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Showing posts from February, 2016

It's Time to Discipline Modern Worship Artists

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The best false teachers don't contradict God, they circumvent him.
I recently read an article by Jonathan Aigner entitled "It's Time to Boycott Modern Worship." It gave five various reasons for doing so, but it was the last one that caught my eye: being a silently dissatisfied customer won't fix anything.
As Jonathan notes, Christians have a history of using boycotts to make a statement. For many, it's the product of an ethical obligation to not stand by and let their inaction imply consent. And while it's a positive step away from apathy, boycotting is just slacktivism's grumpy uncle--another hero in the first-world, feel-good hall of fame who makes doing nothing sound like doing something.
Boycotts are about as effective as government petitions. Even if you get enough people involved to be noticed by the White House or media, they rarely change anything without identifying an immediate threat.
A modern worship boycott won't work because for most…

When a Bad God Happens to Good People

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Accepting the problem of evil is easy once you accept your own insignificance.
Would you die for a loved one? Those of us with spouses and children will likely say yes. But would you die for an entire nation in the distant future?
It's hard to care about people when they're so far removed. Taking a bullet for my two-year-old daughter seems easy compared to taking one for a second or third cousin. Probably because human compassion is dependent on relative proximity (both spatial and relational), and its duration. That's also why the problem of evil exists.
The problem of evil, simply put, is the problem of a good, all-powerful God and evil coexisting. But it's more than just a favorite argument of atheists. Every Christian at some point will be faced with excruciating loss (of a loved one, of health, of dignity, etc.) and forced to wrestle with that question: if God is so good and powerful, why did he allow this evil to happen to me?
There is no more dangerous question …

God Never Turns His Back on Us

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And neither should we on each other.

My wife and I don't fight often but when we do, our relationship changes. We both refer to it as feeling distant. Our excitement upon just being in the same room together suddenly devolves into anxiety and we find ourselves preferring solitude to company--as if an invisible wall has formed between us.
Christians like to call this broken fellowship, and it is allegedly one of the many results of sin. Over the course of the fight, some sin was committed or exposed and it now exists as a barrier to health in the relationship. Only through the offending party's confession and the receiving party's forgiveness can that barrier go poof and fellowship be restored (at least that's how it works in most Kirk Cameron films).
Our relationship with Jesus isn't any different. When we sin, it creates distance between us and him. But unlike our earthly relationships, it's not out of anxiety or awkwardness. God pulls away from us because he …

Donald Trump May Actually Be a Christian

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Because we act more like him than we'd like to admit.
Donald Trump's claim to be a Christian is like a tired punchline. From "Two Corinthians" to an utter disregard for forgiveness, his faith reads like a comic strip sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. But I don't think that's why his Christian supporters like him.
People like Jerry Falwell, Willie Robertson, and Stephen Baldwin likely support Donald Trump because he wants to "Make America Great Again!" Though it's not a new campaign slogan (Reagan used it first in 1980), the phrase is an odd choice to brand a presidential campaign.
Making America great again operates on the assumption that America is currently not great. While plenty of Americans may agree with that, the slogan markets its candidate as someone who will simply undo the work of their predecessor.
For example, Ted Cruz, who shares a similar slogan ("Reigniting the Promise of America"), was hard-pressed in

Don't Submit to the Spirit

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The church needs an exorcism from its own bad theology.

One of the songs I grew up singing in church declared to God, "more of you and less of me." It's a song of humility and submission designed to remind Christians of their duty to abandon selfish desires and devote themselves to godly ones. And insofar as it discourages selfishness, it's a respectable lyric. But too often, the self is thrown out with the selfishness.
As it should be, according to Paul, who said that he was crucified with Christ and didn't live his own life but let Christ live through him. Or so we're often told. Like much theology, little attention is paid to the rest of Paul's words where he goes on to say that the life he lived in sin* he now lives by faith in Jesus.
Not only does he reaffirm that he is still the pilot and not a mere passenger in his own body, he establishes his earlier words as a metaphor. In other letters, Paul makes it clear that being crucified with Christ means …

If You Want to Put God First, Stop Doing Devotions

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Keeping your nose in a book isn't spiritual, it's selfish.

Everyone wants to hear that they should put themselves first. After decades of a culture that demanded sacrifice and servitude from men to their jobs (for their families) and women to their homes (for their families), the concept of "me time" is refreshing.
Taking time for yourself is also considered healthy. Previously, those who derived sole benefit from their actions were thought to be self-centered, but today, an army of Facebook memes will tell you that putting yourself first isn't selfish, it's necessary.
Even the Christian community has jumped on this bandwagon. Self-love and self-care may sound self-involved, but Facebook wisdom declares that you cannot help others until you help yourself. It's not an illogical equation: if your own cup is empty, then you have nothing to offer the cups of others.
At least there's a vague understanding that Christianity involves helping other people. Je…