Willard boldly challenges the thought that we can be Christians without being disciples, or call ourselves Christians without applying this understanding of life in the Kingdom of God to every aspect of life on earth.
A few weeks ago during the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, Christians were posting stuff on Facebook like, “maybe you choose to believe we came from monkeys, but I believe the Bible.”
Evolution in fact does not teach that human beings came from monkeys. It teaches that both humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. In saying those things, Christians were disowning evolution, even as they showed how dramatically they did not understand evolution. It’s so reactionary, quite small, and pretty darn embarrassing to those of us who think it’s important to know at least something about the thing you’re opposing before you oppose it. It reminds me a little of all the Christians years ago who were protesting “The Last Temptation of Christ,” the majority of whom apparently had not seen it.
It would be like me standing up at a football game and screaming, “You can support the traditional rules of football if you want, but as for me, I’m in favor of the designated hitter.”
No matter your opinion of this post, you’re my friend and I love you, I just thought I’d say a few words in favor of knowledge. How badly more of that is needed! But in order to pursue knowledge, a person must face and conquer fear. Fear (of how knowledge may rock their worlds and challenge their beliefs) is the reason people often choose to remain ignorant, though there has probably never been a time in history where we have less of an excuse for not knowing.
Christians, consider this: If Jesus is who you believe him to be, he knows everything there is to be known. If that’s the case, why should you fear knowledge? The only answer is because you’re afraid you might learn something that makes faith difficult. But that’s not a good reason, because truth is simply reality, the way things actually are. If your God can’t handle the way things really are, that being is not God. At least not any more so than Zeus.
Intro to a controversial question: Is everyone racist?
This article from The Onion recently provoked some good thoughts among some of my conservative brethren and really got me thinking about why it is that conservative arguments on various issues are so often dismissed as racist on some level.
The issue of who is racist and to what degree is in a “post-explosive” state at this point. Conservatives are so used to being called racists that many of them have been intimidated into silence, and liberals have taken for granted so deeply the racism of conservatives that liberals are now more or less permanently “on alert” for those opinions and worldviews at all times, ready to pounce and judge as soon as they are expressed by conservatives.
Continue Reading »
As expected, my recent post about the Duck Dynasty issue has had tons of readers, a lot of Facebook shares, and sparked incredible debate/dialogue, especially where it appeared on Facebook. If you do not follow my writer page there, I hope you will sign on and join in the conversation! The post below is an edited version of something I just posted on Facebook that I think stands alone as a unique statement on my views not only of homosexuality, but -- more important -- of the relationship between God and all of us.
Note: All scripture links were added after I finished the post, not as I wrote it. My worldview is deeply rooted in the Bible's ancient wisdom, and I wanted to provide these links for all who are interested.
I have gone from thinking about this issue of God and gays theologically to thinking about it relationally (though I think the best theological thinking IS relational thinking). If one of my daughters announced she was gay, it would change NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL. I certainly would not hope for her salvation, at least not any more than anyone else’s, because I believe that if I love my daughters so deeply, God must love them infinitely more, and since my daughters are safe in my care, they must be infinitely safer in God’s. I think the reason Jesus commanded love is precisely because of the way loves biases us so strongly in favor of people, puts us so firmly in their corner and on their side, no matter what.
When I do think of this issue theologically, I see it as something that is evolving culturally, and that that is by no means a bad thing. The Bible pretty much endorses slavery, and for years many used scripture to resist racial equality, but at some point the church began to understand that there simply is no good argument in favor of this terrible thing, regardless of what the Bible seemed to be saying. Yes, even in the face of the Bible’s seeming endorsement of slavery, we can confidently pronounce it a great evil — indeed one of the greatest, because it so fundamentally stands against the spirit of what it means to be human. In the same way, the church will view homosexuality differently in the years to come, and that has already begun. I realize this statement will inflame some people, but anyone who cannot see this is simply not fairly considering past history, current events, and how we know things like this march forward, with the conservative faction dragging their feet but eventually coming along nonetheless.
This simply is the road the church is on and there is no stemming that tide. I say this despite the fact that in some ways my own faith tradition is trying to do exactly that.
Continue Reading »
Yesterday one of Wildwind‘s small group leaders texted me asking if I wouldn’t mind explaining the Biblical understanding of righteousness. He said the word had, for him and his group members, a bit of a negative connotation. I’m not sure why this is, other than possibly its legalistic undertone and associations (conscious or not) with self-righteousness. He said the best they were understanding it, it was God’s standard of what is right and wrong. I emailed him an answer that, of course, was more like a personalized sermon so, rather than let it go to waste, I thought I’d post it here for anyone who is interested. If you view God as someone who is ready to punish you, or who demands behavioral perfection from you, I encourage you to read this.
Okay, big theological question here. You’ve pretty much got it, but let me nuance it a little bit. Check out this verse in these two translations:
Matthew 5:20 (NIV)
20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20 (MSG)
20 Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.
I would encourage you to read the verse in context. Jesus is talking, really, about the impossibility of meeting God’s standard of righteousness. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were impeccable in matters of right living. NO ONE could surpass them, and everyone knew it. So what’s the catch? What is righteousness, then?
Continue Reading »