Jeremy Jernigan Posts

Are Christians Obligated to Support the Government?

Are Christians Obligated to Support the Government?

It’s a common desire for Christians to want the Gospel without any politics involved. I understand that desire if it means a separation from any specific political party. But the Gospel is always political… just not in the ways you might think.

Last week reminded us how the Gospel inherently finds itself in a political stance. Jeff Sessions, the United States Attorney General, cited Romans 13 to enforce why it was justifiable for the government to remove children from their parents. In case you haven’t followed this event, the Associated Press recently reported that nearly 2000 kids have been separated from their families in six weeks time. This has been referred to as a zero-tolerance policy of discouraging illegal immigration. Many of these families are refugees seeking asylum and the stories emerging from this practice have been horrific. One state employee recently quit after receiving this instruction for a sibling group of three kids separated from their parents: “Tell them they can’t hug” (source). Even worse than that, one mother tells of how her child was forcibly taken from her while she was breastfeeding (source). When she resisted this, she herself was handcuffed. And then there was the man who committed suicide after being separated from his family (source).

As we might hope to happen, there has been quite a lot of backlash against this, near universally across the spectrum of Christianity. In defense of the United States government’s actions, Sessions said: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.” Basically, this argument implies that Christians have a mandate to follow and obey all laws from a government. The White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it this way, “It is very biblical to enforce the law.” What’s easy to miss is that targeting children is the strategy currently being used to get the desired results. John F. Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, referred to this policy of separating families as a “tough deterrent.” Jeff Sessions explained it bluntly, “If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them.”

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7 Reasons Why I Read Books Digitally

7 Reasons Why I Read Books Digitally

I read a lot and am often asked how I do it. There’s no secret to this, and my best advice is to read a chapter a day. But part of my reading strategy is built around my Kindle. As a result, if you would like to be a more focused reader, I’d like to try and persuade you to adopt digitally reading as well.

Let me begin by addressing what I suspect will be the initial response from many of my readers. “But I love real books!” You may love the smell, the feel of them in your hands, or any other tangible aspect of reading in this way. I get it. But try a little thought experiment with me. Take your favorite argument as to why you love reading a physical book and substitute the word “blankie” instead of “book” in the sentence. For example, “I love the smell of a new blankie [book].” Or, “I feel so relaxed with a blankie [book] in my hands.”

Notice how similar your favorite argument sounds to a toddler. I don’t mean this as an insult, but rather to highlight what I find to be a humorous area of overlap from our childhoods. Hopefully, it shows these are not necessarily good reasons to avoid reading digitally. Without further ado, here are the seven reasons why I use a Kindle to read the majority of my books digitally.

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Top 20 Quotes from Catalyst West (2018)

Top 20 Quotes from Catalyst West (2018)

This is part of a series of posts on 20 quotes. Click here to see others.

I had the opportunity to attend the Catalyst West conference this week with some of the team from Abundant Life Church. Catalyst is a great shot in the arm of encouragement and connection with other church leaders. It was a bit weird to have been at this event only a year ago with a different staff team but once I took the Portland team to dinner at TGIFridays it all felt right.

Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event. Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what they said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own.

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"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight."

Martin Luther King Jr.

2018 Reading List – 1/4

It’s hard to believe we are already 25% of the way through 2018. I’m going to try something new this year and post my yearly reading list as the year progresses (once per quarter). You can see my yearly list at any time by clicking on the upper right menu title named “reading list” on my blog.

Here are the books I’ve read since January of 2018 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher. In addition to this list, you might also check out my reading lists from previous years as well as my recommendations on how to become a better reader.

(Click here) to see the books I have personally written, and see below for the ones I’ve read this year. Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it.

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Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

Not only do I love the title of Brian Zahnd’s latest book, but I also love the ideas themselves. In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God (see: Amazon link), Brian tackles many of the cultural images we’ve developed to formulate an angry-god-in-the-sky theology.

One of the best parts of the book is the way Brian helps the reader to rightly value and use the Bible without making it the focus above Jesus Himself. I’ve met many Christians who either dramatically devalue the Bible and spend little to no time reading it or those who dramatically overvalue it and treat it as if it is God itself and worthy of worship. Brian helps to navigate this tension. As he profoundly highlights, “God did not become a book, but God did become a human being.”

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