Archives For politics

Way to "engage" with the culture.

Way to “engage” with the culture.

Over the last few weeks, my social media feeds have been filled with plenty of Christians trying to discern how the church will “respond” to the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

Most of the responses are based on fear.

Most of the responses belie an “attack and defend” concept of the church.

There are plenty of Christians who think the American church is on the ropes, that we are very close to becoming a persecuted minority. Soon, pastors will be forced to perform weddings they do not agree with, churches will lose their tax exemptions, and perhaps even worse consequences will occur. Cultural influencers publicly cry that there are thousands of pastors willing to “die” for this cause.

And you know what I can now conclusively say?

All of these responses, based on fear, defensively postured, conceptualized as “attack and defend” are kind of pathetic.

And if your church is responding this way, it’s kind of pathetic too.

Here’s why.

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What if your church was infested?

After they burned Heretic Steve, the congregation enjoyed their monthly potluck dinner in peace.

After they burned Heretic Steve, the congregation enjoyed their monthly potluck dinner in peace.

Not infested with roaches or termites. What if your church was infested with heretics?

What if there were people who were actually inside your church, people who sat in church every Sunday, who pretended to be like you and me, but they were anything but? What if they were imposters who did not catch the “vision” of your church? What if someone was not so sure about some of the basic faith tenants that your pastor teaches?

Would you round them up?

Would you interrogate them?

Would you “bug bomb” your church to get rid of the heretics once and for all and keep the church pure and clean?

Well here’s the thing, people. Our churches are infested. And it’s up to us to decide what we are going to do about it.

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So, I was not very successful in avoiding the internet this week.hobby-lobby

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and other Christian companies has produced a veritable flood of contradictory comments in my social media feed. One person praises Jesus for a religious freedom “win.” The next person shakes his fist at the heavens. (I credit this to me, being very non-discriminatory with whom I associate with online, thank you very much.)

Still, it can make for a frustrating exercise to see so much anger on one side and so much righteous glee on the other, and everyone in favor of burning everyone else at the stake.

So I’ve sorted out the facts and the opinions.

And I’ve come to an inescapable conclusion.

I believe the Supreme Court had to rule the way it did. Evaluating religious beliefs in a court is a dangerous precedent.

But, the decision is by no means a “win.” It is bad…for everyone. We are all losers in this fight. We would still all lose if the court had gone the other way.

There is just no good outcome of any of this. Here’s why.

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This week, Arizona finds itself at the center of American political discussion.

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Rep. Steve Yarborough is concerned about religious people being discriminated against.

The reason? The bill that now sits on the governor’s desk, waiting for a signature or a veto, which protects businesses and their “religious convictions.”

The religious convictions in question are specifically those convictions which pertain to whom the business owner should deny service.

Last year, an Arizona couple were denied service by a bakery when they requested a wedding cake. A New Mexico couple were turned down by a photographer because taking pictures would violate his convictions as a “born again Christian.” Both couples were denied service because they are same-sex couples.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Yarborough says, “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

I’ll let you parse the irony of that statement as you see fit. I don’t have a thing to say about it.

But as the cost of doing business in America rises, financially and for some people, morally, there is a lot that I am thankful for as bills like these are debated all over the country. Continue Reading…

Quit Ruining the Internet

January 25, 2013

commentsI love a good conversation.

I love a healthy debate, even a fired up but friendly debate.  I love all of you who comment here on my blog, even when you disagree vehemently with me.  I think it brings people to better mutual understanding, even if no one’s minds are changed.  I feel like I grow a bit whenever one of you disagrees with me.

I have had some really challenging discussions with some of my best friends.  I’ve even had some incredible disagreements with my wife.  And none of these disagreements have ever resulted in name calling, personal attacks or expletives being lobbed like grenades.

But it should be clear to anyone who reads the comment section of the average news site that most people are completely incapable of rational, civilized discussion.  Comments are often the rhetorical equivalent of chimps hurling feces at each other.  Many of these comments come from people who claim to be Christians.

I’ve jotted down a few of the most frequently occurring and egregious comments that are ruining the comment sections of the internet.

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I hope you all like sequels.movie-300-fiscal-cliff-2-620x374

Hollywood knows we like sequels and rehashes to familiar stories.  We gobble them up.  We demand more.

So maybe Congress is just taking a cue from Hollywood.

Last week, we “averted” the so called “fiscal cliff” with a last minute deal to fend off a doomsday-like scenario of automatic tax hikes.

But we did so in a way that solved absolutely no problems whatsoever.  And, once again, the can was kicked down the road.  I hope you like sequels, because we are going to watch this farce unfold again in March.

Everyone knows someone who just can’t get their act together.  No matter how much they struggle, no matter how much help or how many second chances they get, they just can’t stop being a completely trainwreck, a lightning rod, and a dysfunctional mess.  I’ve come to see our government as our dysfunctional, roadkill-like friend.  It’s awful to watch, but we can’t look away.

But despite all of this, I think we actually can learn something from an old-fashioned game of “kick the can” with our representatives in Washington.

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