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
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
You probably wouldn’t expect that a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science would have written anything that could deepen my theological understanding of the divine-human relationship, or even my faith in Jesus Christ . . . but here we are.
I’ve recently read a book by Robert R. Provine, a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, that completely changed the way I read Genesis 1:27 and Luke 9:23. The book is titled Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond. I’m sure my parents raised their eyebrows a bit when this title showed up on my Christmas list, but when I saw it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, my only thought was “there HAS to be some teachable stuff in this book.” Continue reading