What does it mean to be a Christian? This question has haunted me for a long time. I thought I knew, but I couldn't help being disappointed with the way my life turned out, and with myself. I looked around and wondered what being a Christian had ever gotten me, besides let down a number of times. My dad has been a pastor since before I was born, and what did being a pretty devoted Christian ever get him? Nothing that I could see. He's penniless, hapless, and as he gets older, I can see more and more desperation inside him, tearing him up inside.
And what about these mega-churches, these polished pastors that lead thousands of members every Sunday? Aren't they full of hypocrisy and feel-good, empty fluff sermons? Weren't they at worst a gluttonous cave full of lies that sucked up people's donations at the expense of their souls? And at best, weren't they preaching a baby-Bible that did nothing but make people feel good about giving up two hours of their week while giving them an excuse to look down on those that didn't? Why should they be so blessed, when I've struggled my whole life to mature in my faith and get closer to God? More Here...
I think there is some confusion among Christians about what happened in the Garden of Eden immediately following the Fall. The confusion is not universal, but over the last couple months I have noticed some troubling statements in blog comment sections about what the Fall and the curse mean for us today.
To be a little more specific, some Christians seem to believe that the events following Adam and Eve’s rebellion are indicative of a new reality that we should not only accept, but embrace. That is to say, Adam and Eve covered their bodies for a reason. They were right to feel ashamed and to hide themselves, and that is a behavior we should continue to this day. Likewise, I have also heard interpretations of Genesis 3:16 that believe “your husband will rule over you” is a Biblical model for male-female relationships. More Here...
Hello everyone. I'm just recently re-discovering Christ and have been spending more time in the Word. I feel there's something I need to do, somewhere I need to go, but I'm not 100% sure what. I feel if I were more focused on God and His will then I would know what that something and somewhere are, but I have a hang-up on my weight and body shape.
I am a 18-year-old, 122 lb, 5'6" female. I wear a tight-lacing corset to cinch in my lower ribs to get an hourglass shape and wear it 23 hours every day, tightening it every so often. Despite it causing minor nerve damage in my right leg, I still insist on wearing it. I weigh myself each morning. Aside from a reminder of my vow of purity and a deterrent from guys trying to hit on me, I use my purity ring as a gauge of whether I'm retaining water or not.
John Howard Yoder is well known for articulating a Christological nonviolence – that is, an account of nonviolence that cannot be separated from from Christ and his cross. I follow Yoder in maintaining that “pacifism” as a self-contained ideology is insufficiently nuanced to be fit for the discipleship community. In continuity with Yoder, I would argue that “pacifism” in its liberal forms is inherently founded on ideologies flatly contradictory to Christian faith.
Nonetheless, Yoder examines nonviolence in many logics and sources outside the church. Some of these sources he examines and leaves to one side; some he intentionally sets himself against. But one in particular entered into and influenced his reading of Christological nonviolence: the nonviolent resources of Rabbinic Judaism. This makes a great deal of sense if you think in sweeping historical terms. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Jews were scattered globally, but maintained their distinctive religio-ethnic identity. Sometimes individuals and communities influenced regional or national politics; often individuals and communities were persecuted and segregated. But the scattered Jews never mustered armies, and did not generally join in the armies of others. The last fifty years have seen a glaring exception in Zionism, and many today cannot disassociate images of border guards with AK-47s from Jewish identity. But this exception is a remarkably isolated, though quite major, case. More Here...
…reluctantly, I might add. My parents had to drag me to the voting booth, kicking and screaming. I don’t even think I filled out the form correctly. I only read later that you were strictly supposed to tick the box, not colour it in–I will never know if my vote was valid or not. The whole idea seems ridiculous to me, that my vote could be opposed by someone else who had no idea and choose the funniest name.
Democracy to me, is largely the ability to give the greatest illusion of power to the people, while the top tier of government stays about the same.
There are great many obstacles in my mind that don’t really match up in my mind. To summarise:
(1) I think Shane Claiborne says it best when he argues that the world we engage in is at odds with the Kingdom we live in:
“Today the logic goes something like this: ‘Calling a ruler Son of God is out of style. No one really does that nowadays. We can support a president while also worshiping Jesus as the Son of God.’ But how is this possible? For one says that we must love our enemies, and the other says we must kill them; one promotes the economics of competition, while the other admonishes the forgiveness of debts. To which do we pledge allegiance?” More Here...
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“Powers,” “Principalities,” “gods of the nations,” and “elemental spirits of the universe,” though not necessarily evil, are prone to distort God’s purposes for them. They can corrupt and enslave humanity (Isa. 42:17; 45:20; Gal. 4:9; Eph. 2:1-3; 6:12; Col 2:15). Sin is thus not only an individual matter, but involves groups, nations, and structures. Such organizations can have a “spirit” that incite persons to do evil they would not have chosen on their own. Governments, military forces, economic systems, educations or religious institutions, family systems, and structures determined by class, race, gender, or nationality are susceptible to demonic spirits. Human violence toward each other, enmity between peoples, the domination of men over women, and the adverse conditions of life and work in the world – these are all signs of the sin in humanity and in al creation (Gen 3:14-19; 4:3-16; 6:11-13; 11:1-9; Rom 8:21).
From Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 7. Sin, Footnote 2.
Today is opening day for the American League Champion Texas Rangers. Even though the World Series didn’t end exactly like I hoped it still feels really good to be a part of such a nice run.
In my mind there is no more special day in sports than opening day in baseball. The smell of freshly cut emerald green grass delights the senses. The base lines are painstakingly and perfectly defined by a grounds crew that is committed to perfection on this day. Red, white, and blue bunting give the ball park a festive world series look. The players today act like little boys. This is the one day that these privileged athletes seem to forget they are millionaires and appear extra grateful that they are paid to play a kid’s game. Children skip school and parents do not care because memories are being made for both of them. The hot dogs taste like gourmet food. Tacky souvenirs are treasures to be kept. Giant foam fingers become family treasures. The atmosphere is magic. It is opening day and every team has hope. Each fan has dreams and they are hopefully, or perhaps hopelessly, optimistic. Last year’s disappointments are gone and the hope of a new season dawns for fifty thousand fans in the park and thousands more across the city. The mood is upbeat and the expectations high. This is a new day and a new season. Old mistakes are forgotten. Past errors are no longer important. Today is the annual renewal of the incredible marathon that is big league baseball. It is a clean slate. The team has a new identity.
I longed for such a defining moment in my walk with Jesus.
Yesterday was Easter Sunday and as all those who regularly go to church know, Easter Sunday is the one day of the year when the church is packed and you have to go to church more than 15 minutes ahead of service instead of right when service begins. I arrived early and, as I sat down to wait for church to begin, two other guys sat down beside me.
Now this is where it becomes a very sensitive issue. Today in Homily, the Father talked about how even though Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him, he still welcomed him into the garden and paradise with a kiss. He welcomed a sinner.
I don't want to make assumptions or anything, and I am not sure, but it seemed like they were a couple. Even if they weren't gay, what came to my mind is still an issue that I haven't been able to put down since this morning. It might have been the way they dressed or the way they acted, but it felt as if they were indeed together.
What really hit me was when the man sitting right beside me started tearing up during Mass.