- Just start quoting Old Testament rules when you want to govern someone’s behavior
- Assume the Bible is all about YOU
- Attempt to arrive at meaning without first understanding the culture it was written to
- Discount the fact that it wasn’t originally written in English
- Let it point you to anything other than Jesus
As the distinctions between Christians and an ever-growing post-Christian culture emerge, we will have to set aside any nominal belief systems and become active agents of God’s Kingdom. The answer is not found in waging cultural wars incessantly, or in making a theological shift to the left to pacify a culture offended by the gospel. The answer is in all of God’s people, changed by the power of the gospel and propelled by love, moving into the mission field as agents of gospel transformation.
Stick with me here…if, however, scripture exists to bring about actual transformation in the lives of real people…people who were dead in sin but are being made alive through Christ…that should cause you to approach scripture from a different perspective than trying to authorize your practices via prooftext. If scripture’s intended purpose is transformation and the way that transformation works is through us reading it, understanding it and submitting to/applying it then we read scripture to understand what it actually means.
Wise leaders at some point (usually those who’ve been around for awhile) recover the ability to go beyond their own circles and discern the good, true, and beautiful in the thoughts, activities, and wisdom of the broader Church. That doesn’t make them de facto sellouts or pragmatists. It doesn’t guarantee they’ve drunk the kool-aid or turned to the dark side. It could be that, while they love their tribe, they also recognize God has blessed the larger Church with leaders they can learn from…and still disagree with on issues.
I’ve seen people preface a mean-spirited zinger of a comment with a disclaimer of love, but it’s still a mean-spirited zinger. The way you begin a conversation doesn’t remove the need to be kind, even when offering correction or extending criticism.
The trend of exalting youth and sidelining the elderly stems from a deeper problem summed up in the expression, “Newer is better.” We celebrate the new and innovative while looking down on the past and tradition. There is a compelling vitality to youth and to new ideas, but that does not mean there is no wisdom to be found in the past. It is a sign of hubris to think one can face life without the wisdom of those who have gone before. There is something about being young that makes the young think they are immune to the mistakes or missteps of those who have gone before. We all think too highly of ourselves and our capacities. Simply put, we need the wisdom of the past and of the elderly.
So, I know you are not probably doing what I do, but how could you make space in your life like this? Maybe just go see a neighbor and ask, “Is there anything I can pray for you?” Maybe call someone and say, “Is there anything that it might help to have a friend talk through?”
Leave some room for the Holy Spirit and you’ll be blessed and you’ll bless others.
Over time, as I settled more deeply into my place, I came to understand that when Nebraskans reference God, religion, and faith in everyday conversation, their inquiries about my church family and their requests to pray for me are not indicative of their judgment or preachiness, but rather, a demonstration of their compassion and their desire to invite me into community and conversation. The Bible Belters I met and subsequently came to know and like in Nebraska typically don’t use religion or faith to judge or condemn, but to invite and embrace.
What right should students have to talk about God in homework, assemblies, club meetings, and graduation speeches? This is the question at stake in a new law in Tennessee and other states across the country. On Thursday, Governor Bill Haslam signed the Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act, which affirms that religious students should have the same free-speech rights as secular ones.
The idea is simple: Visitors pay an hourly fee or a cover charge for the privilege of lounging with cats. Lady Dinah’s charges about $5 per person for two hours; it’s fully booked until June.
For a little extra, you can order something to eat or drink.
Kim, who bought two-foot high Sammy two years ago, says her beloved pet was not safe going around in a horse box and needed a more comfortable ride.
She added: “In the horse box it is not possible to properly secure him because he is so small, and he only has a white wall to look at which is nowhere near as interesting as having a window in the car.”