Category Archives: Christianity

Leadership and Christianity?

I was shocked today to find so many posts under the WordPress tag “Leadership” that also dealt with Christianity, the church and spiritual issues. It’s encouraging, really. But not expected.

I have no  real observations, other than this: Are churches today preaching more about leadership in life? Or is this simply a ripple from the more motivational sermons that seem common in today’s churches? And is it a good or bad thing? Or are Christians simply starving for earthly leadership to the point that it’s often on their mind?

p.s. The posts under this tag could easily change within an hour, so just trust me that a lot of it was spiritual in content.

Kathy Griffin Disses Jesus

In case you haven’t heard yet, Kathy Griffin recently won an Emmy for her show, My Life on the D List. And she said some things about Jesus in her acceptance speech. In case you missed it, here are some links to catch you up, and the original video.

  • Then Christians got pissed about it
  • Then a theater company bought a $90k ad in USA Today
  • Then Kathy said this about it
  • Now all hell has broken loose (at least in the press)

Here’s where I stand on this: I am a Christian, and as a Christian, I would never say something like Kathy said, I would never agree the tone of it and I can’t help but twinge when I hear her comments. As a Christian, the goal is for Christ to have more and more to do with my life.

But her statements don’t outrage me.

Kathy Griffin is a comedian. Not a very funny one, but she is a comedian. She’s known for shocking people for comedic reasons, and she is obviously doing that here. I’m also pretty sure she’s not a Christian (she admits on her own website to being a militant atheist due to Catholic School experiences). So why should I expect her to thank him or think he had anything to do with it? She’s probably correct in stating that Jesus didn’t have much to do with it, and, if anything, she’s being honest (and “funny”).

What does irritate me is the reaction to the whole thing. The catholic guy in this video has lost it; I think it’s pretty close-minded to think she’s only offending Catholics. Sadly, I seem to agree more with this sissy priest on his assessment of the whole thing.

Here’s my point: I don’t expect people who didn’t go to my high school to care if they go to the state playoffs. I don’t expect country music fans to care much about my memories of sitting on the 4th row of a Prince concert. I don’t expect homosexuals to appreciate my view of sexuality, and I don’t expect non-Christians to think much of Christ.

God gives us free will, and Kathy Griffin has exercised hers. I don’t have to agree with it, but I also don’t have to get mad about it. My free will is quite free of Kathy Griffin’s.

Some other entertaining blog posts on the topic:

Has Michael Vick Really Found Jesus?

Michael Vick StatementVick mentioned in his press conference today that he has gone to Jesus for forgiveness, that it seems to be the right thing to do as of right now.

So how do you react to that?

Most of us Christians probably don’t believe him. In fact, I assume everybody, Christian or non, doesn’t believe him. It seems a little too convenient. A little too contrived. A little too well-timed.

But here’s the question: why should be shocked that someone turns to God when they’ve hit rock-bottom?

  • The Apostle Paul did it heading down Damascus road.
  • Jacob did it and ended up wrestling with the angel (or some thing Jesus himself).
  • Moses was a murderer and living an almost pointless life out in the desert.
  • Peter had been exposed to Christ more than anyone and ended up selling him out and completely denying that he ever knew him.

Time and time again, people find God when they have nothing else. Is it convenient? Is it well-timed? Well, yeah. But that’s not always the motivation. When it’s real, it’s usually more motivated by realizing we are at the end of what we’re capable of, and we need someone else to get us out of the mess we’re in.

The thing that will really rack your brain is to consider that God actually ordains situations to get us to this point, knowing that, otherwise, it will never happen. He loves us so much that he’ll guide us through temporary pains so we can come out looking to Him rather than to ourselves.

And the fringe benefits of being in the midst of His love are nothing less than abundant life now and eternal life with Him.

I don’t know if Vick is the real deal or not. Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many athletes “play the Jesus card” and it’s jaded us. What I do know is that it’s not out of the question to find Jesus in the valley. In fact, it’s much more like the norm than the exception.

Open-Mindedness from an Atheist

Just came across one of the most thought-provoking blog posts I’ve read in a while, and wanted to pass it along. It’s at the blog De-Conversion, and it’s titled “Don’t Ask Me to Read Your Holy Book.” The discussion is amazing in the comments – you’ll find my comment somewhere around #180-190.

As a Christian, reading through this is both somewhat sad and somewhat exhilarating. It’s sad because, as you read through it, you start to realize how guilty you can be as a believer at asking people to just blindly take on your way of thinking, without fully considering where they’re at in their life right now. It’s exhilarating because it makes you think, and there are lots of great thinkers posting awesome thoughts in the comments.

Enjoy.

Who’s Time Is It?

Here’s an excellent post by Abraham at the Desiring God blog.

My favorite quote (referring to when Jesus still took time to pray for his followers even though he was being hunted down to be crucified):

“It would be like if your pastor was willing to stay up front after a service and pray for you, knowing there was someone in the building waiting around to shoot him.”

A couple years ago, I read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, and it quickly become my favorite book of all. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it basically focuses on a young “demon in training” who’s learning from his demon uncle how to be a good hell-raiser and get to humans. The thought-provoking perspective is simply refreshing and convicting.

One of the sections talks about how the demons must make it a priority for humans to think their time is their own. In other words, once you plan something, then it should not be interrupted. Convince us all that we must stay on schedule with our tasks and not allow any interruptions. The demons knew that doing so would help us miss out on many of God’s blessings and lessons.

Think about it – how often are the great things in life planned? Or better yet, how often do you plan for something great to happen, and it just doesn’t pan out? Finally, how selfish is it to think our time being completely under our control?

The problem with us when we think this way is that we often look at Jesus as interrupting our lives. In fact, that might sum up American Christianity pretty well.

Hatred in Universities for Christians

Very interesting post at ChurchRelevance.com on Evangelical Christians Disliked by University Faculty.

I don’t always know how to take stats like this. On the one hand, it seems like just another stat that’s probably been blown out of proportion. On the other, I find it odd that  “Evangelical Christians were the only major religious denomination to be viewed negatively by a majority of faculty.” That’s pretty substantial.
I have a feeling it links back to something inside most of us that says faith is the opposite of knowledge. In other words, if you have faith in something, then, in a way, you just bypass the need to understand and for logic.

For some reason, the faith of Christians is often viewed by society as this type of uneducated type of faith, whereas other religious followers,  such as Muslims or Buddhists,  are often viewed as having a faith that is scientifically spiritual and somewhat mysterious, and therefore OK in society’s eyes.

What’s your take on it? Why do you think faith (esp. Christian faith) is often seen as intellectually weak? Is there someone to blame for it?

Dallas Tent Revival 2007

I almost missed this whole thing, but God got me in on it at the last minute.

A friend of my wife’s and mine asked us to play in the worship band as part of the Dallas Tent Revival 2007. More for a reason to play my guitar than for spiritual reasons, I accepted. This was on Friday. Since then, I’ve realized that this event could be one of the biggest things to hit Dallas, and possibly the nation, in a long time.

Here’s a quick summary: a local man, Kyle Martin, felt the call to put together an event that lasted 40 days and brought together all the churches of Dallas for a traditional tent revival in the downtown area. He felt that call 6 years ago. Long story very short, he’s managed to organize 40 different local pastors from churches of all sizes and 7 worship teams to facilitate this event, starting Monday night, April 9. The way people have come together in a short period of time has been nothing short of miraculous, and I’m pretty excited about what can happen.

I’ll let the website speak for itself. Read this article from the Dallas Morning News, too. Also, if any of you are local, pick a night to come out. My wife and I will be playing with the Dallas Bible Church band, which will play on Sunday nights during the revival, starting April 15. If you’re not local, pray – and check out the “Inside the Tent” link on the website. It features a great daily devotional.

Great Series on Preaching

Knowing that many of my readers are preachers, ministers, or at least interested in it, thought you might wanna know about this great series started at The Unashamed Workman.  Should be pretty intriguing.

2 Common Themes of Timothy and Titus

I’ve been reading through 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus the past few days (aka the Pastoral Epistles), and found some similarities in Paul’s instructions to his up-and-coming church leaders:

  1. Bondservants should honor their masters (1 Tim. 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10): My understanding in this instance is that “bondservant” could refer to a range of people, from true slaves to the equivalents of endentured servants. This strikes me as interesting because Paul, throughout the New Testament, doesn’t call believers found in these situations to revolt, demand justice, demand fair treatment or to quit their job. He advises these young pastors to teach their church how to remain faithful and thankful in any circumstance they’ve been given.
  2. Avoid silly arguments (Titus 3:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:23-26): Paul was pretty strong on staying away from the petty disputes that become so common in churches. Back then, I’m a lot of it had to do with discussions over following the traditional Jewish law. The intriguing part is that Paul doesn’t call Titus and Timothy to speak up so that their side of the argument can be heard – he calls them to avoid it. Don’t get mixed up in it. Cuz it never accomplishes much.

Obviously, American culture doesn’t have slaves and bondservants, but I think the principles still apply to us all as employees. And we might not struggle with incorporating Jewish traditions, but there are plenty of silly disputes going on in the modern church. Here are just a couple of examples that cross my mind that bring these passages to light:

  • Apologetics in general: OK, don’t get me wrong here. I’m all for defending the faith, and having the intellectual ability to show its strength. But people don’t change their lives and become believers once they’ve received a logical explanation of everything that’s happened in the Bible. They become believers when God touches their heart. Some people seem to completely base their entire relationship with God in their ability to prove He’s right. Sometimes I wonder if God is just thinking, “Thanks for the support, but everyone’s gonna know I’m the real thing soon enough. In the meantime, let’s you and I spend a little more time together.”
  • Dancing, Drinking and Singing: The modern church struggles with legalism just as much as the first century church dealt with Jewish customs. Should you drink, or not drink? What kind of music is worship, and what kind isn’t? Is the Living Translation of the Bible OK, or do I have to stick with the King James? The list is 1,000 miles long. When you stop and think about a lot of this stuff, it will make you laugh. And I’m sure it makes God sad. “I didn’t save you so you’d wonder whether it’s OK to have a glass of wine. I saved you so you can live an abundant life, and forget all this small stuff.”
  • Deal with it. Speaking of the abundant life, Jesus’ promise to us to give us that should never be confused for an easy life. And while most of us automatically relate abundance to money and material gain, the most abundant thing we can have in our lives is more Jesus. And because realizing He is abundantly present is usually most obvious in the midst of less-than-perfect situations, we can’t expect to be plucked out of the harshness of this life. Just like Paul expected bondservants to honor their masters, so God expects us to be His shining light in the situation and circle of influence in which He has placed us.

No Formula = God

Just started reading Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What. I’m only through two chapters so far, but it’ a really good read.Here’s a noteworthy quote that could possibly simplify so many things we make difficult:

Some would say formulas are how we interact with God, that going through motions and jumping through hoops are how a person acts out his spirituality. This method of interaction, however, seems odd to me, because if I want to hang out with my friend Tuck, I don’t stomp my foot three times, turn around, and say his name over and over like a mantra, lighting candles and getting myself in a certain mood. I just call him. In this way, formulas presuppose God is more a computer or a circus monkey than an intelligent Being. I realize that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

I want to just talk with God.