Remember Shiloh

ruin-1557624_1920Passive faith has invaded the American religious community. It is easily detected in the conversations that have grown in popularity over the past several years. This is never more true than election time and in times of crisis.

Some of the popular tell-tell phrases include, “America always rises to the challenge.”; “We will be better than ever.”; “We’ve been here before and survived.”; “We are still the greatest nation in the world.”

National pride and positive thinking not-withstanding, the idea that things will never change is deeply rooted in human psychology but not in human history. Studies reveal that we are prone to a condition known as “Normalcy Bias.” This condition causes us to believe that things will always be the same despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

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Riots and Religion–Four Things the Church Can Do

riotsandreligionAs our cities burn, I am straining to hear the voice of God speaking clearly through His church. While there are a lot of church leaders speaking, much of what is being said is not helpful and therefore is obviously not the voice of God.

In Romans 12:18, Paul the Apostle wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV) Some will quickly argue that it was written to a different time, with different people and different conditions. Indeed it was. It was written to a church that was ostracized from a pluralistic society that blamed natural disasters and other unfortunate events on the people Paul was writing to. Just a few years after this letter, Paul himself would die at the hands of Roman executioners, Peter would be crucified upside down and Nero would blame the city fire on Christians. This is the same guy – by the way – that liked to wrap Christians in oil soaked cloth and set them on fire to light his gardens in the evening.

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It’s All About Me

itsallaboutmeAttending a Christian concert last week, I was struck with how much some of the artists used the words “I” and “me.” I know there are many songs over the centuries that have used these personal pronouns, but it seems that more than ever, the Church is incorporating the philosophies of Carl Rodgers and Dr. Spock (The Physician not the Vulcan) into its theology. Continue reading “It’s All About Me”

Shaking Off the Restraints

castingoffrestraintsOn my way into the office this morning I was listening to a couple of radio hosts talking about Saint Patrick’s Day. My initial thoughts went to a previous year’s blog that shared the phenomenal story of the real Saint Patrick and how he fought hard against the snakes (demons) of Ireland as he took the Gospel of Christ to his former slave masters and overall evil people of the land.

The male host then noted that for many years, alcohol was prohibited on St. Patrick ’s Day. It was a day to attend church and reflect on the pious life of God’s humble servant. The host went on to say that eventually “we casted off those shackles.” Continue reading “Shaking Off the Restraints”

Pastor Mails Body Parts

Body partsIt sounds like the story line from an episode of CSI or Criminal Minds, but this case is real. A well-revered pastor cut the body of a woman into twelve parts and sent them to leaders of twelve different nations. When all was said and done, the clergyman was identified, but never arrested. In fact, he eventually became a hero of sorts – a world-wide legend.

Our story begins when the preacher in question solicited a woman for ongoing sexual companionship. Though they never got married, in the traditional sense, he developed a deep fondness for her. Continue reading “Pastor Mails Body Parts”

STOP! You’re Hurting the People You Love

StopIs it true? Are you really hurting the people who love you? Are you negatively affecting the very lives that have always been there for you – the ones who have loved you through thick and thin?

In an increasingly self-centered world, people often say, “Stay out of my business,” “What’s it to you?” or perhaps “I’m only hurting myself.” This is a radical departure from the social and cultural understanding of just a generation or two ago. Sure, there have always been those who were just out for themselves with the whole, “What’s in it for me?” mentality, but there was a time when that mentality was more the exception than the rule. For the most part, selfish individuals were ostracized by a society who understood the inextricable link we all share. Continue reading “STOP! You’re Hurting the People You Love”

Somebody’s Going to Die

somebodysgoingtodieThe specious debates underway in the United States today over the much publicized visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are mere window dressing for a deep and abiding evil that has existed for millennia. The last time this evil was so evident, it ultimately led to the deaths of an estimated eleven million people. This time may be even worse. Continue reading “Somebody’s Going to Die”

The Smell of Burnt Flesh

BurntFleshWhat does Old Testament animal sacrifice have to do with us today? Did God really demand it? Why?

In today’s high-tech culture and high-tech churches, the world of our spiritual ancestors often appears barbaric and uninformed. If we are not careful it is easy to judge them through the lens of our modern world-view. When we do, we completely miss the significance of their worship. Continue reading “The Smell of Burnt Flesh”

Prophetic or Pathetic? Rob Bell and the Spirit of the Age.

Prophetic or Pathetic 2.19.15Many are trying to pick up the prophetic mantle and speak for God today. Just recently, well-known Pastor / Author, and Oprah Winfrey protégé’, Rob Bell, announced that if the church did not conform to modern cultural views and beliefs, it would be increasingly irrelevant. When did Rob Bell become the protestant Pope? Who ordained him to speak on behalf of God about the precepts and dictates of Heaven?

Since the early days of Judaism – and later Christianity – people of faith have contended between the voice of God and the voice of the world. For millennia there has been a struggle to determine right from wrong. Modern culture tells us that the Bible is full of fairy tales to scare children into obedience. Worse, many well-known seminaries and Bible colleges have been infiltrated by teachers who see the role of scripture as a mere suggestion. Many have relegated God to a force of energy rather than a person who is interested in all that concerns us. They drill well-orchestrated demonic doctrines into the minds of future preachers, who then, all-too-often, carry those lies into their pulpits. These views are a far cry from what the Bible tells us about itself. Continue reading “Prophetic or Pathetic? Rob Bell and the Spirit of the Age.”