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Showing posts from April, 2015

I'm Worse than a Gossip

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Pressing "enter" is the fastest way to forget that you're talking about a person.
Almost everything I write about has a person in mind. Sometimes that means I'm quoting a friend or referencing a conversation, but more often than not, it means I'm writing about someone behind their back.
On Twitter, this is called subtweeting: tweeting about something someone else has tweeted without tagging them or otherwise speaking directly to them. I do this a lot because, as my wife would tell you, I'm always on a tirade of some sort. It's rare for me to have an opinion I'm not willing to draw blood over. And for some reason, I've always thought it was more respectful to do this rather than talk to the person.
Perhaps I had bought into the lie that what they don't know can't hurt them. But I was borrowing trouble thinking that something so public could never make it back to the target. That's what subtweeting does. It turns people into targets. It&…

You Don't Sin as Much as You Think

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The more you think you sin, the more you probably will.
On the surface, sin seems relatively recognizable. God gave us his top ten which means we have a nice, simple checklist for our daily sanctification. Except for number ten, of course. Murder, adultery, and perjury are all pretty straightforward, but coveting is where it gets complicated. While all of the preceding nine commandments imply an action, this is the only one that suggests that our thought life can be sinful.
Jesus took it even further when he said that hating people was as bad as murder and lusting after them was like committing adultery. As he said to his disciples, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts--murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." This isn't very comforting for those of us with intrusive thoughts. And it doesn't seem very fair that every hint of jealousy or every flash of anger that enters our minds is damning. There could be moments, hours, even days wh…

Jesus is a Bad Example

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We can't follow an example that's designed to point us towards the kind of examples we're to follow.
Most people have role models. Growing up, many of my friends would throw out names like Michael Jordan, Carter Beauford, occasionally Bill Gates (I was always partial to Les Claypool). Some kids were brave enough to name their mom or dad. But all of that changed once we were on church grounds. Suddenly every kid had the same role model: Jesus.
We never said that to each other, but we felt obligated when asked by a Sunday School teacher or youth leader to fulfill our vow of piety and give the correct church answer. As I got older, I expected all of us to get more honest, but as it turns out, even grown-up Christians still play church. You might say that it's about time we all started getting serious about our pat answers and actually imitate Christ. But I can't help feeling that Jesus was never meant to be our role model.
The apostle Paul might as well be rolling in …

Lying is not a Sin

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Truth is related to ethics, not metaphysics.

Last fall, a film called The Good Lie chronicled the events that unfolded after a boy named Theo lied to protect his siblings during the Second Sudanese Civil War which ended only ten years ago. Over sixty years ago, a Dutch Christian named Corrie ten Boom lied to protect Jews from the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Centuries further still, a prostitute named Rahab lied to protect two Israelite spies before the fall of Jericho. In all these cases, the advantages of lying are evident. Yet the Bible remains stubbornly troubling: Thou shalt not lie. (or so the reductionist interpretation goes) We all want to believe that God couldn't have faulted Theo for lying and sacrificing his life for the sake of his brothers and sisters. And that he must have been pleased with Corrie for hiding innocents doomed to certain torture if not death. In fact, Rahab is later commended in the Bible for having the faith to welcome those…

Empty Your Savings

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Generosity has a savings account full of trust, not money.
I have no regard for money. To me, money is just a temporal means to a temporal end with no real significance in itself. The upside of this is that I tend to be more generous than the average person. The downside is that I don't care about being in debt either. While the latter will likely get me a priority spot on Dave Ramsey's prayer list, the former is a respectable Christian virtue. But, I have to warn you, it won't come if you're worried about saving.
By saving I don't mean the wisdom of restraining oneself from wasteful living. I mean what Christians call saving: hoarding.
Think about all of the Christian ministries and materials dedicated to securing financial independence. From long-term investment advice to penny-pinching life hacks, you'd think that American Christians must have a strong desire to honor God with their finances. But all self-righteous tithes aside, frugality isn't about ste…