Thursday, June 30, 2016

If the Church Were A Haven . . .

In the days following the Orlando shooting, many mourners observed that clubs like Pulse have been among the precious few places for the LGBTQ community throughout its history to find respite from ridicule (and worse). Craig Rodwell, founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in New York, spoke for many when he said years ago, “Bars have always been our only place, our haven in a sense.” Or as Jes Kast put it on Twitter in the aftermath of Orlando, “A night club is like a sanctuary when a sanctuary hasn’t welcomed you.” Some of the clubs have even borne that name—“Sanctuary”—in neon, like a lighthouse pointing the way to safety.

You can read the rest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Too Focused on Religious Liberty?

In The Fractured RepublicYuval Levin urges social conservatives to cultivate communities where our distinctive moral vision can flourish.
But Levin also cautions against making religious liberty protections the sole or most important priority.
You can read the rest.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Importance of Everyone Loving Enemies

For the horror of Orlando Pulse,
There is a time for anger and activism.
There is a time for healing and hope.
Now is a time for mourning.
For remembrance. For honoring those innocently lost.
For sincere prayers that the Lord’s love and justice reigns in a world that creates infinite iterations of suffering.
Do not let your anger for what happened turn into their hate.
Because at that point, your hate is no better than their hate. It’s just hate. And there are no positive attributes to the dredge and expanse of hate.
The only way to stop their extremism is for us to stop making hate an acceptable response.
Since the massacre the majority of those on the internet are Christians blaming Muslims. LGBTs blaming Christians. Muslims blaming extremists. Atheists blaming religion.
Love cannot defeat hate when love is being used as the excuse to hate.
You can read the rest.

Monday, June 27, 2016

National Tragedy, Facebook and Communion

Have you noticed how the past few national tragedies have been more polarizing than bringing people together?
Tuesday of this past week, there was an article in the New York Times that lamented this fact. The article quoted Gary Mormino, a retired historian from the University of South Florida, who said:
"Past tragedies tended to unify Americans— some people will recall how, after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s calm but assertive radio talks bonded the country, elevating hopes. Many more will remember the feeling of shared grief as the television broadcaster Walter Cronkite wiped a tear while reporting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But 2016 brings together the toxic elements of an election year, presidential candidates who polarize the electorate, voters who are afraid and angry, and a press eager to exploit the spectacle of division and disaster…Alas, we live in a balkanized state and nation."
Why is that? My hunch is because we live in a world with too much Facebook and not enough communion.
You can read the rest.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Church Sign 6/24/16

Not sure the analogy quite works.

But hey, you can get 10% off a manicure!

HT: Ed Stetzer

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Must I Join a Church to be a Christian?

HT: Jeff Robinson

I have heard many versions of this notion over the years, phrased as both a statement and a declaration. “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian—do I?”
More often than not, it’s been put this way: “I love Jesus and the Bible, but I don’t love the church.” Or those more inclined toward a na├»ve spiritualism have spun it as, “I can spend time with the Lord out in the woods. I don’t need the distraction of other people. Just me and nature and God.”
Yet, after years of hearing these pithy aphorisms and being asked this question (with the “no” answer often strongly implied), I remain unconvinced that one can be a Christian and intentionally remain outside the visible, local church. Granted, the grounds of a sinner’s salvation in Scripture are clear: Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone. True, the Bible never adds “church membership” as a condition of salvation. But note the qualifier “intentionally” in my thesis—it is the key pillar in my argument. I am here assuming the individual making this query is intentionally seeking to avoid church membership and church attendance while claiming to be a follower of Christ.
You can read the rest.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

California's State Religion

From the OC Register and the Los Angeles Daily News . . .

In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but rather something that increasingly resembles something more akin to the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.
Two pieces of legislation introduced in the last legislative session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion.
You can read the rest.