My friend and former coworker Evan wrote this and it is so, so good.
Creativity and intelligence can certainly adorn the gospel of grace, but there is no amount of creativity and intelligence that can waken a dead soul. Only the foolishness of the gospel can do that (1 Cor. 1:18). Not even sacrificial good works and biblical social justice can wake a dead soul, for the law has no power to raise in and of itself. Only the foolishness of the gospel can do that. And it is a shame that there are an increasing number of churches(!) that are blanching at the foolishness of the gospel these days. But Paul knows that the hope of the church and the world is the alien righteousness of Christ announced in that scandalous historical headline.
When religious freedom is threatened, every other freedom is threatened as well. Religion alone can check the government’s perpetual intrusion on the liberties of individuals, groups, and mediating institutions. For that very reason, however, certain governmental and non-governmental actors in our nation wish to restrict religious liberty. Confining religion to the realm of privately held beliefs and semi-public houses of worship would allow government to function in all manner of capacities beyond its Constitutional mandate. This is the very outcome being sought by certain progressive organizations and political actors.
I’ve had a few conversations with fathers recently about the challenge of raising teenage boys. Similar to my own past experience, these Christian Dads have been struggling to get their boys to study, to do homework, to respect their mother, and do a few chores around the house. They are easily distracted, often moody, and totally obsessed with digital media. I usually try to share some of the hard-won lessons from my own parenting, most of them learned through many painful failures.
This is an interesting take on one of the most bombastic records of my teen years.
When I say “cynicism” I mean something like this: Believing that the world is fundamentally painful and disappointing is cynicism. By cynicism I mean this attitude of seeing through the happiness of the world to the underlying motivations of greed, power, lust and selfishness.
A great deal has changed in the way communication is done since I began serving in local churches. With the advent of texting, e-mail, social media, and the Web, our modes of communication have become a hallmark of effectiveness for us, sometimes leading pastors and church leaders to believe that using those forms of communication is a mark of our efficiency and “with-it-ness.” I’m not anti-technology, but I’ve also come to recognize that while there are times to use digital communication, there are also plenty of times to move in a different direction.
A favorite from the archives:
Reading books is good for new Christians, but our reading is only as profitable as the books we’re reading are helpful. When the content is beneficial and we’ve got the maturity to embrace it humbly, it’s a good thing. When the content is awful and we have the acumen to critique it thoughtfully, it’s a blessed thing. But when we’re reading anything and lack either the maturity or discernment to appropriately process it, it can lead to disaster.