Category Archives: Christianity
If your life is a story that God is writing, you can expect to face conflict throughout the plot line of your life.
One night, as Mrs. Allen was saying her nightly prayers, she suddenly noticed a man’s foot sticking out from under her bed—one of her former students had snuck into their house to steal food. Before he had time to run away, Mrs. Allen walked in. He hid under her bed, hoping to escape after she fell asleep. Mrs. Allen jumped up and screamed with fear. Scared by the noise, the thief crawled in farther.
Reverend Allen rushed in from the living room. He bent down, trying to persuade the thief to come out by saying, “You don’t have to worry. We are not reporting you to the police. I know your family is poor. Just come out and take whatever you want. I don’t care.”
The thief started crying and promised to crawl out if Reverend Allen would step away from the bed. Meanwhile, Mrs. Allen said, “My dear, I will pray for you. I will ask the Lord to forgive your sins.”
The thief answered, “No thanks, I don’t need you to pray for me. I’m not a Christian.”
After he finally got out, the thief saw something shining in Reverend Allen’s hand. Thinking it was a weapon, the thief pulled out his knife and stabbed at Reverend Allen’s thigh. It turned out Reverend Allen was holding a glass of water for the thief.
The stabbing shocked Mrs. Allen, who ran out and screamed, “Help, Help.” The neighbors heard commotion and helped catch the thief.
Time to look past past the misleading headlines and dig into the substance of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement on marriage.
Is it possible that our worship services have become so much about ourselves that we find it difficult to “get outside” our “petty concerns?”
According to President Obama, certitude, conviction, and confidence are the drivers of religious conflict, not the content of religious belief.
“Worldly Saints” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s the perfect title for what God calls Christians to be.
Faithful Christian living involves a paradox: our faith is both world-affirming and world-denying. World-affirming in that we believe the world’s structures are fundamentally good, a part of God’s good creation now longing to be restored. World-denying in that we believe the world’s systems are pervasively evil, firmly opposed to God and His loving rule and awaiting His judgment.
Miss the goodness of the world structurally, and you start to think the physical creation is bad, so God must be going to do away with it all in the end. The Christian mission becomes “getting people to heaven,” since the world is going to the other place. Miss the badness of the world systemically, and you start to think sin is not as serious as we’ve made it out to be, so tinkering around with things in pursuit of improvement is all that is needed. The Christian mission becomes “make the world a better place.”
Careful Christian thinking holds these two truths in paradox, never allowing one truth to drown out the other, never allowing the extreme position of one side to lead us to the other. To miss one side of this paradox or the other is to distort the beauty of Christianity.
Becoming Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer pushes even deeper, reminding us that world-affirming and world-denying Christianity are two sides of the same coin. We won’t deny what needs denying unless we affirm what needs affirming, and vice versa. After all, we were made for this world. “We are earthlings, …
If it seems like too often we are talking past one another, the truth is, we usually are.
Now that I’ve assessed the state of my church and how it got here, how do I move forward with my congregation?
When a kid says, “Look at what I made!” they are inviting us into the world of their imagination.