Spirituality Posts

Christianity with Benefits

Christianity with Benefits

For most Christians reading this, being a Christian has been a pleasant experience for us. It has gained us respect, or friends, or community, or a network, or at a minimum a sense that we are moral people. If you can make sense out of Jesus and the Bible, what’s not to love about this?

But this association we have enjoyed is rapidly diminishing around us. It’s becoming ever clearer that being a Christian these days will likely cost you something. Or, at least some versions of Christianity will cost you. While many people confuse it for a political discussion, the reality is that a very spiritual discussion is happening right now about what it fundamentally means to be a Christian. Consider what Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) recently wrote on Twitter.

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Top 20 Quotes from Bart Tarman

Top 20 Quotes from Bart Tarman

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

I spent last week in Colorado with a group of guys connected with Carl Medearis. Some were pastors and some were business leaders but all wanted to talk more about Jesus. Carl is an author and has a way of connecting people to Jesus. He models how to engage Muslims through a conversation in community rather than opposition. During this gathering we had the opportunity to hear from a pastor named Bart Tarman who they affectionately refer to as “Yoda.”

Below you’ll see my 20 favorite ideas shared throughout our time together from ideas Bart shared. Normally I save my ’20 quotes’ posts for conferences, but this week brought a ton for me to think about so I decided to include it. This list is my best attempt at capturing some of the incredible insights I received from this week in hopes it can be a blessing to you as well. These are in order of our conversations, not in rank.

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Top 20 Quotes from NACC (2016)

Top 20 Quotes from NACC (2016)

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

I spent this week at the 2016 North American Christian Convention in Anaheim California. This conference moves locations each year and is a great chance to connect with other churches who have come out of the same history as ours. The theme this year was called “A Better Story.”

Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event. Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what the speakers said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own. At the bottom of the page are some tweetable versions of them.

Jeremy Jernigan - NACC 2016

Here’s a workshop I taught.

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Love the Other

Love the Other

I started to ask Google a “why” question when the above options auto-filled for me. The sheer diversity and randomness of the suggestions caused me pause a moment. They range between marriage, Kanye West, and dog feces. There are many “why” questions we ask each day, and these suggestions are but the tip of the iceberg.

I’m not sure what burning “why” question you’re asking in life right now, but most of mine revolve around the ways I’m continually shocked how we treat one another. From politicians sarcastically running for President to people in perpetual war in the Middle East to people stealing from garages in my neighborhood. Why do we do these things to one another?

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The Refugee Crisis Shows Faith in God Makes No Sense

The Refugee Crisis Shows Faith in God Makes No Sense

I’ve been stewing all last week on whether or not to write about the refugee crisis. There’s already plenty of voices in the conversation. As I considered what I might say, it’s changed depending on which day of the week I considered writing it. At the risk of being just another voice, here’s what I would like to encourage you as you make up your mind on this discussion.

It’s all about fear.

Too simple? Fear of others, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of what any of this might cost us. And I get it. I’m afraid too. In fact, as I write these words I’m sitting in Washington DC. You know, the place ISIS said they would target this week. I’m just a few blocks away from the White House, their prime target. I received more than a few looks and comments when we told people where we were going this week. As I walk around these streets and notice all the police with their guns, it’s easy to dwell on how much there is to fear.

But as a Christian, I’m not called to live in fear.

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"People have a tendency to stop thinking when it first becomes difficult; and it is at that point, I would add, that thinking becomes fruitful. A man senses that the resolution of the questions before him demands labour—and he wants to evade this. If he had no means of stupefying himself, he would be unable to drive the questions out of his consciousness, and he would be forced, against his will, to resolve them. Instead of this, however, he has found means to drive the questions away as soon as they arise. As soon as the questions demanding resolution begins to torment him, he resorts to these means and so avoids the anxiety they evoke. His consciousness ceases to demand a resolution, and the unresolved questions remain unresolved until the next moment of clarity. But at this next moment of clarity he does exactly the same; often he remains entire months, years or even his whole life, confronted by the same moral questions, failing to take even one step towards their resolution. And yet it is the resolution of moral questions that constitutes the movement of life."

Leo Tolstoy, The Lion and the Honeycomb