Showing posts from April, 2014

When Jesus Sounds Like Me

My wife will tell you that one of my most annoying habits is finishing people's sentences. It's partly impatience. But it's also my propensity to think that I know better than the person speaking what they're trying to say. It makes conversations with me a bit one-sided because I end up speaking for both sides. We all do this from time to time. But we're more likely to do this with people we either don't know well or just flat out don't like. They're the people we associate with out of obligation, not desire, and hold in such low esteem that we'd rather talk to ourselves than validate their existence. You know who I'm talking about. Because, like me, your Bible is probably collecting more dust than margin notes. When we read the Bible, we often come across unfamiliar things or uncomfortable ones. Things that make us want to ignore the paradoxical or shake our fist at the incomprehensible. How comforting it is that we can always trust to be

I Hate Sermons

There, I said it. I hate sermons. That doesn't mean I don't value good teaching. It just means I think good sermons don't always equal good teaching . In an era obsessed with entertainment , we've let a captivating public speaker become more important than letting the Bible capture our imaginations. Ask many leading pastors today, and you'll find them spending as much time studying stand-up comedians as they do the Scriptures. Not because they're looking for help getting their bad jokes to land (unfortunately); no, they're trying to learn how to grab an audience's attention and keep it. This is why I hate them. Most of the sermons I've heard aren't about Scripture as much as alliterated points that don't fit the text, a mashup of current events awkwardly juxtaposed to random elements in a passage, or no less than three examples from the pastor's life that over-illustrate a really simple point. Sometimes I just want to yell: Hey,

Sola Scriptura is Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is growing in its unpopularity as an ethical, disciplinary action. Detractors argue that it's a form of psychological torture resulting in mental and emotional breakdown. In other words, it makes you crazy. But people aren't the only victims. Because reading the Bible alone makes truth crazy too. Evangelicalism has historically ignored this fact. Like all good Protestants, they embrace  sola scriptura  or "by Scripture alone." Except that they take it a step further. Evangelicals not only abandoned the historical teachings of the church as authoritative, they declared that the Bible is the believer's primary source of knowledge. I've even heard some make claims like "what other counsel does one need other than the Word of God?" This is problematic for a variety of reasons. First, it ignores the nature of knowledge and how it is perceived. Remember that old philosophy conundrum about whether a tree falling in the woods

Goodbye Church, Hello Wilderness

There's nothing like the freedom of being single and in your 20's. Or so I'm told. My 20's only lasted a couple months before meeting the woman I would marry. Unlike some, I count this as no great loss. Commitment has never scared me, and my wife has never made our marriage feel like a burden. But no matter how blissful the relationship (like mine), sacrifice and compromise still come with the territory. Whether it's a girlfriend, a job, even an extremely dependent little baby ( like mine ), we're always finding ourselves having to submit to a will beyond our own. That's the consequence of not being a hermit or a drifter. Being around other people means being affected by other people and having to shape our decisions around how we will affect them . It's simple submission--laying down our desires for the sake of another. Of course, you don't have to choose that life. Plenty of people live as drifters and nomads, moving from place to plac