Saturday, June 06, 2015


Comic Art


Friday, June 05, 2015


From Whence Identity?

Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at ministries that rather then "heal" homosexuals attempts to urge them to be chaste. Don't get me wrong, this is admirable and good, but when we keep shifting the language we have a problem.

Shifting the language in this way is still trying to make it "OK" to have homosexual urges. It's "OK" in the sense that all of us have sinful urges of some sort, it is compassionate to recognize that, but what this seems to want to do is change identity from "sinner under grace" to "celibate homosexual" - that's a problem. Do we really want to make our sinful urges our identity? The closest analogy I can think of is "recovering alcoholic." But most people I know in that category, eventually quit referring to it that way, they just don't drink.

But there is also a sense of shame that comes with the term "alcoholic," recovering or otherwise. Hence it is not an identity, its a diagnosis. But "celibate homosexual" has a different ring to it. Grace loves in spite of shame, it does not erase it.

The urge to sin is the second most powerful force we can experience - the first being the grace and action of the Holy Spirit. If we identify with the second most powerful force, we severely limit what the most powerful can do.

I think we should all just be "sinners under grace."


Friday Humor

Thursday, June 04, 2015


Grace and Christian Music

Chelsen Vicari:
Admitting the problem is the first step towards recovery. So let’s admit it: if we swap the lyrics of a Taylor Swift ballad with some of today’s contemporary Christian worship songs, no one would know the difference.

Others have noted the “Jesus-is-your-boyfriend” style worship songs clogging the airwaves of contemporary Christian radio and Sunday morning worship sets lack depth and reverence to the Almighty. They’re right. But there’s an even bigger problem when contemporary Christian songs downplay, even scold Christian’s public witness for the sake of couch-potato Christianity.


To be fair, Family Force 5 is correct that grace is a necessary component to lead others to salvation in Christ. But it alone it is not enough. Grace without substance is pity and nothing more. Behind our compassion must be a willingness to share the totality of Christ’s character and His command to turn from sin.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Change and UnChange - Genuine Ministry

Ed Stetzer:
At one end of the spectrum we have "pop psychology" preaching that is intended to be appealing to the culture at large, but is devoid of the Gospel. From this perspective, you get sermon titles like "three ways to a good marriage," "five steps to a stress-free life," or "four keys to obedient pets."

The next generation realizes that this preaching isn't working so well. They swing to the other end and reject cultural relevance entirely in order to get back to a "pure preaching" of the Gospel. In their quest, however, they can fail to engage the culture around them.

I could name names and organizations, but that swing is evident in our culture today—both extremes are taking place before our eyes. It's not helpful and the pendulum swings are not reaching others with the gospel.

I would contend that there is a better course of action rather than going with the winds of evangelical church culture. Not surprisingly, it's found right in the Bible, with the example of Paul.
Stetzer is right on here in saying that there is a middle ground. This piece is; however, unhelpful in ever finding that ground. It lays out that there is and give vague generalities on how to find it, but it does not get to the hardcore what to do. Is that a failing? Not really becasue the hardcore what to do is contextual and that is where the problem lies. As I see it there are two problems.

Problem one. We make it too easy for people to lead ministry. To provide good ministry in context one has to be smart, really smart. Smart is a amtter of a lot of things, maturity and experience are part of them. We need to let people get older, more mature and more experienced before we hand them the reins. That requires patience, both in the person and in the church. Things may not happen today, or even tomorrow - it may take a decade. We have to be willing to let it - patience.

Problem two. Genuine contextual ministry is hard. No quick fixes, no easy answers. No reading from book XYZ and simply applying it. It is just hard. Really, really hard. We have to be willing to work hard. I am not sure we are and this calls into question our own commitment to Christ and His ministry. We have to be right or our ministry is not right.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Full-Throated Faith

I think the perfect follow-up to yesterday's post are these words from Eric Teetsel:
The landmark ruling in Hobby Lobby induced a heavy sigh in the chests of some Christians who are tired of culture-warring. Eager for détente, these types tend to view those of us in debates at the nexus of faith and culture with suspicion. They place fault on fellow believers for being too-easily aggrieved, and accuse us of being motivated more by the need to sustain our culture-war industrial complexes than by principle. Recently, one such observer curiously described the Hobby Lobby decision as a win for the Green family, but a loss for religious liberty.

These skeptics are mostly well-intentioned. Yet by elevating a stripped-down version of the Gospel, wary of anything that might obstruct access to Jesus but ready to embrace anything that might increase his appeal, they offer an idol.

The Church can do better.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, June 01, 2015


Spirituality and Religion

Mark Daniels on "spiritual not religious"
:I believe that Jesus Christ founded His Church as a community for those who follow Him not only to be comforted and reassured, but also challenged and set straight.
He quotes another author who said:
Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition that you did not invent all for yourself.
And with that word "yourself," it hit me. "Spiritual, but not religious is the ultimate narcissistic expression. It is entirely about self because in the course of it, you not only avoid accountability to church, you can invent a God that does not hold you accountable either. It's not even monastic, it's self- absorbed.

And yet, I do not blame people for making such claims. We have built churches without accountability to the point that it simply looks corrupt - why bother. We have exercised accountability without grace - why bother. The answer to this issue is NOT better messaging of some other communication technique. The answer to this issue is for those of us that love the church and still hold her dear to be better, much, much better at being what the church is really and genuinely supposed to be. Then they'll be a reason to bother.

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