Rob Bell and Francis Chan are two notable figures as it relates to shaping the theology of the American church. Both men are phenomenal communicators, in preaching sermons, creating videos, and writing books.
Both men left the churches they founded, stepping down from their pastoral role. Both men did so after writing bestsellers and speaking at the nation’s largest church conferences. I’m not making a judgement here, just pointing out observations regarding their similarity. I was at the Catalyst conference three years ago when both Bell and Chan spoke at the event. Both can hold a crowd of 30,000 in the palm of their hands.
So both men left their posts in their respective churches, one for television after becoming a Christian celebrity and one citing the need for obscurity after becoming a Christian celebrity.
I don’t doubt that these transitions are part of what God has in store for each man. More Here...
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Two of the hardest passages to read in the Old Testament both involve rapes. One is the rape of Dinah by Shechem in Genesis 34. (I should mention that there is a minority viewpoint that the sex was consensual). The second is the rape of Tamar by Ammon in II Samuel 13. It's interesting to read these two passages together and see some of the commonalities in the two stories. While it's easy to read these stories as some horrifying tale that we hope never happens to us or anyone we love, there are still some worthwhile elements to digest.
1. Both rapists were unwilling to wait. Shechem could have contacted Jacob's family first after spotting the lovely Dinah walking the countryside. Ammon could have confessed his love to Tamar. Both men were wealthy princes. Yet both decided that they were not willing to do things slowly. Sadly, both could have probably married the woman had they only been less evil, and this shows how truly vile their sin was. Rape by itself shows the lack of patience and wisdom in a person, the brutal animal unable to comprehend anything but the immediate short-term sexual gratification. More Here...
"The Lord bless you for showing this kindness..." - 2 Samuel 2:5
After the death of king Saul and his son Jonathan, David was still in the land of the Philistines when he went to God asked if he should go to Judah, the Lord said "Go" David then asked "Where should I go?"...God's answer was "Hebron". So David took his family and so did all his men and they moved into Hebron, then the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. David was told that the men from Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them thanking them for their kindness shown to Saul, he let them know that he would show them the same kindness.
David was anointed by God to be the next king of Israel, he spent the last ten years on the run from king Saul who wanted him dead. David mourns Saul's death along with the death of his best friend Jonathan. When you read David's lamentation of king Saul it leads us to believe that Saul was a good man, David's words are so kind. Those unaware of the terrible selfish king that Saul truly was would never know on reading David's lament.
David's reaction to Saul's death is such an example for us, his humility paints a beautiful canvas on how to deal with our enemies and how the trials we face and the hurt our hearts experience, are all things that force us to grow in Christ-likeness. With every trial we face, either we grow or stop growing. More Here...
Nationalist Christians often conflate scriptures referring to Christ or to the church with concepts about America or her heroes. Now, this should not surprise anyone. Christianity is socially powerful; it’s natural that politicians and others who wish to enlist Christians in their cause will cynically twist scripture to their own ends. What should shock us is how eagerly some Christians buy into this abuse of scripture. I’ve reviewed before the American Patriot’s Bible, and numerous pieces of kitschy art. But here’s a piece that takes the idolatrous cake.
This is a piece from nogreaterloveart.com, called Armed with Valor. More Here...
Blue Like Jazz was originally a book, yes, but it is now a film. The nonfiction book, written by the great Donald Miller, chronicles the author’s adolescent journey through faith with many spiritual essays.
Miller’s “sequel” of sorts to Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, followed the adaptation of BLJ – indeed, Miller’s life – into a film, as well as elaborating on what it meant to live life like the fullest, richest story. More Here...
"American Idol". I believe the show's name is unfortunately pretty accurate. The good thing is that it reminds me of how easy it can be for us to be consumed by something or someone other than Christ, and helps me to guard against that.
That said, I thoroughly enjoy watching "American Idol" early in the season. I've found that there's not much middle ground at that point. Viewers of the show either feel sorry for the idol wannabes or they take tremendous pleasure in the painfully off-key voices and the "he-didn't-really-just-do-that-did-he?" shenanigans of people who ought not be on national television. I fall into the second category and when that part is over I don't usually care to watch anymore. You know, when the good singers start.
This year, though, as my wife and daughter watched it, I would stop in the room to listen to Colton Dixon. Even if he'd had a terrible personality I'd have still appreciated his haircut and his vocal ability, but he wound up, apparently like most in the group of finalists, seeming to have a great personality. More Here...
This week I’m in North Carolina spending time with family, so blogging will take a backseat until next week. However, something has been weighing on my heart the last few days so I thought I’d hop on here to write some brief thoughts about it. Maybe my words will hit some of you where you are at.
One of the most difficult lessons I have learned over the years is that you can’t protect people from themselves. You can offer input and wisdom, you can pray, but beyond those two options there is not much to prevent someone from making a mistake that they have resolved to make.
For anyone who has watched a loved one choose a destructive path, you know how heart-breaking it is. It’s like watching a train wreck. If you have shared Biblical wisdom and it is not heeded, you can only sit and observe the inevitable consequences of their choices. More Here...
As a kid, I was a mama's boy. An overweight, pudgy little boy who was afraid to touch a spider even with a stick, who was so freaked out by his first week-long trip to summer camp (his first time away from home for that long) that he wet his sleeping bag every night that week, and who was afraid to try new things or meet new people. Peers quickly picked up on such things, even in elementary school, and no small amount of taunting was the result.
What's wrong, Russo, afraid? Russo runs like a girl! Russo's got boobs! Look everyone, Russo's got boobs! You're such a girl.
Things in middle school were worse, of course. I was a somewhat bookish kid, with my nose in a Stephen King novel more often than not. I didn't watch football or wrestling. I didn't automatically know all the rules to every sport we played in gym class (and the teachers assumed that all the boys already knew). I kept a journal, and worked on art projects, and wrote short stories and poetry. I kept my sexual fantasies to myself. I couldn't catch, I ran slow, and I was picked last for pretty much every sport. More Here...