Sunday, December 18, 2011
First, i'm all for people being open about their faith. i'm an Evangelical Christian (minus the politics). i believe witnessing is part of the faith. Of course, there are many different ways to witness.
So, on the one hand, i am fond of Tim Tebow. On another note, i think this whole "Tebowing" phenomena opens the discussion of witnessing vs. effective witnessing. The only person who hasn't been embarrassed by unabashed and obnoxious witnessing is the guy who is doing it.
i'm not sure that Tim Tebow has gone overboard. i truly don't know. i do know some team members have been complaining, but he has also become an encouragement to others.
i do believe that just shouting the name of Jesus isn't the way Jesus intended us to witness to his love and saving grace. i believe there are effective ways to witness as well as ineffective ways.
Then again, what may distance some can draw others. Where's the line? i'm not sure. But this video captures the tension humorously (well to me, while to others it may be off-putting :-)
This parody also unveils an embarrassing aspect of American Christianity, where Jesus has been co-opted into an "added blessing" upon frivolous past-times. Truly, i don't believe Jesus is concerned about who wins the game or the talent show.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
People are upset that God isn't being allowed to continue as the American mascot. i'm beginning to wonder if we haven't misread the signs. Perhaps it's not America that is taking God out of it's political and military jargon...
Perhaps God has left the building (Ezek 10). Perhaps God is tired of being used as the American mascot. He's tired of people invoking His name to justify their personal and secular missions. He's tired of being used by politicians to get elected, and by governments to justify their violence.
Maybe God is behind it all. Maybe He's tired of being our mascot as we continue in our own broken reasoning, using our own broken means, while the whole time justifying it with His name and His symbols.
When Jeremiah told Judah that God would send the Babylonians to destroy the Temple, they jailed him as a traitor and false prophet. They could not imagine that God would ever allow Jerusalem or the Temple to be conquered. God was their mascot. They invoked His Name even as He sent Babylonian troops into the holy city and left not one stone of the temple upon the other. (2 Kings 25; Psalm 79:1)
Maybe God took the cross off the chapel wall at the mlitary base in Afghanistan. Maybe God desired that His name be left out of the presidents radio address for Thanksgiving Day. Maybe He's tired of being our mascot.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
i consider this to be upside down and backwards because it asserts itself against New Testament teachings to the contrary, which emphasize the equal inclusion of all humanity and disavows Jewish superiority. Paul makes these claims over-and-over again. He emphatically proclaims that not all of Abraham's descendants are Israel, but rather the true Israel is made up of those who demonstrate genuine faith, whether Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free.
i recently received a copy of"A Reader's Hebrew & Greek Bible". i'm loving it. It is the Bible in the original languages, but the less common words are defined at the bottom of each page. i can read through a chapter at a time in the original language without having to stop and flip through a giant lexicon each time i encounter an unfamiliar word.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
From "Who is My Enemy" by Lee C. Camp
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
A king went out to conquer, amassing great wealth and power. There came to him a people who asserted that some other was king, whom they called "Lord of Lords." The king replied: you may freely worship this one you call "lord," you may freely build your buildings and write your books and seek your converts to this one you call" lord." But I shall rule the marketplace, and the army, and the public square. He shall be your personal "lord," while I am your public king. I shall make the laws, and you shall obey them. I shall tell you what enemies to kill, and you shall kill them. I shall give you a marketplace, and you shall seek to maximize your profits and keep all your profits, even at the expense of the poor, or the widow, or the stranger, and thence you shall pay taxes with which we shall wage war against all who threaten your freedom to worship your personal "lord."
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Monday, October 03, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
On 9/11 I thought, For the most powerful, militarized nation in the world also to think of itself as an innocent victim is deadly. It was a rare prophetic moment for me, considering Presidents Bush and Obama have spent billions asking the military to rectify the crime of a small band of lawless individuals, destroying a couple of nations who had little to do with it, in the costliest, longest series of wars in the history of the United States.
The silence of most Christians and the giddy enthusiasm of a few, as well as the ubiquity of flags and patriotic extravaganzas in allegedly evangelical churches, says to me that American Christians may look back upon our response to 9/11 as our greatest Christological defeat. It was shattering to admit that we had lost the theological means to distinguish between the United States and the kingdom of God. The criminals who perpetrated 9/11 and the flag-waving boosters of our almost exclusively martial response were of one mind: that the nonviolent way of Jesus is stupid. All of us preachers share the shame; when our people felt very vulnerable, they reached for the flag, not the Cross.
September 11 has changed me. I’m going to preach as never before about Christ crucified as the answer to the question of what’s wrong with the world. I have also resolved to relentlessly reiterate from the pulpit that the worst day in history was not a Tuesday in New York, but a Friday in Jerusalem when a consortium of clergy and politicians colluded to run the world on our own terms by crucifying God’s own Son.
Monday, August 08, 2011
The Kingdom of God is like this:
Saturday, August 06, 2011
At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.
Aye, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.
And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Just War Theory did not allow for individual Christians to use lethal force. Instead, it was a theory that relegated the authorization of lethal force under certain defensive circumstances to the governing authorities. So while the Church certainly went through a time where violent action was condoned, it did so as a governing authority and did not believe this was something left to individual determination.
Even Luther and Calvin refused to condone the individual right to use lethal force. For them, this right was only legitimate when used by governing authorities within very limited circumstances.
Only recently have Christians claimed the right to determine for themselves what justifies the use of violence, without regard to the principles of Just War theory. Now we have fulfilled the saying "And everyone did what was right in their own eyes."
It would be good for Christians to revisit the question of "what is the standard which i live by?" Rather than 'every man for himself' we ought to revisit the Scriptures, especially the teachings found in the New Covenant, and even Christian Tradition. We ought to examine when and where we determined that each person's own personal reasoning became the only standard of determining how we live. Is there a model in the NT for community living and decision making?
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
One of the reasons i'm passionate about renouncing violence is that i believe it is freeing for the Christian. To renounce violence and the right to 'protect ourselves' is to wholly trust in Christ. It is to believe in the promise of resurrection and embrace the truth that love covers a multitude of sins.
What i don't get, is that if this is such a threat or rational fear, then why is it that Evangelicals are also arguably the most pro-military group in America? We are very supportive of using the national budget to support the largest known government run military in world history. Yet it is this same government that we say we need to protect ourselves against. Still, i don't know of any other group that praises military service more than Evangelicals. When an Evangelical joins the service, they are typically praised as doing even greater service than someone who dedicates their life as a missionary.
How can we be anti-government and pro-military at the same time?
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Census Shows Whites are in Minority Among New Births in U.S.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The only time an evangelical finds politics distasteful is when the pastor is confronting politically motivated, unchristian thinking and behavior. That is, if the pastor questions a Christian's way of thinking concerning issues such as immigration, gun control, health care, taxes, Obama, or conservative talk show hosts, suddenly the evangelical parishioner finds a distaste for mixing religion and politics.
The prophets often chastised Israel for their poor treatment of the alien and the sojourner. It is because Israel was an alien and sojourner both in Egypt and in their journey eastward, that they ought to treat the alien and sojourner among them in a helpful manner. Yet, since the alien and sojourner don't share the language or the heritage of the dominant ethnic group in the land, they are considered second class citizens.
In a recent sermon, i mentioned how we white evangelicals are still guilty of this second class treatment of the immigrant. We say things like "speak the language" to anyone who is speaking a foreign language. We don't know the people we criticize. They could be bilingual or a fairly new immigrant who is just learning the language. Most immigrants do eventually learn the language, according to the same process as German, Dutch, Irish, Polish, and Swedish immigrants did when they first came to America.
These two points should be considered. First, the English language is not native to America. Secondly, most citizens of other countries know multiple languages, so why should white Americans consider it below them to either speak or hear others speaking a second language?
Beyond this though is the challenge to white evangelical Christians. What does the preferred language of the immigrant in America have to do with the Gospel of Christ? Why would a Christian care what language someone chooses to speak in this country? Our job is to proclaim and present Christ, while the language a person chooses to speak is utterly irrelevant to Christ.
What is relevant to Christ is the elitist attitude of the white evangelical toward people who don't share their ethnicity. When confronted, white evangelicals try to downplay this accusation by appealing to the 'benefit' of speaking the dominant language, as though they were actually concerned for the sake of the immigrant. In truth they are intimidated by cultural change and identify more closely with secular nationalism than they do with the Kingdom of God. This is revealed in their statements concerning people whom they have no background information on. Is the person simply speaking to another person in a language they are more fluent in? Is the person relatively new to the country and only beginning to learn the language? The white evangelical doesn't care. They will spew out the elitist remark "Speak the language" and feel no need to ask such questions.
The only question that will be relevant to Christ is whether we tended to the material, relational, and spiritual needs of the alien and sojourner. The language the sojourner chooses to speak is not a Christian issue.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
While in Hilton Head i picked up a milk stout called "Duck-Rabbit". i think i was drawn to it because of the cool rabbit on the box, and i chose to buy it because i had never tried a milk stout before.
Monday, May 09, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Ever sense the 'emergent' movement, there has been a shifting of plates causing a quake in the Evangelical Church. Current theological challenges are a result of this shift. Two areas being brought back under inspection are 'violence' and 'hell'.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
i've already established the argument that hell is separation. It is where those who refuse to live according to the nature of love and goodness are separated to, for the sake of protecting a good and just society. (this interpretation leaves room for the possibility that hell is annihilation, the cessation of life)
Today someone asked me the question: "Can someone lose their salvation?" Of course there are different theories on this, and in the end i land on the side of "yes". But don't judge me too harshly, i also believe in a God who is incredibly more gracious than we are. Who knows us better than we know ourselves, which means he understands the underlying reason for our deficiencies better than we do, and therefore has more compassion for us than we do for ourselves.
Friday, February 04, 2011
"Freedom...that's just some people talking..."