Showing posts from March, 2014

His Arrival

Marriage and Other Social Constructs

Few people would be surprised to learn that the institution of marriage is under severe criticism (at least in the West). Divorces are common, regardless of religious affiliation. Celebrities often deride marriage as passé and prohibitive.
For example, here is an excerpt from a recent article of how divorce is really unnecessary if people would just stop getting married. Why is marriage so difficult or impossible? Because we humans evolved to live long lives. . .
Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami on Conscious Uncoupling
During the upper Paleolithic period of human history (roughly 50,000BC to 10,000BC) the average human life expectancy at birth was 33.[i] By 1900, U.S. life expectancy was only 46 for men, and 48 for women. Today, it’s 76 and 81 respectively.[ii] During the 52,000 years between our Paleolithic ancestors and the dawn of the 20th Century, life expectancy rose just 15 years. In the last 114 years, it’s increased by 4…

Worship Leaders, Preachers, and Tour Guides

I’m just making some reflections on the role of some church leaders.
I remember listening to a well-respected preacher on the radio one day. He sounded very "Baptist" -- long, slow vowels when saying "Gawd," raising and lowering his voice frequently to sound dramatic, and other such tricks. He is dead now, but at the time, he was the leader of a large congregation. He would wear nice, expensive suits. His messages were based, in general, upon the Bible.
I must have seen a hundred similar preachers in my lifetime. I know that there are people who are very well-known for their preaching ability. When I was in my MDiv program, I remember several professors speaking of people like Tom Long as almost superhuman (Tom Long is a respected preacher and has written books on the subject).
I was raised hearing all my life that the reason we dress up on Sundays is because we are giving God our very best. I remember when a former Pastor of mine called for a "casual Sunday&…

"Can evil people be lucky?" A conversation with a friend.

Hey brother!
Thanks for the email. Great questions. Let me respond to your email inblue. . .
but anyways, I have some questions.. Been trying to figure out how to word it.. You have said in the past everyone gets the same blessings. there is no choosing by god. everyone gets life, sunlight etc.Well, kinda’. Jesus said in Matt 5:45 that the Father sends the “sun” and the “rain” on the righteous and unrighteous. That is, God, to some degree,takes care of peoplewho love Him and those that don’t. Jesus’s point is that we, too, must take care of those who don’t love us. So, to be clear, not “everyone gets the same blessings,” as you said in your email, since the Bible never says that (some people get healed of sicknesses, others don’t…some get demons removed, others don’t…etc.). Therefore, Godsustains people in the Laws of Nature equally, but not everyone receives the same “blessings.”
Ive always heard, Give yourself to god, devote your life and he will bless you with everything you need, job…

Can Disciples be Rich?

"I'm a Christian because it makes me happy."

Nearly every Christian I’ve met speaks of Christianity in a utilitarian way. That is, Christians are Christians because it “works”: it makes you feel happy; it gives you hope; it gives you joy; it gives you community; it makes you rich; it gives you blessings.
Of course, because they believe this, when they speak of Christianity with others, they “sell” Christianity in utilitarian terms: “Don’t you want to be happy?” “Don’t you want to go to heaven?”
You see what that does? (And this is a really big deal) It makes Christianity a subjective preference.
For example, replace “Christianity” with any hobby.
Bob = “Why did you start jogging?” You = “Oh…because it makes me happy. It gives me joy. It gives me hope that my body will last longer.” Bob = “Huh. Well, I get all those things met by swimming.” You = “Yeah, it’s a very personal choice in life.” Bob =  “Huh.” You = “But, it’s really important that you consider taking up jogging. It’ll make you happy too.” Bob = “No thanks. Again, …

The Kingdom Grows

Significance of Lent

For centuries, revolving around the Exodus event, Jews have followed a prescribed religious calendar called a “lectionary.” The earliest Jewish Christians kept the idea of a lectionary, but because of Jesus, they changed the calendar. The life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus now formed the framework of their year. According to the lectionary, time isn’t measured according to the length of the solar calendar (Romans) nor the Exodus (Jews); it is measured according to the life of Jesus. This allows a Christian to re-live the narrative of Christ-event every year.
Lent is a time of spiritual preparation. Lent is a season of 40 days (excluding Sundays) developed to prepare for the holiest season of the church calendar: Resurrection Sunday and the six weeks of Easter Season (in Northumbrian Old English, the month of April was named after the goddess, Eostre, hence our word, “Easter”). Ash Wednesday (March 5) is the first day of Lent. Because Lent typically involves various kinds…