November 26th, 2013 | 13 Comments »

It’s Thanksgiving week. Therefore, next week we’ll all be treated to the all-but-non-existent, but deeply offensive war on Christmas. This war will be served to us by a conglomerate of agitated voices that couldn’t care less about Jesus and Christmas, but would rather keep Christians stirred up in order that we help them reach some kind of political end.

Here’s a repost concerning church and politics at this critical juncture in the church’s history.

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The American church has an Acts 15 problem, and we’re all to blame.

First, some background:

The first church controversy – way back in the first century – was about gate-keepers. Those first believers, commonly called “The Way,” were trying to figure out who was in and who was out of the church. The major question concerned what someone had to do or be before they could become a follower of The Way.

There were two major camps. The apostle Paul was proclaiming Jesus to Gentiles, and he proclaimed it to them without the burdens of the Jewish law . His message was about Jesus as the Sent One and anticipated Messiah. New believers were to turn from darkness to light and hold Jesus Christ crucified as first importance.

But another set of missionaries had another set of ideas. Some Jewish Christians thought the Gentiles should jump through some spiritual and religious hoops first: namely that the Gentiles should become Jews in practice. Gentiles thought and acted like Gentiles and this crew of believers didn’t want any part of the dirty Gentile habits. This group expected Gentiles to follow Jewish dietary laws and for the men, some, um…surgery. (snip, snip)

So the church called their first committee meeting – establishing a truly unfortunate precedent of having committee meetings.

At the meeting, as is always the case when preachers get together, a lot of speeches were given. Points were made. Arguments established. Points-of-view shared. But no decision was made…until James.

After all the sermonizing, James, the brother of Jesus, stood in front of the group and said something few church leaders have said since. What was that? That the Gentiles should not be burdened with Jewish law.

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Posted in Bible
November 19th, 2013 | 11 Comments »

The Christian way of being mean is telling those we’ve offended that we’re “speaking the truth in love”.

Misappropriating this little gem from Ephesians 4 is popular because it allows us to be rude, condescending, and hurtful to non-Christians while simultaneously allowing us to hold on to our own privilege and self-righteousness.

There’s been a lot of talk in the last week about “speaking the truth in love.”

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November 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Last December, I published my first e-book, Scandalous: Lessons in Redemption From Unlikely Women. What began as a sermon series years

Ready to "Get Scandalous"

Ready to “Get Scandalous”

ago, became an obsession, which then became Scandalous. I had no agenda when I wrote Scandalous; that is no agenda other than allowing the strong and beautifully brave women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel to have their day in the sun.

Like countless women before and after them, the voices and stories of these women had been marginalized – or flat out muted. Some small percentage of these unvoiced stories were made so by accident and/or ignorance. Many pastors lack the curiosity to dig more than one-level deep. But more frequently the stories of these women – and, again, myriad women before and after – have remained undeclared due to systemic chauvinism.

I merely wanted to tell stories which weren’t being told.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the warm, sweet response readers had for Scandalous. Some have told me it allowed people in their congregations to start new conversations about gender-equality. Others have used it to aid on-going discussions in their community of faith. And still others are reading through Scandalous within their small groups.

These are important discussions. In fact, they are vitally important discussions which will have deep impact on the church. So today, I wanted to share the shortest and most talked about chapter from Scandalous; the conclusion. If you have yet to get your copy, you can access it free here.

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Posted in Bible, writing
October 17th, 2013 | 10 Comments »

Two weeks ago I spent an hour talking to an old friend. She was lamenting the state of the world. She was upset about the ills of the world.  And I was too. I wasn’t upset the same way she was. She wasn’t talking about ending poverty, war, genocide, or abolishing nuclear weapons. She was disturbed by the onslaught of technology and screen time invading her life – and the lives of her children. “I’m not a Luddite,” she protested, “but it’s just too much.” Taking her stand, she had  recently challenged her son’s high school’s mandate that students do homework, write essays, take tests, and turn in assignments electronically.  Her son had to produce a paper entirely researched on the computer and she did not like it.

My friend is partial to the way she was educated – libraries, notecards, essay tests.

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Posted in Bible, leadership
October 7th, 2013 | 6 Comments »

I wrote this piece after last year’s Presidential election. At the time I was raked over the coals by some, but the current climate in Washington and the absolutely pitiful, hateful, unloving, disrespectful, and quite frankly ill-informed political opinions (on all sides) have demonstrated that I was on to something. In short, Christians have traded their birthright of the Kingdom for a bowl of political porridge.
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You’ve heard, “Actions speak louder than words.” I’m sure the old axiom is true. We are defined by what we do more than by what we say.  That said, our words and language have the pesky ability to reveal our hearts in ways little else does.

Jesus said, “The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” He meant that what is in us will come out of us. The human heart has an exhaust pipe – our mouths.

That’s why I have been so disconcerted this past week by the way my Christian friends have expressed their disappointment in the outcome of the Presidential election. Our heart-revealing language has found us both sinful and idolatrous.

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Posted in Bible, church
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