What to do about ‘Noah’

I’ve read several reviews of the upcoming movie ‘Noah.’ All I have read confirms exactly what I thought would be the case, that is that the movie does not at all convey the Scriptural story of the historical Noah, the story of the Ark God commanded him to build, or the story of the flood that occurred in his day. This news has not shocked me one bit. I have seen knee-jerk Christian reactions, bashing Hollywood and the film’s writers, producers, directors, actors, etc, angrily calling for Christians to boycott the film. I have also read more level-headed Christian leaders who present the film with the reality that it is, namely a piece of fiction adapted from a story from the Bible. So far, I have not read anyone associated with the film even suggest that the film depicts the Scriptural story of Noah. In fact, I have read where the director has stated that the film is absolutely not

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Should my child participate?

How should believers go about deciding what extra-curricular activities their children should participate in? How relevant is this question to every believing parent!? I have heard this debated and heard so many very strong opinions on the matter. Basically, I have encountered two extremes, though, in which almost everyone seems to belong. First, there are those who involve their children in very little or no such activities at all, fearing that the sheer amount of commitment that is demanded today will keep them from being involved in church or family events. Second, there are those who involve their children in any and every activity their hearts desire, with little or no regard to sanctification or the cost the family must pay. In many ways, this area of life mimics the holistic view of how Christian should involve themselves in the culture, with most falling in one of two extreme camps: cultural withdrawal or non-critical assimilation. Both extremes can be dangerous,

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The New Religion: Self-Actualization

All people are desperate for a savior.  I know this because I see the ebb and flow of our culture.  As it continues to conjure up new ones, people run to them in droves.  It never ceases to amaze me how the masses can be manipulated and wooed by such insane people and notions.  America has a surging new religious movement.  It’s called self-actualization.  I say ‘new’ because of the incredible emphasis on this idea in the present day, but, of course, there is nothing new under the sun.  Every ‘new’ cultural religious movement is just warmed-over idolatry, and, like this one, usually includes self-idolatry at its core. Within this new religion two specific ‘denominations’ can be identified, of course there are probably many others, but these two are definitely the most prominent.  Each employs a plethora of ‘prophets,’ but have one primary figure leading the charge.  The two are extremely diverse, but the heart of each finds its root

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No Little Disturbance

As I have thought about and prayed for so many brothers and sisters around the world who face intense persecution, my mind has brought me back to a verse in Acts that I love. About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. (Acts 19:23) A couple of years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to visit the ancient city of Ephesus while in Turkey. I remember being in awe as I walked down the street toward the familiar ruins of the ancient library. On the approach to that magnificent structure, though, I became aware of what used to be small temples where only fragments of statues of ‘gods’ remain. I vividly remember one, in particular. I have to admit, I wished all along that journey that I had taken time to research the meaning of the ruins before this walk, but I knew right away that this one particular statue had to be a tribute to a

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Critiquing the Culture: Gospel or Preferences?

In Dr. Bruce Ashford’s excellent book, The Theology of Mission, he writes, “We must remember that the gospel stands in judgment of all cultures, calling them to conform themselves to the image of Christ.” He goes on to say that, “The gospel does not condemn all of a culture, but is always and at the same time both affirming and rejoicing.” If this is true of the gospel’s interaction with culture, and I believe it is, then it stands to reason that this should also be the individual believer’s interaction with culture, as well. As I have thought through these words I have thought about how I critique the culture myself. Further, I have considered how I have witnessed believers in my context critique the culture. I am afraid that, by and large, believers critique the culture based on their own preferences much more often than allowing the gospel to offer the critique.

Conversing with the Culture: “We Can’t Stop,” by Miley Cyrus

Excerpt of Lyrics: To my homegirls here with the big butt Shaking it like we at a strip club Remember only God can judge us Forget the haters cause somebody loves ya What happened to Miley Cyrus? I’ve heard enough people ask this question over the past couple of weeks. She used to be so young, so innocent, and now she is twerkin half-naked in front of millions of people on an awards show. “She used to be so pure,” I hear them say. The truth, however, is that she never was innocent and pure. That is the truth for all of us, by the way. The outward change in the way she expresses herself in her career, however, results from the fact that she just desires to be ‘grown up’ and be recognized as such. The sad reality is that what she is trying so hard to become is exactly how the world defines ‘grown up’ these days. Her

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A Somber Anniversary

Today marks a somber anniversary for our country.  I have reflected this morning on all the painful memories this day stirs each year in the hearts of so many people. It marks the anniversary of watching domestic airliners plunge into buildings holding thousands of people. It marks the anniversary of standing around televisions with friends and strangers confused and scared. It marks the anniversary of a day filled with nervous anxiety, wondering when news of a new hit target would emerge. It marks the anniversary of brave men and women inspiring a nation as they rushed into the carnage while so many others fled. It marks the anniversary of incredibly brave leadership on the part of New York’s mayor and a remarkable man named Todd Beamer.

Gospel Transformation: Genuine Friendship

*This current series of posts seeks to answer the question, “What should gospel transformation actually look like in our fallen culture?” Because of the internal transformation of the Spirit that takes place in the life of the believer, Christians should be the very best friends anyone in the world could possibly have. This thought is pretty simply, really. One of the terrible side-effects of sin is that it naturally divides. Sin is a relationship breaker. Our sinful hearts cause us to be self-centered and focus on our own happiness, even to the exclusion of others. Sin causes us to look at others as useful to that end. When they are making us happy, they are welcome to remain in our lives. When they serve as a hindrance to our happiness, we seek to remove them. Sin causes us to survey others as either useful or a threat to that happiness. We judge ourselves according to each other and often treat

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Called to be ‘Positive & Encouraging’ or ‘Salt & Light’?

Let me start by giving a disclaimer. I listen to K-Love from time to time. I love much of the music on K-Love. I love a lot of Christian music. I do have some critique towards some of Christian music (for example, see my last post!), but by-and-large, when I listen to music I listen mostly to Christian music. Also, I am using “K-Love” when really these issues deal with other Christian radio outlets I have encountered, too; but, as K-Love continues to spread its influence all across the country, I believe it best represents that to which I am speaking. Now that that has been cleared up, let me get to the heart of the issue here. I believe that the picture of Christianity that K-Love paints for the listening world is one that is less than biblical and potentially dangerous. I take issue with it because it is not real. It is not true…at least not for most

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