Category Archives: Culture

Children Open Our Eyes

Children Playing Leapfrog What I discussed in my last post is really a call for perspective change on the personhood of your child. As I look around me, I see parents (Christian and non-Christian) treating their children like pets, accessories, and inconveniences.

Parents have forgotten that they are a gift that we unwrap more and more everyday. They are packages of grace we get to find out more about through time and effort. Sure, we may get a paper cut or have trouble untying a knot, but the gift remains a gift–of gracious sanctification. Have you ever thought about the kind of soul work God is doing in your life through the daily frustrations you have because of your kids?

Here’s a challenge: Perhaps the anger and frustration is not because of your kids. Rather it is a deep-seated way of life you have grown accustomed to that is contrary to the ways of God. God has given you your children (not your neighbors’ children, not your siblings’ children) in order to dig deep into your heart and extract that sin you did not know was there when you were single or married without children.

Not only this, but they are reminders of our need to pause and live as children in God’s wonder-filled house. When your children play in the dirt and you have to wash their clothes, be reminded of the wonder and excitement of mud. The way it gushes in between your toes. When they scream, be reminded of our need to kill our penchant to please man rather than God. To be so free in your life that you can express yourself without feeling burdened, because you always have Mommy and Daddy who love you. When they are enraptured in play, remember that God’s world is a playground. Don’t let the fallenness of our world harden you to the declarations the heavens make and handiwork that is his creation. Remember that children keep you young and free in the grace and mercy and kindness of God…if you let them.

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Filed under Christian Living, Culture, Parenting

Abortion Has Got to Stop!

!!WARNING!! This video is explicit.

http://herestheblood.com/player-viral.swf

Does your stomach churn? Does your heart ache? Do something about it. Go to http://liveaction.org and http://abort73.com and get informed. I use to believe choice was more important than life. After seeing what that choice entailed, I began to realize that life is more important than convenience.

Do you want to help your friends see that life trumps choice? Bring the facts to the light. If they watch this video and go to the website, then they’ll be confronted with reality and scientific hypothesizing as to when a child *becomes* a human. A child always is a human.

Read this post which concludes:

In 2008, the latest year for which data are available, there were 89,469 abortions in New York City, while there were 127,680 live births. This means that 41 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion in New York, far beyond the national rate of about 23 percent. In the Bronx, a full 48 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. With rates as high as these, any medical risks associated with abortion could amount to a public-health crisis, as the disturbing rise in the rate of pre-term birth may already indicate. Policymakers should be discussing what can possibly be done to lower the rate of abortion in New York. . . .

When the head of the city’s legislative body and local subsidiaries of some of the most powerful organizations in the country attack fewer than 20 shoestring operations in New York City that offer free abortion alternatives, while nearly 90,000 women procure an abortion every year in the city, it is clear that it’s not about choice. It’s about abortion.

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Filed under Abortion, Books & Media, Culture

Fresh Approach to Witness-Evangelism

A helpful 17 minute talk by Becky Pippert on evangelism in our current context.

http://conversation.lausanne.org/uploads/networks/images/2/player.swf

1. We lack MOTIVATION
a. We have focused on techniques to the detriment of actually evagelizing.
b. Theology impacts our methodology
c. THEREFORE: We must begin with God
i. He is loving
ii. He is powerful
d. This is the deepest motivation
2. Do we have a MODEL?
a. We do: The doctrine of the Incarnation
b. Reflection on the Incarnation will motivate
c. “As the Father sent the Son, so he has sent us”
i. Birth
ii. Life & Ministry
1. The Kingdom of God is relational
2. Love God and Neighbor
a. The foundation of evangelism needs to be relationship because we reflect the Trinity to our world.
b. How do I maintain my identity and walk alongside unbelievers
3. Jesus was radically identified in:
a. Love
b. Holiness
c. Authenticity, credibility, and spiritual power
4. So much of or evangelism is “hit and run” rather than getting in the mix with people
a. We are surrounded (and pursue) Christian relationships, but do not get out of our salt shaker
iii. Death
iv. Resurrection
v. Ascension
3. We do need METHODS
a. This must reflect the theology we believe
b. How do you go from a natural conversation to a spiritual one?
i. By teaching people how to ASK QUESTIONS
ii. What is the passion of the person to whom you are speaking
iii. Ask them about general interests
iv. Then you move into specifics
v. Then the belief question

An EXAMPLE
c. Pippert went to an agrarian community and asked these questions:
i. How are your crops?
ii. How are you dealing with the stress?
iii. Have you found a way of dealing with the stress that doesn’t make you worse, but better?
iv. Do you think there is a God who can help you deal with the stress?
d. We Need to STATE THE GOSPEL
i. Sin
ii. Redemption
iii. Transformation
e. We need to be relevant and speak about things that are eternal
f. We need to rediscover the irresistible Jesus?
i. The world hasn’t a clue what Jesus is like.
ii. We need to stun people with the fact that the religious hated Jesus and the outcasts loved him
iii. The chief complaint about the God-Man was that he wasn’t religious enough.
iv. Too many times people think our devotion to Christ means that he helps us with our devotions and keeps us from cussing.
v. We need to show them that Jesus never walks away from people who struggle with eating disorders, violence, brokenness. He wades into the mess.
g. We can do this through small group evangelism.
i. A Bible Study for non-Christians–seeker Bible studies

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Filed under Culture, Evangelism

Free Speech

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No matter whether you come at this as a Christian or as a non-Christian, the freedom to speak is what has made democracy possible for so long. Free speech entails free thinking. Sure it irks me when I see some vile t-shirts that declare stupid things (I am thinking here of the “Big Johnson” or any other sexually suggestive t-shirts that declare the wearer a lady’s man or a sex toy)…but I do not want to ban people’s freedom to say what they think. If they think foolish thoughts, I should also have the freedom to try to encourage them to think wisely.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal yesterday that is a 3 minute read on some of the latest the SCOTUS is going to be hearing on free speech. Take a look.

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Filed under Culture, Current Events, Politics

Connecting Church & Family

Southern Seminary had a conference on how and why it promotes what has been coined the “family-equipping” model of ministry. This video is of Dr. Mohler giving some broad strokes for the model and te current cultural crisis which has made it that much more vital that the Church be about equipping parents to shepherd their children.

Of particular importance is the fact that we assume too often that Christian parents are going to know how to parent in a biblical way. The problem is that the parents in our congregations have not had modeled for them how to parent in a way that honors Jesus. Underneath are my rough notes on the talk. The four implications he offers at the end are worth the time to think about. With all of the parenting literature that is out there, too often we have equated faithfulness to a certain method with the biblical method. Thus, we have camps of parenting affinity groups. There is something wrong when someone believes Baby Wise or Rosemond or Tripp are the Gospel–insofar that they bicker with those in “opposing” camps.

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NOTES:

In some ways it is a tragedy that we are having a conference to connect something that should have never gotten disconnected–namely, the family and the church.

  1. 1 Peter 5.1ff
    1. As Peter ends his letter, the tone becomes very sober. He turns his attention to the elders of the church.
    2. Peter has no specific context he is writing to. It is a general epistle; it is full of expectations that are normal and healthy for the church at-large. This is what “normal” in a church ought to look like.
  2. Younger are to give deference to the older people.
    1. There is a proper ordering in the church
    2. This is a sign of humility
  3. We have to remember that we do have an enemy
    1. Those who fail to recognize this are the most likely to be devoured
    2. “Normal” is that there will be a battle
    3. This battle is the background to our parenting and ministry
    4. Those things that are devoured
      1. Families
      2. Homes
      3. Congregations
      4. Leadership
    5. It is an act of great danger if we are not aware of this truth
    6. See Ephesians 5
      1. Paul’s discussion of spiritual warfare in chapter 6 is on the heels of chapter 5, which discusses the family.
    7. Since the family is on the frontlines, it is a primary target for Satan to devour and divide
  4. We have to admit something that is difficult to admit
    1. We have to be better parents than our parents
      1. This is not a denigrate what our parents have done.
      2. Rather, it draws attention to the fact that our contemporary culture is averse to the family unit.
        1. There used to be a a network of support for our parents in our culture.
        2. If Mom A did not know something, and Mom B knew, Mom B would call Mom A to tell her the wayward son’s actions
        3. Television hosted family-friendly shows (Leave It to Beaver, Dragnet, etc) instead of sexually explicit shows (Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, etc)
      3. Parents have to be more aware than parents in the past
      4. “The family has been stripped of all its functions” — Peter Berger
      5. Due to technology, children are not talking on the phone (in the plain hearing of their parents), but are sending covert text messages (with no parental supervision)
  5. Much of the research (from Soul Searching) has shown that a child’s spiritual growth requires parents

Four Implications:

1. Church must present a faithful and vibrant vision for parenting; and it must teach and equip them how to do this

a. Most of the parents in our congregations were not parented

b. The Church has to educate parents who did not have the proper, biblical model for parenthood

2. Church must overcome the zone of privacy and personal autonomy (held dear by our culture) that separates believers from accountability and fellowship

a. We have got to get in each other’s space

b. Our spheres belong to Christ and not us

c. When a marriage is not what it should be, the Church MUST step in and help

3. The Church has got to be a place where brokenness is overcome by the Gospel and the fellowship of the saints

a. We undermine the Gospel when we say that Christianity can only be experienced by non-brokenness

b. This brokenness demonstrates the glory of Christ

4. The Church has to be a place where the family (specifically) and Christians (generally) is rescued and armed for the combat to which we are called

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Filed under Church, Culture, Family | Parenting

Brit Hume’s Humility

I have been taken aback by the upheaval of responses to Brit Hume’s suggestion that Tiger Woods put his faith in Jesus. Peter Wehner has an excellent reflection on the culture’s response. I would encourage you to read the whole thing and compare the way Christianity is silenced. Imagine if another commentator were to suggest Woods try Taoism or Confucianism or Shintoism or any other -ism (save Christianity!) and there would be nothing but a ripple from people.

Here’s an excerpt from Wehner’s piece:

I should add that when Christopher Hitchens, whom I like and whose company I enjoy, appeared on television shows promoting his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, he was far more critical of Christianity than Hume was of Buddhism. Yet I don’t recall the Left saying that those criticisms were inappropriate for public debate. In fact, they weren’t — and neither are Hume’s words. Furthermore, those who are unnerved by Hume’s “sectarianism” were untroubled by the aggressive atheism of Hitchens.

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Filed under Culture, Evangelism

The Obama Slide

David Brooks open-ed in the NY Times:
“The result is the Obama slide, the most important feature of the current moment. The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.”

Fascinating article that mentions the rise in independent voters and the Administration’s need to stymy their downturn in popularity. Are the days of two party pleading over?

Full Article

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Filed under Culture, Current Events, Politics