Showing posts from April, 2016

We Don't Need to be Balanced People

We just need to be around other people. Over the years, I've been told many times that my writing is too extreme. I don't often take a moderating approach choosing instead to make brazen accusations and less than charitable criticisms. I'm told that the better way is one of balance--that honey catches more flies than vinegar and so forth. It's the idea of letting the pendulum slow to a comfortable pace without wildly swinging in people's faces. Perhaps a sacred cow or two needs to be toppled, but this can be done just as easily with a gentle push as it can a baseball bat. Real dumb wisdom. Apart from the fact that a diet of honey will make you diabetic, balance is only good for maintaining the status quo. When my daughter runs down the sidewalk, my wife and I remind her where the boundaries are. And like any toddler, she occasionally ignores us and continues frolicking along like the fraggle she is. We could keep telling her to come back for

Why He Didn't Leave Evangelicalism

Guest post by David MacKay in response to my post, Why I Left Evangelicalism . David currently lives in Chicago working in Christian media, devoting himself to telling stories through sound and words. He writes regularly at Deconstructed Devotions .  --- I have always felt like a bit of an outsider. Growing up overseas in a foreign culture, my life became one of not quite fitting in, be it my home or host culture. Likewise, I have noticed recently that being an outsider extends to my faith community of evangelicalism. It is tempting to allow myself to feed that small inner voice that says things would be so much better if there was an anarchist revolution in the Christian faith. One that was all about kicking out the established way of doing things for a raw, honest look at faith that is founded in the reality of being united to the very person of Christ. But I can't allow myself to do that. I can't leave what I am. So I stay in evangelicalism in spite of myself.

Why I Left Evangelicalism

I will never go back. Thankfully, they've made it clear that they wouldn't have me anyway. Before I hand over my easy-to-remember, one-word answer, let me make a couple things clear. First, I didn't leave evangelicalism because I found greener grass somewhere else. I'm not another Rachel Held Evans advocating for the motions of a different expression of Christianity. Second, I didn't leave evangelicalism because I'm creating something better. I'm not another Don Miller arguing for "doing church" (read: hanging out with like-minded people) instead of going to church. I left evangelicalism because I think it operates on a value fundamentally antithetical to Christianity: self-centeredness. For most of my life, evangelicalism was the only brand of Christianity I knew. It was the type of church I was born into, the type of school I went to, even the type of job I had for several years. In many respects, it was my religious hom

Calvinism and Arminianism Will Stunt Your Spiritual Growth

Systematizing your faith is like trying to simplify God. Attend a church Bible study long enough and you're likely to hear two, strange terms: Calvinism and Arminianism . In short, they're two competing systems used to describe the relationship between divine sovereignty and human free will. Calvinists will tell you that God predestines us to be saved and that all of us are chosen before we ever have a chance to choose. Arminians, on the other hand, will say that he simply foreknows our decisions and that his plans for our future are built around them. In either case, God's sovereignty and our free will are exalted at the expense of the other. Nevertheless, many Christians happily subscribe to them because they resolve the glaring contradiction in Scripture that sovereignty and free will coexist. It gets better. When Christians first discover Calvinism and Arminianism (which usually happens when they realize there's more to the Bible than the gospel of John

Please Violate Your Conscience

Having God's law in your heart doesn't make your conscience always right. Two Supreme Court cases in the past couple of years have shaped today's conversation on religious freedom in America. In 2014, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby  allowed corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. And in 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges required all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. Several years earlier after Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993, it was ruled unconstitutional in its application to the states and was limited to the federal government. Consequently, twenty states passed their own individual RFRAs . When Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was decided, it created an opportunity to expand the power of the state RFRAs and allow faith-based organizations to deny services or even employment to people based on religious grounds. Since then, sixteen more states have proposed RFR