Showing posts from December, 2015

Year in Review 2015

Being the contrarian that I am, I was determined to make turning 30 uneventful, but 2015 had other plans. This year, I started on anti-depressants, I had my first legitimately viral posts, I started writing for Think Christian, I had spinal surgery, and I started a new job. I also took an impromptu three-month hiatus from writing because, apparently, it's inappropriate to question the tenets of evangelicalism while working for an evangelical organization.
That being said, I'm determined to push the envelope even further in 2016. Someone has to ask the questions that no one wants to admit having. Especially the ones that incite thoughtless, kneejerk reactions. Here's to another year of working out my faith.
Most Read Posts
These posts were read 3-40 times more than most (that's not a typo). They primarily deal with ethical artifacts that have been perpetuated by a self-serving maintenance rather than a refining scrutiny. I guess I'm not alone in thinking that the fai…

You Shouldn't Have a Vote in Church (and other problems with congregationalism)

Democracy in church reflects American values, not biblical ones.
Most Christians don't give a second thought to how their churches are run until something happens that they don't like. That's because most of them fall under a model that closely mimics our national government. And there's a good reason for that.

This form of church government is known as Congregationalism. It's a system where each congregation has complete or mostly complete governing autonomy and leadership is determined by the voting membership. It's also a system that wasn't popularized until (big surprise) modern colonialism.

When the Puritans came to America, they were looking to purify the church from all of the medieval corruptions that had tainted it for centuries. But instead of simply allowing the state to preside over the church, they tried to make church attendance mandatory for everyone. Their hope was that they could inhibit government corruption and ensure church unity by gett…

Keep Christ Out of Christmas

Keeping Christ in Christmas keeps our faith in a myth.

Red cups. This year's War on Christmas was waged with drinkware by a coffeehouse chain. The ever sinister Starbucks, who historically has featured holidays cups adorned with various Christmas-related symbols, has been offering plain red cups, "to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity."
For many Christians, such inclusivism is interpreted as hatred of Jesus. It's an explicit rejection of not only the significance of the season, it's a rejection of Christ's reign in our culture. Because the War on Christmas has always been about who's in charge: Jesus or humanity.
Kicking Christ out of Christmas isn't a denial of history or truth because everyone knows that Jesus probably wasn't born on December 25th. And most everyone knows that the Bible doesn't prescribe the celebration of his birth either. No, kicking him out is a denial of his authority and jurisdiction in our lives. By…

If Islam is a Violent Religion then so is Christianity

Anyone who refuses to learn the culture behind a religious text forfeits the right to speak about it.

According to the latest Public Religion Research Institute poll, the fear of terrorism has increased fourteen points in just the last year with nearly half of Americans saying that they are somewhat or very worried about terror coming to their homes. Ironically, and likely much to the chagrin of Donald Trump, the majority of Americans support allowing Syrian refugees into the country (though 41% oppose it).
However, Americans are twice as likely to say that violent Muslims are really Muslim than they are to say that violent Christians are really Christian. In other words, many people in this country still believe that Muslims and their religion are inherently violent.
They're quick to point out that the Qur'an not only sanctions but encourages violence to spread its message. One such selection says: "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places wh…

No, Cops Aren't Mostly Good

If they were, then there would be fewer bad ones.
When Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, shot and killed Laquan McDonald last year, the other officers present corroborated his story that McDonald posed a threat. There are even allegations that they intentionally erased security camera footage from a nearby Burger King. But when the dashcam video was made public last month, those who clamored for "all of the facts" changed their tune: PTSD.
It certainly fits the traditional narrative. Earlier this year when Dylann Roof shot up a black church, his actions were ascribed to mental illness--a "lone wolf." Which is interesting because black and Middle Eastern aggressors are usually called "thugs" or "terrorists", respectively.
For them, the blame assigned by our white majority nation transcends the perpetrator and is seen as part of a larger, societal problem. Black shooters are said to come from a culture of fatherlessness and Middle Eastern sh…

Why People Commit Suicide

Pain has nothing to do with why people take their own lives.

On October 5, 2015, California became the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Governor Brown's decision to sign the End of Life Option Act into law didn't come as a surprise to many, despite his Catholic heritage. A recent Pew Research study shows that support for assisted suicide has increased dramatically in recent years with 68% of Americans in favor of it.

White evangelicals, on the other hand, continue to be the stubbornly opposed demographic with only 42% in favor even when there's great pain and no hope. No doubt, many will view them as lacking all compassion choosing to value principles over people.

Those principles include things like the sanctity of life, the image of God, and selflessness. In fact, they're likely to say that there's no such thing as assisted suicide but rather assisted selfishness. To them, suicide is just selfishness disguised as compassion for loved ones when …

Why We Go to Church

Church is about you. And everyone else.

Everyone goes to church for different reasons. Some go simply because they love church, or at least, their church. Others go because they feel like they have to out of respect to family, friends, or the Bible. But most people go for specific reasons: a particular style of worship, a favorite method of preaching, a robust children's ministry--the list goes on.
Those are the things that draw us, keep us, or make us want to look elsewhere. Which is odd because none of them have anything to do with church. Sure, they've come to define common church experience but all of them can be found outside of church and none of them are necessary to making one. They're just some the things that contemporary churches do.
That's why many people are leaving brick and mortar churches. If those things are all that make a church a church, then there's no need to miss the game every Sunday when that same content is available on-demand online. You …

The False Hope of Christianity

The church has no business making promises apart from salvation.

One of the biggest lies churches have led people to believe, intentionally or not, is that when they trust in Jesus, their lives will suddenly become better. All the pain and sorrow of their unsaved days will be washed away with their sins and a beautiful, mountaintop experience awaits them where the honeymoon never ends. Of course, it only takes a few years before a lost job, a broken relationship, or the death of a loved one quickly dispels this myth.
But that's when an even bigger lie kicks into high gear: the Christian life has seasons. Pulling from arbitrary biblical imagery, many will be quick to tell you at a low point in your life that every Christian has seasons of plenty and seasons of famine. There are times you're on top of the mountain and others when you're in the valley of the shadow of death.
God's authorship throughout all of this is carefully excluded, but perseverance and faithfulness i…