The Great Divorce of the Western Evangelical Church

Pope Francis has come out with an apostolic exhortation that is well worth the read. There is something for everyone to be mad at in this writing, as I have found in the writings of Benedict before him, and John Paul before him.  Continue reading “The Great Divorce of the Western Evangelical Church”

Where Now is the God of Elijah?

There is a quote that was famous in a couple of movies I’ve seen over the years. Turns out it’s from a book on “spirituality” by Marianne Williamson. The full quote is HERE.

I am not trying to promote books like that, but the quote has one line that needs to be embedded in my own thinking:

Your playing small does not serve the world.

“Small” playing doesn’t serve the Kingdom of God, either.

We are going through 2 Kings this morning at church and I’ve been captivated by 2 Kings 2. Elisha stands at the Jordan with the mantle of Elijah. Elijah is gone. It’s now up to Elisha to understand this is HIS moment. And he grabs it. 

He never lives under the shadow of Elijah. He never really reflects on, “Well, back in the day when I served under Elijah…”

If he “played small,” he would not have served the Kingdom of God… or Israel… so powerfully. Now, Israel wasn’t very grateful for Elisha’s boldness, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t serve them boldly.

Today must be different. Every day after today must be different. Playing “small” doesn’t serve anyone.

 

Evangelical “Right”, “Left”, “Center”…

Roger Olson has another thought-provoking piece on evangelicals and political movements. It’s always a tough read for me these days. What I witness too often are reactions. I grew up in the very conservative political movements of the “Moral Majority” and such. What I am witnessing today is a reaction that seems to say, “I don’t have to be Republican, so to prove it, I’m going to be all out Democrat.”

In that reaction, there is another generation about to make the same exact mistake in the exact opposite direction as my generation.

Somehow we need to regain the prophetic voice of the Kingdom again without sounding like political hacks for either party.

We need to take up the cause of being FOR life… all of it. Womb to the tomb. Neither party upholds that principle. Realize it. Deal with it.

We need to take up the cause of truly being FOR every station in life. Neither party upholds that principle.

We need to take up the cause of being responsible as stewards for ALL resources given to us as a nation and as a society. Say it with me, even through gritted teeth, “Neither party upholds that principle.”

This is the place of the prophetic voice of the Church. Evangelicals have been losing it. My generation was too far right. The one coming up is in danger of being too far left.

Let’s quit being reactionary, and let’s regain the prophetic.

Being Hard Headed

It’s okay to be hard-headed! Hallelujah!

Stubborn.

Immovable.

It’s biblical!

I’ve now hardened your face so that you can meet them head-on. I’ve made your forehead like a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them or shrink away from them, because they are a household of rebels. (Ez. 3:8-9, CEB)

AND, being hard-headed puts you in “diamond” status!

It’s all good news! 😉

The real scoop is really, “Are you hard-headed for the gospel?”

When there is a message of truth that needs to be proclaimed, and the word of the Lord is strong, are you ready to proclaim what God has given you even if the audience doesn’t listen.

This is when I do NOT want to be “hard headed.” This is when I want to run away and wish God had never talked to me!

We all wish for “positive” responses.

What God needs, however, is straight up obedience. And he’ll even gift us with the hard head!

 

The God Who Answers By Fire

22 Elijah said to the people, “I am the last of the LORD’s prophets, but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Give us two bulls. Let Baal’s prophets choose one. Let them cut it apart and set it on the wood, but don’t add fire. I’ll prepare the other bull, put it on the wood, but won’t add fire. 24 Then all of you will call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers with fire—that’s the real God!”

   All the people answered, “That’s an excellent idea.” (1 Kings 18:22-24, CEB)

In some ways, when the people answer, “That’s an excellent idea,” you want to mutter under your breath, “Suckers.”

But for Elijah, one could easily mutter, “Are you an idiot?”

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook status: “Faith – Go out on a limb, then saw off the limb.”

One response was, “That’s not faith. It’s presumption.”

Good point.

This is where Elijah lived. Now he may have heard from God… but WE don’t know that. So it’s easy for us to stand back and think two things: “What a man of God!” or “What an idiot.”

We do not know. So, we can easily think the prophets of Baal have just taken a sucker bet because we see the end of the story.

But what about living where Elijah lived. To stand in that moment, confronted with a situation, and you “call your shot” in a way that just seems impossible.

What a man of God!”

Or…

What an idiot.”

There are those moments we should live in where we put ourselves out there, put God on the line and honestly in our spirits pray, “I sure hope I heard from God on this one.”

May God answer by fire.

Why I Must be Prophetic

One of the tough lessons I am not learning very well over these past few years is the prophetic call of the Church. I can talk a good game, but I don’t act on it very well.

Confession time. I’m a political junkie. I try and avoid it here, but if you follow me on Facebook, I’m full of it. I am addicted to news. I’m not as addicted to talk radio, but I still read the news voraciously. My political opinions are fairly strong.

When I speak of the Church having a prophetic voice, I mean we should not tie ourselves to any political party. It’s easy for mainline churches to wag their fingers at conservatives for trying to hitch the evangelical wagon to the Republican Party. It’s not a lie. It’s the truth.

Yet, mainline churches consistently hitch their wagon to the Democratic Party and act sanctimonious. Give me a break. We’re all guilty as charged at some point in time!

That said, I used to have a belief that the voter had a voice. That belief has been eroding for the past several years. When I first moved to Minnesota, I could actually call my congressional representatives and get answers. Now, they won’t give me the time of day.

Here is why, and let’s be honest: I DON’T GIVE THEM ANY MONEY. If I did, it wouldn’t be in the range of say, MILLIONS of dollars. What it has come down to is this: If you don’t donate HEAVILY to a political cause, you have no voice. Period.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling only solidified that obvious fact. Make a note. Politicians will not even fake listening to “the people” anymore. They will make their appeals to corporations and labor unions. Why? Because those entities will have huge pots of money to throw at advertising to persuade us, the voters, as to who is right and who is wrong. It was stupid before. It’s about to get insane.

It’s sad for me, as an American. I used to call my congressional representatives with an expectation of being heard. Now, they don’t care. I can almost hear them filing their nails or checking their email while I am trying to talk to them about an upcoming vote. They don’t ask for my name, number, address, nothing.

So, I am being forced into the true understanding that we MUST act prophetically as the Church. It will matter so little in the shadow of the mountains of campaigns dollars being spent on advertising, but stand I must. Stand WE must, as the Church. We may not be heard, but that should not keep us from speaking if that is what the Lord is asking of us.