Why is Nobody Talking About the Starbucks Advent Calendar?

I can’t believe plain red cups are the biggest trending story in social media this week but like I’ve said before no news is good news. So let me put on my Christian blogger hat and do the dance.

Screenshot 2015-11-10 at 10.59.11 AMUnless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you probably recognize former pastor Joshua Feuerstein from his viral video. He infamously pranked Starbucks into selling him a $4 cup of coffee. The evangelist is outraged over Starbucks “war on Christmas” that produced this year’s plain red holiday cup. The lack of snowflakes, doves and trees led Feuerstein to declare that Starbucks hates Jesus. The video describing the prank – that’s a screenshot on the left, no I’m not linking to it – has been viewed 14.5 million times since last Thursday. He told the barista his name was Merry Christmas so they would have to write that on his cup. He’s been drinking the Charlie Sheen Kool-Aid and considers this “winning.” Like I say, he tricked them into selling him coffee. They never saw it coming. Continue reading

More Alike Than Different

apostles_creedIf your neighborhood is anything like mine, there is a church on every corner. The population of the county I live in is a little less than 56,000 and I would not be surprised if there were 150 churches. Without getting into church splits and all the baggage that entails, let’s ask this question instead: Are there really that many theological and doctrinal issues that divide us? While there are some real distinctives, such as between Protestants and Catholics, the truth is most Christians are more alike than we are different. To define the differences between Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians we really have to get kind of nit-picky. The basic tenants of the Christian faith – in other words the things that really matter – are shared by all Christians everywhere.

Please read this post from the original Internet Monk. The discussions and debates can be a distraction to those of us inside the church and a stumbling block to those on the outside, but at the end of the day we are more alike than we are different.

What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

Phil Robertson, A&E, and the Beliefs of True Christians

phil A&E has suspended Phil Robertson from the reality series Duck Dynasty, and the Internet is blowing up. It has nothing to do with anything said or done on the show, but remarks he made in an interview with GQ magazine. Here is part of what Phil said:

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

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Does That Mean Denominations?

Screenshot 2013-04-08 at 8.41.09 AMBear with me for a moment. I have not consulted the biblical commentaries nor even my ESV Study Bible notes, and I haven’t searched the Christian blogosphere for other opinions. I’m going to toss this out there and see what comes back. In John 9 Jesus was talking about the least and greatest, and then…

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50, ESV) Continue reading

The Bible on History

Bible, on HistoryI said the same prayer for the History Channel’s presentation of the Bible that I did for GSN’s Great American Bible Challenge last summer: please Lord, don’t let it be stupid. For the sake of Christian’s everywhere, I hoped it would not be something I had to apologize for to non-Christians/ unbelievers.

The Bible premiered tonight on History. For the most part, I would have to say that I liked it. Getting the story of all scripture into ten hours is an ambitious undertaking. Some things must be left out, and other parts of the story condensed. But if that’s the case, then why add anything that is not included in scripture? For all the drama the Bible contains, why add anything for dramatic effect? The producers must have known that some of us would be watching that know the Bible well. For our sake, why not remain as true to the original as possible? Continue reading

A Short Lesson About Reading the Bible

bibleThere’s an old saying about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.  The key to understanding scripture is context.  If you quote half a verse to support any argument, the first thing I’m going to do is go find the whole verse, then read the whole paragraph.  We need to know who is writing, to whom, and under what circumstances before applying any particular verse to our situation.

There are always critics of religion in general and of Christianity in particular that insist religion was invented or the Bible was written to control people.  Roman emperors used religion to build an empire, Medieval kings used it to build wealth and add territory, and Christians today use scripture to justify everything from suppressing women to persecuting homosexuals.  Sadly, to some extent, each of those arguments have some merit.  Emperor Constantine made the switch from persecuting Christians to embracing Christianity in order to defeat the enemies of the Roman Empire.  I think we should blame Rome for that, not Christ.  The problem with the Middle Ages is that the vast majority of Europeans were illiterate.  If the kings and knights of Medieval Europe could have read the Bible for themselves, they would not have been so easily manipulated.  Thank God for Gutenberg,  am I right?  Which brings us to today. Continue reading