Whatever else you know about the Bible, I’m sure you know this: It lays out a sexual ethic that displays God’s intent in creating sexuality and that challenges humanity to live in ways consistent with it. Yet today we are experiencing a sexual revolution that has seen society deliberately throwing off the Christian sexual ethic. Things that were once forbidden are now celebrated. Things that were once considered unthinkable are now deemed natural and good. Christians are increasingly seen as backward, living out an ancient, repressive, irrelevant morality.
But this is hardly the first time Christians have lived out a sexual ethic that clashed with the world around them.
I never thought, in the midst of what seemed like to a young man tedious deliberation over the finer points of policy that I could not yet understand how related to me, that as a father someday I would tell my children they could not watch a presidential debate because the content would likely be inappropriate for them. And yet that’s exactly what I did.
I don’t know of any church leader who wants visitors to their services to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. And yet it still surprises me that many churches still don’t think through some of the ways, both obvious and subtle, that work against making visitors feel “at home” with the congregation. If you’re a church leader who cares about the experience of hospitality for those who visit your church services, I hope you will work through the following questions with eyes open to the impression your church may be leaving visitors.
The other day I preached on prayer and received a helpful comment from a church member. They mentioned the way in which sin keeps them from prayer; and how, over time, the guilt over sin makes it quite difficult to pray. I think this is a problem for many of us. Here are some thoughts to navigate a path of prayer through the fog of guilt.
Thom Rainer offers some sound advice.
This is an intriguing piece by Anthony Bradley:
When Jesus talked about salt losing its “saltiness” or “savor,” it refers to a process in which the compounds of salts naturally disintegrate over time. Disintegrated salt loses a small amount of gypsum, which changes its “saltiness.” This change in saltiness makes it a less effective fertilizing agent. So when Jesus talked to his followers about losing their saltiness, he was talking about losing their fertilizing properties, their ability to bring about life and growth.
Melinda Lundquist Denton, responding to two contradictory studies:
As thinking Christians, then, how ought we to approach these studies? Between total rejection on the one hand and blind belief on the other, there is a middle ground worth inhabiting, and it involves taking a “slow” approach to science. As the church, it’s important that we thoughtfully consider, rather than react to, each study that comes along—even those that are critical of us.
A favorite from the archives:
After four years, my Bible had started to look pretty beat up, the way God intended—lots of underlining, crinkled pages and what may or may not have been some minor water damage. It was well read and well loved, to be sure (even if some pages were hard to make out because of all the underlining).
Then, a few years, ago, I realized that my preaching Bible had disappeared.