I remember listening to missionaries tell stories and share slide shows – not Power Point projections, actual slides on carousels. They were from “the mission field” a place with terrible roads, lack of electricity and unsafe drinking water. They worked with people that looked, dressed and spoke differently than we did. What I knew about missions as a child is that they were far away, in difficult to reach places, and we needed to fund missionaries to print Bibles and build churches. I also hoped, at a young age mind you, that God didn’t call me to the mission field because I didn’t want to go. Continue reading
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
First, a word about society. Our culture at large has pretty low expectations for behavior. Honesty, morality, decency and work ethic are no longer expected from most people. Slipping in a few minutes late, taking home a few office supplies, riding the clock a few minutes here or there is what employers and co-workers expect as normal these days. People will do what they can get away with, at school, at work, at red lights without cameras, filing their income taxes, etc. I’m not talking about embezzling corporate funds, I’m talking about the “little things” that supposedly everybody does, from running errands in the company car to flirting with the waitress.
Hopefully Christians – I said hopefully – attempt to rise above falling expectations. Continue reading
I’ve written before on Christians fighting the culture war. It is certainly going on, but to what degree are we expected to change this culture we live in versus walk circumspectly of it? Paul was certainly aware of what went on in the public bath houses as he planted churches across Greece, but we don’t find him standing outside those bath houses carrying signs in the first century. He went on planting churches and training pastors, and as far was we know never once made a sandwich board about God hating fags. (Google Fred Phelps if that doesn’t make sense).
Many Christians, evangelicals in particular, have done a questionable job dealing with cultural issues like homosexuality. Can a homosexual also be a Christian? Please don’t answer that question, at least not here. Check out the conversation going on over at Life in Mordor. The Fellowship has grown to three, and as far as I know the door has not been closed. Joe Derbes wasted no time, and jumped right in with both feet on this issue.
This is what the ancient ruins of Corinth look like today. Special thanks to Joe for the image, who had the chance to visit this site last year.
The Apostle Paul spent most of his ministry in places like Greece and Rome, far away from the church at Jerusalem and God’s chosen people, the Hebrews. The Grecco-Roman world was populated by a pantheon of pagan gods and goddesses, whose stories of jelousy and betrayal make our soap operas look like children’s stories. It is probably safe to say most Greek adult men were bisexual (I was actually taught they all were.) A skilled craftsmen, for instance, would have had a wife and children at home, but also have been having sex with a younger apprentice who was studying the master’s trade. This was typical in the culture. The public bath houses were “meeting places” for leaders of the city and merchants to meet daily. The original Olympic games were held nude; and only men were allowed.
Paul would have been surrounded by it. There’s no way he missed the decadent and sinful way of life going on all around him. But we don’t see Paul marching through the streets of Corinth or Ephesus wearing a sandwich board sign declaring that “God hates fags,” Fred Phelps style. Continue reading