While reading a book for one of my classes, I ran across a statement that stuck with me. The book contained a diatribe about things that characterize our modern worldview. In the middle of the rant, the author made that statement that people in our postmodern society were “allergic to authority.”
Allergic to authority… that actually sums it up fairly well.
While I do not like the fact that this phrase subtly removes the blame from the individual for their desire to subvert authority (you can not really blame someone for having an allergy to something), it still makes the point.
We hate authority.
At least, it appears as though we do. The word congers up the idea of some structure put over us to control us. No, that is not what we want! We want our freedom, and we want to act however we feel like acting. After all, that is our right, is it not? We should be able to think what we want, do what we want, say what we want, and live however we want. And, anytime someone tries to come in and tell us otherwise, we get fuzzed up, and start to holler for our rights. Or, we simply choose to spite them and do what we want anyways. Yeah… we are allergic to authority. Continue reading
We do it without even realizing it.
We walk through our day, in virtually every way, as consumers. After all, that is what we are taught to do. Our culture filled us so full of a consumerist worldview that we internalized this approach to life. It is interred in our bones.
Ever since you were little, the television said you could “have it your way”, to “just do it”, and that it is “because you’re worth it.” The list of advertising slogans and kitschy mottoes is unending. And behind every one, the subtle idea that our wishes and desires should be the motivating factor for our actions. Truly, our society is built on the premise that we have the freedom to make choices, and that we make these choices to better ourselves.
When we shop, we buy what we want. When we go to a restaurant, we choose what satisfies our cravings. When we join a gym or choose a bank or pick a cellphone company, we do all of these things based on which one will serve us best. This process is so ingrained into our subconscious that we will analyze a product or service for its perceived benefit to us without even noticing that it is how we make decisions.
In fact, it appears to be how we make all decisions. Continue reading
“How far is too far?”
If you have ever worked with a youth group, that question is not new to you. For that matter, if you were ever in a youth group, that question probably crossed your lips, or at least your mind.
And that question applies to more than one scenario. As a matter of fact, it seems like it fits most any situation. Sex? Yes. Alcohol, drugs, and other substances? Of course. Foul language? Certainly. Our clothing choices? Indeed.
The question does not seem to go away with age. As we leave school for the “real world,” we still live our lives asking that question when it comes to our conduct. Except, this time it pertains to other, more adult matters. How friendly should I be with a coworker of the opposite sex? How much can I leave off when reporting my income on my taxes?
What is more, if we ask three different people, we are likely to get three different answers. For instance, parents are very likely to give a completely different standard than a buddy in the youth group. Continue reading
The gospel changes things.
I was reminded of this truth today during a conversation with a friend who also spent some time overseas as a missionary. We were waxing verbose about some ongoing discussion in one of his missions classes at the seminary. It was the familiar question of contextualization and how we must interact with foreign cultures.
Frequently, people seem to misunderstand the whole point of this conversation, as though the purpose of the contextualization is to preserve the foreign culture into which we take the gospel. People get all bent out of shape about the thought of things coming in and changing the host culture, as though we are trying to preserve their unique way of life.
But that is not the point. Continue reading
People dislike the church.
I am not talking about people who do not claim to be a part of a church. I do not expect people who are not Christians to be satisfied with the church. I expect people who do not profess Christ to have a negative view of the church.
No, I am talking about the church’s members. I am referring to those who profess Christ as their Lord. I am talking about people who fill the pews on Sundays. People in the church are not satisfied with it.
God likes community.
How do I know this? Well, it is written all over the place. In Genesis, God creates everything from nothing, and as the pinnacle of that creation he makes man in his image. As soon as he does, God creates woman because it is not good that man be alone.
In Abraham, God promises to create a nation. In Exodus, God rescues that same nation out of Egypt, saves them from bondage, and makes them a people. The rest of the Old Testament deals with this people and their attempts, or lack thereof, at community.
Enter Jesus. Continue reading
At least, that is what they say.
It has been over a month since my last post. As best I can recollect, that is my longest stretch of inactivity in almost two years, and it has been really hard to start back. As a matter of fact, many times I sat down to pen a post, and left with a blank piece of paper. It seems it got harder with every passing day.
Why is that?
At first gloss, I could blame it on my schedule. The last month of my life was busier than any I can remember. That was the excuse I used with myself to justify not writing. I figured, if I did not have time for sleep and other such luxuries, then surely I had no time to write.
So I chose not to write. Continue reading
“A shepherd should smell like his sheep.”
If you think about the above statement, it seems like common sense. Of course a shepherd would smell like sheep. After all, it is his job to spend his time around sheep. It is his job to follow sheep, herd sheep, find sheep when they are lost, and discipline sheep when they get out of line. And a job like that keeps someone walking where sheep walk. It keeps them stepping where sheep step. The lint of wool should be on their garments and the odor in their skin. So goes the life of a shepherd. Continue reading
The Bible is the very words of God.
While some of the people who read this blog may not agree with the above statement, I feel the majority of my readership does. As a matter of fact, if I had to guess, I think the majority of my readership would be adamant in their proclamation of those words.
After all, the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture is one of our distinctives as evangelicals. We stand on those words as a symbol of what it means to be evangelical. The total truthfulness of God’s word is proclaimed from our pulpits, in our literature, and on our t-shirts.
Heck, we Southern Baptists fought a battle over it.
If you look at the Baptist Faith and Message, the doctrinal statement for our denomination, the very first point is about the nature of Scripture. Evidently, we like to say we believe the Bible is God’s words.
But, do we really? Continue reading
Sunday was a big day for my church.
Instead of meeting at our little storefront building, we piled in cars and headed out to the lake for a celebration. It was a milestone day for our church, as we officially turned one year old.
In this past year, God has been gracious to fill our seats with people and develop a community like few I have ever experienced. We have seen lives changed by the gospel, and lives given in surrender to the great commission. Most of all, we have seen a group of people who did not know each other a year ago, become a unified body. In this past year, a church was born.
Needless to say, it was reason to celebrate.
In the middle of all the celebration, a realization hit me. Corporate worship is, itself, a celebration. Let me demonstrate my point. Continue reading