Your World Is Too Small

This week, as we continue in our series, Answers to Tough Questions, we took on a debate that has been going on for a long time. It may not burn today as brightly as it once did, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away. Instead, it has become the background assumption of many of the people around us. This debate is the clash between faith and science. Read on to find out how we can engage in this debate as followers of Jesus.

Your World Is Too Small

How do you know that you know something? Have you ever thought about that? Unless you’ve taken a philosophy class, you probably haven’t. But, the answer to that question is a lot more important than you might think. For example, I have a stool up here on stage with me. I bought this at Walmart. How many people in here have sat on this stool before? I know there are a few, but most of you have not. Given that, how many of you who have not sat on it before would be willing to sit on it if I asked you to do so? If you said yes to that, beyond simply fulfilling my request, why would you sit on it? Probably because you believe you will be able to sit on it. But why? Why do you believe that? Or, to put that another way, how do you know you’ll be able to sit on it? How do you know it will not collapse underneath you? Pushing this one step further, how do you know you know that? This same kind of line of questioning could be used relating to anything else you do. How do you know the food you eat won’t poison you? How do you know your car will make it to work? How do you know the store clerk will give you your change? How do you know your family members love you? How do you know that you know the things you know? This may all seem silly, but the answer to this question really does matter. I’ll tell you why in just a bit.

Read the rest…

Contagious Holiness

How do you combat a virus? With an anti-virus. The wider the spread of the virus, the more vigorously you have to spread the anti-virus. When it comes to the spiritual virus of sin, there is a powerful anti-virus. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have it in you. What you need to do now is something Jesus pointed us to in an interesting little episode from His life. It’s also something we talked about yesterday. Check it out.

Contagious Holiness

It is a good day to be a fan of comic book and superhero fare.  Never in the whole history of the silver screen or the small screen have we had as many offerings featuring one comic book storyline or another.  And it’s not just that the volume is high.  The quality is great too.  The comics giants Marvel and DC are in a growing competition for audience loyalty and while Marvel has so far dominated the games, the level of excellence they have achieved has set a high bar that DC is doing their best to clear which in turn simply spurs Marvel on to keep upping their own game.  Well, for a fan of this genre, the net result of this is a ton of great movies and tv shows to enjoy. 

Read the rest…

You’re Not Like Me

Last week in our new series, Answers to Tough Questions, we tackled the maze of LGBT issues. The outcome was a simple principle which, while not necessarily answering every question people ask about it, did give us a clear path forward. This week, we tackled the immigration debate. Like last week, you won’t find clear and concise answers or policy prescriptions here. Rather, we clarify yet another foundational principle that should guide all of our thinking about it as followers of Jesus. Read on to find out what this is.

One more thing: I will be in class all this week learning about law enforcement chaplaincy. While I am most excited about this opportunity, it means this will be the only blog post for this week. Stay tuned. I’ll be back in a week with your regularly scheduled program. Thanks for your faithful readership.

You’re Not Like Me

Moving into a new place for the first time is always just a bit scary…especially when it’s in a new town. When Lisa and I moved from Denver, Colorado to Church Road, VA in 2008, we were living somewhere neither of us had any connections at all. We had a house—the parsonage—but we didn’t know anyone. We had a wonderful church family, but that was the extent of our local support network. Specifically, we didn’t know if we could trust our neighbors. Fortunately, one man in the church we had come to trust gave us the assurance that we could and so began a relationship with Bobby and Frances Wilson. They were wonderful. They took us—and our boys as they arrived into the world—on as simply an extension of their own family. We adopted them as a set of grand and great-grandparents who were living next door instead of several states away. They were the best neighbors—and friends—we could have possibly hoped to have.

Read the rest…

Wading through a Mess

This past Sunday morning we kicked off a brand-new series called, Answers to Tough Questions. For the next few weeks leading up to Easter, we are going to tackle some of the biggest cultural debates going on around us and into which Christians are expected to be able to speak with grace and poise. With the Scriptures as our guide, we are going to talk about what it looks like to respond to each of these issues as followers of Jesus. Yesterday we started with a bang: The LGBT+ debate. Isn’t God anti-LGBT+? Let’s talk about it.

Wading through a Mess

We live today in a polarized culture. We hear that so often that it’s almost cliché to say, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The old adage about polite conversation is that you can talk about anything but religion and politics. Of the two topics, religion covered the most ground and was the most controversial. Politics had a much smaller sphere of influence. Yes, people could get pretty worked up about certain issues, but on the whole, it was the safer of the two. Today…that reality has reversed itself.  Religion covers an ever-shrinking amount of territory as it continues to lose the ground it once held in our culture. Politics, on the other hand, seems to intrude into every aspect of our lives. And this isn’t a left-right issue. The truth is that in the hearts of many, if not their minds as well, politics is increasingly taking the place religion once held as the source to which we turn to find answers for the most pressing questions we face. And indeed, when God is not ultimate, something else has to be. The trend for most human cultures over the centuries is that we give the State that place when we don’t give it to God. This is a tension that has been with the church since its earliest days.

Read the rest…

Love Done Right

In this final part of our series, I Do, we talk about the secret sauce that makes marriage work. You will perhaps be completely unsurprised to find out it’s love. But, love only works if we know what it is and how to use it. As we wrap up the last few weeks of work, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about. Keep reading to learn more.

Love Done Right

How many of you have seen the movie Michael with John Travolta? Leaving aside the terrible theology for a moment, the movie itself is great. John Travolta plays the archangel Michael who has come to earth apparently to have a great time, do a lot of sinning, and help William Hurt and Andie McDowell fall in love. Again, as I said, terrible theology. In any event, Hurt works for a tabloid magazine in New York and McDowell is a dog walker who convinces the magazine’s editor, Bob Hoskins, that she is an angel expert. The two are dispatched to Iowa where Michael is staying with an old woman in her hotel, in order to see if the reports they’ve heard about the angel living in Iowa are true. If they are, the pair are to convince him to come back to New York City with them for an interview. He refuses to fly (get it?) and instead insists that they drive across the country through rural America in order to get back to the big city. Along the way they have all kinds of misadventures including obscure tourist stops, bar fights, and great pie. About halfway through the movie, just before the group crosses the border into Illinois, Michael starts singing a pretty well-known song and encourages everybody else to join him.

Read the rest…