The beauty and tragedy of Christianity

The group I am with teaching in Ethiopia visited an Orthodox Church and monastery yesterday. It was a visit revealing both the beauty and tragedy of Orthodox Christianity. I have studied Orthodox Christianity over the years and have a deep appreciation for the beauty that led to the liturgies they now have. Were it not for the Orthodox Church, we would not have settled major doctrines like the person and deity of Christ, or come up with concepts wrapped in a word like “Trinity.” Continue reading “The beauty and tragedy of Christianity”

Moving beyond knowing “right answers”

Knowing “right answers” doesn’t mean we believe those answers. To believe is to live in a way where we act as though they are true.

We can “know” the right answers about salvation, Jesus, etc. Living out what Jesus said becomes another matter. How can we possibly say we believe in Christ and then NOT do what he said? How can NOT live out the principles he modeled for us? Yet, we do it all the time.  Continue reading “Moving beyond knowing “right answers””

The Daniel Generation has to KNOW THEIR GOD

I shared a post yesterday about a word from the Lord concerning our current status in the American Church and seven things we need to understand if we are to be the Daniel Generation that is needed at this time.

As I reflected on that word yesterday afternoon I was stirred in my spirit again because what is fundamental to a Daniel Generation is Daniel’s heart. He was already in the habit of knowing God. It was out of that deep core of practice that he could not be shaken.

If our current American Christian environment doesn’t wake up and create deep habits that draw us continually into the presence of God, we are NOT going to see a Daniel Generation.

I came on a TV series that is online now called “The Newsroom.” It was on HBO for three very short seasons and I loved the show. The first 8 minutes of the very first show blew me out of the water. It is the best 8 minutes of television I’ve ever seen and this show hit it out of the park in its very first 8 minutes.

The scene is a college campus and a forum is taking place. A typical liberal and typical conservative are seated on the platform with a TV news anchor named Will McAvoy between them. They are fielding questions from a moderator on stage and then answering some questions from the audience as well.

Will McAvoy tries to stay neutral as the typical liberal and typical conservative spew their bumper sticker responses to each other. Then a question comes from the students: “What makes America the greatest country in the world?”

McAvoy then thinks he is hallucinating. He sees an old girlfriend who was a field journalist and executive producer in the audience, but can’t understand why she would be there, so he thinks he’s just imagining it. It throws him off as he is asked to answer the question. He blows off the question by simply mimicking the liberal’s answer and the conservative’s answer.

The moderator decides not to let him off the hook. McAvoy looks out into the audience again and this time the old girlfriend is holding up a handwritten sign that says, “It’s not.” She then flips the page and it reads: “But it can be.”

McAvoy then locks in and gives an impassioned speech about the reality of where we are as a nation and the hope for what we can do again.

You can see the best 8 minutes of television HERE. (Warning: it has some strong language.)

My point is not to argue the pros and cons of his speech or if you liked the show or not.

My point is this:

The American Church is headed for a new Dark Ages … but it doesn’t have to.

That’s the strong word I sensed from the Lord yesterday and it scares every fiber in me to actually put that on a post and it into the world. But that’s precisely what I sensed. And I’m done with wimpy prayers and spineless Christianity.

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Good bye “normal” church…

And, quite frankly, good riddance.

I can hope, anyway.

This post on the future of evangelicals is a good read. It’s refreshing. We are stumbling into new realities. These are things the greater evangelical church should have paid attention to decades ago, but the majority are only now being dragged kicking and screaming into the true reality of Kingdom living.

I loved this line:

A smaller church is also a stranger church.

We need a stranger church. We need to read these words carefully:

Perhaps the most insidious distortion of Christian faith happens when it gets twisted to serve the cause of a majority culture. It gets softened, normalized. The sharp edges of its beliefs get carved down; the pristine motives of its practices, polluted. All that’s left is a dull civil religion that can’t save a soul.

This is what happened decades ago when the evangelicals hitched their wagons to the Republican Party. Now, so-called “progressives” who are really refugees from that movement, are hitching their wagons to the Democratic Party… and the same fate awaits: a civil religion that can’t save a soul. We may be able to feed a soul or two, but we won’t be saving anyone.

We need to be free to be embattled. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it is a kingdom thought. We need more kingdom thoughts in the days ahead.

May the Church finally follow its King, and not the latest polls.

America becoming less Christian

So America is becoming “less Christian.” I still think the number who “profess” is way to high, but that’s just me.

The sad part is the desire to have LESS of a religious voice in the public square:

While the number of Evangelicals hasn’t changed much, the number of unaffiliated Americans has, and they are becoming increasingly organized and vocal in their campaign to keep religion out of public life.

Desiring to keep religion out of public life is always a dangerous decision. It is a decision that keeps getting made… and the mistakes keep getting repeated.

But that’s just me.