymore.
It used to be a place for you to re-connect with old classmates, network with current connections, and paint a picture for the world to see how cool you are. But now, amidst the sea of parental overshare and the seemingly unfettered onslaught of unsolicited opinions, nobody seems to walk away from a newsfeed reading without at least a slight increase in blood pressure. Continue reading
As a parent of a three-year-lld, I’m learning a thing or two about tough love. My daughter has a way of making me feel like an awful person when, after having a frank conversation with her father about coloring on the wall, she cries and says “It’s all my fault!” When I exercise my parental authority in the home, and the outcome is anything less than sunshine and butterflies, it can be hard to feel as though I’ve done a good thing.
Pastoral efforts produce similar feelings. There have been times while in ministry where I have had to engage in difficult conversations with folks over varying issues, often related to certain behaviors. It comes with the job. Whether I’m on the giving or receiving end, frank conversations about behavior are never, ever accompanied with sunshine and butterflies. To be sure, we can never claim responsibility for the choices made by other people. But we can (and should) refuse to let a person engage in destructive behavior if there is anything we can do to help. “Here’s where your behavior will lead you.” “What you’re experiencing now is the result of [insert destructive behavior here].” This is the approach that God tends to take with us, a sinful creation, and it is the approach described in Romans 1:24-2:2. Continue reading
Life’s events have a way of showing us where improvement is needed. Like a stress test, we’re often put into situations where our limits are tested, and in the end we are able to determine our own stability, breaking points, and vulnerability. Sort of like how my house was put to the test against burglars this last Labor Day afternoon.
My wife and I took the kids and one of our dogs (the one that doesn’t get car sick) out to the park for a two-hour outing, only to come home and find that people had been inside our home. Those of you who have had this experience know the feelings of fear, violation, anger, and confusion that come with finding out you’ve been burglarized. Luckily, most of what they took can be replaced. But the pictures from the recent birth of my son cannot. To say the least, a home burglary is quite the stress test on a person who wants to keep his family safe and secure, and I think I’ve found the points of vulnerability in both my house and my character as a result. Continue reading
I tried to avoid adding to the rat’s nest of articles and opinions surrounding the VMA performance of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, but my reading today in Romans brought the issue to the forefront of my mind. I’m not going to comment on the level of morality in the VMA performance, nor will I make any psychologically unfounded guesses as to the cause or reasoning behind the behavior. As I’ve said in a previous post, I’m not too keen on making judgements about someone I haven’t had a conversation with. What I’m more interested in is how Christians react to sin in other people. More specifically, why is it that so many folks who engage in everyday run-of-the-mill sins feel so free to make judgements on the morality of someone on a TV screen? Yes, we ought to find sin offensive if we are going to presume to follow a God who finds sin offensive. But lately, a lot of cyber-stones being thrown by folks who seem to have forgotten that we’re all guilty of something.
Maybe, even on a subconscious level, some of us feel that just because we didn’t personally get on stage and permanently ruin teddy bears for everyone, that God has given us a free pass on our less-noticed, more socially accepted sins. So today, let’s look at the mirror instead of the TV. Continue reading
You’ve probably heard people say that one should not simply say he is a Christian, but rather act like one. This, they say, is how the world will know he is a Christian.
Here’s the problem with this idea: as soon as we begin to say that our behavior is what identifies us as Christians, we start to categorize and define what we believe to be Christian behaviors. In other words, what does it mean to “act like a Christian”? If I passed out a questionnaire with that question to my (or any other American church) congregation and asked them to jot down ideas, I’m sure we would get a lot of “doing good” answers. Loving the outcasts. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the poor. Do right. Seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Help support orphans and widows. No doubt, these are all noble causes. They’re all commendable concerns. But there’s nothing uniquely Christian about them. One does not have to be a Christian to be a good person. Furthermore, one does not have to be a good person to be a Christian (Ephesians 2:8-9). Continue reading