Fewer topics are more divisive within Christian communities than homosexuality. It is a volatile issue, splitting and dividing denominations and those who comprise them. Most church leaders would just as soon ignore the issue than take it head-on. Those that do, however, tend to fall into two camps.
On the extreme right, there are folks like Fred Phelps who broadcast the message, “God hates fags.” (It’s painful to even write those words.)
On the opposite side of the spectrum, denominations like the Episcopal Church USA proudly ordain openly gay men like Gene Robinson. Continue reading
The summer of 1999 was a special season for me. I got to fulfill a childhood dream of working and living on a farm. (Many thanks to Lee and Barb Miller of Barlee Farms!)
On one particular afternoon, I found myself in an 8640 John Deere 4×4 tractor pulling a 42’ wide field cultivator in a field that was 80 acres.
It is hard to describe the kind of pull that that field cultivator put on the tractor when I dropped those iron teeth into the black Iowa soil. Continue reading
The year was 1954. Dr. Jandali, professor at the University of Wisconsin, and student Joanne Schieble found themselves in a tough predicament. The two had been having extra “tutoring” sessions outside of class when Joanne and her professor realized the unthinkable: they were pregnant!
Joanne’s parents strongly objected to the relationship. So from the beginning things were not off to a good start. And now a baby!? Continue reading
Nothing cuts deeper than the death of a loved one in his prime.
So much expectation, potential, and promise are gone in a flash. Without warning, a car crash, terminal disease, or a bizarre, freak accident shatters unfulfilled dreams.
What follows is an empty pit in the stomach, a gut-wrench ache in the soul, a void where confusion and sorrow rush to fill. No words of solace can relieve the pain.
That was Mary and Martha’s reality one cold winter’s day in John 11. Their brother, Lazarus, lay sick on his deathbed. Doctors couldn’t help. Continue reading
This evening I had the joy of watching a seventh grade basketball game. Most of you know that “people watching” is a mild form of amusement for me. So I make it my regular practice to watch the teams play when I drive their bus to sporting events. This particular game was both comedic and instructive.
To begin, these guys played their hearts out. They were diving after loose balls, sprinting down the court, jumping after rebounds, setting picks, and batting down passes.
When you look down the road at the next twelve months, what do you see?
What weights heavy on your mind for 2013?
(Do you feel like this guy just thinking about these questions?)
…more economic uncertainty?
…concern over looming bills and less take home pay?
…a move or job change?
…a renewed sense of optimism and excitement over not-to-distant opportunities? Continue reading
America, we have a problem.
- 1 in 6 Americans live below the poverty level –
- that’s 15.1% of our population,
- or 46.2 million people making less than $22,300/year.
To put that number into perspective, the population of the ten largest cities in America are half that figure at 23.4 million. Continue reading
Posted in The Weather Report: Culture
Tagged call me maybe, church and state, culture, Democrates, didn't build that, health care, Obama, Obama care, post-political, Presidential race, Republicans, role of government, shovel ready jobs, Solyndra, systemic poverty, undecided
(Summary: In these series of posts, I’ve attempted to raise an important issue facing Christian leaders today, specifically how we go about fulfilling our cultural mandate in a fallen world. Then I offered a critique of the common assumptions and solutions for how the Church has historically sought to bring about lasting change. Seeing that the Church has embraced a definition of culture that is woefully inadequate, James Davison Hunter suggests culture is so complex that no one person or group can possibly hope to transform the culture. This brings us to this post where we will finally discover the best solution for world change.)
That’s right. I said it. We can’t change the world. Continue reading
Posted in The Tractor: Leadership
Tagged christian worldview, components of culture, culture, Evangelical, Evangelicalism, faithful, faithfulness, james davison hunter, leadership, politics, post-political, world change
I’ve been giving some thought to this year’s Presidential election. I’ve also been trying recently to put into practice Solomon’s advice from Ecclesiastes.
Squaring the two realities has been good for my soul and for gaining good perspective in life. So I thought I’d pass along some “fresh bread”. Perhaps you’ll find some benefit too!
Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25:
There is nothing better for people than to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in their work. I also perceived that this ability to find enjoyment comes from God. For no one can eat and drink or experience joy apart from him. (NET Bible)
This verse is the thrust of Ecclesiastes as it is a recurring theme throughout the book (see also 3:12, 22; and 8:15). Solomon is arguing that the only way to find true joy and satisfaction in life is to fear God and keep his commands. Continue reading
Something struck me the other day as I was reading the first two chapters of Matthew.
Joseph’s quiet, unassuming obedience during a time of mystifying circumstances commends him as someone worthy of example.
- Joseph had every right to publicly expose Mary for her alleged infidelity. But with a heart that must have been broken, he wisely and lovingly elects to divorce her quietly. He does not act in bitterness but in tenderness of heart all the while upholding the OT Law (Deut. 22:23-24).
- Joseph, against all probabilities, trusted the message of the angel of the Lord and took Mary as his wife. Yet he did not sleep with her! His obedience helped to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. Continue reading