Archives For culture

Jesus had some bad habits.

I’m sure he didn’t brush his teeth everyday.  And he was pretty bad at giving people direct answers to their questions.  He was known to have bad table manners when he went to the temple…

…And Jesus was friends with all the wrong people.

Of course, you already know that.  You know that Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors and all sorts of other seedy characters.  They were the “wrong” people to be hanging out with.  We romanticize this idea – how welcoming and kind Jesus was to everyone to all the outcasts…

…And then we make sure we do the opposite.

Since my post last week sparked a lot of good discussion, I’ve been thinking a lot about who are the “wrong” people for us to hang out with, the “wrong” sins to forgive.

The conclusion I came to surprised me.

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How far will our churches go in order to preserve so-called “Biblical” values?

I have said it before – that in the future, churches will have a very real choice to make about how they treat a growing population of young people that identify as gay.

That day has come.

Credit: The Huffington Post

Credit: The Huffington Post

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched the commentaries and predictions trickle out about how churches will react to the Boy Scouts’ decision to allow gay youth members (the alternative has been to retroactively and horrifyingly strip boys of their awards after coming out).  The consensus among prominent evangelical leaders such as Dr. Richard Land seems to be that among the Baptists, the Assemblies of God, and other conservative wings of the church, there will be a “mass exodus.”  Churches will stop sponsoring scouting units in protest of the new policy.

On the surface, I can see how an average evangelical might think this is justified.  Homosexuality is supposedly not “Biblical,” after all.  Being “Biblical” and thinking “Biblically” and having a “Biblical” worldview is always the great monolithic justification for churches acting this way.

But what it looks like to me?  It looks like thousands of churches are finally going to announce – once and for all – that their priority is being Biblical churches, not Gospel churches.

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PSA: I’m still on a half-sabbatical from the blog, and it is doing me a lot of good.  I’m giving my mind space to refill with good thoughts, and I thank you all for hanging with me each Wednesday for a weekly conversation.  I hope this summer is a restful time for you as well.

Tim-Tebow-New-England-PatriotsI thought we were on the verge of learning a lesson, us Christians.

Tim Tebow had a meteoric rise to fame. Sure, he had some detractors.   But for a few fleeting moments, he was our golden boy.

And then…life happened.  Tebow’s challenges wouldn’t normally have been noticed much.  But the popularity and expectations he had been bestowed with were wildly disproportionate to his accomplishments.

It became clear to me, and I know I’m not alone, that we had made an idol out of poor Tim Tebow.  Perhaps we had expected too much out of a mere man.

But perhaps just as that lesson was about to sink in, the Patriots decided to take him on.  Immediately, my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled up with righteous vindication from Christians everywhere.  God had come through – not just for Tim, but for all of us.

I can’t help but think that the relief Tim feels of signing a new contract must be somewhat canceled out by the knowledge that the expectations on him have only grown again.  So before we prop our favorite idol back onto his pedestal, let’s remember a few things about all of our other heroes.

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Hey friends, it’s good to be back after a long break to visit Moody Publishers in Chicago!  I had a blast touring the campus and doing radio interviews.  I’m so proud to be a part of what they are doing.  

PSA: I’ve decided that for the next few weeks, I’m going to reduce my posts to just Wednesdays.  It’s not forever.  But for over four years, I’ve posted three times a week, and after Life After Art’s first incredibly busy couple of months, I need to recharge my batteries a bit.  I don’t want to get completely out of the groove, so I’ll still see you here once a week.

Now, let’s get into it.

1368072010483_842_21xFDin7ambf1_0_0I’ve been watching the controversy surrounding Abercrombie and Fitch the last couple of weeks.

First, CEO Mike Jeffries made some comments which confirmed what everyone knows: that they don’t actually want most of us wearing their clothes.  That backfired.

Then, Greg Karber tried to make a clever statement by giving used A&F clothes to homeless people.  A lot of us (including me, I admit) thought at first glance that it was a cool idea, until we looked closer and realized it wasn’t.  That backfired too.

No one appreciated Jeffries’ bold honesty about his company’s vision.  So, what does a clothing store for the coolest kids in school have to say to churches?  Maybe more than we might think.

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Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 4.54.50 PM.png.CROP.rectangle3-large.54.50 PMThe apostle Paul called the cross “offensive.”

He said it was a “stumbling block.”

It’s easy to see what he meant.  No one had contemplated the idea of worshipping a man who died disgracefully.  A slave’s death.  A notorious death.  The cross was a symbol of “Pax Romana,” the peace that Rome enforced by executing enemies of the state.

But I wonder…are people really still offended by the cross?  (Not just because we are inundated with violent entertainment.)

Are people really stumbling over the gospel?  Are they tripping over Jesus’ words?

Jesus said that people would hate us, his followers, on account of him.

I’m not sure Jesus’ words are all that true anymore.  People aren’t offended by the cross or stumbling over the gospel or hating us on account of Jesus.  The fact is most people can’t get close enough to Jesus to be offended by him…

…They’re too offended by us. Continue Reading…


Life After Art is available next Monday! Remember, when you order your copy, forward your receipt to for three other freebies from me and Moody Publishers.

The customer is always right.

That’s the saying.  Even though it’s not true.  Customers are usually wrong.  But we say that the customer is right and set out to satisfy them so we’ll keep their business.  It’s really a mantra of capitalism.  Give the customer what they want so they’ll keep giving us their money.  Whatever it takes.

But the smartest businesses don’t give customers what they want.

And neither should churches…especially this weekend.

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