Evangelicals and the Search for Credibility
…what we’re actually talking about are two societies that have beliefs about the basic nature of reality that are fundamentally antagonistic to one another. Note that they aren’t simply fundamentally different, but antagonistic. Set next to a difference of that nature, the attempts at finding superficial similarities look rather silly–which is precisely what they are.
Americans Vastly Overestimate Size of Gay and Lesbian Population
In fact, they think that 23 percent of Americans, or almost one in four, are are gays or lesbians, a Gallup survey released Thursday revealed. That’s way off: The polling organization most recently found that less than 4 percent self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
A third of people surveyed believed that lesbians and gays made up more than 25 percent of the population. Just 9 percent of those in the survey correctly stated that they thought the group made up less than 5 percent of the population.
18-year-old plans to marry her long-lost father
But one such unnamed couple living in the Great Lakes region is now making news after the teen daughter talked at length with the magazine about reuniting with her father — whom she hadn’t seen since she was about 5 — 12 years later and finding herself instantly attracted to him.
The daughter says they have been dating for nearly two years — since she lost her virginity to her father just days after reuniting with him — and that they plan to marry, if unofficially, and move to New Jersey, where she says adult incest is legal.
Where You Live Changes What You See When You Read the Bible
A great example of this phenomenon is found in Mark Allan Powell’s helpful little book What Do They Hear?: Bridging the Gap Between Pulpit and Pew. Powell recounts an experiment with 12 American seminary students assigned to read the parable of the prodigal son and then recount it from memory. Interestingly enough, not one of them mentioned the famine in Luke 15:14:
After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing.
Powell himself had considered Jesus’ reference to the famine as an insignificant detail, but he was surprised to see all of his students forget it.
Next, Powell organized a study with 100 American students of different genders, races, ages, economic statuses, and religions. Out of 100 students, only 6 mentioned the famine in their retelling of Jesus’ parable.
Perplexed, he went to St. Petersburg, Russia, and did the same experiment with 50 Russians. He was shocked when 42 of them remembered the famine. Only 6 out of 100 Americans, but 42 out of 50 Russians.
Most Christians Don’t Speak English
In this short but excellent video Russell Moore encourages mono-cultural churches to ask why they’re monocultural. But don’t look around a room and ask people like yourself. You need to go outside the church building, into the community and have those conversations with people of other races. Is there a reason that a Black, Hispanic, or Chinese family wouldn’t come to this church?
Is it possible that churches filled with white Americans have come to view ourselves as the definition of a Christian? That our standards should be universal standards? That our beliefs should be universal beliefs? That our “way” of doing church is the “right way”?
What Missionaries Aren’t Telling You (and What They Need From You)
We heard the stories of friends who lost support overnight because a church disagreed with an inconsequential decision. We hear the rumblings of, Aren’t national missionaries cheaper? More effective? More strategic? And we interpret it as One false move and you are disposable.
I realize that there is a delicate balance here, because I would agree that there are times when missionaries need to be exhorted, or confronted, or even encouraged to come home. Supporting churches do need to keep missionaries accountable. But missionaries need to have permission to struggle, to be confused, and even to fail.
What Should We Wear to Worship?
You see, when my family gathers for our evening devotional, my children are wearing pajamas. Sometimes while mowing the lawn, I will be praying in my grungy work clothes. When I’m driving down the road, I often sing songs of praise. And quite I often I will stop in the middle of my day to pray with someone who is hurting.
I’ve never once said during any of those times, “Oops, I can’t do that right now. I’m not wearing the right clothes to approach God.” And I don’t know any Christian who does.
Bill Russell’s Celtics Were Great. Tim Duncan’s Spurs Have Been Better.
The longest streak of above-average play belongs to the San Antonio Spurs. Their Elo rating rose above 1500 on Jan. 3, 1998, and hasn’t fallen below it since, a period that covers more than 17 years, or 1,644 games1 and counting. That’s impressive even compared to the Celtics, who had an above-average Elo rating from March 14, 1956 to Nov. 12, 1969. Insanely great — 13.5 years and 1,198 games — but not as great as the Spurs.