Friday, March 29, 2013

The South

I stopped by the bank this morning to drop off some checks.

It was like most bank experiences up until the small talk part of the deposit transaction. You know, that part where you talk about the weather or where you are from or any big non-controversial news items. But today, the lady flung a new question at me.

"So, what are your plans for Easter?"

Me? Plans for Easter? You're assuming I celebrate Easter. You're assuming I make plans for Easter. You asked me about a Christian holiday!

I think the lady probably thought I was insane as I sat there gaping in silence.

"Um... I'm just hanging out with some friends," I sputtered.

"Oh, that'll be fun!" she enthused.

This whole thing would never have happened in any other place I've lived.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

So much...

My mind has been crowded lately. A cluttered mix of thoughts swirl, crystallizing for moments only to be broken apart, caught and crushed by the turbulent movement of ideas, knowledge, words.

How do you create an argument, a full fabric, when your real skill is unraveling the knit and purl of worldview? When you see the flaw in each premise and statement that people produce. How do you choose not to be overly critical? How do you hold onto joy? Peace?

It's the peace that's hardest to grasp in my mental cacophony. There are too many tunes being played at once and I don't know how to shut it off.

So I pray.
I beg.
God be with me.
Create space.

Give me the ability to think one thought at a time--the thought You want me to be thinking. Help me to hold that thought and not be distracted by the idols of material goods, the dreams of the past, the conflicts of the present, or the fears of the future.

I take Ann Voskamp's advice (or rather, I try to). Slow down. "Life is not an emergency." I don't think it is. But my mind sometimes runs as if it is. Deep breath.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The gay rights movement has not only co-opted the term freedom, but also placed before the people a concrete picture of that definition of freedom through the media. Both TV and movies help shape cultural and ideological identity because they hit us with STORY, and story is one of the ways God speaks to the deepest parts of who we are. If Christians want to reach culture they must tell good stories and not only draw people in with those stories, but also teach a fundamentally different worldview, a worldview that points to truth. 

Saturday, March 09, 2013


I went to a talk this week by Eric Metaxes, the author of the largest biography I have ever read. His book, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy" has sold hundreds of thousands of copies which is surprising considering that the book is a hefty six-hundred pages of non-fiction. Metaxes, however, is engaging both as a writer and as a speaker. Here in Nashville he had the whole crowd singing some sort of popular song of the Hee-Haw genre. As clueless as I felt, I appreciated his connection to the predominate culture of his audience.

What I really realized during his talk was that history has some incredibly uncommon heroes who countered culture with courage and bravery. The reason they fought for the weak and oppressed was they held certain truths to be more important than popular opinion and they were able to do that because of their faith in a higher power and a higher authority. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (part of the plot to assassinate Hitler) fought for the rights of Jews in Germany years before war was even a consideration. He opposed his polite culture and power-hungry government because his belief said that Jews and Gentiles were equal in the sight of God.  William Wilberforce's faith directed him to stand against the prevailing opinion that Africans were a subhuman people that should be exploited for British empire building.  Today we honor these men for their stances, whether or not they appeared successful. 

Today our culture sits in the same place, but in this case instead of picking a race that we can persecute we have picked our own unborn. And while there are still many people in the USA that oppose abortion, very few are willing to speak up in public against it. This should cause each of us to re-examine ourselves. Are we the kind of people that would allow Jewish Christians to be banned from the church if our government required it? German believers did.  As soon as we allow our own comfort to trump our convictions all is lost already. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Worth of People on the Internet

Who are these people?  Who are they really?

Each one has their own story, each young person has their own struggle with who they are and who they should be. Whether she survived a mother's suicide attempt in the womb or whether she was brought into the world with special attention and care, each girl is a miracle. Whether he turns into a world famous celebrity adored by children around the world or whether he only impacts the lives of thirty kids in a classroom, his life has meaning. This is the Christian view because how we came into the world or what we do with our lives is not what defines our worth. Our worth is based on the fact that each of us was made in the image of God.  And as bearers of that image we owe honor to men and women alike, because that image is of utmost importance. Therefore, when people destroy and pervert that representation of God's image, we cannot stand by idly. But neither do we have permission to degrade that image ourselves through vicious and unkind rhetoric.