Culture Posts

When Faith is Tested

I put many of my thoughts on this season of challenge and loss into my message for this weekend at Abundant Life Church. I’d encourage you to check it out if you are looking for how to find hope in this midst of this challenge. I cover the range of my own emotions in this one.

Parent Guilt and the Coronavirus

Parent Guilt and the Coronavirus

The above picture is my attempt to provide a semblance of sanity with five kids on quarantine from school. I developed a system for them to keep track of intentional things they do with their time (they hadn’t had a chance to finish their chores yet).

If you’re anything like me and you’ve got young (and particularly aimless) kids at home right now, you are likely feeling parent guilt on a whole new level. Parent guilt is that realization that you should be doing more with them, should be more intentional, should be savoring every moment differently than you actually are in your exhausted state. And this is doubly true if you are attempting to work from home.

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The Response to My Sermon This Week

I woke up Sunday morning to the news of another shooting. My social media timeline was filled with a variety of commentaries about the horrific murders in El Paso and Dayton. A wave of emotions flooded over me and I felt it all. Then I remembered that I had a sermon to preach that morning.

I began a conversation with Jesus asking a simple question: what am I supposed to say? I didn’t land at an easy answer to this question, even when I knew it was time to go on stage. I took a step forward at our 8:30am service and began to feel my way through it. Then I sat through our 10am service and I could feel more coming.

Toward the end of the message, I felt an invitation to let go and say what God was laying on my heart. I quickly lost control of my emotions and could feel my voice begin to quiver. I’m not a crier, so to cry in front of hundreds of people feels very raw to me.

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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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What Israel Taught Me About America’s Election

What Israel Taught Me About America’s Election

The most hyped election in recent memory happens tomorrow. I won’t be in the country for it.

I’ve spent the last week in Israel in the posture of a listener. Listening to the narratives of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Trying to consider solutions between a hundred-year conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s tempting to believe that just one narrative has validity. To believe that the solution emerges without ambiguity. And yet conversation after conversation I’m reminded that despite how much we crave this, any critical thinker will resist the urge for this easy way out.

A couple of nights ago we had a Sabbath dinner with a Jewish family. The dad is a law professor, and his wife is working on her post-doctorate. It was moving to watch the way they intentionally raise their kids to understand the Bible (in particular the Old Testament) and the relevance in which he discussed current events in both Israel and America. He commented to us that America is beginning to look like Israel, and “not in a good way.”

If you’ve spent any amount of time understanding the conflict in the Holy Land, you will see how shocking that statement sounds. It’s a reminder that if division isn’t checked, we end up in a never-ending cycle downward. Which tragically tends to end in violence.

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10 Observations After Writing about Donald Trump

10 Observations After Writing about Donald Trump

Last week I decided to take a substantial risk and share some of my personal thoughts about Donald Trump. After I posted it, I was blown away by both the positive and negative response. I don’t intend to keep blogging on this topic, but I felt it appropriate to at least attempt to summarize some of my thoughts regarding the massive response to last week’s post. Before you read the following list you should read the original post first (see: An Appeal to Christians).

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