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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Men, Superheroes and Church

This post by David Murrow of Church for Men resonated strongly with me, because what he's describing men (especially young men) want is what I want. His description of the sociological forces that have developed over a century and a half that have put men in an unmanly predicament, though probably not comprehensive, is also compelling. Please check this out, especially if you are either a young man or a middle-age-or-older woman. I request this of the latter because some day you may be in a church with a pastor like me delivering a sermon like this that alienates you and you don't understand it. I want you to know why.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

When I belonged to a predominantly black church I experienced celebration in giving our tithes and offerings that made it one of the best parts of the service. It couldn't have been more biblical; I felt like I was rejoicing with Israel in the Old Testament. But I never saw anyone give his offering like this guy in a church in Africa.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Away with Them

It is a grim irony: in the Roman Empire before Constantine, the principal charge laid against Christians was that they were atheists, of all things, because they refused to worship false gods, including Caesar himself. In the second century, Polycarp, the old bishop of Smyrna, was captured and taken into the arena. Being threatened by wild animals and fire, the proconsul urged him to repent by saying, “Away with the atheists.” Polycarp gestured at the bloodthirsty crowd in the stands, who refused to worship the true God, the Father of Jesus Christ, and pronounced, “Away with the atheists!”

I have an image in my mind that I’m standing in a courtroom being threatened with severe punishment. The judge tells me I can avoid my fate by saying, “Away with the bigots.” I turn and gesture to the jury, the officers, the prosecutors, and the packed gallery and say, “Away with the bigots!”

They tried to burn Polycarp at the stake, but the flame wouldn't touch him. So they plunged a dagger into him and he died.