Culture Posts

Real Life Women

I read a hilarious observation this week. “Imagine thinking it’s ok to hear the gospel preached from a cartoon tomato but not a real life woman” (Jaymes Lackey).

In case you didn’t grow up in the Christian culture, that’s a reference to the wildly popular show Veggie Tales that featured Bible teaching from cartoon vegetables. But the point is that women continue to have to fight for a place in the Church. That needs to change, and more of us guys need to find ways to elevate the women leading well around us.

In a recent conversation I heard an oft-repeated joke about how as men we can’t let our wife make more money than us. It was said in jest, but it represents a very real reality that men often struggle with. In case you’re wondering, my wife makes the primary income in our family these days. And we’re both okay with it. There’s no way I could do what I’m doing with Communion Wine Co. without her. We’ve actually alternated on who made more money throughout our marriage. Before you think less of me (or my hard-working wife), consider an observation that one of Jesus’ disciples made.

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Rethinking Police in America

One of the major headlines of the chaos that was 2020 was concern over the role of police in America. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter raised the awareness of the unjust nature in how the police treat minorities.

Last year, when I preached about concerns of inequality in our justice system and then marched in a peaceful protest, many people assumed I was anti-police. The reality is that I served as a police chaplain for years. I continue to have many friends in law enforcement today. And I can honestly say that most police I know have a desire to serve others and a willingness to put themselves at risk to do it.

Yet I think it’s time we broaden the conversation to acknowledge that something needs to change. What we are doing collectively isn’t working, especially to the vulnerable among us. I don’t say this because of any issue I’ve personally had with the police. I say this because I’m learning to listen to many others who have.

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Stride Toward Freedom

Today marks the end of something that defies most explanations and offers a new beginning that will likely be like other beginnings we’ve seen before. Trumpism will lose its prominence in the White House formal but is likely here to stay. And Biden, while I hope he leads us forward in a healthier way in numerous regards, is a politician offering only what the State can offer.

It seems like such a juxtaposition to have experienced MLK day on Monday and then have to grapple with the bizarre state of our country and culture two days later as we make a massive change.

Christianity Today offered the following perspective on MLK then and now and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I saw this:

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A Time for Prophets

A few thoughts on today.

I am grieved and overwhelmed by what I watched happen. By what we are normalizing in the open. By police officers letting them in and then letting them walk out as if it didn’t matter.

This country has its roots NOT in Christianity—as many of my friends want to believe—but in white privilege and white supremacy. Yet my pastor friends can’t use those phrases or they will lose key givers in their church… and then maybe their jobs. Thankfully, I’m no longer bound by either. I’m also keenly aware of what happens when you take on the stronghold of racism in America, as my last year can attest.

The confederate flag was seen prominently in our capital today. Shirts said “Camp Auschwitz.” And police took selfies with them. During the #blacklivesmatter protests the response was dramatically different. I was criticized harshly (only from Christians) for participating in a peaceful march last summer. And now today we want to feign surprise as to how this could happen in America. If you are surprised by what happened today and want to think that we as a country are better than this, we’re not. Just ask the minorities in America who have lived this reality their entire lives.

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The Most Profound Question for Voting

I’ve been praying through what I should do with my vote this election. I don’t feel any obligation to vote one party or another, nor do I feel an obligation to vote. That’s because neither political party fully embodies the values of the Kingdom of God. My allegiance to Jesus allows me to navigate my personal involvement with the government as a citizen of another kingdom (Philippians 3:20). As just one example, my stance on being pro-life from the womb to the tomb (which I get from Jesus) puts me at odds with different parts of each party. This has meant that in the past there were times I voted Republican, times I voted Democrat, and times I intentionally chose not to vote.

I don’t decide how to vote until after I’ve prayed over it and felt peace with the result (I’d highly recommend this rather than assuming one option only). Recently, I’ve found much clarity in thinking through one question in particular.

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Dear Church, from Karl

This is part of a series of posts inviting friends to share their perspectives.

Sit.

Just sit with me.

This is the beginning of the process.

In the Book of Job, we meet a man named Job who in an instant has his world turned upside down. Job is weary, tired, and seemingly hopeless. Then three of his friends pay him a visit.

“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

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