Showing posts from December, 2014

Year in Review 2014

Blogging is like having a photo album of your thoughts. Some are posed, some are candid, some are blurry, and some make you wince. My album from this year has certainly made me feel all of those things. But like any other memory, I would never discard them. They remind me of who I was and who I need to be.
Most Read Posts

One of the main differences between blogging and journaling is the public scrutiny. While it's true that this is a risky endeavor, it's also incredibly rewarding. Wisdom and understanding are not solo pursuits, so I value the reactions of others. And since the only real metric I have is readership, here are the top five posts where I seemed to get something right:

Why White People Don't Want Darren Wilson to be Guilty
When I Left the Church
My Daughter is not My Princess
You're Loving Jesus Wrong
I Hate Sermons

Least Read Posts

Poor readership usually means dislike or disinterest. The latter can't always be helped, but these bottom four posts could indic…

How to Expose Evil (The Difference between Flashlights and Whistles)

Exposing evil isn't saying what no one else will say; it's saying what needs to be said.

Being in Christian media, I have to read a lot of Christian publications. And in my experience, Christians have made some of the worst "journalists." Not because their writing is terrible or their facts are inaccurate (although the latter is all too often true), but because their morality gets in the way.

It almost seems like they get a thrill from uncovering a scandal or secret sin that can be paraded about like some sort of macabre, dirty laundry party. They'll say that they only do it out of duty and faithfulness to God and his truth, but tabloids get published for a reason. And if gossip can be good for readership, it can't hurt one's reputation to be the bearer of juicy details.

Instead of taking tips from Star magazine, Christians ought to be more concerned with what the Bible says about exposing evil:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but…

When Did Santa Replace Jesus?

You can ignore Santa Claus all you want, but that doesn't mean you don't worship him.
Some people think that Santa is dangerous. Not in a psychological way, like purposely lying to your kids. They think he's dangerous in a theological way. Santa Claus is a birthday thief whose sole purpose is to redirect our focus away from Christ at Christmastime. They might even go so far to say that since Jesus is our object of worship, Santa's attempt to replace Christ makes him demonic. The only problem with this perspective is that it assumes he hasn't already.
One of Santa's most well-known characteristics was canonized by this 1934 song: He's making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin' to town He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake I never thought this was a fun song because it seemed really creepy. To manipula…

5 Myths about Christmas

If you're worried about America kicking Christ out of Christmas, you might need to brush up on your history.
There are lots of common myths about the birth of Christ our culture gets wrong from the date to the three wise men to the "No Vacancy" sign hanging in front of the inn (you can read about those here). But I'm not talking about Christ's birth; I'm talking about Christmas--particularly how it's celebrated in the U.S. So if you're concerned that Christmas is becoming increasingly secular in our country, fear not. It always has been.
Christmas is in the Bible
Leviticus 23 records the seven, main religious celebrations in the Bible from Pesach to Sukkot. But some national ones are also mentioned like Purim in Esther and Hanukkah (or the Feast of Dedication) which Jesus celebrated in John 10. What's not mentioned is Christmas. Yes, the birth of Christ is found in Matthew and Luke, but the celebration of Christmas as either a religious or national …

The Grinch Should've Stolen Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a heartwarming tale of an old hermit being bullied into the season by inconsiderate holiday racket.

Let's get one thing straight: the Whos are a bunch of bullies. Microscopic bullies, to be precise, which puts them in the same category as many beloved, wintry viruses like influenza. No one likes viruses because they barge in and disrupt our lives with their own agendas of conquest and domination. Much like the Whos' incessant noise:
For Tomorrow, he knew, all the Who girls and boys,
Would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE!
NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! Suess may have intended to stack the deck with popular opinion, but who can blame the Grinch for wanting more considerate neighbors? More to the point, who can blame him for wanting them to keep their holiday spirit to themselves?

If there is a war on Christmas (and I'm not convi…

My Relationship with Jesus Looks Terrible

Sanctification isn't a spiritual career measured by crowns, cities, or promotions. It's a spiritual relationship measured only by the faithfulness of love.

After six years of marriage, I have nothing to show for it. I can say I love my wife more today than the day we met, but I can't prove it. I don't write her more love notes, I don't buy her more flowers, and I don't take her on more vacations. You might say that our daughter is a tangible expression of our love, but that's like saying a 4 proves that two 2's feel affection for each other.
Yet even though I can't demonstrate a greater love for my wife, I'm not worried that my love is fake or my marriage in jeopardy. And my love for Jesus is no different.
I don't think the modern church sees it that way. They're obsessed with strong, mature Christians--Christians who have a measurably greater love for Jesus and his mission than others. Those metrics would include things like morality an…

Ferguson: Racism or Responsibility?

Government handouts aren't destroying the American spirit. They just might be the only thing that can save it.
When it comes to Ferguson, most people fall on one of two sides. Some say that racism is what keeps putting young, black men at odds with law enforcement. Others say that it's their own irresponsibility that puts them behind bars and gun barrels. But any thinking person knows that both are significant contributors to what it means to be black in America today. The real issue is which one will correct the stigma.

I used to be in the responsibility camp. I thought affirmative action was a tax on being white and welfare was social security for the maturity challenged. When my parents got divorced, I didn't spiral and blame society and circumstance for not handing me satisfaction. I did what all good Americans do: I worked hard and made something of myself. My story is not an excuse because obstacles are made to be overcome.
But there's a difference between obstac…

Why White People Don't Want Darren Wilson to be Guilty

When a nation can't forget its past, it turns it into folklore.

Imagine for a moment that Darren Wilson isn't guilty. For some of you, this won't be difficult. Imagine that his encounter with Mike Brown happened just as he testified: a belligerent, young thief charged at him after clear instructions to stand down. Ferguson, then, becomes a cautionary tale (maybe even a future nursery rhyme) about not only obeying the law, but not looking suspicious.
Now imagine that Darren Wilson is guilty. For some of you, this won't be difficult. Imagine that his encounter with Mike Brown happened just as Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, testified: a young, unarmed black male was walking down the street when a white police officer confronted him and subsequently shot him after he had surrendered. Ferguson, then, becomes an outcry of social injustice as racism returns to center stage in the hearts of Americans.
For the most part, Americans are divided on this down racial lines. Whi…