In these days of social media, it’s tempting to see ourselves like the prophet Elijah, self-righteously calling down “fire” in public forums on anyone who we judge to be an enemy of God and His kingdom (or anyone who disagrees with us). Absolutely, God calls us to speak out against evil, but He shows us other ways to be effective in bringing about change also. Wednesday we looked at Abigail. Today there are two more women to pay attention to.
“’Do not conform’ is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.” Martin Luther King Jr.
HOLY BUCKETS it’s a minefield out there isn’t it? More and more we are forced to face what it means to interact with both grace and truth in a vitriolic society, what it means to not be conformed to our culture, but live out the way of Jesus.
It seems like people are just looking for a reason to be offended. We pray for discernment and we ask questions like:
- If I speak out on this issue will it mean that a whole segment of the population won’t listen to me about anything anymore?
- Is this the most important issue to take a stand on?
- Is social media the best place to have this discussion?
- What exactly is it that I hope to accomplish if I take a public stand on this issue?
“Both secularism and devout faith are growing. What’s going away is the mushy middle of religiosity.” Tim Keller
Recently I was reading two accounts in the Bible where three women modeled different approaches to conflict and evil that we might learn from. I thought I’d unpack one today and two tomorrow giving possible contemporary parallels for us.
Tomorrow I leave on another trip to Israel/Palestine with Telos, an organization that is pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace.
The picture for me is completed when I add “Pro-Jesus”.
In case you were wondering, this is not an easy gig.
Loving people we don’t agree with is safe when it’s just a theory. Bob Goff
Some of you may already be angry with me, but one of the values of our church is a commitment to “live in the tension”. This doesn’t just apply to politics, but so many other social issues also.
Sometimes there are problems that can be solved, but often there are tensions must be managed.
Most of us love black and white, right and wrong, winners and losers, who’s in and who’s out.
We love boundary markers.
We want to major on love but not at the expense of truth, and that can be tricky.
Living in the tension is a hard one that can be misunderstood, but what it means is: Continue reading
If anyone anywhere is going to go to church, Christmas is the most likely season that they will feel compelled to go. I’d be surprised if anyone reading this hasn’t been in a church service in the past week.
After all, it’s family, and candle light and sweet baby Jesus. All the warm fuzzy feels. And most churches put on a pretty good show. There’s special music and sometimes cookies.
But the Christmas season is the exception. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church, and church attendance is declining. In the past few months, these are actual reasons people have told me that they weren’t in church:
- We had to re-grout our bathroom.
- My tennis coach had an opening for a lesson at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
- We had to go watch our son do mountain bike racing.
- I had to go to a baby shower scheduled during church.
- We had a friend in from out of town.
It was the beginning of June and the whole summer stretched gloriously before me. Oh the dreams I’d dream, the goals I’d achieve, the books I’d not only read, but remember and apply to EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE! I was especially excited to get my grubby little hands on the new edition of Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted.
I pounced on the opportunity to get an advance copy in order to link up and post on it. After all, my merry little band of spiritual misfits had joyfully jumped into “7” and experienced our own mutiny against excess a couple of summers ago. I figured we were game for something new.
But here’s the thing…I missed some “fine” print.
Ok, it might not have been so “fine”, but I definitely missed two important details.
First? The subtitle: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity. WHY in the name of sweet baby Jesus would I want to read THAT?? If I’m comfortable with my Christian life (and I definitely am!), why would I want to be wrecked?
Note to marketing department: No one who actually reads the subtitle of this book is going to want to buy it. “Wrecking” is not a selling point. Continue reading
This past summer at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit I had the opportunity to live blog for Engage Churches, a part of the Willow Creek Association. I was blown away listening to the teaching of Chris Brown, a pastor at North Coast Church in California. Here’s some of what I wrote that day…
This afternoon, Chris Brown (not that Chris Brown, a different Chris Brown) started with the story of a man approaching a campfire. Creeping forward, and then walking back into the shadows while others by the campfire gossip about his failed leadership around the issue of a certain giant named Goliath.
The man is King Saul. For over a month Saul has been called out and he knows he doesn’t have what it takes. His ministry is paralyzed. His leadership is paralyzed. He’s a leader in trouble who is bailed out by a kid named David.
And then it goes out on Twitter (as it were). 1 Sam. 18:5-9 “Saul has killed his thousands. David his ten thousands.”
Huh?? Big gasp. How is Saul going to react?
“From that time on, Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”
Saul didn’t have room in his chariot for David, the young twerp who bested him.
Leaders struggle with jealousy and comparison. Pride and ego. It’s in the Bible. A lot. Continue reading
This morning I was praying for some twenty-somethings I know who have kind of wandered away from God. They’re really enjoying the partying hard thing, the sex without strings thing, and carpe without commitment. I was praying that God might draw them back to Himself – remind them of the grace and meaning and joy to be found in dependence on Him.
But I have a Confession: I don’t have the gift of “evangelism” and I often think I don’t care as much as I should about the souls of those far from God. The culture of “live and let live” has immunized me. Plus there’s the risk of making anyone feel like a “project” or being labeled one of “those” Christians with pat answers and tracts in place of candy at Halloween that scares me.