Archives For culture

There has been a lot of chatter lately about Millennials.Time-Magazine-The-Me-Me-Me-Generation

About how they are leaving the church.

I’m on the high end of the Millennial generation, old enough to be able to look over the expanse of people younger than I, while still getting to be lumped in with all of them, statistically speaking.  My specific age group was at the forefront of the exodus from the church.  You could say we were the trailblazers.

If there’s one word that is applied to Millennials more often than any other, it has to be the ‘E’ word:

Entitled.  Everyone says that Millennials are entitled.  When it comes to figuring out why so many left the church, it’s easy for many of the old guard to say “It’s because they’re a bunch of entitled, self-important narcissists.”

And let me tell you something, Millennials.

You are entitled.

You are a very, very entitled generation.

Let me tell you what I mean, specifically as it relates to you leaving the church.

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You probably already know this…FrancisPlane

Basically, Pope Francis is a rock star.  He just finished touring South America, where he was mobbed by thousands of cheering people on beaches.  There is nothing solemn, reserved, or shy about him.  He is magnetic.  I’m not a Catholic, but I like this guy a lot.

And as if a successful tour of a continent weren’t enough, Francis really made news while talking to reporters, going off-script, as it were, and uttering these words:

“Who am I to judge?”

You may already know the context of those words.  But if you don’t, you can read about it here.

My first thought was, “Who are you to judge??? You’re the freaking Pope, that’s who!  You can judge whoever the heck you want!”

But as the utter profundity, the ironic contradiction of the Pope’s words seeped into my mind, I realized something:

That much of my life, my faith has been broken.  It’s been saddled with an illness, an illness not unlike obsessive-compulsive disorder.  You know, the condition where the guy has to have everything just right, everything in its place.

This is my Obsessive-Compulsive Christianity. Continue Reading…

Charles Darwin, long the bane of evangelicalism, the author of Origin of Species.survival_of_fittest_02

Evolutionary theory has always been hotly debated.  It’s existence in science classes is seen as an affront and attack on Creationism and Bible-believing Christians.  Every fish with legs is personal insult to Christians.  Charles Darwin might as well be satan himself to Six Day Creationists, his theories conceived in the dark bowels of hell.

But for all of the scientific discussions, all of the angry protestations to the contrary, it is clear to me that while we may publicly decry Darwin, we secretly love him.

What has come to my attention is that while there are plenty of Christians who denounce Darwin in their beliefs, everything about our society, our culture, our churches demonstrate the opposite.  Jesus might be nice, but Darwin is our real teacher.

There’s nothing left to do but own up to it:

our Darwinian Christianity.  Continue Reading…

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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