Archives For culture

Do you want to get well?

Do we actually want to be well?

Do we actually want to be well?

I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately.  Because it sounds like a silly question.  If you asked a sick person if they want to get well, chances are you’d get some weird looks.

But as I look at the world around us, I think about the story of Jesus approaching the paralyzed man at the pool.  He’s been laying there for years.  Jesus, inexplicably, picks him out the crowd.  He doesn’t ask how long he’s been there.  He doesn’t ask if he needs help into the pool.  He asks instead,

“Do you want to get well.”

At first, I wondered why Jesus would ask such a question.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s not such a dumb question after all.  Our modern culture is positively obsessed with wellness, health, and self-improvement…

But do we actually want to get well?

The answer to that question, I’m not so sure of.

Continue Reading…

Influence.

Everyone seems to want it.

Everywhere I look, there are workshops and conferences and books and blogs dedicated to expanding our personal reach.  Growing our platforms.  Becoming better leaders of more people.  Apparently, that’s the goal we should be pursuing, to influence as many people as possible.  We live in a culture of celebrity everything.  Celebrity motivators, celebrity pastors.  Many Christians say the most influential Christian in their life is a celebrity, not a person they personally know.

But what does it even mean to influence people?  To change their opinions?  To motivate them?  To sell them a product?  To win their vote?

It took me a long time to realize that I don’t fit in the mold of the “leader” or “influencer” that everyone seems to say I should be.  My feet don’t fit those shoes.  I can’t be that kind of person who gathers throngs of people willing to follow me.

But I’ve realized something.  That it’s okay to not be an “influencer” in the sense that we’re being sold “influence.”  It’s okay not to be the “leader” that everyone is supposed to be.

I’m kind of ashamed it took me this long to figure it out.

This is what influence looks like to me. Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…