Looking Back on 2012: Aug-Sept

August and September were busy months for my blog. There was the Chik-Fil-A drama and other culture war nonsense. Both political parties held their conventions. Then the Benghazi attack happened. In September, our church did a sermon series called “Jesus is My Candidate” that I tried and spectacularly failed to turn into some kind of bigger “movement.” The idea was to transcend partisanship and avoid saying and doing things that would dishonor Jesus’ name. So here are 10 posts on culture wars, morality, marriage, American Pelagianism, holy war, the fear of God, and other matters. Continue reading

People who fear God don’t make t-shirts like this

violence in schools t-shirtWhoever made this t-shirt doesn’t fear God. Why? Because it blasphemes God’s name when we use tragedies opportunistically to build political power for ourselves and pretend that we’re doing it in defense of God. Until Christians stop taking their cues from the diaboloi of the outrage industrial complex, then we will look like just another ambulance-chasing special interest tribe focused on getting in our talking points. We are supposed to be the people who offer hope and peace, especially in this season when we remember how the lion of Judah came to the world as Mary’s little lamb. Instead we are know for our angry rants over the greeting we receive from the check-out clerk at the department store. The reason that “holiday” became a secular word is because Christmas stopped being a holy-day when it started getting celebrated in department stores; we should not dare to call our shopping the mass of Christ. People are hurt and scared over what happened in Connecticut; God came to Earth 2000 years ago to do something about that. Now is not the time for talking points. Now is not the time for exalting ourselves and our causes. It is a time to hate sin, starting with our own. And if we really hate our own sin, then our vigilance against our own pride should keep us from hopping up on the soapbox to showcase our piety by condemning others. God gave us a big brother to make His dwelling among us so that we would no longer be children of wrath. If we really wish to honor our annually newborn king, then we must make our hearts into a manger for those around us who are seeking some place of refuge and mercy.

Holiness and the fear of God (Isaiah 6)

Today I preached at the iglesia evangélica dominicana de Sosua here in the Dominican Republic on one of my favorite texts in the Bible: Isaiah 6. I’ve always seen the story of Isaiah’s call as a model for how God calls each of us. It also illuminates the importance of the fear of God and its relationship to holiness. Before Isaiah can come to the place where he says, “Here am I; send me,” he has to go through the overwhelming encounter with God’s presence that causes him to say, “Woe is me! I am lost.” He is able to respond to God’s call with authenticity because he feared God first. Continue reading