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
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
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
It’s been a little while since I’ve written a blog post. It’s not for lack of material – indeed, I’ve had plenty of observations over the last several weeks that could manafest an interesting blog post – but due to busyness and the fear of being inaccurately labeled as a ranting liberal (who knew gun control was such a hot issue?), I’ve chosen to dial it back a bit. But here we are, and here is the simple truth: I’ve read something in the Bible and want to share it with you. Whether it is considered to be conservative or liberal in nature, I could not care less. I would hope it is neither.
I serve as youth pastor at a church where the senior pastor is cool enough to call me “Associate Pastor” rather than just the “youth guy.” He even lets me preach from time to time with a “whenever you want, just let me know” sort of attitude, and I really appreciate that kind of ministerial validation. When the opportunity came for me to take on a four-week preaching binge, I gladly accepted and planned a four-week series on the book of Philippians. In reality, one could exegetically take months preaching from this epistle, but I’m happy to at least do a brief survey over it. Continue reading
I have my own opinions about welfare. I also have a few thoughts about immigration. But I’ll do my best to keep them to myself for now. What I want to talk about today is not the actual subjects of welfare and immigration, but the general tone and attitude a follower of Christ ought to have when discussing the issues around helping those in need.
To be honest, I intended to write about something completely different today (prenatal behavior as a sign that we are actually made in the image of God). But this morning, I happened to read Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” from Matthew chapters 24-25 and suddenly had flashes of CNN and Fox News making my quiet time not so quiet (plus, there was a little bit of Jon Stewart in there as well). Continue reading
Like everyone else, I’d like some answers. I’ve looked to CNN for clarity. I’ve even turned on Fox News. MSNBC. Blogs. Newspapers (online, of course). Nobody has quick answers for me. But as I read in Matthew 14, the thing to do in times of sorrow, disappointment, and confusion, is to unload it onto Jesus. Even Jesus himself went to pray in solitude when he was troubled. If you spend even more time in Matthew 14, you’ll also read that when we become too focused on ourselves – our circumstances, insecurities, concerns – we begin to sink. When we feel lost, sunk, or in the process of becoming either of the two, the only logical thing to do is turn our eyes upon Jesus.
And yet too many of us are focusing on our “rights.” Some folks are suggesting that the President, along with gun control advocates, is “politicizing tragedy.” It’s ironic to me that these are the same folks who have taken this tragedy as an opportunity to politicize their faith – folks like Mike Huckabee who suggest that God abandoned the children at Sandy Hook because we’ve “systematically removed God” from schools and government. I agree with Huckabee when he says, “Maybe we ought to let him in on the front end and we wouldn’t have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end,” but I would suggest that this politician is woefully misguided as to where the “front end” is located. Continue reading
I’ve been reading a lot of articles, blog posts, tweets, and status updates regarding the traditional “war on Christmas.” What was once a time to show the world a story of hope and peace has now become a point of contention between Christians and, well, everyone else.
I’d like to go on the record and officially separate myself with the school of thought behind Alice Stewart’s article, The War On Christmas Continues, Charlie Brown, found on (you guessed it) the Fox News website. In her article, she (in a way that shows no love for the lost) suggests that atheists go look into thin air and “leave our Christmas traditions alone.” I’m afraid that this kind of thinking has gotten too popular among Christians today. It’s reckless and damaging. It alienates non-Christians. It is counter-productive to the big picture. Continue reading
I don’t watch NFL. The sound of a football game on TV brings back memories of Sunday afternoons where my dad wouldn’t let anything be on the TV that didn’t involve the Broncos (don’t get the wrong idea here – I have fond memories of hanging out with my Dad…I just didn’t share his fondness of boring TV when I was growing up under his roof). In fact, the only reason I know anything about Bob Costas is because he’s the nice man who appears on my TV screen every two years when the Olympics are on (you know – real sports). I am so far-removed from the NFL that I wasn’t even aware that Mr. Costas did anything other than cover the Olympics. So you can imagine my surprise when I started seeing hateful comments about Bob Costas appearing on my Facebook newsfeed after the December 2nd Sunday Night Football presentation on NBC. To put it lightly, Costas said some things during halftime that indirectly addressed the issue of gun control, which upset some people. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see it here.