Category: Church

Church

Video

Christians Creating Culture, Not Controlling It

 

This semester – my final semester at United Seminary (as I graduate in December) – I’m taking a class entitled ‘Christ, Culture & Conversion.’

So far, it has proved to be very challenging and exciting.

The above video features Andy Crouch – editor of Christianity Today – talking about how Christians should understand, interact with and create culture.

I highly recommend taking 10 minutes to view it.

Christians should be about creating, contributing to and interacting with the culture (a term which he defines in this video), rather than seeking to control it.  When we seek to control the culture – as we see is the goal of so many prominent Christians today – we typically don’t do a very good job.

To borrow a phrase from my new obsession with British television, “we muck it up.”  Let’s stop mucking it up.

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The Pope Okay With The Gays?

A papal quote, made during a press conference on the way to Rome from Brazil

 

The Pope has made an early habit of saying pithy things that instantly get everyone's attention.

Today, he said, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”

In no way is he changing church teaching on the practice of Homosexuality, but he is bringing the church in line with the stated position of the United Methodist Church – which is that the church is to be in ministry with and to the LBGT community.

I can't be sure which came first, but the UMC has favored this stance for a while – and I'm just now learning that this is a catholic teaching, as well. So, I'm gonna give the nod to the UMC.

Call me a “homer.”

Anyway, thought this could use a once over on the blog.

 

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Is @JohnLomperis “Skeevy” or “Hateful?”

"Irony" ft. John Lomperis

 

Before today, I wouldn't have characterized the IRD's UM Action Director John Lomperis as “skeevy” or “hateful.”

That was before today.

For, you see, I've read his latest diatribe against his fellow creatures of sacred worth in the LBGT community.

In response to Arizona laws that discriminate against and criminalize the behavior of transgender brothers and sisters who identify as a sex other than the one they were born with – by preventing them from using public bathrooms according to the sex they identify with – the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church passed a resolution stating the following:

  1. the Desert Southwest Annual Conference and the United Methodist

  2. 42 Churches of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference make the public statement that our

  3. 43 Churches and facilities (building, gathering spaces and bathrooms) are safe places for all

  4. 44 regardless of gender identity and that transgendered people may use the bathroom of their

  5. 45 choosing in our churches and affiliated buildings.

As you can see, this policy is designed to treat with dignity all of God's people – not just the ones people like John Lomperis are weirded out by.

Mr. Lomperis, however, decides it isn't enough to say he disagrees with it – he has to demean an entire class of people to get his point across.

Such an “open bathrooms” policy is ripe for abuse by a few perfectly heterosexual, non-gender-identity-disordered, perverted individuals who now seem to have an invitation in Desert Southwest UMC congregations to go into the opposite sex’s bathroom. If anyone questions them, they simply need to claim (perhaps with a sarcastic smirk) that they identify with that sex, at least that day. The resolution suggests no safeguards or concerns for such abuses.

Any church worth anything already has a “safe sanctuaries” policy that is designed to deal with such individuals to which he refers. In other words, it's a non-starter and an attempt to emotionally manipulate the reader into siding with him.

Along with using dog-whistles such as the term “gender-bending,” Lomperis just takes his shot (by lumping transgendered individuals into the same category with heterosexual abusers) at anything with which he doesn't personally agree – pretty skeevy, if you ask me.

He even tries to co-opt the argument of an LBGT activist to mislead his readers (a tactic he isn't new to, as you will see me address in the closing paragraph of this Huffington Post piece).

Overall, his piece demonstrates just how hateful he and his ilk can be when they try to approach an issue that both upsets them and weirds them out.

The policy he rails against is designed to treat all persons with dignity. His attempt to pervert the idea or make it into something it isn't shows just how weak his argument truly is.

P.S. Lomperis is likely to treat this type of article as a badge of honor, rather than criticism he should listen to, so I don't ever really expect a reply. The fantasy of living as some type of martyr is very appealing to the conservative, evangelical elite.

 

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Joel is Right, but Needs Further Clarification

The Cross, the Church and the Flag

My friend, Joel, posted an interesting theory about the decline of the mainline church and the anti-intellectual streak within evangelical mainline enclaves.

How much better would we be if we had taught questioning our faith instead of absolute intellectual surrender when the New Atheists and Ken Ham arrived?

Essentially, he suggests that this “intellectual surrender” has forced the church to surrender credibility in order to maintain uniformity of thought. When a person with a question is told to “just believe” or that their question represents a lack of faith, why wouldn't that questioner find somewhere else to be? This is my paraphrase, but I think this is what he's saying.

I believe his theory to be correct, but insufficient.

We in the church must, first, disabuse (this word not used accidentally) ourselves of the notion that commercial success and the American Dream are synonymous with faithful Christianity.

They're so not.

They may even be the antithesis.

However, those who foster an unquestioning faith tend to experience the greater numeric church success.

Unless these ideas are separated by as much ground as we can get between them, the numeric success experienced by anti-intellectual evangelicalism will motivate the defense of the status quo – and his theory will wither on the vine.

Christians: How NOT to React to Secular News – #DOMA

Christians have not been setting a good example on social media today. The Supreme Court ruled The Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Reactions have been anything from “they're heathenous sinners, but I'm called to love 'em” to…well…I wanted to share these with you. First up, we have a random pastor: Next,

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SERMON from 6-16-13: “Open Outcry”

This past Father’s Day, I preached on Psalm 5.1-8.  Here’s part 1: Here’s part 2:

SERMON from 4-7-13: “The Duty of Constant Communion”

Luke 22.19 (CEB) After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The Duty of Constant Communion What is a sacrament? That wasn’t a rhetorical question. Can anybody tell me what a sacrament

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Sometimes, Preaching Just Isn’t Enough…

Shared from here.

 

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Grace and peace to you.

SERMON from 3-17-13: “I Thirst”

This is the fifth of a seven-part series for the Lenten and Easter season. I got the idea from my father-in-law, who serves as Senior Pastor at Mesa First United Methodist Church, downtown Mesa, Arizona. Luke 23.28-29 (CEB) 28 After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said,

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Yes, @MarkDTooley, Murder is Murder

  Mark Tooley – @MarkDTooley and President of The Institute on Religion & Democracy – is reactionary enough to be the president of a Washington D.C. based think tanks, but too reactionary to be the religious leader he believes himself to be. Por ejemplo… His latest article is his reaction to an article by Christianity Today.  The

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