During the 1800s, America’s economy was dominated by so called rich and powerful moguls such as JD Rockefeller, JP Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie. These men, along with many others, were wealthy, powerful businessman who rose to power by exerting control over American natural resources, controlling the railroad systems, influencing high levels of government, paying paltry wages to workers, squashing business competition by buying out competitors, creating monopolies and raising prices, and using deceptive financial schemes to sell stock at inflated prices to unsuspecting investors. Continue reading
In John 1:35-51, we find Jesus calling his very first disciples. When meeting one disciple in particular – Nathanael – Jesus makes a surprising and bold declaration. He says, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Wow! What a statement. Jesus hasn’t even met Nathanael yet. But he knows him. He says that Nathanael is a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kind of Continue reading
America is a superhero driven culture. Have you noticed? Almost every movie, television show, and young adult book series is drenched in super-heroism. Think about this for a second. Batman, Superman, Captain America, Iron Man, The Avengers, The X-Men, Wolverine, Harry Potter, Arrow, Flash, Jim Gordon, Rick Grimes, Han Solo, James Bond, Katniss Everdeen, Jessica Jones, Superman, Thor, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, The Hulk, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Frodo. The list could go on and on and on. Hero worship is definitely what makes America tick. And it doesn’t stop with Continue reading
In the 1993 film “The Sandlot”, a kid named Ham Porter continually gets frustrated with the immaturity of another kid named Scotty Smalls. When Ham’s frustration overcame him he would blurt out, “You’re killin’ me Smalls!” Now this phrase is commonly used in American slang to express discontent or frustration towards another person or event. Often times, I feel like Ham Porter when I observe American Christianity. In fact, I think that there are four toxic brands of American Christianity that often lead me to say, “You’re killin’ me Smalls!” Continue reading
The Total Inability (or Total Depravity) of graceless human nature should not be difficult for us to grasp. One glance at the nightly news plainly reveals that all human beings – from Hollywood to Afghanistan – struggle unsuccessfully to find spiritual meaning and satisfaction. As the Preacher in Ecclesiastes makes clear, the heart of every person is filled with a desire for “eternity” (Ecc 3:11) and yet, if God should leave us in our graceless Continue reading
When we suffer, our hearts put God on trial. Like a prosecuting attorney, we level our questions against his character. “How could you be good and allow this? If you could put an end to this, why don’t you? What have I done to deserve this?”
Yet, for the Christian, God does not answer our questions with a logical defense of His sovereignty v. our suffering, but rather he answers us the way a mother comforts her crying child – with his presence. With his gospel song, Christ offers us the experiential affirmation of his union with us – reminding us that he loves us, and that he is here with us, and that he is bound to us in our pain. Continue reading
Last weekend, before the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio, there was a big flap over Junior Seau’s posthumous induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. Seau, a middle linebacker for the SanDiego Chargers, took his life on May 2, 2012 amid speculation that he was troubled by brain damage due to CTE, a condition traced to concussion-related brain damage with depression as a symptom. After submitting Seau’s brain for study, the family sued the NFL over the brain injuries suffered over his career, claiming that NFL does not provide enough information and protection for its players.