Bad Times – Bad Religion – Bad Relationships

These are things the Bible deals with over and over. If we want to be Bible-honoring Christians, these are among the most important things for us to pay attention to. The ancient prophets Isaiah and Micah, among others, have much to say about these issues. Micah says, He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) One way Jesus summarizes it is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) “Bad Times – Bad Religion – Bad Relationships – Hope” is not the way Isaiah (or any of the others) say it. It’s my summary of the major concerns they deal with. There might be a better way to say it, but this is a fair summary. People can argue over minute points of Bible interpretation, or about whatever they currently want to stress. But to honor the Bible like we … Continue reading

Freedom – From Fear

No government can ever guarantee that you or I will have nothing to be afraid of. And as the American Founding Fathers well knew, no government, not even ours, can be trusted with freedom to do just as it wants. The Founders built “checks and balances” into the US Constitution for very good reasons. Political parties, political movements – your neighbors – even your friends and family – can harm you in a variety of ways. It might be accidental; sometimes it is deliberate. Most of us have experienced it at some level or other. There is no law we can pass, no person we can elect, no agreement we can make that will guarantee that any particular person or group will never turn against us or persecute us or hurt us. So what is a Christian to do in this unpredictable and sometimes very dangerous world? It is precisely this problem that prompted Jesus’ disciple Peter … Continue reading

Good Comment on Christians as Republicans

Here’s a very helpful reaction to the article “Why Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican.” Thanks CT for putting things so well. I have added underlines and bolding. This is a great article. Although I am not American, if I had to vote I would also struggle with voting Republican. While I don’t agree with all of the policies of the Democrats, I believe they are by far the better option. We cannot tar all Republicans with the same brush but from what I can see their policies are not consistent with the teachings of Christ nor will they bring people to Christ which is what we as disciples are called to do. Regarding the obsession with abortion and homosexuality: While I agree abortion is wrong, I don’t see how criminalising it will stop women from aborting babies. People need to have a personal conviction that abortion is wrong and that will not come from aggressive anti-abortion tactics or rhetoric. Instead, would it not be better to provide better sexual education so that less young women fall pregnant and provide better facilities for young mothers who may feel that they are unable to support a child alone? Would it not … Continue reading

America’s Problem & Blessing: People Who Take the Bible Seriously (with 2 Rules of Interpretation)

Frankie Schaeffer grew up in a modern, politically radical, Americanized “Christianity”. He is not pleased with what it teaches or how it operates. In a recent article he gives a fairly thorough explanation of his concerns and how they relate to current political personalities – e.g. Michelle Bachmann. I have to agree with much of what Schaeffer says. Here’s an example: America has a problem: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. America has a blessing: It’s filled with people who take the Bible seriously. … Continue reading

Does Anyone, Biblically, Have Authority to Interfere in Economic Matters?

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

“Emergent Evangelical” – Can I Please Be Both?

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.

Let’s Pray for Obama – For Our Own Sakes

Former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright said this in an email I got this week. Every new president inherits headaches, but President Obama has inherited an entire emergency room. Our struggle to reclaim our standing in the world has been challenging, but we are making progress. Together, we will need to continue to speak up, fight back, and give President Obama the support he needs to succeed. The President told David Letterman last night that we were losing 700,000 jobs a month when he became President. And that’s just in one bay of a pretty large emergency room. And Connie kept saying, while Obama was on Letterman, that he just always seems so calm, so reasonable, and not at all “full of himself.” Sort of like a grown-up should be! Or a Christian. … Continue reading

Private Prayer and the Stupidities of Public Life

Connie and I recently watched Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It portrays Karol Wojtyla’s life from his late teens, when the Nazi’s invaded his city and nation, through WWII, then through decades of Communist rule (as a satellite of the Soviet Union), up to the day he became Pope John Paul II (1978). I. A Real-life Example: The Future Pope Working Under Nazi and Communist Oppression in Poland Karol Wojtyla, (pronounced something like “VoyTEEya”) was known as a man of prayer, and it seems to me that his life-long habits (and style) of prayer – developed in his late teens – were a key factor in his effectiveness in the real world and in his continuing rise to greater and greater worldly power. He was introduced to “mystical prayer” early in WWII by an older man (Jan Tyranowsky) who became a spiritual mentor to several young adults. I was familiar with the story from previous study, and though this version is a movie, not a documentary, it still rings pretty true. One poignant scene shows him discovering a poster announcing the murder (“execution”) of a good friend, a young priest, by the Nazis. Wojtyla sinks to the ground … Continue reading

What Do We Want in 2009?

Here’s the article I wrote for our church’s monthy newsletter for January. We need, want, and should want lots of good things. But I was looking for a list specific to a local church’s situation. This is derived from the first of the two letters we have from Paul to the church of the Thessalonians. While it is local-church specific, it seems to me to have profound applications and implications far beyond that scope. What Does God Want To Do Here in 2009? That question – What does God want to do here in 2009? – no doubt has some answers we cannot figure out here in January. But I think God has made a lot of it pretty apparent. Here’s a short Bible study from I Thessalonians – looking for what had been seen, or would be seen, as desirable developments in the believers in Thessalonica. God wants to see more people doing / experiencing these things, and these things being done better and more consistently. What do you think of this list? Does any part of it particularly stand out to you? PEOPLE WITH FAITH AND LOVE. … Continue reading

Joy For Whom?

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 Is God Sending Joy for ALL People? Yes! Joy to those feeling terrible because they’ve been inattentive to God: All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:9-10 Yes! Joy to those for whom God has already done great things: The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3 Yes! Joy to those weeping, who desperately need God to do great things: … Continue reading