The Supreme Court announced their decision regarding state issued bans on same-sex marriage on Friday morning. Social media came alive with reaction; supporters changed their profile image to the rainbow flag and used the hashtag #lovewins, some angry Christians expressed despair in the collapse of America and quoted verses from Leviticus. But what caught my attention were the Christians that calmly reminded us we live in and also apart from the culture we are immersed in.
I pastor a small SBC church in the deep South. Below is my Sunday morning sermon, directed to my own congregation with all Christians everywhere in mind. Whatever your initial reaction was to Friday’s news, please prayerfully consider this position:Continue reading →
Legal opinions vary widely on what the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate of nationwide same-sex marriage will mean for pastors and government officials authorized to perform weddings.
Some legal experts say government officials charged with performing weddings could lose their jobs for refusing to marry gay couples. But others believe both ministers and government officials likely will have freedom not to perform same-sex marriages that violate their religious convictions.
The actual title of the article published by the Pew Research Center is America’s Changing Religious Landscape. You can read that article here, at their own website, rather than second or third hand if you wish. The story was reported by media outlets, such as CNN, with attention grabbing headlines like “Millennials Are Leaving the Church in Droves.”
Russell Moore takes a different perspective, suggesting that actual faith is not in decline but rather the false pretense of it. People without true faith have quit going to church to make a show. He suggests people are no longer attracted to “almost Christianity” but that real faith is alive and well. There are not more atheists than there used to be, there are more honest atheists. Please do read his article here.
Ed Stetzer posted a similar story in USA Today, arguing that while Evangelicals make up a smaller percentage of the population than they did a few years ago their overall numbers have actually grown. While I think Moore’s article is better written, both make the point that raw data doesn’t tell the whole story. How we interpret that data is equally if not more important.
Ray Lewis spent his entire 17 year NFL career playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Even though he is retired, he remains highly respected in Baltimore. More than respected he’s practically an institution or perhaps royalty. It’s like Michael Jordan in Chicago or Hank Aaron in Atlanta (depending on which era you grew up in). Continue reading →
It made news last November when a 90 year old man was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, FL for feeding the homeless. 33 cities have either banned or are considering a ban on giving food to homeless people. It is not illegal to be homeless and the thinking, which is flawed, is that by cutting off support homeless people will go away. I used to wonder as a child why starving children shown on television didn’t just go somewhere else, where there was food and water. The world is a little more complicated than that, but city leaders are apparently susceptible to that line of thinking.
Loving people, providing for the needy, feeding the hungry, giving to anyone that asks – just one more thing Jesus would be arrested for today. Continue reading →
A very vocal critic of Ergun Caner once wrote to me via social media “If you are Caner’s friend you must be a liar too.” He further suggested I re-examine whether or not I am truly a born-again believer. Such is the foolishness that Ergun Caner has dealt with for many years.
I am going to politely suggest reading two pieces and strongly suggest, rather implore, that my Christian brothers and sisters pray for Caner and his family. The first is an article appearing yesterday in Baptist Press. This story not only provides background of the particular issues in an objective manner but attempts to set the record straight concerning conspiracies and cover ups. The second is a highly emotional plea from Bucky Kennedy to please put the issue to rest. Kennedy currently pastors First Baptist Church of Vidalia, GA and has previously served as President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Chairman of the Board at Brewton-Parker.
Please read the linked articles. Please thoughtfully and prayfully consider how you will respond when you hear gossip and criticism. Please pray for Ergun Caner and his family. Thank you.
Way back when in 2008 I posted Should Christians Fight the Culture War? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. This is an example of what happens when we do try to wrestle with flesh and blood rather than powers and principalities.
Video via CNN, no explicit language or images
In Warsaw, Ohio a strip club owner staged a protest outside of a local church during service on Sunday morning, complete with topless protesters carrying signs. Apparently New Beginnings Ministries has been protesting outside of the local strip club for years, taking pictures of customers license plates and calling the girls that work there things like tramps and whores. Church Pastor Bill Dunfee says it is the responsibility of the church to spread the Gospel, uplift the name of Jesus and confront evil. The confrontation of evil has resulted in a small crowd of strippers, employees and friends of the Foxhole Club to assembling a protest of their own. Be careful when you fight the culture war, the culture may just fight back. Continue reading →