Before I begin, I feel that I need to warn you that this post is super long. However, I feel that I may have some thoughts that will contribute to the conversation around the issues of racial, cultural, and economic divisiveness that are currently happening in our country. I feel, along with many others I’m sure, that the culture wars are not only deeply dividing our citizens in the United States – but they are also deeply dividing the body of Christ. Man, my heart is heavy over this stuff. I am grieved over the anger. I am grieved over the violence. I am grieved over the hate. I am grieved that the inflammatory rhetoric of American special interest groups continue to escalate. I am grieved that the culture wars are raging.
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
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
I. The Biblical Perspective
I believe that the Holy Bible is the final authority on all matters of Christian faith and practice. In regard to the consumption of alcohol, it is my understanding that the teaching of the Scripture is as follows: Continue reading
This morning I read an article forwarded to me by a friend entitled, “Those Who Really Don’t Like the ‘Stand and Greet Time’ in Church” (click here to read the article). The main emphasis of the article concerned first time church goers who do not want to be encouraged to talk to other people in the worship service. A large number of those people polled cited the “meet and greet” or “giving of the peace” element of Christian worship as socially uncomfortable and undesirable. Many said that they wished churches would do away with this tradition. I have just a few thoughts in response to the article. As I view it, the “greeting” or “giving of the peace” in a worship service is not just an aside, it is a vital part of Christian worship. In fact, the Bible is filled with passages that encourage the church toward love, relationship, fellowship, greeting, and welcoming. A few examples… Continue reading
People need purpose. We need meaning. In order to give shape and direction to our lives, we need to have an aim, a goal, a direction. However, the purposes that we often embrace are not all the same. Some purposes might be self-giving, while other are self-absorbing. They may be creative or destructive, nourishing or poisonous, full of light or full of darkness. Unfortunately, many of us choose destructive paths. We embrace a life that is fueled by anger, or greed, or jealousy, or revenge. We cling to dark purposes. In the movie, The Princess Bride, there is a character named Inigo Montoya. When we meet him in the movie, we find him in a lifelong quest to take revenge on a “six fingered man” for murdering his father. Though Inigo is one of the most comical characters in the story, he is also one of the most tragic. When he finally gets his revenge at the end of the story, Inigo finds that his life is empty. He says, “I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.” This is how it is for all those who shape their lives around dark purposes. Even when we are successful, we will find that the victory will be empty. Our hearts will be shriveled and toxic. Our lives will be lonely and dark. In the end, we will wind up like Gollum in the Hobbit, whom Tolkien refers to as “a small, slimy creature.”
I don’t want to wind up like Gollum. I don’t want to be consumed by dark purposes that rot my heart and eat up my life. “Spirit of Christ, rescue me from my ‘dark purposes.’ Form me in the image of Christ. Restore the joy of your Kingly rule over my life. Along with all those who trust in You, restore my trust in the gospel that I might be creative, nourishing, and filled with the light of Christ fueled love.”
In commemoration of Martin Luther King’s life I would like to post this video. It’s awesome! It’s a documentary featuring Pastor John Piper as he walks through his personal story of growing up with segregation in the South. His personal story boldly champions the transforming power of the gospel and the beauty of racial diversity and harmony in Christ.