Virtue, Vice, & Social Media

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Continue Reading

A Continuum of Loving

My day began with a wonderful reflection on love by my good friend Geoff, wherein he talks about the dangerous tendency for Christians in our day to be very busy about loving their enemies, all the while their relationships within the church and at home are malnourished (or wither and die). You really must read his post: “Loving Your Enemies Does Not Preclude Loving Your Friends”

If Matthew 5:43-48 is your only rubric for Christian love, then you might be tempted (as Geoff points out) to only love your enemies, to the neglect of those closest to you.… Continue Reading

This Is What Pastoral Ministry Looks Like

The Bible is chalk full of threefold exhortations. From Matthew’s obsession with three’s to Samson’s triple-whammy buffoonery, a wise reader of the Bible will pick up on and pay careful attention to this literary device. Repetition in writing or speaking is necessary both because humans are dense and because it is a time-tested rhetorical technique that works.

But this post isn’t about Delilah or the Sermon on the Mount. I have my eye on the resurrected Jesus and his most stubborn disciple.… Continue Reading

Lions and Babies, Oh My!

Category mistakes and lack of nuance are fallen humanity’s two highest virtues vices. This human tendency to “tell like it is” is rampant in theological high towers, partisan Facebook posses, the fourth row of your local church congregation, and in the White House press room. Nobody is safe. Everyone is an extremist.

Enter Cecil (the lion) and Cecile (the human being).

“I looove chocolate!”

One area where lack of nuance is pervasive (and very often destructive as a result) is when we speak about love.… Continue Reading

The Virtues of Singing (& Listening to) Music in Church

In the last few years, the internets have been chalk full with blogs about the (good) reasons why people are not singing in the (American) church.

Here’s Nine Reasons People Aren’t Singing in Church.

Also: Why They Don’t Sing, Christians Stopped Singing, and more Not Singing. These blogs are a dime a dozen (maybe a dollar a dozen—they have value!).

There are even more biblically-inclined, theologically-inclined, and historically-inclined arguments for more congregational singing.… Continue Reading

C.S. Lewis & Friendship

Here are few quotes lifted from C.S. Lewis’ masterful chapter on Friendship in The Four Loves. Enjoy!

Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company. Especially when the whole group is together, each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others. Those are the golden sessions; when four or five of us after a hard day’s walking have come to our inn; when our slippers are on, our feet spread towards the blaze and our drinks at our elbows; when the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us.… Continue Reading

Rachel Held Evans, Not Fighting, & Continuing the Discussion

Rachel Held Evans, notorious blogger extraordinaire, has written a very insightful and in many ways helpful entry entitled: “The Cost.” She highlights the painful relational cost of being ostracized from her conservative roots when she came out as an evolutionist, feminist, LGBT activist. She also, very helpfully (and perceptively) sympathizes with conservatives who are labelled as bigots and extremists in the media and the culture-at-large. Here are a few highlights with her conclusion (on which I will comment below):

They say I’ve taken the easy way out.Continue Reading