Early in his career Jesus was often invited to speak in synagogue (comparable to church today). But it was not long before a person could be expelled from synagogue for being loyal to that same Jesus. What happened? He obviously offended or frightened powerful people in both politics and religion. They, after all, are the ones who teamed up to get him first excluded, then executed. The Bible indicates that his positions on good versus evil (what is moral and what is immoral) were a large part of the problem. It makes you wonder. What did he teach that was so threatening to the powers that be? Why did he persist in such a dangerous direction? Would he get in trouble today with our political and religious leaders if he came with the same sort of teaching? After all, now as then, religion, politics, and economics are very big parts of life. Seven themes in the morals of Jesus are discussed in these short chapters. What were the moral priorities of Jesus? What does Christian morality look like? Perhaps these short chapters can help answer these questions. CHAPTERS Introduction: Jesus was Respected but also Suspected. Why? God: Jesus’ Love for … Continue reading
I’ve experienced it a number of times – many of my Christian acquaintances can get so worked up with contempt and even hatred for their government. They often seem to have no respect at all for the idea of government interfering in people’s lives in any way – or at least not in well-off or successful people’s lives. We’ve all heard it – something like: I. It is NOT the government’s place to tell people how they should spend their money or how they should treat their employees. That’s an abuse of freedom and a terrible threat to all of us. So it is anti-American and very unChristian. And it will lead to socialism and Communism and fascism and tyranny. … Continue reading
A friend recently asked what it means that I use “emergent evangelical” as my religious affiliation on FaceBook. So here’s a look at what the phrase means to me. I. “Evangelicals” Today “Evangelical” has come to be a bad word in much of American society, for several reasons.
WHY? Why should we focus any more on Jesus Christ than on Abraham or Moses or Isaiah? Or on the laws in the Bible, or prophecy, or the end of the world? Is focus on Jesus more needed than pointing out sins – especially other people’s sins? Is Christ actually more important today than Obama or McCain? Or economic crisis? Or threats of violence around the world and at home? Should we focus mostly on our friendship with Jesus – or on why our beliefs are better than other people’s beliefs ? BECAUSE … Continue reading
Did you see the recent comment from “Donna”? It stirred me up! Come on people! Christian integrity and humility should compel you to allow that those who voted for Obama are NOT thereby proven to be ignorant or reprobate! I know that my response refers to the behavior and attitudes of the “religious right” as if they could be sterotyped. But in fact, in my experience, these problems VERY consistently show up in people who get their input from those sources – they are stereotypical responses. On the other hand my experience with Christian Democrats shows them almost always to be much more welcoming and open to information and to real discussion. Here’s my response (The numbered headlines are quotes from Donna’s comment.): … Continue reading
The Barna Group exists to provide statistical information to Christian churches and ministries, to be a catalyst in moral and spiritual transformation in the United States. We accomplish these outcomes by providing vision, information, strategy, evaluation and resources. After extensive recent research the group’s president, David Kinnaman, wrote a book on the largely negative take on Christianity by “outsiders,” especially younger ones, … Continue reading
I. Waves of Slander I don’t have statistics, but we all know there’s a lot of falsehood circulating freely online. An email arrives with frightening accusations or innuendos and the reader gets frightened (as was intended) and forwards the email to warn others of the great danger revealed. But what if the email is one of the mostly false ones? How should we react if we’re not entirely sure of it’s truthfulness? After all, when we accept at face value lies about a person, group, or situation, and repeat those lies, we have put ourselves in a very bad place – we have become gossips and slanderers. Slander, you may have heard, is not a Bible virtue,